Book Covers

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,577
    edited December 1969

    anikad said:

    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

    It is true, a bad looking cover can kill the chances of a book selling, regardless of how good the writing is. 3D programs like DAZ Studio have opened up the possibilities for anyone to create art. Whether or not that art will be great, still depends on the talent, training, and experience of the artist. Honing the "craft" applies just as much to art creation as it would to writing. We all learn by doing.

  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,063
    edited December 1969

    There are always different ways to get good results. So far I made covers for other artists from photos- the example (my best selling cover so far) is made from two vectors and parts of eight or nine different photos. This one made first place bestseller on the German fantasy Kindle list two years ago.
    And I made covers from photos which I changed to look like drawings. The women on the second (not yet published) cover is a photo which I manipiulated so that it could be combined with the painting.
    Now I need covers with monsteres and dragons, which DAZ can privide, plus human couples - which I will try to create in 3D. I'll show you the results, some time in the future.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    SimonJM said:
    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! :)

    Hi Simon! I agree! No matter if you do the writing or the cover or both - there's definitely something to be said for - goal achieved! Next! lol!

    I like the cover - the subject matter definitely has me intrigued. There's definitely a fine line between conveying certain elements in the book and maintaining an artistic balance.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited June 2015

    anikad said:
    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

    Hi Anikad! Sorry I didn't get to say hi before. I like seeing a thread active with responses but sometimes it's tough to keep up.

    And wow - those are some doozies you posted. On the blog - thebookdesigner.com There's an ebook cover contest every month, and holy cow, sometimes you just have to wonder.

    But hey, I'm guilty of my own stinkers too.

    The cover for Blind Impulse was one I did when I first published to Amazon back in 2012 and sadly is still the book's cover. For By Any Other Name the white cover is the same thing as Blind Impulse, the BAON cover with the knight and couple is what I was working on trying to figure out a replacement. It's still very much a work in progress so there's a chance to save that one since I haven't published it yet.

    And my Spirit of Dragons cover is absolutely awful - nothing like shooting yourself in the foot - huh? lol!

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    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    ejk_san said:
    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.

    I think I've run across this cover before - not sure if it was on Amazon or elsewhere. I really like it because it does convey the scif/fi techno-thriller and the pose is a good one - especially since he's pointing his blaster straight at you - those angles are really tough to get right sometimes.

    I hope you don't mind if I offer something that struck me - this is just my opinion, nothing more. But while I like what you've done with the 3D aspect, I think it loses a bit of its punch because it looks a bit flat on the cover. If we had something showing a little more depth, say a planet or just something zooming past him I think it might help.Or something in the foreground to frame maybe. But that's just a thought I had and wanted to mention so take it with a grain of salt. I really do like the cover!

    And thank you for the comment on my iray! I really appreciate it. I see where you guys are coming from with the female's skin looking a bit plastic. I'm battling with that in a couple of images but I think I figured out a tweak. I'm going to try a few more tests and see if it holds up. If it does, I'll post it, if not - it's back to the drawing board.

    I am running into something else that I hope you guys might be able to help me with but I'm waiting for the renders to finish first.

  • SimonJMSimonJM Posts: 5,363
    edited December 1969

    SimonJM said:
    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! :)

    Hi Simon! I agree! No matter if you do the writing or the cover or both - there's definitely something to be said for - goal achieved! Next! lol!

    I like the cover - the subject matter definitely has me intrigued. There's definitely a fine line between conveying certain elements in the book and maintaining an artistic balance.
    The great thing is I don't 'do book covers', I just dabble with 3D stuff and my friend does, on occassion, say, "oh, I stole for a cover" ... ;) I'm not good at doing 'art' to order, lol ;)

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    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.

    :red: Awwww shucks! Thank you! Always happy to help - even if it takes me four pages to post it. lol! Thanks hun!

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,577
    edited June 2015


    ...

    And I made covers from photos which I changed to look like drawings. The women on the second (not yet published) cover is a photo which I manipiulated so that it could be combined with the painting.
    ....

    The Ragnhild cover is a definite eye catcher. The two warriors battling could probably stand on its own, but adding the pensive female adds a story telling element that should do well to get customers attention.

    I think it would be worth considering a different font for the title. Something like Morpheus or anything in the medieval easy to read style.

    http://www.dafont.com/morpheus.font
    http://www.dafont.com/ringbearer.font

    Post edited by FirstBastion on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    There are always different ways to get good results. So far I made covers for other artists from photos- the example (my best selling cover so far) is made from two vectors and parts of eight or nine different photos. This one made first place bestseller on the German fantasy Kindle list two years ago.
    And I made covers from photos which I changed to look like drawings. The women on the second (not yet published) cover is a photo which I manipiulated so that it could be combined with the painting.
    Now I need covers with monsteres and dragons, which DAZ can privide, plus human couples - which I will try to create in 3D. I'll show you the results, some time in the future.

    Hiya Cherp - now that second cover - I LOVE IT! I think it's fantastic! It's really nice.

    And I'm kinda looking at the same thing you are - elements to combine into book covers or other art.

    Oh speaking of dragons this one is a WIP in photoshop, I haven't tried it with DAZ yet but I think you can see where I'm going.

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  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,063
    edited December 1969

    Kathryn, I would say, take a DAZ-Dragon and keep the rest of your photoshop work, cause it looks very fitting for the theme.

    @FirstBastion: The letters are placeholders so far, I haven't decided on the font yet. Will try your suggestions, thank you!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Kathryn, I would say, take a DAZ-Dragon and keep the rest of your photoshop work, cause it looks very fitting for the theme.

    @FirstBastion: The letters are placeholders so far, I haven't decided on the font yet. Will try your suggestions, thank you!

    Thanks Cherp! Let me see what I can do. The fun thing with that one is, in my books Spirit of Dragons and the one I'm working on now, Rage of Dragons, the hero comes form a magical race of people called the Kindred, The Kindred are humans but share their souls with dragons, giving them the ability to transform into dragons and cast the elemental magic of their dragon spirits (Fire, Water, Earth and then there's the Golden Dragons who can cast all three but not with the same strength and they have the ability to heal but with limitations). Anyway, the dragon is also a distinct and separate personality. So in this society, there are no family surnames, when they bond with their dragon spirit, they take on the name of the dragon.

    In the first book, the hero's name is Lathan. His dragon spirit is a golden dragon named Aro - therefore his name is Lathan Aro, and when the Kindred greet each other, they typically greet both the human and the dragon, calling them by their full name to start, then they'll move to simply addressing each other by their first names.

    In Rage of Dragons, Lathan's brother is Revian, he bonded with a fire dragon named Volus - Revian Volus. Fire dragons nest in volcanos. But I ran into a hitch - the etymology of the word volcano is actually rather modern - volcano didn't come into usage until 15th or 16th century. And I'm like well, they had to call it something, because Volcano comes from the Latin "Volcanus" which the literal translation is "Vulcan's Forge." So I settled for that - fire dragons especially refer to volcanos but they'll say something like "a lair in Vulcan's Forge."

    When I started on ideas for the cover, I found the stock image with the volcanic lightning and well - that's Vulcan's Forge right there. lol!

    But now I'm in something of a quandary with a different image - jumping back to my initial renders with the guy standinging in front of the castle. I'm wanting to add things like a plaid for my Scottish titles - and no, we're not talking Braveheart here. Great movie but so historically inaccurate it's not funny.

    Basically the Scottish plaid is simply a piece of fabric that's used like a cloak. When not needed it's worn over the shoulder and secured with a celtic style cloak pin, and tucked into the belt around the waist. If it would start raining or get cold, they'd drape it over their head and shoulders, again securing it with the cloak pin.

    Now there are some nice celtic packs in the store that I have in my wish list but they're not on sale and I really don't want to spend $20 when I'm only going to use the cloak/plaid aspect. I want to try exhausting my resources that I have on hand. So I was fidding with the textures for the cape that came with the Night Guard pack. I've got the plaid looking ok - but the cape itself isn't cooperating.

    I also have the hooded cloak for Genesis 2 male and that one's even worse (I'll do some renders if anyone wants to see it). How difficult would it be to make a hooded cloak for DAZ? And what sort of software would I be looking at since I don't have Carrera? I've got Sculptris and tried that but you'd think something like this would be simple - Sculptris keeps crashing. I have Blender downloaded but haven't the first clue how to model anything in it. *sigh*

    Help!

    Thanks!

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  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,063
    edited December 1969

    Hm. I think the cape looks wrong because the folds are nearly parallel, and that doesn't look natural. I would try to deform it a bit, so that it looks like the wind is twisting the cloth.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Hm. I think the cape looks wrong because the folds are nearly parallel, and that doesn't look natural. I would try to deform it a bit, so that it looks like the wind is twisting the cloth.

    Yeah, I'm using the deformers that come with it and that's the best I can do. I don't know if I can apply any deformers in addition or not.

    What little I was able to adjust - just using the standard rotation and stuff under parameters when selecting the actual bones, not the morphs, comes really close to causing the dreaded Gimbaling. But so do some of these morphs. I'm not even going to waste my time rendering the hooded cloak - that was awful!

    Since I know I can draw cloaks in Photoshop, I'm really close to just leaving it for post. But now it's irritating me and when something like this irritates me, I won't let it go until I figure it out. I can't stand having an inanimate object kick my butt.

    :coolgrin:

  • BradCarstenBradCarsten Posts: 739
    edited December 1969

    What a great thread, Thanks for sharing. I am also a writer that decided to turn to 3d for my covers. I found with stock images you couldn't get exactly what you needed. There was always something wrong. The protagonist of my second novel was an overweight 14 year old kid, and there is absolutely nothing like that on stock sites. Now with Daz I can fire up genesis, add a bit of weight and the clothes just fit. It's amazing. I came here intending to buy enough assets for 3 covers - One for each of my novels, and got so excited by all of this I've ended up with close to 200 items in my inventory. :D

    I can highly recommend Dreamlight's tutorials if you want to push your renders to the next level. Lighting can really make or break your covers
    If you're interested I would start with DAZ Studio Illuminated - Master DS Lighting.

    Just for fun, here's an image I entered into one of the members only competitions. (I'm not sure if you have access to that part of the forum)
    It's supposed to be a Harry Potter tribute, but I will probably pull out the characters and insert my own somewhere down the line and use it for one of my covers. I just need to master a few more things, like SSS and iray etc first.
    It's a retextured "The shoppes for Victorian street" and I used blender to create the slate roofs and smoke.

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  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,063
    edited December 1969

    I like the composition. And the people look very much Harry-Potter-like. There is also enough space for title and author name. But if you use this as a book cover, you will have to give more light to the people standing, or nobody will recognize anything in the Amazon thumbnails.

  • BradCarstenBradCarsten Posts: 739
    edited December 1969

    I like the composition. And the people look very much Harry-Potter-like. There is also enough space for title and author name. But if you use this as a book cover, you will have to give more light to the people standing, or nobody will recognize anything in the Amazon thumbnails.

    Yeah, I will do something completely different for the foreground, but you're right, whatever I do I need to make sure it looks good as a thumbnail- That's a good point to keep in mind.

  • jauntworksjauntworks Posts: 23
    edited December 1969

    I hope you don’t mind if I offer something that struck me - this is just my opinion, nothing more. But while I like what you’ve done with the 3D aspect, I think it loses a bit of its punch because it looks a bit flat on the cover. If we had something showing a little more depth, say a planet or just something zooming past him I think it might help.Or something in the foreground to frame maybe. But that’s just a thought I had and wanted to mention so take it with a grain of salt. I really do like the cover!

    Nope no problems, thanks for the input. He's actually in the depths of the Pacific Ocean—big set piece battle takes place in a deep sea trench—so not much in the way of depth perception, I'm afraid! I also rendered this before I had a better grasp of lighting and camera depth of focus, lessons I've since learned and put to work in my comic.

    Thanks for the constructive criticism, it's hard to get better when no one sees your images.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    bradrg said:
    What a great thread, Thanks for sharing. I am also a writer that decided to turn to 3d for my covers. I found with stock images you couldn't get exactly what you needed. There was always something wrong. The protagonist of my second novel was an overweight 14 year old kid, and there is absolutely nothing like that on stock sites. Now with Daz I can fire up genesis, add a bit of weight and the clothes just fit. It's amazing. I came here intending to buy enough assets for 3 covers - One for each of my novels, and got so excited by all of this I've ended up with close to 200 items in my inventory. :D

    I can highly recommend Dreamlight's tutorials if you want to push your renders to the next level. Lighting can really make or break your covers
    If you're interested I would start with DAZ Studio Illuminated - Master DS Lighting.

    Just for fun, here's an image I entered into one of the members only competitions. (I'm not sure if you have access to that part of the forum)
    It's supposed to be a Harry Potter tribute, but I will probably pull out the characters and insert my own somewhere down the line and use it for one of my covers. I just need to master a few more things, like SSS and iray etc first.
    It's a retextured "The shoppes for Victorian street" and I used blender to create the slate roofs and smoke.

    Hi Brad! Welcome, welcome, pull up a chair and join us.

    I hear you on the assets - I keep shoving stuff into my wishlist left and right. lol!

    I have seen some of Dreamlight's tuts - in fact I think the video series I have on Book Covers is by them - but I'll have to look. I have a hard time with it because it's not focused and gets a little rambly so I haven't watched the whole thing yet.

