Book Covers

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,353
    edited June 2015

    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.

    Oh I do like that Demon Laird Parchment logo, it nails the rugged medieval element, and the font is historic yet easy to read! Good stuff!

    Post edited by FirstBastion on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited June 2015

    Okay yesterday was something else. I don't know if something changed with DAZ and the release of the Gen 3 stuff but all of a sudden all the stuff I had working just stopped working. I practically had to start over from the ground up. The worst of it was, my computer bogged down on rendering stuff. A scene that it rendered in five minutes suddenly stalled out and would get to 15% in 20 min then just up and quit.

    Now - I'm trying to recreate Mist Warrior's cover so I posted that again for comparison. But before I could get anywhere, the computer is in a complete fit of rebellion. So first I had my gen 2 figure and added a castle tower int eh background, no biggie, and I started to render with the gen 2 iray skin shader. I hadn't really added any other iray shaders in at all yet. But I did a quick spot render on the screen. Instead of zipping right along, at 3 minutes it hadn't even hit 1%. It's a tiny spot render, why is it taking so long?

    The first two aren't full renders, I stopped them before they got very far. The third one I decided to wait out. It got to around 14% and suddenly just quit on it's own. I don't know why. So I changed up a couple of things and tried again. The next image same thing 14% and quits.

    I decided to change up some lighting - I was using Hector's skin mat and he's as white as a sheet. so I changed out my iray lights - this one was a combo of red and yellow to give him more skin color but on thing I learned painting gaming miniatures, to add a lot of realism to light skin tones - add some blue or purple to it in places. It's easy to overdo it, but once you get the hang of it, it works wonders. So that's what I did with the lighting. I added a blazing purple light in the middle with strong blue overtones.

    But guess what. The next thing I new, my computer rendered that in under 20 minutes - it flew where the others had barely hit 14% in 20 minutes then quit.

    I have no idea. lol!

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

    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.

    Oh I do like that Demon Laird Parchment logo, it nails the rugged medieval element, and the font is historic yet easy to read! Good stuff!

    Thank you First! I made the parchment out of a "hide" texture I found on CG Textures it started off as what would be a quarter of the size. Just duplicated, flipped, matched it, and wash rinse repeat. Then came the fun part of making it look all burned and old.

    You should see what I did with some Book of Kells artwork. lol!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Dang it! Too bad Mist Warrior isn't a fantasy novel. Experimenting with light. I'm working on environment lighting too. Might have something intriguing tomorrow.

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  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,353
    edited December 1969

    I'm a firm believer that you can't know what you don't know, until you try what you haven't done before, to learn what it is, you want to learn.
    Basically, Learn by doing. So I decided to make a bunch of mock-up book covers, with the sized thumbnail in mind, to see what might work and what doesn't. So now I basically have a bunch of PSD templates and the realization that I'll need to invest into some more cool Fonts and some action/styles.

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  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 257
    edited June 2015

    I'm a firm believer that you can't know what you don't know, until you try what you haven't done before, to learn what it is, you want to learn.
    Basically, Learn by doing. So I decided to make a bunch of mock-up book covers, with the sized thumbnail in mind, to see what might work and what doesn't. So now I basically have a bunch of PSD templates and the realization that I'll need to invest into some more cool Fonts and some action/styles.


    I love it what a good idea and a great job! What's your original render size on those images (if you don't mind me asking)?


    If you're looking for photoshop actions www.graphicriver.net has some great ones. Although their site seems down right now. :(

    Post edited by _manne_ on
  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,353
    edited June 2015

    What’s your original render size on those images (if you don’t mind me asking)?

    I rendered at around 2000-2400 pixels height, and resized it down to fit the template I made.

