Book Covers

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Comments

  • mmitchell_houstonmmitchell_houston Posts: 2,133
    edited December 1969

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

    I think there are more 3D covers than you suspect. The thing is, when they are done right, you don't know that they are 3D. You have, however, identified EXACTLY the problems with 3D art, and it is not the technology, but the ARTISTRY. I do disagree with you that "they rarely seem to consider lighting, realistic posing, etc." The emphasis I added is important. I think that 3D artists do "consider" these aspects -- it's just that they get them wrong.

    To put it bluntly, they don't have the skills in these areas to do a good job. Most 3D illustrators are self taught, whereas most of the professional photographers I know have at least taken a few classes on the subject. And the two I know who didn't take classes in photography had taken drawing classes, so they were familiar with the basics of lighting the human form, and with creating a strong composition.

    Pose (especially in conjunction with a strong POV) is something I find myself struggling with in my own work all the time. I think my basic line art technique is good (if you visit my gallery, you'll see that I mostly work in b&w), but my problem is conveying action and movement in a strong pose.

    I think just about every single 3D artist could benefit from a little more training in basic artistic techniques like composition, pose and lighting.

  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,064
    edited December 1969

    Besides, the same errors (lighting) appear with photoshopped covers, if the cover artist doesn't find photos with a similar lighting. Sometimes the error is so glaringly obvious, it cries "amateur". (Like, the male gets bluish light from the right side, the female gets reddish light from the front, and such.)

  • mmitchell_houstonmmitchell_houston Posts: 2,133
    edited June 2015

    ejk_san said:
    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….

    Congrats on the books. I'm not reading Sci-Fi right now, but they look interesting and I might come back to them.

    I like the fractal-like cover burst of your Ether book. It has a nice vibe to it and it's intriguing.

    I hope you don't mind a few critical comments on the Jaunt cover. Although it's a decent cover -- I like the shade of blue and I love the typeface. Both are clean and refreshingly modern without being overly sci-fi. However, your type does not have sufficient contrast from the background. I cannot read the top line: "Humanity's Next Leap..." I can't finish that line at all. It just blends in to the background completely.
    And ditto for the blurb on the cover -- it is illegible.

    I suggest going a little lighter on the type, or adding an outline or drop shadow so it can pop from the background. Also, have you considered moving the man a little to the left? Although I like the simplicity of his placement, I can't help but wonder if he wouldn't look better (and make this a more sophisticate design) if he were just a little off center.

    At any rate -- good start, and congratulations on getting two books in your series out!

    Mike

    Post edited by mmitchell_houston on
  • jauntworksjauntworks Posts: 23
    edited June 2015

    Congrats on the books. I’m not reading Sci-Fi right now, but they look interesting and I might come back to them.

    I like the fractal-like cover burst of your Ether book. It has a nice vibe to it and it’s intriguing.

    I hope you don’t mine a few critical comments on the Jaunt cover. Although it’s a decent cover—I like the shade of blue and I love the typeface. Both are clean and refreshingly modern without being overly sci-fi. However, your type does not have sufficient contrast from the background. I cannot read the top line: “Humanity’s Next Leap…” I can’t finish that line at all. It just blends in to the background completely.
    And ditto for the blurb on the cover—it is illegible.

    I suggest going a little lighter on the type, or adding an outline or drop shadow so it can pop from the background. Also, have you considered moving the man a little to the left? Although I like the simplicity of his placement, I can’t help but wonder if he wouldn’t look better (and make this a more sophisticate design) if he were just a little off center.

    At any rate—good start, and congratulations on getting two books in your series out!

    Mike

    Thanks for the comments. If you like thrillers with some military/spy/techno/scifi aspects (Clancy, Crichton, et al) then Jaunt and Ether are all about that. I do use a lot of $5 words in there, so I've been told!

    I do agree the "T" in Jaunt does disappear a bit in the light glare (a problem with print CMYK vs RGB on screen, looked good before print). Unfortunately there's no way to do foil gloss with Lulu self-publishing, that'd take care of the problem straight away. I try to go easy on drop shadows, maybe a bit of one would've helped. It's difficult getting WYSIWYG on self-publishing—printing has a tendency to go way dark or way light, little in the ways of subtleties.

    Thanks again!

