Book Covers

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  • philebus said:

    I'm going to side with your editor on this one. While I understand that better contrast makes the text easier, I feel the lighter sky has more of a painterly feel to it that reminds me of the paperbacks I used to read. Also, because the rest of the scene is quite dark, it provides a little contrast against wich the other elements can pop out a little.

     

    Linwelly said:

    I guess I'm with the editor on this one @mmitchell_houston, I prefer the brighter one, though I can see the text contrast thing. In that case I think you can darken the upper third a bit in postpork, kind of extending the darker blotch in the sky from the upper right.

    That makes three votes. And you do make a good point about the high contrast making the figures more visible. But I can't get past the fact that the back is going to need some serious work to make the text legible (and I can guarantee it will take up more than just the top-third of the page). I may wind up having to blend the two skies so the front is brighter and the back is darker, or make the back significantly lighter (I really don't want to do any typesetting tricks like adding a transparent white frame to make the text more legible).

    Well, I'll be making another pass later this week, so we'll see how it goes. The great thing about this process is that I isolate every element on a separate layer, so i can replace the tall alien, the background creatures and tweak the sky without disrupting any of the things that are working (like the female).

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 5,406

    Haven't made a book cover in a while.

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  • 3Diva3Diva Posts: 11,018

    Haven't made a book cover in a while.

    Nice! Maybe add a bit of dust being kicked up by the tires? :)

  • ArtAngelArtAngel Posts: 1,091

    Just trying to get a banner of covers in my sig.

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  • So, I wanted to revamp my current book covers, and was playing with the idea of showing the main character's face instead of just the body...but I'm conflicted.  I really don't want a 3D model appearance, I'm really striving for photorealism with each new project I do.  I know I'm still new to the program, and have TONS to learn, but I really don't want a 3D model look for the cover, I want people to wonder about the realism, or even be fooled into thinking it's real.

    This was my latest attempt, but it still looks 3D to me.  I'll keep trying, play around with some things.  I'm sure I'll figure it out at some point.

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  • ArtAngelArtAngel Posts: 1,091
    clcny20 said:

    So, I wanted to revamp my current book covers, and was playing with the idea of showing the main character's face instead of just the body...but I'm conflicted.  I really don't want a 3D model appearance, I'm really striving for photorealism with each new project I do.  I know I'm still new to the program, and have TONS to learn, but I really don't want a 3D model look for the cover, I want people to wonder about the realism, or even be fooled into thinking it's real.

    This was my latest attempt, but it still looks 3D to me.  I'll keep trying, play around with some things.  I'm sure I'll figure it out at some point.

    Will PM you some help. Check your messages. 

  • clcny20 said:

    So, I wanted to revamp my current book covers, and was playing with the idea of showing the main character's face instead of just the body...but I'm conflicted.  I really don't want a 3D model appearance, I'm really striving for photorealism with each new project I do.  I know I'm still new to the program, and have TONS to learn, but I really don't want a 3D model look for the cover, I want people to wonder about the realism, or even be fooled into thinking it's real.

    This was my latest attempt, but it still looks 3D to me.  I'll keep trying, play around with some things.  I'm sure I'll figure it out at some point.

    Learning post work in a 2D program is going to help. Also, think about photo manipulation. A lot of cover artists will use 3D renders with stock photos, swapping body parts out. Once you have your lighting down, focus on getting the eyes right. That's where most 3D images broadcast that they're 3D. Some cover artists will swap heads or even just the eyes. It's not that difficult once you learn a few techniques. Personally, I like using as much 3D as possible, but then I don't do ultra photorealistic renders. Right now, I'm putting aliens on book covers so I don't have a lot of experience doing human models for book covers. There are some really good covers out there using all 3D renders and they do well. A lot will depend on your genre. Urban Fantasy and Sci Fi are especially tolerant of 3D book covers. Romance is probably the least tolerant but things are slowly changing there as well. Contemporary romance will probably be the last holdout to accepting 3D book covers, but I can see that changing as cover artists get really good at photorealistic renders.

