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Thread: Tutorial: Design Your Cover

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  1. #2
    waxing digital artistic Gale Haut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    The Swamplands
    #1 get graphics and images

    I personally have the luxury of being friends with an award winning local photographer and I've got an Austrian photographer/friend with some access to beautiful natural resources and a great eye for them.

    Good for me. Not everyone has the luxury or pockets to get original images. So then, what are your options?

    Um... Stock?

    Don't worry. Everyone uses stock. Successful graphic designers sure as hell use the stuff all the time.

    Take a look at some of the sites I like:
    *This is a living list. PM me to add or remove resources.

    free! o.O

    free! o.O & for monies

    not too much monies

    lots of monies

    Beware! Using stock will mean that your image won't be unique to your cover. Free stock is even more common to see in other works.

    1. Choose an image that still looks good when it is in thumbnail size. What is thumbnail size? Think in terms of the book covers that scroll horizontally on the bottom of the Nook. If your image is a giant cover focus on a teensy tinsy baby rabbit in the middle of the page... Once it's reduced to a thumbnail, no one's gonna be able to see that.

    2. Avoid too many grainy textures. Unless, that is, you are a savant at retouching photos.

    This point is highly relevant to punto numero uno. When an image is resized to a smaller version, a lot of cluttered textures like a sandy beach or the severe acne on your YA cover model are going to look muddy in thumbnail size.

    Also take note that texture balance in graphic design is just as complex and wonderful as color balance, as it can significantly draw a readers eye to portions of your cover. If you don't have the time to figure out how to use texture correctly, then go the route of the minimalist: don't.

    3. Resolution! Listen up. This is an ebook cover. You will need an image of at least 72 ppi, which is assuming you aren't going to bloat the image and stretch it to be larger than the original in order to fit your cover.

    If you ever ever ever plan on using the same image for print, you need a bigger resolution. 300ppi is the magic number for printed works. You need to pick images at the higher resolution if you plan to use them for print later on because you cannot increase an images resolution once it has been rendered in lower res.

    4. If you choose more than one stock image... that's great. You're a very ambitious person. But keep in mind that when choosing images of say two people in two separate pictures to be on the same cover, you are going to have to make the photos match up so that they don't look like they are two different photos cropped together.

    Think in terms of movie posters. Have you even noticed an actor/s on a poster that just doesn't seem right (head is too big or arm is sticking out like a ken doll). This is the result of a graphic designer not quite accomplishing harmony between multiple photographs. Even the pros mess it up, and often.

    So don't expect it to be easy, especially if you aren't very familiar with your image manipulation software.


    Speaking of software, that's the next chapter in this little tut series. And guess what... there are some great free options that I'm going to focus on.
    Last edited by Gale Haut; 09-24-2011 at 01:04 PM.

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