Terminator 2, can we ever have enough customs for this?
This is actually based on two commission jobs that I've done the past year.
The front was one I created for a client who just wanted the front of the US Skynet release replaced. He wanted the original theatrical poster with Arnold on the bike, which is a classic image. Classic as it may be, it has never really struck me as terribly exciting, so I thought I'd pimp it up a bit. First off, all the versions I have seen of this image have been cropped too closely, sometimes so close you can't even see the bike handlebars in the picture. I wanted to include as much of the bike as possible. It's a cool bike and the image is quite dull without it. Once again, finding a decent image to work from was a challenge. Finding HQ images of Arnold from the torso up was no problem, finding something that included the rest of the bike was harder. That's when I fall back on compositing two images, keeping the high resolution of the cropped image and combining that with a lower-rez image of the uncropped poster. Matching the dimensions, colours, contrast and grain of the two posters so that they join seamlessly is the real challenge.
Now that I had a decent sized image to work from, on to phase two. As I have stated repeatedly I have an aversion towards plain black backgrounds. In some of the promo images from the same photoshoot I noticed they had used some backlit smoke to add depth to the image. This particular image didn't have that, so I decided to retrofit some. I found a wallpaper for the recent "The Fog" remake that had some good effects with smoke on black. When I overlaid portions of that wallpaper on the T2 poster, the result was pretty good. A lucky coincidence had a waft of smoke swirling in the general area of the shotgun nozzle, so a little repositioning made it look like it was emanating from it like the weapon had just been fired. I then masked out portions of the smoke that obscured parts of Arnold's face and body. This made it look like the smoke came from behind him and further integrated it into the image. A little blue colour overlay, picked from parts of the original poster, made the smoke look like it was photographed under the same blue light as the original image. Finally, I went in and artificially brightened the red of the Terminator iris to make it stand out more. Finished.
As I always do, I let the selection of the front image dictate the style and colours of the rest of the cover, even the look to the title treatment. I made a T2 title treatment using the plain white one from the original poster as a basis. I overlaid an aluminium texture, gave it a little bevel using the layer effects options, and finally overlaid the same subtle blue I used for the smoke. I then repeated effect on the Blu-ray logo. To keep the front looking simple and uncluttered, I elected not to have Schwarzenegger's name or any other frills on it.
I generally have a rule about sticking to established company templates for consistency with retail covers, but for the back I decided to forego the Lionsgate template to free me up a bit. Since I had already made a version of the T2 back as a commission, I had all the elements already typed up. The extras, the specs, the legal text, all ready to copy and paste into my new cover. I even had all the logos ready to go. I remember it took a little work to gather them up originally, so I was glad to save the time here. I try to include as many of the relevant logos as I can find from the original cover, but now and then a logo for the smaller companies is unavailable (I was looking for the Ultra Stereo logo just today, but struck out). For the screenshots I wanted to pick less common images from the film, as well as ones that didn't clash with the blue colour scheme. I was surprised to find that there are very few good sized images from the film floating around. Luckily the film has been out on Blu for a while, and 1080p screendumps are ubiquitous. Screencaps generally need to be brightened and contrast-boosted to appear as production stills, at least to my eye. They're not always sharp either, so their use on covers is limited. The image of Arnold's arrival in front of the truck is about as big as they can go. Having made more than a hundred custom covers I have to work harder not to repeat myself, but I almost always go for 1 big image accompanied by several smaller ones. I usually look for that one big image first, and then build the back around it. If I can, I like to find images with open backgrounds that I can place text over and still have it legible. Putting text on top of the images relieves the boxiness, which I am anxious to avoid. In all honesty, the back I came up with doesn't really show off the best bits of the film, but it makes sense to me aesthetically, which is a luxury I grant myself when doing covers for myself.
Doing a custom for T2 was not really high on my list, but I had these odds and ends left over from my previous commissions and I wanted to utilize the front poster I'd made for something more than a simple front replacement. In the end, only one screenshot and the slanted shape of the borders remained from my previous commission. One more thing, Terminator 2 is one movie you can make a cover for and not feel obligated to do the others in the series, T2 stands alone!
PMs at dawn as usual.