    Not sure what niche you write in. Taking a look at the top 100 in your niche will go a long way to showing you what the best cover is for your market.

    As for Daz Studio, keep learning and experimenting. Get some really good lights. I find the best results with HDRI lights combined with photometric lights. Don't worry about rendering out whole scenes. Render your figures separate from any background. I mostly render my figures with a transparent background and add in the background using stock images or bits and parts rendered out separately in Daz Studio. Most of your cover work is going to be in a 2D program.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks for the pointers.  I actually removed the catchlights in her eyes, because I felt it was causing her to look too fake.

    I also like the idea of swapping out pieces of the render with actual photos, I'm going to try that.

  • clcny20 said:

    Thanks for the pointers.  I actually removed the catchlights in her eyes, because I felt it was causing her to look too fake.

    I also like the idea of swapping out pieces of the render with actual photos, I'm going to try that.

    It depends. Usually, the catchlights are what make the character look more realistic. I think it's more the type of catch light that makes 3D renders look fake. One trick I've learned is to take the catchlights from a stock image and overlay it onto my 3D model. A good product to invest in from the Daz store is Promo Style Catch Lights. They take a little work depending on how you've posed your character and whether you need to move the lights, but they're the best product I've seen for great looking realistic catch lights. I use them for a lot of my portrait style renders when I'm going for the realistic look.

  • I actually purchased that, I need to put it to use.  Thanks so much

  • clcny20 said:

    I actually purchased that, I need to put it to use.  Thanks so much

    One tip when moving lights around. Create a group for them. It makes it easier to move them around as a whole so you don't mess up how the PA has them set up.

  • ArtAngelArtAngel Posts: 1,091
    edited November 2020

    @Kinittingmommy Great advice. I felt the eyes were a huge culprit. I happen to be quite direct and thought a PM would be better.

    Covers are crucial. I spent a year or two trying to promote a book and failed. I changed the cover and uploaded it then the next day thought why bother? I hate social media, I'm a recluse who is anti-social when it comes to self promotion and I hate this new cover. As a graphic artist, I felt my old cover was a much better design (full girl running  wind blowing her dress etc) and thought I need to put this on the back burner for a bit. Despite tearing down all social media and websites (soon to reappear) and unpublishing all books one slipped thru the cracks. It sold enough monthly to cover a mortgage payment, and the proceeds were going into an old bank account I thought I had closed. I had no clue that the book was up and selling (until I called Amazon irate when I found out it was still up 18 mos later) and after I said, "If you're telling me this book is selling would you mind telling me who you've been paying because it sure as hell isn't me." They proved me wrong and steered me to this old forgotten bank account. So a book with no marketing, no hype, no social media and no website can sell if readers are attracted to the cover. As a test I put up a pre-order for two weeks, no look inside no promotions, social meadia etc. It sold 11 copies in two weeks based on the cover alone before it was published. That pre-order book was Intoxicated.

    Edit: The images in my sig below are not all covers, some are half-title pages relating to the covers.

    Post edited by ArtAngel on
  • @ArtAngel I still haven't gotten into pre-orders for my books. I can't write to a deadline to save my life yet. I just throw them up once they've gone through the editing process. I have a great editor. Luckily, I've done fairly well, and I have a good mailing list. That helps sell my books because I can't do ads on my most of my books. I have great readers though so that helps. Getting consistent so I can safely do pre-orders is a goal of mine. I was working on that this year until the whole COVID-19 stuff through me for a loop and I didn't get near as much writing done as I had intended for a good six months. I'm only now starting to get books out again. My backlist saved me though. The income from my previous books kept me going. Things are picking up again with new books and I like the new influx of royalties.

