Book Covers

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  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274
    edited July 2015

    Ok this is not exactly a cover, more an illustration, text to show on the left.  If you get a chance, let me know which one works better, and why.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015
    _manne_ said:

    Ok this is not exactly a cover, more an illustration, text to show on the left.  If you get a chance, let me know which one works better, and why.

    Well it looks like some of our attachments are showing and some aren't. Hopefully they'll get that fixed.

    So you're going to put text on the image on the left hand side? For me I can't say for sure because I need to see if the text you put in on the left,competes with the text by the boy on the right.

    You've got a lot of blue in the scene, I suggest contrasting colors which ever direction you decide to go.

    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    As for inspiration, this one just hit when I was working on my portrait for the July competition. I definitely want to use this on a cover.

     

    The problem is - here we go with the Scottish Highlander gig again. I like him best in the Outpost get up and it could pass for historical since it looks like leather. I have a render with him no shirt and kilt but honestly, I like this one the best. He started off with just a single emissive light but in this version I have a second blue emissive off to the left and the "shadows" are just him catching a part of the ambient effect from that blue emissive.

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  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274

     

    As for inspiration, this one just hit when I was working on my portrait for the July competition. I definitely want to use this on a cover.

     

    The problem is - here we go with the Scottish Highlander gig again. I like him best in the Outpost get up and it could pass for historical since it looks like leather. I have a render with him no shirt and kilt but honestly, I like this one the best. He started off with just a single emissive light but in this version I have a second blue emissive off to the left and the "shadows" are just him catching a part of the ambient effect from that blue emissive.

    I like your results, the lighting is really setting the scene very well. Very realistic!
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    _manne_ said:

     

    I like your results, the lighting is really setting the scene very well. Very realistic!

    Thank you kindly! laugh 

  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,246

    Difficult challenge:

    How to make a cover for a boxed set of three books, if you are not allowed to use a 3d box ... The online store accepts only flat covers ...

  • anikadanikad Posts: 1,919

    I like the final look for Mist Warrior. It looks very crisp, clean and professional.

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 5,325
    edited July 2015
    _manne_ said:

    Ok this is not exactly a cover, more an illustration, text to show on the left.  If you get a chance, let me know which one works better, and why.

    Between the two,  storywise,  I get the sense the little boy is hiding,  overhearing some sort of discussion involving the other person sitting at the desk in the background,  hence the right image conveys it better,  because the more obscured glass would sell the hiding and also isolates the boy from the background and gives him more of our attention and focus.  And the very modern font choice on the glass suggests a near-future setting. 

    Post edited by FirstBastion on
  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274
    _manne_ said:

    Ok this is not exactly a cover, more an illustration, text to show on the left.  If you get a chance, let me know which one works better, and why.

    Between the two,  storywise,  I get the sense the little boy is hiding,  overhearing some sort of discussion involving the other person sitting at the desk in the background,  hence the right image conveys it better,  because the more obscured glass would sell the hiding and also isolates the boy from the background and gives him more of our attention and focus.  And the very modern font choice on the glass suggests a near-future setting. 

    Thanks FirstBastion.  I was trying for that sense of isolation so I think I'll go with that one.

     

     

    So you're going to put text on the image on the left hand side? For me I can't say for sure because I need to see if the text you put in on the left,competes with the text by the boy on the right.

    You've got a lot of blue in the scene, I suggest contrasting colors which ever direction you decide to go.

    Kathryn, you're definitely right about the amount of blue in the image, I wanted to balance out the yellow on the left overlay.   Does it feel too heavy?

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274

    Ok working on some text/image placement. Feedback appreciated

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

    Difficult challenge:

    How to make a cover for a boxed set of three books, if you are not allowed to use a 3d box ... The online store accepts only flat covers ...

    Yup, Smashwords and B&N are the same way. What others have done and I attached an example to this post is take the size for your regular cover - 6x9 works for example. Set up a new guide layout in Photoshop of 2 rows and 2 columns so its centered then put the covers of the individual books in each spot. If you have an odd number of covers, well, then you have to get creative like putting the fifth one in the center, or dividing the space up to fit three but it's perfectly doable. 

    anikad said:

    I like the final look for Mist Warrior. It looks very crisp, clean and professional.

    Thanks Anikad! I'm so glad you like it! And thank you for your help in creating it! 