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

    Wow! What a great job First! I've got a ton of "mock up" covers floating around - non DAZ for right now. Typically you're going to want to shoot for something that translates into a 6x9 or 5x8 thereabouts because the ebook covers then translate to print and ultimately to audiobook. Audiobook is the toughest and is what I'm working on now because you have to start at 2800 x 2800 pixels. So of course the 6x9 doesn't jibe with that and ACX doesn't want a copy of the ebook cover "framed". So that's the fun part.

    PSD actions - depends exactly what you're looking for. I found an action set for 3d box that I tweaked so it can be used as a book box set. And PSDcovers. com (they're free) has the type of 3d mockups you've seen me post here for my books too. If you want to see the box adaptation in action, I did a tutorial on Youtube.

    Creating a 3d Box Set Part 1


    Creating a 3d Box Set Part 2

    They're only about 6 minutes long - experience has made me a firm believer in short and sweet on YouTube.

    Fonts - my favorite is to look for the freebies on dafont.com. Google Web Fonts is a treasure trove. You can download the Google Web Fonts and they're public domain. Most freebies on dafont rarely require credit. Also, since I'm a Creative Cloud member and any font I get through Typekit with Adobe is free and clear to use in my stuff. But Typekit is rather - blah. They want you spend serious $$$ on their purchased fonts. The only fonts I've purchased are some through Scriptorium, they're the least expensive I've found. I bought a big package of medieval and celtic style fonts on sale for about $35. I've heard good things about Font Squirrel but have never found anything I liked.

    Styles you can find all over the place - deviantArt for example, but each person has different terms. But there are enough out there that if I find any terms that are a bit hinky, I steer clear. Now that I've gotten better at creating my own, that's what I primarily rely on.

    My audiobook chapters for Mist Warrior have been corrected and uploaded so I'm frantically working on the new cover. Big problem is I've got a whacked out thyroid and I get my meds through the mail. Unfortunately the post office became so unreliable, that I switched to Fed Ex. More expensive but a much better track record. Bad news, as if late, Fed Ex's track record has just dropped below that of the post office. I was supposed to get my package before 9:30am today but it was stuck in Houston all day and just got to Beaumont right before closing. I'm out in the sticks and that's a 45 min drive just to Beaumont, over 2 hours for Houston. It's really hard to work on this stuff when you can't focus on anything. Let's hope it gets here tomorrow morning or heads will roll. (My family runs for cover when my meds are late. lol!)

    Anyway, here's what I've been trying to work on today.

    The hero rendered okay I think.

    I'm working on the background of the cover now.


    I would have liked to gone with my own layout with the castle but I think the ruins fit the story better because through out it the hero is working on rebuilding a keep that he inherited that was long forgotten.

    Let's hope I can actually get some work done on this tomorrow.

    Or, I'll just hire First Bastion to create the cover. lol!

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Mist Warrior Audiobook cover 1st draft

    Okay here we go - any and all feedback is sincerely appreciated. I have not necessarily full size because that's too large to post to the forums, but as close as I can get it, plus the approximate thumbnail size that Audible uses.

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  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 257
    edited December 1969

    Mist Warrior Audiobook cover 1st draft

    Okay here we go - any and all feedback is sincerely appreciated. I have not necessarily full size because that's too large to post to the forums, but as close as I can get it, plus the approximate thumbnail size that Audible uses.

    Hey Kathryn,

    I've been following along but just haven't been able to post till now. I do have one suggestion. The title is a bit difficult to read especially with the background switching colors behind it. Since it is mist warrior...could you just use a fog or smoke brush in photoshop to go behind your title and make that area at the base of the hill a bit more uniform color.? A bit like the castle picture was coming out of the mist? I think it might make your title stand out more.

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Thanks manne! I attempted something like the fog behind the title initially - and it kicked my butt. I couldn't get it to work to save my life. So I put that on the back burner.

    Also, I wasn't really liking the filters I used either. I like them on the castle, I think it helps the rocky texture but not for the hero.

    So I tried again and came up with this one.

    At least it's working more toward the painted feel I was shooting for.

