Retouch: Subnormal CD artwork

The artwork for the Subnormal album Theory For Evolution required some heavy Photoshop work to create a fire that would do exactly what I had in mind.

Several images of fire were purchased through online stock libraries. Because the images were from different photographers and different shoots, I needed to firstly colour correct them so they were identical in colour, contrast and tone. While this sound easy enough, it requires very carefully adjustment of contrast and colour hue. It it was off even by a little, it could be seen and the images could not be mixed together convincingly.

The next step was to create a wall of fire that was high in the middle (for the front cover of the album), but lower on the sides to allow for the liner notes to be placed there later.

The band name and title of the album needed to sit in this fire and look as though it was in the process of being burned. The trick here was to use layer masks and the motion blur filter in Photoshop to give the impression that the flames were licking out in front of the band name, as well as behind it. Inside the CD, there was a second image of fire showing the band name almost completely burned away.

I wanted a subtle image of a man of fire screaming in the second fire image. Once I purchased a suitable image I set to work making the man burn alive! This was achieved with a mixture of multiple layers, layer masks, layer blends and different opacities.

In the end I think it looks quite real :)