“The Ring” & “The Ring Two” by Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman

Let me tell you something you probably didn’t know: Creating these covers is pretty simple! It’s basically always the same:

  1. I stumble upon a soundtrack in my iTunes library which surprisingly has its original artwork still attached to the file or a new release on the web that strikes my nerve.
  2. I turn the entire internet upside down and, over the course of a few weeks, gather all possible and impossible source material related to the film in the slightest.
  3. I listen to the damn thing over and over, trying to fully get it, you know. Simultaneousely I scatter through previews, reviews, or interviews covering the record-, artwork- or film-making-process behind it.
  4. Then it gets critical. Either I put it aside and begin something else, or, periodically, start knocking out cover artworks one by one. That’s where the flow kicks in and ideas start spreading like what not and I’m on a creative high clicking around obsessively in front of my computer screen until 3 am.

So, to cut it short, it’s always: spotting, searching, listening and creating. That’s the easy part. But when it comes to publishing, that’s where the hard part starts. I’m not the best with words and always have to wrestle out something, anything, at least a few enjoyable words that are worth reading, only to be able to post my newest stuff. Otherwise I could also throw it into a flickr album and be done with it. But I want to share my thoughts and I also want you to read them. Yet coming up with some interesting stories without repeating or loosing myself in technical mumbo jumbo is quite a challenge for me. You wouldn’t believe how many finished(!) cover series I have in queue, only waiting for some mindful thoughts to be topped off with.

Having said all that of course I have to immediately disconfirm it by stating that the following cover series for The Ring and The Ring Two was by far the most demanding stuff I’ve done in a long time. All of this originally started out as a restoration of a couple of old covers, which were in a disgraceful 500 x 500 pixel resolution. But it loomed up into one hell of a monsterjob.

Maybe it was due to the sunny weather outside my window, but something kept me from getting in mood for this series. That’s why I started with revamping one of my old, original creations (#1) – which was an uneven start so to say. I had to remove all needless text elements from the UK quad poster, but maintain the TV scan lines effect. It was a pain in the ass! In the end I’ve accomplished a rather satisfying version by combining two different posters using a set of different blending modes.

The next two entries are my yin/yang take on the same motive. While the first one (#2) can be seen as an old, analogue Vinyl-like cover sleeve, the other one would be its digital counterpart (#3). I emphasized the oppositeness by adding a great number of effects layers, especially on the digital one. Achieving the television screen effect took great effort and a lot of trials and errors. But I’m really happy with the results, even the album credits look like on a genuine TV screen. The glitch-like effect on the ring itself was done with a neat little iPad-App called Decim8. A tool I was using a few more times within this series, more precisely on the next three covers.

During a recent movie watching session I screengrabbed some memorable scenes of the film and started messing around with them in Decim8. What you see above is the result of three hours messing, two hours headscratching and one hour of actual productivity. I wasn’t a hundret percent sure about posting these covers and would more likely consider them as experiments. But I definitely had fun doing them. Do you see the resemblance to one certain industrial band’s key design in cover #5?

After all those Bits and Bytes I needed something old-fashioned and classic to round off this series for The Ring. A template by deviantART user “Ringworm7” was the perfect match for my needs (#7). It’s like Hans Zimmer’s beautiful, melancholy notes were brought onto paper. My title treatment was created with a custom font called “A Theme for Murder“.

Sometimes it seems like I can’t publish a cover series anymore without having at least one Vinyl mock-up, doesn’t it? Well I admit it, I’m a sucker for those digitally recreated analogue beauties. But I don’t give a damn. There’s hardly a soundtrack that doesn’t look awesome under the fancy Vinyl dress (#8).

But when it comes to the fancy VHS dress, this is breaking new ground for me as well. It was always clear to me that I would remake that legendary custom cover that made the DVD case look like an old VHS tape. But who knew that it would turn into a whole series of covers (#9 to #14). I’ve found a great source of material in Gough Lui’s VHS Cassette Library. There are a lot of details I could debauch in about these. Such as the fact, that all of these tapes were originally produced in Japan. Or all the small alterations I’ve made to tie them closer to the Ringu franchise in some way or another. But I think I just let them stand on their own. Go see for yourself!

After all this awesome stuff I want to draw this series to a close with three additional The Ring Two artworks. I know the scores to The Ring and The Ring Two were both released on the same album, but I still wanted to split them into two separate soundtracks (except for #17). My first attempt was based on the official teaser poster, which was the only image from The Ring Two I kinda liked (#15). I think in general the sequel hamed it up a bit too much. This goes for the film itself as much as the whole marketing campaign. That’s why my other custom cover is another self-made creation bit-glitched by Decim8 (#16). Kudos to you if you recognize what reminiscence to what groundbreaking Progressive Metal album this cover should be.

One Comment

  1. […] because I was afraid of not being able to do it justice. I’ve put so much effort into this or that covers series, that I sometimes find it hard to raise the bar. But this is Star Wars, the […]

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