Sci-Fi Novella Cover Design Contest (WIP Thread) - A.E. McCullough

BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
edited August 2012 in Art Studio

I’m looking for a cover for my upcoming novella:
The Last Spartan: DJ’s Mission

Starting Date: Monday, August 27, 2012
Ending Date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 @ 1800 hours (6:00 PM) Eastern time

This thread will actually be the WIP thread. Post your suggestions, ideas, comments and questions here. Later this week, I will put up the actual contest thread with a poll for to help determine the final three. If you have any questions on the following contest, please feel free to PM, post here or e-mail me – A.E. McCullough

How to Enter:
1. Be logged in to your DAZ3D Forum account to submit a valid entry. I will not accept Anonymous or Guest Entries.
2. Submit your image in .jpg format to the appropriate contest thread.
3. Upload your image using the Post Reply & Browse to Attachment feature (In other words please do not link to your image but rather post it to the thread)
4. Final image should be at a minimum 700 x 1000 pixels @300dpi (this will primarily be an eBook cover) but can be larger. Test renders can be done (and posted) at smaller sizes & lower resolution for speed and ease.
5. Please follow the DAZ Terms of Service.
6. Clearly state in your thread post that the final render you wish to enter is a “Submission” to keep test and concept images easily identifiable.

You May:
1. Enter as many times as you like.
2. Use any 3D program you choose to create your image.
3. This contest is open to anyone.

SUBJECT MATTER:
Sci-Fi – the story mostly takes place on Titan (one of Jupiter’s moons) in the year 2212. Think icy surface & bio-domes for habitats. Ex-Marine Staff Sgt. Scott ‘DJ’ DeJarnette – is contacted by his 12 year old daughter via UR-L8 her ‘babysitting bot’ (think yellow and black boxy robot w/ treads) that she and his ex-wife are being abused by her step-father.

The problem is two-fold 1) according to the Coalition, DJ has no parental rights. They were stripped from him when he was thrown in New Leavenworth 2) His ex-wife’s husband is very rich and powerful. He pretty much runs the Saturn System as his own personal fiefdom and DJ knows that he will be arrested the moment he steps foot on Titan. With the help of his friend, Iaido ‘Achilles’ Spartan, he goes undercover as the bounty hunter ‘Red Falcon’ an old cover identity of Spartan. Unfortunately since he hadn’t used it in many years, someone else has been passing themselves off as the Red Falcon but supposedly, the doppelganger is in Confederate space atm.

Arriving on Titan, DJ gains the help of El Gato, a rogue CIA agent (female – originally blonde but can change her hair color with a simple thought) and Jagger Jax, a former pirate and thief – now reformed and looking for a new career away from the notoriety of his past. For DJ to rescue (ie kidnap since this isn’t a legal bounty) his daughter, he must avoid the Saturn Sheriffs, make (and keep) a deal with the Cartel (the Mob in space) and escape Titan City before the upstart Falcon arrives.

NOTE: Attached is the cover of my 1st novel in the series. I would think that future novels should be in a similar vein but not carbon copies.

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Comments

  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited August 2012

    Contest Legal Stuff:
    -- If you are selected as a contest winner or honorable mention, you agree that the organizer may publicize your community name and your contest entry. Apart from the prizes associated with being selected as a winner, the organizer shall not be obligated to compensate you in any way for such publicity.
    -- Each entrant shall indemnify, defend, and hold A.E. McCullough and DAZ3D harmless from any third party claims arising from or related to that entrant's participation in the contest. In no event shall A.E. McCullough or DAZ3D be liable for acts or omissions arising out of or related to the contest or to an entrant's participation in the contest.
    -- Winners will be chosen by a poll placed on the 'Final Render' thread of this contest. Anyone entering or viewing will be allowed to vote. However, I reserve the right to choose the final image from the top three images picked through the poll. Final choice will be based on how well I believe the submission reflects my upcoming novella.

    Prizes:
    -- The three finalists chosen by the poll will each receive a $25 DAZ 3D Gift Card. Their artwork will also be featured on my website with links to their own personal/professional website.
    -- The winner, chosen from the finalists by my wife and me, will receive an additional $25 DAZ 3D Gift Card, a mention in the book’s front matter and a section in the back of the novel titled -- ‘About the Cover Artist’ -- with a brief bio and contact info.
    -- No other prizes or awards are promised or implied.

    Note: All images entered in the contest are copyrighted and owned by the artist. By submitting to the contest, the artist agrees to grant A.E. McCullough the right to print or otherwise re-publish the submitted images in various marketing or web materials so long as credit is given to the artist as the original creator of the image(s). No image(s) may be taken or used by any other third party without permission from the artist. Any third party digital assets used in the creation of your submission must be licensed to you for unrestricted or commercial purposes.

