Putting It All Together – Making the Cover

This entry is part 14 of 14 in the series World Building

So here’s the cover for my first novel …

Having some limited experience as a graphic artist, I decided, for better or worse, that I would design my own book covers.  On the one hand, this will allow me to put what I like on the cover, since I feel that often cover art poorly reflects the contents of the books that I have bought and read.  However, on the other hand, here I am, after almost two years of learning and experimenting … it might have been easier to just turn the project over to a professional artist.  But I’ve had some good Awen, and while my work may not be as outstanding as some, I’m satisfied with my creative effort.

So here are how the pieces all went together …

First, using Photoshop, I cropped a section out of the render I made for Diarven City.

Diarven City background

The background is too crisp, and doesn’t give much perspective.  I added a graduated blur effect to make the background softer and more blurred with distance away from the foreground.  I also added a bit of a wind effect over the sand in the foreground to give a little bit of movement to the static image.

Diarven City background with graduated blur and wind effect

Next, I added a spaceship, the Foalen’s Destiny, to the midground.

Foalen’s Destiny added to the background

Without a shadow, the spaceship seems to float unattached above the background.  I tried using Blender to create shadows for my models, but was not totally satisfied with the  results.  In the end, I created shadows using some Photoshop techniques, and was quite impressed with the overall effect.

Foalen’s Destiny with a shadow

Now for the main characters – from left to right – Eldari Foalen, Eldranth Foalen, and Farrwyn Seabyn.  These were all generated using Blender, with final color adjustments and model tweaks and sizing done in Photoshop.

Main characters added

Again, without shadows, the trio looks a little out of place.  So here are their shadows

Main characters with shadows

The whole image is still a bit too crisp for me … I wanted more of a feeling of grittiness and blowing sand, a hot, dry, desolate place.  My admittedly old (2010) version of Photoshop doesn’t have a blowing sand effect, but one of my (also very old) filter plugins (weirdly called Alien Skin Eye Candy) does smoke.  With a little playing around, I was able to coax smoke into a fine red sand blowing across the image.

Image with blowing sand added

Lastly, I added the title and author (I will be writing in this universe under the pseudonym Eldranth Foalen).   A little touch of Photoshop magic to make the text stand out, and the cover is finished!

Book One: Guardians’ Destiny
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