We know a lot of our artists have sent the last few months at home working on their releases and maybe learning new skills. And after making music, being able to create cover art is the next best skill for an artist to have. The best way to do that? Photoshop.
Photoshop is a powerful editing tool for visuals. You might use it already and make amazing artwork for your releases. If you’ve distributed music through Spinnup, tag us in a post with your album art. You know what? Tag us anyway – we’d love to see your creations.
For anyone who wants some pointers on Photoshop for album artwork, stay with us as we go through:
A reminder of artwork rules
Quick guide on how to make artwork in Photoshop
Finding images to use
Where to find Photoshop tutorials
Your cover art is often the first thing a fan will experience about your release. An album cover done well, offers the viewer an insight into your artistic expression and allows your music to take a visual form.
Here are some basics with regards to making an album cover for upload to Spinnup. Firstly let’s journey to what format is required, and what rules need to be followed with album artwork. The full outline is accessible here. We can go with a quick debrief:
Album artwork rules – quick guide:
- Start with a large in focus image that is not rotated
- 1500×1500 pixels minimum: 1:1 ratio: A square
- File type can be JPG, JPEG, or PNG
- Text can only include title and artist name (and featuring artist name if the featuring artist is featured on all the tracks of the release)
- Any text on artwork must match the text in the metadata (on the release information)
- No logos or use of other people’s or company’s images
- No reference to brands
- No pornographic images
Make sure to follow the quick guide above or your album art might be rejected.
How to make album artwork in Photoshop – a simplified view:
Step 1 – size
Open a file as a minimum size of 1500 x 1500 pixels (a square) and choose 300 dpi. Using 300dpi or higher makes it suitable for resizing by digital distributors. It’s always best to start with a large file because it’s easy to size down. A small file does not size up without becoming pixelated. Large file, easy life.
Step 2 – image
Upload an image and resize it to fit the file dimensions already made. If you don’t have an image, use a royalty free stock site like Pexels or Unsplash, or scroll through the Photoshop themes on the right and choose what best suits you and add text. Add layers. Use tutorials to learn how to make album art from scratch (more info near end of article)
Step 3 – add your logo
This is optional. Some leave album art without any logo design. If you do have an excellent logo it’s good to add here. Resize and place where you want it.
Step 4 – save
Save your creation as jpeg or png in hi res.
Step 5 – share
Share it on social media as a promo before a release date. Use it as your FB banner too.
This is a simplistic outline of how to create artwork in Photoshop – touching on some main points we’d like for you to keep in mind. Stay with us to read about and find links to Photoshop tutorials online that are more in depth. Designed to guide you through the process from start to finish.
While you may have a photo you want to use for your artwork, consider looking at free image libraries for inspiration.
Ready made images offer a great solution for artwork design, and we have 3 sites you might enjoy to get an image from. These are free, copyright cleared, and of high quality.
Check these out:
Use any of the images for free. All that is required is your email address for sign up.
High resolution photos, royalty free, ready for use. Use the search bar and type in a keyword. Presto! Awesome images ready for perusal and download.
Images are free to use – searched for by keyword.
One of the best parts of being alive today is the access to tutorials and lessons. A lot are free, some are not, and you can improve your skill set in a short amount of time compared to even 10 years ago. There are skill share sites popping up everywhere (one incidentally is called Skillshare), and YouTube is overflowing with guided tutorials ranging from beginner lessons to expert.
You can pay someone to make album art for you, or you can do it yourself. Gone are the days where you have to shell out thousands for a fully crewed photoshoot plus post production editing.
This site offers video tutorials on a wide range of topics – given by people well versed in their chosen field. Providing both free and paid for tutorials. The price tag on the paid videos is reasonable and you may start a free trial to unlock the videos and watch. Definitely worth a look.
Ah the rabbit hole we go down with YouTube. The ultimate tangent promoter. If you can focus and stay on task, you’ll find hundreds of helpful videos on Photoshop and album art. The existence of these videos is a gift right? Gratitude for this platform is a great starting point. There are fantastic people out there willing to share their knowledge for free and help us make great art.
Artwork can sometimes be an after thought in the album making process. We are so dedicated to the music (and rightly so) that we can speed past the visual art and make something up in a hurry. Take the time to create artwork that compliments the hard work you’ve put into the music. Once the iconic artwork is done, give it to us and we’ll send it into the stratosphere (read: world. We’re working on the universe).
Love seeing you back here Spinnup family, send a message and tell us what you’d like to read about next.