    Post edited by Brotherlobo on
  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    With the submitted images, do you want the title and your name to be on it (as if its the book cover above) or will you tell us what title you want?

  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    I guess I need to highlight this a bit more. The title of the novella is:
    The Last Spartan: DJ’s Mission

    Submissions can be complete, title and author (use my 1st cover as a guideline) or without text but realize, those without text will have to modified by me with Photoshop to include Title and Author. Either way is fine by me.

  • CNSamsonCNSamson Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    So what sort of armor/spacesuit does the Red Falcon character wear? The same as the one on the previous cover?

  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    No, not really. Actually, if I had DAZ when I did my 1st cover, Spartan would've been wearing the Coalition Rapier Armor. I might redo my 1st cover with the updated armor but it was the best I could do at the time with the programs I had access to.

    As to the Red Falcon armor. Here's how I introduce and describe it in my novella:

    Moving aft, DJ opened the cabinet and whistled when he saw what was inside. His new bounty hunter armor consisted of crimson colored chest plates, leggings, shoulders and arm plates over a black mesh suit that resembled a super high-tech chainmail. In addition, there seemed to be an exo-skeleton aspect that would run along his spine and to each extremity. Of course, there were matching boots and gauntlets to go with the armor.

    DJ immediately recognized it as a heavily modified version of CSA - Confederate Scout Armor. He’d gone up against them too many times during the war not to be familiar with the distinctive armor. He knew CSA wasn’t as advanced or fancy as Iaido’s ARC suit or as durable as his HAVOC-V armor but it had served the Confederate Infantry well during the war.

    Obviously it had also been altered. First to fit his considerable frame, at an even six foot but nearly three-hundred pounds, he was nowhere near the typical size of a scout. Secondly, the helmet had been tweaked to resemble and give the impression of a falcon or at least the upper beak of one. It also differed from the ARC or HAVOC helmet in the fact that it wasn’t a one piece helmet. The lower portion, or beak, could be removed to expose his mouth and chin. This was designed to allow the wearer to eat and drink easily without completely removing the helmet.

    Strapping the armor on, DJ noticed that it was still a bit snug. Another reminder to keep working on his diet but it didn’t seem to constrict his movement at all and was more comfortable than wearing a HAVOC suit. Pulling out the weapons belt, he noticed the twin powered gladii he’d been training with attached to the harness in addition to dual Graver Mk7s and plenty of ammo. As he slipped on the gauntlets, he noted a nozzle on the back of his right hand and a port on his left. It only took a moment for him to figure out that the right hand was the nozzle for a flame thrower and the left was the launching port for a net-gun; a non-lethal device that would be useful in capturing a mark. It seems that Iaido had thought of everything.

    As you can see, I think I still leave a lot to the imagination. I hope that helps.

  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited August 2012

    SUper cool intro to your story. That really gives me an idea of what you want. I just happened to have the Coalition Rapier Armor lying around. Would you accept a logo on the armor or in the image cover for red falcon as part of your cover image (since this is the focal point of the story)?

    Post edited by Jake__Russel on
  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited August 2012

    Jake - the Falcon armor would probably be closer to the 'Sedition' version of the armor. I'm planning on using the Coalition Rapier Armor for Spartan (the main character of the series) but that doesn't exclude you from using it. I might pick up the 'Coaltion Katana' version of the armor and use it for Iaido. Actually, my first tries at rendering the Red Falcon was in the Epsilon armor but then my choices are sorely limited. I've only been working with DAZ since the 14th. The choice of armor is yours, give me your best ideas.

    BTW - This novella is just a way to flesh out my universe. 'The Last Spartan: DJ's Mission' focuses on one of the sidekick characters from my 1st novel. By doing so, I can tell their stories without slowing down Iaido's. I'm also working on the full-fledged sequel...tenatively titled 'The Last Spartan: the Great Hunt' -- target release date March of 2013.

    As to a falcon logo? Sure...I would love that. Go to town.

    For the record...I'm so completely jazzed about this contest. Attached is a WIP for Iaido 'Achilles' Spartan in the Rapier Armor. I'm pretty happy with it but it should have a skull image on the center of the facemask if I was being true to the story. But as I said, this is still a WIP.

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    Post edited by Brotherlobo on
  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    This is a test of the Red Falcon logo I was talking about. Its a little low res but since it will be small or on the side of the armor, it shouldn't matter. Also, about the tattoo on Laido's neck. Describe it a little better. I have a Laido type look for the character I'm rendering and all I need is the tattoo.

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  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited August 2012

    That's nice, I like it.

    BTW - It's not Laido, it's Iaid (capital I as in Indiana)

    Iaid (居合道 Iaidō?) is a modern Japanese martial art associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. The word iaido approximately translates into English as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction." It was coined in the 1930s, replacing the earlier and more literal name battōjutsu (抜刀術 "art of drawing the sword").