    HOWEVER, manne, your point about the title is definitely valid on both. So I'll just put a butterfly bandage on my eyebrow. (Don't stand too close to the spit bucket there.) And I'll give that fog layer another shot. I could have been a contender you know. :P (As you can tell I'm tired - I'm getting goofy again.)

    Thank you very much, m'dear. Let's see how this one goes.

    Round five *ding ding*

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

    I'm officially, absolutely, positively, sick and tired of MIST.

    And this cover. lol!

    Although I did follow your suggestion, manne. Thank you again for that - it is very much appreciated!

    Now I'm officially stopping work on this tonight - before I drop kick it into next week.

    Maybe I'll actually be able to stand looking at it tomorrow. ;)

    Again,comments, suggestions, ideas, are most welcome.

    Cheers!

    ETA - Okay definitely going to put the tag line back the way it was.

    Okay, okay, I said it! I'm quitting for tonight. lol!

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    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 257
    edited July 2015

    I'm officially, absolutely, positively, sick and tired of MIST.

    And this cover. lol!

    Although I did follow your suggestion, manne. Thank you again for that - it is very much appreciated!

    Now I'm officially stopping work on this tonight - before I drop kick it into next week.

    Maybe I'll actually be able to stand looking at it tomorrow. ;)

    Again,comments, suggestions, ideas, are most welcome.

    Cheers!

    ETA - Okay definitely going to put the tag line back the way it was.

    Okay, okay, I said it! I'm quitting for tonight. lol!

    Wow what a difference. For me, your last attempt really made the title pop. It's definitely improved the readability by 100%.

    Sorry addendum: In looking at it again I can see lines on both edges of the mist. Pull your mist layer out wider if you'd like those to disappear.

    Post edited by _manne_ on
  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 964
    edited December 1969

    Sorry, Kathryn, but tue reddish new Background doesn't work fort me. I liked the old one better.-
    .
    Perhaps you could make the warrior bigger, so that the title's background is completely dark, and then make the letters more shiny?

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,353
    edited July 2015

    It was Canada Day yesterday, and I was off doing the family holiday stuff and didn't have a chance to comment on the first version. I think you made good improvements all on your own Kath. Starting with the title, huge improvement with the brighter Gold tone title (or atleast more contrasting background) and the increased size of the subtitle. Strong easy to read contrast is good. Also like the increased size of the caption. If you're going to have it, making it readable and clearly visible even at thumbnail size is beneficial, but can it take up too much space? Try it 3 different sizes and then have people give some feedback.

    Now Manne point about using the "Mist" as a technique to carry through the theme of the story title to the cover is a good call. It helped remove the floating effect of the hero in mid air and help tie the different elements together. Cherpenbeck mention the red versus blue sky background. To me the red sky almost signifies a fire burning, which can be both a destructive force or hints at a fire burning in his soul to reclaim his birthright. The castle ruins is a great element and since it is practically silhouette, color wise either could work.

    Which leaves the hero. Definitely didn't like the filtered cartoon effect of the first version, this 3rd-5th version is better, more realistic. More engaging. yet there's something still missing with him. Luckily he's on his own layer. I don't know if its the airbrushed effect or the muscles dialed up a bit beyond realistic, but a more realistic render might help. The pose itself is fine, the hair works for the time period, and the expression and characters features are handsome. Could you try a render technique version similar to the image you posted on the previous post #122 (fourth one down) and see how that fits in.

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

    @Cherp - hehe well, I was liking the red but I know what you mean Cherp- it lost the contrasty colors and therefore some pop. That's the hard part for me - I can get the contrasty colors and some zing going but that in turn makes text harder to read and then I end up fighting with mist and trying to do what manne suggested. But I tried to bring it back a little so we shall see what we shall see!

    @First! Oh good, I'm so glad you jumped in. Holiday?? Well . . . okay I guess I'll cut you some slack, especially since our Independence day is this weekend. Not that I'm going to get a holiday but we'll see how it goes. I hope you had fun with the family!

