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How to Make a Vaporwave Album Cover in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Do you like neon album covers and vaporwave artworks? Today, I'll show you how to create your own vaporware album cover in Photoshop using shapes, filters, and gradients. Also, at the end of the tutorial, you will find a very useful collection of vaporwave album cover generators.

What You'll Learn in This Vaporwave Tutorial

  • How to prepare the photos
  • How to create the shapes for the vaporwave album cover
  • How to create vaporwave effects in Photoshop
  • How to create text layers in the vaporwave style
  • How to create a noise texture for the 80s album cover art

If you want to learn these techniques via video, check out our lesson on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

Tutorial Assets

You'll need the following resources in order to complete this tutorial:

1. How to Prepare the Photos

Step 1

Before starting to create the album cover, we need to cut out the elements. Open the photos in Photoshop and start selecting the objects using the Quick Selection Tool (W).

Selecting the objects from the backgrounds

Step 2

Once you've selected all the objects, create a new document with the following settings: 2000x2000 px; 300 dpi. After that, Copy and Paste all the elements into the document using the Control-C and Control-V keyboard shortcuts.

Placing the elements into the document

Step 3

Resize the elements to fit the document size by pressing Control-T and holding Shift.

Resizing the elements of the composition

2. How to Create the Shapes for the Vaporwave Album Cover

Step 1

Now let's create the shapes for our album cover. Make the layer with the photos Invisible, and then create three ellipses using the Ellipse Tool (U) while holding Shift.

Creating the ellipses

Step 2

Then create a rectangle with the following size: 10 px by 2000 px.

creating the first rectangle shape

Step 3

Create a duplicate of the shape by pressing Control-J, and then move it 105 px to the right while holding Shift.

Creating a duplicate of the shape

Step 4

Fill the background with the duplicates until it looks like the screenshot below. Then select all the shape layers and Right Click > Merge Shapes.

merging the shapes

Step 5

Create a duplicate of the merged shapes, and then hit Control-T and rotate the shape 90 degrees while holding Shift. After that, Merge it with the previous element.

creating a duplicate of the merged shape

Step 6

And finally, create a new 1145 by 155 px rectangle. Create two duplicates of this shape and place them as shown in the screenshot below:

Creating the last shape

3. How to Create Vaporwave Effects in Photoshop

Step 1

Let's start by creating a background gradient. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient Fill and use the following settings:

  • Style: Linear
  • Angle: 90
  • Color Codes: #41b7f3 #e765ad
creating a gradient fill

Step 2

Select the grid shape, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 30%.

Changing the blending mode and the opacity of the grid shape

Step 3

Go to Filter > Distort > Twirl and set the Angle to 25.

adding the twirl setting

Step 4

Double-click on the layer with the monument and add a Gradient Overlay with the following settings:

  • Blend Mode: Color
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Style: Linear
  • Angle: 90

Use the same color as before.

adding the layer style to the image

Step 5

Create two duplicates of the layer, and then disable the Red and Blue channels on the first layer and the Green and Blue channels on the second one.

disabling color channels

Step 6

Move the first duplicate to the right and the second duplicate to the left to create a color shift effect.

Creating color shift effect

Step 7

Select the layer with the leaves and create a duplicate of it. Then place and transform the leaves using Control-T, as shown below:

transforming the leaves layers

Step 8

Change the Blending Mode of the right element to Overlay, and then disable the Green and Blue channels of the first layer and the Red and Blue channels of the second layer.

creating the effects for leaves layers

Step 9

After that, place the water splash layer in the bottom left corner of the document, change the Blending Mode to Divide, and create a duplicate.

Creating the water splash effect

Step 10

Add a Gradient Overlay layer style to all the ellipses using the following color codes: 

  • #a58ae3
  • #d88dc2
  • #f192a3
  • #f2ae85
  • #fdfc82
adding gradient overlays to the ellipse shapes

Step 11

Play with the Angle setting of each shape, and then move these layers to different parts of the document.

Placing the ellipse shapes

Step 12

Finally, let's add the following layer styles to all the rectangle shapes: Gradient Overlay with our first gradient, 100% Opacity, and 0 Angle.

And add a stroke style with the following settings:

  • Size: 8
  • Position: Inside
  • 100% Opacity
  • Black Color
adding layer styles to the rectangle shapes

This is what our image should look like now:

how our image should look like

4. How to Create Text Layers in the Vaporwave Style

Step 1

Let's add the name of your album to the top rectangle using the VCR Mono font with a size of 34 px.

adding first text layer

Step 2

After that, add the name of your band using Arial Italic with 14 px size. You could also add "BY" before the name of your band and change the style to Bold Italic.

adding the second text layer

Step 3

Now let's change the Tracking to 100, and then go to Window > Glyphs and change the letter "A" to a similar-looking glyph.

changing the settings of the text layer

Step 4

Create some repeating text using Arial Regular with 15 px size and 250% Tracking

creating the last text layer

Step 5

Now let's go to Filter > Distort > ZigZag and set the Amount to -10. After that, move this layer to the bottom of the Layers panel, just above the grid, and adjust the size of the text by pressing Control-T.

adding zigzag filter to the text layer

5. How to Create a Noise Texture for the 80s Album Cover Art

Step 1

And for the last step, we need to select all the layers and then Right Click > Convert to Smart Object.

converting the layers into a smart object

Step 2

After that, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the following settings:

  • Amount: 10%
  • Distribution: Gaussian
adding noise filter to the smart object

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

In this simple way, we can create a vaporware album cover using standard Photoshop shapes, adjustments, and smart filters. Feel free to share your vaporwave logo, 80s album cover art, and any aesthetic designs in the comments section below.

Final Result

And let's try our album cover on this amazing CD cover mockup from PlaceIt:

preview on CD cover mock up

Looking for neon album covers or even a vaporwave logo creator? Check out these awesome, fully customizable resources from Placeit:

1. Design Maker With Retro Graphics

Retro disco design creator

This amazing design template with cool VHS vibes and vaporware aesthetic is a perfect choice if you want to create an album cover or T-shirt design. Use the vaporwave album cover generator from Placeit to customize the colors, fonts, graphic elements, and anything else you want to change.

2. Typography Logo Maker with a Vaporvawe Grid

Typography Logo Maker with a Vaporvawe Grid

If you are a fan of old logos from the 80s, this vaporwave logo creator won't disappoint you! Use any text/font you want and play with the colors to get a desirable result. Perfect for gamers, musicians, and any creative folks who love the nostalgic design.

3. Music Logo Maker Featuring Vaporwave Style

Music Logo Maker featuring Vaporwave Style

With its amazing combination of colors, shapes, and fonts, this typographic logo maker is suitable for creating 80s album cover art, especially for retro electronic music. All of the elements are fully editable—just add your text and enjoy it! 

4. Retro Logo Maker With Graphics Inspired by the 80s

Retro Logo Maker with Graphics Inspired by the 80s

This vaporwave album cover generator with a clean and simple design is perfect for a quick start! Don't waste your time—just choose fonts, colors, and composition elements to create your own vaporwave logo in a few minutes.

5. Twitch Banner Maker With Vaporwave Aesthetics 

Twitch Banner Maker with Vaporwave Aesthetics

Are you streaming on Twitch? Looking for a Twitch banner with vaporwave aesthetics? We've got you covered! This amazing Twitch banner with vaporware design elements and cool retro fonts could be a great addition to your Twitch channel. If you don't like the background or any other element, you could easily change it on Placeit.

If you want to learn how to create similar Photoshop effects, be sure to check out these amazing tutorials:

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