Anatomy Of A Book Cover “Evaline Transcendent

This is not going to be my usual Midweek Mumbles ramblings. Instead I’m going to do something a little different, and give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the steps involved in creating my first book cover design.

How I Made My Last Cover

When I published “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, I had a lot of help with the cover design. Ariel Marie was kind enough to Photoshop the components for me, and all I did was do the type-setting for the text.

What Makes This Time Different?

The cover for “Evaline Transcendent” is a much more interesting journey, because it’s a science fiction story, and there are very few stock photos that could be tweaked to work for what I had in mind.

I wanted to invoke the sci-fi genre right from the start, so setting the cover in one of the ship’s corridor was always part of my plan. The representation of the main character, Evaline, was a more difficult decision for a number of reasons:

  • This is re-release of a story that was originally published in an anthology.
  • Since that release, I’ve been interested in updating it with ideas that didn’t make the original draft.
  • I also wanted to represent Evaline in some way, but in the original story she was only a disembodied voice.
  • To give her more presence that meant either putting an image on a computer screen, or creating a holographic presence, which was not originally in the story.

Was There A Way To Do What I Wanted?

After looking at some ideas for cover designs, I decided to go with a sci-fi corridor with a holographic figure to represent Evaline herself.

Having previously used 3D software, specifically Daz3D,I was already familiar with what was possible with the right tools at my disposal. I did a search through the database of 3D models available, and found a sci-fi corridor that looked matched my list of requirements. Then I took the base female figure and a basic pose and put her into the scene.

After some tweaking, I clothed her in a skin-tight outfit, which had sections I could hide, and then bought a shader that allowed me to turn the textures into holograms.

Once the image was rendered, I transferred it into Canva and overlaid it on a background color, before adding the title and author text.

And here was the first attempt, but there were several issues…

  • The text fonts didn’t match up very well
  • The pose was a little problematic, and too ‘sexy’ for my tastes
  • The presence of the background frame didn’t mesh well the current trends in sci-fi cover designs
  • I wasn’t keen on the colors or the outfit
  • Because of the 3d models, outfits, and tricks I’d used to build this particular hologram I didn’t have a lot of control over how it rendered
  • I also didn’t have any way to adjust the placement of the figure within the final image

So I Sought Help From Fellow Authors..

I approached some authors I’ve worked with in the past, so I could get some ideas of ways we could try and fix the issues. And once I got some feedback, I dove deeper into to capabilities of the 3D software, and online forums, in the hopes of figuring out the solutions. And here’s the result…

I think you’ll agree this is a much better cover. It was created in several steps…

  1. Setup the scene, with the figure in place, posed, and clothed in single color clothing.
  2. Light the entire scene.
  3. Render the corridor background, with the lighting effects already in place.
  4. Hide the figure and clothing.
  5. Render the corridor background.
  6. Remove the corridor and place the figure against a black background.
  7. Set all the clothing colors to solid black, and render the visible flesh areas and hair
  8. Set the figure and hair to black
  9. Add a digital opacity layer to clothing and set the colors
  10. Render just the clothing
  11. Import the individual layers into GIMP2 for editing.

How The Layers Stacked Up…

  • Layer 1 – Background (Mode=Normal, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 2 – Flesh #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 3 – Flesh #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 4 – Flesh #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 5 – Flesh #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 6 – Leggings #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 7 – Leggings #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 8 – Leggings #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 9 – Leggings #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 10 – Top & Shoes #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 11 – Top & Shoes #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 12 – Top & Shoes #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 13 – Top & Shoes #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)

As you can see, that’s a lot of layers… And that was all before I pulled the image into Canva and added the text layers.

So here’s a look at the images that went to the cover…

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And that folks, is how I wasted three weeks of writing and editing time…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the covers, or even my methods of creating them. Post in the comments below, or email me at timothy.bateson.author@gmail.com

Oh, and just between us… “Evaline Transcendent” will soon be available in the Kindle store… Once I’ve gone through some final edits, and finalized my revisions to the original story. There are aspects of the original story I wasn’t happy with, and plot points I wanted to update.

“Under A Hunter’s Moon” – Get The First Chapter Of This Urban Fantasy For Free!

Cover and blurb for the "Under A Hunter's Moon" - The first short story in the "Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels" Urban Fantasy series.

