Book Covers

kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
edited December 1969 in Art Studio

Hello all,

I'm branching out from newb and exploring other threads and subforums here and I think it's time for me to run a thread here.

Not to blow my own horn but I'm a best selling author on Amazon and have gone from accountant/office manager to writing full time. This wasn't some crazy venture that started on a lark but a culmination of over 30 years of blood, sweat and tears in the publishing industry - oh yes - lots of tears.

I've been an artist for just as long as I've been a writer. I've worked in the more traditional forms of media in my youth but then focused on things like painting gaming miniatures on commission, competing with that artwork on the national level and doing the same with painting realistic equine sculptures. In the gaming miniature world, I'm known as "the pigment lady" because of my work bringing dry pigments from their accepted role in weathering and scenic aspects into an actual "paint" medium in their original dry form without using medium additives.

From there I branched into digital art with photoshop and am now expanding into the 3D realm.

As to book covers specifically, I have always recognized that 3D is the future. Right now the industry is ruled by royalty free stock imagery. My genres are sci/fi fantasy, and historical along with paranormal romance. Many might discount the romance genre, but it's come a long way since the years Fabio graced the covers - a 1.3 billion dollar industry. The historical research I put into my medieval novels can go toe to toe with any historian.

For the past two years I have been telling authors and romance stock image sites that the advent of 3D is rapidly approaching - right now book trailers akin to movie trailers are all the rage. Thanks to DAZ3D, I can now create book trailers without having to hire a director, camera crew, and actors. I can create book covers tailored to my characters and genre without having to depend on models and photographers. I not only write the books, but now can have my characters just as I imagined them gracing the covers and speaking lines from the audiobooks in book trailers that I create.

A whole new world of opportunity is before me and I'm diving in wholeheartedly.

The really fun part is when I get stuck writing a story aspect, a lot of times I'll start working on the art aspect and that kicks the creative brain into high gear, inspiring my written work. Definitely a win, win for me.

My journey began actually with Maya and an animated render I did for a book trailer over a year ago. But now that I've discovered DAZ, I love it! This is the program I'm going to stick with and my first "official" work in DAZ was the image that won the May newbie contest - Breaking the Siege.

I then started work on characters for a book cover that is currently in production as an audiobook under ACX's stipend award. (Iray render of couple with postwork in Photoshop).

And an improved iray render of just the hero is also attached.

I still have a lot to learn now that I've started down this new road but I'm looking forward to it.

Cheers,
Kathryn

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Comments

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,269
    edited June 2015

    Hi Kathryn, It's alway fun to read a bit of history from where fellow artists get their inspiration to create with DAZ Studio. I did a quick google search, and you do have an impressive body of work. Since you mentioned book covers, Easily my favorite cover is the alternate special edition Shadowed Hawk, which reminds me of the Ranger's Apprentice series. I think your off to a good start with DAZ Studio, just remember once you've started creating art with DS, you're probably hooked for life. Best of luck.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited June 2015

    Thank you so much, FirstBastion, I'm honored that you like one of my covers - the entire thing with Shadowed Hawk was exploring something I learned while collecting comic books - Variant Covers - especially those by featured artists, which I did with that particular book in the series. The entire idea was to expose my readers to new artists and expose those who followed those artists to my writing.

    Something I hope to continue with DAZ.

    And yes, I'm already hooked. lol!

    PS - I notice you're a Published Artist with DAZ - that is also something I would like to explore in the future. :cheese:

    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 927
    edited December 1969

    That's kind of funny- I discovered Daz3d when I was looking for a tool to create book covers (I'm a small German publisher for fantasy books).
    So books brought me to 3D as well.

  • Marcus SeverusMarcus Severus Posts: 723
    edited December 1969

    Thanks, KathrynLoch for the interesting summary of your career and the use you are finding for 3d.

    I'd love to hear more of how the book-cover industry works. Are there many authors out there wishing they could find someone to provide illustrations or are they spoilt for choice and even targeted by the main providers?

    Also, I'm not sure what is meant by book trailers resembling film trailers. Are such book trailers presented as a slide-show or an animation? Or perhaps like a page from a graphic novel?

    Do authors of historical novels (or other genres such as science fiction) make do with existing 3d assets or do they find themselves needing to commission work? I'm thinking here of something such as (for example) a particular space-ship described by the author.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    That's kind of funny- I discovered Daz3d when I was looking for a tool to create book covers (I'm a small German publisher for fantasy books).
    So books brought me to 3D as well.

    Very cool Cherp! Do you have a thread going here? I'll have to look around. We can compare notes!! I have a friend who is a graphic artist and he is a professor at a university teaching graphic arts and photoshop. He also likes fantasy and comic books. So I'm helping him with the writing part of the comic and he's helping me with the learn book covers. I just got him started on DAZ yesterday. So pull up a chair, and join us. We're going to have fun comparing notes. hehe!

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,269
    edited December 1969

    I think only good things can come from bringing writers and artists together. They complement each other.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited June 2015

    Thanks, KathrynLoch for the interesting summary of your career and the use you are finding for 3d.

    I'd love to hear more of how the book-cover industry works. Are there many authors out there wishing they could find someone to provide illustrations or are they spoilt for choice and even targeted by the main providers?

    Also, I'm not sure what is meant by book trailers resembling film trailers. Are such book trailers presented as a slide-show or an animation? Or perhaps like a page from a graphic novel?

    Do authors of historical novels (or other genres such as science fiction) make do with existing 3d assets or do they find themselves needing to commission work? I'm thinking here of something such as (for example) a particular space-ship described by the author.

    Hi Marcus,

    Well now many of my author friends do not like computers in the least. Scared to death of the things. I'm a total geek - all the way - 100%. I love SF/Fantasy, I've played D&D and other RPG games for years, I was an avid gamer on computer. I painted gaming minis -

    Okay enough Kath he gets the point. lol!

    Sorry!

    Mine are two very different genres - romance where I write both medieval historicals and contemporary paranormal. The second is straight SF/Fantasy. With romance being a 1.3 billion dollar industry there's a fantastic market and it dwarfs most of the other genres. It's not the same industry as when old Fabio graced the covers.

    In comparison SF/Fantasy is a niche market. Don't get me wrong, it's a large genre, but it doesn't generate near the amount of money romance does. I've only seen some 3D work with covers in the SF/Fantasy genre and that's because I'm on deviantART and a member of some of Realms of Fantasy and some other clubs over there so I get to see all of this cool artwork come through.

    I have not yet seen it in the romance genre. Because when it hits the cover models will have a cow.

    Royalty free stock images allow the indies to produce a high quality cover that competes with the big publishing houses. Something we couldn't not do that long ago. Some sell for $10-$15 a piece others up to $30 or more.

