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Congrats on the new book Michael!

Will definitely check it out.

Good Luck with the new book, Michael. It looks very exciting. I'll wait for the paperback as I really don't enjoy reading digital books. :)

Michael, I didn’t make myself clear in my email to you, but I was trying to find out how extensive your personal photoshopping is. In the Bad to the Bone cover, did you insert the guy’s reflection into the sunglasses, or was he already there in the photo you got from the image bank?

I’m sure what you DID do is choose the fonts and design the layout, right?

I sometimes use my ancient version of Adobe Illustrator to do this sort of work for my piano site. But did you do all the work yourself in a recent version of Photoshop?

As I said, I need to design a cover for my book, so I’m a little curious about your process!

For Riptide, did you layer the waves over the face yourself? It’s nicely done with that shadow layer sandwiched in between.

I think it’s so cool that these tools are available for guys like you and me without art training (I assume that’s true for you), but who need great graphics for our various projects!

By the way, a passionate hobby of mine for the last 15 years is collecting hi-resolution scans of paintings, and making adjustments in Photoshop to the colors (mostly de-saturating them) to perfectly suit my taste. Enjoying those paintings on my iPad has actually become part of my daily meditation—they help to get me into a slightly altered state.

"I was trying to find out how extensive your personal photoshopping is. In the Bad to the Bone cover, did you insert the guy’s reflection into the sunglasses, or was he already there in the photo you got from the image bank?"

I inserted it. I had to crop the image, adjust the lighting and color values, and reduce the layer opacity to 58%.

Actually the hardest thing was doing the title, which required a text mask over an image of a steel plate. This created the shiny, steely look. An alternate version used a bullet-riddled steel plate as a background for the title, but I liked this one better. I also used a gradient fill for the background so that the solid black at the top shades to medium gray at the bottom.

The gold circle is there only because there are two or more other Michael Prescotts, one of whom writes porn! I try to distinguish my titles with that logo.

"I’m sure what you DID do is choose the fonts and design the layout, right?"

Yes, I use mostly standard fonts, but sometimes I download something special. I got an Elizabethan-style font for a jokey ebook I put out in a "Shakespearian" style. I've also acquired an "SF Movie Poster" font.

"For Riptide, did you layer the waves over the face yourself? It’s nicely done with that shadow layer sandwiched in between."

Yes. I don't remember exactly what steps I went through, but the whole thing was pieced together. Sometimes I have to put together half a dozen or more images. For instance, take this cover:

http://michaelprescott.net/slideshow/kane.html

That image included: the sky; a desert horizon; the road and another section of desert; a human figure; and a skull. All were separate elements. I stitched together the various layers, turned the figure into a silhouette,. lengthened and distorted the shadow, and used filters to give the skull a cloudy appearance.

I use Photoshop Elements 9 (now somewhat out of date) on a Macbook.

One thing I wish I could learn is computer modeling and animation (just for fun), but I haven't gotten very far with it.

Thanks for the detailed explanations, Michael! Now that I know all your secrets, I finally feel ready to compete with you for readers on Amazon.

Seriously though, I'm gonna file this away. It's inspiring, and it's helpful to know what a mere mortal can achieve with some basic software, a good eye, some imagination, and practice.

The Kane cover is impressive. I had no idea how extensive your own efforts were in creating these covers.

Wow Michael! I am really impressed. I have to sheepishly say that I have not read any of your books but then again, I could count all of the books of fiction I have read on one hand(excepting the Patience Worth stuff.) A good cover sells the book and your covers are exceptional!

I have had an interest in artwork most of my life and have a number of my photographs on Wikimedia.commons for anyone to use. I am proud to say that many of my photographs have been and are being used by various websites and in printed materials in the U.S. and in Europe. I use Photoshop 7 which is one of the older versions but it works best for me.

I thought that you contracted out for your covers they are that good. Good job Michael and I hope your new book makes a fortune for you. - AOD

Congrats. Looks great.

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