    Thanks very much for the feedback! I really appreciate it.

    Now I went back and look at the post/render you referenced and I like that one a lot too - the problem was that's only a 40% render. At the time, I'd start a render and after 20 minutes it kinda hit 40% and would up and quit every time. I ended up having to change out some more old shaders to iray. Apparently they had slipped past me and that was causing the render to drag and ultimately flip out. I'd love to recreate that render fully but I don't know if I can.

    The one thing I was trying to go for - and that first render with the plastic look helped steer me in the right direction - talk about going the wrong way - was a more painterly feel. So I have a PS diffuse glow fine tuned on him with only a little grain because then I I did a canvas texture on the entire image to get it nice and even. The castle still has that first round filter - which is ink something or other. I closed PS and I'm going to try tweaking some stuff on my computer. Creative Cloud updated PS to the 2015 and around that same time a new Nvidia driver came out for my card. Well, I'm starting to the think the two don't play nice together. The driver's been getting snippy with DAZ too. But it could be the new version PS picking the fight when I'm not looking.

    With the muscles - yeah, his arms are a little off when I get him in a similar pose as the original. But this is Gianni, I bumped his muscling up a little, but it was more definition than actual bulk. I have to be really careful because the kilt's made for M4 and I can barely get it to fit. It's like - suck it in dude! lol! Actually, the thighs are the problem. The controls to tone down g2m on the thighs are nill. I hope the G3s will address that a little.

    With increasing the size of the hero, I decreased the size of the tag line. But it's about standard that I've seen on 5x8 mass market pb's. Still that last line is giving me fits because it's longer than the others and it doesn't want to split as nicely as the preceding lines.

    As to the cover elements - the book started out with the title Legacy. But I kept noticing this Mist Warrior theme recurring through it. In fact when the heroine first sees the hero in Chapter Two he's on a gray destrier and comes charging through this gray snowy mist - straight at her - very scary for her but also bit ethereal. I kept digging with my research and discovered the hero's clan was one of the "Mist Clans" meaning at one time, everything to do with the clan - even the name - was deemed illegal. So people of course changed their names and hid their ties to the clan. That wreaks havoc for research purposes but it succeeded in sparking the creativity. So that's when I changed the title to Mist Warrior and the series name to Legacy of the Mist Clans.

    The story takes place in Cumbria - north UK near the Scottish border and I did a bunch of research on the castles there. There is one tower called Thistlewood that I found the floor plans and documentation on licenses to crenellate. I also found historical articles on Thistlewood's parallels to Scottish tower houses. But historians say it was abandoned sometime in the middle ages. Well, my story is in the 1400's so I couldn't resist having the hero inherit Thistlewood and through much of the story he is organizing the rebuilding of the tower house. The antagonist murdered the hero's father, and now wields a Scottish claymore with a green emerald in the pommel and a thistle engraved on the hilt. So the hero is trying to recover his stolen legacy from the antagonist and regaining his father's sword from the bad guy becomes his physical focus for his legacy - and justice.

    Woops - there I go blathering on again. Sorry. My point being is everything on the cover from the title to the fire, the ruined castle, to the emerald on the sword, everything you see is a plot thread within the story. Of course all of my covers reflect their story's elements - but none are as strong or as accurate as this one.

    Here's the draft cover I just did for this round when I came in and saw your post, First - I'll fiddle with the render on the hero a bit. But I can always remove the diffuse glow and the canvas texture on the hero. I was using that to soften the skin tone and get more of a painted effect. But I gots them smart filters! lol! So I can swap out filter effects easy. Oh and on this version of the cover, instead of relying solely on brushes for flames and smoke, I rendered some of the flames in Photoshop.

    Thanks again for all the help on this guys! I really, really appreciate it! The clock is ticking. I've got to double-check but I think I have to get this posted to ACX today to get the audiobook chapters approved. ACX will then do their quality check on them before putting everything together then sending it out to retailers.

