Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Holiday and How I created a Fantasy cover :-)

Greetings!!!

It's getting to be that time of year when I have to step back and refuel :-)  This year, my summer holiday starts July 11th 2015, with me cutting out early July 10th to fully clean the house before I go.   I hate leaving a messy house! :-) 

Anyway, I've received several huge projects over the past few weeks--multiple cover requests with sides (banners, etc).  This means that my schedule is near to bursting.  If you want your cover done before I go on vacation, send in the request now, no later than June 15th 2015.   I won't be accepting new authors until August 1st 2015.   My current authors take precedence. 

I will not be online during my holiday which starts July 11, 2015 and ends July 20, 2015.  So, I won't be reading emails or messages.  I stay away from the computer when on holiday.  I like spending all my time with my husband and soon to be 3 year old son :-)

Thank you for your understanding!

The "Ursula" art piece blog was a huge hit, so continuing in that vein, I will show you how I created this cover:
Of course, I'm going to have keep some things secret :-)  We all have our little tricks that aren't taught in school :-)

Here are the images involved:


Can you see the transformation?  :-)  The great thing about images is the ability to play with them.  That is what photo-manipulation is--a photo is literally manipulated to suit whatever need I have.   Now that we have the images, let's start combining :-)

 
Here we have the combined images.  I also added in some flame and painted in white hair.  I removed the gun and replaced it with the sword.  Just combining images, however, will not give a polished look as you can see.  Everything is still very much pasted, colors are random.  If I received this for a cover, I would throw a fit.  So, it's time to start fixing the colors.  I have several actions that I have created for Photoshop that will automatically fix coloring for me.  This saves me a lot of time.  Of course, creating those actions in the first place took a great deal of time, but it's worth it in the long run.  Let's add a coloring action that I like to call "Sick".


As you can now see, the colors are very similar.   The separate images are starting to come together. However, we lost some important colors so we'll have to add that on top of this layer.


She now has green eyes, the fire is more blue and I've added more lighting to her face.  This puts her more front and center and draws the eye to her intense gaze.  But we're still not done.  Her hair is choppy and there are some texture elements I don't like on here--like the area between her hair and the background.  It looks lined.  So, let's start cleaning this up.


In this layer, I've smoothed her hair, cleaned up the edges between her and the background, added an insane amount of shadows, increased contrast and brightness, painted in bits and pieces that I felt had disappeared, and made sure she was the focal point.  The creatures in the background add the fantastical elements but do not overshadow the main character.  However, based on this cover, you now have a good idea of what this book is about :-)


For the finale, we add the fonts.  Because this is a fantasy that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, I opted to not use standard fantasy fonts.  I also opted not to use fantasy fonts because they would overwhelm the cover.  We want to see the cover, not a bunch of fonts.  Simple is best in this situation.  My motto--simple is always best.  It keeps things clean and sharp.  Too much chaos is well, too much chaos :-)  As you can see in my portfolio and how I create covers, I always go simple.  I don't like to put more than 4 primary objects on a cover.  3 is actually my favorite number :-)  Which, in this cover, there are 3 primary objects--the heroine and the creatures.  All else supports them.  In my opinion, that's how a cover should be. 

I hope you found this to be a fun read, well, at least interesting :-) LOL  Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to see what it is I do :-)

Thanks!






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