    Post edited by jauntworks on
  • jauntworksjauntworks Posts: 23
    edited December 1969

    And the last image - something I started working on when I need a break from figuring out shaders and hair! lol! I was thinking of entering the members only contest for the movie thing I had started on a different idea but when I heard James Horner had died in a plane crash, I switched to the Star Trek them. He did the score for Wrath of Khan is is my second favorite movie - the first being The Crow starring Brandon Lee (rest his soul too). So I wanted to do a little Trek theme - if I can get it done. We shall see.

    Nice Enterprise! My all-time favorite version being the 1701 from TMP-TSFS. And such a damn shame about Horner…he wrote the soundtrack of my childhood back in the day.

  • mmitchell_houstonmmitchell_houston Posts: 2,133
    edited June 2015

    ejk_san said:
    I do agree the "T" in Jaunt does disappear a bit in the light glare (a problem with print CMYK vs RGB on screen, looked good before print). Unfortunately there's no way to do foil gloss with Lulu self-publishing, that'd take care of the problem straight away. I try to go easy on drop shadows, maybe a bit of one would've helped. It's difficult getting WYSIWYG on self-publishing—printing has a tendency to go way dark or way light, little in the ways of subtleties. Thanks again!

    The book sounds like something a buddy of mine might enjoy (right now I'm more into the pulp fiction of the 1930s-50s, including Westerns and hard-boiled detectives -- as well as the occasional Shadow and Doc Savage novel); I'll send him the link.

    Drop shadows, when used subtly, are okay and not trite. The solution I would probably attempt if your cover were in my hands would be to darken the background in the upper-right corner so there would be more contrast for the letters.

    In fact, I had a similar cover with a book design i did for a role playing game called Galaxy Prime:
    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/93261/Galaxy-Prime--A-Scifi-Roleplaying-Epic

    I did NOT create the cover art -- that was handled by a talented artist named Amy Fanning who painted this HUGE painting on canvas board. I had to scan it in about 8 or 9 "chunks" on a flatbed scanner and then stitch them together in Photoshop. There is actually a canvas texture to the board, so this was more tricky than usual because I hand to "patch" the texture where the soft edges blurred in the overlayed pieces.

    I DID design and typeset the cover, as well as create the logo (in Illustrator). I actually started to do the cover in Illustrator, but wound up doing it in Photoshop because I needed more exact control of the image contrast (I had to pump up blues and yellows, as well as tweak the purples) a lot. I actually did use drop shadow because I couldn't find a color that had adequate contrast over all those other colors -- yellow came closest, and it just didn't look classy. So I chose white with those blue "sheen highlights" to help give the logo definition against all those different colors. The purple band at the bottom was -- honestly -- desperation. I needed text that was clearly legible against black and orange and yellow/white. Nothing works against those, and putting an outline around the lettering looked tacky. So -- in comes the purple band and -- oddly enough -- it worked and actually helped to anchor the bottom of the cover. It also solved the same problem on the back cover, as I was able to put his website URL in the bottom purple band.

    BTW: If you have any interest in seeing the interior design and b&w illustrations I created for this book, I have them posted over at my blog: http://mikemitchellonline.blogspot.com Just scroll down the page until you see the "Galaxy Prime" link on the lower part of the left-side of the page. I tried including a direct link, but it didn't work correctly.

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

    The woman in the third pic (Catriona) looks a bit like Emily Browning.

    One important thing to remember is that each render engine, of the four now commonly used with DAZ Studio, 3Delight, Iray, Reality/Lux Render and to a lesser extent Octane, all have their own materials and lighting setups. Since materials are significantly inluenced by the lightset that they are setup for and used in, there are additional sub category material settings, in DS for lights like Standard 3Delight, AO UberEnv2, AoA Ambient lights. These are not always interchangeable and its import to check the informations detailed on the product page. . So if a model has Uber Surfaces settings for the materials, to be used with Omnifreaker Uber lightsets, those may not transfer setting for setting when used with Iray, where as the 3Delight standard material setup tend to correspond a bit better. The store list 16,700 products, many of which were released before a few of those renderers were even commonly available in the community, there's a lot of learning and work arounds going on trying to tweak settings which work best in iray.

    Heya First! Emily Browning eh? Now that you mention it - I can kinda see that. Totally unintentional though. She's one of the females who is giving me fits on her skin. When I first tried applying the DAZ Iray base for female skin I had a hell of a reflection going on with it. Talk about looking plastic - this was crazy! But that's also what helped me start figuring out a variety of things.

    And you definitely bring up a great point. When I was looking at shaders for 3Delight for example, and saw their base colors listed white as 255, 255, 255, and the ones for Iray list it as 1.0, 1.0, 1.0, well, that's what I meant about its kinda speaking with an accent so thick, no one can understand it. lol!

    I found a publication by Nvidia detailing the MDL language but only chapters 1-5 are written, it's supposed to go up to chapter 10. I can't remember which thread I posted that in, but I also mentioned the possibility that the project to write it was given to a co-op or intern like I used to work with when I worked for the petrochemical plants around here. The management always gave the writing of manuals to their students who rotated in and out every semester. So something could get dropped if a student rotated out and would have to wait until another one came in, got caught up with the project itself enough to start writing, but by that time it was close to them rotating out and that was damned frustrating to say the least. I hope that isn't the case for this MDL manual but it wouldn't surprise me if NVidia was similar to Mobil Oil et al in that respect.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    ShareCG has a free kilt for M4, which might be usable for newer figures as well.

    http://www.sharecg.com/v/55095/browse/11/Poser/Great-Kilts-Dynamic-Props-for-M4

    And a more modern one:

    http://www.sharecg.com/v/36209/browse/11/Poser/M4-Kiltz

    They are in Poser form, which works with DAZ.
    And there is a cloak (no hood)

    http://www.sharecg.com/v/73624/browse/11/Poser/Dynamic-cloak

    and one with a cloak

    http://www.sharecg.com/v/74352/related/11/Poser/Another-cloak

    All are Poser material, but, as I said, might work with DAZ,


    oooohhhh Coool! Thanks so much Cherp! I've downloaded these and will check them out. I noticed most stuff I got from the store also have poser files - one came in handy when my DAZ file of a certain product somehow got corrupted. I was able to open the poser file and fix the problem.

    Also because my OOT was my first purchase at (to borrow from Manne - R-Bleep!) I was able to get Poser Debut for free. I have no idea what to expect with that one, but for free I ain't complaining. lol!

    Thank you again!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited June 2015

    ejk_san said:

    I do agree the "T" in Jaunt does disappear a bit in the light glare (a problem with print CMYK vs RGB on screen, looked good before print). Unfortunately there's no way to do foil gloss with Lulu self-publishing, that'd take care of the problem straight away. I try to go easy on drop shadows, maybe a bit of one would've helped. It's difficult getting WYSIWYG on self-publishing—printing has a tendency to go way dark or way light, little in the ways of subtleties.

    Thanks again!

    I know exactly what you mean here!

    Drop shadows are not the way to go but the temptation is there because it's really the only way to show that depth - so I started work on developing a different idea.

    In Photoshop I created a layer style that you can apply to font that conveys that raised foil that you see on print books. I'm working primarily in gold right now but the color can easily be changed to silver or any metallic color. I'm also experimenting with different variations that you'll see on that raised foil style(outlines around the font and stuff like that) but those are still WIPs.

    Because they're layer styles I can zip up any and email them if you're interested in checking them out.

    And I'm also a Creative Cloud member so if you are too - or anyone else for that matter - I can also share through the creative cloud library.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    ejk_san said:
    And the last image - something I started working on when I need a break from figuring out shaders and hair! lol! I was thinking of entering the members only contest for the movie thing I had started on a different idea but when I heard James Horner had died in a plane crash, I switched to the Star Trek them. He did the score for Wrath of Khan is is my second favorite movie - the first being The Crow starring Brandon Lee (rest his soul too). So I wanted to do a little Trek theme - if I can get it done. We shall see.

    Nice Enterprise! My all-time favorite version being the 1701 from TMP-TSFS. And such a damn shame about Horner…he wrote the soundtrack of my childhood back in the day.

    Thank you! I discovered the Star Trek meshes website a long time ago and a lot of them someone translated into Poser files. Most of them are in 3DS format which Blender can translate but I still have to learn Blender's texturing system because my Reliant lights are either off or on vs the hull. Lights on, the hull's black, hull on, no lights. *sigh* But I attached the mock up of what I'm planning without Reliant's lights.

    The background which is in the first image I posted previously and in the solo Reliant shot I attached here, I got from the public domain pictures on the Hubble website - a high rez image of a real nebula that I set as the environment for that scene.

