Creating an album cover

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  1. #1
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    Creating an album cover

    I was sixteen years old when I bought the album Heavy Metal Ears by the Dutch hardrock band Picture, that was in 1981. The band is making a revival and a few weeks ago a member of the band contacted me for making the cover for their new album called Warhorse. I was honored and delighted, and began to work on it and make the best of it. Thats why I'm calling for help, crits and comments on the process.

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  4. #2
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    I see that your forcing perspective there, but even so the rider seems quite small.

    The first thing I thought of was Frazetta's Death Dealer. That may be a good thing, or it may not depending on what you're after.

    I like the detail in the horse's head and think the mouth area is particularly nice.

    I think the pike/flag/thing is too close to the logo. It should probably directly overlap it. If not, then put enough negative space between it and the logo. The logo also seems small in the composition overall. The blue pops it nicely, but it's still kind of dark and hard for me to read.

    You need a pink fluffy bunny sitting on the skull.

    OK, tired now. Off to bed. I look forward to updates.

    Oh. And congratulations.

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  6. #3
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    You need a pink fluffy bunny sitting on the skull.
    lmao.
    First of all, congrats. you must be really excited.
    I know that the skull is just a prop but it seems too small compared to the horse's leg.
    The spikes on the horses head and neck seems a bit flat
    I really like the atmosphere you have got going on.
    The transition between the front part of the horse and its back part seems a bit abrupt, i think you need a bit more details on the middle part of the horse to make the transition smoother.

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  8. #4
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    Thanks a lot for the crits guys, definitely things I can work on. The midsection of the horse didn't got my attention yet, also because I don't know where to go with the front and neck armor, and what to do with the saddle. Also I'm afraid I don't know how to draw the two back legs. Haven't found good reference for it yet.
    About the rider and scull being too small, I want the horse to be BIG and intimidating. So I thought if the rest is a bit smaller the horse automatically seems bigger. Right?.

    Hmm, and maybe I'll draw a pink fluffy bunny in there.

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  9. #5
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    Right now the horse reads as slightly on the large side, while (to me) the rider seems like he'd be maybe a meter tall or so. More visual clues for us to compare the horse against might help the scale.

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    Agreed with scott about the logo, if that cover means "CD cover" that logo will be really itty bitty and probably impossible to read. I'd blow up the logo to be at least two or three times as large as it's now.
    There's also maybe bit too much empty space around the figure (especially noticeable because the logo is right in top of the figure) so unless there's going to be text there, you could experiment by moving the figure bit to the right or left.

    The perspective problems have been mentioned already, but the horse's anatomy looks kinda off too. The leg joints look oddly stocky (armor-knee-pads?) as well as overall short and the front leg also seems to be bending unnaturally (though harder to say because it's been blurred).

    Also the horse's chest armor looks soft and round, more like rolls of marshmallow than workable armor.


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    Album covers are fun, and congrats!

    I agree with pretty much everything said so far. The rider should match the horse, because you wouldn't put an average-sized warrior on a gigantic horse for battle; you'd put the biggest damn knight in your realm on that horse. Right now he does look small rather than the horse looking big. Make small skulls and swords litter the ground, but keep the rider proportionate to the horse or it looks like he'd go flying off the thing when it breaks into a trot.

    The lettering isn't just small and thus hard to read; it's small and thus not in balance.

    Look forward to seeing this progress!


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  15. #8
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    Making the rider bigger is definitely an improvement. Also made the logo bigger. Comments please.

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    The horse

    There have been some really good comments so far. Here's what I think: The horse needs some emotion. It looks scary with all the armor, but it's posture says "tired" or "defeated." I'd definitely sit down for an hour and COMB the internet for interesting photos and renderings of war horses. Look at Frazetta for sure:

    http://www.majorspoilers.com/wp-cont...a/Frazetta.jpg

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_fvSSLy0eIh...aw+of+Torn.jpg



    Hope that helps.

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    Also, I know the text isn't finished, but I think they both still need to be larger. The band name should be a large and important part of the composition.

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    Sounds like a cool gig, even more so since your a fan of their stuff

    Looking pretty cool just get those proportions in check and more emotion in the horses face could be cool, like a wild, barely restrained look. Although the textures are cool try to place them with some thought and care or else you end up with a texture overload, confusing the image as a whole.

    Andrea del Verrocchio done an awesome horse bronze (can't think of the name of it off the top of my head) but maybe google image it for some reference. Here's a rough as guts paintover for ya to spark some ideas.

    Congrats on the gig, keep at it man

    ~J

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    Rusty I like the poses and perspectives on your PO but I prefer Tommoy's armor design for both the horse and the knight.

    Tommoy, the proportions on your knight are really messed up. He has super huge long legs, a tiny torso, super small shoulders that are too narrow and a tiny head.
    Gotta fix that.
    It doesn't look like perspective, it's too extreme for that.

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  24. #13
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    The legs of the horse man are out of proportion, and the horse needs a more valiant pose. You also need to work your background. I like the bg colors in the first one more.

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  26. #14
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    Nice improvements on the second version. I agree with the others on the knight's leg. I wonder if you could play with the horse's helmet design to give it more emotion. Like a helmet modeled to give it fierce eyebrows, scales, or even turn the spikes into mock horns like on the knight's helm.

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  28. #15
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    Thanx guys for the comments, much appreciated. Nice paint over Rusty! Did some work on the perspective of the rider and the horses legs. Don't exactly know how to get more emotion on the horses face.

