Recreate The “Best Of” Bowie Album Cover in Photoshop – Copycat 7


In this copycat Wednesday you’ll learn to recreate the “Best of” David Bowie album cover.

Tutorial Images

298 – “Best of Bowie” Album Cover – Copycat #7 (808 downloads)

Create the Background to the Album Cover

Start by working with a canvas with a 1300 px x 1300 px (72ppi) dimension. 

Enable your ruler by pressing Ctrl R (Windows) or Command R (macOS) and set up guides at 300 px from each side.

Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon > Solid Color. On the Color Picker window, pick a light-blue color and press OK.

Then, you can delete the previous background as you don’t need it anymore.

Delete the Layer Mask of the Solid Color Fill layer and rename the layer as “Background.”

Add the Pixelated Sides

Choose File > New and create a new document that is double the size of your current document. That means the new dimensions are at 2600 px x 2600 px (72ppi).

Then, press Create to start working on the new document.

Use the Rectangular Marquee tool and from the upper-right corner, create a selection with a Height of 35px.

Next, bring up the Color Picker Window and set the Hue and Saturation to 0, and set the Brightness to 15, this will give you a color close to black. Press OK to exit the window.

With that set as the Foreground color, press Alt Backspace (Windows) or Option Delete (macOS) to fill the selection with the color.

Next, click-and-drag the selection downwards and repeat the previous step of filling the selection with the color. 

Then, press Ctrl I (Windows) or Command I (macOS) to invert the effect–achieving you an off-white color.

Go back to the Layer’s panel and select the layer thumbnail to select both color boxes. 

Choose Edit > Define Pattern. Please give the new pattern a name and press OK.

You may now delete the layer with the boxes and create a new Pattern fill layer using the pattern you just made. 

Create a New Layer and set your Foreground and Background color back to the default by pressing the D key. 

Choose Filter > Render > Clouds, and change the Blending Mode of the layer to Multiply.

Then, duplicate the layer by pressing Crtl J (Windows) or Command J (macOS) and set the Blending Mode of the layer to Screen. 

Decrease the Opacity.

Select the top layer down to the Pattern fill layer by holding the Shift key, and press Ctrl E (Windows) or Command E (macOS) to merge them into a single layer.

Add contrast to the layer using Levels so that there’s a wide variation to the luminance. 

Choose Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic and set the Cell Size value to the height of the squares at 35 pixels. This will result in a pixelated pattern resembling the background in the album cover. 

Go to the bottom of the Layers panel > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map

On the Properties panel, double-click on the Gradient map to bring out the Gradient Editor.

On the Gradient bar, create four stops ranging from navy blue to an off-white color. 

Select the Gradient Map, Levels, the pixelated layer, and convert them to a single Smart Object.

Then, use the Move tool to bring the Smart Object over to the working document.

Press Ctrl T (Windows) or Command T (macOS) to transform the Smart Object.

Right-click > Perspective. Then, click-and-drag one side to change the perspective and fit it to the guide set on each side of the document. 

Repeat this process for the other side by duplicating the layer and use the transformation to flip it horizontally.

Then, create a smooth transition between the background color to the pixelated layers by applying a Layer Mask to soften the edges.

Add the Portrait to the Album Cover

Place the portrait onto the working document.

Add the Gradient Map Effects to the Portrait

Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon > Gradient Map. Go to the Properties panel and click on the Clipping Mask icon to clip it so that it only affects the portrait layer directly below it. 

Then, bring up the Gradient Editor and double-click on the black Color stop to set the shadows to a dark purple color. Press OK.

Create another Color stop at 50% location and set the color to pink.

Create another Color stop at 90% location, set the color to yellow, and press OK to exit the Gradient Editor window.

Right-click on the Gradient Map layer and select Delete Layer Mask.

Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to create a selection on the upper-left portion of the head. 

Then, click on the New Layer Mask icon to contain the Gradient Map effect onto that selection. 

Now, create another Gradient Map and repeat the process of adding colors to four different Color stops: dark red, red, yellow, and ivory. Press OK to apply the changes.

Again, use the Rectangular Marquee tool to create a selection on the upper-right part of the subject’s head.Then, click on the New Layer Mask icon to contain the effect within the selection.

Import the Two Additional Portraits for the Eyes

Place another portrait in the working document.

Reduce the Opacity rate of the image layer so you can see through the portrait beneath it, and match the alignment of both eyes.

Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to create a selection on the right eye, and click on the New Layer Mask icon to hide the rest of the face. Then, bring back the opacity to 100%.

Create a new Levels adjustment layer and press Ctrl Alt G (Windows) or Command Option G (macOS) to clip it to the image layer below. 

On the Properties panel, adjust the brightness and the contrast.

Place the second photo on the working document and repeat the process of reducing the Opacity rate to match the portrait’s eyes underneath. 

Again, use the Rectangular Marquee tool to create a selection on the left eye and click on the New Layer Mask icon to hide the rest of the portrait. 

Organize the Layers into Two Groups

At this point, you can start organizing your layers into two groups: Background and Portrait. Then, organize them accordingly. 

Add Shadows to the Album Cover

Create a New Layer on top of the layer with a 2nd Gradient Map layer. 

Select the Brush tool, set the Foreground color to black(#000000), and start painting in the shadows similar to those in the album cover. 

Create a New Layer in the Background group. Select the Brush tool and set the Foreground color to dark blue. For this, you may pick-up the dark blue color from the background using the Eyedropper tool. 

Paint a shadow behind the head for an added depth.

Collapse the Background group and begin working with the Portrait group.

Create a New Layer and use the same blue color to paint a shadow on the lower part of the album cover. 

Add the Album Cover Text

Create a Text layer above the Portrait group and set the Font to Proxima Nova and the Font Size to 450. Please feel free to type any text that you want. 

To center your text, press Ctrl A (Windows) or Command A (macOS). Select the Move tool and on the Options bar, select the center alignment to center the text on the canvas. Then, deselect when it’s done.

Add the Stroke to the Text

Select the Horizontal Type tool and adjust the kerning between the letters by pressing Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) with the left or right arrow keys. This is to make sure there is enough space between letters when adding a stroke.

Duplicate the Text layer and disable the original text layer. 

Right-click on the duplicated Text layer and select Convert to Shape so it’s no longer a text layer but a vector shape.

Duplicate the vector shape, disable the original, and work on the duplicated layer as the stroke layer.

Use the Path Selection tool, and on the Options bar, select the Fill option to No Color. 

On the Stroke option, set the color to white and the pixel value to 10 pixels. 

Click on the Stroke Options’ drop-down menu and set the Align to Outside

Then, set the Corners to Sharp option.

With that, reduce the Opacity of the layer to 50%.

Duplicate the layer and on the Options bar, set the Stroke of the duplicated layer to 20 px.

Now you can enable the original vector shape layer.

Select all the text and vector shape layers, then put them into one group to organize them. Name the group as “Text.”

For a better blending, select the 2 duplicated vector shapes and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light the colors behind it can peak through the layer.

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