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Anyone use Canva?

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Comments

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    They seem to have Templates and an editing of them tool, a bit like Word, really.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    Thanks I checked it out and bookmarked the site. It may be useful for my next book cover.
  • I use Canva a fair amount and have a blog post in the works (though likely not until the new year) looking at how to use it to make your own cover. It's a really nice tool for do-it-yourself projects.
  • Canva---while absolutely a very slick, easy to use tool---shares one of the main problems of the use of stock imagery: the very real possibility of a hundred other books having the same cover you do. Even on Canva's opening page of sample covers there are two that differ only in the title of the book: the art is exactly the same.

    I found it ironic that among the book cover categories for which they provide templates is one called "creative."
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • TheJesusNinjaTheJesusNinja Teacher
    edited November 8
    I still use the cover creator here at lulu while getting my stock photos at Pixalbay.com. Much better selection than publicdomainpictures.com. I'd still like to learn to use Photoshop more to alter those. As Ron mentioned using stocks can end up with a duplicate cover as someone else. But using Photoshop you could alter them some. But I was just wondering about Canva. If it might make better covers than the cover wizard here.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    I do all of my covers from scratch in Paintshop Pro 95. But usually I do parts as separate images and paste them to a background I have previously created. (Often I do them at 600dpi and much larger than I need (3xA5 for example) but it does need a powerful PC to handle images that big,) and then reduce them. Detailing is easier that way.) To me it seems easy, and with a little learning it can be. But there's no need for everyone to do them from scratch as I do. But the same method can be used. Take photos of what can be used to illustrate parts of your story. They will belong to you, so are free and with no copyright problems, and they will be unique. Then adjust them as need be and manipulate them on to a previously created background (another photo.) Don't forget to use Merge All before you upload.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    The thing about Canva, is as Ron says, at its basic it's a load of stock covers, that anyone can use, with text added to them. It's the same method that 1000s of 'cover design' sites use and how they can charge as little as £20 each.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited November 9
     I too make my covers from scratch using Paint Shop Pro. I prefer it to Photoshop. I also use a graphic tablet and pen -----so much easier than a mouse, when drawing on a computer.
  • I do all of my covers from scratch in Paintshop Pro 95. But usually I do parts as separate images and paste them to a background I have previously created. (Often I do them at 600dpi and much larger than I need (3xA5 for example) but it does need a powerful PC to handle images that big,) and then reduce them. Detailing is easier that way.) To me it seems easy, and with a little learning it can be. But there's no need for everyone to do them from scratch as I do. But the same method can be used. Take photos of what can be used to illustrate parts of your story. They will belong to you, so are free and with no copyright problems, and they will be unique. Then adjust them as need be and manipulate them on to a previously created background (another photo.) Don't forget to use Merge All before you upload.

    Kevin raises an excellent point when he suggests using your own photos in creating a book cover. As he says, three big advantages are that you get exactly what you want, the images are unique to your book and you own the rights. And, besides, it’s fun.

    I recently addressed this issue in a (very long) in a thread a started in Scribophile. A slightly abridged version of this follows...

    =========

    In a recent post I referred to the "tyranny of stock images." By this I meant what I sometimes perceive as an overdependence on found imagery. I wince every time I hear someone say, "I couldn't really get the cover I wanted because I couldn't find the right images on line."

    This underscores one of a couple of problems with using stock photos or stock art. The first, of course, is that it is not always possible to find something that fits your book to a T. The second problem is that, being stock art and open for use by anyone, your cover art might be appearing on fifty other books at the same time.

    But there is another difficulty many would-be cover designers might have with abandoning the use of stock imagery entirely. If they have little or no experience in art---in drawing or painting, either digitally or in traditional media---they would have a hard time creating a cover illustration from scratch. So they find themselves seemingly stuck with having to make do with what they can find, compromising the best they can.