  • I'm just starting to get into this area, for an experiment in self-publishing. The goal is to produce a cover for a Kindle work. Now, the Kindle spec sheet (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200645690) says the suggested cover image is 2,560 pixels in height x 1,600 pixels in width, with An ideal height/width ratio of at least 1.6:1. 

    I geuss the first question I'd have is how to set those parameters in DAZ so that what I render is the 'canvas' I have to work with -  since the pixel size (global) window doesn't let you set things to those numbers. 

  • LinwellyLinwelly Posts: 5,147

    I usually make larger renders so I have a bit of freedom in the selection of the cover frame, the cut to size I do, using Gimp

  • KnittingmommyKnittingmommy Posts: 8,110
    edited December 2020

    ebonartgallery said:

    I'm just starting to get into this area, for an experiment in self-publishing. The goal is to produce a cover for a Kindle work. Now, the Kindle spec sheet (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200645690) says the suggested cover image is 2,560 pixels in height x 1,600 pixels in width, with An ideal height/width ratio of at least 1.6:1. 

    I geuss the first question I'd have is how to set those parameters in DAZ so that what I render is the 'canvas' I have to work with -  since the pixel size (global) window doesn't let you set things to those numbers. 

     I've included a screenshot of how I have my KDP Cover template set up in Daz. You need to select Custom from the dropdown menu. Then change the Aspect Ratio (Global) with the 1 in the first box (W) and the 1.6 (H) in the second box. After that you can change the numbers in the Pixel Size (Global) in one of the boxes. It doesn't matter which one. Daz will automatically fill in the other number based on the ration you set.

    Then hit the Save button and name your custom size with a name in the box that pops up. I just put KDP Cover for mine. That saves your custom size down at the bottom.

    That being said, remember that Daz Studio renders at 72 dpi. You need to render bigger than that to get 300 dpi if you're going for print. For ebooks, 72 dpi should be fine. I haven't had an issue though I still like to render out at 300 dpi if possible.

    I typically do what @Linwelly said though. I like to render bigger and then cut it down later in a 2D program like she does. Gimp is a good free option for that. Currently, I'm using Affinity Photo because it's a cheap alternative to Photoshop and I like the program. I still do use Gimp sometimes. Mostly what I use the KDP template for is when I'm setting up my shots to make sure I'm within the KDP limits, but I'll actually use a bigger frame when rendering so I have plenty of room to crop it down in my 2D program.

    Good luck on your project!

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    Post edited by Knittingmommy on
  • I think one of the things that tends to say 3d to me, besides eyes, is expression, and hair. Hair can be a real killer of the suspension of disbelief. Most hair looks like wigs at best. If you are going for the painted-over effect, then a lot of that is taken care of, as it's then more "oil painting" like.

    As for dpi - I've had good results with changing the dpi in either photoshop or irfanview. YMMV.

    Thank you @KnittingMommy for all the great tips!
    Thank you @Linwelly - you are amazing as always.

     

     

  • ColiazColiaz Posts: 11

    I do not know if my post belongs here. I write a little in my spare time, the dream is to release a book but I leave that to those who are so talented. On the other hand, I create book covers in my spare time just because it's fun.

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  • LinwellyLinwelly Posts: 5,147

    Coliaz said:

    I do not know if my post belongs here. I write a little in my spare time, the dream is to release a book but I leave that to those who are so talented. On the other hand, I create book covers in my

    spare time just because it's fun.

    difinitely an interesting one and I really like the font you used for the title. I think it would help if we see a bit more of the figure and when it gets clearer what the black blotches are (setting off the contrast stronger maybe

  •  That lettering is fantastic! The cover is really beautiful, too. I think the black blobs are some kind of liquid splashing? Love the smoke/breath in her mouth, too. I think you have a real talent!

    Coliaz said:

    I do not know if my post belongs here. I write a little in my spare time, the dream is to release a book but I leave that to those who are so talented. On the other hand, I create book covers in my spare time just because it's fun.

