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Render a Realistic CD in Photoshop
Before beginning, download the layer styles we will be using throughout the tutorial:
Step 1: Create a Circle Shape
Start with a large document, roughly 1000x1000px. Choose a dull, dark background fill (I’m using #3f454c).
Using the Ellipse Shape Tool (Learn about the Drawing and Type Tools in Photoshop), draw a circle in the center of your document. While creating the circle hold Shift to constrain proportions. Make the color of your shape black.
Step 2: Cut out a hole in the shape
Using the Path Selection Tool select all the anchor points from the ellipse shape. Copy and Paste the anchor points.
Transform the freshly pasted points (Ctrl + T): Holding Shift + Alt , scale down the anchor points to form a small circle at the center of the larger circle.
Click Enter to apply the transformation.
While the anchor points are still selected, click Subtract From Shape Area in the options bar. This will subtract this smaller ellipse path from the larger shape creating an empty circle within the larger shape.
Step 3: Apply Plastic Style
Apply the premade Plastic Layer Style included at the beginning of this tutorial to the Ellipse shape layer (Learn more about Layer Styles).
Step 4: Adding the Shiny Reflective Data Layer
On a new shape layer, repeat the process in steps 1 & 2 to create another Ellipse with a hollow center. Leave some padding along the outer edge, and inner circle of your original circle.
Keep the Layers Aligned
It’s important to keep all of the shape layers perfectly aligned along so that there is always equal padding around the shape edges. This can be done easily. When creating the new shape layer, simply duplicate the original shape, use the path selection tool to select the anchor points, and scale the anchor points while holding shift and alt. This will ensure the anchor points are always scaled around the exact same central point.
Apply the Data Layer Style included at the beginning of the tutorial to this shape layer.
Step 5: Add the Print Layer
We need to add just one more shape layer using the steps shown above. Repeat the process shown to create the first two shapes to create a base for our CD Label.
Apply the Print Layer style included at the beginning of this tutorial.
Step 6: Prepare the Label
At this point, we could easily just draw on our label, but editing it would be a real pain.
Let’s say we have a premade graphic we want to use on the label. At this point, we’d have to paste the graphic onto the CD, cut out the parts of the graphic that are outside of the label area, and then be sure not to go outside that design area for future edits. But what happens if we need to reposition that graphic or make more advanced changes to it?
We would have to go copy paste that graphic again and hope we place it better the next time.
Luckily, there is a really easy way around this problem. We can use Masks that allow us to work with sets of layers while only parts of the layers are shown. The rest of the layer data is there, it’s just hidden and can easily be manipulated.
Let’s do it already.
Create a new Layer Set. I’ll call mine “CD Label”.
Click on the path thumbnail in your Layers Palette to select the path for your Label Shape. Once Selected, Copy the path (Ctrl + C).
Select the Layer set you just created (“CD Label“) and paste (Ctrl + V) the layer path. Go to Layer > Vector Mask > Current Path. This will create a mask that will only be applied to this layer set, and will hide anything outside of the path.
Step 7: Add Graphic
This is the part of the tutorial where you go and do your own thing. Either find a graphic you’ve got lying around, or create some new artwork for your CD Label.
Whatever you do, make sure that your graphics stay inside of the masked “CD Label” layer set. This will ensure that your design doesn’t go outside of the assumed printing area.
Download the PSD
Show Us Your CD’s!
Let’s see your own unique CD Designs! We may even feature some of the communities Designs if there are nice ones to pick from!