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Pixelmator Project: How to create personalised DVD covers

Use Pixelmator to create brilliant custom-made DVD covers of your favourite films

How big is your DVD collection? If you’re anything like us you’ll have numerous shelves filled with your favourite movies.
Maybe you even look at a DVD cover and believe you could’ve done a better job. We’re a creative bunch after all.

Well, thanks to the power of Pixelmator, it’s surprisingly easy to create your own cover for your favourite DVDs, and more importantly, it’s great fun. Whether you want to go minimalist and create a modern look, or you unleash your editing powers, you have all the tools you need.

Pixelmator has been around since the early days of the Mac App Store, and is one of its biggest success stories. At the end of 2011, Pixelmator was the sole winner of the ‘Best of Mac App Store’ award. If you haven’t come across it in the past, it’s an image editing app that is quite similar to Photoshop in many respects; there may be less functionality, but it’s still a powerful editing app that’s well worth getting the hang of. And, at just £20.99/$29.99, it’s also a lot cheaper.

What makes the app truly brilliant, however, is the interface. The app has been designed exclusively for Mac, and it really shows. Built on many of the same processing foundations used by Apple itself, the app integrates brilliantly with OS X. Buttons and menus feel like an extension of iPhoto, and the ability to customise the interface is a brilliant touch.

So, how are you going to use this app for creating your own DVD covers? If you don’t want to sketch out shapes yourself, you can use photos and create artwork by using them as templates, which is what we’ve detailed over the next few pages. Let’s not waste any time…

Get Pixelmator for FREE with iCreate 122, on sale now! Click here for more details


step11: Sizing

Create a new Pixelmator document. Create one that’s 2,750 x 1,830 pixels with a resolution of 100 pixels per centimetre. A DVD cover measures 27.5 x 18.3cm.

step22: Enable Rulers

If you don’t have the Rulers enabled already, choose View and select Show Rulers from the menu. You can now drag guidelines in from the side of the document.

step33: Spine-tingling

Click on the ruler on the left and drag sideways to create a blue guideline. Place one at 1,307 px and another at 1,443 to create a guide for your DVD’s spine.

step44: Background

For our cover, we’re using a solid background colour. Click the colour picker in the top bar to bring up its menu, and use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the layer.

step55: Assets

Next, create some assets. Choose a photo and use the Polygonal Lasso to cut out an area. Don’t worry about the background now – you’re just using the shape.

step66: Layer and paint

Now copy the shape and paste it as a new layer, then select a brush and paint over it. While the dotted line shows, you can’t paint outside the guidelines.

step77: Layer naming

We’ve copied the shape into our DVD cover file, placed it where we want, then duplicated and re-coloured it with the Paint Bucket. Rename layers for simplicity.

step88: Clipping Mask

Right-click a layer and choose Create Clipping Mask to mask it to the layer below. Here, one head is a clipping mask for the smaller one, with the bottom one filled in.

step99: Trimming

To trim shapes, you have a few options, but one of the easiest is to select the layer, draw an outline you want to remove, finish the shape and hit the Backspace key.

step1010: Merging

Adding a second shape is simple. Zoom in to resize and place it carefully, then select both layers in the Layers window, right-click, and choose Merge Layers.

step1111: Add text

Select the Text tool and click anywhere to add a text box. Type your title and choose colours and fonts as you wish, then resize the box to make it fit your cover.

step1212: Spine

For the spine you can either create a custom look or simply use the title and artwork you already have. We made a quick edit of the main artwork and rotated it.

Click Image to enlarge: