Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bookcovers and Monday miscellany


Just a grab-bag today -- a bit of this, a bit of that. Here's a first look at an ebook coming out from DreamCraft next week. This one was a delight ... if you fancy Australia, or like a laugh, or a kind of "puberty blues" story about a young lad growing up gay in a fly-speak town in the middle of nowhere, this would have to be your book. It's not long -- something around 13,000 words, as I remember -- and it's pure joy from the first line to the last. Coming out in Coopers Crossing, from Jayne DeMarco, and remember that name, because I think this writer will be going places.

The background on this piece is one of my own photos ... shot through the car window while traveling at high speed, somewhere in the southeast. It could be somewhere around a place called Reedy Creek, which is even smaller that the "town" in the story. That's rural Australia, through to the bone. All I had to do was turn up the contrast a bit (to counteract the fact it was shot from inside a moving car), and slap a bit of GIMP painting over the lower part for two reasons. One, because I wanted the title to show up clearly, and two, because (!) that part of the image is actually blurred because of the fact the car was going about 100kph at the time! And no, I wasn't driving. Riding shotgun has its advantages.

Here's the full shot, sideways-blur on the foreground and all:


See? Moving car. When I'm laying out covers for DreamCraft books, the format is 6x9, so it's always a challenge choosing which part of the image to use. This time around it was easy, and very easy to set up the figure. The only real challenge was to match the lighting to the background, so it doesn't end up with the photomontage effect. I only put two lights on this: a pale blue one to simulate the sky, and a pale gold one to undo some of the blue. Set shadows for both and render. I'd actually expected to take two or three shots at it, which would be usual, but it was right first time. Then it was over into GIMP for some painting, then into Serif to have the text overlays done. (The model is obviously Michael 4, wearing the HZ Victor skinmap and the Danyel hair from Neftis, set to black, and the M4 Real Jeans. Couldn't be much simpler -- or more effective.

On another topic, here's the effect I was trying for yesterday:

It wasn't going to work then, and it wasn't going to work today! I went another nine rounds with it (crash, crash, crash...) and then said, "Forget it." This one is a simple render of the figure (raytraced) with one of yesterday's renders used as a backdrop. *sigh* Ah, well. Nice picture, though. Not what was in my imagination, but -- nice.

Jade, 24 January
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