    I started with a graphic artist and she was very reasonably priced for an ebook cover - under $100. But we also sell print books through Createspace and have different cover requirements for that. So a print cover is an additional charge. That usually put the cost over $130 and if there was an audiobook cover need, well now you're getting closer to a $200. Okay this sort of thing can add up fast for an author, especially if they're also trying to promote and market their own work. Artists charge for Facebook banners ads, etc. A lot of those same artist will do book trailers as well and every single one I've seen has been a glorified slideshow presentation. I had to deal with them so often when I was an office manager that I hate them with a passion.

    Book trailers are just like a movie trailer except they're mostly still images You get "Movie Guy Voice" to narrate and read your summary and maybe an short excerpt along with dramatic music. You might be able to pick up a royalty free video like from Pond5 or whatever to add to the mix, but overall you're doing a powerpoint presentation.

    Like I said, I can't stand em. I'm a Adobe Creative Cloud member so I've got Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects. While I was working on one of my miniature painting tutorials to post to YouTube, I asked myself why couldn't I do this to create a book trailer that's not a slide show? hmmmmm

    Well it would cost too much and take too much time to record actors performing. Movie and game trailers already have that imagery to draw from for the trailer. Books don't ,so that's when I tripped over the video game realization.

    Why not animate characters?

    My son had been playing Assassins Creed and I love that game - it's gorgeous. (Now he has The Witcher III and that one is even better!) So I immediately thought If the characters I create for trailers could look half as real as what I'm watching my son play, I wouldn't be good to go.

    So I'm targeting the freelance artists with the 3D idea first. I think I'm the only author in my corner of the romance genre who actually wants to roll her sleeves up and learn new software. But the artists are definitely interested. I can see more authors learning the tech in the SF/Fantasy genre but not many in romance.

    My editor does cover art as well. She was talking about having me render an element for her like the hero and heroine and save it as a psd file so she can pull it into Photoshop and create the rest of the cover.

    I think for 3D artists there might be potential there. Because freelance cover artists are swamped. They don't have time to learn new programs. But if you could get them a realistic hero and heroine in their exact pose with the exact hair and eye color - something that the graphic artist has to spend a ton of time doing in photoshop with their stock images - I think they'd buy from you guys just like they buy from other stock image sites.

    With Daz being much easier to learn than something like Maya or Blender you'll have artists who take the plunge. But most are going to want to have a specific mesh and they don't want to pay a fortune for it. Keep the easy stuff under the price of those royalty stock images and you've got them right where you want them. Because you're rending to a file, you can use the same characters over and over again but you do need to make them different every time. At least you're not selling any meshes like on TurboSquid and you won't have to worry about derivative works floating around.

    The authors I know wouldn't come to DAZ to purchase anything for themselves. The cover artists would most likely do the purchasing but that's pretty much dictated by what the author wants. They'd look at buying a generic spaceship from the store vs the cost of a custom ship from a private 3d artist and having rendered for them - just like they did with buying stock.

    Or you could skip that whole middleman thing and do both the 3D and the covers yourself if you're good at cover art.

    Now there will be cases where the author wants that specific space ship, or sword, or whatever and will want to have an artist custom make the 3D models and go the whole 9 yards spare no expense and all that - but rarely. I think there's an opportunity there I just don't know how much.

    There's also the 3D printing aspect. A big thing with us authors is swag! Bookmarks, pens, little things you can give away to readers to keep your name in front of them. But bookmarks are sooo 20th century!

    Because I draw and paint - I create my characters and different things out of my novels to give away as swag that's a lot different. Yeah I do bookmarks too, but I haven't seen any authors give anything away like this. I attached some pictures for ya.

    The first is Aro, my dragon in my novel Spirit of Dragons. I created him in Sculptris then pulled him into Photoshop and sent him over to Shapeways. The silver image is their render of how he would look printed. The next image is when I was creating him in Sculptris and the last is when I pulled him into Photoshop.

    The ring is another piece from a novel - since it's romance - it's the heroine's wedding ring from my novel Highlander's Hope. But you guys have wives, girl friends, significant others. If she had an author she loved to read and you found a ring or some jewelry that was available as a 3D print - wouldn't that make a cool gift? We get stuff like that from popular media - if Game of Thrones can sell a mini of the Iron Throne, I can make and sell stuff out of my book too. lol! So that's what I do for my swag items to give away special and bring 3D into the mix.

    I'm expanding my business later this year with Cover By Numbers - but I just realized how long this darn thing was getting so I'd better quit now before I break something. Like my computer, or the forums, or the person trying to read this. lol!

    I'm so sorry - but hey, it's confusing and I want to give you an idea of what we're looking at here.

    Cheers,
    Kath

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    I think only good things can come from bringing writers and artists together. They complement each other.

    Well met, my friend! Very well met!

  • Marcus SeverusMarcus Severus Posts: 723
    edited June 2015

    Many thanks, Kathrynloch for answering my questions so fully. What a chunk of your time must have been used up today in providing such a long and detailed reply! I'm sure others here will also appreciate it at least as much as I do.

    Although I visit the DAZ forums most days, I don't post too often and every example of my work that I've shown has been either a quick work in progress or an example of something I've tried to do (mostly with Carrara or Hexagon).

    In other words, I'm still learning, still catching up with the technology and the features of the software I use.

    Before I took up 3d, I used just about every kind of traditional art medium there is - both for sculpture and painting. A strange side-effect of that is that I haven't so far really cared to strive for highly-polished realism in my 3d hobby. I tend to be more fascinated with the forms I bring into a scene or create for myself. It provides visual stimulation that goes beyond what can be experienced by putting something down on a two-dimensional canvas.

    On the other hand, sometimes I entertain the thought that I might someday reach a point where I can create things that others might want - hence my questions.

    (Actually, I tend to think along the lines of creating figurines for 3d printing as the beginning of churning out traditional ornaments - I mean, there will always be a market for busts of Mozart and Beethoven - and garden Gnomes!)

    I'm glad that you've found ways to cater to a market - it seems to be a natural outcome from a blend of your hard work, industry knowledge and natural talents.

    This response is only from a first reading of your reply - I will enjoy going through it a few more times because it has given a great insight of an industry I've no first-hand experience of.

    Thanks again - I hope the thread will live long!

    EDITED some typing errors.

    Post edited by Marcus Severus on
  • Marcus SeverusMarcus Severus Posts: 723
    edited December 1969

    Hi Cherpenbeck,

    Glad also to hear from you in this thread.

    @ FirstBastion - it's nice to be in the same discussion as you - I've been happy to buy some of your work.

  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 927
    edited December 1969

    @FirstBastion: You are right, writers and artists do complement each other. I made a fantasy anthologie this year. Gave the authors some pictures and had them find stories for these pictures. It was a fun project and successful, I think.

