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Phyrox, thanks it still a work in progress, especially the back cover. While I love the character art on the cover I am running into my personnal limits when it comes to the coloring of them. The lines around the edges I will have to fix I know, shouldn't be too hard to correct on the fighters and lettering though. I am really starting to see the lines around the characters too, will fix those, ugh how did I miss that?

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Exo you did a great job.

Phyrox what specific issues do you have with the covers, front and back? Realize that the back cover is still a major WIP.

I've tried a couple of PS fiters to try and make the image more seemless. I applied these to the whole image as a test what do you all think of these?

S-war-1-cover-pd3.png

Paint Daubs

S-war-1-cover-as.png

Angled Strokes

S-war-1-cover-wc.png

Water Colors

Edited by Knight26
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Fantastic stuff guys,some really wonderful artwork here.

I'll share some of mine, I usually only work in pen and I dont really colour because I'd love to use copic markers or a tablet and I have niether. So I'll have to invest in some markers at some stage as I prefer the traditional methods.

I also might dive into some of the mecha stuff myself later on.

anyway,hope you enjoy these few from my DA.

Yashamaru_ebon_rope_by_IgaNinja.jpg

Not_Giving_Up_by_IgaNinja.jpg

hotarubi_by_iganinja-d5n0161.jpg

abel_nightroad_crusnik_02_by_iganinja-d4

larva_the_Shinma_by_IgaNinja.jpg

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A lot of what Phyrox said I agree with, especially aliased lines. The concept is sound, but the execution needs more work.

I find the galaxy of stars in the background EXTREMELY distracting, Maybe tone it down a bit?

The font for the logo and author's name are very difficult.

The text for the back cover is hard to read. Maybe think about darkening the image behind, or making the text black and lightening the image.

Can't wait to see where it goes!!!

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Did a quick pass on the front cover again. I toned down the galaxy in the background and removed the aliasing around the title and fighters. I also removed the effect I had on the text, it was overdone. I haven't worked on the author portion yet.

Now, I've had several comments here and on another forum about the text. What exactly is the problem with it?

Maybe it's just because I created it, but I have no problem reading it. If it is too difficult to read then do you have a suggestion for an alternate text?

How about the filtered versions, visuals only, did passing it through the filters help to make the whole more cohesive and less obvious that it was multi-media, yet still make an interesting cover?

On-Daggers-Wings-Cover-3.png

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What exactly is the problem with it?

Maybe it's just because I created it, but I have no problem reading it. If it is too difficult to read then do you have a suggestion for an alternate text?

Visually, there's no colour differentiation between the characters, jets, and the galaxy. As such, the weight of the image is on the center of the galaxy (the concentric lines of the galaxy, and it's where the lines of the characters' limbs, and the perspective lines of the jets all point to).

I recommend two changes:

- changing the colour theme of the galaxy (instead of creme-yellow, go for brownish-purple)

- re-position the galaxy so that its center is behind the characters heads.

Also, you may want to deepen the contrast between the highlights and shadows on the characters, as they look less solid than the galaxy behind them. Also, moving the tip of the foremost jet behind the leg of the blonde character will enhance the depth of the image (deepening the shadows on them to match those of the characters might also work, though if you want the characters to be the visual focus, you want them to have the highest contrast and differentiation from the background, so leaving the jets as is, and washing out the colours in the galaxy a bit more should achieve that).

The rendering of the font is much improved (no more jaggies, yeah!). Though, the font itself looks Greek, and all those angular lines gives the impression that the publication will be quite technology focused, and/or black and white (right/wrong), with not much focus on characters, or the "greys" of real life.

You may want to consider adding an external glow at around 25 to 50% opacity and 1~5 pixels radius around the letters in the title to help differentiate them from the background (the name doesn't necessarily need it, because the letters in it already sufficiently stand out from the background).