    As to Iaido's tattoos - I never really describe them (on purpose) in my first novel, every reader would associate the 'tribal' description different. But if I had to give examples, attached are two images I found doing a quick google search for 'tribal tattoos' - to me, the only animal I imagine Iaido feeling a connection to would be a wolf -- Alpha hunters, prefer to run with a pack but just as deadly solo.

    I hope this helps.

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    Post edited by Brotherlobo on
  • reginahowardreginahoward Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Nice photo. I like the black one for your novel.

  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited August 2012

    I made a new title look for the covers. I have posted some possibilities. I am not sure if you want to go with a plain look or a more bold look or you want it to be just simple letters like your original cover.

    Also about the armor. You said that the first armor would use the sedition armor on the first cover. Do you want it red and black like it is, or all black. Reason I ask is because I have already rendered a red and black armor and would like to post it as a WIP cover either today or tomorrow.

    Also Iaido: What about a cover with him with no armor (his real identity) and one with his armor?

    Also, I realized I don't own the Rapier Armor so I will have to buy it later.

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  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    Jake - I like the looks of the new title. Especially, #3 & 5 (my wife agrees).

    Also looking forward to see your WIP.

  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited August 2012

    WORK IN PROGRESS IMAGE ONLY (NOT FINAL IMAGE)

    I will be brave and post my first WIP. I'm a little nervous because this is my first contest I have ever entered in (at least online). Its not finished but basically its what the finished version will look like (the final will be 1500x2158). Believe it or not, this is like the 6th version of this cover. Not sure if your next book will be about this but its one you could use for another book. I assume you want the 3 main characters on the cover so I will probably scrap this one or leave it as an alternate one. Working on a second version with Iaido (without suit, and what I think he would look like from your description along with El gato and DJ). Will post that sometime soon.

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    Post edited by Jake__Russel on
  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited August 2012

    WORK IN PROGRESS IMAGE ONLY (NOT FINAL IMAGE)

    I will be brave and post my first WIP. I'm a little nervous because this is my first contest I have ever entered in (at least online). Its not finished but basically its what the finished version will look like (the final will be 1500x2158). Believe it or not, this is like the 6th version of this cover. Not sure if your next book will be about this but its one you could use for another book. I assume you want the 3 main characters on the cover so I will probably scrap this one or leave it as an alternate one. Working on a second version with Iaido (without suit, and what I think he would look like from your description along with El gato and DJ). Will post that sometime soon.

    WOW!!! Nice looking cover! ATM - you are the only one who's posted a WIP cover and it's looking really good. Also, don't forget the subtitle: 'DJ's Misson' under 'The Last Spartan'

    BTW - If you are working on a second one with the three main characters, leave off Iaido and add Jagger Jax. As I said Iaido, only has a bit part (beginning and the end).

    I am looking forward to seeing your final version and any other versions you might submit.

    Post edited by Brotherlobo on
  • CNSamsonCNSamson Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    So do we post our official entries in this thread, or will you be starting another thread for that (as mentioned in the first post)?

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 19,925
    edited August 2012

    I, or one of my colleagues, will be helping him with putting up an entry thread a bit later on. As we are going to include a Poll, so that there can be a popular vote on entries we need most of the entires to be done first before they are moved over the the contest thread, as we will need to add names to the poll.

    SO I suggest that you use this thread for now, and If, by chance. you sre not around when the voting thread is put up we can always move the image or images over for you.

    Post edited by Chohole on
  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Choloe...you "beat me to the punch" on answering him.

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 19,925
    edited December 1969

    Sometimes I am on the ball, although there are other times I do miss the easy pass.

  • CNSamsonCNSamson Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    chohole said:
    I, or one of my colleagues, will be helping him with putting up an entry thread a bit later on. As we are going to include a Poll, so that there can be a popular vote on entries we need most of the entires to be done first before they are moved over the the contest thread, as we will need to add names to the poll.

    SO I suggest that you use this thread for now, and If, by chance. you sre not around when the voting thread is put up we can always move the image or images over for you.

    All righty, thanks!

  • CNSamsonCNSamson Posts: 0
    edited August 2012

    Okay, here's my official submission for the contest. The only cool armor I have is the Xurge Nanosuit, which doesn't quite match the description of the Red Falcon, but I figured I'd given the cover a shot anyways. (The image of Saturn is public domain, BTW.)

    Edit: this is a smaller version of the original image, which is 700x1000 px.

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    Post edited by CNSamson on
  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited August 2012

    CNSamson said:
    Okay, here's my official submission for the contest. The only cool armor I have is the Xurge Nanosuit, which doesn't quite match the description of the Red Falcon, but I figured I'd given the cover a shot anyways. (The image of Saturn is public domain, BTW.)