    Cheers,
    Kath

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  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 257
    edited December 1969

    Here's the draft cover I just did for this round when I came in and saw your post, First - I'll fiddle with the render on the hero a bit. But I can always remove the diffuse glow and the canvas texture on the hero. I was using that to soften the skin tone and get more of a painted effect. But I gots them smart filters! lol! So I can swap out filter effects easy. Oh and on this version of the cover, instead of relying solely on brushes for flames and smoke, I rendered some of the flames in Photoshop.

    Thanks again for all the help on this guys! I really, really appreciate it! The clock is ticking. I've got to double-check but I think I have to get this posted to ACX today to get the audiobook chapters approved. ACX will then do their quality check on them before putting everything together then sending it out to retailers.

    Cheers,
    Kath

    Oh Katheryn, don't hate me but, you did ask...I like the cover you did earlier better for this reason: for me, it had a more cohesive feel. I didn't, and still don't have any opinion on the colours; but I think the elements worked better together as my attention was clearly drawn to the hero and the title as their importance seemed more "weighted". Perhaps everyone else feels differently (I could be totally out in left field here), but in this last revision it seems like there are more elements competing for my attention which all have equal weight and as a result, I find it less effective as an image. :(

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,353
    edited July 2015

    manne said:

    Oh Katheryn, don't hate me but, you did ask...I like the cover you did earlier better for this reason: for me, it had a more cohesive feel. I didn't, and still don't have any opinion on the colours; but I think the elements worked better together as my attention was clearly drawn to the hero and the title as their importance seemed more "weighted". Perhaps everyone else feels differently (I could be totally out in left field here), but in this last revision it seems like there are more elements competing for my attention which all have equal weight and as a result, I find it less effective as an image. :(

    I have to agree with Manne, except for maybe a 10% reduction in the size of the caption, the previous cover works better from a visual standpoint giving the right balance of contrast and focus. This is the most difficult stage, the polish, .and deadlines are never of benefit, because sometimes just letting it sit for a day or two can help bring clarity to your vision. But if you must submit something, the previous draft #5 would get my vote from the versions displayed so far.

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

    manne said:
    Oh Katheryn, don't hate me but, you did ask...I like the cover you did earlier better for this reason: for me, it had a more cohesive feel. I didn't, and still don't have any opinion on the colours; but I think the elements worked better together as my attention was clearly drawn to the hero and the title as their importance seemed more "weighted". Perhaps everyone else feels differently (I could be totally out in left field here), but in this last revision it seems like there are more elements competing for my attention which all have equal weight and as a result, I find it less effective as an image. :(

    LOl! I don't hate you sweetie! Of course everyone has a different idea and opinions. I'm not experienced enough to visualize a person's suggestion and say nawww I don't think it will work, or hey, yeah that's the ticket! I have to actually try the suggestions and see if I can get some sort of translation that will work. So it's to be expected that we're going to have too many cooks and the broth will probably suffer for it - at first - this is why I call them drafts. I did the same thing when I started writing with a critique group - the story was everyone's but mine - until I gained enough experience to find my own voice. Then I could take the suggestions and meld them together to make something that was actually original.

    So we'll go back and forth on this like watching a tennis match and I'll growl and snarl but remember I'm always growling and snarling at said picture or at my computer - not at you guys! lol!

    Eventually something will click over here with the suggestions and I'll actually get something decent,

    See after letting each draft sit and marinate for a bit, I start leaning in a general direction. For example, I like the colors of the first, I don't like the hero or the castle. The second one I like the sky, but I think I need more definition with the flames and smoke - however, not as much as I did on this latest one. The flames and smoke, color is okay, the shape is awful and is overkill. I'm still waffling on the hero - but I like the colors that are popping on the castle on the second. I need to figure out something to do with the mist so it doesn't obscure the castle so much because that takes a lot of zing from the cover. I may not not graphic layout very well, but thanks to all the mini painting, I do know how to make colors pop. Yet the mist is absolutely needed to help make the title readable.