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  29. #16
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    You did a great job, I love it. Here are my improvement suggestions: I think the composition is quite cluttered, everything is trapped in the center, I would try making the horse/rider smaller and move it to the right. to give the horse more expression, it could be rearing. Careful with your lighting, the fire should give an orange, rather than the blue one you have, on the right of the rider as the example in Rusty painting. You could add a few scared soldier under the horse.

    hope this help

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  31. #17
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    Heya,

    I can't comment on the drawing but as a photoshop design junkie it hurts me to see that while you put so much effort into the drawing, you put three layerstyles on top of some free font an think that'll do.
    To me that looks amateurish and sloppy, and I think with very easy syle guides you can achieve quite a lot, so I thought I'd suggest some text design tutorials to you:

    http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/te...ne-look-basix/
    http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/te...p-text-effect/
    http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/te...-in-photoshop/
    http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/te...-in-photoshop/

    I am not suggesting that you follow a tutorial blindly and then put the text in; but for example gold-gloss, burning and rusty effects might suit your needs of this one.

    Easy to copy would be:
    http://www.psdvault.com/text-effects...-in-photoshop/


    I hope I can encourage you to do this because it is really lacking quality right now- especially the "Warhorse" bit. The "picture" is definitaly the font of some game... I can't put my finger on it... just make sure you are using fonts that you are allowed to use when publishing.

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  33. #18
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    Louis those are very cool tutorials!
    I never thought about making fonts before I saw these!

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    let me ask you something is the horse running? if so then i can understand the horses head lowerd like that but then i look at the rider and wonder why is he not focussed on what his horse is charging at... i live near horses and my brother used to work with them and i asked him the same thing the horses head dosnt really lower like that unless there charging
    http://www.nativeremedies.com/petali...nginHorses.jpg
    if it not charging there heads raise up more...
    http://waswagoning.com/img/horse_rider.jpg
    (stole images of off google for reffs)

    hoped this helped =]

    Last edited by Dante Philippe; March 29th, 2011 at 06:08 PM.
    You working hard or hardly working?
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  36. #20
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    Paintover

    I think the cover looks really cool, so great job on that.
    The only thing that bothers me, is that the war horse looks more like a pony than a horse. I know horses are hard to paint if you aren't used to it, so I made a quick paintover just to give you a few ideas of how you could change that. Good luck! I'm sure you'll do great

    Name:  Horse and rider - paintover.jpg
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  38. #21
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    Very cool so many people take the time to comment, thanks. Did some adjustments some of you suggested. Very cool paintover Manweri, the longer shape of the head immediately makes the horse look more mature. Also special thanks to Lordlouis for the text tuto's, I can understand the text in many cases look amateurish to you, but designing and drawing are two different disciplines. I did my best bettering it. Dante Philip, I think the head is semi resting, after all, the job is done. But he doesn't stand still, he's walking towards us.

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  39. #22
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    Is the text in a fixed position or is that open to alterations?
    The central position of the text (top and bottom) is hindering you, especially when you have all the empty space to the right. It's making your image cramped.
    Think you could move the horse a bit, then you could fix the problems with the knight -play up some interest - things like the flag, maybe some heraldry?

    Quick play - ignore the font - I didn't have anything that worked well.
    As long as it reads when its reduced.

    Name:  warhorse.jpg
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  41. #23
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    I think that the picture looks great. However, the typography isn't working. It feels irrelevant and doesn't "fit."

    You could think about different ways to show the album's name. You could draw it, or paint on top of text to make it feel like it's part of the picture. A problem I see right now is that the contrast doesn't bump up at the name - which should grab the viewer's attention! Pay attention to album covers - The names are usually light text against black - or the other way around. Use values to help you!

    Go through a few metal albums and look how they placed the text. They should, even in someway, be in harmony with the picture.








    Your picture is going on really well, can't wait for the finished one

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  43. #24
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    Tommoy, I keep on waiting for you to fix the rider but you keep on not doing it haha.

    Verger did that for you, and the album cover looks like a winner right away. Follow his PO I think, especially when it has to do with the rider.

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  45. #25
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    Venger, interesting PO, opened my eyes. Pavel you're right, the rider needed work, and like TinyBird and Ink-Orporate earlier suggested move the figure out of the centre could be an improvement. One of my problems is the design department, what rules do I have to keep in mind when placing the logo and title besides readability?

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  46. #26
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    Don't have anything constructive to add, just wanted to chime in that I think this is looking really great as an album cover. Definitely has that old school metal vibe to it, I love collecting old album covers and this would fit right in.

    Sorry, gushing a bit much. Just enjoying this thread.

    Last edited by Star Eater; March 31st, 2011 at 06:37 AM.
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  48. #27
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    I'm liking the newest version very much!
    I still might tweak the horse's armor a bit, it's still slightly unsymmetric and marshmellowy


    As for the placement, the rule of thirds will probably help you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds

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  50. #28
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    Thanks again for the support fellas. Did some extra storytelling on the side. The boys of the band were very enthousiastic. I think CA has to get credits on the covers colophon!

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  51. #29
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    I actually thought the original image was great how it was if you made the band name logo much larger, and offset it to the left to fill the empty space. I also preferred the yellowed color scheme of the first image.

    Although, seeing the last, most recent variation, it looks excellent in a different way. I would try three things with the last version:
    1. Maybe enlarge the logo for the band and fill in the empty "air" on the right with it.
    2. Definitely, I think making the album title in a thinner font; something that contrasts the imposing "picture" font. Something like that "earth harvest" cover did.
    3. Explore what a yellow/orange toned version of the last image would look like as opposed to blue/red/gray...not saying that the the more blue one looks bad, but I felt something more desolate in the first image.

    All in all, it's a great image for a cover.

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  53. #30
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    Try putting a harsh light on the left side of the horse and character. the character especially needs to pop out more I feel. also on the right side of the horse armor, theres a bit of light that seems a bit distracting, and it doesn't look right in my opinion. Looking great! Cant wait to see how it all turns out!

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