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Coriolis
08-12-2013, 09:25 PM
This is my attempt at making a book cover. The centerpiece is a regional map of a post-apocalyptic Middle East. The story is set about 400 years in the future, about 300 years after a nuclear war has wiped out nearly everyone in the region.

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I started with a topographical map of the current Middle East, erasing all the low-lying areas (the seas have risen), and re-drawing the coast. Mesopotamia is part of an enlarged Persian Gulf, the Suez has become a saltwater marsh, and the lower peninsula is partially flooded.

For the topography, I used the Eriond technique by Arsheesh, with lots of smudging for the desert. The topography isn't a precise match for today's, but that wasn't what I was going for. I used GIMP and WILBUR for this one. No Inkspace icons this time; I wanted a bare look for the image.

I used a Supernova filter for the nuclear explosion.

I'm not sure about the non-map elements of the cover. The look of the text, the explosion, the fallout shelter symbol, these are things I may tweak. The map itself is done, though.

I welcome your comments/critiques.

Azelor
08-13-2013, 03:30 PM
I am not sure how it will render at the impression because there are certain rules to apply. Unless you are a graphic designer (not sure if it's the right term in english) you should consult one before printing.

About the font, I think the chiselling should be smoother or get rid of it.

RobA
08-13-2013, 03:39 PM
If you want a smoother bevel to the text try my chisel script: Chisel/Carve | GIMP Plugin Registry (http://registry.gimp.org/node/24217)

Or even better, I'll attach the latest version...

-Rob A>

Coriolis
08-13-2013, 07:20 PM
Hey, thanks, RobA! I'll give that another go with your plug-in.

Azelor, you're absolutely right. This cover is more of a mock-up for the front side of a generic paperback cover with a 1.6 H/W ratio. It doesn't include the spine or back, and I may need to adjust it. The publisher will give me the specifics on their requirements for size, resolution, and format.

Of course, they may not accept it at all, since there are no scantily-clad babes, guns, swords, dragons, spaceships, or zombies in the image.

Azelor
08-13-2013, 07:22 PM
but there is promise of destruction ...

Coriolis
08-13-2013, 11:21 PM
Yes, it's one saving grace is a nuclear explosion, though the scale makes it a bit under-whelming. It's hard to compete with a body-painted supermodel with a dragon tatoo in a spaceship, blasting zombies with an over-sized gun in one hand, and chopping them up with an over-sized sword in the other.

I like maps. I also like book covers I wouldn't be embarrassed to show to my daughters. This was the first concept I came up with; the other is a work in progress that has a bunch of arranged icons and symbols I'm making in Inkspace.

I used RobA's chisel tool, and the result is a lot less choppy. I've replaced the top image with the improved version; you can see the original a bit further down. I think it's a vast improvement.

Falconius
08-14-2013, 03:40 AM
Honestly I think this cover would look much more somber and forlorn with less saturation, I'd lose the heavy grey bars on the top and bottom for something lighter and really tone down the map colours or make them dirty sand orange tinted. If you had the nuclear explosion as the major point of light and action and saturation it would really make it a focal point.

No, on second thought I'd keep the bars as they are but lose the bevel around them and lose the border around the map entirely letting it go right to the edge of the paper. An alternate solution to the colour thing is to do the thing that cameras do and have the map really very black with just hints of what is there with just the explosion. (like when you take a picture of something very bright like a welding arc (http://www.weldingncutting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/arc-welding.jpg)).

I like the idea behind the cover, but it has to get a good look to it, or you're going to be right it won't compete well with buxom ladies shooting guns and squishing zombie faces with high-heeled thigh-highs (do they make covers like that anymore? They should...).

- Max -
08-14-2013, 04:19 AM
Honestly I think this cover would look much more somber and forlorn with less saturation, I'd lose the heavy grey bars on the top and bottom for something lighter and really tone down the map colours or make them dirty sand orange tinted. If you had the nuclear explosion as the major point of light and action and saturation it would really make it a focal point.

No, on second thought I'd keep the bars as they are but lose the bevel around them and lose the border around the map entirely letting it go right to the edge of the paper. An alternate solution to the colour thing is to do the thing that cameras do and have the map really very black with just hints of what is there with just the explosion. (like when you take a picture of something very bright like a welding arc (http://www.weldingncutting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/arc-welding.jpg)).


I would be careful about making the cover more black and somber. Printing tend to increase a bit black color level overall regarding the kind of printing you're going to.

Coriolis
08-14-2013, 03:23 PM
Falconius, Max, thanks for the input. I like the idea of making the explosion a bit more influential on the overall cover. I've tried having a bigger supernova effect, but the fireball is too big.

I like the idea of playing around with the color saturation, so I tried blending your ideas. I made a couple copies of the map, de-saturated both, and put the colored layer between them. I added a transparent black mask to the top, and left the bottom opaque. I dropped the color layer's opacity to 45%, and then I airbrushed a soft, white circle around the explosion on the top greyscale layer's mask. This way, it doesn't darken the image, but it brings out the boom a bit more.

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Apologies to the powers that be; I didn't intend this to be such a work-in-progress kind of thread.

arsheesh
08-14-2013, 04:25 PM
For someone who had no prior experience in digital cartography, you've come a long way in a short time Coriolis.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Falconius
08-14-2013, 06:34 PM
That looks pretty cool to me.

I second Arsheesh with your progress in such a short amount of time. I started out trying to make my current map in that manner but was beaten back, so nice job carrying it through to a good end.

Coriolis
08-14-2013, 11:42 PM
Thanks, Arsheesh! Your tutorials have been a huge part of my education. Even that last improvisation was just an adaptation of the coloring technique in your Eriond tutorial.

Thanks to you, too, Falconius. Don't give up on the Eriond technique. The learning curve can be steep, and it takes a lot of time (especially at first; this was my second map by that technique), but you'll learn a ton, and the results kick the tails off my earlier efforts.