January 3, 2006

Mindscapes

Every once in a while, I get drawn into a new dream – or a new vision :) Recently, I’ve been searching for cover artists and that in turn made me think "hey, what if I try to put my vision for a cover down on paper (or rather, the computer screen) as best as I can?" This is not to say that I will actually use what I do as a cover but it was more of an experiment to see how far I could go with it and what I could achieve with currently available technology. Of course, the problem with me is that I tend to get a bit carried off at times :p

I began simply enough. I got paper and pencil and drew a rough layout of what I would like the cover to look like. Then, I wanted to scan in what I’d drawn so that I can get the drawing into PhotoShop and then work on it from there.This is where things started to spiral out of control :) I had wanted the text on the cover to have a 3D look and so I began looking for PhotoShop plugins which could do some realistic looking 3D text. I came across Vertigo who offer HotText – a plugin for PhotoShop which is supposed to do really good 3D text. At the same time, I renewed my acquaintance with AlienSkin since they too had at least one product that could do 3D extrusion of text. In the old days (I mean 6-8 years back :p) when I used to dabble in PhotoShop, 3D Studio Max, LightWave etc for work, I used to use AlienSkin a lot and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were a whole range of AlienSkin plugins available now for PhotoShop.

Now that my quest for 3D plugins were over, I thought of the background for the cover. I wanted a rugged landscape which was totally bare of anything except for grass. So do I try to draw it? Heck no, I went looking for more software! This time my discovery was the Terrain Generator from Nem’s Tools. That looked really nifty, appeared to allow you to manipulate the terrain to your liking and also was free! So I downloaded it.

Mind you, I still had not done any actual work on the cover except the hand-drawn image. I had not even scanned it in. However, I got side-tracked again. I remembered Bryce. I’d never actually used Bryce but had known of it since like version 1.0 or 2.0. So I had to mosey on over to the Bryce site and take a look and drool at all the new features :p While there, I read about DAZ|Studio, a product from the same company which allowed you to take pre-made content and put it all together to create scenes or characters. And would you believe it? It was available for free download! So I go ahead and download it. Of course, I then realize that the software is free but the models/content has to be bought separately :p So here I sit with all this new software and my cover still not done and now I’m thinking of learning how to use DAZ|Studio :p If you think I’m mad, I wouldn’t do anything to dissuade you ….

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Tags: Software
Posted by Fahim at 7:25 am   Comments (2)