  • Coliaz said:

    I do not know if my post belongs here. I write a little in my spare time, the dream is to release a book but I leave that to those who are so talented. On the other hand, I create book covers in my spare time just because it's fun.

    Hey, we LOVE all book covers, even imaginary ones. This is a nice job.
  • ColiazColiaz Posts: 11

    Thank you so much Linwelly, tiffanie_gray_aceaa3bc71 and mmitchell_houston

    I'm glad you liked my little book cover. I usually do things like this. The black blobs are a sluggish black liquid that rises from the pool that the female front character is stuck in along with a large skull.

    It's inspired by one of my stories.

  • LinwellyLinwelly Posts: 5,147

    Coliaz said:

    Thank you so much Linwelly, tiffanie_gray_aceaa3bc71 and mmitchell_houston

    I'm glad you liked my little book cover. I usually do things like this. The black blobs are a sluggish black liquid that rises from the pool that the female front character is stuck in along with a large skull.

    It's inspired by one of my stories.

    I understood what the blobs were meant to be, what I wanted to say is that you could give them a stronger impact if you make the surrounding scene a bit brighter, probably a slight shift of the camera angle would increase the effect as well

    might I ask where you got the font for the cover?

  • ColiazColiaz Posts: 11

    Thank you so much for the tip Linwelly! : )

    I downloaded the font from

    https://www.dafont.com

  • Coliaz said:

    Thank you so much for the tip Linwelly! : )

    I downloaded the font from

    https://www.dafont.com

    Okay, I give up. I found 2 there that were close, Eurofighter and Future X, but neither of those are exactly right, There is one letter that is off for each of those. So, which one is it? lol 

  • Thank you! Nope, I hadn't found this one! lol. I do have to say that your treament of it on the cover was inspirational

  • ColiazColiaz Posts: 11

    Thank you very much, I'm glad it inspires you tiffanie_gray_aceaa3bc71 :)

  • ArtAngelArtAngel Posts: 1,091

    Knittingmommy said:

    @ArtAngel I still haven't gotten into pre-orders for my books. I can't write to a deadline to save my life yet. I just throw them up once they've gone through the editing process. I have a great editor. Luckily, I've done fairly well, and I have a good mailing list. That helps sell my books because I can't do ads on my most of my books. I have great readers though so that helps. Getting consistent so I can safely do pre-orders is a goal of mine. I was working on that this year until the whole COVID-19 stuff through me for a loop and I didn't get near as much writing done as I had intended for a good six months. I'm only now starting to get books out again. My backlist saved me though. The income from my previous books kept me going. Things are picking up again with new books and I like the new influx of royalties.

    Sorry I didn't see your post until now. Glad to hear things are going well for you. I need an editor just forforum posts. I am not the best with deadlines either. I tend to procrastinate and have had to do a few 24 hour stints every odd night, back when I did commercial art work for others. The best way to experiment with pre-orders (if you have never done one) is to have the final draft completed, (edited etc) prior to creating the pre-order. and hold off on the upload/pub and instead do a preorder for 1-3 months. It's a safe non-threatening way, to see how it works for you. The pre-orders have the advantage of putting you high up on the hot new list but that never last long because a book is new for a very short while. The best sellers list is indeed a better list to shoot for and that, as you know, takes time and sales must be consistent in order to hit it under a popular category. This screen shot was taken in Oct 2020 of Battered #14,462 in kindle store, with older cover (pic of me as a kid). After I changed the cover pic to a 3D character and changed the category it went lower on the charts. I plan to put the old cover back just to test the results. An author shouldn't  'play' with categories and covers if they want to stay on top but often times it is worth the testing before ceating a new series. But the pre-order for Charmed is working well and has already beaten out intoxicated. The thing with preorders is if you miss your deadline you are barred from pre-orders for a year so it is better to give yourself a longer window. The thing with this series is that it is a non-fictional book (but not a reference book or a biographer - just  a memoir) so it's not a popular genre. I have a different sci-fi series I am itching to upload but I have to finish this series arc first. Sci-fi is a much easier sell, as is romatic genres. Heres a screen shot of the categories and at one point in biographies/memoirs it hit in the teens but I can't find the screenshot right now.

