Monday, 11 October 2010

Making my album digipack

This is the first image I made for my album digipack. This was inspired by the 80s album cover Make You Shake It by The Human Body (below) and its neon light effects. I too wanted to have a neon light appearance for my album design.

I shot the image in a dark room at night, using a torch to create the light. I decided on 200 ISO and a 10” second exposure at an aperture of f/5.6 – I needed enough time to move into the shot, turn the torch on, point it at the camera and write a letter. This is all not one image. I took separate images of each letter and the heart (the 3 hearts are all the same heart) and then combined them together on one image in Photoshop.

I also changed the colours of the light on Photoshop; I did this by using the ‘Hue’ tool. I also had to edit the heart as I could not draw a perfect heart with the torch (shown below).

All I did was cut this image in half, deleted the wobbly right half, copied the left half, reversed the copied half and then combined it with the original left half, so I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical heart...

I then made three copies of this heart for the final image.


I plan to show more symbolic references to summer in my music video. For example I plan to have occasional shots of someone drinking a colourful cocktail. I would like a picture of a cocktail as part of my album design, as I think this would be a really eye-catching image.

I added some red food colouring to a big glass of water and then added an orange straw and yellow cocktail umbrella. I thought carefully about the colours of everything as I did not want anything clashing. I then placed the drink in front of a plain white sheet of plastic with a strong light behind the sheet. I took lots of images of the drink experimenting with all kinds of angles. However I felt that the pictures were empty and I needed another object in the frame.

I found a glass patterned with a red heart design. I thought this was excellent because not only did the colours go well with the drink, but also the heart design is extremely relevant to the title of the song. I then took more images of the cocktail and heart patterned glass. I took more close-up shots of the design and top of the cocktail. These made quite effective images.

When editing the image, I cropped it so that the dimensions were a square. I then made the image brighter using curves, so that most of the background was just a bright white. I also reversed the image so that the symbolism of summer was on the left and symbolism of love was on the right.

I really liked this image, not just because it looked bright and eye-catching but there is something quite unique about it and I think it would make an effective front cover for the album. Therefore my next step was to put some text on the image – saying the song title and artist’s name.  

Red was obviously the colour theme of this image, so I needed to make sure the colour of the text fitted in well. I tried a variety of different shades of red; that ranged from pinks to burgundies. I also had to pick my font carefully – I wanted something fun looking, but still something readable. I originally imagined the Impact font, but I found this far too bold and quite hard to read. I then tried the Jokerman font, but this looked too inappropriate and unreadable. Finally I found the BALLOONIST font and in my opinion this worked perfectly on the image. It is an easily readable font and it does not look too serious or sophisticated.

The image looked great and was very close to how I imagined it to appear. However I found that there was a distracting empty space between the top of the cocktail and beneath the ‘Michael Jameson.’ I did not want to show any more symbolisms of the song title as this would be too much, therefore I decided to fill this space with a few small pictures of the main protagonist in the music video.

Inspired by the Paula Abdul video, Opposites Attract (mentioned in my Inspiration and Ideas for my music video post) and its strong cartoon theme and also inspired by De La Soul’s album, Three Feet High and Rising (below) I wanted a cartoony image as part of my album design.
I imagined having a cartoon character in a typical summery setting – e.g. on the beach on a hot day with a cocktail in his/her hand. He/She wears a hat and some shades. I tried creating this scene on my graphic design programme, Serif Draw Plus but I when I finished it, I did not particularly like it and found the colours did not particularly go well with the other images I had already created.

I then had another idea to make a montage of different cartoons that each suggested summer. For example a cartoon ice cream, palm tree etc. I still had my small cartoon character saved so I used it as part of the montage. I then made various cartoons of a beach ball, ice cream, palm tree, an umbrella in the sand and a sun with a smiley face. I found these cartoons really stood out on a black background and after I was satisfied with all their positions on the black, I then added some small hearts in between them just to fill the gaps. I found two orange hearts and two red hearts went well with the colours of the cartoons and here is how it looks…

For my fourth and final image I wanted to try and create some silhouettes of myself in various dance poses. This idea was inspired by Michael Jackson’s silhouette work in his music videos (I mentioned this in an earlier post) and also the well-known iTunes silhouettes.

Like I did for the front album design, I put my camera on self-timer mode and pulled various different dance poses. Then, when editing the images on Photoshop, I used the lasso tool to carefully draw around my body. Once I had finished this and the lines I drew automatically lit up, I copied and pasted my selection as a new layer on the image. I then deleted the rest of the image, so it was only the copied layer of myself holding a dance pose in the frame. Then using the paint tool, I just painted the layer of me black to give the appearance of a silhouette.

Once I created all of my desired silhouettes using this method, I then imported the images to Serif Draw Plus (simply because I found it easier to work on there) and finished the job on there. I drew out rectangles behind these silhouettes and filled the rectangles with a vibrant colour and then any part of the silhouette that jutted out from the rectangle I cropped, so it looked like this…

I then combined all three silhouettes, using a different and vibrant colour for each rectangle...

I love the appearance of this, however I needed something else as part of this image to make it fit the square dimension of a CD digipak. I simply added a horizontal rectangle at the bottom of the three silhouettes. Then, to fill the blank space of this rectangle I added some hearts and this seemed to work really well…

I then put all these four images together on Photoshop to see if they worked well together.

Though I am pleased with all these images I have created, I do think that my front cover (top left) looks a bit washed out compared to the bold colours in the other images. Therefore I am going to try and think of a new image that would work better.

I also need to adjust one of the images so I can show the track listing for the album. I think I may adjust my cartoon montage and see if I could work in a track listing on there. In my opinion, the silhouette and neon light image look good just as they are and I do not really want to adjust any of them for the track listing.

The last thing I need to do is make a spine for the digipak. Once I have done these last few tasks my digipak should be completed!

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