Tag Archives: photoshop CS6

Behind the Scenes – The Poe Codec

A cover for Cave Hollow Press. For this cover, they wanted to incorporate elements of Edgar Allen Poe’s work and a¬†feeling of a mystery. We settled on a raven and a locket (the locket plays an important role in the story) and we used the codec from inside the book (provided by the author) for the background. We went for red and black colors to add to the mysterious look, and I chose a cob-webby font that would add to the eerie mystery and work well for middle grade fiction.

I also did a wrap-around print cover. However, knowing that the primary form would be paperback–and knowing that CMYK does not play well with red– I created this cover first in CMYK (a smaller color space), and then converted it to sRGB for the online editions.

Something important to keep in mind when working with print editions is that if you download a template from Createspace, that template is in sRGB. You will need to convert it to CMYK prior to moving the image over for a wrap-around cover… or potentially need to redo portions of the image. (This is mostly a problem if you have a heavy amount of red on the cover.)

Another trick I found for getting the red color to work well in CMYK is to create a layer of red color based on the title (Hex Code: E32E24), overlaying it across all red portions of the cover (I masked out the locket and publisher logo), and the lowering the opacity to 30%. (I use Adobe Photoshop CS6). I’d read an article that suggested that CMYK does better with “pure” colors, and by adding the red overlay, that made the colors seem more “pure” for its color space.

I also did the interior formatting. You can check that out using the “look inside” feature on Amazon. ūüôā

This is the end result:

Behind the Scenes - The Poe Codec

Behind the Scenes - The Poe Codec - Wraparound Cover

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-raven-image36339410 – raven
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-remembrance-image28935144 – locket

Code picture provided by the author.

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Behind the Scenes – The Curse of the Fairfield Witch

A cover for Melange Books.

For this one, the author and publisher already had a few of the stock images chosen that they wanted to use for the cover. I took what they had, tweaked the placement, added the title information, tinkered with coloring to give it the spooky graveyard look, then did the retouching.

Since they already had the model chosen, and already had the full-sized stock image, I went ahead and did the major retouches on the proof image. It saved time in the long run, especially since I made that image into a smart object so that I could easily move it around.

The author later found the background he liked, which I retouched and manipulated (removing the lampposts) to fit better with the graveyard in the story. We played with the idea of adding headstones in the background, but they proved to be too distracting on the near-final, so we removed those. Sometimes less is better, especially when you’re trying to design a cover that will catch the eye and not make the potential reader sit there trying to figure out what a particular element is. (Unless you want that particular surreal effect, then go for it).

For the back cover, the author requested we use one of my first proofs for the background, only edited to work as the back.

This is the result:

SBibb - The Curse of the Fairfield Witch - Book Cover

SBibb - The Curse of the Fairfield Witch - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-portrait-beautiful-gothic-girl-wearing-halloween-costume-studio-shot-black-background-image34206917

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-old-misty-graveyard-night-mystery-group-tombstones-image34053926

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-gothic-graveyard-3-image12561567

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-blue-fog-dark-forest-fog-night-image37184209

 

See the¬†previous books in this series:¬†Spirits of the Pirate House¬†and¬†Roberto’s Return

 

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Behind the Scenes – The Witch and the Hairbrush

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author requested an illustrated look, similar to what I¬†created for¬†Screw The Devil’s Daquiri (¬†https://sbibb.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/behind-the-scenes-screw-the-devils-daiquiri/ ). In order to achieve the effects we wanted, I used stock images.¬†However, I also used quite a few filters and blur effects from Photoshop CS6. These effects¬†can be quite useful when placed in¬†different blending modes, partially masked, and/or at varying levels of opacity. Another trick I used was to put a heavier emphasis of illustration on the background, while only partially applying the filters to the skin and face of the model.