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  • KnittingmommyKnittingmommy Posts: 8,110

    ArtAngel said:

    Knittingmommy said:

    @ArtAngel I still haven't gotten into pre-orders for my books. I can't write to a deadline to save my life yet. I just throw them up once they've gone through the editing process. I have a great editor. Luckily, I've done fairly well, and I have a good mailing list. That helps sell my books because I can't do ads on my most of my books. I have great readers though so that helps. Getting consistent so I can safely do pre-orders is a goal of mine. I was working on that this year until the whole COVID-19 stuff through me for a loop and I didn't get near as much writing done as I had intended for a good six months. I'm only now starting to get books out again. My backlist saved me though. The income from my previous books kept me going. Things are picking up again with new books and I like the new influx of royalties.

    Sorry I didn't see your post until now. Glad to hear things are going well for you. I need an editor just forforum posts. I am not the best with deadlines either. I tend to procrastinate and have had to do a few 24 hour stints every odd night, back when I did commercial art work for others. The best way to experiment with pre-orders (if you have never done one) is to have the final draft completed, (edited etc) prior to creating the pre-order. and hold off on the upload/pub and instead do a preorder for 1-3 months. It's a safe non-threatening way, to see how it works for you. The pre-orders have the advantage of putting you high up on the hot new list but that never last long because a book is new for a very short while. The best sellers list is indeed a better list to shoot for and that, as you know, takes time and sales must be consistent in order to hit it under a popular category. This screen shot was taken in Oct 2020 of Battered #14,462 in kindle store, with older cover (pic of me as a kid). After I changed the cover pic to a 3D character and changed the category it went lower on the charts. I plan to put the old cover back just to test the results. An author shouldn't  'play' with categories and covers if they want to stay on top but often times it is worth the testing before ceating a new series. But the pre-order for Charmed is working well and has already beaten out intoxicated. The thing with preorders is if you miss your deadline you are barred from pre-orders for a year so it is better to give yourself a longer window. The thing with this series is that it is a non-fictional book (but not a reference book or a biographer - just  a memoir) so it's not a popular genre. I have a different sci-fi series I am itching to upload but I have to finish this series arc first. Sci-fi is a much easier sell, as is romatic genres. Heres a screen shot of the categories and at one point in biographies/memoirs it hit in the teens but I can't find the screenshot right now.

    Actually, KDP had a grace period installed for most of last year when it comes to pre-orders. You could request pre-orders be postponned if it was COVID related. They are starting to ease off of that now, but I believe the grace is still in place. So for now, an author can postpone or cancel a pre-order without losing privaleges. No idea how much longer that will last now because they've taken the notice off the KDP website this past week. I suspect it won't be a thing for very much longer.

    I did finally put a pre-order up for a book coming out in March. I wrote a prequel which I had as part of a multi-author giveaway for a new series. That prequel is now up on Amazon and the pre-order is doing okay. I haven't really pushed it yet. I plan to try ads for it a couple of weeks before book 1 comes out. We'll see how it does then. Pre-orders still make me nervous. I know I can't procrastinate. The goal is to not need to postpone it because who knows if that will still be in place by the time I might need it. Nope, gonna write the book and get it done before my deadline.

    I'm pretty proud of the covers for both books though. I made both covers myself using stock images.

    In other news, I got to create some aliens for book covers! It was a lot of fun. So far, two of the aliens I created are on actual SFR covers for sale on Amazon. I finished up another alien this week. Two of those were freebies to see what I could do and one was for my cover in the shared world the SFRs are set in. I took the most risk with my cover's alien. I finished up a new alien this week which led to request for five more aliens which I'll actually get paid to do which is exciting.

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