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FINAL COVER DESIGNS FOR A. E. McCullough NOVELLA “THE LAST SPARTAN: DJ’S MISSION”
Posted: 26 September 2012 03:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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For those who did not keep up with the two threads about A.E. McCullough’s upcoming novella titled “The last spartan: DJ’s Mission”, A. E. was looking for a cover for his upcoming novella. A suggestion was made for him to have a contest to see if someone could create a cover similar to the one he already made (which was also good). After many people participated, it was a tight race and two people were selected as winners. CNSamson’s cool design “Red Falcon Saturn” was in the lead from the beginning. It then became a tie with CNSamson and me. If I didn’t submit more than one cover, I probably would have lost to his cover design. (I really liked Marty D’s “Zero day” cover design and Odaa’s “The defenders” too).

A. E. wanted my covers to be tweaked a little further to get it closer to his vision of the cover he would want to attach to his new and exciting novella. So I promised to show my progress in a new thread. Here are the three he has chosen and would like me to either improve or add minor additions.

Also: If you have a Kindle or a Kindle app, check out his first novella “The last spartan: Different paths”.

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Spartan-Different-Paths/dp/1470086239/ref=la_B0054ROQOU_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348651117&sr=1-2

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Eye_of_the_Beholder.jpgDJs_Fate.jpgReflection.jpg
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Posted: 26 September 2012 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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WORK IN PROGRESS

Here is a “re-mix” of the “DJ’s Fate” (the one with DJ against the wall) cover design. A.E. and some of his co-workers suggested a better pose because it looked like a video game cover the way it was before (hope I understood correctly). I think his suggestion was actually accurate. So here is hopefully a better version.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Here is a “re-mix” of the “Eye of the beholder”. A.E. and his co-workers suggested that DJ’s daughter looked too old or looked like a “blow up doll” and she should be more behind DJ and peaking out. I think I see what he means because maybe the pigtails and the pink shirt make her look like a “doll” rather than a girl. He also mentioned that his daughter was 12 going on 16 with a liking to tough tomboyish activities. So I needed to make the daughter a little more tomboyish but still girly, so to speak. I hope this is better A.E.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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WORK IN PROGRESS

Here is a “re-mix” of “reflection”. I am working on fixing the original with the reflection of DJ’s daughter in the glass, but here is another version I tried.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I love your work and only have one thing to say, the DJ’s Fate re-mix is not the best work you have done. As the Artist I know you did it by the book and it is technically correct, but the stance looks off balance to me as an observer. The rear leg position throw’s the render off balance as well as the character. I hope this helps.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Jaderail - 26 September 2012 05:08 AM

I love your work and only have one thing to say, the DJ’s Fate re-mix is not the best work you have done. As the Artist I know you did it by the book and it is technically correct, but the stance looks off balance to me as an observer. The rear leg position throw’s the render off balance as well as the character. I hope this helps.

A. E. wanted the focus to be on DJ in his red falcon suit. So I am hoping this will be more of what he was looking for. As far as the leg position, I will try to see if I can plant both of his feet on the ground. Right now, this is just a work in progress and will probably be revised several times. Thanks for the critique.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jake__Russel - 26 September 2012 04:14 AM

WORK IN PROGRESS

Here is a “re-mix” of “reflection”. I am working on fixing the original with the reflection of DJ’s daughter in the glass, but here is another version I tried.

I love this one Jake! Not sure how the title will look on it though. I think it will cover up the top right piece of glass with the reflection in it. Also, one of the reflections should be his daughter - I would think you could replace the bottom left image of DJ with the gun.

As to the re-work of DJ’s fate, I agree with the leg placement that Jaderail suggested. But you don’t have to take out DJ in plain clothes, still have him there with the Red Falcon standing beside him (ie - Jagger Jax is in the suit near the end of the story). And to keep from using a grenade or something on the gang of thugs, if his daughter was visible being held hostage would explain the standoff.

Keep up the good work and thanks Jake.

