Abstract Album Cover Art Photoshop Tutorial

Hello everyone, Chris here from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial Now the kinds of tutorials I love creating are those that produce a really cool result from quite a simple tool or technique

The artwork I'll be showing you how to create today fits right into that category It makes use of Photoshop's Liquify tool, along with a few additional edits to make the kind of trendy artwork that's popular on album covers or as abstract backgrounds that could form part of a brand One of the fun things about this process is you can achieve a different result every time, either by using an alternative base image, or even by just using the Liquify brushes randomly So let's get started and I'll show you how it's done Begin with a stock photo of some kind

The contents of the image don't really matter at all, it's more so the overall colours and contrast that will affect the final result I'm using this free image of some waves from Unsplashcom Photoshop's Liquify tool can be quite CPU intensive, so one trick is to first downsize the image Go to Image > Image Size and enter 1000px or smaller Next go to Filter and select Liquify

Using the default Warp brush, increase the size so the tip fills a large portion of the image, then randomly scribble around the canvas to distort the picture There's no right or wrong way to do this step It's just a case of going mad with your mouse and seeing what the effect looks like As you begin to create waves of certain colours you can then move them around and even out the overall effect If you remember we added this Liquify effect on a small scale image

Go to Edit > Step Backward, or use the CMD+Alt+Z shortcut twice to remove the Liquify filter and revert the image size changes Immediately go to the Filter menu and the previously used Liquify effect will be sat right at the top Click this and the same effect will be applied to this large scale image, without it bogging down your computer like it would if you were doing it live on a high resolution document There's a few extra tweaks we can add to tailor this artwork into more of a trendy album cover First add a Black and White adjustment layer, but reduce the opacity to around 80% to allow some of the original colour to show through

Add a Levels Adjustment Layer and drag the shadows slider inwards to darken the image, followed by the highlights slider to boost the overall contrast One trick to achieve the retro style washed out look is to move the shadows Output Levels slider inwards, which moves the darkest areas from black to a dark grey Open up one of my free Photocopy Grunge Textures in Photoshop Press CMD+A to Select All, CMD+C to Copy then switch over to the working document and press CMD+V to Paste Use the shortcut CMT+T to transform the image and scale and rotate it to fit over the artwork

Change the blending mode to Screen to render the black background transparent, leaving just the white grain You can boost the impact of the texture by increasing the contrast Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and drag both the shadows and highlights sliders inwards, keeping an eye on the preview to find the best result Press CMD+A to Select All, then go to Edit > Copy Merged Paste this selection at the top of the layer stack then go to Filter > Other > High Pass

Set it up with a 1px radius, then change this layer's blending mode to Linear Light Toggle this layer off and on to see the sharpening effect it produces to bring out the fine details Use the Type to to create some wording for your artwork Here I'm using the font Bluescreens which I picked up from a recent font bundle I wrote about on my website Use Photoshop's snapping to align the text centrally to the document

Create a new layer, then select the Rectangle tool Hold Shift to draw a perfect square, then use the CMD+T Transform shortcut to adjust the scaling and positioning so it fits around the text In the top toolbar, add a white stroke then increase the stroke size so it roughly matches the weight of the typeface to balance it all out The final result makes a great piece of abstract artwork that would look great as an album cover, a website header or part of a cool corporate identity such as a background that might cover the reverse of a business card or inner page of a brochure It could even be a piece of artwork in itself if it was split into a series of three canvases

Whatever it's used for, it's a nice simple technique you can remember for whenever you need to create a colourful abstract background for your design work If you enjoyed this tutorial a thumbs up to help spread the word would be really appreciated If you're new to my video tutorials be sure to subscribe and check out some of my other videos on my channel If you're watching this on YouTube, head over to my website at spoongraphics if you want to find more written tutorials and free design resources, otherwise thank you very much for watching and I'll see you in the next one

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