    One must find balance, Grasshopper, and then one can find the order in chaos.

    At least that's what I keep telling myself because it sure sounds good. lol!

    But basically I'm trying to stick everything in the pot and try not to poison everyone. ;) I'm giving a new render another go and it's got my computer going in fits and starts which makes it hell to type. This render I was working on First's suggestion and the hero's regular pose but a different angle jumped out at me and I said, hey, that's the best shot yet. If it will work, I won't know until it's done rendering but we shall see.

    Oh and first, before I forget I did try to go back and recapture that render you pointed out - but while I think I got pretty close to it, after 15 minutes of rending and the thing was still on 0%, I said nope, not going to happen. Canclled and tried again, I'm going after that look, but I don't think I'll get it exactly.

    l! I know I won't be able to please everyone but I'll give as many ideas an honest run as I can and see which ones stick. Ultimately, I'm the one that has to live with it when all's said and done.

    So let me see what I can do in this round. It ain't over until the fat lady just doens't give a damn any more. lol! (I'm kidding - since I'm the fat lady. haha! Let me see how it goes with this render and I'll post another draft. ;)

    Thanks gain! I really do appreciate the help!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Oh Katheryn, don't hate me but, you did ask...I like the cover you did earlier better for this reason: for me, it had a more cohesive feel. I didn't, and still don't have any opinion on the colours; but I think the elements worked better together as my attention was clearly drawn to the hero and the title as their importance seemed more "weighted". Perhaps everyone else feels differently (I could be totally out in left field here), but in this last revision it seems like there are more elements competing for my attention which all have equal weight and as a result, I find it less effective as an image. :(

    You snuck in on me there, First! lol! Cool! Thank you! I'm thinking I got an idea to pull this together with all the stuff y'all have been giving me - little bits of the puzzle. But let me get back to it, because I'm just slowing the render down here. So I'll be back in a bit. :D

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 4,353
    edited December 1969

    You mention the "click", and in anything creative, the "click" matters, it's the gut feeling, when you know you've hit the mark, between the ephemeral ideas you have in your head, and the thing your talent puts down on paper.

  • enchantedwolfeenchantedwolfe Posts: 33
    edited December 1969

    @manne and First Bastion

    OH I see said the blind man! Okay now it's starting to make a bit more sense.

    When I first started I couldn't decide which came first, the chicken or the egg with Michael and Gen 2 because we start tagging on the numbers with M4 and v4 and so on then it really gets confusing. I just grabbed some bundles on sale - Gianni Pro because I was having better luck with Gen 2 and that bundle had more of what I thought I'd might need. But I also got the Michael Pro a long, time ago - like when I first signed up and it was a welcome discount plus already on sale cheap so it was next to nothing. But I found myself getting really confused because everywhere I went on the web its all M and V stuff.

    So I'd definitely like to get some of the clothing I got for M4 and V4 updated to possibly use on my Gen 2 - since it's mostly medieval stuff. A couple of contemporary things too. There's not much but it would be cool if I could get it to work.

    Now, I did have a big breakthrough today.

    I'm starting to get a handle on this iray and hair shader thing - I think - I have no idea what I'm doing detailed wise - but I'm seeing results with various adjustments - well hell, here check out this most recent render. The hair isn't iray compatible and I have the initial render of this character in my very first post. Here's how he looks now.

    I think you've got it, I love the hair and the character, btw what character is that?

  • anikadanikad Posts: 1,919
    edited July 2015

    I looked at all of your drafts and one thing for me is constant - it feels like there is too much going on and I'm not clear what the focus is. For me
    The blurb is unecessary and will be mostly illegible when someone is scrolling through audible et al. It distracts from the main image.
    The celtic knotwork is disconnected and distracting, I don't think it really improves the image. Is it really necessary?
    I'm not not clear what the focus is on your main image, the hero and background feels disconnected.
    I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better if you moved the hero further forward - currently he seems to be on a par with the ruins which I find distracting. it makes him seem floaty.
    The hero doesn't seems to be disconnected from the background, he stands out and also looks shiny in comparison. I wonder if there is a way to put a filter on so he's less shiny and blends in more.
    Is that the optimal positioning for your text? Both at top or one at top and one at bottom?

