How to Create a DVD Cover in Adobe Photoshop
By David Weedmark
With Adobe Photoshop CC, redesign any DVD cover for your movie collection or create new covers for home videos. Before beginning, measure the DVD case where the cover is placed or measure the cover or insert used on that same type of case. A typical DVD case uses a one-piece insert that measures 10 1/2 inches by 5 3/4 inches, with a 1/2-inch spine in the center; however, your case's dimensions may vary.
Specify a Size for the DVD Cover
Launch Photoshop and press Ctrl-N or select New from the File menu. Enter a width and height for the DVD cover. Click the Unit of Measurement fields and change them to Inches. Enter 300 in the Resolution field and click OK.
Add Guide Lines for the Spine
Click the View menu and select New Guide. Enter the position for the left edge of the spine, which is 5 inches in our example, using a Vertical orientation. Select New Guide again and enter the position for the right edge of the spine, which is 5.5 inches in our example. Click the View menu a third time and select Lock Guides to prevent yourself from accidentally moving the guide lines while working on the project.
Insert a Title in the Spine
Select the Vertical Type Tool in the Toolbox. If you can't see it, click and hold the Horizontal Type Tool until the fly-out menu appears. Drag the cursor over the spine, select a font, font size and font color in the Options bar and then type the title of the DVD.
If you prefer, type a single line in a text box using the Horizontal Type Tool. Click the Edit menu, select Transform and then click Rotate 90-Degrees Clockwise. You can then drag the text box into the spine area.
Adjust the Spine Title Spacing
Click the Window menu and select Character to open the Character panel. While the text is highlighted, click the Tracking menu in the Character panel and bump up the value to increase the spacing between letters.
Insert a Title on the Front Cover
Select the Horizontal Type Tool in the Toolbox and drag the cursor over the upper right area of the canvas to insert a title on the front cover. Adjust the font, font size and font color and choose the Center Alignment icon in the Options bar.
Insert an Optional Image
Click the arrow-shaped Move Tool at the top of the Toolbox, click the File menu and select Place Embedded to add an image to the cover. Select an image from the navigation window that opens and click Place. Drag any corner while holding the Shift key to resize the image as needed without distorting its dimensions and press Enter. Drag the image into position. It's OK if part of the image goes over the edge of the canvas.
Adjust the Layer Positions as Needed
Drag the image's layer below the the text layers in the Layers panel so that the text is visible on the canvas.
Add a Layer Style to the Title
Select the title's layer in the Layers panel to apply a Layer Style if desired, and select a Drop Shadow or an Outer Glow. This not only makes the title more visually interesting, it helps the title stand out when it's over an image.
Configure the Layer Style
Drag the Layer Style window out of the way so that you can see the title on the canvas and then adjust the settings. If you're using a drop shadow, drag the Opacity slider to make the shadow lighter or darker. Increase the Spread to increase the shadow's distance from the text. Increase the Size to make the shadow larger. Change the Angle to change the shadow's direction.
Add a Description to the Back Cover
Select the Rectangle Tool or the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the Toolbox and drag it across the left of the canvas to add it to the back cover. Keep the default black color and make the shape semi-transparent by reducing the Fill percentage in the Layers panel to anywhere between 20 and 50 percent. Drag the Horizontal Type Tool over the rectangle and, using a white font color, enter a description for the DVD.
Tweak the Cover as Needed
Zoom in and out to ensure the DVD cover looks the way you want. If you recorded the DVD yourself, you may want to enter a date and location using a new text box on the front or back of the cover.
Print the DVD Cover
Click the File menu and select Print. Change the Layout to Landscape mode in the Print Settings window. If you're printing the cover on a typical color inkjet printer with its own software installed on your computer, you can select Printer Manages Colors in the Color Handling menu. If you haven't installed your printer's software, select the Photoshop Manages Colors option. After you print the cover, trim it to size using a ruler and scissors.
If you plan on making more DVD covers in the future, delete the image layer in the Layers panel and save the Photoshop document as a PSD file. You can then quickly edit the text and insert a new photo for each cover that you make.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.