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Using historic photography

From: Designing a Book Cover

Video: Using historic photography

And so we move to the fourth of our different approaches to designing book covers, using an illustration. Now I have to say here that I'm trying to play to my strengths. I am not much of an illustrator. I am the first to admit it. But I am pretty good with a camera so my illustrations are going to be using-- for the most part, they're going to be using photographs. I'm also going to attempt a simple illustration using Illustrator, which thankfully given the subject matter of the book is quite appropriate.

Using historic photography

And so we move to the fourth of our different approaches to designing book covers, using an illustration. Now I have to say here that I'm trying to play to my strengths. I am not much of an illustrator. I am the first to admit it. But I am pretty good with a camera so my illustrations are going to be using-- for the most part, they're going to be using photographs. I'm also going to attempt a simple illustration using Illustrator, which thankfully given the subject matter of the book is quite appropriate.

Let's have a look at the kind of style that I might be capable of emulating. Here we have some very successful book covers where we have photography of very commonplace elements, and these are given a twist when placed in context of the title. We also have very minimalist approaches down here, the red paperclip and the hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. Alsovery high concept but very simple to execute. Just a crumpled piece of paper here.

We also see the use of flat color illustration, which is the sort of style that I am going to be using in Illustrator. We also see the use of historic photographs. And I am going to talk about some of the issues of using a historic photograph if that is appropriate. And that is where we are going to begin, with using a historic photograph for our illustration. So I have here a public domain image from the Spanish Civil War. If the budget allows, you of course can source an image from a stock photo library and pay for the rights to use that.

But in this case I am working with a public domain image. It's extremely low quality. It's not going to be anywhere near the sort of resolution that we need for print. So therefore we have to use a workaround. And this is one of several potential workarounds that's going to make this into a striking graphic image. If we look at the resolution of this image, I am going to hold down my Alt key and come and click on the document sizes, we can see it is extremely low, 350 pixels wide.

First thing I am going top do is upsample the image. It's not going to look very good but we can't expect miracles. Image Size, and I need the width to be 5 and 1/8th inches. That 1/8th inch being the bleed on the right-hand side and I want the resolution to be 300 pixels per inch. You can see it's massively going to increase the file size.

And to give a fighting chance I am going to choose best for enlargement Bicubic Smoother as my interpolation method. So the image gets massively bigger. I am now going to go to Fit in Window view but of course it's very blurry. So what I would like to do now is apply a half-toning effect to it to make it look like it was taken from an old newspaper or something like that. So to do this, I first of all need to make sure that the mode is in Bitmap, and to get to Bitmap we have to pass through Grayscale.

So I'll convert it to Grayscale, first of all, and then I am going to then convert it to Bitmap. And as I convert it to Bitmap I am going to use a Halftone Screen as the method for converting it to either black pixels or white pixels. With Halftone Screen chosen, when I click OK I'll come up with the option for the Screen Frequency. And I am going to dial this down to 25. It's going to give me big dots, and my image is going to look almost impressionistic like that.

So I am now going to save this and then it's this image that I would place in the context of the book layout. So I am now going to come back to the finished version, which looks like this. And I'll now switch to the photo_ begin version and choose File and Place or Command or Ctrl+D. Choose the file halftone.psd.

And then with my Grid On, I am going to click and drag across my front cover and we'll see that we get the image like so. And the next thing I want to do is just come and put a red color behind it to make it stand out a bit more and make it a bit more graphical. So with it selected we'll come to my Swatches and choose red. There I am making just the Halftone red by applying that to my selected graphic within the picture frame.

If I double-click on that so that I have to frame it self-selected, I can perhaps make the background of the frame black or what I originally intended to do which is this. I am going to undo those two steps. That's a happy accident. I think that looks quite good, perhaps better than what I was going to go for. But I am going to back up until I have the image back as the black halftone. I have my picture frame selected and then with the frame selected I am going to apply the red color to the background of the frame and there is our result.

We may also wish to crop the image. There is a lot of stuff at the top and the sky where there is actually no information. This figure here is walking out of the frame so I might want to avoid that. I have actually got the content of the frame selected I know because my outline is brown. Holding down the Shift key and then we can maybe increase the scale of that like so, and there we have our result using a historical photograph.

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Image for Designing a Book Cover
Designing a Book Cover

36 video lessons · 20235 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 2m 42s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 44s
  2. 29m 57s
    1. The project brief
      2m 30s
    2. Doing research
      4m 16s
    3. Setting up a document in InDesign CS5
      5m 4s
    4. Setting up a document in InDesign CS4
      6m 4s
    5. Putting your InDesign CS5 document on a grid
      3m 2s
    6. Putting your InDesign CS4 document on a grid
      4m 31s
    7. Setting up the document in Illustrator and placing it on a grid
      4m 30s
  3. 40m 39s
    1. Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool
      4m 13s
    2. Using Live Paint to color type
      3m 40s
    3. Choosing typefaces
      3m 42s
    4. Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools
      8m 43s
    5. Applying type effects
      5m 42s
    6. Manual tracing
      4m 42s
    7. Using the gradient and transparency effects
      9m 57s
  4. 17m 27s
    1. Distressed type
      5m 42s
    2. More distressed type
      3m 35s
    3. Using mirrored type
      3m 34s
    4. Using giant wraparound text
      3m 56s
    5. Starting text on the cover
      40s
  5. 13m 7s
    1. Illustrating concepts with abstract shapes and transparency
      6m 27s
    2. Representing the book content with icons
      6m 40s
  6. 24m 8s
    1. Using historic photography
      6m 21s
    2. Using Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 19s
    3. Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 55s
    4. Using Live Trace on a photograph
      3m 52s
    5. Using black-and-white images creatively
      4m 41s
  7. 25m 30s
    1. Developing a book set
      2m 50s
    2. Designing the back cover
      8m 42s
    3. Designing the flaps
      2m 41s
    4. Designing the spine
      11m 17s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. Using spot varnish
      4m 30s
    2. Preflighting your document
      4m 51s
    3. Preparing the PDF
      3m 35s
  9. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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