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

    You mention the "click", and in anything creative, the "click" matters, it's the gut feeling, when you know you've hit the mark, between the ephemeral ideas you have in your head, and the thing your talent puts down on paper.


    And it's funny how the "click" works - sometimes it barely goes off, other times it damn near breaks something.

    So I'm putting everything together it's starting to click - really super close - and I have the base of the first image down. I've got the new pose render and I'm definitely liking it better. I'm thinking this might actually work! But then horror of horrors I notice that I've got a big fat white space - not even white space but a big fat transparency smack in the middle of the image. *head desk* So me being the genius that I am - NOT - I try to fix it.

    It's there but it's not - so close yet so far away. You know the saying, "almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear war."

    So that's the "fire background" image with the new pose.

    Grumbling to myself and not happy with it at all, I start saving my jpeg to post here and THEN THE CLICK went off big time.

    I can't tell you how many times this has happened. The main project falls to pieces on me - this goes for writing, painting, just about anything artistic for me - it has fallen face first and hit the ground hard in the 11th hour.

    Most of the time, not always, but most of the time, that's when the real inspiration hits and the pieces fall into place. Cinderella has tossed the glass slippers in favor of a pair of Nikes. I don't know why the muse chooses to work like this but she does and yes, she's crazier than I am. But the end result almost always is something I didn't actually plan in detail, but ends up using most of the details of what I had planned.

    That's what happened with this and resulted in the next image which is more of the blue toned and of course the new pose.

    Any baseball fans out there?

    Ya know - I couldn't help but think that either of these might not be a homerun, but I think they turned into one hell of a suicide squeeze. :)

    (Now that I look at the first one again - it's not that bad - but it just seems - busy now. Well, y'all can let me know which one you like better.)

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    I think you've got it, I love the hair and the character, btw what character is that?

    Hi Enchanted Wolfe! Thank you very much! The character is a very tweaked (meaning the sliders, I didn't add any extra morphs) Gianni, with a little Hector and Taric thrown in. In this last pose, I dialed down those two quite a bit, so he's more Gianni than anything. The hair is Julius something or other. lol! I've been staring at the name all day and can't think of it to save my life right now. ;)

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

    anikad said:
    I looked at all of your drafts and one thing for me is constant - it feels like there is too much going on and I'm not clear what the focus is. For me
    The blurb is unecessary and will be mostly illegible when someone is scrolling through audible et al. It distracts from the main image.
    The celtic knotwork is disconnected and distracting, I don't think it really improves the image. Is it really necessary?
    I'm not not clear what the focus is on your main image, the hero and background feels disconnected.
    I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better if you moved the hero further forward - currently he seems to be on a par with the ruins which I find distracting. it makes him seem floaty.
    The hero doesn't seems to be disconnected from the background, he stands out and also looks shiny in comparison. I wonder if there is a way to put a filter on so he's less shiny and blends in more.
    Is that the optimal positioning for your text? Both at top or one at top and one at bottom?

    Hi Anikad! Thanks for the feedback. You and I were posting at the same time I think. But I posted two with a new pose for the hero. Yeah, I was thinking it was too busy as well, which is when the inspiration for the second one (blue) hit. And yes, I'm ready to kick that tag line to the curb. And I also removed the celtic knot work on the second one. lol! So I think we're on the same wavelength there. lol!

    At least I think I got the second version on the same lines as what you're suggesting for improvements. No real filters on the hero - I did a "manual" dodge and burn - which is just using highlights and shadows on layers so it's non-destructive. I did those by hand with my wacom so the effect is a bit more subtle - at least that's the intent.