    There is a question that I have asked several times lately in other discussion threads: Why depend on found images? Why not create your own? If you have a camera---and anyone with a new cell phone already has a camera perfectly capable of taking images of more than good enough quality for a book cover---why give up if you cannot find the right image on line? Why not take your own photos and work from them? Then you will not only get exactly what you want, you will have something unique to your book.

    A camera, some willing friends or relatives, a few props, an appropriate setting and you are good to go. Depending on one's skill in photo manipulation and rendering, these images can be used either more or less as is or developed into something elaborate, depending on one's needs and abilities.

    (Willing family members can be a gold mine. My wife and daughter appear in 14 of the samples in the link I give below.)

    Almost every medium to large town or city has a community theater. There is a very active one here where I live, and my town has only 4000 inhabitants. Even if you do not have a local community theater, there will almost surely be a high school or college with a dramatics department. These can be invaluable resources for costumes and props...and even willing volunteers for your models. The local community theater here has an entire floor of a building devoted to housing literally thousands of different costumes from every imaginable historical epoch, to say nothing of props of every description.

    Of course, a story with a contemporary setting makes matters like costuming easy.

    While many if not most of the 200+ covers I have created have been drawn or painted by hand, either digitally or in traditional media---or sometimes a combination of both---a very large number have employed my own photographs directly (as opposed to using them as indirect reference). This isn't to say that I have never employed a stock image, but these are usually relegated to backgrounds or other details...and are almost always obtained from lesser-used sources such as the Library of Congress and other government image archives. I also have an 8-foot-tall bookcase filled with vintage books containing hundreds of public domain images, mostly of historic interest.

    I have put together a representative collection of covers that have depended to a greater or lesser degree on my own photography.

    http://black-cat-studios.com/photocovers/index.html

    I have added a few notes to some images to explain what I did (though there wasn't room to go into great detail*) and in a few instances have included some of the original photos I worked with.

    One of the secrets to making all of this work properly is to be careful about lighting. It should be consistent throughout. In the sample of the girl with the sword in the arched chamber (first image, fifth row), I took great pains to make sure she appeared to share the same lighting as the background. You can compare the final result with the original image next to it. Light sources should be lighting objects from the same direction and cast shadows are all important. For instance, the shadow beneath the space heroine facing the multi-legged creature (middle image, ninth row) was painted in by hand. However many elements make up the final art, they should all ultimately look like they belong in the same picture. An image that looks pasted on is a death warrant for your illustration.

    Over the years I have accumulated a vast archive of thousands of photos that I can draw upon when needed. I won't take, for instance, just one photo of someone for a cover but will instead take a dozen or more. When I travel, or even just go on a walk, I will take photos of everything: textures, machinery, vintage cars, buildings, animals, rocks, trees and plants...anything at all that might remotely look useful someday. All of these are in files subdivided into themes and topics. For instance, the backgrounds in "The Yoke of Shen" and both “Velda" covers were taken from, in the first example, a trip to California, and in the second an alley in town.

    You don't necessarily have to do an entire cover in original photography. Perhaps all you need to do is swap out a figure, or add a figure to a scene where there is none, or even change a face, gesture or other detail. Does the figure in the stock image need to be making a fist instead of holding out an open hand? Well, just ask someone to make a fist for you, take a photo of it and plug it in.

    A custom-made photographic cover doesn't have to be elaborate at all. "Ars Poetica" is about an alcoholic poet. The cover required nothing more elaborate than a print-out of one of the poems (in a pseudo-handwriting typeface) and a glass filled with weak tea. This was spilled (carefully!) onto the paper and the whole set-up photographed. Voila!

    The cover for "Dracula" took nothing more than my daughter, two band aids and a little color manipulation. "None So Blind" was even easier. I needed a nice-looking eye and my daughter had one. No need to go hunting on line when you might have just what you need right at hand.

