How Do I Create an Album Cover in Photoshop?

I'm trying to recreate an album cover with some of my own pix in photoshop. I'm a complete beginner so I'm trying to run before I can walk!
I've made a start and have zillions of layers. Suddenly I realised that maybe I should have measured the size of the album cover eg perimeter and make that the canvas size. The image on the cover is about quarter of a cm smaller. I tried to do this when I'd already produced several layers. But a strange black line appeared on 3 sides so I backspaced on the History to get rid of the line as it looked weird.

My question is: Am I on the right track if I were to start again but set the canvas size the actual size of the album cover from the start (as I would have it printed that size so it really looks like an album cover) and the image the same size as the album image? It's square as you'd imagine. Or if I'm sending it to be printed (if it looks okay in the end) doesn't it matter and I would just tell the printer to print it 31.5cm square (same size as the actual album cover) - or maybe that would look distorted ie if I don't set the frame and image size from the outset? Hope that makes sense!
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Staff member
Hi Barb,

I am going to make a suggestion here. I suggest that you start the project over. It doesn't sound like it's all too complicated, so this may be easier than adjusting everything in an existing document. Here is what I would do first.

1. Get out a ruler and measure the actual album cover.

2. Open Photoshop and choose File > New from the top menu.

3. From the New Document dialog box that appears, name the file and then set the width and height of the file in inches (your album cover dimensions). Or use centimeters - whatever you measure in. Just don't use pixels. That's for web use.

4. Since this project will be going to print, be sure to set the Resolution to 300 dpi. Remember, at least 300 dpi is used for print and 72 dpi is used for the web.

5. Again, since this is going to print, set the Color Mode to CMYK color. CMYK are print colors and RGB are colors that are used on computer monitors. The colors may seem a bit strange on your monitor, but in print, they'll be wonderful.

When all that is finished, click on the Create button and you should see an empty square in your workspace. Save that file somewhere so you have a saved working document. if you have to leave your computer to go do something else.

Let me know when this is done. Be sure to reply here on the forum, even though you'll be getting this message in your email box.


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Staff member
No problem. Let me know if you get stuck on the next steps. You'll need to open the photos you need for the project and then drag them over to your album cover workspace. Then, you'll need to resize them with the Free Transform Tool. Just be sure to hold down the Shift key on your keyboard when resizing. That will lock the aspect ratio in place.
Thanks Jay. I can see I might have another question down the line a bit. But I'll see what progress I make over the week. Thank you again. I have tried other forums - but I can tell you this is much much better than any other forum I've ever asked questions on (including completely different topics). The level of helpful detail you've gone into is superb and you seem to be able to explain it so clearly. Thank you.
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