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Brotherlobo aka A.E. McCullough
Self-published Author and Hobbyist Designer

Checkout my website @ http://www.aemccullough.com
or on Amazon @ A.E. McCullough on Amazon
or ‘like’ me on Facebook @ A.E. McCullough on Facebook
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Posted: 26 September 2012 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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aemccullough - 26 September 2012 01:23 PM
Jake__Russel - 26 September 2012 04:14 AM

WORK IN PROGRESS

Here is a “re-mix” of “reflection”. I am working on fixing the original with the reflection of DJ’s daughter in the glass, but here is another version I tried.

I love this one Jake! Not sure how the title will look on it though. I think it will cover up the top right piece of glass with the reflection in it. Also, one of the reflections should be his daughter - I would think you could replace the bottom left image of DJ with the gun.

As to the re-work of DJ’s fate, I agree with the leg placement that Jaderail suggested. But you don’t have to take out DJ in plain clothes, still have him there with the Red Falcon standing beside him (ie - Jagger Jax is in the suit near the end of the story). And to keep from using a grenade or something on the gang of thugs, if his daughter was visible being held hostage would explain the standoff.

Keep up the good work and thanks Jake.

The glass shards with the images inside was an experiment. I quickly added some images to see how it would look. My goal is to make sure the daughter is a focus on all the cover designs.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Here is a low res edit of the previous image with the additions suggested. Its very hard to make such a crowded scene in a vertical rectangle since this would better suit a wide scene. I may need to put less guards in the scene.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Here is a test of a re-make of “reflection”. There’s still some things that can change. Its at a higher resolution and has the red falcon suit and the daughter in the background reflection. Not sure if DJ should be doing something since this is more of a “calm” reflection of things to come.

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Reflection_(FIRST).jpg
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Posted: 27 September 2012 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks for the kind words, Jake!  Some random thoughts on your WIPs…

latest version of DJ’s Fate: the capture of the girl adds more interest to that right side of the image, which before was just a bunch of thugs and a broken wall.  You might be able to zoom the camera out slightly and get roughly the same visual and emotional content with a slightly less cramped feel.

Reworking of Eye of the Beholder: I thought the daughter’s face looked a bit “middle-aged” in this, but it may just be the angle-don’t have a problem with how she looks in DJ’s Fate.

Latest version of Reflection: Really cool idea, this is the one I’d be voting for.

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Posted: 28 September 2012 02:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Odaa - 27 September 2012 08:28 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Jake!  Some random thoughts on your WIPs…

latest version of DJ’s Fate: the capture of the girl adds more interest to that right side of the image, which before was just a bunch of thugs and a broken wall.  You might be able to zoom the camera out slightly and get roughly the same visual and emotional content with a slightly less cramped feel.

Reworking of Eye of the Beholder: I thought the daughter’s face looked a bit “middle-aged” in this, but it may just be the angle-don’t have a problem with how she looks in DJ’s Fate.

Latest version of Reflection: Really cool idea, this is the one I’d be voting for.

I agree that the daughter adds interest in DJ’s fate. I am struggling to get the daughter to look young. I used the K4 skin and of course the kid morph for genesis, but it still comes out looking like a really short adult. I changed her hair color to blond in the reflection to make her look younger. I will a zoomed out version as well to see if that looks better. Its a complex scene and will be hard to get looking right with a vertical image.

The eye of the beholder will be re-rendered with her with blond hair to see if that makes her look younger. I can’t think of anything else to improve or add to eye of the beholder as far as the background. I will probably just re-do the daughters hair and leave it at that.

I am not liking the reflection version with the broken glass. It doesn’t look right to me compared to the other ones I did. I may work on it a little more and then scrap it in favor of the latest version.

 

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Posted: 28 September 2012 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Jake,

I like the new Reflection. I’m going to send to via e-mail to my kindle to really see how it looks and will let you know.
I agree with Odaa about panning the camera back on DJ’s Fate….looking for to seeing that tweak.
The same for the Eye of the Beholder. The figures on the blue background just don’t give it the whole effect.
As for the breaking glass version of Reflection—don’t completely scrap the idea…one of my buddies at work came up with a suggestion that might be perfect for it but I will have to take more time than I have before work to explain. I’ll PM or e-mail you with it.