    Is the second one more along the lines of what you mean?

    Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Kath

    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • enchantedwolfeenchantedwolfe Posts: 33
    edited December 1969

    if you really want to learn clothes and hair, things to model there is a great tutorial at runtime.dna by ladyfox, I bought the whole package deal and she goes step by step and she's very nice about things that you ask.
    Here's the link http://www.runtimedna.com/Littlefox/?sort_direction=1&page=4 all of here tuts are there. Hope this helps :)

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited December 1969

    Oh cool! Thank you very much! I'll check it out.

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 257
    edited December 1969

    You mention the "click", and in anything creative, the "click" matters, it's the gut feeling, when you know you've hit the mark, between the ephemeral ideas you have in your head, and the thing your talent puts down on paper.


    And it's funny how the "click" works - sometimes it barely goes off, other times it damn near breaks something.

    So I'm putting everything together it's starting to click - really super close - and I have the base of the first image down. I've got the new pose render and I'm definitely liking it better. I'm thinking this might actually work! But then horror of horrors I notice that I've got a big fat white space - not even white space but a big fat transparency smack in the middle of the image. *head desk* So me being the genius that I am - NOT - I try to fix it.

    It's there but it's not - so close yet so far away. You know the saying, "almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear war."

    So that's the "fire background" image with the new pose.

    Grumbling to myself and not happy with it at all, I start saving my jpeg to post here and THEN THE CLICK went off big time.

    I can't tell you how many times this has happened. The main project falls to pieces on me - this goes for writing, painting, just about anything artistic for me - it has fallen face first and hit the ground hard in the 11th hour.

    Most of the time, not always, but most of the time, that's when the real inspiration hits and the pieces fall into place. Cinderella has tossed the glass slippers in favor of a pair of Nikes. I don't know why the muse chooses to work like this but she does and yes, she's crazier than I am. But the end result almost always is something I didn't actually plan in detail, but ends up using most of the details of what I had planned.

    That's what happened with this and resulted in the next image which is more of the blue toned and of course the new pose.

    Any baseball fans out there?

    Ya know - I couldn't help but think that either of these might not be a homerun, but I think they turned into one hell of a suicide squeeze. :)

    (Now that I look at the first one again - it's not that bad - but it just seems - busy now. Well, y'all can let me know which one you like better.)

    Hey Kathryn, I know early on you talked about how you really needed a kilt on the cover to sell the image. Do you feel like that is still the case or do you feel like the suggestion of it is enough? I like how you've done the tag line in the 2nd image and I definitely like the pose better than the previous images. I don't mind the celtic knots because they provide "framing" for your scene, but that's just personal preference and has no bearing on the quality of either image.

  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 908
    edited December 1969

    Hi Kathryn, the two most recent versions of the Audiobook cover look really good. I plump for the second one as the layout looks cleaner to me, if that makes sense :)

    Been lurking since the first post and it’s finally time to introduce myself :red:

    I’m Jaime from the other side of the world, in the Philippines :lol:

    Here’s my background, in a nutshell: I’ve always loved drawing and painting but could never realize what I saw in my head. I moved into writing when I started High School and after a detour into Law School and becoming part of the Parliament of the Streets against the dictator, found my way into advertising where it took me 8 years to realize that I hated selling products :lol: The only thing I enjoyed about it was the shoots so I went to the London Film School. Since ’97 I’ve been a production professional doing corporate videos.

    After having taken a sabbatical to concentrate on the craft of screenwriting I found Daz when I needed it most: to get over a broken heart (but not in the way you may think) ;-) That was in 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. :cheese:

    Am also working on the cover for a friend’s SciFi novel, which is why I’ve been lurking here.

    Much thanks to the contributors here, especially Kathryn and FirstBastion: based on what he said I decided to try Dynamic clothing and it totally rocks!

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