Cover Concept, Comments?

SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

First, this is the rough mock-up. I know I have spots where I need to blend or airbrush colors to match.

 

The theme is a line of androids waiting to be called, one is awake. I tried for KISS format.

 

Is this concept, if properly executed, likely to get me featured on Lousy Book Covers?

 

AndroidalCoverTestX1A.jpg

Comments


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

    First, this is the rough mock-up. I know I have spots where I need to blend or airbrush colors to match.

     

    The theme is a line of androids waiting to be called, one is awake. I tried for KISS format.

     

    Is this concept, if properly executed, likely to get me featured on Lousy Book Covers?

     

    AndroidalCoverTestX1A.jpg


    Well, I know that the admin of Lousy Book Covers is pretty prejudiced when it comes to "pseudohumans," but I think the mannequin-like quality of such figures works for you in this case since the girls are supposed to be artificially created androids. 

     

    What might make the assembly-line effect even more pronounced would be to add two more figures, one on the left and the other on the right, letting them bleed off the edges. This would suggest an endless supply of nearly identical androids (and, I think, enhance the eventual composition). It might also make the single one with open eyes even more startling and eerie (and to this end I would try to make her eyes as vivid and contrasting as possible).

     

    I know you are going to eliminate the cut-and-paste edges but if you could also make the shadows in perspective (they would not be all identical as they now appear) that would be a subtle but nice touch, too.

     

    Nice job! I think that with some good typography you'll have a pretty striking cover!

     

     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I guess in another part of the multiverse there is a version of me who does visual art. I do know my one-week crash course in learning how to do the model and then producing a viable work has been a bit frustrating. I'm kind of glad for all the hours I spent as an information analyst / system support, it made things slightly easier -- somewhat like handing me a "Dash One" manual for a B-17, then pointing me toward a B-17 ready to fly, and telling me to get in the bird take off and after one orbit of the field land. I could do it but I'd be sweating a lot.

     

    The mannequin-like quality was (as you have likely already figured out) intentional. I designed a default model android that would appear almost identical regardless of the skin (European, African, Asian, generic Native) used. The skin used will actually alter the facial features slightly.

     

    The artist who did the bodysuit is able to make his models look very human, and I'm not betting I'll ever have that level of either skill or talent.

     

    Hmmm, I might try giving the African android violet or ice-blue eyes, and have the ladies standing at attention to minimize the shadows. That pose would make it easier to add more (to trail off the cover) without reducing their size...

     

    But that will happen after Wife and I do a few things. I woke up for an hour around midnight and did my mock-up then, and now it's time to get back to duty.


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

    I guess in another part of the multiverse there is a version of me who does visual art. I do know my one-week crash course in learning how to do the model and then producing a viable work has been a bit frustrating. I'm kind of glad for all the hours I spent as an information analyst / system support, it made things slightly easier -- somewhat like handing me a "Dash One" manual for a B-17, then pointing me toward a B-17 ready to fly, and telling me to get in the bird take off and after one orbit of the field land. I could do it but I'd be sweating a lot.

     

    The mannequin-like quality was (as you have likely already figured out) intentional. I designed a default model android that would appear almost identical regardless of the skin (European, African, Asian, generic Native) used. The skin used will actually alter the facial features slightly.

     

    The artist who did the bodysuit is able to make his models look very human, and I'm not betting I'll ever have that level of either skill or talent.

     

    Hmmm, I might try giving the African android violet or ice-blue eyes, and have the ladies standing at attention to minimize the shadows. That pose would make it easier to add more (to trail off the cover) without reducing their size...

     

    But that will happen after Wife and I do a few things. I woke up for an hour around midnight and did my mock-up then, and now it's time to get back to duty.


    Well, you did a really good job! Especially for as little time as you had.

     

    I think your suggestion about the eyes will be just right!

     

    I wouldn't worry too much about the shadows. Having none at all would look odd.

  • Em_PressEm_Press ✭✭

    I would try different colors for the background with some 3D and metallic effects, as well as make the girls slightly smaller or much much bigger. Give the whole thing the feeling of movement. It's too flat. Maybe a slight background texture, a painting/drawing effect using Photoshop...

     

    Love her covers:

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16096824-a-court-of-thorns-and-roses

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17927395-a-court-of-mist-and-fury

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    I like the lighting, but I think that having the outfits slightly less glossy might tend to suggest cloth over (artificial) skin as opposed to a solid plastic action figure. Just a thought.

  • Another reason to not eliminate the shadows is that you don't want the figures to look pasted on or the art to look flat.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    The one thing I'm trying to avoid is winding up with a Lousy Book Covers write up. Those commentators can get rough.

     

    http://lousybookcovers.com/?p=7665

     

    Think of it like this, I'm kind of like a 9th to 15th century person who can follow instructions on how to do something, as long as those instructions make sense from my perspective. I have Pinta, GIMP, and InkScape, and not a lot of familiarity with them yet.

     

    There is a CG artist in Germany willing to help me figure out how to do some basic stuff, but he has his own stuff to do so it may take a while for me to get a how-to at my level to get that sense of movement.

     

    **Edited to reflect GIMP instead of Gnome. Someone didn't sleep well so I didn't sleep well or long. **


    Em_Press wrote:

    I would try different colors for the background with some 3D and metallic effects, as well as make the girls slightly smaller or much much bigger. Give the whole thing the feeling of movement. It's too flat. Maybe a slight background texture, a painting/drawing effect using Photoshop...

