I often like to share before/after images of some of the stock I've used on my covers. I'd have to say the most complex covers listed in order (most difficult at the top) are:
I lucked out with Gravity. Impulse has so many layers and I had to put a face on the hooded man, do SO much work to the female model, including drawing in a shirt because the original was sheer, and layer several backgrounds. Sterling kind of fell together and Twist required a lot of tweaking since the model was a redhead and again, I combined a lot of backgrounds.
I had several backgrounds and models to choose from for Gravity, but once I narrowed down the model, I had to select the background. I was leaning toward snow because of the time of year, but I thought about Knox and it all clicked with the ocean. Then Northern Lights - the infamous bar - and that clicked.
So these were the primary backgrounds used. I think I only used a very small slice of the first picture; sometimes you can't even notice where I use an element. I actually used the first pic as a primary for Impulse. But the third pic is the primary image (I did some blurring since the water was crisp throughout) Oh, it looks sooo easy to just snap a couple of pics together, but I must have had about 10 different versions because I just couldn't get the northern lights in there the way I wanted. Then it's flipping the pic and deciding which way looks best, etc.
Below is the model - the before and after. The hardest thing was actually keeping her flowy hair in the shot, because anyone who works in graphic design will tell you that it's no easy feat to keep those little strands and erase backgrounds. Especially backgrounds that are STRIPED! argh. Took forever.
Look closer. Are you seeing the differences?
1. Her ring was removed
2. Brushed out her complexion, including on her hands.
3. Darkened her hair (darkening is actually hard because you have to retain highlights so it doesn't look cartoony)
4. Added scars on the neck
5. Look at the face closely. Do you see it? I masked another models face across her nose and did a little work on her lip. I had to try to get it as close to Silver as possible.
6. Worked on that hairline
7. Part of #5 involved removing that heavy shadow on her face where the cheekbone is.
Luckily, this model (aside from the facelift) didn't require as much work as the one on Impulse. Gods, that model needed work. She was pretty in the original, but not Silver. Not to mention her clothes. This worked because Silver occasionally wears a leather jacket, and some of the other models were in flowy outfits that just weren't something Silver would wear.
This model also worked out because she's not a popular one - at least not in this pic. Most people won't put an image like this on their cover where models are looking away or down. I guess that's where I step out of the box. I think body language can be telling, and just as intriguing as another pretty face staring at the camera. It makes you wonder what she's thinking about. Is she melancholy? Happy? Why is she facing the ocean?
I took a little time to share because I'm almost done with this round of editing for MB5. I worked tirelessly yesterday and knocked back a lot of chapters. I've been looking at stock images and thinking about cover design, because I'll be working on that very shortly, even though I don't have a set title. That's always a last minute thing.
But I'm pretty sure even if I call it "Peanut Butter", you guys will buy. Right?