An Overview of my Podcast Cover Designs:

Design ideas and design process:

From my previous experiences with photoshop as a hobby and during school for small projects, I was always inspired to create ethereal images with the backdrop contrast of light in the dark. My inspiration for this preferred style was from the many YouTubers that made tutorials of such styles – such as ‘Benny Productions’ and ‘rafy A’ – whilst also having a great appreciation for 80’s retro futurism from movies such as Blade Runner and Tron. The combination of these two lead me to create ideas 1 and 3 using light adjustment, blending modes and gaussian blur to create the ideal lighting conditions for my podcast covers.

Idea 1 Process – Dual lighting adjustment with a change of colour through a Hue Saturation Layer
Idea 3 Process – Dual lighting adjustment with Curves Adjustment correction
Idea 3 Process – Pen tool path lines with dual stroke lines (one white and one coloured and Gaussian Blurred) creating neon sign









However, as this ethereal neon environment is my favorite and most comfortable style to work in, for my second piece I decided to reach out of my comfort zone and attempt to reach from a bubblier and color saturated 50’s retro inspired style that I never attempted to work with before. My inspiration for attempting a style like this was weirdly enough through a browse of Upsplash – a website gallery full of free usable high-quality photography – where I stumbled across the image that you can see present in my second podcast thumbnail of the man with the circle glasses. From this I began to think of a way of continuing my retro theme without continuing down my comfortable neon path.Eventually I found a tutorial by YouTuber ‘Envato Tuts+’ where she showed how to create the image of a model into that of a retro comic book using many ‘filter tools’ and ‘filter gallery’ effects. I was hooked.

Idea 2 Process – White and Black dual outline
Idea 2 Process – Combination a Sharpening, Blurring, and Filter Gallery filters
Idea 2 Process – Curves Layer Adjustment to brighten the image








Even though the image of the man didn’t come out as shown in the tutorial due to the difference in lighting conditions and photo resolution, I came to appreciate the way it evolved after the placement of the background, the text and overall lighting adjustment.


Software tutorials:

As I have worked with Photoshop before coming to Reading University I was able to use my prior knowledge to guide my way around most problems I faces – an example of this would be the use of the magic wand and mask tools to cut out images from there backgrounds and edit said masks with the black and white brush tool that I learnt in secondary school. However, when I did run into problems regarding the venture that I had never encountered before such as manipulating type in a more exaggerated and curved manner, I made my way to YouTube in order to find an answer to my problem. From this I came across ‘Adobe Photoshops’ own channel where they made a video on how to ‘How to Distort and Warp Text in Photoshop‘ where I learnt that converting a text layer into a smart object, you are able to right click and ‘warp’ the text into your desired configuration by either using the dropdown menu of presets, or by moving the individual point around the image to different locations.

Idea 2 Process – Warping text using Smart Object and Warp Transformation tool









Another tutorial I used in order to get the retro style I was looking for was a tutorial by YouTuber ‘Envato Tuts+’ called ‘How to Make a Retro Comic Book Portrait Effect Action in Photoshop‘ as mentioned in the previous section of this blog post. This video allowed me to create a more retro comic feeling image, however the difference in images from the tutorial image – being very bright with defining lines – to my image – being dark with lines fading into the shadows of the face – made the outcome very different from the tutorial image in a more grudge like fashion. Even so, I came to appreciate the outcome after playing around with the concepts given in the tutorial in addition to my own lighting adjustments, giving the image a more sharpened tone that I was able to works with through the rest of the podcast cover.

‘Envato Tuts+’ tutorial comparison outcome









Design resources and articles:

Additional resources that I used in order to create my podcast thumbnails were DaFont – in order to find the retro bubbly font named ‘Abstract Groovy’, and the broken serif font named ‘Qualy‘ that I wanted to use for my designs – Upsplash – where I got my high quality images by ‘Quinn Buffing‘, ‘Melchior Damu‘ and ‘Dan Freeman‘- and of course the many YouTube tutorial creators such as ‘Benny Productions’ and ‘rafy A’ whom I name dropped above. These resources helped my greatly gathering content to create, and watching content to connect the pieces.

– Original images