    @Marcus Severus: You choose an interesting nickname. Roman, but are you representing a Senator or for a Centurion? I searched the DAZ shop, there are few Roman figures and outfits so far ...
    I'm looking forward to the day you will print your first garden gnome!

    @Kathrynloch: Kathrin, your are right with these trailers. My first book trailer was very much a powerpoint presentation, with the exception of two small scenes. I hope that can be remedied with DAZ Studio.

    As for the book covers, I think DAZ will be good for Science Fiction and Fantasy, but difficult for romance. The guys are good looking, but nearly all DAZ females look like plastic dolls in clothing which doesn't deserve that name. Mostly it shows bare skin in holes big enough to swallow a galaxy. That will work for erotic, not so much for romance.
    Besides real fingers press down on real skin, and then the real skin bends and moves, which the DAZ figures dont't do. Or perhaps I haven't found the means to make then behave more naturally yet.
    But then, I'm still a beginner with DAZ, started around December last year.

  • Marcus SeverusMarcus Severus Posts: 723
    edited December 1969

    Ah, Cherpenbeck, my nickname....quite an embarrassment.

    When I registered with DAZ, I had no thought or intention of contributing to the forum. When asked to fill out a name in the form, the first thing that came to mind was Julius Caesar (for no particular reason). Then I wondered how to spell it so I thought of Mark Antony, Marcus Aureilius (maybe that's the wrong spelling) which led me to choose Marcus Severus - a name I could remember.

    I was quite shocked when, a long time later, I found that this was a real name of someone who lived. I can't recall too many details except he was utterly unlike me and a person that neither I nor anyone else would admire. (Hmmm - maybe that IS like me...:roll:)

    He died after a battle. He was shouting insults at his men for losing the fight and they turned round and killed him.

    So, one day, I'll get around to thinking up a better name.

    In the only other forum I contribute to my name is Grimhilda. An equally stupid choice! That was derived from Grimmhilde - a character in an opera. I chose it because GRIM is like SEVERE and it seemed easy to remember. Unfortunately, I was taken to be a female in that forum when I started posting there.

    :red:

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Many thanks, Kathrynloch for answering my questions so fully. What a chunk of your time must have been used up today in providing such a long and detailed reply! I'm sure others here will also appreciate it at least as much as I do.

    Although I visit the DAZ forums most days, I don't post too often and every example of my work that I've shown has been either a quick work in progress or an example of something I've tried to do (mostly with Carrara or Hexagon).

    In other words, I'm still learning, still catching up with the technology and the features of the software I use.

    Before I took up 3d, I used just about every kind of traditional art medium there is - both for sculpture and painting. A strange side-effect of that is that I haven't so far really cared to strive for highly-polished realism in my 3d hobby. I tend to be more fascinated with the forms I bring into a scene or create for myself. It provides visual stimulation that goes beyond what can be experienced by putting something down on a two-dimensional canvas.

    On the other hand, sometimes I entertain the thought that I might someday reach a point where I can create things that others might want - hence my questions.

    (Actually, I tend to think along the lines of creating figurines for 3d printing as the beginning of churning out traditional ornaments - I mean, there will always be a market for busts of Mozart and Beethoven - and garden Gnomes!)

    I'm glad that you've found ways to cater to a market - it seems to be a natural outcome from a blend of your hard work, industry knowledge and natural talents.

    This response is only from a first reading of your reply - I will enjoy going through it a few more times because it has given a great insight of an industry I've no first-hand experience of.

    Thanks again - I hope the thread will live long!

    EDITED some typing errors.

    So very sorry - but I'm a novelist - it's in my DNA to write long posts (you should see my emails).

    At least that's my story and I'm stickin' too it! lol!

    The realism is what I'm seeing as in demand in the author circles I frequent. There are many covers that are not realistic at all. With the Big 5 publishers in New York they dictate the cover and might give the author some imput. But they either have designers in house or pay a firm to do the covers - the cover is not about the story but about what they think will sell. Because let's face it, we do judge our books by their covers.

    But I love how you mentioned garden gnomes. Before my writing launched on Amazon I painted tabletop gaming miniatures on commission and competed on the national level. Mostly I painted Games Workshop - Warhammer Fantasy and Lord of the Rings minis, but I also did a lot of Reaper minis.

    I might have to pick your brain about Carrera I want to learn to create my own stuff and right now I only have Sculptris like you saw with the dragon. Unfortunately, it's still frustrating for me. Even with my Wacom I struggle with control and constantly changing the brush size and intensity.

    I'm thinking I might try Blender again just for the modeling there seems to be some good tutorials out there.and if that doesn't work I can get Carerra.

    I'm looking at face morphs which I can do in Daz.

    A big thing is hair - so I want to create that. I tried Garibaldi but it kept crashing everything and I didn't have time to fiddle with it and figure it out. So I might try the LAMH program for that.

    Of course clothing and armor along with weapons. So we're probably looking at Blender or Carerra again.

    As you can see I'm big with the horses. The DAZ Horse 2 is a very, very nice mesh. There are some conformation problems when looking at it from a purist's standpoint. But it's honestly one of the nicest horse meshes I've seen. The mats are nice too but I like making my own which I did in Photoshop, so I think I'm okay there.

    And I have Bryce for the backdrops - and some castle building meshes. I got the Firearms pack for my contemporary stuff, so that gives me a starting point there.

    Would LOVE to find a mesh of Steve McQueen's Bullit - I built a scale model but it would be fun to have a digital version. hehe!

    So I definitely have a lot to learn.

    But first I have to get started on book covers. A sudden situation just popped up and there's a ton of stuff I need to change out and do over.

    It will be a good test for both me and DAZ to see what we can do!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    @FirstBastion: You are right, writers and artists do complement each other. I made a fantasy anthologie this year. Gave the authors some pictures and had them find stories for these pictures. It was a fun project and successful, I think.

    @Marcus Severus: You choose an interesting nickname. Roman, but are you representing a Senator or for a Centurion? I searched the DAZ shop, there are few Roman figures and outfits so far ...
    I'm looking forward to the day you will print your first garden gnome!

    @Kathrynloch: Kathrin, your are right with these trailers. My first book trailer was very much a powerpoint presentation, with the exception of two small scenes. I hope that can be remedied with DAZ Studio.

    As for the book covers, I think DAZ will be good for Science Fiction and Fantasy, but difficult for romance. The guys are good looking, but nearly all DAZ females look like plastic dolls in clothing which doesn't deserve that name. Mostly it shows bare skin in holes big enough to swallow a galaxy. That will work for erotic, not so much for romance.
    Besides real fingers press down on real skin, and then the real skin bends and moves, which the DAZ figures dont't do. Or perhaps I haven't found the means to make then behave more naturally yet.
    But then, I'm still a beginner with DAZ, started around December last year.


    But that's what post work in Photoshop is for. hehe! We don't want to do a whole lot of it in contests. But I can go to town on the cover art. hehe!