    And I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about James Horner - While I blared rock music in my car (my first car was a 69 Buick Skylark - we dropped a 454 in it and turned it into a real muscle car lol!) just like my friends, I was the only one to blast that score driving down the road too. I especially like the ending where it had Leonard Nimoy's voice over.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    mmitchell said:
    ejk_san said:
    I do agree the "T" in Jaunt does disappear a bit in the light glare (a problem with print CMYK vs RGB on screen, looked good before print). Unfortunately there's no way to do foil gloss with Lulu self-publishing, that'd take care of the problem straight away. I try to go easy on drop shadows, maybe a bit of one would've helped. It's difficult getting WYSIWYG on self-publishing—printing has a tendency to go way dark or way light, little in the ways of subtleties. Thanks again!

    The book sounds like something a buddy of mine might enjoy (right now I'm more into the pulp fiction of the 1930s-50s, including Westerns and hard-boiled detectives -- as well as the occasional Shadow and Doc Savage novel); I'll send him the link.

    Drop shadows, when used subtly, are okay and not trite. The solution I would probably attempt if your cover were in my hands would be to darken the background in the upper-right corner so there would be more contrast for the letters.

    In fact, I had a similar cover with a book design i did for a role playing game called Galaxy Prime:
    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/93261/Galaxy-Prime--A-Scifi-Roleplaying-Epic

    I did NOT create the cover art -- that was handled by a talented artist named Amy Fanning who painted this HUGE painting on canvas board. I had to scan it in about 8 or 9 "chunks" on a flatbed scanner and then stitch them together in Photoshop. There is actually a canvas texture to the board, so this was more tricky than usual because I hand to "patch" the texture where the soft edges blurred in the overlayed pieces.

    I DID design and typeset the cover, as well as create the logo (in Illustrator). I actually started to do the cover in Illustrator, but wound up doing it in Photoshop because I needed more exact control of the image contrast (I had to pump up blues and yellows, as well as tweak the purples) a lot. I actually did use drop shadow because I couldn't find a color that had adequate contrast over all those other colors -- yellow came closest, and it just didn't look classy. So I chose white with those blue "sheen highlights" to help give the logo definition against all those different colors. The purple band at the bottom was -- honestly -- desperation. I needed text that was clearly legible against black and orange and yellow/white. Nothing works against those, and putting an outline around the lettering looked tacky. So -- in comes the purple band and -- oddly enough -- it worked and actually helped to anchor the bottom of the cover. It also solved the same problem on the back cover, as I was able to put his website URL in the bottom purple band.

    BTW: If you have any interest in seeing the interior design and b&w illustrations I created for this book, I have them posted over at my blog: http://mikemitchellonline.blogspot.com Just scroll down the page until you see the "Galaxy Prime" link on the lower part of the left-side of the page. I tried including a direct link, but it didn't work correctly.

    Very nice Mike! I have to drag my cover artist friend into this forum because I'm helping him with a comic book/graphic novel - I'm just looking at the dialogue. You two would have a field day. lol!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    manne said:
    Okay this starts getting a little more complex here and a little crazy because all of this is the result of experimentation on my part - I tried to be as methodical as possible but that didn't always work out like I planned.

    So I've got some combined screenshots and will start with the presets because for anyone who has these packages, we then have common ground to build on.

    6 - Character - Gianni pro came with a variety of character presets Gianni, Hector, Ryze, and Taric. For the shape of the body and face, we're looking at primarily Gianni with Hector applied. From there, I just tweaked sliders until he looked like the character I had in my head when I wrote the story. - but Hector is also important because it's the Hector skin mats that are the foundation for the character. Because after I finished the shape, I went back and purposefully applied Hector's skin mat, even though it was applied when I selected Hector as a character - it wasn't very strong. When I went back and applied the mat - I noticed a big difference.

    Ok question here, I thought when you applied a skin MAT to a character it replaced the previous MAT you had applied. Does it add to the existing MAT and multiply?

    Note on the right - on the Surfaces tab - the Base color is .50 .50 .50 - if 0 is black and 1 is white the .5 is a neutral gray if I ever saw one. The lightbulb in my brain went on and now I'm starting with the neutral gray foundation. To start it's not a matter of translucency, top coats and volume which confuse the hell out of me, now I can think of it - at least in its simplest form to start - as just mixing colors and because of all my years painting gaming miniatures, that's something I know how to do on a real 3d object quite well.

    For me, learning comes the easiest when I can relate the new with something I already know then build on the similarities and comparisons. When you tell me the definition of the Glossy Color and what that controls - it will sail over my head every time. But now I'm looking at colors on that surfaces tab and I know what I want to change. On the surfaces tab the only colors I see are the Base = neutral gray, Glossy Color which was red and I changed to dark, dark blue, and the Top Coat Color which was the same color of red and I also changed to dark, dark blue.

    10. So I'm looking at all the shaders and realized the various aspects of each - the metal, concrete, the stuff that's shiny, the stuff that's matte or rough, I've got everything I need right there to make the comparisons and get what I want. There's something somewhere that I can tweak, with one of those darn sliders, it's just a matter of finding it. Then I can add the maps into the mix to get even more variety and control.

    Did you find any shaders you felt were suitable for rough cloth like wool or linen?

    I know I still have a lot of lightbulbs waiting for me as I put things together, but I wanted to highlight the first one. And in this last screenshot you can see the little spot renders I did on each screen and what those specific shaders changed on the belts and on the back of the cape - only the fur has the uber base alone. Oh and the spot render on the left viewport isn't complete since the skin makes it take forever.

    As far as the fur goes, were you happy with how that rendered?

    I wonder if applying a hair shader to something that is supposed to be fur would work. I just bought the OOT hair shader from R(bleeep) and it's supposed to apply to 95% of hair and make it Iray compatible. I must say I think it did a pretty good job on the SAV Kouros hair I'm using. Definitely made it look softer and more hair-like in the lit areas, although, the weird bulky areas remain.


    I also wanted to mention here that I really like the way your image is turning out. He even has scars on his face. How'd you do that? lol! I don't have the guts to attempt that sort of thing yet. ;)

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,582
    edited December 1969

    He even has scars on his face. How’d you do that? lol! I don’t have the guts to attempt that sort of thing yet

    These smay products can add scars and blood to existing skin textures.

    http://www.daz3d.com/dirt-and-blood-for-genesis-and-genesis-2
    http://www.daz3d.com/face-scars-decals-for-genesis-2
    http://www.daz3d.com/body-scars-decals-for-genesis-2

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    He even has scars on his face. How’d you do that? lol! I don’t have the guts to attempt that sort of thing yet

    These smay products can add scars and blood to existing skin textures.

    http://www.daz3d.com/dirt-and-blood-for-genesis-and-genesis-2
    http://www.daz3d.com/face-scars-decals-for-genesis-2
    http://www.daz3d.com/body-scars-decals-for-genesis-2

    Oh cool! Thanks First! I have to admit I haven't been browsing through the store very much lately - too much temptation. But now that everything is hitting with V7 and Gen3 - do PA's get a heads up on this stuff so there are packages available?

    And doggone it DAZ - I'm just starting to get the hang of Gen2 now I've got to learn Gen3 and knowing my luck the stuff I just bought earlier in the month won't work with any new stuff. *sigh*

  • Daniel A RobertsDaniel A Roberts Posts: 11
    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.

    Very true, lighting is everything for a book cover. One of my current 'tests' is to reduce the newly created cover down to thumbnail size and glance at it. If it fails to be identifiable, back to the drawing board.

    I too am working on creating my own covers, and over the years, have created a mess or two, lol. Here is one of my test covers, not a story, but practice, one might say. This is a blend of an actual stock photo and Daz Art.

    You can have the best of both worlds, especially once you have Photoshop skills on top of it.

    Good luck out there, I know that doing your own covers can really cut the cost of producing a new novel a considerable amount.

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  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 31,181
    edited June 2015

    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.

    Very true, lighting is everything for a book cover. One of my current 'tests' is to reduce the newly created cover down to thumbnail size and glance at it. If it fails to be identifiable, back to the drawing board.

    I too am working on creating my own covers, and over the years, have created a mess or two, lol. Here is one of my test covers, not a story, but practice, one might say. This is a blend of an actual stock photo and Daz Art.

    You can have the best of both worlds, especially once you have Photoshop skills on top of it.

    Good luck out there, I know that doing your own covers can really cut the cost of producing a new novel a considerable amount.


    Hi Daniel, good to see you again. :coolsmile:

    Post edited by Chohole on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    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.

    Very true, lighting is everything for a book cover. One of my current 'tests' is to reduce the newly created cover down to thumbnail size and glance at it. If it fails to be identifiable, back to the drawing board.

    I too am working on creating my own covers, and over the years, have created a mess or two, lol. Here is one of my test covers, not a story, but practice, one might say. This is a blend of an actual stock photo and Daz Art.

    You can have the best of both worlds, especially once you have Photoshop skills on top of it.

    Good luck out there, I know that doing your own covers can really cut the cost of producing a new novel a considerable amount.