More about “Under A Hunter’s Moon”

  • Length:About 4,200 words
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Setting: Seattle and the surrounding area
  • Series: “Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels”

Why am I offering the first chapter for free?

I have written several stories in the “Prequels” series, which are great introductions to the “Shadows Over Seattle” world. Three years ago, this story was featured in “Moon Shadows” and saw my debut as a published author, and remains very close to my heart. I’m also planning to release at least one or two more short stories over the coming months, as I continue to work on the first full novel in the “Shadows Over Seattle” series.

We’re also coming up on my birthday, and the first anniversary of this story being published under the “Shadows Over Seattle” banner. So, for the anniversary of the release I’m giving everyone a chance to try before they buy.

After all, I don’t know about you, but when I’m shopping for books in the store, I tend to read the first few pages to see if the book fits my tastes. Sure, I’ve had some very pleasant surprises when opening a book I’ve not tried reading first, but I still prefer to sample.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a comments from the reviewers…

Here’s what reviewers have had to say:

“I love the dark view taken but also the unique point of view that makes you want to care for the dark creatures.”

“If you like wolves, if you like werewolves, if you like that whole conflict of humanity, and conflict within yourself, you’re gonna love this book.”

“An amazing take on Lycans. I love the dark view taken but also the unique point of view that makes you want to care for the dark creatures.”

“There is that conflict that is driven into the story. That beautiful arc that starts off so well… that builds up to a beautiful crescendo, and then just drops you, and your heart is going to drop when it’s time for it. And you’re going to feel it. You’re going to feel the protagonist’s pain. You’re going to feel everything.”

Get the first chapter of the story for free… Click Here!

B2CyCon might be over, but the fun doesn’t stop!

I just got done with a huge online event (#b2bcycon2017), which I use for networking with readers and authors every year. I’m a three year veteran at The Brain to Books Cyber Convention, and I’m always trying new things.

Trying New Things

My latest experiment was a Fantasy themed scavenger hunt, where I challenge participants to match the first lines of books to their covers. It uses the Amazon “Look Inside” feature to encourage people to actually look at the books featured, and explore the first few pages.

What Were The Results?

It’s proved to be an interesting experiment, because a lot of the participants have agreed to sign up for author mailing lists, and indicated they would do similar quizzes in future.

The event can be found here, for those interested in having a look, and will be available until Saturday 15th April, when I draw the winners

Look Up | Gary Turk – Official Video

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while know that I very rarely post anything that could be considered social commentary. This is partly, because this is not that kind of blog, and secondly, because sometimes that kind of content is inflammatory, and often already overshared.

But this video struck home in so many ways, that I wanted to share it. As a writer, I value the experiences I’ve had in life, and am grateful for those I’ve been able to share with others.

I’m hoping that in this ultra-connected world of ever-present social media, this video can show a side of life that some people might be missing out on.

A full transcript of the video can be found here.

To quote Gary Turk, the video’s creator:

I don’t want you to stop using social media or smartphones.
It’s about finding a balance. It’s about making sure you are awake, alive and living life in the moment; instead of living your life through a screen.

B2BCyCon Is Coming – Show Your Support For The Fantasy Genre Events!

So What’s It All About?

There are rumblings deep under the mountain, and those who live close by swear that they have seen fire and smoke in the distance. Ever since the town was established, local bards have told tales of a great monster that sleeps beneath those sacred peaks. But every now and then it awakes, angry at the world, and with a hunger that will only be satisfied with destruction. Before you know it, the great beast will awaken, and unleash havoc upon the land.
The mayor is asking for volunteers to take on the challenge. Will you be one of the few with the bravery and skill to venture into the caverns in search of a way to destroy the beast, before it awakes?

Join the brave souls attending the Brain To Books Cyber Convention fantasy genre events. And keep reading to find out what it’s all about, how to show your support, and what is happening elsewhere at the convention.

What Is The Brain To Books Cyber Convention?

The Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo is an annual event that brings authors and readers together for a massive online event. Happening every April, it showcases some of the best indie authors in the world. It lets them meet readers, run competitions, take part in online discussions, and so much more. The entire weekend is dedicated to readers and books, so come join us.

I have the honor of having been asked to help coordinate the planning, organization, and running of the Fantasy Genre events. I’ll admit that I’m extremely excited about what we have coming up.

