Friday, February 23, 2024

Day 23: Let's Finish This

Hello, and welcome back to Thingadailies!

My current project is a re-imagining of the terrible AI-generated cover image for this book:

After a few days of working on this, I've realized I just don't like the original image at all. Everything is in deep shadows and you might as well just slap the title on a black background and call it done. So... I'm finishing this up today and I'll work on something else for the rest of the month.

Also, I forgot to take screenshots as I was working, so this will just be a before and after.

This is where we left off yesterday:

Step 1: Add a castle or building. 

Yes, if you squint at that picture, there's a building on the other side of the gate. This is Depositphotos_23183842. (I think I've now spent an entire dollar on my spite-recreation of this image.)

I decided to go with the castle piece on the right.

Step 2: Get rid of some of the bars on the gate

Once I had the building in place, it was obvious the gate was occluding too much, so I removed half the bars. It still looks very solid, but now it's possible to see the castle.

Step 3: Add a light on the castle

Okay, this wasn't really part of the original image, but I felt like it needed something to relieve all the freaking dark gray and black. I made the light yellow so it would echo the color on the rose.

Hey, it's my picture, so I can do what I want.

Step 4: Add some yellow highlights on the plants surrounding the gate.

Again, mostly this was just to relieve the tedium of this image, though there's a bit of this in the original.

Step 5: Add some trees

Aside from some random branches growing out of nowhere, the original doesn't really have trees. But there needs to be something breaking up all the fog. The AI-generated version accomplishes this by have random "stuff" appearing in mid-air, which fools the eye until you look at it and wonder WTF that thing hovering in the sky is supposed to be.

I used silhouettes of trees I photographed during my walk yesterday. Free trees, baby!

Step 6:  Add the rose

I'd created the black & gold rose a few days ago, so I imported that and messed with it for a few minutes to add some more shine. I definitely didn't succeed in making it look like metal, but I think it fits in the image anyhow.

And here's the final image. You can probably see more detail if you click on it.

I'm too lazy to figure out the typography in order to really compare the two images, but overall, I think this turned out pretty well. It's certainly not any uglier than the original.

Tip of the day:

Pick a practice project that isn't so dark next time...