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How I Got Bored and Made a Book Cover

4 Comments 05 September 2012

I thought of a cool title the other night, and without anything to do with it, I decided to see if I could composite up a book cover from Google Images. I think it came out pretty well, what do you think?
Click to super size. Check after the jump to see how I did it.

I knew I wanted an old barn with a storm in the background so that’s where I started. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get that but I did find a lovely barn with some dark clouds. Thanks to Thomas McKane (neuro-reviera on DeviantArt) for a lovely shot.

With that in place I knew I had to build up vertically to fill the cover, so I would need more storm clouds. Tash-stock from DeviantArt to the rescue.

I erased the bottom to eliminate the flat edge and then copied the image to a couple layers, to stack the clouds down.

It didn’t blend too well so I wanted to find another sky, maybe with some lightning. Although I ended up using almost none of this picture, I really liked the yellow sky (I actually wanted it closer to red), so I cloned to get rid of the lightning, adjusted the color, and hand painted orange sky down to the horizon line.

I ended up wanting the barn more in the center, so I cropped it out, moved it over, and cloned grass to fill in the missing area. I also ended up deleting the sky from the barn picture completely to make room for my orange sky. This meant hand-drawing in a horizon so it wouldn’t be super flat.

And now the lightning I wanted was gone, so I grabbed some lightning from the NOAA site (best weather site ever, BTW).

I hand-painted (digitally) the contact area from the lightning bolt to the cloud to make it look less disjointed.

Then I cloned some pieces of the barn to board up that window, painted in some light, and then made the rays coming out of the window (which I’m actually not really happy with, but whatever).

Added a cross-hatch filter to everything to give it a more painterly feel (check the blue area of the clouds on the big version, it looks pretty good), added a blue overlay to the clouds up top to contrast the orange sky below, and then put on a semi-transparent clear-to-black overlay to make the top darker and pull the eye to the barn. This also helps darken the area behind the text, which is Helvetica (don’t mess with the classics). It has a matte with dead tree effect that I have a brush for. Brush sets are AWESOME time savers. For the crow in the A, I Google searched and found this image by Adrian Williams.

And Bob’s your uncle. Budget book covers with just Photoshop and Google Images.

Granted, you’d get sued if anyone recognized their image, but that’s what stock photo sites are for. There’s no excuse for bad book covers, even on self-published eBooks (I mean, just hit me up!). I’m not delusion, I know this isn’t the best image ever (the barn is too centered and too small for one), but in one night, with just some Photoshopping, not bad.

Leave a comment if you like stuff like this and maybe I’ll do more like it. Or maybe this is super boring to anyone who isn’t a Photoshop nerd (and boring for those people too). In any event, like this so I know someone visits my site. And be sure to friend NotZombies on Facebook.

Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. I am so hitting you up if/when I self-publish. This is terrific.

  2. Ian says:

    If you can photoshop a pipe into a self portrait, I’ll be contacting you when my memoir is finished. Awesome job.


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