    Hi Daniel! Grab a chair and join us! Glad to have you. I really do hate the thumbnail thing I'm beginning to think the only thing that would be recognizable at that size is a black dot on a white background - no text. lol! Drives me nuts.

    I really like you cover that you posted, very nicely done. Since it's practice I hope you don't mind my observation here. The only thing that struck me as odd was the angle of the sword looks like it's stabbing the girls head almost. But that's the only thing that jumped out at me. I really like the colors and the layout. You have a very nice separation with background and foreground subjects and didn't have to use what I call the "ghost look". ;) Really nice job there.

    Cheers,
    Kath

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    chohole said:
    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.

    Very true, lighting is everything for a book cover. One of my current 'tests' is to reduce the newly created cover down to thumbnail size and glance at it. If it fails to be identifiable, back to the drawing board.

    I too am working on creating my own covers, and over the years, have created a mess or two, lol. Here is one of my test covers, not a story, but practice, one might say. This is a blend of an actual stock photo and Daz Art.

    You can have the best of both worlds, especially once you have Photoshop skills on top of it.

    Good luck out there, I know that doing your own covers can really cut the cost of producing a new novel a considerable amount.


    Hi Daniel, good to see you again. :coolsmile:

    Hi Cho - nice to see you again too! lol! Stop in more often. :)

    Cheers,
    Kath

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 31,181
    edited June 2015

    It's funny, I was tempted to post this one a day or so ago, it is one that Didn't make the grade when Daniel was running contests to get his book cover art.

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  • Daniel A RobertsDaniel A Roberts Posts: 11
    edited December 1969

    chohole said:
    It's funny, I was tempted to post this one a day or so ago, it is one that Didn't make the grade when Daniel was running contests to get his book cover art.

    Oh My God, that takes me way back! ^_^

    There was so many good entries back then, that was one of the hardest contests I ever done. I also learned so much from all of you, on many levels.

    Nice to see you too, Cho! I lurk far more than post, but that will probably start changing soon. :)

    @ Kath,

    I don't mind the analysis one bit. You've come to the same conclusion I did, but since the guy with the sword was the stock art, I couldn't get his arm lowered.

    Getting her to come through was a bit tricky. She is on the bottom layer, 'screened' in with photoshop. When I rendered her, I did so with the light in a peachy/yellowish on purpose, to better blend with the sky of the stock photo. When I got her screened in, I took the eraser and carefully removed any overlay sky texture from over her skin and dress, but I didn't do it for her hair. If I tried it with her hair, it came forward as too bold, and looked worse.

    But yes, the blending worked better than I thought it would, using that method.

    When browsing Amazon and a few other book sellers, I tend to go to their best sellers list and look at the book art. Every once and a while, I spot Victoria 4, or 5 or 6 and even an occasional Mike 5. They used a type of blending that I'm attempting to make them look more like part of the scene and not so much CGI. And it works. Those books are on the best seller's list.

  • jauntworksjauntworks Posts: 23
    edited December 1969

    The book sounds like something a buddy of mine might enjoy (right now I’m more into the pulp fiction of the 1930s-50s, including Westerns and hard-boiled detectives—as well as the occasional Shadow and Doc Savage novel); I’ll send him the link.

    Thanks, I hope it's up his alley! I appreciate any sales I get scrounge up. And thanks for the critique.

    In Photoshop I created a layer style that you can apply to font that conveys that raised foil that you see on print books. I’m working primarily in gold right now but the color can easily be changed to silver or any metallic color. I’m also experimenting with different variations that you’ll see on that raised foil style(outlines around the font and stuff like that) but those are still WIPs.

    Yep, layer styles are great. Here's what I use for my Agent Maya comic logo:

    Cover_2_front_copy.jpg
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  • jauntworksjauntworks Posts: 23
    edited December 1969

    Thank you! I discovered the Star Trek meshes website a long time ago and a lot of them someone translated into Poser files. Most of them are in 3DS format which Blender can translate but I still have to learn Blender’s texturing system because my Reliant lights are either off or on vs the hull. Lights on, the hull’s black, hull on, no lights. *sigh* But I attached the mock up of what I’m planning without Reliant’s lights.

    Yes, I discovered the site a few months ago and downloaded some 1701 .obj files. I'd love to do a project with some Trek meshes…but creator-owned stuff really dominates my free time right now.

    And Blender gave me nightmares with its GUI so I gave up on it. I use AC3D for easy object creation, and Silo 2 for more organic complex stuff, since DAZ doesn't like complex subdivided .obj files from AC3D.

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 261
    edited December 1969

    I know exactly what you mean here!

    Drop shadows are not the way to go but the temptation is there because it's really the only way to show that depth - so I started work on developing a different idea.

    In Photoshop I created a layer style that you can apply to font that conveys that raised foil that you see on print books. I'm working primarily in gold right now but the color can easily be changed to silver or any metallic color. I'm also experimenting with different variations that you'll see on that raised foil style(outlines around the font and stuff like that) but those are still WIPs.

    Because they're layer styles I can zip up any and email them if you're interested in checking them out.

    And I'm also a Creative Cloud member so if you are too - or anyone else for that matter - I can also share through the creative cloud library.

    Nice font work here, I'm interested to see how this cover will look when you pull it all together.

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 261
    edited December 1969

    I also wanted to mention here that I really like the way your image is turning out. He even has scars on his face. How'd you do that? lol! I don't have the guts to attempt that sort of thing yet. ;)

    Thank you! Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the scars. :( Smay is one of my favorite vendors, and I like my people to look a little rough around the edges.

    http://www.daz3d.com/face-scars-decals-for-genesis-2

    Although you'd be able to do it in photoshop too, with your mad skills. ;)

  • Daniel A RobertsDaniel A Roberts Posts: 11
    edited December 1969

    manne said:

    I know exactly what you mean here!

    Drop shadows are not the way to go but the temptation is there because it's really the only way to show that depth - so I started work on developing a different idea.

    In Photoshop I created a layer style that you can apply to font that conveys that raised foil that you see on print books. I'm working primarily in gold right now but the color can easily be changed to silver or any metallic color. I'm also experimenting with different variations that you'll see on that raised foil style(outlines around the font and stuff like that) but those are still WIPs.

    Because they're layer styles I can zip up any and email them if you're interested in checking them out.

    And I'm also a Creative Cloud member so if you are too - or anyone else for that matter - I can also share through the creative cloud library.

    Nice font work here, I'm interested to see how this cover will look when you pull it all together.

    Another method for that 3d look: Get your text added on your independent layer, no drop shadow. rastarize it, if it doesn't do it automatically. Go to blending options, ignore drop shadow. Go to Bevel and Emboss. Choose Pillow Emboss, set the depth at 10 and softness to five. Then find 'Stroke' and set it to 100% opacity, change the color to black, and then set the diffuse level until you feel giggle good about it.

    Every time you see a check box for anti-alias, check it. That will make any meshing with other layers much nicer on the eyes. At least for me it does. :)

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    manne said:

    I know exactly what you mean here!

    Drop shadows are not the way to go but the temptation is there because it's really the only way to show that depth - so I started work on developing a different idea.

    In Photoshop I created a layer style that you can apply to font that conveys that raised foil that you see on print books. I'm working primarily in gold right now but the color can easily be changed to silver or any metallic color. I'm also experimenting with different variations that you'll see on that raised foil style(outlines around the font and stuff like that) but those are still WIPs.

    Because they're layer styles I can zip up any and email them if you're interested in checking them out.

    And I'm also a Creative Cloud member so if you are too - or anyone else for that matter - I can also share through the creative cloud library.

    Nice font work here, I'm interested to see how this cover will look when you pull it all together.

    Another method for that 3d look: Get your text added on your independent layer, no drop shadow. rastarize it, if it doesn't do it automatically. Go to blending options, ignore drop shadow. Go to Bevel and Emboss. Choose Pillow Emboss, set the depth at 10 and softness to five. Then find 'Stroke' and set it to 100% opacity, change the color to black, and then set the diffuse level until you feel giggle good about it.

    Every time you see a check box for anti-alias, check it. That will make any meshing with other layers much nicer on the eyes. At least for me it does. :)

    Cool! I'll have to check that out. Thanks Daniel!

    But every once in awhile - drop shadows come in handy. Y'all get a kick out of this.

    I was working on a photomanipulation and needed something to cover a modern belt buckle. I dug an old clip art Scottish lion out of my files. I've had the thing forever. It would be appropriate but it's just a black and white lion - nothing to write home about. So I started fiddling with layer styles.

    The first pic I managed to use luse a layer style get a cut-out with a drop shadow. Interesting but not there yet.

    Second pic has a solid black layer behind it but when I was working on it in conjunction with my image I twas a black custom shape making part of the belt same result though. Okay - I can see it but it's all flat and boring.

