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Incubus CD Cover Photoshop Tutorial

You voted it! Thanks for everyone who submitted a vote to get this tutorial published. It’s always encouraging to engage readers and see exactly what it is you guys like. Here is a tutorial of how to make an Incubus album cover in Photoshop.

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What We’ll Create:

Final

Things You Need:

  1. Trajan Font
  2. Crow Picture
  3. Splatter Brush

Introduction:

Big thanks to everyone who voted on the Incubus tutorial “to post or not to post.”  It’s always good to engage readers and get opinions.  It gives us a better understanding of what our students (you guys and gals) want to learn when you vote.  This is a fairly moderate tutorial but it brings in the use of Adobe Illustrator so you need to make sure you have that program as well.

Creating Abstract Shapes in Illustrator:

The first thing we’re going to do is open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document with the following settings:

Picture 1

Then we’re going to select the Ellipse tool (L) and draw an oval on the stage.

Picture 2

Now we’re going to use the Warp Tool (Shift + R) and click and drag to push the corners of the ellipse in.

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With this funky shape and we’re going to apply some transformations to make it look sweet.  So select the shape we’ve made and select Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the following settings:

Picture 4

Click ok.  This is what we should have:

Picture 5

Now we’re going to add the exact same effect by clicking the object again and applying these settings.  (Just ignore any warning dialogue boxes that might pop up and select apply new effect if asked).  Here is what we have now.

Picture 6

This is the basis of our design and we’re going to copy and paste it into Photoshop.  First, open a Photoshop document with the following settings:

Picture 7

Go back into Illustrator and copy our shape by selecting it and pressing Command + C to copy.  Then switch over to Photoshop and push Command + V on the keyboard to paste it.  You’ll be asked how you want to paste it and just select “pixels.”  Press enter to commit the object.

Picture 8

Creating Background in Photoshop

Double click the white background layer and push enter.  This simply unlocks the layer so we can edit it. Now, with the white background layer selected, go to Filter > Distort > Lens Correction.  Enter the following settings:

Picture 9

We should now have this:

Picture 10

We’re now going to add some noise to the background.  To do so, create a new layer above the white background we just edited.  Then, with the newly created layer selected, in the layers palette click the little half white half black circle and select “solid color.”  Select white as the color.  Now with that same layer still selected go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and put in the following settings:

Picture 11

Then, reduce the opacity of this layer to 33% by selecting it in the layers palette and clicking the “opacity” box and sliding the slider down to 33%.  This is what we should have:

Picture 12

Create a new layer above the noise layer we just created and then push “D” on your keyboard (without the quotes).  This will reset the foreground and background colors.  With the new layer we just created selected, select Filter > Render > Clouds.  Then set this layer to “Overlay.”  This is what we have so far:

Picture 13

We’re going to now add a slight blur behind our abstract shape we pasted in earlier.  Duplicate the abstract shape layer by clicking it in the layers palette and pushing Command + J on your keyboard.  Make sure this duplicated layer is below the original abstract shape layer.  With the duplicated layer selected, select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur in the Photoshop menu and enter the following settings:

Picture 14

After these images are entered, change the opacity of this blurred layer to 46%.  This is what we should have so far:

Picture 15

Adding the Crow and Splatter:

This part is really basic and easy.  Simply open the crow image you downloaded earlier and place it in the Photoshop document by selecting File > Place in the Photoshop menu.  Place it inside the circle and using the eraser tool, fit it in the circle.  The crow layer is directly above the original abstract shape layer.  This is what you should have:

Picture 16

Create a new layer above the crow layer and with a splatter brush, paint one simple black splatter, like this:

Picture 17

Modifying and Masking Text in Photoshop:

Now we’re going to add the cool masked text effect using the original abstract shape.  This part is a bit tricky but is something you’ll use in Photoshop compositions a lot.  At least we do!

First, using the Type Tool (T) click on the stage and type “Incubus.”

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Now, duplicate the original abstract shape layer 3 times, and place these duplicates over the text like this:

Picture 19

It looks crazy but we’re doing this because we’re going to trap this abstract shape within the INCUBUS lettering.  Flatten the three duplicate layers by selecting them in the layers palette and pushing Command + E on your keyboard.  This flattened layer should still be directly over the incubus text in the layers palette:

Picture 20

Now, Command + Left mouse click the thumbnail of the INCUBUS text layer.  This will give you the selection of the text.

Picture 21

With the “dancing ants” still showing the selection of the “INCUBUS” lettering, select the layer we just flattened with the 3 abstract shapes and click this button at the bottom of the layers palette:

Picture 22

Now we can delete the original “INCUBUS” text layer and you’ll see the masked INCUBUS lettering.  Cool!

Picture 23

That’s pretty much it.  We added some blurring behind the text and added more text to make it look a bit more like an album cover but overall pretty simple.

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