    So, the next time you feel stuck not finding the right stock image for your cover, think outside the box! Grab the cell phone that is probably lying next to your computer and try your hand at creating your own custom imagery! First of all, it's a lot of fun. Secondly, you wind up with something much closer to what you really have in mind and, thirdly, you have something unique that won't be appearing on ten thousand other book covers. Oh, yeah, and there are no stock image fees to pay.

    *I will be glad to answer any questions anyone might have about these samples.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Canva at least lets you swap out your own images for theirs, giving you the option of having a much more original cover.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

     I also use a graphic tablet and pen -----so much easier than a mouse, when drawing on a computer.

    Unless you mean one of the very expensive types that are an LED touchscreen (like a very large Android Tablet) then all they do is emulate the mouse movements using the exact same software, I gave my graphic tablet up as feeling very unnatural to use on a PC. If the one I own was one of these >>

     https://www.amazon.co.uk/HUION-Battery-free-Graphic-Drawing-Monitor/dp/B07FDXY96T/ref=sr_1_4?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1541811126&sr=1-4&keywords=graphics+art+tablet 

    I would still be using it.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    In a recent post I referred to the "tyranny of stock images." By this I meant what I sometimes perceive as an overdependence on found imagery. I wince every time I hear someone say, "I couldn't really get the cover I wanted because I couldn't find the right images on line."

    On the other-hand. While replying to this Thread I was looking for 'How to create a book cover using Word' on Youtube. I didn't paste a link to any I found because almost every one of them randomly pulled images from sites without worrying about copyrights. It's just so easy to copy stuff, when all they need to do to stop such theft is head the HTML on every page with a no Rightclick code. There are ways around it, but few know it.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    why give up if you cannot find the right image on line? Why not take your own photos and work from them? Then you will not only get exactly what you want, you will have something unique to your book.

    One problem some give up at, is when they need to cut something out of a photo so they can paste it to a design. Very often the entire image is not needed, just, say, for example, a car, or a person. It can be very fiddly to Cut & Copy intricate objects from photos. Very time consuming, but what to do with Self-Publishing isn't?

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    One of the secrets to making all of this work properly is to be careful about lighting. It should be consistent throughout. In the sample of the girl with the sword in the arched chamber (first image, fifth row), I took great pains to make sure she appeared to share the same lighting as the background. You can compare the final result with the original image next to it. Light sources should be lighting objects from the same direction and cast shadows are all important.

    Don't forget ambient and reflected lighting. Lighting is the 'secret' of why computer 3d animation (and effects in films and games)  looks so real and solid is how they are lit. When Wall-E was in production they hired a multi-Oscar winning cinematic lighting expert who had previously only worked on lighting real scenes.

    Hardly anything you see in film now is real, and if they did not get the lighting right they would look rubbish.

    This a computer game  >> and game play does look like that.

     For instance, the shadow beneath the space heroine facing the multi-legged creature (middle image, ninth row) was painted in by hand. However many elements make up the final art, they should all ultimately look like they belong in the same picture. An image that looks pasted on is a death warrant for your illustration.

    Exactly!

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian

    There are millions upon millions of photos on stock photography sites. The photographers have as much difficulty selling their photographs as we do books. The chances of using the same photograph as someone else are pretty slim.


  • oncewas said:

    There are millions upon millions of photos on stock photography sites. The photographers have as much difficulty selling their photographs as we do books. The chances of using the same photograph as someone else are pretty slim.


    Well...

    In the course of contributing to Cover Critics, I and many of my colleagues there have easily found books with half a dozen or more others sharing exactly the same art. 

    There are, indeed, millions of stock photos available...but relatively few are suitable---or even meant---for book covers. There are images, for instance, created specifically for use in advertising. And, of course, images that are in an unsuitable format (landscape, for instance) or which do not have enough space for text have to be eliminated, too. Besides, someone looking for a cover image for a science fiction novel almost automatically eliminates the hundreds of thousands of images relating to, say, families, sports, food, pets, babies, landscapes, business, etc.