    So we'll see the one I have of the hero and heroine I'm pretty pleased with the female mesh. Its the skin shaders and iray that I need to figure out. hehe And of course the iray shaders for hair.

    Soooo much to learn and not enough hours in the day!

    Okay believe or not this one is going to be short because my friends are streaming on twitch.tv If anyone wants come check out some D&D RPG goodness visit HowReRoll - it's a blast!

  • ejk_sanejk_san Posts: 23
    edited December 1969

    Thanks for starting a thread on book cover designing. I've been a bookseller for nearly twenty years, have been self-publishing since 2007 (Lulu, Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords) and have designed the covers and interiors for my two books and created and produced four comic issues (all with DAZ) in a series. I redesigned the cover of my first book, Jaunt, utilizing DAZ two years ago and have been thinking about trying to break into more cover illustrations, a la Kurt Miller at Baen, mixing DAZ and other apps (eyeing Vue Esprit 2015 pretty eagerly right now). I want to see publishers embrace this newer medium, and I'd particularly love a crack at a full-time gig eventually.

    Good luck with your DS education; it's been both fun and frustrating for me but the results are starting to show.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    ejk_san said:
    Thanks for starting a thread on book cover designing. I've been a bookseller for nearly twenty years, have been self-publishing since 2007 (Lulu, Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords) and have designed the covers and interiors for my two books and created and produced four comic issues (all with DAZ) in a series. I redesigned the cover of my first book, Jaunt, utilizing DAZ two years ago and have been thinking about trying to break into more cover illustrations, a la Kurt Miller at Baen, mixing DAZ and other apps (eyeing Vue Esprit 2015 pretty eagerly right now). I want to see publishers embrace this newer medium, and I'd particularly love a crack at a full-time gig eventually.

    Good luck with your DS education; it's been both fun and frustrating for me but the results are starting to show.

    Hi ejk! Welcome! Pull up a chair and join us.

    That's awesome to hear. In fact it was Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, I showed one of my 3D animations for book trailers last year. My biggest hinderance right now is the time factor. Ultimately my income is writing, so no books, no money. And writing is a lot of work, plus since my editor is freelance, I have to work with her schedule too which sometimes puts me on crazy deadlines.

    And there's the crazy stuff like logging onto facebook and discovering one's good name being dragged through the mud for no apparent reason. Had to put out those fires. That in turn leads me to a new project. I don't want to go into the gory details, but I need to change out a majority of my covers, plus there's the older ones that are in dire need of updating anyway. So I might as well just get it all out of the way in one fell swoop.

    Right now, I'm definitely seeing the benefits of iray. The lack of shaders is proving quite problematic for me. With what I have in DAZ right now - if I wanted to make a car advertisement, I'd be styling. lol!

    Learning how to make shaders is formidable enough from what I've read thus far - and it's even worse with iray because the documentation I've found isn't even complete yet. Nvidia has a pdf on MDL but it only has chapters 1 thru 5 - it seems that chapters 5-10 are planned. That's all great and fine - but it would be really helpful to get that information before something is rendered obsolete with an upgrade. lol!

    At least with iray - because it relies first on the GPU, I can at least set it to rendering and then go work on other things - within reason of course. So what I've been doing is not only lining out the various characters I need for my covers, but clothing, lighting, and ultimately shaders.

    Hair is the biggest issue right now - purchased a hair module on sale that had iray presets but the darker colors aren't all that stellar.

    If anyone is working on any Iray hair shaders and wants them ran through their paces - toss 'em my direction. I'll be the R. Lee Ermy in the Iray boot camp. lol!

    So right now I've been playing around with what I currently have and what I might be able to adapt. For example just adding the DAZ default Iray uber base shader adds a ton of zip to the render. So if I don't have a specific shader, a lot of times I can get away with just that base shader.

    I've got some iray renders in the pipeline - I'll be posting those shortly.

    Cheers,
    Kath

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Okay so here's some renders this is mostly experimental with various aspects - mostly shaders and lighting.

    I'm starting off trying to see what shaders that I currently have I can finagle into other duties.

    So here's what I currently am using in scene

    For the character, I'm using the Gianni pro pack from a long time ago but never had the chance to really it use until now I've got Hector - kinda sorta. I adjusted the sliders so there s a bit of a mix and some customization.

    The clothing is the clothing and sword are from the Night Guard pack but I've also got a texture pack that I'm mixing in - I believe it's the Twilight Guard.

    The hair is Buenaventura Hair pack - it has mats for both iray and 3delight. I like the pack overall especially the controls and morphs that come with the hair but I think the darker colors could use some improvements in rendering in iray.

    The castle is from the Castle Creator pack - best darn purchase I've made yet.

    Lighting is courtesy of iRadiance HDRMesh Lights - still getting the hang of these but they're for iray.


    Now for the shaders. I've learned how to target the iray shaders. So first I hit everything with the DAZ uber default iray shader - except for the skin. Since DAZ has a default shader for skin - especially genesis 2 figures, I just hit it with that first. Then go around and target individual things with the uber default. That adds a lot by itself - especially the castle and the wooden drawbridge. The metal portcullis and the drawbridge chains are a different story however.

    After hitting the clothing, the weapon, and the castle with the uber default, I started on the sword with the specifics. Using the iron shader, then gold and leather (all under DAZ iray). The chains and the portcullis I hit with cast iron but as you can see it's too brand new and shiny.

    The next image I changed up the camera angle and the lighting a little bit - also trying different textures on the clothing. Again on the different textures I applied I added the uber default. I settled on a good shader for the chains and portcullis but was surprised at which one worked - asphalt.

    Okay, not complaining but so we'll think outside the box. Now for stuff like the clothing, I don't like applying anything more than the uber default because anything more wipes out the decoration on the texture.

    So like the next image which is a mid-shot - all of that detail on the surcoat would go away if I added another shader other than the uber default, but I think it's pretty nice the way it is. The one thing I don't like is how the shadow of the archer loophole in the castle wall is conveyed but I haven't figured out how to fix that one.


    Added the vest and more castle stuff to the background. This one was primarily adjusting the lighting - moving it farther away, moving the Light Target around to get different effects. Thus far I've just been using the Presets that it comes with. I can mix and match things all over the place if I wanted - but I'm sticking with the presets for now until I get the hang of it.

    One thing I really like is that it comes with a preset that is called Head Lamp Blocker. It turns off all of the headlamps on any cameras and lights your scene so you cans see what's going on but doesn't show up in the renders. Even if I work on a scene that I don't use these light sets I still use the Head Lamp Blocker - it's one of the first things I pull into the scene. It's very, very handy.

    I also used a water shader on the moat of the castle but haven't gotten a render of that shot yet. It's on my list. So that's where I stand with stuff right now and a couple of my latest iray renders.