     

    Love her covers:

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16096824-a-court-of-thorns-and-roses

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17927395-a-court-of-mist-and-fury


     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    There is a way to take the gloss off using Blender or the plug in LightRoom2, once I can figure out. Your mention of plastic action figures reminded me of this.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-1C6QlvHl8

     


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    I like the lighting, but I think that having the outfits slightly less glossy might tend to suggest cloth over (artificial) skin as opposed to a solid plastic action figure. Just a thought.


     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I'm thinking the ice-blue eyes work better than violet.

     

    Not sure about this whole sense of motion thing.

    AndroidalCoverTestX2.png

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Sorry, nose hit the keyboard.


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

    I'm thinking the ice-blue eyes work better than violet.

     

    Not sure about this whole sense of motion thing.

    AndroidalCoverTestX2.png

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Sorry, nose hit the keyboard.


    I think you were better off with the first effort.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I couldn't help getting squirrelly.

     

    The standing-at-attention pose will let me fit more on the cover, sans the flying android.

     

    Which is where I'm headed now.

  • Glad to hear that!

     

    I think that he rubber-stamped figures with their clearly artificial are not only eerie, they nicely get across the idea of your book (from what I have understood from your descriptions). The intense eyes you've given the one figure really enhances this.

     

    I'm vaguely reminded of a similar effect I tried to accomplish typographically:

    clonest.jpg

     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    That works as well.

     

    About all I need for the last book cover in the series is something similar to the Terminator endoskeleton, which I'm not even going to attempt due to my last freehand attempt.

    Hunter Killer.png

  • Well, it would make a terrific petroglyph!

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I've been out where there are petroglyphs, and the petroglyphs look better. Cat LOL

     

    Other than some blending / smudge work this might work.

    AndroidalCoverTestX3.png

  • I think it's really coming together. The artificiality of the figures...or, perhaps, their clear presence in the uncanny valley...works, I think, toward getting across some of the themes and ideas of your book. The effect is certainly eerie enough. I would suggest, however, really exagerrating the brightness of the eyes of the one figure---even if this means making them unnaturally so---so that they immediately stand out from among the others. I think that it would work in your favor if the viewer's attention went straight toward them.

     

    While the featureless background goes toward enhancing the overall effect, you might want to try experimenting a little with slightly gradated tones.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I really have no clue how to make the eyes brighter, much less gradate the tones.

     

    When it comes to the visual art software aspect, I really am more akin to a gibbon pushing pulling and pounding a keyboard into submission. Hence the reason the Wife called my original attempts "Pathetic".


    Ron Miller wrote:

    I think it's really coming together. The artificiality of the figures...or, perhaps, their clear presence in the uncanny valley...works, I think, toward getting across some of the themes and ideas of your book. The effect is certainly eerie enough. I would suggest, however, really exagerrating the brightness of the eyes of the one figure---even if this means making them unnaturally so---so that they immediately stand out from among the others. I think that it would work in your favor if the viewer's attention went straight toward them.

     

    While the featureless background goes toward enhancing the overall effect, you might want to try experimenting a little with slightly gradated tones.


     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    PreludeToWarCoverMockup.jpg

     

    A test mockup of the cover. The spine and back cover color may change, but it gives a general idea.

     

    With great appreciation for the technical and artistic assistance provided by Ron Miller.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    For the back, I would be tempted to either repeat the front image on the back (thus leaving a blue stripe for title and author's name along the spine) or else to continue the pattern around the spine and onto the back cover, as one continuous image (skipping the eyes-open unit, so that she appears only on the front).

     

    Also, the blurb on the back cover seems a bit verbose. And the back cover font is too large.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I'm getting there, bit by bit


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    For the back, I would be tempted to either repeat the front image on the back (thus leaving a blue stripe for title and author's name along the spine) or else to continue the pattern around the spine and onto the back cover, as one continuous image (skipping the eyes-open unit, so that she appears only on the front).

     

    Also, the blurb on the back cover seems a bit verbose. And the back cover font is too large.


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    I know the process -- Been there, done that, got the forehead marks on my wall.

     

    Had to kid you about the back cover. Coming along nicely, I'd say (I've published worse).

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I had to change out keyboards after one forehead pounding session...

     

    After I get done trying a few fonts for the front I'll get to work on the back.


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    I know the process -- Been there, done that, got the forehead marks on my wall.

     

    Had to kid you about the back cover. Coming along nicely, I'd say (I've published worse).


     


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    For the back, I would be tempted to either repeat the front image on the back (thus leaving a blue stripe for title and author's name along the spine) or else to continue the pattern around the spine and onto the back cover, as one continuous image (skipping the eyes-open unit, so that she appears only on the front).

     

    Also, the blurb on the back cover seems a bit verbose. And the back cover font is too large.


    I agree: it would be pretty cool to simpy continue the row of girls on across the back cover. It would really emphasize the fact that they are all clones and/or androids. I also agree that you might want to not actually repeat the cover, but rather continue the line of girls, mixing and matching their skin tones as you did on the front cover.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I did a quick mockup after I wrote a blurb for the story a few minutes ago. Playing with catch up (not ketchup), what a mess.

     

    I need to blend the models graphic, then fine tune font size and placement on the back cover, but this is the general idea.

     

    I'll get to that but first I need to delve back into editing. First pass cleaning up crapola since it was pounded out by a gibbon in a hurry. Second pass cleaning up wording and working on one small section where I told rather than showed. What can I say, I was in a hurry and did roughly 40,000 words in less than a week because a reader wanted to know the backstory.

    PreludeToWarCoverMockupX5a1Farsi2a.png

    Note: I did get permission from a distant-cousin to use the shield image.

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