Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Designing a book cover

Following is a stage by stage discussion on how I designed the book cover for novelist Brenda Brown Elliot's new novel coming out in early 2014 called "Into His Plan."

After an initial discussion with Brenda through Facebook chat I pictured an overview of what she was looking for.  The chat was fairly quick, Brenda very apptly described what she wanted and described emotions and scenes to help formulate a theme.

Stage 1

Source stock art to use for the base images on the cover.  Brenda had her heart set on including a white Ford Mustang in the cover.  This created a few problems.  Getting a photo of a Ford Mustang at the right angle to suit other images was pretty much going to be impossible without organizing a photo shoot. So after some searching I decided to settle on a 3D model which I could incorporate in the final design. Choosing the right images is typically the most time consuming part of the design process.

After some searching I chose the following three images and 3D model to work with.

Stage 2

Here I placed and re-sized the road to suit the 6x9" cover design.  Underneath I placed the desert scene.

Stage 3

Blended through the desert and extended the sky to the cover's height.

Stage 4

Color correct the desert and road to make the blend look more natural and a little edgy.

Stage 5

Search for fonts to use for the title. Work on the text layout. Finally color the type. I typically choose colors from the image.  This helps the titles blend with the overall design.

Stage 6

Add the top image. 

Stage 7

Load the 3D model into Poser along with the cover. I use Poser as I can never get Photoshop to render complex models correctly. Align the model to the road and align the perspective.  Render the model.  Return to Photoshop and place the render onto the road.  Doesn't look too crash hot at this point.  Few things wrong.  Colors don't line up and the vehicle doesn't look part of the image

Stage 8

Color correct the vehicle, add some motion blur, a little noise, some highlights and shadows, and we get the finished cover.

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