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  • mmitchell_houstonmmitchell_houston Posts: 1,558
    edited December 1969

    As for the book covers, I think DAZ will be good for Science Fiction and Fantasy, but difficult for romance. The guys are good looking, but nearly all DAZ females look like plastic dolls in clothing which doesn't deserve that name. Mostly it shows bare skin in holes big enough to swallow a galaxy. That will work for erotic, not so much for romance.
    Besides real fingers press down on real skin, and then the real skin bends and moves, which the DAZ figures dont't do. Or perhaps I haven't found the means to make then behave more naturally yet.
    But then, I'm still a beginner with DAZ, started around December last year.

    If you are attempting for 100% photo realism, you are probably right. The women do tend to look too "plastic" for professional use. However, if the artist takes a little license and applies some post production work to make them look more painted, then the final result could be quite effective.

    My illustration work ranges from historical to SF (check out my gallery here at Daz if you're interested). The bulk of my work, however, is in b&w, and I am focused on creating interior illustrations. My historical work is focused almost entirely on Westerns with a horror element (cowboys vs. zombies), but I have been stockpiling models and props for use with an upcoming pirate project.

    Because I work in b&w, textures are not a big issue for me. In fact, they mostly get in the way of clean renders and require that I clean them up (or just flat-out remove them) during the b&w digital inking process. The skin-on-skin effects you wisely mentioned don't matter as much in b&w, either.

    The main thing I think that 3D book artists need to do is to think like artists, not as 3D illustrators. Composition, cropping, and tight focus on the finished product need to be the focus, with 3D being used as the tools to get there. To put it bluntly, no one in the audience should care one way or the other about the tools you use: they should be invisible. All that matters is the final image: Is it good and does it sell your book?

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    mmitchell said:
    As for the book covers, I think DAZ will be good for Science Fiction and Fantasy, but difficult for romance. The guys are good looking, but nearly all DAZ females look like plastic dolls in clothing which doesn't deserve that name. Mostly it shows bare skin in holes big enough to swallow a galaxy. That will work for erotic, not so much for romance.
    Besides real fingers press down on real skin, and then the real skin bends and moves, which the DAZ figures dont't do. Or perhaps I haven't found the means to make then behave more naturally yet.
    But then, I'm still a beginner with DAZ, started around December last year.

    If you are attempting for 100% photo realism, you are probably right. The women do tend to look too "plastic" for professional use. However, if the artist takes a little license and applies some post production work to make them look more painted, then the final result could be quite effective.

    My illustration work ranges from historical to SF (check out my gallery here at Daz if you're interested). The bulk of my work, however, is in b&w, and I am focused on creating interior illustrations. My historical work is focused almost entirely on Westerns with a horror element (cowboys vs. zombies), but I have been stockpiling models and props for use with an upcoming pirate project.

    Because I work in b&w, textures are not a big issue for me. In fact, they mostly get in the way of clean renders and require that I clean them up (or just flat-out remove them) during the b&w digital inking process. The skin-on-skin effects you wisely mentioned don't matter as much in b&w, either.

    The main thing I think that 3D book artists need to do is to think like artists, not as 3D illustrators. Composition, cropping, and tight focus on the finished product need to be the focus, with 3D being used as the tools to get there. To put it bluntly, no one in the audience should care one way or the other about the tools you use: they should be invisible. All that matters is the final image: Is it good and does it sell your book?

    Hi mmitchel! Welcome to the thread. Hmmm... I better get some more folding chairs. Okay grab one and come join us! hehe!

    Your point about photorealism is a very good one. Before what our industry calls digital disruption, good ole Fabio and other cover models like John De Salvo would get a call from their agent to go to a photoshoot for a book cover. The photographer would take many different photos then the artist would go with one and literally paint everything. So I guess that was the original photomanipulation. lol!

    Now the covers I've been seeing recently, many of them are the original stock image - no retouching, no photomanipulation, no artist flare or individuality. I've seen some photomanipulations on Deviant art that are absolutely amazing. And there have been some on some romance covers that just blow the doors off. But those are so few and far between.

    I like seeing artistic style and creativity for book covers. When we just have stock images on covers with nothing else, I think we're missing out. Even when I hired cover artists - I'd beg for at least some sort of textures in order to get at least a feel of painting. So while I want the realism as a basis to start from - does it have to be 100%, no - not really, because there's going to be the post in photoshop.

    The funny thing is - some of my tutorial vids on Youtube for photoshop are how to add textures to photomanipulation work. lol! For example, drawing a cloak then making it look like it has a pattern stitched on it.

    Well, here - let me save a 1000 words and post a pic or two. These are just photomanipulations from PS where I developed a technique to make the pattern on the cloak look like it's been stitched.

    With all of these I hand drew the cloak using custom brushes. Then I took an alpha of the decorative pattern as it's own layer and used layer blending modes to get it to look like it belonged on the cloak. From there I applied a layer style to get the appearance of stitching. I then used a layer mask with a brush of varying opacity to make it look like the pattern is following the folds of the cloak, making it harder to see in some spots and plainly evident in others. The first image is stitching, the second image I made it look like it was a pattern on velvet, and the last image is a detail shot - the stitching on the swirl pattern and what I did to make a plaid that wasn't an alpha channel look like it was stitched too.

    All of these use the same stock image as a basis but the cloak is hand drawn and several times I drew a different one just for fun. hehe!

    But this type of stuff I haven't really since with the stock imagery for book covers lately.

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,269
    edited December 1969

    I have to admit I was a seasoned writer long before I was an artist, but since "writer's write", I can't really claim that designation currently, due to other endeavours. Creating content takes up a lot of time. Still I'm certain I have at least a couple good stories left in the far recesses to eventually put down on paper. I am looking forward to the discussion though, I think there is plenty to learn. (please note as a Canadian, British spelling can easily creep into my posts.)

    As a starting point I like working from the assumption that each market needs to be understood within its own vacuum, it sort of keeps bias out of the equation and allows for open gathering of information. I clicked on to Amazon's Kindle section.

    First thing I noticed, the left hand margin list of available sub categories & titles. 264,500 titles of romance books, 224,000 sci-fiction and fantasy books. 145,700 young reader books. Not really concerned with non fiction at this point. Lots of options, lots of competition. How does one title get noticed against all the other titles? What differentiates? What gets the click through.

    It has to be the "book cover" ! yes, no, maybe? What catches the customer's eye? I look at the main page and instantly think, how incredibly small the thumbnails for the graphics on the page. Amazon web designers obviously think negative white space gives the site a cleaner look, which is in stark contrast to say DAZ here, who put as much web real estate into the thumbnail graphics as possible. But DAZ is a content provider that sell content for a visual medium, Amazon is selling the written word. Something worth remembering.