    _manne_ said:
    _manne_ said:

    Kathryn, you're definitely right about the amount of blue in the image, I wanted to balance out the yellow on the left overlay.   Does it feel too heavy?

    I don't think so. I noticed it because one of the things I was taught a long time ago was to help look for balance - squint your eyes so the image is blurred that will actually help you see if things are heavy on one side or not balanced correctly. The thumbnail size does that for us so that's why I noticed it. :) Silly I know but it's funny how stuff like that works.

     

    On your text placement is the title going to be "Follow"?  For that sort of idea I almost want the text in the upper third and on the left - like the character is following the text. But it's just a thought, I don't know if it will work. Like I said before, I suck at text placement. lol! 

    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    Okay I forgot to attach my image but when I tried to edit the post, it didn't work. Trying again with this one. Hopefully the forums aren't freaking out again. Here's your example Cherp.

     

    And it won't let me attach it. I keep getting the same error "Internal error, could not move file". I'll keep trying and hopefully it will work in a bit.

  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 960
    edited July 2015
    _manne_ said:

    Ok this is not exactly a cover, more an illustration, text to show on the left.  If you get a chance, let me know which one works better, and why.

    The one on the right gets my vote:  the frosted glass helps focus attention on the boy and makes the composition stronger 

     

    _manne_ said:

     

    True dat laugh  Am now following you on dA wink  You have a really great gallery yes 

    Wow thanks so much.  Hopefully showing improvement with every post.  wink

     

    You definitely are laugh yes   

     

    Banditcameraman

         Thank you...

         Where safe here from egay, I'm here in cebu. but I don't know with the other 2 typhoon's coming near us... stay safe... I rendered them at once. I even had a hard time moving the angles of this during the set-ups of the scence, too much stuffs in it, I even deleted some ruins to lessen the lagged and crushes during the renders.... :)

    Good to hear smiley  It seems this storm wasn't as bad as it might have been, at least in MM.

    Wow! Huge props: it's a very full scene; your PC must be a beast wink

     

    And I'm back again! Now I'm getting confused on my sources but adjusting G2F to match V4 was something First Bastion suggested? I think? Or was it adjust M4 to V4 to get something to fit. lol! I've got this thread and tutorials all running through my head, it's easy to get confused on who said what. Sorry if I misquoted you, First!

    Your comment about Ross's discovery is one of those treasures and a great example of what we were talking about when the "click" happens.

    On the book cover I really like how the word "Lethano" is not only arced but has a very slight perspective angle to it - so it looks like your glowy wormhole is bowing the title slightly. That's really cool!

    I also absolutely love the colors you used.

     

    I'm not sure if it was here or another thread (which I need to find because the changeover borked everything I was following in the old forums angry ) but what I do remember is that Dynamic clothes a lot of which are made for V4 can be made to fit Genesis/V5 and even G2F.  I did discover that there are definitely limits to what can be converted which is why I had to adjust her figure because a lot of clothes couldn't even get past her chest blush

    It was my Art Director/Graphic Designer friend/consultant that did the title and fonty things as I said.  He did tell me what his recommendations was and I think he eventually figured out that my understanding of fonts and making them 3D were limited to non-existent blush I gotta learn how to do that cool

    Thanks much for the kind words on the colors; that I can take credit for angel

    Post edited by 3dLux on
  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 960
    edited July 2015

    Okay I forgot to attach my image but when I tried to edit the post, it didn't work. Trying again with this one. Hopefully the forums aren't freaking out again. Here's your example Cherp.

     

    And it won't let me attach it. I keep getting the same error "Internal error, could not move file". I'll keep trying and hopefully it will work in a bit.

    I think they've changed the way images are attached now: it seems you need a url link so a site like Photobucket might be the way to go.

    And on another note it seems like they restored the old bookmarks: mine jumped from the 12 I manually did in the new forums to the 294 I accumulated since 2012 in the old forums surprise 

    Post edited by 3dLux on
  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274
    edited July 2015
     

    On your text placement is the title going to be "Follow"?  For that sort of idea I almost want the text in the upper third and on the left - like the character is following the text. But it's just a thought, I don't know if it will work. Like I said before, I suck at text placement. lol! 

    Okie dokie, how's about this?  I'm liking where this is going.  Oh and by the way attachments seem to be working again.