This is the final result:

SBibb - The Witch and the Hairbrush - Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-small-croatian-village-image14193196

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-portrait-woman-sitting-playing-piano-black-dress-concept-music-art-image34582905

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-witches-broom-image14974800

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-two-witches-image27339945

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-flying-witch-image26918313

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Behind the Scenes – Finding Clara

This is a cover for Melange Books. In this case, the author wanted to show the main character looking into a mirror and seeing a different aspect of their life, other than what they felt. In order to portray both scenes, I looked for stock images where there were multiple images of the model to choose from, both from the back, and from the front. Though the clothing is different, I tried to choose a less obvious difference, as well as placement which would draw less attention to the outfit, and instead focus on the concept of the two different “lives.”

On a technical note, when I usually complete a near-final cover, I use auto-align to get the rough size and position for full-sized stock images based on the proof cover. Lots of layers are typically involved. Every once in a while, however, something doesn’t want to work quite right. In this case, I had a smart object (very useful for maintaining the original size of images and grouping clusters together) decide it didn’t want to be edited. No idea why the layer locked, but with a little bit of searching, I found this link: https://forums.adobe.com/message/1870944

The post of use for this situation suggested to right click the smart object layer that refuses to be edited, open up the resulting menu, then export contents. Save that as a separately named file, and when you reopen the file, it opens as the smart object you were trying to open. Quite handy, I thought.

This is the final result, including the back cover I created for it:

SBibb - Finding Clara - Book Cover

 

SBibb - Finding Clara - Back Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-woman-smiling-image15889714
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-victorian-mirror-image12415487
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-man-leaning-country-gate-image21409557
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-beautiful-woman-necklace-looking-image17998425
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-drive-autumn-woods-thanksgiving-day-image46328634

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Behind the Scenes – Separate Lives

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author requested that we create a¬†template for the cover which could be used for future books in the series. After some tweaking, I settled on a frame to border the main image of the cover, along with placing the¬†silhouette¬†of the gavel and the text. It should be fairly easy to duplicate (especially since I keep notes on each layer about any blur effects and such), though we’ll need to purchase another licence for the gavel from Dreamstime for each cover.

Whenever I make proofs, I leave notes for myself in the layers, that way I can easily replicate any special effects I did for the proof on the final. For example, if I used a lens blur on a layer, I’ll make a note that looks something like “51-41-119 Lens Blur” for the name of the layer. Anything that I commonly change, I’ll make a note of. Sometimes the notes get long, and I’ll copy them into Word so I can read them, but the result is that it’s much easier to complete a final image, especially if there’s a month or so between creating a proof and receiving stock images (which happens when creating proofs in advance of a stock subscription purchase).

Anyway, this is the final cover for Separate Lives, by Rhonda Strehlow:

 

SBibb - Separate Lives - Book Cover

Also, an example of how the basic back cover might look (I set it so that color blur is optional, and they may change the signature to one of their imprints):

SBibb - Separate Lives - Book Cover Back

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-judge-gavel-image16964080
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-texture-creamy-white-rice-paper-torn-edges-isolated-white-background-image29821402
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-table-hotel-bedroom-image27784531
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-business-people-image11661512
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-brown-package-paper-torn-to-reveal-white-panel-ideal-copy-space-image34962594

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Behind the Scenes – Howling Mountain Blues

This is a cover for Barking Rain Press.

For this cover, the third in the Crime Fighting Bluesmen series, we decided to model it after a Blues poster. For that, I stuck with more illustrated effects and textures, and stuck with a limited color scale, rather than the photo-realism I typically go for. I also played with juxtaposition, placing the monkey on top of the harmonica. In order to get the illustrated effect (which came from photos), I masked out the unnecessary portions of the photos, then used the threshold adjustment tool in Photoshop CS6, linked by a clipping mask to the photo, to make it black and white, then copied those layers and deleted out the extra color. I used the magic wand, without contiguous selected so I could make sure I could get all the excess black “paint” out.