    So I'm looking at these incredibly small "book cover" thumbnails, and I'm thinking, I can barely make out the graphics. At this stage it seems the book cover has less importance than an actual book would in a bricks and mortar store, where titles are vying for attention from the rack. I'm looking at each of the title's art work, placement of the title, top 1/3, middle 1/3, bottom 1/3, placement of the author's name. Which one of these is going to get the click thru. A Dark Lure, BumRAP, Grey, Pines, Girl on a Train, all have big simple fonts. I can barely make out the rest without a second glance. Font choice and title position is as important consideration here as well. And since the title position will be influenced by the underlying graphics, these elements must be pondered at the conceptual stage. Which one of these is going to get the click thru. Now I'm reading the titles and authors name beside each book cover, and the price while i'm at it. Okay mouse hovering, I'm ready to click...

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited June 2015

    I have to admit I was a seasoned writer long before I was an artist, but since "writer's write", I can't really claim that designation currently, due to other endeavours. Creating content takes up a lot of time. Still I'm certain I have at least a couple good stories left in the far recesses to eventually put down on paper. I am looking forward to the discussion though, I think there is plenty to learn. (please note as a Canadian, British spelling can easily creep into my posts.)

    As a starting point I like working from the assumption that each market needs to be understood within its own vacuum, it sort of keeps bias out of the equation and allows for open gathering of information. I clicked on to Amazon's Kindle section.

    First thing I noticed, the left hand margin list of available sub categories & titles. 264,500 titles of romance books, 224,000 sci-fiction and fantasy books. 145,700 young reader books. Not really concerned with non fiction at this point. Lots of options, lots of competition. How does one title get noticed against all the other titles? What differentiates? What gets the click through.

    It has to be the "book cover" ! yes, no, maybe? What catches the customer's eye? I look at the main page and instantly think, how incredibly small the thumbnails for the graphics on the page. Amazon web designers obviously think negative white space gives the site a cleaner look, which is in stark contrast to say DAZ here, who put as much web real estate into the thumbnail graphics as possible. But DAZ is a content provider that sell content for a visual medium, Amazon is selling the written word. Something worth remembering.

    So I'm looking at these incredibly small "book cover" thumbnails, and I'm thinking, I can barely make out the graphics. At this stage it seems the book cover has less importance than an actual book would in a bricks and mortar store, where titles are vying for attention from the rack. I'm looking at each of the title's art work, placement of the title, top 1/3, middle 1/3, bottom 1/3, placement of the author's name. Which one of these is going to get the click thru. A Dark Lure, BumRAP, Grey, Pines, Girl on a Train, all have big simple fonts. I can barely make out the rest without a second glance. Font choice and title position is as important consideration here as well. And since the title position will be influenced by the underlying graphics, these elements must be pondered at the conceptual stage. Which one of these is going to get the click thru. Now I'm reading the titles and authors name beside each book cover, and the price while i'm at it. Okay mouse hovering, I'm ready to click...

    hehe - well, while every reader is different, this is where knowing your target audience comes in. I know romance best so let me start there. I've got one benefit in that I belong to Romance Writers of America and they do lots of studies of the industry. Unfortunately, they have been slow to include indies in their numbers because 1 - and this is a huge reason why numbers aren't always accurate no matter whose stats you're looking at - indies who publish e-books on Amazon don't need an ISBN. If you publish an e-book through Smashwords to get into other markets such as Barnes & Noble or iBooks. Or if you published a print on demand book on CreateSpace you have to have an ISBN.

    A lot of the reporting, especially by Bookscan was based on the ISBN number and even then Bookscan says they only capture 70% or so - so any stats in the publishing industry need to be taken with a grain of salt.

    That disclaimer aside, romance readers generally buy on average 6-7 books a month - print books, they buy even more e-books. Whereas most other genres will see 1 avid reader buy 2-4 books in a month. But that's also reflected in pricing too. Romance books have a general trend to be priced lower than other genres. Romance readers are also 60% more likely to try a brand new author, 80% try new authors who have been recommended to them from friends. They also have a tendency to find sub genres they like and stick with them. So rather than search They'll go straight to certain lists on Amazon.

    For example find a genre you like and look for the Hot New Releases list on Amazon. For me, as a romance author, this is the end all do all. Looking at book covers is a little difficult in the genre right now because everything is box sets but I can show you some screen shots of my point.

    The first image here my box set (blue) Legacy just hit the exacta. lol! On the lists, Amazon will have a snapshot of the first three books of a another list. So if I'm looking at the Best Seller List (and note on the left the specific sub-genres), on the right you'll see a snapshot of the first three books on the Hot New Releases list. If I click on that snap shot, then the full Hot New Releases comes up and the snapshot on the right is now the first three on the Best Seller list.

    But that's where you want to be because your books are now "eye level" to use a brick and mortar premise for the browsing reader. They see my box set on two different lists.

    And for romance it's these lists where a majority of buyers shop from. Especially if they see a book ranked under hot new releases and the best seller list.

    The next one is just a screen shot I took because it shows my box set in relation to one of the authors who was influential for me early on. You know "someday I'm going to have my book on the shelf just like . . . . (insert author name here)" so I was tickled to see my book on a best seller list with that author. lol! Hey, ya gotta have fun with it while ya can.

    The one thing I can say for certain about book covers is that a great cover will sell a bad book a lot faster than a bad book cover will sell a great book.

    But those lists at least in the romance genre will get the reader to click on the book's description page - and that's where you cover is important because eye-level with your book cover, on the other side of the screen is the BUY button. You have to scroll down to read the description or reviews.

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,269
    edited June 2015

    The one thing I can say for certain about book covers is that a great cover will sell a bad book a lot faster than a bad book cover will sell a great book.

    But those lists at least in the romance genre will get the reader to click on the book's description page - and that's where you cover is important because eye-level with your book cover, on the other side of the screen is the BUY button. You have to scroll down to read the description or reviews.

    Kathryn, I agree with you; the cover art does matter. Following on from my previous post, even though the thumbnail graphics prove to be rather small, there was enough there to influence my click. Choosing Darkness Brutal, with A Dark Lure coming in a close second. It looked like a compelling image, enough so, that I knew if I clicked thru, I'd see a larger version of it. Also these were the top trending best sellers on Amazon at that particular moment in time, a list that as noted updates hourly, and may certainly change over the course of the day. This was more a exercise in navigation to see where the art takes a customer. Now a customer that buys 6 romance books a month will be far more aware of the offerings available in that genre, and with recommendations and reviews playing a huge role in choices, they may not be as influenced on the whim of art.

    Arriving at the actual product page, I find that the larger image book cover art along with the product's logline/synopsis certain to influence the decision to buy. The cover art got me there, but it's the book blurb that will get me interested in wanting to take the next step. Reading the description, then looking over at the cover art, if the two complement each other the decision to buy gets easier. Scroll down to the reviews, take in the comments of other readers and the simple yet effective book cover marketing machine has done its job.