    Edit: this is a smaller version of the original image, which is 700x1000 px.

    Nice work! Don't worry about matching the armor perfectly -- I describe it slightly in the novella but left a lot to the imagination on purpose.
    We'll make sure its moved over to the Contest thread when it is up and running. Thanks for entering, It looks good.

    Post edited by Brotherlobo on
  • CNSamsonCNSamson Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Nice work! Don't worry about matching the armor perfectly -- I describe it slightly in the novella but left a lot to the imagination on purpose. We'll make sure its moved over to the Contest thread when it is up and running. Thanks for entering, It looks good.

    Cheers!

    Oh, and I assume that entries can't be displayed anywhere else (e.g. DeviantArt) until the contest is over?

  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    WORK IN PROGRESS IMAGE (NOT FINAL)

    Here is another cover. This has El Gato and DJ. I am not finished with this image because it needs to be re-rendered because I didn't light it right, causing it to have very long render times. I will re-render this overnight to get it just right. The border and title is complete but the main image will be slightly different from this one. This new border and title will be the final cover for the 3 covers I will submit. I am now working on Jagger Jax and will post that tomorrow. I am still trying to make one with all three in one image. My goal is to submit 3 covers (at 1500x2170) for the official entry next week.

    Below the image is some other experiments with the title. I don't think this works with the space theme so these are scrapped. Just thought they would be interesting to see. I may use this style for one of my stories later on.

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  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited September 2012

    WORK IN PROGRESS (NOT FINAL IMAGE)

    Here is another cover I will submit. I am trying to get the background perfect. I'm working on a more suitable background and want it to be different from the first one. The rendering is also not finished (5 hours so far) Will post the group image (3 main characters) this afternoon or tomorrow. Should be finished with all covers by Friday and will submit the final versions then.

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  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    Nice....looking forward to seeing the final renders and hopefully more submissions from you and others :-)

  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Nice....looking forward to seeing the final renders and hopefully more submissions from you and others :-)

    I am looking foreword to seeing other submissions too. I shouldn't be the only one. Surely there are others out there who want to win $25? I try to submit something to this thread to keep it at the top of the list.

    What are the titles of your other books?

  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    Nice....looking forward to seeing the final renders and hopefully more submissions from you and others :-)

    I am looking foreword to seeing other submissions too. I shouldn't be the only one. Surely there are others out there who want to win $25? I try to submit something to this thread to keep it at the top of the list.

    What are the titles of your other books?

    At the moment, there is 1 other submission, but then this was Labor Day weekend and the beginning of football season....maybe everyone else was just busy

    I do have 2 fantasy novels out atm....but I have been discussing new cover art with a professional cover artist over the last month -- if it falls thru, I will be running a similar contest or contacting some artists here directly. Although, I do have a different fantasy novel that is 3/4 of the way done but I've put on the 'back burner' until I finish my current Sci-fi novel and Fantasy series sequel. I know I will have a contest cover for that one....more details to follow.

  • Jake__RusselJake__Russel Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I do have 2 fantasy novels out atm....but I have been discussing new cover art with a professional cover artist over the last month -- if it falls thru, I will be running a similar contest or contacting some artists here directly. Although, I do have a different fantasy novel that is 3/4 of the way done but I've put on the 'back burner' until I finish my current Sci-fi novel and Fantasy series sequel. I know I will have a contest cover for that one....more details to follow.

    Wow, you sound like me. I am working on an epic fantasy series myself. I had to put it on the "back burner" to work on my kids iBook I will be publishing in a month as a way to get my name out there when I finally publish my first fantasy novel next year. I also have a sci-fi trilogy in the works but that won't be finished for another year or 2.

    About this contest. Maybe there are others who have read this thread and are diligently working on their cover and have just not said anything. Over 600 people have viewed this thread. At least 50 of those are considering the challenge. Remember, its officially over Sept. 16 so there is plenty of time for others to enter.

  • Proxima ShiningProxima Shining Posts: 1,001
    edited September 2012

    I am looking foreword to seeing other submissions too. I shouldn't be the only one. Surely there are others out there who want to win $25? I try to submit something to this thread to keep it at the top of the list.

    What are the titles of your other books?

    I would like to participate but I am not skilled enough yet. Plus I have several difficult college exams in September, so I have to concentrate on them and not fiddle with 3D. But I wish A. E. best luck with the book and the contest and I will be silently following this thread. I am curious who will win.

    Post edited by Proxima Shining on
  • BrotherloboBrotherlobo Posts: 445
    edited December 1969

    I would like to participate but I am not skilled enough yet. Plus I have several difficult college exams in September, so I have to concentrate on them and not fiddle with 3D. But I wish A. E. best luck with the book and the contest and I will be silently following this thread. I am curious who will win.

    Thanks for the well wishes Proxima -- I too am curious to see who wins.

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