Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Day 20: Switching Gears

 Welcome back to Thingadailies!

Now that I have completely butchered mastered the tutorial, it's time to find something else to work on. I was going to start on this Cat + Butterfly + Sparkles tutorial, but I decided to wait on that because I heard about the latest "publisher uses crappy AI art on a book" catastrophe.

If you want the full explanation, this video covers it pretty well. But if you just want the short form, this is the cover in question:

The darkness covers a multitude of sins, but the more you look at it, the worse it gets. Like all AI-generated images, things sort of make sense until they don't. Like gates that contain floating bits of iron and aren't symmetric...

And the branch randomly growing out of... iron? a clump of weird leaves? The rest of the tree doesn't exist.

And the nearby random crud, which could be birds or leaves but is really just random crud floating in the sky:

Anyhow, the really annoying thing for me is that if you look at the original book cover, the image isn't that complicated. A good artist could create the same composition and it would look a whole lot better.

So, of course, my next thought was... Here we go! My next project!

(Also, Karen complained that so far this Thingadailies, there hasn't been a spectacular fail. This ought to take care of that.)

Note that I said a "good artist" could do this. I am not a good artist. I'm not even halfway competent. But let's see how close I can get!

Step 1: Get a rose

First off, I'm not sure that thing on the book is a rose. It might be a cabbage. But I feel like a rose is more in keeping with the dark romance theme, so I went with a rose.

I spent something like $0.30 on this picture of a rose. (Depositphotos_246638650)

It's a very nice rose and somebody else has already done the tedious work of isolating it from its surroundings.

Do I know how to make something look like gold metal is coming through? Absolutely not. But I'm going to try my best.

Step 2: Desaturate the rose and drop the levels

Step 2: Add some gold yellow highlights

Step 3: Add some orange to the highlights

Step 4: Add a layer shifted toward white to add more light in some areas

Step 5: Do it again, but more!

Okay, so that's where we stand at the end of the first day. Does it look like the one on the book? Not at all. But for me, I think this is pretty good.

Tip of the day:

Publish your own books so you don't get saddled with an AI nightmare of a cover (unless that's what you desire).

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