The only examples I can give (that I have publicly available) are:

what not to do: http://studiootaking.deviantart.com/art/Macross-Armour-7-0-54317980?q=gallery%3AStudioOtaking%2F142166&qo=0

- in short, it's too busy. Colour *may* help. The only thing that I did right was put the title at the apex of the kite, with the perspective lines angled to subtly draw the eye there.

A much better example (but still not quite there): http://studiootaking.deviantart.com/art/Transgressions-Title-Page-55488165?q=gallery%3AStudioOtaking%2F142166&qo=8

- the highlight is the strong black/white contrast between the foreground and background elements. The problem is that that much black negates the black shadow around the boiler-plate title, and it kinda disappears. Nevertheless, all the major lines (reinforced by the blacks) are angled toward the negative space at the center between the heads of the robots. The conflict between them (and their pilots) being the focus of the manga, after all.

Hopefully the two examples will help convey some of the points I've made (and looking at them has been nostalgic. Ah... the days before scanners and Photoshop...

Edited by sketchley
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What Sketchley said. Also, and I am in no way knocking Exo's drawing because I'm always lamenting how good his work is, but the pose of the characters seems a bit pedestrian. The image with the space fighters in a near-vertical position to the viewer and the angle of the galaxy make the start for a dramatic composition. And then you have these three characters just standing there, looking bored.

I have two main problems with the logo:

1) The logo blends too much with the background. I can see what you want, but I would prefer that it be a solid color without the 'reflected light'. Also, I only just noticed the spiral and space fighter are part of the logo. VERY hard to see, and would be 100x cooler if it was clear that they are there.

2) I hate the font. I simply detest it. It looks very amateurish and, to be honest, reminds me of the font some garage hair metal band would've used in the 80's. SPIRAL WAR sounds so grand that I would rather imagine a strong, thick font that embodies the words 'ominous' and 'vast'.

Edited by the white drew carey
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I'll work on those points tonight, wonder if I can do something in the character coloring to make their emotions more apparent.

Also, is there a font out there there that would work better in your opinions? I don't mind if people have suggestions, but just saying you hate something without offering an alternative is not helpful.

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Oh... I don't know. Digging through my cache of DL'ed fonts, Insolent and Molot come to mind.

Insolent (the top one) is thick and strong. Basic, but it gets the point across, especially since I am a firm believer that if your going to put the spiral and spaceship in the logo, the text should not detract from it (unlike the Dirty Pair, I don't prefer to go 'Over the Top!').

Molot (at the bottom) is a bit more 70s-ish, so a tad more flair, but still less distracting.

post-179-0-85528200-1382910548_thumb.jpg

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Ok, played around with this some more. FYI. I am compiling this is Powerpoint, easier to move bits around and resize them. The background Galaxy was made in photoshop, as were the character colorings. The fighters were designed and rendered in AutoCAD. The characters drawn by Exo based on concepts I provided. The original text and logo I created in VISIO.

Anyway here are the changes.

On-Daggers-Wings-Cover-4.png

Old Text, recolored/positioned galaxy. Repositioned Fighters. Not sure how the jaggies reappeared in the text.

On-Daggers-Wings-Cover-6.png

New text same positions as above.

On-Daggers-Wings-Cover-7.png

New text, same galaxy as above, new fighter size and position.

Edited by Knight26
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Ok, played around with this some more. FYI. I am compiling this is Powerpoint, easier to move bits around and resize them. The background Galaxy was made in photoshop, as were the character colorings. The fighters were designed and rendered in AutoCAD. The characters drawn by Exo based on concepts I provided. The original text and logo I created in VISIO.

Much improved, and the weight of the image is now on the characters - and (especially with the solid blue letters) the title is very clear.

Though... you should be able to do all your compiling in Photoshop. Either lock all the colour layers to the lineart and move them around, or copy the finished pieces into a new file. Either way, Photoshop has infinitely more options and capability than Powerpoint (you'll even be able to create and modify the logo in it).

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Why are the trio wearing different suits?

Differentiation.