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  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 960
    _manne_ said:
     

    On your text placement is the title going to be "Follow"?  For that sort of idea I almost want the text in the upper third and on the left - like the character is following the text. But it's just a thought, I don't know if it will work. Like I said before, I suck at text placement. lol! 

    Okie dokie, how's about this?  I'm liking where this is going.  Oh and by the way attachments seem to be working again.

    Text placement makes this very readable.  I like it yes 

  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,246

    Hm. That title placement looks good, but goes against our reading habits. We read from left to right, so our eyes go that way as well. Change the direction, and you lead the eye to that side where the book opens ...

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    Okay let's see if this works - here you go Cherp regarding your question about the flat box set.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    Hm. That title placement looks good, but goes against our reading habits. We read from left to right, so our eyes go that way as well. Change the direction, and you lead the eye to that side where the book opens ...

    But they've done studies showing that the first place the eye automatically looks when looking at print or websites or whatever is the upper left.

     

    Having said that it could be flipped and still convey the same meaning - The character first and the text following behind her. So she's on the left hand side and bring the text down and to the right just a tad - like it's tangled in her hair and trailing along after her.

     

    Poor manne - I promise it's not revenge changing everything around. devil 

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    I just worked on this a bit and had to see what y'all think. Because I've been focused a lot on the newbie contests, I hadn't fully brought Photoshop to bear on a lot of stuff. I did on Mist Warrior's cover but even then not to the extent I really wanted to because of time limitations.

    I love drawing and painting in Photoshop just for the sake of drawing and painting. So I got out my trusty Wacom on this one and went to town. They say when in doubt - go with what you know. And I know I can draw and paint cloaks shashes and stuff like that. Instead of trying to get the kilt aspect with the 3d like I did for Mist Warrior, I through I'd try drawing it like I've done before in Photoshop. One thing is certain, I had fun. 

    So what do you think?

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  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274

    But they've done studies showing that the first place the eye automatically looks when looking at print or websites or whatever is the upper left.

    Having said that it could be flipped and still convey the same meaning - The character first and the text following behind her. So she's on the left hand side and bring the text down and to the right just a tad - like it's tangled in her hair and trailing along after her.

    Poor manne - I promise it's not revenge changing everything around. devil 

    @Kathryn hahahahahaha. 

    Seriously though, after reading cherpenbeck comment, I went out and browsed Amazon for a while.  Although I found books where the figure was on the left, it seemed to me that a larger percentage had the text on the left and the image on the right.

  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,246

    You are right, manne, but ... Kathryns person is definitely looking to the left side, thus leading the eye out of the book. Would she look at the reader, I wouldn't want to reverse her position.

    Besides,old films iconography used movement to the left to signify the past, movement to the right to signify the future. Adapt this to the cover, and the woman is yearning for something long gone---

    But perhaps modern times have changes not only books, but readers habits as well ... and Kathryn might be fine with her version and sell a bestseller!

  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 960
    edited July 2015

    I just worked on this a bit and had to see what y'all think. Because I've been focused a lot on the newbie contests, I hadn't fully brought Photoshop to bear on a lot of stuff. I did on Mist Warrior's cover but even then not to the extent I really wanted to because of time limitations.

    I love drawing and painting in Photoshop just for the sake of drawing and painting. So I got out my trusty Wacom on this one and went to town. They say when in doubt - go with what you know. And I know I can draw and paint cloaks shashes and stuff like that. Instead of trying to get the kilt aspect with the 3d like I did for Mist Warrior, I through I'd try drawing it like I've done before in Photoshop. One thing is certain, I had fun. 

    So what do you think?

    I think I like this better than the leather jerkin (?)  More immediately recognizable as a highlander.

    And I think an eyelight would help even if it's not consistent with the light source.  But that's just me blush

    Post edited by 3dLux on
  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 960

    Many thanks for all the insights, techniques and observations about front covers, layouts, illustrations and Dynamic cloth made thus far yes smiley

    Any advice for back covers?  Kathryn and other published authors, what do y'all put on yours? blush

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 274

    You are right, manne, but ... Kathryns person is definitely looking to the left side, thus leading the eye out of the book. Would she look at the reader, I wouldn't want to reverse her position.

    Besides,old films iconography used movement to the left to signify the past, movement to the right to signify the future. Adapt this to the cover, and the woman is yearning for something long gone---

    But perhaps modern times have changes not only books, but readers habits as well ... and Kathryn might be fine with her version and sell a bestseller!