    I love the image you posted! I see you responded to Cherp and yeah, I agree so cool, cool, that you're getting that rolling.

    And yes I do have access to the members only. I have something in my head for that contest - don't know if I can pull it off though since my schedule is so full right now. But I think yours is definitely awesome!

    I'm also glad to see so many writers and artists and those doing double-duty! This is wonderful!

    I want to give y'all a heads up, I'm gearing up my twitch.tv channel, for creative. On it I'm going to have writing, the craft, and stuff I've learned over the years, and I'm also going to be doing stuff with DAZ and a bunch of tips and tricks I picked up in photoshop - like the cloak and stitching stuff from above. I'll be featuring different pro guests now and then but also tapping from the audience as well on different things. When I get that rolling y'all are invited - so I'll let you know when that gets ready to kick off.

    The other tuts, Brad, I'll definitely check out - thank you very much!

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

  • BradCarstenBradCarsten Posts: 739
    edited December 1969

    Hi Brad! Welcome, welcome, pull up a chair and join us.

    I hear you on the assets - I keep shoving stuff into my wishlist left and right. lol!

    I have seen some of Dreamlight's tuts - in fact I think the video series I have on Book Covers is by them - but I'll have to look. I have a hard time with it because it's not focused and gets a little rambly so I haven't watched the whole thing yet.

    I love the image you posted! I see you responded to Cherp and yeah, I agree so cool, cool, that you're getting that rolling.

    And yes I do have access to the members only. I have something in my head for that contest - don't know if I can pull it off though since my schedule is so full right now. But I think yours is definitely awesome!

    I'm also glad to see so many writers and artists and those doing double-duty! This is wonderful!

    I want to give y'all a heads up, I'm gearing up my twitch.tv channel, for creative. On it I'm going to have writing, the craft, and stuff I've learned over the years, and I'm also going to be doing stuff with DAZ and a bunch of tips and tricks I picked up in photoshop - like the cloak and stitching stuff from above. I'll be featuring different pro guests now and then but also tapping from the audience as well on different things. When I get that rolling y'all are invited - so I'll let you know when that gets ready to kick off.

    The other tuts, Brad, I'll definitely check out - thank you very much!

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

    That sounds interesting, you must definitely keep us informed. I've got a whole bunch of writing podcasts I listen to, and blogs I follow, but it would be interesting to have something that combines writing and art.

  • BradCarstenBradCarsten Posts: 739
    edited June 2015

    Sorry, clicked send prematurely.

    I also have a huge wishlist and the constant sales don't help either. When something is going for an unbelievable price it's hard to say no, even if you don't quite know where you'll use it lol

    looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the competition (if you get the free time of course.) It doesn't hurt that there's some good prizes up for grabs. :)

    Yes, dreamlight does have a course on designing covers, so that probably is his then. He is slow and methodical (I enjoy his style) but I found the lighting course to be quite focused and he gives you a lot of information. I learned so much, but I guess it depends on how much experience and knowledge you're bringing in with you.

    Post edited by BradCarsten on
  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 261
    edited December 1969

    This is a fabulous thread, thanks so much for opening it, as I have been reading it with great interest.

    One of the statements made early on was that many of the poses look too plastic to successfully compete with stock photos. I do agree with you, 3d is not to the point where it can accurately replace photos (yet); however, there are some really good vendors for poses which are fairly realistic. The vendor Elele does a pretty good job pose-wise. Also, one of the reasons I am sooooooo jazzed about Iray is that it's providing us the tools to inject that much more realism into our renders.

    One of the things that I couldn't fully determine from the previous thread was, if you were additionally trying to use 3d for promotional video for your books?

    For realistic clothing draping, have you tried using a dynamic cloth rather than the posable clothing? You might be happier with the results,
    (especially for clothing like the cape or any clothing that really needs to drape or swing).

    Studio Art Varian (sp?) at renderosity provides very high quality hair with a lot of different morphs.

    Hope any of this information helps and again, I love this thread. Thanks so much for opening it.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    bradrg said:
    Sorry, clicked send prematurely.

    I also have a huge wishlist and the constant sales don't help either. When something is going for an unbelievable price it's hard to say no, even if you don't quite know where you'll use it lol

    looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the competition (if you get the free time of course.) It doesn't hurt that there's some good prizes up for grabs. :)

    Yes, dreamlight does have a course on designing covers, so that probably is his then. He is slow and methodical (I enjoy his style) but I found the lighting course to be quite focused and he gives you a lot of information. I learned so much, but I guess it depends on how much experience and knowledge you're bringing in with you.

    hehe - no worries - I do that all the time.