This is the result:

SBibb - Howling Mountain Blues - Book Cover

SBibb - Howling Mountain Blues - Wrap-around Cover

Stock images from Shutterstock:

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-143096134/stock-photo-man-sitting-on-stool-in-dark-room-playing-guitar.html?src=YXC4bJk9QY4AHuec3KmbMw-1-45
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-105812573/stock-photo-m-carbine-isolated-on-a-white-background.html?src=1XhlIKJOIrcMv9LG0tUqiA-1-57
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-128205749/stock-photo-harmonica-isolated-on-white-background.html?src=FkpC4FBCUaA1D1HeIEzIAg-1-1
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-150340748/stock-photo-black-howler-monkey.html?src=FeKPz55ibOJQ8jx5X6aLmg-1-32
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-41437732/stock-photo-the-painted-jungle.html?src=id&ws=1
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-99005135/stock-vector-vector-of-ancient-american-ornaments-on-white.html?src=id&ws=1
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-125309489/stock-photo-yellow-plastic-guitar-plectrum-isolated-on-white.html?src=DJCaLEQMiXkeNAk2HzB1nw-1-26&ws=1

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Behind the Scenes – Seven Days to Goodbye

A cover for Barking Rain Press.

For this one, the main character is training an Australian Shepherd, and since the main stock image we wanted to use had a different breed¬†of dog, I ended up swapping out dogs. We tried a couple different versions, but this is the one we finally settled on. We also changed the girl’s hairstyle. In order to get everything to look natural, I used Photoshop CS6’s overlay blend mode in layers and used the black and white paint brushes to change the lighting of her hair so that it would match the lay of the hoodie underneath. I also applied lighting techniques to the dog, and covered part of the dog’s paws to look more natural.

This is the result:

SBibb - Seven Days to Goodbye - Book Cover

Stock images from Shutterstock:

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=91979300
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=3724855
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=86808145

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Behind the Scenes – Seeking Sir Gwain

A cover for Melange Books.

For this cover, I wanted it to look similar to the first of the series, Seducing Sir Gwain. I gave it a similar texture and color treatment. We actually went through a couple proofs before deciding on this stock image. We wanted it to convey the genre, as well as still fit the characters in the books. I changed their hair colors to match the description in the art form.

SBibb - Seeking Sir Gwain - Book Cover

Stock Photos from Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-old-paper-texture-grunge-backgrounds-image31086277
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-sexy-couple-hugging-bedroom-image29467309

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Behind the Scenes – Mira’s View

This is a cover for Melange Books.

For this cover, since the background was horizontal and worked well to wrap-around, I went ahead and created a wraparound background, rather than my usual basic background. This ended up using two different images for the elf… the face and head were one photo, to match the description of the character, and the body/outfit were another, to match the style of outfit requested on the art form. On the final image, since the hair was cut off at the edges on the original photo, I played with the smudging effects to create a more illustrated, fantastical look, and I also played with the softness of the background using Gaussian blur, Lens Blur, and overlay/soft light effects.

Here’s the end result. ūüôā

Basic wrap-around, no spine or text on back cover:

SBibb - Mira's View - Wrap-around Book Cover

 

Front E-Book Cover:

SBibb - Mira's View - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-portrait-young-beautiful-woman-long-flowin-image24027857
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-elf-image37703849
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-green-forest-mountain-view-top-some-villas-image32433154

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Behind the Scenes – Fateful Encounters

This is a cover for Melange Books.

The fun thing with putting this cover together was trying to convey the sinister/mysterious mood and keep with the thriller category. In this case, I went with showing the city at the bottom and hinting at one of the characters on the cover… without actually showing her full face. Add in the gritty city textures, and you have a cover. Something to keep in mind during cover creation is what you do with the text. Using clipping masks, you can add texture directly to the text and help incorporate it into the overall image.

SBibb - Fateful Encounters - Book Cover

Stock photos from: Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-melbourne-night-image15166508
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-client-prostitute-image24545929
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-girl-near-brick-wall-image14524801
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-grunge-background-image19731104

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