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Design a Magazine Cover In Adobe Photoshop

Sample Magazine Cover Design
Sample Magazine Cover Design 

For this simple 7 step magazine cover tutorial we will be using just 2 images. The magazine is going to be a generic business magazine simply titled 'Business' for the purpose of this tutorial. The images are below and are both copyright free and can be downloaded from freeimages.com. These images, especially the building will create linear perspective, which can be used as a compositional technique drawing the viewer into the image.

Step 1

Firstly you will need to create the canvas in Photoshop, to do this open Photoshop and go to File-> New and set the dimensions to 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall which are the industry standard dimensions for a magazine. You can read more about paper sizes here.

Step 2

Next go to File-> Open and open the building and city images into Photoshop. First use the move tool to drag and drop the building image onto the canvas, go to Edit-> Transform-> Scale and resize the image to the full size of the canvas. Now drag and drop the city image onto the canvas on top of the building layer, use Edit-> Transform-> Scale to stretch it beyond the width of the canvas. Next use Edit-> Transform-> Perspective and narrow the image at the top to give it a similar perspective to the building image.

Step 3

As the images are both in black and white, they can appear a bit dull so add some colour to the image by going to Image-> Adjustments-> Colour Balance. I added a value of -50 to achieve a cyan colour but you can try out different values, there is no right or wrong. To complete our work on the images, use the gradient tool to add a gradient overlay from black to empty on the city image going from the bottom up (see the image below).

Magazine Cover Design Stage 3

Step 4

To give the sense of a professional magazine cover, add an image of a barcode and some small text with a price and an issue date. Use File > Place to import the image of the barcode and position it where you would like. For the text, create a text box and type in the text. You can then use Edit > Transform > Rotate to align it vertically with the barcode as shown below.

Magazine Cover Design Stage 4

Step 5

Next we will add some semi-transparent rectangular tabs that will act as contrast backgrounds for our sub headings. To create these tabs use the rectangular shape tool. This will automatically put the tabs on separate layers, making it easier to move them around, change their colours and their layer opacity. Set up the tabs as shown in the image below, once again the choice of colours used is up to you. The positioning of the tabs creates an element of symmetry within the image as their ascending angle mirrors that of the building.

Magazine Cover Design Stage 5

Step 6

We will now begin to add the text. First the heading, create a text box the width of the canvas by clicking and dragging using the text tool, now type the title 'Business' in the font BankGothic Md BT, font size of 150pt. While still on the text layer, I have edited the text settings in the character window by setting a text height of 120% and a tracking value of -100. I have put the text in yellow but you can choose a different colour if you like. Now go to Layer-> Layer Style-> Drop shadow and add a drop shadow effect to the text as shown in the image below.

Magazine Cover Design Stage 6

Step 7

Finally, get creative and add your own subheading stories. For the subheadings I used the font Agency FB in font size 30pt for the first 3 stories and font size 36pt for the 'Weekly Special'. The fonts chosen for the text were selected as they are plain, clear and solid which is appropriate to the style of magazine.

For different magazine types other fonts would be more appropriate, but always ensure the text is readable. For more information on fonts go to our notes on fonts.  And when your ready to create your own magazine cover design start off with our article on Magazine Cover Design Features.

Completed Magazine Cover Design
Completed Magazine Cover Design

Create A Table Quiz Poster In Photoshop

Table Quiz Poster
The completed quiz poster design

In this tutorial we will be using mainly the text and shape tool to create a poster for a table quiz. The poster itself will portray a group of 4 people at a table with paper sheets in front of them, and thus simply representing a table quiz.

Step 1.

For the poster, we will be using an A3 canvas, to create an A3 canvas go to File-> New and in the options window choose International Paper as the Preset and A3 as the size.

Step 2.

Select Blue as the primary colour and white as the secondary colour in the colour picker boxes. Next select the gradient tool (within the paint bucket tool) and use it to drag and drop from the top to the bottom.

Step 3. 