    What's cool about twitch is the chat. Unlike podcasts and just uploading vids to youtube, twitch has the little chat app that allows people watching to interact. There's a slight delay but people can ask questions or comment and the person streaming can respond, so I like the interactive part. I've done live Google Hangouts and live stream on Google but their chat app had a huge delay going - that was awhile ago though, so that might have changed.

    I have a few friends who stream on twitch so the problem is trying to find a good slot because I like watching their streams too. lol!

    The one I was watching is a series of vids but at the start he's kinda rambling and trying to find a font and can't find. I've done a number of tuts on mini painting, especially with dry pigments, and then photoshop stuff. I ramble too lots of times but I was scratching my head over the whole thing. Maybe it's not the same one then? I'll have to go back and look at it. Maybe it just wasn't a good day for me to watch. That's been known to happen to me too.

    Did the lighting course show how to use primitives for lights?

    And yes, the sales are killing me! But I've been getting stuff that I think will work for what I want and it turns out it's not what I needed *sigh*. But then there's the stuff I toss in my wish list then when I go back to get it - of course it's not on sale. lol!

    But one thing I've been noticing - the DAZ store really has some great pricing - which is a refreshing change and my PC+ membership has paid for itself already.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    manne said:
    This is a fabulous thread, thanks so much for opening it, as I have been reading it with great interest.

    One of the statements made early on was that many of the poses look too plastic to successfully compete with stock photos. I do agree with you, 3d is not to the point where it can accurately replace photos (yet); however, there are some really good vendors for poses which are fairly realistic. The vendor Elele does a pretty good job pose-wise. Also, one of the reasons I am sooooooo jazzed about Iray is that it's providing us the tools to inject that much more realism into our renders.

    One of the things that I couldn't fully determine from the previous thread was, if you were additionally trying to use 3d for promotional video for your books?

    For realistic clothing draping, have you tried using a dynamic cloth rather than the posable clothing? You might be happier with the results,
    (especially for clothing like the cape or any clothing that really needs to drape or swing).

    Studio Art Varian (sp?) at renderosity provides very high quality hair with a lot of different morphs.

    Hope any of this information helps and again, I love this thread. Thanks so much for opening it.


    Hi manne - welcome! Welcome! I've got some more chairs in the corner over there. Grab one and have a seat! Glad you're enjoying the thread. I'm having a blast. :)

    Replacing photorealism isn't exactly what I want to do. I want to replace the stock images with 3d then make it look like it was painted or illustrated, etc. That's for me personally. I'm hoping this next render will go the direction I want it to so I can give you a more specific example of what I mean.

    And yes - I actually made a little demo. It's not very good because I was messing around in Maya and I thought that program was going to kill me. I'll see if I can dig it up and post it. I just gotta figure out where because I don't think I can post it here.

    And GMTA! I was just starting to look at dynamic clothing. But I'm jumping in over my head here. I found some tuts and they all said Dynamic Cloth was for V4, so I almost went on down the road. But then I found a couple of things that said Dynamic Cloth in DAZ has been expanded? I pulled up the "article" but it turned out to be a journal post on deviantart that talked about Iray, not the Dynamic Cloth function in DAZ.

    Still, I can mess around with it on V4 and see what translates - literally. But if you have a link that you know of for the Dynamic Cloth, please let me know. Or am I misunderstanding entirely and need to look for Dynamic Clothing in the DAZ store?

    Methinks we should all put our heads together and do an ebook on not only this but tuts too. The nice thing about ebooks if things need to change - just upload a new file. lol! (And yeah - way too much work for me right now. lol!)

  • BradCarstenBradCarsten Posts: 739
    edited December 1969

    manne said:
    This is a fabulous thread, thanks so much for opening it, as I have been reading it with great interest.

    One of the statements made early on was that many of the poses look too plastic to successfully compete with stock photos. I do agree with you, 3d is not to the point where it can accurately replace photos (yet); however, there are some really good vendors for poses which are fairly realistic. The vendor Elele does a pretty good job pose-wise. Also, one of the reasons I am sooooooo jazzed about Iray is that it's providing us the tools to inject that much more realism into our renders.
    .

    I think for me the point isn't to try and compete with photos, or to try and fool people into thinking I used a photo, but to create something that is good looking in and of itself. 3d has its own charm if done properly (after all, the entire gaming industry uses it for their covers) and as I said in an earlier post, it's flexible to the point that you will never achieve with stock photos. The problem is that it's also easy to create bad looking art with 3d, so you have to put the time and effort into learning the tricks and the money into buying some high quality models.