It's quite common in the visual design of movies and TV shows (akin to why not just the style, but also the colours of Buritai's, Exedol's and Kamujin's uniforms are different).

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KH355hamdi - nice stuff! Sometimes unfinished works tend to be more effective in their presentation! I like how well you've captured the details of the face without overdoing it.

Knight26 - getting there! Sketchley's right (again)- you should be able to keep everything as independent or linked layers in Photoshop and be able to do all of the moving around and resizing much easier in there.

I have two criticisms with the newer images: the first is that I think you went all the way through to the other side when altering the bright center of the galaxy in the background. Now it is such a solid brownish-orange that it just looks like a puddle of... well... something.

I like the bold solid fonts over the first one (I know you put a lot of effort into making it, so I feel bad knocking on it, but it just rubs me wrong). However, I'm kind of against the outer glow you are using, how dark the background spiral in the logo is, and the color choice. If there is one thing you want to pop on the cover of your book, it is the title, and I think you have a good chance to make a recurring series logo here (spiral shape, space fighter, and SPIRAL WAR being the constant, with the book name underneath).

If you'd care to, shoot me a copy of the whole logo (or at least the spiral and space fighter), and I'll show you what I mean.

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I have two criticisms with the newer images: the first is that I think you went all the way through to the other side when altering the bright center of the galaxy in the background. Now it is such a solid brownish-orange that it just looks like a puddle of... well... something.

Well, there shouldn't be a problem with using a NASA image of a spiral galaxy (they're in the public domain, right). Just use the Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and Free Transform to modify it to your needs.

The Triangulum Galaxy already matches the galaxy you used (sans large egg yolk center) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M33HunterWilson09.jpg It's also got plenty of texture in the center that should nicely contrast with the solid colours of the characters.

Edited by sketchley
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So, using the two fonts I posted before, this is what I've come up with. I know that I cut the color of the space fighter, but I think a grey scale is more in line with the font itself, leaving the color for the spiral you created but, of course, that can be changed back.

In hindsight I would've made the wings and stabs of the fighter overlap the text, while the spiral stayed behind.

post-179-0-42762700-1382995098_thumb.png


I also nicked the part of the spiral that was coming out of the trail that lead to the fighter... thought ti didn't work.

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Ooh, I like that, see that is why I post stuff to get comments an other options/insights, I will give that a try tonight. Also, do you think you can post them without the backgrounds, might save me some time, thanks.

Edited by Knight26
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A quick mockup with two changes. I used a logo based on TWDC's thanks. I also replaced my galaxy with one of the milky way off apod. I wanted to use one I created myself, but oh well.

On-Daggers-Wings-Cover-9.png

Edited by Knight26
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I wanted to use one I created myself, but oh well.

It's possible, and there are a lot of tutorials. But, just like anything, it requires tons of practice. (I got as far as making nebula. I wanted to get layers of galactic dust mixed in too, but no one has come up with an appropriate tutorial for that (using only 2D Photoshop image manipulation effects).)

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Thanks guys for the tips. TWDC if you want to that would be great, PM me for my e-mail. I need to figure out where it picked up those jaggies, hmmm. I can always go back to the visio source file and figure it out there.

Sketchley that was actually me 8th attempt at the galaxy, and I could never get a bar spiral to work, they always looked jacked up. Anyway I may just use the APoD background, they are free to use IIRC.

What else does the image need? Should I darken the background? Are there any troublespots you see? I can take another stab at the character coloring but I'm not sure how much good it will do. Is there anything else I can do to really make it look/feel right?

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  • 1 month later...

My first illustration of the new year. I'm having my form of writers block when it comes to a background for now.... eventually it will come to me.

post-6180-0-48821200-1453162284_thumb.jpg

Edited by 505thAirborne
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Thanks guys, getting the shadows & shading just right is always a challenge that I love. As my story continues to progress, time for my characters to wear more than just their school uniforms. Will post some mecha related items soon. B))

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