    You make an excellent point. And I definitely agree, there's no hard and fast rule requiring it to be in a certain position. I just wanted to thank you for bringing up that point because I had not even thought about before.

  • _manne_ said:

     

    3dLux said:

    Banditcameraman

         Thank you...

         Where safe here from egay, I'm here in cebu. but I don't know with the other 2 typhoon's coming near us... stay safe... I rendered them at once. I even had a hard time moving the angles of this during the set-ups of the scence, too much stuffs in it, I even deleted some ruins to lessen the lagged and crushes during the renders.... :)

    Good to hear smiley  It seems this storm wasn't as bad as it might have been, at least in MM.

    Wow! Huge props: it's a very full scene; your PC must be a beast wink

     

    Yeah! but the wind is kinda strong... :)

     I'm actually using a laptop, a lenovo thinkpad W530, the RAM was upgraded to 24gb, it was 8gb before. I'm not sure if can think that this is a beast...LOL...

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

    You are right, manne, but ... Kathryns person is definitely looking to the left side, thus leading the eye out of the book. Would she look at the reader, I wouldn't want to reverse her position.

    Besides,old films iconography used movement to the left to signify the past, movement to the right to signify the future. Adapt this to the cover, and the woman is yearning for something long gone---

    But perhaps modern times have changes not only books, but readers habits as well ... and Kathryn might be fine with her version and sell a bestseller!

    Hey - don't read too much into mine. It started out as another lighting experiment when my campfire scene for the newbie contest started giving me memory violation errors whenever I tried to render it. I just put him together and gave him one of the jungle poses that came with the Gianni pro pack because I couldn't stand having him in a t-pose. I had been working on my next book and had just sent it off to my editor because we're going to do a developmental edit on it. She reads my general ideas and research notes then we get on Skype and work out the basic idea for the story. Those discussions are the most fun for me because they're pure brainstorming. Then I sit down and start writing. because during those discussions we work out a schedule for me to finish the book and get it to her for copy edit. So that's when the clock starts ticking for me. 

     

    Anyway, I must have had the hero in my subconscious somewhere when I was working on the lighting,experiment because it didn't take me long to realize he looked exactly like him and the pose and expression were perfect.for the cover. It's weird how the creative brain works sometimes but I'm certainly not complaining.

     

    I'd also be careful to note examples on Amazon if they are indie or small press authors or from the big 5 publishers in NY. If they're publisher is say Random House, then yeah, you might want to look at the cover with the classics in mind, but indies are limited to the stock they can get from the royalty free stock websites and their primary goal is to simply match the characters in their books - which can be a challenge in and of itself, which is another reason why I think DAZ artists would do exceedingly well as book cover artists. I can't tell you how many times I found the "perfect" stock image for one of my covers except the hero's hair color was wrong, or the costume the models were wearing was wrong. So close yet so far away.

     

    The primary thing about my image here was that the pose and lighting fulfilled the rule of thirds, that was about the only conscious decision on it I had going at the time. That and the lighting promoted my theme that I have going with the books in the series. Demon Laird, Shadowed Hawk, and Highlander's Hope, are #2, #3, and #4 in the Legacy of the Mist Clans series - in writing order. They're actually prequels to Mist Warrior when it comes to historical dates in the books. I point to the Star Wars series when folks get confused about how dates in the series work vs. writing order. When Star Wars first hit, the story was about Luke but that was -what - episode four I think. The Star Wars saga began in the middle of the series, which is similar  to what I've done with Mist Warrior which is actually close to the end of my series. That's because my continuing historical research inspired the changes. Anyway, Demon Laird is actually the start of the series and that cover has a strong theme of darkness and light. That comes out in the story as well because the hero faces a choice at several points, He's called the Demon Laird for a reason and people are terrified of him but at a certain point in the book his choice is that he can truly become what people fear or he can learn how to live with that side of himself and rise above it. He will never totally be free of that darkness - all of us have a good and bad side - but he can accept what he has become and learn to deal with it - even use it to his advantage at times.

     

    That story theme carries in certain ways through the series - but of course it's going to be different for each hero. But something of that struggle is reflected in one form or another on the covers.  Demon Laird, Shadowed Hawk and Highlander's Hope, are the stories of particular characters of that generation. Ronan MacGrigor, then his brother, Aidan, and then their friend Connell, respectively. This next book Demon Heir (working title) is about Ronan's son - actually his twin sons, but Alec is the first born by a few minutes therefore designated heir and this is my idea for Alec's cover which will start the next generation in the series which eventually leads to Mist Warrior. After that Mist Warrior branches out on it's own with a couple of books I have planned for some of the secondary characters who rose to prominence while writing it.

