Skip to main content

Learning a new skill: 3D book covers

I’ve long wanted to make 3D covers for my Two-natured London boxed sets, but I haven’t had the skill and haven’t found an automatic cover maker for them. So I finally searched for instructions on how to make them with the GIMP software, and found a number of tutorials. I checked a few of them and ended up following these instructions by Lynne Cantwell on Indies Unlimited blog.

It’s a trial and error learning a new skill, but since I’ve created all my covers with GIMP, I at least have the basic skills. But it turns out there is a lot you can do with it that I had no idea about, and a box shape is one of them.

The instructions on the blog are simple enough to follow, at least if you’ve used GIMP before. I made a couple of practise boxes until I had the basics clear, and then set out to design special covers for the boxed sets. I used the existing covers for my Two-natured London books as the basis and designed the ‘spines’ for them that make one side of the box, the side that shows how many books there are in the set. Mine has only two per set, so it wasn’t a difficult task.

The only details that required extra tweaking were a couple of horizontal stripes running through the design that wouldn’t align when I generated the box, but in the end even those came out well enough. And now I have brilliant new boxed set covers that I’m very happy with.


Having successfully followed Ms Cantwell’s instructions, I can recommend them, if you want to create your own 3D boxed set covers. I have one note regarding them though. The instructions tell to generate the box with the .xcf files, which is the GIMP format that keeps all the layers intact. However, they are huge files and it takes a great deal of processing power to generate the boxes. So instead using .xcf files, save (export) your finished images as .jpg files, open them with GIMP and use them to generate your boxes. That way you:
  1. don’t have to merge the layers before generating the boxes. When your .xcf files don’t have merged layers, it’s easier to make changes to them, if the box doesn’t come out the way you want it to. Then you can simply save the changes to a new .jpg file and try again.
  2. save a lot of time generating the box. With the .xcf files, it takes several minutes, whereas it takes about 30 seconds with the .jpg files.
Keeping this little detail in mind, you can easily make your own 3D covers with the same instructions I used too. Happy creating!

Comments

  1. Glad it worked for you, Susanna - terrific covers! And thanks for the tip to use jpgs instead of xcf files. I'll have to try that for my next box set. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. :) You gave very helpful instructions. I've been postponing learning this, because I didn't know GIMP can generate the box for me.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My #worldcon75 experience

Here’s the long overdue report from my day at the WorldCon 75, my first ever time attending. The event was held on August 9-13 in my home country, Finland, so it was a once in a life-time chance to experience it with a minimum trouble. I originally thought to attend the entire five days, but life intervened in the form of work, and so I could only attend on Saturday. I tried to make the most of it by planning a full day.

I arrived at the conference centre about fifteen minutes after the doors opened at nine in the morning, and the queue was already at least fifty metres long. It caused me a few palpitations until I figured it was the line for people who hadn’t purchased their day passes in advance. I had, so I just walked past, trying not to look gleeful. Half an hour later I felt bad for all those people when it was announced that the day was sold out, which left most of them outside. The queue for pre-purchased passes was three persons long, the shortest line for me the entire day. I…

Reading resolutions (and resolute reading)

It’s a new year and time for a new reading challenge. I’ve participated in the challenge on Goodreads for four years in a row now, and each year I’ve added to the number of books I’ve read. Last year I read sixty books, though I’d originally pledged to read fifty-five. To be on the safe side, I kept it to fifty-five this year too. I usually pick my reading based on how I feel, and it seems I’ve felt like reading quite a lot of urban fantasy and fantasy last year. You can check out here what I read last year.
This year, I decided to be more organised about my reading. So I made a list. I never make them, or if I do I don’t follow them, but a list of books to read has to be easy to stick to. Especially since I didn’t make any difficult promises, like reading classics in their original language.


My list has fifty-six books at the moment, so there’s some room for changes. And it seems I’ll be reading a lot of urban fantasy (27) and fantasy (22) this year too, and quite a lot of it from auth…

Temporality and passage of time in serial fiction

I’ve been binge watching Star Trek: Enterprise lately. I didn’t see it when it aired in 2001-2005, but thanks to the streaming services, I’ve been able to indulge. For those who aren’t familiar with the series, it’s set a hundred years before the adventures of the original series with Captain Kirk and his fellows, and follows the crew of the first starship Enterprise. I’ve always been a Star Trek fan and I’ve liked it in all its incarnations, but Enterprise might be my favourite. There are many reasons for my preference, but what sets it apart from other series is how it allows the passage of time to show.

Many episodic TV series, regardless of the genre, are curiously atemporal. Passage of time is only implied to, maybe with the compulsory Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day episodes, or if the series is set in the school world, with the start and end of the term; if it’s a long-running series, the students move from one grade to the next from season to season. Other than that, …