The next step is to create the header and footer sections of the poster. The easiest way to do this is to use the rectangular shape tool to create a rectangle at the top and bottom of the canvas. Rename the layers 'footer' and 'header' and change the colour of the rectangles using the colour picker box on the layer tab of each layer.

Step 4. 

To set the header and footer apart from the content which is to come add a stroke to each rectangle using the layer style window. Go to Layer -> Layer Styles -> Blending Options and in the window which opens select stroke, change the colour to white and set the size to one you are happy with.

The quiz poster background

Step 5.

To create the table we will use the ellipse tool and drag out a shape similar to the one seen below. Colour the shape brown, using the colour picker box on the layer. Rename the layer 'table' and position it beneath the footer layer in the layers window.

The table for the table quiz poster

Step 6. 

Next to create the people: use the ellipse tool to create the bodies, naming/numbering the layers as you go. Once the four bodies are created open the blending options window through Layer-> Layer Style-> Blending Options and set the setting to those shown below.

Add layer styles to the figures

Step 7. 

Repeat the process for the heads adding the same layer style and line them up as shown below. Once the heads and bodies are complete link each pair together as a smart object; Layer-> Smart Objects -> Convert to Smart Object. This will keep the layers neater and easier to manage.

Step 8. 

Now to create the sheets of paper. Select the pen tool and click to create anchor points that will form the shape of the paper. Set the colour of the 'pages' to white and add a black stroke using the blending options window as before. Unlike the bodies and head.

Each person now has a sheet to write their answers!

Step 9. 

That completes the shapes for now so we will move onto the text. First off add the footer text. Type in whatever text you need. The image below shows the settings used to get a realistic date in Photoshop using the tools in the character window.

Use the character window tools to optimise the quiz poster's text

Step 10. 

The headline text is next on the agenda. The font used here is called 'Agency FB' and is a standard font already available in Photoshop. You can choose any font you want but be sure to choose a font that is clear and easy to read. Be sure to make the word 'Quiz' the largest word as it will get the point of the poster across immediately. People pass by numerous posters and other visual material everyday so it is vital for the text to be as clear and easy to read as possible.

The quiz poster with the text added

Step 11. 

The final shape to be added to the poster will fill the remaining space on the left hand side of the poster and effectively frame the headline text. We will try to create a shape in the style of draped, hanging material like a flag. To do this first use the Pen Tool to create the shape of the flag. Next use the blending options window to add a linear gradient on the shape. Use the settings below to get the effect of highlights on the curving, flapping material.

Step 12.

Finally add your club crest or business logo onto the flag. Add a warp effect to the logo using Edit-> Transform-> Warp. This will allow you to make it appear as if the logo or crest is on the flag.

Table Quiz Poster
The completed quiz poster

Quiz Poster Variations...

If you have a strong existing logo you may decide to leave out the flag element and just add the logo by itself into the space on the left hand side, like in the two examples below.

Create a Space Scene Using Photoshop Brush Tools

space scene
The completed space scene

1. Create a new file by going to File-> New and set the file size to 700 pixels wide and 500 pixels high (other sizes can be used).

2. Use the paint bucket tool to fill in the canvas layer in black.

3. Next create a new layer by going to Layer-> New-> Layer, call the layer 'Planet'. The layer will appear in the layers window above the background layer.

4. With the planet layer still selected use the elliptical marquee tool to create a circular selection (hold down shift for a perfect circle).

5. Now use the paint bucket tool to fill in the selection, any colour is fine, I used yellow. When the circle is filled deselect by going to Select-> Deselect or hold Ctrl + D.

6. With the planet layer still selected, go to Layer-> Layer Styles-> Blending Options. Select Bevel & Emboss and tick Contour on. Set the Depth to 100%, the size to 250px and Soften to 16px (Other values can be tried out). Move the angle setting closer to the centre, as in the image below.

7. Now click on outer glow and set the blend mode to normal, the colour to a light yellow, the spread to 5 and the size to 150px as in the image below (again, other values can be tried out). Click OK to confirm the changes. That will complete our work on the planet layer for now.