    In any event, the potential danger of having another book featuring the same cover art as your own is only one of the reasons to avoid stock images. 
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • oncewasoncewas Librarian
    It is not a good idea to create your own covers from scratch unless you have the skills to do so. If you don't, you could find yourself featured on the Lousy Covers blog.
  • oncewas said:
    It is not a good idea to create your own covers from scratch unless you have the skills to do so. If you don't, you could find yourself featured on the Lousy Covers blog.
    Indeed.
    But you can find yourself there even if you use stock imagery, as some recent candidates have illustrated. There are all sorts of ways one can still go wrong, from terrible typography to haphazard cut and paste...to mystifying choices of images.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Larika said:
    Wacom tablets are pretty much the gold standard!

    For what it is worth, I have always used Monoprice tablets. They have few (if any) bells and whistles but offer very large drawing areas for a very low price.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Kevin wrote: "Don't forget ambient and reflected lighting. Lighting is the 'secret' of why computer 3d animation (and effects in films and games)  looks so real and solid is how they are lit. When Wall-E was in production they hired a multi-Oscar winning cinematic lighting expert who had previously only worked on lighting real scenes."

    I can only underscore this. Nothing makes a figure or other object become part of a scene better than sharing light and shadow. If someone is standing next to something, have them cast a shadow on it or show a reflection, if there is a nearby light source have that light illuminate part of the person. Paying attention to details like that tie all of the visual elements together and, as Kevin rightly points out, enhances the realism tenfold.

    Here is an example: 
    I made sure that the glowing green screen illuminated part of the girl's jacket and the side of her face and lower edge of her jaw. This made both the girl and the screen---which were originally entirely separate elements---become part of the same scene.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    It is not a good idea to create your own covers from scratch unless you have the skills to do so. If you don't, you could find yourself featured on the Lousy Covers blog.

    Apparently one can also find yourself on there for no particular reason other than for random people to scrape the barrel trying to be critical. As far as I know, anyone can load a cover to it. Even trolls.

    https://lousybookcovers.com/?p=7665#comment-area

    https://lousybookcovers.com/?p=245601#comment-area

    I feel no shame  :) Mind you they are old covers.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    This is mine Kevin It's really good. A gift from my son.

    Gosh! A rich son. I think mine was £50, also a gift.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    There are millions upon millions of photos on stock photography sites.

    And there's billions copying them.

    The photographers have as much difficulty selling their photographs as we do books.

    Many images on line that can be purchased or even free, often have a Not For Commercial Use clause, and using them for a book cover is commercial.

     The chances of using the same photograph as someone else are pretty slim.

    But even if the same image is only used on two covers, it's still a duplication when book covers should be individual.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    But you can find yourself there even if you use stock imagery, as some recent candidates have illustrated.

    Indeed. In away it's flattering that someone bothered to search out some of my covers to place on to there (and I think I know who it was.) One comment I found odd was that the main character has butterfly wings "ripped off from Botticelli". Huh? No they are 'ripped off' from butterflies, which are famous for having wings. (I cannot find anything by the old master that had such wings.)

    One strange thing I found  with many Lousy Covers comments is they don't seem to realise that the covers are scenes from the stories, just as a cover should be.

     There are all sorts of ways one can still go wrong, from terrible typography to haphazard cut and paste...to mystifying choices of images.

    Indeed. And one needs to be doubly careful that a cover looks the same in print as it does on one's PC. Often they do not. Black on red does not work well via POD! And the covers are not printed at a very high res, whereas the original image may be high.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    A common task in art lessons is to only paint the shadows in a situation with only one light source from the right or left. A task that is not as easy as it sounds on a complex shape.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited November 11
     Not rich, just your average, middle-class  barrister turned computer expert, Kevin! He gave me my first computer.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
     They were mean about your first cover of fairy Lillum. You seem to have an enemy Kevin. A luluer? Mind you I'm glad that none of my sweet, gentle fairies ever met Cherry Blossom. In my fairy world ALL the fairies are good. There are villains there, yes, but they are not fairies!.
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