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Cover Critique - Unleash and Refine Your Inner Artist

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  #61  
Old 09-05-2012, 07:06 PM
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I'd ditch the white -- use a color that compliments the photo -- then drop the type out of it. I'm betting the color will make it look less "flat" and it will solve the contrast problem white dog -- you could give it even more dimension by adding a slight gradient to the solid color. And maybe take that image from edge to edge.


Last edited by JoeMatt; 09-05-2012 at 07:09 PM..
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  #62  
Old 09-06-2012, 02:14 AM
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Ooo, thanks, JoeMatt. I'll have to try that.

Edit: So more like this, perhaps? Didn't want to go with a curly-ish font. Liked this one much better. Might have to darken the title a bit; kind of light. Or lighten it for more contrast against the darker green. And I thought the swirls were interesting. Added more depth, which is what I wanted.




Or maybe this one:


Edit: Whoops. Sorry. I'd deleted these from Imageshack.
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Last edited by Devon; 09-06-2012 at 03:43 PM..
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  #63  
Old 09-06-2012, 10:32 AM
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Hmm, I don't like those last two. The font is difficult to read against the green and the dog in the photo now looks odd and the whole thing has an amateurish feel.

Personally, for what it's worth, I liked the way the white of the dog bled into the white background on the first version you put up. I hate the font but I do like the way the small name at the top right corner created a nice diagonal that followed from the white shape of the dog. It's got an overall pleasing visual feel to it that I like and that you've lost in the later versions.

Maybe if you just change the font in the first one to something stronger and simpler, it would work.

Anyway, I'm no expert and can only give you an instinctive reaction as an artist. I'm no designer either.
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  #64  
Old 09-06-2012, 11:57 AM
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Actually, I thought of the idea of doing a green background, but rejected it.
Have to say it looks really good. The title definitely needs to be lighter, probably same white as the dog.
The first one with byline outside the shot works best just because of symmetry.
WAY better font face. Bolder would be even better. Look at it at like 40% that size---that's what people will see online.
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  #65  
Old 09-06-2012, 12:42 PM
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Hmm. Well, completely contrasting opinions, there. Lol. May be a compromise between the two that I'll end up liking. . . .

the whole thing has an amateurish feel.
Of which I am. Lol. An amateur, that is.

Edit: Actually, I do like the green background. I'll fidget with the font, and see what I can come up with that looks better. Thanks!
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Last edited by Devon; 09-06-2012 at 02:07 PM..
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  #66  
Old 09-06-2012, 02:31 PM
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I have to say I like it much better. But this is where you really can benefit from tweaking and looking at multiple options.

I'd definitely look at dropping the type out to white -- but here's a trick -- making it a 10% gray or so can make it look not so stark. Not a big fan of the outlined font, but a slight, tight drop shadow might work. I don't know about the pattern, but the gradation from the dark green to lighter green works for me. Also, I'd look at it without the border around the image -- or maybe just the drop shadow or just the border. I don't think you need both.

The font looks a lot better. Not sure what that is but you almost can't go wrong with a classic font like Garamond or Caslon.

When you have most of the elements and you're close is the time to look at refinements. Sometimes you can really surprise yourself with just a subtle change and how much difference it can make.
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  #67  
Old 09-06-2012, 03:34 PM
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Thank you, JoeMatt. And thanks, everyone, for your insights. I've actually made the changes and am now tweaking.
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  #68  
Old 09-07-2012, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Devon View Post
Of which I am. Lol. An amateur, that is.
Yep, me too. Heh.

Good luck with the tweaking.
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  #69  
Old 09-07-2012, 11:53 AM
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Thanks.
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  #70  
Old 09-09-2012, 05:15 PM
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One thing I'll add here.
It's almost always better to pick up a color from the artwork to use in design elements like type, rather than just spec some other color.
That's why I mentioned using the color of the dog for type. It's integral to the design already.
Same principle a good framer will use for choosing matte colors, picking one up from a central focus in the print.

Generally speaking, the fewer colors on a design palette the better. And there decidedly an esthetic advantage to type or border colors rhyming or repeating existing plate colors.
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  #71  
Old 09-09-2012, 05:20 PM
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Just saw your comment on "flatness" Devon.
I think part of what you are seeing there is that there's a built in depth or perspective in the photograph. I recedes to the background and has some lines that indicate perspective. Also, having straight type on top of it like that gives the type a "float" effect.
Lighter and more vibrant colors tend to "come forward" in a picture. You might not see it as so 3-D if the type were black.

The type, by the way, isn't ffffff white, it's picked out from the rose.
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  #72  
Old 09-10-2012, 02:56 AM
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That's why I mentioned using the color of the dog for type. It's integral to the design already.
Yes, thank you. And it worked. Very nicely, actually, in conjunction with JoeMatt's suggestion of the tight dropped shadow and no outline.

Generally speaking, the fewer colors on a design palette the better. And there decidedly an esthetic advantage to type or border colors rhyming or repeating existing plate colors.
And I see that now, yes.

The type, by the way, isn't ffffff white, it's picked out from the rose.
Looked back at the cover you'd put up as an example, and yep, I can see that now, too.
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  #73  
Old 09-10-2012, 05:02 AM
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This thread made me want to try and see if I could come up with a decent cover myself.
With the help of Devon I came up with this one. Any thoughts on it?