When is all this happening?

  • April 7th-9th 2017

Spread the Word:

What events are the fantasy genre authors running?

  • We’ll be hosting discussion groups on a range of subjects
  • Live role-play sessions: a team of writers will play characters from their stories, and readers influence the challenges the players must overcome.
  • There will also be a scavenger hunt running through the entire weekend, with some great prizes.

How to take part:

  1. Share this campaign with your friends, and help them discover some great books.
  2. “Save the Date” to enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.
  3. Wait for the reminder about the event to arrive in your email.
  4. Attend the event and have a blast!

What Other Events Are Going On Elsewhere At The Convention?

  • YouTube discussion panels
  • Book expo showcase
  • Genre-based blog hops and tours
  • Giveaways
  • Grab bags
  • Goodreads author showcase
  • Author interviews
  • Workshops
  • Character competitions
  • Cover wars competition
  • …And much more.
  • Three days of a book lovers paradise.

Join us in 2017, as book lovers unite on April 7th, 8th, and 9th.

Readers can go here and Save the Date: http://b2bcycon.com/ (And be entered into a $100 Amazon Gift Card drawing)

Authors can check out the Getting Started Page: https://braintobooks.com/getting-started/

 

B2BCyCon Is Coming – Show Your Support For The Horror Genre Events!

Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo—or B2BCyCon for short—is a three day, online book convention, created by Angela B. Chrysler (@braintobooks). There are YouTube discussion panels, a book expo showcase, genre-based blog hops and tours, giveaways, grab bags, a Goodreads author showcase, author interviews, workshops, character competitions, a cover wars competition, and much more. Three days of a book lovers paradise.

And horror is a part of the show! –

Show your support by joining the Thunderclap campaign – Let the world know about this event

Welcome to the Blood Spring!

The horror events will bring forth dark terrors, human and non-human, oozing out from primal corners of the universe and the pages of author’s books to infest the convention.

Here are some of the horror event highlights

The Book Expo

This is a book showcase on the Brain to Books Convention site, arranged by genre. So horror fans can go and browse with ease. No fuss, no muss.

The Blog Hop

A genre based hop for websites designed to showcase books and authors. The horror hop has a theme of Walk with the Monsters, and will focus on the terrifying creatures our authors create Zombies, vampires, ghouls, ghosts, demons, and serial killers are most welcome.

The Genre Tour

Here you get a taste of the top genres featured in the convention, with previews, sneak peeks and up close and personal looks at what these genres have to offer. The Horror Tour will bring chills, scares, books and creepy characters right to you, all under the theme Out of the Shadows, Welcome to the Blood Spring

Panel Discussions

Live YouTube discussions on various book topics. The horror highlight is the panel: Horror, Thriller, Suspense…What is the difference?

Character CosPlay

Authors don their best garb and resume the role of one of their characters (readers are also welcome). The picture is submitted along with a character card and you vote best costume. Zombie lovers unite! Also, vampires, demons, and the odd slayer or dark arts practitioner.

Cover Wars

This contest is all about judging those books by their covers. For three days, readers can vote for their favorite cover. So bring on your best and most gruesome horror cover!

Join us in 2017, as book lovers unite on April 7th, 8th, and 9th.

Readers can go here and Save the Date: http://b2bcycon.com/

Authors can check out the Getting Started Page: https://braintobooks.com/getting-started/

Show your support by joining the Thunderclap campaign – Let the world know about this event

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/51086-horror-at-the-b2bcycon/embed

“Under A Hunter’s Moon” Trailer – created in Powtoons

Quick, Easy & Powerful

Creating Slideshows and Animated Videos With PowToon couldn’t be much simpler than their site makes it.

Step 1 – Register an account at www.powtoon.com

Step 2 -Select a category – Education/Work/Personal

Step 3 – Decide on a template

Step 4 – Write up a script

Step 5 – Figure out when things need to hapen

Step 6 – Add/Remove elements as needed

Step 7 – Check your video out

Step 8 – Publish to PowToons/YouTube/Twitter/Facebook/Vimeo/Google+ and more

And in less than an afternoon, this is what’s possible…

Watch The “Under A Hunter’s Moon” Video Trailer:

Click here, if the trailer doesn’t open first time.