Here is the cover image that I've been using since I began serializing my books on Steem (and now on Whaleshares and WeKu.)
Free images plus my own edits yielded a quick-and-easy cover design that did all the things it needed to do.
- The guy doesn't have long hair
- The image isn't really mine enough...
Since the spring, I've been playing more and more with GIMP and becoming friends with it - to the point that I was able to put together the cover image for Brighid's Blood in (I kid you not) about 45 minutes start-to-finish. That doesn't include the time hunting for free (CC0) pictures of course. I spent a few hours on that part.
I've been thinking for awhile that the 851 TCE Collection of Romance really needed a fresh cover. When previously looking for images for the first collection cover, I could not find a man with long hair silhouetted like I wanted. Anything other than a silhouette was going to require more work in the fashion department - beyond my capabilities (if I was at that level, I wouldn't need CC0 pictures!)
So, I've been playing with DAZ Studio 3D this week. I've toyed with it now and again for a few years - used it for the original cover art that I did for Friendship on Fire and Courage to Trust the first time I self-published them a few years ago.
As it had been awhile, I had to spend a lot of time re-learning what I'd forgotten and learning the new tricks required with the more recent updates. Finally, I found my characters, outfits, hair (all free) and got them posed. I rendered my first pose (which took 15 minutes of computer processing time)... and threw it out... A few down the road and a new setting to make it render a large images (2 HOURS of processing time that render) - and this is what I had.
(Image is my work from DAZ Studio, using free actors Genesis 1 (male) and Genesis 3 (female) with freebie (CC0) clothing and accessories.)
I tried a few tricks to get DAZ to start me off with a silhouette, but one of my characters wasn't working well with these, so I gave up and took it over to GIMP.
To create the silhouette, I created a new layer for my shadow. I designated it a "multiply" level that would only darken.
I bucket-filled that layer with 80% opacity in black which really did wonders.
To create the glow from the sunset, I added another layer above my shadow. This one I designated as an "overlay" that would not overwhelm the lower levels. With an orange paintbrush and about 80% opacity again, I highlighted the sides of my actors nearest the sunset.
Next, I made sure all my layers were clear from other issues by using the magic wand to select these areas from my character level, then deleting the black spaces in the other layers.
Finally, I pulled out one of my own sunset pictures that I took in Oregon in 2013. Now, the whole picture was completely useless due to the fact my Samsung NX-11 camera could not take a good picture of the sun without seriously messing it up. As in, impossible to mess with... But the waves were perfect, so I just centered the photo off enough (flipping it so that the sun was lighting up the correct side of my actors.)
This image, I opened "as layers" - then dragged the layer to be my bottom one (background.)
After that, it was a simple 2x3 crop, margins as I like and lettering... Those, I did on Photoscape which handles more easily. The hearts are done with the webdings font, capital Y as it turns out! Here is the final.
(Image is my own, started on DAZ Studio 3D, continued on GIMP, finished on Photoscape.)
This picture will feature in various forms for awhile now - I might even use a less labeled one for my weekly updates...
Anyway, there you have it - the first glimpse of the new cover for the collection which will start in less than three weeks on Steemit! (It is highly recommended that you've at least read through the 850 T.C.E. collection first as some stories build from that one - of course in this collection there are hints back to the Birth of the Neví and even teasers towards the Rise of the Neví as well - because that's the kind of person I am!)
Links to Buy the ebooks
(Note: If anyone knows how to make this table more even in markdown, please comment! The images are much larger than this.)
|Please catch up!||Links to buy|
|Birth of the Neví – 829 T.C.E. It is a tumultuous period of Terrenden history. As is all too common, there are those who wish to profit from the misfortune of others. Some of these come together in a new "charitable organization" and step on the toes of the notorious Uugli. Combine this with draconian new measures to combat pollution and Terrenden has a situation ripe for a power struggle.||Rebound of Power: 850 T.C.E. Collection of Romance Terrenden is being terrorized by a previously underestimated Neví who through the mysterious “Curator” have been controlling elections all over the planet. In this collection, we meet some interesting women. Iyva, a homeless teenager in Irola whose untrained power leaves her close to death; Marc’la, a breeder of prized caballus in Kasago whose heart lives in the past; Zukie, an abused widow whose heart is afraid to try for future happiness; Jenna, an elections assistant manager and masseuse who has a prejudice against A’mara; and Kami, a chola student in Varkevand who has been assigned to protect Ardin, a man who has his own reasons to distrust A’mara.|
I’m still offering 1 Steem Basic Income share for any redfish (less than 500 SP) who asks me a question which prompts an “Ask the Author” post! I’m thinking about putting these into a Dbooks ebook all its own, actually.
Cover art based on image from Pexels – creative commons, no attribution required.
Shaze based on a katana from Pixabay – creative commons, no attribution required.
Shaze chapter ender from Wikipedia Commons – used within terms of license – sword adapted for use as a shaze.
Grass texture for maps from Pixabay
All maps/editing by myself on GIMP and Photoscape, both free programs.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Although the penalty of knowing me in real life is that you will influence the creation of my characters; any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Writing and artwork copyright myself 2005-2018 – all rights reserved.
Please feel free to contact me on Facebook or Discord, viking-ventures#2883.
author/designer at A'mara Books
photographer/graphic artist for Viking Visual
now also on: Whaleshares and WeKu
Banner by @shai-hulud