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Design a Cool CD Cover with Fresh Retro Inspired Effects

This entry was posted By Cubert on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 1:49 am and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. Today’s Photoshop tutorial will show you how to create some retro style effects, such as the classic “retro rainbow”, but with a fresher, cleaner, and more modern style. These effects are part of a complete CD Jewel Box Cover tutorial. I’m hoping that at the end of the retro rainbow I’ll finally find that Leprechaun that stole my vodka two weeks ago.

You can download the Cool Fresh Business CD/DVD Cover with full PSD source in BoxedArt’s members section, as well as thousands of other website templates and web design products. Get a membership here.

Step 1: Set Up Your Document Size and Ratio

We are creating a print ready CD Jewel Box Cover here, so we need to open up Photoshop, and create a new document; a perfect square 6.18 inches high x 6.18 inches wide, with a CMYK color profile, which will be the printing dimensions for your jewel box.

Step 2: Create the First Rainbow Stripes

Now, Create a new layer, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), and draw a rectangular shape across the canvas.

Step 3: Color, Rinse, and Repeat

Next, fill the rectangles with color #ff7700, and create another four stripes with the same steps above. Fill the new stripes with colors #fdb715, #549bc2, #6cb745 and #ea3125.

Step 4: Diagon-Alley

With our rainbow stripes set up and filled in, we will now rotate the rainbow diagonally across the corner of the cover. To rotate the stripes, select all the stripe layers, and then right click and select “Merge Layers”. Next, click “Control T” for a Free Transform, and rotate the stripes and position to something like below:

Step 5: Speckle the Rainbow (but never heckle the rainbow — two words: Leprechaun Revenge.)

So the rainbow s drawn, colored, and in the corner, but what’s retro about it? Nothing, that’s what. Therefore, we’re going to make it look grainy, altering the the crisp colors to look weathered. So, go to Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint, and select “coarse dots”. The results will be a bright rainbow, with a grainy texture.

Step 6: Add a Second Overlapping Rainbow

Next, right click on the stripes layer and select duplicate layer, which will of course duplicate the entire rainbow layer with all of its effects. Then, click “Control T” to rotate another set of stripes across the canvas.

Step 7: Fill the Background – Start With a Solid Color

Now, let’s work on the background. Start by filling the white background layer with a fresh blue; color #6fd0f6.

Step 8: I See Spots

Don’t you think a solid blue background complements the rainbow perfectly? Neither do I. So, let’s give create an effect – a spotted effect. Go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone and use 50 pixels for the radius.

Step 9: Make the Rainbow Pop

Now, let’s a white border to the stripes to make it stand out from the background. Go to the stripe layer, right click on it, and select “Blending Options”. Then, go to “Stroke” and enter 30 pixels for the size and white for the color.

Step 10: White Stripe Copy Cat

You can right click on the stripe layer with the stroke effect on it, and select “Copy Layer Style”, and then paste the Layer style on the other stripe layer without the stroke effect to duplicate the effect onto the second rainbow.

Step 11: Add a Picture to the Cover

Now, let’s add your image/icon in the design, we downloaded a fresh blue icon from bigstockphoto, and then placed it in the canvas.

Step 12: Stroke Your Image

We need to make the clip-art pop, just like we did to the rainbows. So, let’s apply the stroke effect on the icon layer. You can right click on the icon layer, and click “Paste effect” to paste the stroke effect you just copied from the stripes layer (what a handy short cut).

Step 13: Words are Worth a Thousand Pictures (or something)

Words are thoughts and we can’t think without’em (also, we wouldn’t remember what’s stored on the CD). So, let’s add our text in the design; go to and download the Arista Font (on a side note, I really like saying “Arista”; Ar-ista, Arrr-leesta, Arrr!). Back on the main note, type your text and position in, and fill in the text with some fresh colors. Then, the final step is to add a white stroke effect from the stripes layer style you copied. Right click on the text layers and click “paste effect” to paste the stroke on the text:

You now have a neat-o, ready to print jewel box cover.

You can download the Cool Fresh Business CD/DVD Cover with full PSD source in BoxedArt’s members section, as well as thousands of other website templates and web design products. Get a membership here.

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Man you are awesome! The cover looks absoloutley excellent I am totally going to play around with that!

I love the design. The look is simple yet colorful and elegant. The steps are easy to follow, so I would definitely share this great idea to my brother whose recently collecting old hit movies.

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