    But since I was actually working on a photo - well, I decided to tweak a little more. And with the third pic thought it would work fine. All I had to do was make it part of the image. The drop shadow gave it depth but it it needed just a little more, and that's pic four.

    I've got the actual image I was working on zipped to another drive otherwise I'd post it - but you get the idea. When I had the "belt" made by one of the custom shapes, then added this and distorted it a littl. BAM! There we go. And the last pic just shows the orginal clipart and all the layer styles I applied to it. lol! There's a lot going on for a little black lion. Or in this case - a transparent lion. (Hey, there's a book title in that. haha!)

    Egads! It's 2 am here. I had no clue it was so late. I'm calling it a night. I'll respond to the other posts tomorrow.Holy cow!

    Cheers,
    Kath

    clipartwithlayerstyles.PNG
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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    chohole said:
    It's funny, I was tempted to post this one a day or so ago, it is one that Didn't make the grade when Daniel was running contests to get his book cover art.

    It's nice cover, Cho! I especially like the font. But you've got great symmetry. Interesting contest though, I wish I had been around for it. ;)

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    @ Kath,

    I don't mind the analysis one bit. You've come to the same conclusion I did, but since the guy with the sword was the stock art, I couldn't get his arm lowered.

    Getting her to come through was a bit tricky. She is on the bottom layer, 'screened' in with photoshop. When I rendered her, I did so with the light in a peachy/yellowish on purpose, to better blend with the sky of the stock photo. When I got her screened in, I took the eraser and carefully removed any overlay sky texture from over her skin and dress, but I didn't do it for her hair. If I tried it with her hair, it came forward as too bold, and looked worse.

    But yes, the blending worked better than I thought it would, using that method.

    When browsing Amazon and a few other book sellers, I tend to go to their best sellers list and look at the book art. Every once and a while, I spot Victoria 4, or 5 or 6 and even an occasional Mike 5. They used a type of blending that I'm attempting to make them look more like part of the scene and not so much CGI. And it works. Those books are on the best seller's list.

    Puppet warp would have probably worked to get that sword moved a bit. I thought I'd never get the hang of that feature in PS but it's finally coming around for me. And nice job on the layer blending. I'm a huge fan of using those blends like crazy. I duplicate layers and experiment with assorted blending modes.

    I really haven't looked for DAZ stuff yet. In my genre, I know most of the royalty free stock sites so I'll spot certain models right off the bat. lol! But you're definitely correct on that one. I've been tearing my hair out all yesterday and just got things rolling on lighting and stuff - I'll post it in a bit and we shall see.

    Cheers,
    Kath

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    ejk_san said:
    Thank you! I discovered the Star Trek meshes website a long time ago and a lot of them someone translated into Poser files. Most of them are in 3DS format which Blender can translate but I still have to learn Blender’s texturing system because my Reliant lights are either off or on vs the hull. Lights on, the hull’s black, hull on, no lights. *sigh* But I attached the mock up of what I’m planning without Reliant’s lights.

    Yes, I discovered the site a few months ago and downloaded some 1701 .obj files. I'd love to do a project with some Trek meshes…but creator-owned stuff really dominates my free time right now.

    And Blender gave me nightmares with its GUI so I gave up on it. I use AC3D for easy object creation, and Silo 2 for more organic complex stuff, since DAZ doesn't like complex subdivided .obj files from AC3D.

    Blender gives me nightmares too - but Maya and 3DS I tried for a year and still couldn't get past the learning curve. If I can get through the video tutorials on Blender, I'm good, but the wiki about drives me insane. lol!

    Hey, I was able to make a cloak using the cloth morph thingy - it looked like crap and will never see the light of day, but it worked. Once. lol!

    What I'd like to learn in Blender is how to take some of my work from PS and turn it into a 3d mesh. I've been watching some videos of how to sculpt using a background image. But I can't decide if it would be easier to try it in blender with it's variety of brushes and primitive shapes, but the modeling is more restrictive when compared to Sculptris - but Sculptris is limited with brushes and primitives. *sigh*

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    manne said:

    Nice font work here, I'm interested to see how this cover will look when you pull it all together.

    Thank you! My font work - at least putting it on a cover - is awful. I always overdo it and it ends up a big mess. But let me do font just for . . uh . . . fonts sake? lol! And it usually turns out okay.

    demon_laird_parchment_title.jpg
    1022 x 576 - 232K
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