    You do need to know your market. The Art for a fantasy novel would be different from a romance novel. Or would it? Taking it a step further; should your art appeal to that genre segment that has expectations or well established paradigms, or should your art try to target a larger mainstream audience?

    Both of the covers done for Darkness Brutal and Dark Lure could be done using 3D rendering programs like DazStudio, Carrara or Vue and some Photoshop techniques. Neither is "photoreal", as there is plenty of filter postwork involved too.

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  • SimonJMSimonJM Posts: 4,911
    edited December 1969

    A friend of mine is the author and he has asked to use some of my stuff for his covers. Who am I to say no? I have to say there is a certain visceral pleasure holding a physical book that has your art work on the cover, how that would feel if I also wrote the words I can only imagine!
    Of all the covers that use my stuff, I think that the one for Agents of Fate is the best, it really does look damned good (even if I say so myself) on the glossy cover! :)

  • anikadanikad Posts: 1,919
    edited December 1969

    Book covers created using 3d assets? Rarely seen a good one. The covers almost always seem to look off in some way. Photorealism isn't really the issue. It's more that they rarely seem to consider lighting, angles, realistic posing etc. I think 3d art book covers are hard to do well because they take a lot of time, more so than using stock photo's to get right. That's not to say there aren't a lot of people getting stock photo covers wrong as well.

  • ejk_sanejk_san Posts: 23
    edited June 2015

    Thanks! I'll have a seat and add a bit to the discussion.

    I'm really looking forward to iray; have a small project I need to finish with 3Delight (don't want to mix renders—keeping the style consistent is key) and I'll be upgrading ASAP after my current renders are complete.

    I use Garibaldi for more and more of my hair, and I've enjoyed it so far. Hopefully they'll render even better in iray than 3Delight.

    Your new iray renders really pop now. I was worried about skin shaders but looks like it's not a problem.

    So I’m looking at these incredibly small “book cover” thumbnails, and I’m thinking, I can barely make out the graphics. At this stage it seems the book cover has less importance than an actual book would in a bricks and mortar store, where titles are vying for attention from the rack. I’m looking at each of the title’s art work, placement of the title, top 1/3, middle 1/3, bottom 1/3, placement of the author’s name. Which one of these is going to get the click thru. A Dark Lure, BumRAP, Grey, Pines, Girl on a Train, all have big simple fonts. I can barely make out the rest without a second glance. Font choice and title position is as important consideration here as well. And since the title position will be influenced by the underlying graphics, these elements must be pondered at the conceptual stage. Which one of these is going to get the click thru. Now I’m reading the titles and authors name beside each book cover, and the price while i’m at it. Okay mouse hovering, I’m ready to click…

    When I redesigned the cover to my first book, I consciously went for the techno-thriller dress as much as I could, trying to tie-in large, sans serif block type (with a light color) with a contrast, heavy blue background image. Simpler the better. Image below….


    Book covers created using 3d assets? Rarely seen a good one. The covers almost always seem to look off in some way. Photorealism isn’t really the issue. It’s more that they rarely seem to consider lighting, angles, realistic posing etc. I think 3d art book covers are hard to do well because they take a lot of time, more so than using stock photo’s to get right. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of people getting stock photo covers wrong as well.

    Realistic poses are a subject I spend quite a bit of time working on in my comic, and I take pride in getting a natural humanity to my characters. Perhaps "quick and dirty" 3D POD covers don't need much incentive to do that…but I strive to push as much in the opposite direction. I want to break the cheesy CG mold.

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,269
    edited June 2015

    anikad said:
    Book covers created using 3d assets? Rarely seen a good one. The covers almost always seem to look off in some way. Photorealism isn't really the issue. It's more that they rarely seem to consider lighting, angles, realistic posing etc. I think 3d art book covers are hard to do well because they take a lot of time, more so than using stock photo's to get right. That's not to say there aren't a lot of people getting stock photo covers wrong as well.

    If you go to the DAZ3D main page there are "user stories" and examples of 3D art in action, including this one on Book Covers. The Blight of Muirwood by odonoghue has a classic fantasy feel.

    http://www.daz3d.com/explore/user-stories/explore-eamon-odonoghue

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969


    You do need to know your market. The Art for a fantasy novel would be different from a romance novel. Or would it? Taking it a step further; should your art appeal to that genre segment that has expectations or well established paradigms, or should your art try to target a larger mainstream audience?

    Both of the covers done for Darkness Brutal and Dark Lure could be done using 3D rendering programs like DazStudio, Carrara or Vue and some Photoshop techniques. Neither is "photoreal", as there is plenty of filter postwork involved too.


    Personally, I like Dark Lure the best - just looking at the thumbnail size and not expanding.

    I think your question is a very interesting one here because I honestly asked it myself. Then did an experiment awhile back. First, let me show you something. When I first published to Amazon in the last quarter around October I think 2012, I published the novels I had written in the past. I had gained the representation of a NY agent (ever read Doug Adams Horse Clan novels back in the day? I loved those books or Lynda Robinson Lord Meren mysteries (mysteries set in ancient Egypt), my agent represented them and several others). Anyway, I had 7 complete novels. My agent said go with the romance since it's easier to break in. So I did. Unfortunately it wasn't in the stars for me. We submitted to every publishing house that accepted my genre. Lots and lots of interest, lots of requests for second books - which is rare, if they don't want the first one, they usually don't ask for a second one. Lots of almost offers but we could never pull the trigger on a signed contract. After a year, there was no one else to submit because after a book is rejected, you can't resubmit it - not after a complete overhaul. It would just be easier to write a new book. So my agent and I went our separate ways.

    My manuscripts sat on the shelf collecting dust bunnies. I couldn't do anything with them but too much work went into them to toss them into the burn pile. So when I decided to publish to Amazon, I read the contract and said - hey, this is good, this is damned good. Well you know what they say, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. So I was expecting the rip-off to come bite me in da butt. I went ahead and put those rejected manuscripts up because I had nothing to lose with them - they weren't going anywhere except the aforementioned burn pile. So I posted By Any Other Name, Blind Impulse and Heart's Ransom with crappy homemade covers because I was flat broke. All three are medieval romances. Hey I made around $300 my first month - that was AWESOME!!! I didn't think they'd go anywhere.

    That gave me enough money to buy some cover art. So in Dec. of 2012 I bought a premade cover. Premades are covers artists create and all I do is send them my title, name and series (if any along with a tag line). The artist puts in the info and sends me a cover. It was around $45. The bad thing about premades is that you can get a lot of identical book covers because they're not exclusive. Mist Warrior's covers is a premade.

    Mist Warrior is also a medieval romance but it's a Scottish Highlander - different subgenre that's important.