8. Next create a new layer by going to Layer-> New-> Layer. Call this layer 'Rings'. The layer should be the top layer in the layers window but if not, select it and drag and drop it to the top.

9. Now use the elliptical marquee tool to make an elliptical shape across the planet, don’t try to be too accurate it can be easily moved and resized afterwards. While still on the elliptical marquee tool switch the setting to subtract from selection. See the image below.

10. Next use the paint bucket tools to fill in the selection. Any colour can be used, I chose brown. Now deselect the rings, move them into a position you are happy with using the move tool and even rotate, resize, stretch or shrink them by going to Edit-> Free Transform. I slightly rotated my rings.

11. Next use the Eraser tool to remove the back section of the rings to make it appear as though it is going behind the planet, as shown in the image below. To add some style to the rings you can add a gradient overlay by going to Layer-> Layer Styles-> Blending Options. In the pop up window select gradient overlay and choose any colours and options you like the look of, I chose a brown to light brown linear gradient. That completes our work on the rings layer.

12. Next we are going to use the Lens Flare tool on each layer. First I used it on the planet layer to add a highlight to the planet suggesting light is emerging from behind it, as seen in the first image below. Next I used it in a different way on the background layer to create the appearance of distance stars. Try out different sizes and different placements in your image.


13. For a little touch use the smudge tool to drag a 'tail' on one of the small lens flares creating a shooting star effect.

14. If you are happy you can leave it at that but for some extra detail you can duplicate the planet layer by selecting it and going to Layer-> Duplicate Layer and then move it and resize it using Edit-> Free Transform. You can then change the colour easily by going to Image-> Adjustments-> Hue and Saturation and changing the Hue.

Post Apocalyptic Scene Using Photoshop

Post Apocalyptic Scene
The completed post apocalyptic scene made using Photoshop

1. Choose a selection of images that you would like to work with. The images should ideally be old, worn or aged or derelict in appearance or of broken or old objects. I have chosen the pictures below.

2. Open all the images in Photoshop by going to file-> open and navigating to where the images are saved.

3. We will be using the image of the derelict house as our base image. Firstly we are going to remove the existing sky from the image. To do this first unlock the image layer by double clicking on the lock icon beside it in the layers window and choose ok in the subsequent pop up window. Next use the quick selection tool from the toolbar (may be under the magic wand) to select the sky, once selected press backspace.

4. Now use the move tool to drag and drop the sky image from its layer window into the derelict house image (you can also import it directly if it is not already open using file-> import). Use Edit-> Transform-> Scale to resize the image to a size that looks realistic within the scene. Place the sky image on a layer beneath the derelict house, this can be done by dragging and dropping it up or down in the layers window.

5. The next stage is to start adding the post-apocalyptic atmosphere using Hue and Saturation. Go to Image-> Adjustments-> Hue and Saturation. Try out different values to achieve different colours; I used Hue -30 and Saturation +30.

6. We now start to cut out the car from its background, similar to cutting the sky from the house image. Check that the layer is unlocked and then use the quick selection tool to select the area you want to remove the press backspace or delete. Once the background is removed use the move tool to drag and drop the car image into the scene. Use Edit-> Transform-> Scale to resize the image to a size that looks realistic within the scene. Use the move tool to position it where you want it and edit the Hue and Saturation values to get the car to blend better with the overall image.

7. The next step is basically a repeat of the previous step only using the rubble image this time. The one main difference is that I mirrored the rubble image so I could position it on the left side of the image. To mirror the image, go to Edit-> Transform-> Flip Horizontal. Now edit the Hue and Saturation values to get the rubble to blend better.

8. The final part of the image is the lightning, once again use the move tool to drag and drop the lightning into the scene and position the lightning layer above the sky layer but below the other layers. In order to blend the lightning into the sky we must select the lightning layer and go to Layer-> Layer Styles-> Blending Options. With the blending window open choose the multiply option and reduce the opacity to a value that looks good, I used 40%. If you want you can also edit the Hue and Saturation values of the lightning and sky layers to get them to blend better.

And that's it. Here's the completed apocalyptic scene.