Saturday, June 16, 2012

Adventures in Cover Art - Pt 5

This post discusses the addition of the “couple” to the front cover of SHADES OF THE PAST. As Anita mentioned before in one of her posts, she and our son Scott were looking at the latest version of the cover and they determined that the cover we had at the time was “missing something.” That cover is shown below:

After some discussions, they determined that the love story was not represented. So, Anita went off to find photos to add to the front cover. She settled on a set of photos of Jimmy Thomas with an attractive blonde lady. All three photos are shown below:

Anita chose the first photo for the front cover (we later used the third photo on the back cover) and I went off to get rid of the background. But, because the background is not a single color (or even a few colors) and there is not enough contrast difference between the background and the couple, I could not use Photoshop’s Magic Eraser Tool to erase it. So, I had to use the Quick Selection Tool and refine the edges of the selection to select only the couple. I saved the resulting image as a PNG file to retain the transparent background and then added it to the cover image. The result of that activity is shown below:

It was about this time that we started getting comments that the castle was crooked. Well, that was normal for a three-quarter view photo, as it was taken off-center (it’s a perspective issue). But, that continued to bother Anita, so I used Photoshop’s Straighten Tool to adjust it.

You’ll also notice other changes we made along the way between these two images – banner, text effects and flourish. We talked about the banner and text (and effects) in the last post, so I won’t repeat any of that here. So, about the flourish . . .

We looked at quite a few collections of ornament, boxes and banners. We chose Ornament 121 from Dover’s Calligraphic Ornament collection, shown below:

This is a jpeg image, so I had to delete the white background (to make the background transparent). Because the background is a single uniform color and there is high contrast between black and white, I was able to use Photoshop’s Magic Eraser Tool to delete the white rectangular background. I then added a brass-colored gradient overlay, drop shadow, outer glow and inner bevel to spruce up the ornament. Finally, I rotated it 180 degrees (flipped it horizontally), because it seemed to look better on the cover in that orientation. We also used individual sections of the plain black and white version, with a transparent background but no other effects, on either side of the chapter numbers and as a hiatus in the print version. The final version of the cover flourish is shown below:

When we got our proof copies of the print version, we discovered that the cover got a lot darker, as the result of the printing process. In particular, the couple came out very dark. So I lightened the couple for the print cover (but not for the e-book covers). The final print cover is shown below.

Next time, I’ll blog on the creation of the back cover and spine and the integration of the three elements into the cover flat. That post should wrap up the series on the creation of the SHADES OF THE PAST cover.

1 comment: