Creating a Realistic Vinyl Record



Difficulty: Beginner


In this tutorial guest author Idea Venue shows you how to create a realistic image of a vinyl record from scratch in 9 simple steps.


Step 1

Open Pixelmator and create a new document. The image size used in this tutorial is 700x700 pixels. To create the basis for the vinyl record use the Ellipse Shape Tool and draw a circle in the middle of the canvas. Be sure to hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while using this tool to keep the shape circular. Use black as the shape’s fill color.


Step 2 - Grooves

To add grooves to the vinyl record follow these steps:

  • Create a new layer named “Grooves” and fill it with black color using the Paint Bucket Tool (N).
  • Go to Filter>Stylize>Noise and set the Amount to 10%. Make sure that the Monochrome option is selected before clicking OK.
  • Then go to Filter>Distortion>Circular Wrap, set the Radius to 0px and click OK.
  • Lastly, resize the “Grooves” layer (Edit>Transform) making it roughly the same size as the “Vinyl background”.

Step 3

Right-click the “Vinyl background” layer and choose Duplicate. Rename the new layer to “Groove basis”. After making sure that the new layer is below “Grooves” in the layer’s palette, right-click the “Grooves” layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. This will hide all the unnecessary parts. Make sure that the circles in the “Grooves” layer align with the “Vinyl background”. If there is any mismatch use the Move Tool (V) to realign the “Grooves” layer by simply dragging the image on the canvas.


Step 4 - Outer Rim

To add a grooveless rim on the outer part of the vinyl record select the “Groove basis” layer and go to Edit>Transform. Using the Tools options menu reduce the shape’s size to 95% both in width and height. This can also be done by hand - simply drag the handles of the selection until you are satisfied with the result.


Step 5

Adding a lightning effect can provide more depth for the image. First, reduce the “Grooves” layer opacity to 20%. Do not be alarmed at the fact that the vinyl appears to be completely black, we will fix that in a moment.

Create a new layer named “Reflection”. Choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and draw a rectangle that’s the same width as the vinyl, but about 1/5th of the height.

Now, go to Edit>Refine Selection, set the Feather to 50% and click OK. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (N) to fill the selection with white.


Step 6

After making sure that “Reflection” is above the “Grooves” layer in the Layers Palette right-click the “Reflection” layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. Set the Blending to “Soft-light” and reduce the Opacity to 40%. Duplicate “Reflection” (Right-Click>Duplicate) and change the Blending to “Normal” and reduce the Opacity to 20%.

Lastly, select the “Reflection” and “Reflection copy” layers and duplicate them. Go to Edit>Transform and reduce the height of both layers. After that rotate the layers by about 50 degrees and reduce the opacity of both layers by half (10% and 20%). The final result should look similar to this.


Step 7

The grooves will appear more realistic if they are not completely linear, but rather askew in places. To add this effect firstly duplicate the layer “Grooves” and rename it to “Noise”. Go to Filter>Stylize>Noise and set the amount to 100%. This time deselect the Monochrome option and click OK. Move “Noise” above all other layers in the Layers Palette. Then, change the Blending to “Overlay” and reduce the opacity to 10%.


Step 8

Before adding the vinyl sticker, an indent-free area in the centre should be created. Use the Ellipse Shape Tool to draw a circle filled with black color. Use the Move Tool (V) to place it in the middle of the canvas.


Tip: If you are having trouble moving the layer that you selected, check if Auto select is disabled in the tools options menu.


Step 9

Repeat the actions from step 8 to draw a second smaller circle filled with a color of your preference. Name it “Sticker”. Lastly, to add a spindle hole draw a small circular shape in the middle of the canvas and fill it with white color.



A picture can be used instead of a single color sticker to liven up the vinyl record. A well chosen background can also provide further depth to the image.

Images courtesy of Luiz Fernando/Sonia Maria, and vidalia_11.


  • Guest says:

    Nice work, I was using a Quartz filter for circular grooves. I like this method way better. Thanks. 

  • YD-LABS says:

    Looks Fantastic.. Thanks for sharing.. :)

  • Very nice. Thank you!

  • Michael Childs says:


    Thanks for this, but I am stuck at Step 5, I cannot select ‘Refine Selection’, it has been disabled. Can you think of any reason for this? I’m keen to finish it off…


  • Michael Childs says:

    Re: Refine Selection

    Got it… I found that I had to select the layer with Magic Wand tool first.

    Sorry, I’m a first time user.