  • BradCarstenBradCarsten Posts: 739
    edited December 1969


    hehe - no worries - I do that all the time.

    What's cool about twitch is the chat. Unlike podcasts and just uploading vids to youtube, twitch has the little chat app that allows people watching to interact. There's a slight delay but people can ask questions or comment and the person streaming can respond, so I like the interactive part. I've done live Google Hangouts and live stream on Google but their chat app had a huge delay going - that was awhile ago though, so that might have changed.

    I have a few friends who stream on twitch so the problem is trying to find a good slot because I like watching their streams too. lol!

    The one I was watching is a series of vids but at the start he's kinda rambling and trying to find a font and can't find. I've done a number of tuts on mini painting, especially with dry pigments, and then photoshop stuff. I ramble too lots of times but I was scratching my head over the whole thing. Maybe it's not the same one then? I'll have to go back and look at it. Maybe it just wasn't a good day for me to watch. That's been known to happen to me too.

    Did the lighting course show how to use primitives for lights?

    And yes, the sales are killing me! But I've been getting stuff that I think will work for what I want and it turns out it's not what I needed *sigh*. But then there's the stuff I toss in my wish list then when I go back to get it - of course it's not on sale. lol!

    But one thing I've been noticing - the DAZ store really has some great pricing - which is a refreshing change and my PC+ membership has paid for itself already.

    I've heard of twitch but have never actually used it. it sounds interesting though. I like the live interaction thing- that a great feature.

    That does sound strange. It could also have just been a bad day for him of that there wasn't enough content so he was trying to draw it out or something. Perhaps the best thing to do is download a few of his free tutorials then and see if those are any better for you, before committing to anything. He has released a number of free "great art now" tutorials in the store that you can check out.
    First he takes you through all the lights and what they do, and how to get the most out of them, and then he covers the 7 point lighting system, which includes rim lights for helping your subject stand out from the background, and key lights and fill lights to give your characters depth and shadows. He covers bounce lights, and ambient lighting and getting the most out of single light sources etc. It was all new to me, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I suppose it's like books on writing, the first ones you read are always your favorites :)

    Yes, PC+ has been one of the best investments I've ever made. Just the free vouchers every month pays for itself, not to mention the additional discounts etc.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    anikad said:

    Most covers seem to be created by for want of a better phrase amateurs who have not devoted enough time to their craft.

    I want to take a sec to highlight this comment anikad posted here because it's worth repeating - plus things get flying so fast sometimes, I miss stuff when I could have sworn I got everything.

    A couple of folks have mentioned craft both in regard to writing and art. With the advent of the indie and small press - I run into people that seem to be in two camps. If you're indie or small press, then you didn't have the chops to make it as a "real writer" or it's a get rich quick scheme and anyone can do it.

    This is in my bio on my Amazon author page so my apologies if I'm repeated stuff for folks but I think this is important. As I said in an earlier post - I had representation from a respected NY agent and it got to the point we just couldn't pull the trigger on the contract. So after that I basically quit writing for several years because I was fed up with the entire thing. I looked at self-publishing on Amazon out of sheer desperation because there was absolutely no income and I didn't have gas money to go to job interviews. That's all I wanted - a little bit of cash to put some of ye old petrol in the tank.

    When the books took off on me I about fell over. But for 30 years I've been an accountant/office manager punching a clock and working for someone else. I as making good money and had been at my last job almost 10 years - so the layoff thing was a complete surprise. But when those books hit, I used those exact same skills and crunched numbers - did the whole business planning gig and made a calculated risk to write full time. It worked but some months do get pretty lean - when you live by the sale you die by the sale. But I also have friends in the industry who are traditionally published and I've seen the contracts - most are still working full time because despite repeat deals with NY publishers, they aren't making hardly anything. So when I crunch those numbers in comparison to what I made working for someone else, yeah, I'll proudly tell people my stuff was rejected by the NY publishing houses.

    But I'll also be the first to tell folks this gig isn't for everyone. And it's certainly not a get rich quick scheme.

    I was in high school when I decided I wanted to be a published author and I worked my butt off. But I still got the degrees in accounting and another in business management because that was going to pay the bills. In 1996 when I moved to Texas, I found a non-profit writer's guild out here that helped new writers learn about the industry - but not only the industry - they helped writers LEARN THEIR CRAFT!

