1. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Covers

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Aled James Taylor, Apr 5, 2014.

    Just thought I'd offer my services. As an Design Engineer, producing 3D drawings is what I generally do for a living (as well as drinking coffee) so this sort of image is not difficult at all. If anyone would like something like this for a book cover let me know. If it's simple and interesting it's free.

    Half a Glass of Wine.jpg
     
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  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Well the shadow of the glass on the table doesn't extend to the base of the glass. It makes the glass look like it's floating. Maybe move the light a little counter clockwise with the glass as the center.

    Also, without caustics the whole image looks wrong and the image mapped on the table is too low resolution.

    This doesn't look like mental ray, what program did you use to create/render?
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    also...

    the title is lost in the background... needs to be more visible...

    same for 'by' which should not be capitalized...

    name should be all on one line... not spread out like that... and in smaller pt size...

    font used is too plain... i'd try several others till one looks 'just right'...

    the half-glass is clever, but doesn't show to best advantage as is...
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Clever with the glass! Fonts seem off. I don't know if you can do it but having a purer background ( more light )
    might show off the glass better.
     
  5. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Very nice image. The type screams amateur. For that part you need a designer.
     
  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Who cares about the text, those letters didn't take an hour to render.
     
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  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you have a good eye and a bit of time, you don't need a costly designer... i put together all 6 of my own books' covers with no help at all... you can see them on free-ebooks.net
     
  8. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    There are 12 zillion ways you could configure the text, but it certainly needs something more imaginative than plain black sans serif stacked up in a column. Maybe something more like this:

    [​IMG]

    Or perhaps skew the text so it leans into the wine glass . . .

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Well the purple wasn't rendered in so that's a big technical mistake. Just washing the color through a mask isn't appropriate there.

    And the text should be left aligned in the text box, not right aligned.

    It looks like solidworks can render direct and indirect caustics, with a scene this simple you shouldn't need more then a million photons.

    I would set up a background image too. I thought there was a big FG error of the side of the glass, but now I think it's actually reflecting the gray background. Depending on your reflection samples there's an opportunity to hide a bloody knife, or something in the reflection of the glass.

    What was your render time?
     
  10. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let's not get into a fight over this.

    @David K. Thomasson I like the purple background and the more intense color to the wine. I'll try to render those into the original image. I like your choice of font too.

    @Jack Asher You're right about it being Solidworks. How did you know? I like the idea of the glass reflecting a bloody knife. I could turn the glass the other way so the text could be placed on the right and justified left.

    I've tried many different settings on the materials and lighting but so far I still prefer the first render.

    The render time is about an hour (with an 8 core processor).

    After all this work on the cover, I'm going to have to write a story to go with it now. Any ideas anyone?
     
  11. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    No you definitely want the text on the left and the glass on the right for all kinds of design reasons I'm not going to go too far into. But the text box on the left should be aligned left not right.

    Also, that was an hour without refractive caustics, which you must have turned off, because my research says that refractive caustics are default on in solidworks. That'll add about an hour to your render time, but it'll look fantastic. If you turn on reflective caustics as well you'll see more definition between the table and the glass, but that's probably another hour.

    I figured solidworks because of the light sample size on the glass is indicative of single NURBS object. Maya and max can only render a glass like that as a poly object. I figured you hadn't blown your poly count through the roof just to get that render. Solidworks was the best answer.

    Also your profile page lists your homepage as your grabcad profile page, where it says you work with solidworks.

    EDIT: I just saw the skewed letters addition. It's a horrible idea, once again for design reasons but now I'm going to talk about them.
    1.) The empty space to the right of the text is too small, it pulls the eye into the center and keeps it there reading the text.
    2.) this is made worse by the slanting text, the eye wants to read it horizontal, but cant and builds up against the phantom line between the text and the glass. You just get stuck on the letter a, there's no lead out.
    3.) Distorting some text but leaving the word wine is amateur at best. The font choice being different for one word could be forgiven, but not both of those together and especially not when the word is a different color as well.
    4.) If the letters are skewed does that mean thery're part of the world? Have they also been cut in half too? If this horrible idea is to be used then at the very least they should cast shadows too.
    5.) Why is the word wine getting so much dominant attention? The whole piece is about the half not the wine.

    Downloading Photoshop does not make you a designer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Amen.

    Too many writers think they can just whip up a cover and expect it to look impressive. Design is a skill.
     
  13. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like the glass...
     
  14. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    But the top of the wine looks terrible. It needs to be more reflective and have a meniscus. Kinda like this:

    [​IMG]

    Or

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That raises and interesting question, should the cut wine also have the meniscus?

    But as far as the realism of the wine, that a problem with the Index of Refraction (IOR).
    I found a chart for the IOR of wine:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately it looks like Solidworks doesn't support IOR earlier then the 2010 version, so I hope you've kept current.
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    wow....
     
  17. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Dude, we haven't even scratched the surface.
     
  18. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm using Solidworks 2012 and I've adjusted everything as best I can. The original imaged does have a meniscus but it seems too small so I've increased it. Render time about 45 minutes. Feel free to play with adding text and if anyone would like the image file or the CAD model I'll happily e-mail them.
     

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  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like the meniscus. I like the longer shadow. I like the wine with reflections over the solid color. I like fancy pink font for 'Wine', and I like the effect of the other words in the same plane as the cut side of the wine glass but in post #8 if seems just a tad off. Don't know if that's an optical illusion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  20. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'm not wild about the light, or the background, but the light in the glass looks fantastic!
    I'm not sure what the glass is reflecting though, is that a map or did you build a BKG-Box?
     
  21. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    The wine looks good.
     
  22. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    I love that design is a skill indeed, but i depends on individual choice.
     
  23. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    I agree ... to a point. Yes it doesn't always follow that a good writer can make a good designer, but then if we are talking costs here some writers will not have much choice but DIY. As long as the writer consults others as the OP has done, I reckon you can do it yourself if you are a half-decent designer rather than spending around £700 for a cover (how many self-pubbed authors will make that back? Not many ...), but it won't be for everyone.

    As for the designs above, personally I like David K. Thomasson's take on the OP's design. Yes, there are some errors but these are only that obvious to someone who is a graphic designer. I showed the designs around the office here, and they thought the covers were quite professional, and isn't that what any self-respecting book needs if done on a budget as self-publishing is? Readers are not as discerning to flaws, and major publishers are not immune to cover design flaws either yet those books have still sold well.

    Perspective, people.
     
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  24. cynthia_1968
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    cynthia_1968 Active Member

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    I liked the purple background too...

    And like @FrankieWuh said: let a designer create a cover is very expensive.

    I create my covers with Carrara 8.5 pro - mostly in B&W - and then add the text with Serif Page Plus. It works for me, but I'm not a designer of course.... But like anyone else: I don't have a zillion dollars on my account, so there's nothing wrong with DIY.

    And you can, of course, go out in the world with your camera and take some pictures... or you can look at royalty-free images.
     

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