December… it’s that time of the year again. When hundreds of thousands of people cheerfully maintain their religious traditions. And children of all ages desperately wait for that one single night. The whole world is collectively going nuts over the annual celebrations that start to feel just like the years before.
In short: It’s Star Wars time.
I did not really want to treat Michael Giacchino’s Rogue One here, or for that matter Disney’s entire A Star Wars Story anthology series, mainly because I was afraid that it would make me suffer from Star Wars fatigue pretty soon. And that’s something I wanted to prevent at all costs. Churning out Star Wars covers on a annual basis doesn’t sound all that exciting to me.
But then I received an offer that I just couldn’t refuse. The thought of a particular Deluxe Edition treatment for Rogue One by my friend SonicAdventure shed an entirely new light on this whole idea of mine. With an original proposal like that Rogue One suddenly received the worthy setting it deserved. And with that mindset I finally got down to work.
Unlike my The Force Awakens Deluxe Edition, this time I put the cart before the horse and started with the covers that deviated the most from the official Rogue One album art. The beginning was made with a parody based on a beautiful fan poster by UK-based designer Doaly.
I don’t know if his lush, almost romantic art already payed tribute to Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, but my custom cover conversion certainly does. So much so that I meticulously replicated parts of Jim Titus’ album art for the La-La Land Limited Edition in 2014. A real blast and an appropriate kickoff into this project.
Of all the dubious names I gave to these editions, the Luxury Edition is probably the most cringe-worthy one. It originates from a first expression by Sonic when I showed an early version of the front cover, back in July. He used the terms “precious” and “expensive”, but I went with the more universal label “Luxury Edition” in my work files. And somehow it didn’t change anymore over the entire duration of the project.
Not only does Preedee Thinnakorn Na Ayudhya sound like the name of a Jedi, no, he also seems to be One With The Photoshop-Force, being among the most adept and skilled retouchers out there. Thanks to his brilliant Force Awakens-inspired piece, I could indulge in one of my most favourite passions: Disassembling an existing work of art and re-arranging it completely anew to make it fit my needs. You don’t necessarily need to understand that, but witnessing artworks as they are coming together is one of the most rewarding things in a designer’s life. This particular set was such a case (#7).
I for my part wouldn’t say that I’m all too familiar with Photoshop’s retouching abilities. But I usually do know how to cheat my way to my desired results. For example, I manually extended the Death Star shot on Inlay #13 in height in order to have it centered behind the jewel case CD tray. I don’t always succeed (sometimes I even fail miserably), but when I do it’s rather lovely to see things turning out just like I imagined them in the first place.
A custom cover that’s ought to be the same retro bow as the film itself. And retro is schick, so currently no project can go without it. But I didn’t want to make yet another Apocalypse Now spoof cover, so I went with another famous war movie from the past. Orlando Arocena’s amazingly well-crafted Full Metal Jacket tribute posters served as the perfect excuse for me to cobble together this vintage vinyl-like design.
I’m probably most proud of my custom Warner Bros inspired WrG logo that put this entire package back to the past. One of those rare ideas that happen so rarely, but when they do, they significantly upgrade a design in its entirety.
Way back in February 2016 I already came up with a front cover for a so-called Limited Deluxe Edition. So today’s job was a total piece of cake, even more so because this whole set is basically just a variation of an earlier Special Edition for The Force Awakens. Yes, I really was that lazy bitch and literally just fed my old template with (slightly) updated graphics.
This whole set was more or less designed around a pre-existing custom cover that fell into my hands a long time ago. I started by reproducing it in facsimile (#40) and then adding bit after bit until all those little individual graphic assets were perfectly harmonious. The end result is pallid and colourless, yet incredibly rich in detail – sort of like a technial blueprint. Just what I was aiming for.
Relatively late in the game I began to assemble some genuine covers that would qualify as official ones. And I surely knew why I hesitated for so long. Because, quite frankly, the artworks below were the most boring ones to make during this entire sprawling affair. And unfortunately I think it shows. But with The Last Jedi up on the horizon sometimes things just have to get finished, ready or not.
I had spent an unhealthily amount of time tampering around, turning portrait source images into square format, all the while I desperately tried to leave as few visible traces as possible. It was a nasty job. And quite possibly the sole reason for really making me appreciating entirely different customized cover artworks all over again. This wasn’t always the case in the past. But with Rogue One I definitely enjoyed to deviate from the crowd as much as possible…
Having said that, I still managed to knock out the three final sets below. All are more or less based on official key art, with just one exception: #54 was only possible thanks to Gabriel Carati‘s tribute to the most bad-ass scene in the whole film.