    I was fortunate to study under Rita Gallagher (co-founder of Romance Writers of America) for a couple of years. One thing she always said, "You don't learn how to play Chopsticks on the piano, then expect to book Carnegie Hall. If you want that then you put in the hours, you study, you learn, you practice, practice, practice. You learn your craft. Writing is exactly the same and people are sometimes startled to hear that. But if you want to be a published author, just like playing Carnegie Hall, you have to put in the hours of work, and practice and learn your craft."

    And that's exactly what I did. This journey of writing started in high school then I seriously pursued it since '96. Like I said it was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

    For those who might be aspiring authors - simply sitting down and starting that book, novella, short story, whatever is a HUGE step in the right direction. 3/4's of the people that say they're going to write a book, never even start one. Of those who do start, 3/4's never finish it. And of those who do finish, half, never go on to write another or do anything with the first. So you can see how just the process becomes a daunting task in and of itself.

    So those who actually finish that book or whatever they're righting - that is another huge accomplishment that should be celebrated. But what I've seen time and time again is now with self publishing, authors go straight to Amazon and self publish. What should be a celebration of a milestone suddenly becomes a heartbreaking question of "why isn't my book selling?" To top it off not only is the new author now discouraged but those who did by the book might be angry at the author for "ripping them off" because they feel the work is substandard, when all that happened is that the author didn't take the time to learn their craft. They're still playing chopsticks, while the audience is expecting a concert worth of Carnegie Hall. Now the author is upset and disheartened, and the reader isn't happy - do that enough times to both - and they're both gun shy, swearing off writing or swearing off indie authors depending on their perspective.

    And even though I've been learning this industry and my craft for a long, long time, I still screw it up royally be it with covers or just recently a formatting issue on one of my novels. When I started production of my first audiobook, I was horrified when the narrator sent me chapters to listen to and only then did I realize that in a handful of chapters, I repeated the word "softly" every other sentence. That slipped past both me and my editor! I wanted to crawl under a rock after that one. Another bad habit of mine is repeating the characters' names too much - especially in dialogue.

    So this is something I'm going to be learning for the rest of my life.

    Just like book covers and 3D art. I was going through a tutorial making a coffee mug - since I can't use Carnegie Hall for a visual art - how about the Smithsonian? lol! Hey, I'm darned proud of that little coffee mug - but I don't see any art museums in my future - yet.

    Every journey starts with the first step, and almost all the time they're baby steps. So with writing, 3d or photoshop or any form of art - before I throw stuff out there for public consumption I always try to make sure I've got a solid foundation in my craft. Is it perfect? No, it never will be. Have I learned my craft? If I've learned all of it, then I did it wrong. Since my goal is selling my novels to the public, and creating the art for those novels, my question becomes - did I produce a professional product on par with what the NY publishers are producing? For me, that answer needs to be yes, before I publish anything. Of course mistakes will be made - I've had my share of "wallbanger books" from NY publishing houses too. But the point is to look at your goal for writing or art or both and if you want to sell to the public, produce a product that's just as good if not better than the corporations.

    And the only way you can do that is - you got it - learn your craft.

    Which is why I'm here and bugging y'all to death. lol!

    Sorry gang, I'll get off my soapbox now, but as you can see, craft is very near and dear to my heart because so many don't realize it with writing. They understand it about other things, but not with writing. Perhaps it's because most of us grow learning to read and write, whereas not all of us know how to play the piano. I'm not sure but I know I've seen so many new authors get so discouraged and the same with readers who get the short end of the stick on book purchases.

    That being said, I suck at grammar and spelling (I jinxed myself in 7th grade and my path was set to be an author) so while I work at learning my craft - I also hire a freelance editor to catch all my typos. So oin forum posts, internet chat, heck, even my blog, I usually manage to get myself in a sticky wicket.

    So if you got through all that, I thank you. If there's any aspiring writers - maybe lurking or even those of you who aren't lurking - who want to discuss more about publishing, the industry, or if you have questions you were too afraid to ask, drop me a PM. Because of all the years I spent in that writers guild, helping aspiring writers is what I do. If the guild hadn't of helped me, I wouldn't be here.