     

    I bring all of this up because that's primarily what goes into my consideration when I create my covers - at least for this particular series. Others will of course be different. But for me that's more than enough to worry over - I don't need to add more to my plate. lol! Anything else is purely coincidental or happens on a subconscious level usually due to art training and experience as informal as it is. wink

    3dLux said:

    I think I like this better than the leather jerkin (?)  More immediately recognizable as a highlander.

    And I think an eyelight would help even if it's not consistent with the light source.  But that's just me blush

    Thanks 3D! I was afraid the plaid would come across immediately as hand drawn. Glad to know that's not the case. I'll see what I can do with the eyelight idea. I should be able to add that in easily enough.

    3dLux said:

    Any advice for back covers?  Kathryn and other published authors, what do y'all put on yours? blush

    Back covers only come into play on print copies and there you'll have the classic excerpt of text. Even if it's been awhile since browsing in a book and mortar bookstore, think about what happens when one does so. I pick up a book from the shelf, check out the cover, perhaps the tag line, flip it over and read the back text excerpt. If I like it, I crack the book open. If there are more excerpts in the front matter I might read those, or I might go directly to the prologue or first chapter and read the hook. If it's a good hook, I'm buying the book. If not, it goes back on the shelf. So the back of the book I typically don't have strong images since I have to have readable text. I'm not sure if my attachment to the print cover of Mist Warrior survived the forum software glitches but here's another print cover with the text on the back.

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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    Uh oh - it seems I've gotten myself into a bit of a fix.

     

    Remember I said when it comes to book covers I have saved presets so my dimensions fit the required cover sizes. Well because I didn't start off planning for this image to be a cover - it was simply a lighting test - I didn't start with the proper dimensions and now it's coming back to bite me in da butt.

     

    So i was playing around with adding the title and whatnot when I realized my quandary. In the newbie contest I was joking around with Linwelly when he commented that I had cut the character off at the hands that it wouldn't matter for the book cover because of text placement, but for the contest I would have to bring his hands into the picture. Well it appears as if it is going to matter for the bookcover because when I worked on setting the image for my typical book cover size, cutting him off at the hands became readily apparent despite the text placement.

     

    Now I could go back and re-render him at the appropriate dimensions but that would mean I'd lose all of my current artwork. I could redraw everything but it's never as good the second time around, so I'd rather not do that if at all possible. 

     

    I do have everything set up in the photoshop image as smart objects which means I kept my layers. In fact, I have a tendency to overdo layering using three when one would probably work. So if I do re-render, it's possible I could get the existing artwork to fit by adjusting the various layers. But before I launch into all of that mess, I thought I'd post what I have with my text and resizing thus far and see if anyone has any ideas.

     

    I also followed 3D's suggestion and added the eyelight which turned out rather nicely I thought. But I've attached what I finagled so far just using photoshop and resizing. Bumping up the image to 300dpi wasn't a problem at all, it's the aspect ratio and making it fit the typical cover requirements that's the problem.

     

    Using my typical 6x9 aspect I can get the image to match either the 6 wide or the 9 tall but not both. So I made it 6 wide and then increased the canvas size - not the image size - to 9 tall having it extend the bottom. I used my parchment title which I originally created for Demon Laird's audiobook but wasn't able to use. I used it here because I thought it might best cover my faux paux and it almost does - besides I thought the color of the text went nicely with the overall color of the image. Unfortunately it doesn't hide his hands as well as I hoped it would. So I used a layer mask to create a vignette and feathered the transition so there's not a sharp cutoff, Without the text banner it looks almost like he has his hands in his pockets. lol! But I had hoped both the vignette and the text banner would obscure the problem but I need unbiased opinions.

     

    Help! Please! lol!

    So I hope folks have some ideas at which direction to go here.

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  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,246
    edited July 2015

    As for back covers, I always like to put a tiny little picture on them as well, down at the bottom, near the barcode field, just to make the cover a bit more interesting.

    Post edited by cherpenbeck on
  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,246

    I think you can make the rest on him invisible in DAZ Studio and just render the hands, which then would be easier to adapt.

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