Thursday, February 9, 2012

Not this week. Well ... darn.

click to see all images at large size, 1000+ pixels wide...

Well ... darn. And I could put that in stronger language. Not quite the news  wanted to be giving you today ... we "lost our window of opportunity" for uploading the NARC books to Kindle this week, and it's my fault -- not that I could have done anything about it. I was going great till I woke up with a monster migraine yesterday, and today I'm seeing out of one eye. As you probably know, there's a heck of a lot more involved in launching a book, or series of books, than just uploading them. There's webpages, wiki pages, banners, ads, and there's the timing of the launch. A new book needs to show up in the leader pages of stores like OmniLit at just the right moment, when visitors and customers are actually looking at those pages. This means, late Friday night (in the US), through to Sunday. This is when potential readers actually see new books appearing -- otherwise, a book rapidly vanishes into the impenetrable depths of online stores that have literally millions of titles in their inventory. 

I was doing fine, on pace to make it comfortably. I had all of Thursday and Friday to make up the pages and the ads. Then I opened my eyes Thursday morning -- or tried to. Nope. Not going to happen this week. It's now late Friday, downunder time, and I still haven't been able to make the ads ... and as for doing the work on webpages ...? My guess would be Sunday, earliest, for that work. Any migraine sufferer will tell you, when your eyes are like that, you can't stare at a computer for long enough to get the work done. Sigh.

Okay, so the NARCs launch on February 18th, not February 11th. Copious apologies go to Mel Keegan for the delay...

Please do click on this image, right above, and see the inside of the domed city I built for the cover of Scorpio. I never did get the chance to share this, and the details don't show on the bookcover. But believe me, if they weren't there, you'd notice! All the details have to be in place for the "whole" to look great on a cover. There's a park, complete with hills and trees, in the middle of that city ... and of course the city is floating in the air of an arctic world. If you didn't see the original post where I uploaded several renders of these "cities in sky-spheres," click here. And if you missed the Aphelion cover where they were built into the montage artwork, then click here

(One thing that's been very gratifying: since I've been uploading artwork featuring Jarrat and Stone, and have been blogging about the process involved in getting the books into the modern marketplace, there's been quite a lot of interest in the paperbacks. I mean -- paperbacks! It's so nice to tell old fashioned books.)

The two leader pieces today are a visual treat rolled into an experiment. If you can drag your eyes off the hunk for a second, look at the ground! The ground! Real, genuine, proper meadow grasses and flowers and what have you. These are Flink's Instant Meadow props -- scores of them, carpeted all over the little terrain I have the hunk standing on. There's 10 different patches of plants, and you just keep on whacking them into the ground space till you build up a meadow --

Then you stand (or sit) a naked hunk in the middle of it, so people will look at your picture --

--because, let's face it, if I uploaded a picture of  the ground, you'd say, "yeah, yeah, sure," and wouldn't bother to even look, right? Right. So here's a naked hunk wearing the SAV Atlas skinmap, and suddenly you're looking at my ground. See, it worked. Ulterior motives. Also ... he's a beauty, isn't he?

Not to mention ... sunlight! At first glance, you might be thinking these were rendered in Bryce, but no, these are still DAZ Studio renders. I've pretty much got the knack of getting photo realism (or very close to it) in bright conditions. I haven't managed to get this in low-light conditions, but I'm still experimenting with "black light," or multiple very-dark lights of many colors. 

Next week, I'll be watching the mailbox -- it's not impossible for Poser Pro to be delivered this soon, but it also wouldn't astonish me if it didn't arrive till the week after. Meanwhile, Dave is doing fantastic things with Vue, and he's also "gotten his feet wet," buying some small props and models at the Cornucopia3D store. The other place that's great to shop for the .vob models which are native to Vue is Renderosity. If you're ever interested, and have a few minutes to kill, go there and do a Marketplace Search specifically on Vue models. Whoooo. 

The Bryce landscape, I call "Top of the World." Photorealistic? No. I did everything I could with this one to make it cross that line from art to photo, and it wasn't going to budge ... I was also having big, big problems with Bryce. Crash, crash, crash. The other day I bought two sets of materials which would have made terrains much more realistic, but they won't install. All I get, when I try to import them is -- crash! The program has crashed, and is crashing, so often, it's become profoundly unstable -- and it's done this in about six weeks. The least I can do us an uninstall-reinstall, to bring it back up to usability, but I really, really need to get the upgrade, or patch, or bug fix, or whatever it is, from DAZ. This is on my agenda, soon as I have the time. In other words -- not today, but soon.

Jade, 10 February
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