    Okay officially handing soapbox to someone else so y'all can hide the thing. lol! I promise no more long boring posts - for awhile - maybe - uh - I'll try really hard not to - ah the hell with it, I'm a lost cause and y'all know it. :lol:

    Cheers,
    Kathryn
    PS and I'm test rendering all over the place so I'm going to be tossing up stuff without rhyme or reason. lol!

    brananandcatrionatestrender.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 461K
  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,063
    edited June 2015

    I agree, these DAZ tutorials have good content, but are made by a person who doesn't really know how to explain things teacher-like. You know, in school, you get a how-to-do-it-the-right-way-step-by-step explanation made for even the stupidest of children, and mostly it works, because teachers know the right formula how to present stuff to get the biggest progress.
    One reason I didn't work through all these tutorials yet.
    And these free tutorials on youtube, most of the time they have the same handicap, and additional many of them are way to faint on the voice chanel.

    @manne:
    Thanks, that guy on renderosity really has great hair props, I already decided to buy some.

    Post edited by cherpenbeck on
  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,063
    edited December 1969

    @Kathryn: You are right, writing must be learned. I started in school, needed another 40 years before my writing was good enough to sell.
    And I was writing and inventing stories all the time in-between.
    Same with painting. I always wanted to make great cover art. It took me half a lifetime to discover that I'm NOT good at painting, but good at manipulating pre-made pictures.
    Comes in DAZ- here I get the pre-made pictures I can specify myself. Just what I needed all the time and never before found.

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 261
    edited December 1969


    Hi manne - welcome! Welcome! I've got some more chairs in the corner over there. Grab one and have a seat! Glad you're enjoying the thread. I'm having a blast. :)

    Replacing photorealism isn't exactly what I want to do. I want to replace the stock images with 3d then make it look like it was painted or illustrated, etc. That's for me personally. I'm hoping this next render will go the direction I want it to so I can give you a more specific example of what I mean.

    And yes - I actually made a little demo. It's not very good because I was messing around in Maya and I thought that program was going to kill me. I'll see if I can dig it up and post it. I just gotta figure out where because I don't think I can post it here.

    And GMTA! I was just starting to look at dynamic clothing. But I'm jumping in over my head here. I found some tuts and they all said Dynamic Cloth was for V4, so I almost went on down the road. But then I found a couple of things that said Dynamic Cloth in DAZ has been expanded? I pulled up the "article" but it turned out to be a journal post on deviantart that talked about Iray, not the Dynamic Cloth function in DAZ.

    Still, I can mess around with it on V4 and see what translates - literally. But if you have a link that you know of for the Dynamic Cloth, please let me know. Or am I misunderstanding entirely and need to look for Dynamic Clothing in the DAZ store?

    Methinks we should all put our heads together and do an ebook on not only this but tuts too. The nice thing about ebooks if things need to change - just upload a new file. lol! (And yeah - way too much work for me right now. lol!)

    Thanks for the chair. ;)


    There are a lot of dynamic cloth models for sale in the Daz3d store, you can do a search on dynamic and pull up quite a selection. While many of the dynamic cloth outfits do say they are for V4, I have read a great tutorial( I'll have to see if I can find it) on applying those clothes to the Genesis and G2 figures. There is dynamic clothing out there for : V4, M4, V5, M5 and (I think) G2 figures. I do think that Poser's dynamic cloth room has more features than Daz as far as setting the thickness of the cloth and wind interaction, but that could just be ignorance on my part.

    If worst comes to worst, I can put something together myself explaining the process that I go through to get dynamic cloth to work in Daz, (Not that I'm super-fantastic, but I've at least used it successfully so that's something).

    I am with you on putting an Ebook together! I think the information we could compile would be extremely helpful to a great deal of people (both artists and authors) who really don't know where to start. I know this is a very popular subject, in fact when the PC club ran a contest on creating book covers one month, it received an incredible amount of submissions.

    I definitely think Daz is a tool that can be used to produce high quality, artistic covers , and would personally be willing to throw some time into a collaborative effort to get the information out to people. As your links showed, there are people who could use it. :)

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,577
    edited June 2015

    Dynamic cloth is available in DAZ Studio. Due to a contractual obligation regarding the plugin, all dynamic clothfor DS is made by Optitex. That puts some limitations of creation by anyone else, but there are plenty of items available, including capes and cloaks.

    http://www.daz3d.com/optitex

    The advantage of dynamic cloth is that the folds and positioning is determined at draping simulation time by the pose of the figure, and gravity, and wind, not by dial spins, and as a result the cape and clothes look more realistic and correct. And if you do animation the garments are calculated to move with the figure.

    Poser also has this function in the Cloth Room.

    The best part. Optitex also provides some free dynamic garments that you can try out in DAZ Studio on its website, you know to get you hooked. It's less complicated that one might think. And definitely worth a try.

    http://www.optitex-dynamiccloth.com/FreebieDownload01.php

    Post edited by FirstBastion on
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