Sunday, September 04, 2005

Storytellers DVD

It’s been a number of weeks since I designed a new cover (even longer since I've done a blog entry). Between family, work and other projects there's just not enough hours in the day.

Most of the work I have been doing recently has been text based, like updating the Murmurs BitTorrent Tracker FAQ and Rules, so on Saturday I decided it was time to get creative and design a new cover.

The Storytellers DVD was posted recently on the Murmurs tracker and I thought it would be a good cover to do. I wanted to do a classic leather tattered book look for it. A bit of an obvious concept I know but great fun to do in Photoshop.

I have to admit the original inspiration for this cover came when I bought Bruce Springsteen’s 'Devils & Dust' album a few weeks ago. I've always loved the distressed look in design and the Springsteen artwork used this beautifully and the paper stock they used was a perfect compliment to the design.

As I’ve mentioned a number of time in the past one problem with doing a design for a live show is finding good photos to use. This problem is somewhat alleviated by doing a DVD cover because you can get screengrabs and have tremendous choice over composition just by grabbing the right frame. But this also comes with it’s own problems.

DVD (NTSC) resolution is 720x480 at 72 DPI so when you put this on a 2228x1520 DVD cover at 200dpi the grabs aren't that big which means you have to scale them up resulting in image degradation and pixelation. The way around this is to apply a slight blur or other effect to the image.

With the Storyteller cover I started with an image of an old yellow painted wall with the paint chipping and marks all over it and generally in a bad condition.

I then went through the screengrabs I'd made to find a good shot of Michael talking. The lighting and set backdrop for Storytellers really suited this application of design.

I scaled the image to 200% and applied an Overlay blend mode to get the image to take on the qualities of the background image.

I then applied a layer mask to the image of Michael and used an amazing brushset by Aleksandra over at to paint the cracks into the alpha channel showing through to the wall layer below.

After a bit of trouble trying to decide on a typeface I did the layout for the back. Originally the back layout was all geometrical, but it just wasn’t sitting right and lacked any real interest. This lead to the photos getting a thinner border (thanks Fiona) and getting rotated. I also staggered the tracklisting and changed the point size of the track numbers.

All that was left to do was the credits and disc technical information. For the first time I used the grid layout for the disc info which really simplifies the layout process.

This design took quite a while from start to finish, but I must say I was very happy with the end result. My partner has just bought a new printer and I cant wait to try it out on this design on some nice photo paper I just hope she doesn't mind me using all her ink.

Hope people like it. Feel free to leave comments and feedback below.

You can download the full cover and label here.


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