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  #74  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:35 AM
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Your big problem, like most people, is the type not showing up.
Note that you can read the subtitle easier than the title?

Problem is, the top is such a tossed salad that it's hard to get a color that will stand out against it. Note that the G in "Gone" is readable, and that The "Or" in the subtitle is not.

I don't know what your original picture looks like, but if you can possible crop it to show more of the dark green at the bottom, I would go with that area to place your type.
The two places the type will be most visible are in that dark area at the bottom and on the red cape.

Another, kind of radical solution would be to have a contrasting background behind the type, like hilighter. There are acually fonts that do that for you. Grudge, for example.
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  #75  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:52 AM
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Thanks, that are the things I had no idea about. There is more picture than I've used, so it should be possible to lift Red Rosie.

The font, I'll probably have to download it? It's not in my Gimp library, as far as I've seen.

That the "Or" seemed to disappear I saw, and struggled with, to no avail as you can see. I've even did one without the subtitle, but thought it looked kind of empty. Unless empty is better?
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  #76  
Old 09-10-2012, 11:08 AM
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Yeah -- they type isn't readable. If it was me, I could probably Photoshop different darker, woods into that background and you'd never know it -- or more easily, add as much grass to the foreground as needed.

What about this? It's $38 for the resolution you'd need -- not too bad. I don't know if it works with your story or not.


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  #77  
Old 09-10-2012, 11:36 AM
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Photoshop is a bit out of my league, but I could try to do something.

The picture is beautiful, but Red's face is a bit too sweet girl. She'd need to have a sparkle in her eye or a mischievous smile.

I'll do what I can with the picture I have now and post what I've come up with later.

Thanks for giving your opinions on what I came up with.
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  #78  
Old 09-10-2012, 11:56 AM
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Don't think about PhotoShop. It's expensive and not particularly good, especially for people like us.
Your best bet, if you have Windows, is Paint.net. Gives you layers and much more more.

To find fonts, just google free fonts Grudge or whatever

Using Layers is really helpful for dropping in type. If you do the title on transparent background, then paste it in, you can control position and size. Also, you can set up the titles first, like moving two lines closer together, doing a "drop cap" all that good stuff.
Then just lay it in as a new layer and zoom, distort, and move it.

If you aren't using layers, don't worry about it.
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  #79  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:05 PM
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Lol, told you I was still an amateur at this, lucky. Great pointers from them.
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  #80  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by luckyme View Post
Photoshop is a bit out of my league, but I could try to do something.
I wasn't suggesting that you should try to Photoshop it. That's why I suggested another image. I can do that kind of retouching/composite stuff in my sleep -- but I wouldn't recommended that a beginner try it, especially if it's just a one-off thing.
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  #81  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:43 PM
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Okay, so I have photoshop, but given up on the idea of getting anywhere there.

I do have layers and have repositioned the types.

Can't do much about the "tossed salad" at the top, but I do like the blurred corner and want to keep that, unless it's too distracting for a cover?

Anyway, here's what I came up with.

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  #82  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:51 PM
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I don't think it's reading the way you want it to. Now it looks like "A Fairy Tale or Not" is the title.

Do you have the hi-res version of the image -- and if so, what size and resolution is it?

I could take a look at fixing the tossed salad if you want me to.
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  #83  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:55 PM
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Let him sleep on it, lucky. See what he comes up with.
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  #84  
Old 09-10-2012, 01:05 PM
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Wow, Joe Thanks, in advance. I have the original image. It's 2607x2320 and 1.9MB, is that the info you need?

And you're right the way it's now, it does seem as if the subtitle is the title.
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  #85  
Old 09-10-2012, 01:14 PM
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That should be big enough. What are the book cover dimensions?

You'll have to get the image to me. I can PM you my email address and you can send it as an attachment, unless you have the original source -- then I could download it from there.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:21 PM
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The cover dimensions are 1848 x 2768.

I have the image from Flickr, it's here and permission from the owner to use it as a cover.
It might be best if you download the original yourself, because if I have to mail it to you ... Let's just say, I'm not real good at sending big files.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:28 PM
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I already have it. I have more questions, but I'll take it to PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:03 PM
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How about something like this? This image is still low-res, the intensity of the women needs to come down a bit and color, I think, and the red in the type is off, but this should give you an idea. I took the liberty of changing your font -- but that's all up to you. I normally don't like script fonts, but I think this one works pretty well in this case. On the last one, I put a hairline in white around the type -- that might be the way to go to make that red pop, maybe an even slightly thicker line. I thought I'd try flipping the image too -- I think it might work better. I also put a little motion blur on her -- we can lose that if you don't like it. Oh, and one other thing -- you may want to get rid of that lens flare -- the polygonal shaped things -- they normally are fine, but here they take away some of the illustrative quality of the image. I can easily do that.
















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  #89  
Old 09-10-2012, 09:37 PM
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http://cache.smashwire.com/bookCover...05afd3c505a0cb

Tell me if it is ok or not... please
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  #90  
Old 09-10-2012, 11:15 PM
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Joe, I'm speechless.
Amazing, I absolutely love that last one, and you're right those spots stick out in a bad way.

Juiling about your cover. As you've seen I can only give you the opinion of an amateur, but your cover looks like a picture taken from a car window and has little to do with the title of the book.
And it's very grey, with a blemish catching the eye.
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