W.D. Minihan

Catch me in the NARRATIVE, jackin’ your MECHANISMS

Create Rad Album Art From Photos -3.5 Stars-

Making fake album covers is a simple kind of fun that I’m always hoarding ideas for, so I knew had to do this assignment. I keep a kind of “vibe” folder where I save images I find interesting or inspiring, and I just so happen to have a fresh addition from last night that I thought would be good for this assignment. This image is a photo of freelance model Sarah Brown, taken by Michael Pearce. The collection of images that this is from can be found here. The collection is just odd portraits take by Pearce as someone who casts and models for runway shows.
The other image I’m using is from Michael Joseph’s photo gallery titled “Lost and Found”, a long-time favorites collection for me. This collection is a series of portraits taken by Joseph over a period of years he spent photographing freight train hoppers and hitchhikers.

I picked these two because they have a hard juxtaposition. Image 1: blurred, unprofessional, female, colored, associated with high culture, occupation based on performance. Image 2: sharp, highly staged, male, associated with impoverished lifestyle, likely no professional occupation.
The album title “LONGITUDE” came from this idea of verticality in lifestyle, from high to low living and culture. This same verticality is the core of the whole design. The actual vibe that I wanted was something you might see for a minimal industrial/techno record. A darker sound that you might hear at some in-the-know warehouse party from last decade.

I was in a record store back in 2012, looking through the unmarked section. This was usually where they put the stuff that didn’t get commercial releases and aren’t rare enough for vinyl nerds to hunt. Consider it the bulk Pokemon card bin of music. Because of this, most of my choices were based on what the covers looked like.

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The smell of cardstock


Anyway, I’m flipping through this and its mostly packed with the usual oldies compilations and over saturation of AC/DC records. Then I come across one still sealed in plastic, practically unheard of in the unmarked section.

The final cover.

It definitely had a newer look to the design and the track list had all kinds of cryptic one-liner titles, like ‘AMMONIA’ or ‘STRATUM’. When I got home and spun that thing I was immediately validated in my purchase. Enormous sawtooth chords, crunching kicks, razor-sharp open hats. There were noises that I couldn’t even identify. Sickest piece in my collection by far.

Tutorial Time

You know the drill. All done with Photoshop.

1: Load up pics.
2: Crop and scale images to desired dimensions. We generally want an even square for an album cover.
3: Align images as needed and trim down your canvas size accordingly.
4: Use the rectangle tool to select areas of the layer you want snipped out. I did widths of around 23 pixels each.
5: We’re gonna do some stuff with saturation on the colored layer.
6: My settings. I wanted a colder blue/purple look to it.
7: Select your negative space and pick a fill in color for your brush.
8: Open a text box and select a typeface. I chose Garamond for the sort of dry/thin feeling.
9: Manipulate the text to run sideways…
10: …and stretch it out to fill accordingly. All done.
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