Now any musical act create their own professional album cover.
With the proliferation of musical artists on independent labels or bypassing labels and distributing their own music, more individuals not trained in creating album cover art are finding themselves in the position of creating their own album cover art. This evolution has also occurred during the rise of the personal computer. With computer access and the right software tools, any musical act can easily create a professional-looking album cover.
Vector Graphics Tool
CorelDraw is Corel’s version of a graphic editing tool. CorelDraw can design type and graphics, morph shapes, distort images, blend images, mix colors and design images for the web. It is available as a trial 15-day download.
A significant component of Adobe Creative Suite 5, Adobe Illustrator is a premium graphic design tool. It allows users to create professional typesets and logos, most notably as images with depth. Users can create several versions of one design within a document, work with a variety of brush strokes (including ones that look very natural) and have the ability to work with color. As of July 2010, a fully functional version of Adobe Illustrator is available for a 30-day trial download at the Adobe website.
Photo Editing Tool
Corel Photo-Paint is a a good basic photo-editing tool geared toward photographers who like to adapt their photos using their computers. Corel offers a free 15-day trial for the CorelDraw suite of software, which includes Photo-Paint.
For those who desire greater functionality and a larger tool set, Adobe’s Photoshop is another graphics editing program. Photoshop includes image stitching, 3-D applications–including brushes–and warping tools. Photoshop also provides users with the possibility of creating richer images in terms of design and color. Adobe offers a free 30-day trial at their website.
When creating an album cover, it’s wise to turn your final draft into a PDF (Portable Document Format) before printing. The PDF version format makes it more difficult for accidental edits to occur.
Primo PDF offers a free PDF tool that can make and read PDFs. The free version is basic, allowing purely for creation and reading PDFs, but suitable for most beginners. Primo PDF also offers a paid version that allows you to manage and edit your PDFs.
According to PC Magazine, Adobe Acrobat is the gold standard of PDF tools, particularly in terms of extensive managing and editing PDF files. Basic Acrobat functions are open source as of July 1, 2008; however, more advanced tools are available as a free 30-day download.