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Making cover looking darn professional – WITH PAINT.NET! But how?


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Hello!

I’m Woodwalker – a hobby author. Well… And I’ve trouble with covers. They don’t look very professional.

How do I make them looking like made in Photoshop? A smoothie transition; realistic light; realistic 3d font; etc. Any tips for me?

Bye,

Woodwalker

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Being super critical so no disparaging of anyone's work intended: both good.

 

In welshblue's remake the shadowing and particularly the offset definitely raises the text more effectively but I'm not entirely convinced by the positioning of the highlights and the highlighting of the upper text line only. I was thinking it might work with a distinctly different but complimentary colour used for EVANS as the yellow 'moon' crescent symbol is also, presumably, meant to be just the C for CRAIG ie. I'm assuming the surname is EVANS is not CEVANS.

 

The two lines of text overlapping I do not like in either case. 

 

If the top of the V and the feet of the A were properly aligned, almost to create a symbol, it might work better but that would throw off the alignment with the rest of the text. The left of the E and R should be vertically aligned but if you used the same spacing (kerning) between the E and the V (if aligned with the A of RAIG above) the rest of EVANS would look awkward.

 

For that reason I'd separate the two lines of text so there's a distinct gap between them.

 

The only other hyper critical thing I'd say is that the crescent symbol is very rough around the edges in the original. That needs attending too.

 

The second picture with the snake on a shield the lighting direction is frontal and whilst I understand why it was done like that frontal lighting always flattens the image and make it look a bit boring. The lighting is everything with an image like that and if you want some inspiration there are some in depth YT and other tutorials for how to create shields that look far more interesting and have elaborate lighting/reflection effects with Photoshop which could be mimicked by PDN with a little work.

 

The snake should be lifted in some way and if you could go multi-colour rather than just black that might just do it.

 

For me the other main problem is the background. I have that problem myself - you think about the primary subject but not enough about the background and you end up going for a plain colour or graduated one or, as I suspect in that case, try all the Render plugins you have looking for something that seems OK, like clouds or fire. Been there done that. :)

 

It always looks like a lazy, unimaginative afterthought because that is what it was. I wish I could suggest a solution here but as I'm in the same boat I won't.

Edited by IHaveNoName

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34 minutes ago, welshblue said:

 

And not seen as.  I agree with what you said.   Mine was wrong on so many levels - a rushed job.

 

Another idea for the text  craig.png c-ex.jpg

 

Not all effective shadow has to be blurred ?

 

I also agree about backgrounds.  I spend sometimes more on a background than I do on my 'art' ... finding the balance between enough of a contrast but still being complimentary/ fitting to the piece .  A bad background can ruin a good piece.  In your case @Woodwalker the shield texture hasn't rendered nicely to the shield shape ... a flatter shield would mitigate this some, I think.  Maybe a red background to compliment the shield ?   Anything but the nearly  identical greens

 

 

 

I was a bit worried you might take the comments I made the wrong way despite my intentions.

 

Agree about the shield picture, too much green and the shield texture is odd.  But it occurred to me that the shield might be a real photo if the particular hobby book it may be intended for is enameling or perhaps leather craft work or something similar. In that case the shield and snake design may not be up for modification as it is an actual project example. Thinking about it even the background could be real too - I've seen similar professional photographic background designs (in the 1990s) and, I hate to admit it, created a few like that myself out of bed sheets and whatever paint I happened to have around.

 

That would bring it down to the lighting used for the photography although the background/colour could be changed 

 

We need to know more about that image and whether it was all designed from scratch using PDN or other graphics program and whether any parts of it are imported photos. It might also help to know, if that is what it is for, the hobby craft represented.   

 

 

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3 hours ago, IHaveNoName said:

But it occurred to me that the shield might be a real photo if the particular hobby book it may be intended for is enameling or perhaps leather craft work or something similar. In that case the shield and snake design may not be up for modification as it is an actual project example.

 

On close inspection, I doubt if the shield and snake are from a real photo. It looks very much like a composited work where the shield is at a lower resolution than the snake since elements of the shield are more pixellated than the snake.

Anyway it puzzles me why people are troubled when they have to use more than one imaged editing app to get a good result. Often on projects that I do from clients are created using a variety of apps. My concern is with quality and speed.

In the mind 1980's if you were into design and publishing it was QuarkXPress. At the end of the 1980's it was Corel Draw, now its Photoshop/Illustrator. I say use what you can afford and what it takes to get the job done! Today you can get the job done with a set of quality freeware and 'End-Of-Product-Life' apps in your arsenal. 

 

Edited by HyReZ
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet:

 

You should always work at a much higher resolution than you plan for your final image.

 

For example, if your final image will be 800x600 pixels, you should be working at 2400x1800 while developing your image. Then, when finished, resize your image down to the final dimensions.  Along with feathering as you create your image, this will remove much of the "jaggies" you're seeing.

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Download: BoltBait's Plugin Pack | CodeLab | and how about a Computer Dominos Game

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1 hour ago, welshblue said:

craig-snake.png

 

Top effort Welshy!

 

If this were mine (and I'd maim to be as good as Welshy), I'd enlarge the text and have it overlay the shield just a bit. Then add a touch of drop shadow where the shield is beneath the text.

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1 hour ago, welshblue said:

going on what @BoltBait says about resizing I've seen a lot of people say that over the years but for some reason it never works for me.  My work loses definition and becomes very blurry.  ?

 

The trick is to resize using a multiple of two. I.e. work on a canvas that is 2x, 4x or 8x the final size.

 

The other thing I think is important is to not go overboard with the sizing up the canvas. A 16x16px icon might not look great when you resize a 256x256px source canvas down to 1/16th of that size. Better, I think, to use something more modest like 64x64px and resize by 1/4

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  • toe_head2001 changed the title to Making cover looking darn professional – WITH PAINT.NET! But how?

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