All in all, I’m liking the progress…Reflection is still in the lead. Oh…one thing, did you mean for DJ’s holster to be empty? I just noticed it last night and it got me wondering.

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Checkout my website @ http://www.aemccullough.com
or on Amazon @ A.E. McCullough on Amazon
or ‘like’ me on Facebook @ A.E. McCullough on Facebook
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Posted: 28 September 2012 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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aemccullough - 28 September 2012 02:51 AM

Jake,

I like the new Reflection. I’m going to send to via e-mail to my kindle to really see how it looks and will let you know.
I agree with Odaa about panning the camera back on DJ’s Fate….looking for to seeing that tweak.
The same for the Eye of the Beholder. The figures on the blue background just don’t give it the whole effect.
As for the breaking glass version of Reflection—don’t completely scrap the idea…one of my buddies at work came up with a suggestion that might be perfect for it but I will have to take more time than I have before work to explain. I’ll PM or e-mail you with it.

All in all, I’m liking the progress…Reflection is still in the lead. Oh…one thing, did you mean for DJ’s holster to be empty? I just noticed it last night and it got me wondering.

Reflection is (to me) even better after your suggestion for the reflection of the red falcon and daughter. The holster was not left empty on purpose but I didn’t think it would matter if it was empty. I was thinking maybe to have the gun in his right hand while his left was on his hip. I may do that to see how it looks.

The eye of the beholder above is a test shot and the blue area is the transparent part of the image. I submitted it to see if I got what you wanted a little better (the daughter behind the leg). I am still struggling to get her looking young enough. I hope blond hair is okay. I will try a different pose for her and then composite it with the original background.

And let me know if the image size 1400x2000 is too big or just right. It puts a strain on my system to render at that resolution. I much prefer the 700x1000 size to have faster renderings. (The bigger size takes 6-7 hours, while the smaller takes 2-4 hours).

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Posted: 28 September 2012 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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That’s a good face shape for her IMHO

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Posted: 28 September 2012 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Jake__Russel - 28 September 2012 05:18 AM

Reflection is (to me) even better after your suggestion for the reflection of the red falcon and daughter. The holster was not left empty on purpose but I didn’t think it would matter if it was empty. I was thinking maybe to have the gun in his right hand while his left was on his hip. I may do that to see how it looks.

The eye of the beholder above is a test shot and the blue area is the transparent part of the image. I submitted it to see if I got what you wanted a little better (the daughter behind the leg). I am still struggling to get her looking young enough. I hope blond hair is okay. I will try a different pose for her and then composite it with the original background.

And let me know if the image size 1400x2000 is too big or just right. It puts a strain on my system to render at that resolution. I much prefer the 700x1000 size to have faster renderings. (The bigger size takes 6-7 hours, while the smaller takes 2-4 hours).

Jake,
—You can do the smaller renderings to speed things up until you have everything tweaked just right. As to the size, your big version works great on my kindle.
And as much as I want to see your final versions of DJ’s Fate and Eye of the Beholder...I am pretty sold on Reflection. It by far is my favorite.
Two things…1) Yes, its minor but the empty gun holster bothers me. Not sure why but ever since I noticed it, it jumps out at me. Having him hold it works or the gun just in the holster would be fine also. 2) On the original version of Reflection you had bullet holes in the glass….I liked that. Keep the ‘cracks’ you have now but at least add a couple of the bullet holes (incidentally overtop the Red Falcon—a bit of foreshadowing there).
Once again…thanks. I’m excited to see the final product and should have my manuscript to my test readers by next weekend.
<fingers crossed> grin

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Brotherlobo aka A.E. McCullough
Self-published Author and Hobbyist Designer

Checkout my website @ http://www.aemccullough.com
or on Amazon @ A.E. McCullough on Amazon
or ‘like’ me on Facebook @ A.E. McCullough on Facebook
or on deviantArt @  Brotherlobo @ deviantArt

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