    I liked the artwork so contacted the cover artist. I had enough to do 1 custom cover which was A Time To Live. ATTL was a contemporary suspense thriller but I'd been in the industry long enough that I knew what a loss lead is and how to use that for marketing. So ATTL I designated my loss lead. I decided to offer it free as often as Amazon would allow me and I kept it's price at $0.99. The first books By Any Other Name, Heart's Ransom, and Blind Impulse were all priced at $1.99, but Mist Warrior, I took a risk and priced it at $2.99

    In January 2013 - both Mist Warrior hit the best seller list and the next thing I knew it took off on me. ATTL as a freebie was downloaded over 14,000 times in January (it's also interesting to note that those two titles were cracked and pirated within a week of release.) In order to do the freebies, I have to be in Kindle Select which means exclusivity. So I could only offer the books on Amazon. At the time, that was okay since Amazon was the biggest outlet - I wasn't expecting this to take off, I just wanted to make a little extra money.

    I then went on to release the other novels I had completed. Those also did well, but couldn't match the popularity of Mist Warrior and ATTL Okay so the Scottish Highlander books seem to way to go. I quickly expanded my ideas for Legacy the series I had planned for Mist Warrior. In doing research on another clan, I saw parallels I could use and released Demon Laird in Oct 2013.

    Demon Laird I was able to do not only a custom cover but get an exclusive on the stock image so no one else could use it. I again teamed up with the artist who did Mist Warrior and ATTL but for Demon Laird, I had a very, very specific idea of the cover - that one was in my head in exact detail because it was the first visualization I had in my head when the heroine first meets the hero. So I describe exactly what I wanted and the artist pretty much nailed it. She also did a new cover for Heart's Ransom and I released the sequel to that story Heart's War which she did the cover for too. Those I just gave her an idea on and let her run with them. Both are excellent sellers although they haven't hit any best seller lists - they're solid and dependable every month their pretty consistent.

    Demon Laird outsold Mist Warrior and performed really well. So I wrote the sequel for Demon Laird, Shadowed Hawk and that's where I ran my experiment. And I have those covers on my backups - doggone it I forgot about that.

    But I did three different covers - actually four - but only three on ebook. And the cover I dislike the most is the one that sold the best. The cover that you found originally sold the worst but I like it a lot better than the first. To me that cover is more "fantasy" and reaches to a wider audience. My favorite cover for Shadowed Hawk, which is the third cover and which I have a thumbnail handy so attached here sold moderately but wasn't able to come close of the sales of the first cover. The first was purchased over 1000 times on the day of it's release. Nothing I've released since then has matched that. But Amazon did change up a lot of stuff with their search algorithms at the same time - so you can't ignore that factor gumming up the works.

    Yet the cover I dislike (If you pull up the Demon Laird image on my previous post, you'll see that cover on the series list below it), is also more "classic" to the romance industry. Which is why I think it did better.

    So that was my experiment and the results of the question you asked, First Bastion, because I asked the same thing. lol! Is it definitive, naw - but I thought I'd share.

    I'm going to come back and respond to the other posts I've seen from folks but I gotta get some writing done. lol! I'll be back in a bit.

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    anikad said:
    Book covers created using 3d assets? Rarely seen a good one. The covers almost always seem to look off in some way. Photorealism isn't really the issue. It's more that they rarely seem to consider lighting, angles, realistic posing etc. I think 3d art book covers are hard to do well because they take a lot of time, more so than using stock photo's to get right. That's not to say there aren't a lot of people getting stock photo covers wrong as well.

    If you go to the DAZ3D main page there are "user stories" and examples of 3D art in action, including this one on Book Covers. The Blight of Muirwood by odonoghue has a classic fantasy feel.

    http://www.daz3d.com/explore/user-stories/explore-eamon-odonoghue

    I saw this one! I personally LOVE this cover!

  • anikadanikad Posts: 1,919
    edited June 2015

    anikad said:
    Book covers created using 3d assets? Rarely seen a good one. The covers almost always seem to look off in some way. Photorealism isn't really the issue. It's more that they rarely seem to consider lighting, angles, realistic posing etc. I think 3d art book covers are hard to do well because they take a lot of time, more so than using stock photo's to get right. That's not to say there aren't a lot of people getting stock photo covers wrong as well.

    If you go to the DAZ3D main page there are "user stories" and examples of 3D art in action, including this one on Book Covers. The Blight of Muirwood by odonoghue has a classic fantasy feel.

    http://www.daz3d.com/explore/user-stories/explore-eamon-odonoghue

    Thanks for highlighting that artist. I see that he actually studied art and illustration and has a professional background. It's a good cover and it's clear he knows what he's doing. Sadly most covers are not created by someone like him.

    Most covers seem to be created by for want of a better phrase amateurs who have not devoted enough time to their craft. The covers I've see always put me off buying the book. Some examples below

    I read a lot of romance and particularly with ebooks there is a lot of poor cover art. I've learned to overlook a lot. I can't get over pseudohumans particularly when the covers are always poorly executed. This book is supposed to be a romance. The heroine is not that bad but the hero and posing is straight out of uncanny valley.
    http://www.amazon.com/Paladins-Pride-Box-Angelina-Evans-ebook/dp/B004KZOWNC/ref=pd_sim_sbs_351_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=06XQ4HZECKRJXCPJMWGN#reader_B004KZOWNC The night stalker book from the same author is another example.

    Bad lighting and layering
    http://www.amazon.com/An-American-Ghost-Chester-Aaron/dp/193614428X
    Before we even get to the lighting, the face, body, posing is really unnaturally - freaky even. Streets of Asia is not being used to the best advantage
    http://www.amazon.com/Timeswimmers-Chun-Stanley-G-Lewis-ebook/dp/B00AATVNV6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8
    Unnatural posing and lighting
    http://www.amazon.com/Rivals-Concord-Chronicles-Arianthem-IV-ebook/dp/B00NCGHX90/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1434782308&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rivals+concord

    ETA: Forgot to mention this cover which I thought was one of the better examples of 3d covers. Good lighting and posing: http://www.amazon.com/Destruction-Kirill-Pax-Asteriae-ebook/dp/B00LS7LDMS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    Post edited by anikad on
  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,269
    edited December 1969

    Personally, I like Dark Lure the best - just looking at the thumbnail size and not expanding.

    I think your question is a very interesting one here because I honestly asked it myself. Then did an experiment awhile back....

    [snip]...


    So that was my experiment and the results of the question you asked, First Bastion, because I asked the same thing. lol! Is it definitive, naw - but I thought I'd share.

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

    Thank you Kathryn, that is exactly the kind of "inside baseball" information that helps focus the mind on what matters. So by asking questions, we get answers, and your willingness to share the knowledge from your experiences is truly valuable. Thank you! You might be able to collect these forum posts and write a how to guide for aspiring authors. Knowing what doesn't work is as important as what does. There are always lessons, we just need to be open to them.

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