Fake Book Cover Art – Mean Streak Leo

Cover Art for the Fake Book, Mean Streak Leo.

I’m overdue on posting to my blog. To remedy that, I’m posting my latest “fake” book cover art rendered in DAZ Studio. This is cover art for a book that doesn’t exist. I’m practicing for when I want to do the covers for my own novels, which are still in progress, btw.

For this project, I rendered an image of Leo 7 HD’s head against a night-time cityscape backdrop and a black background. I wanted Leo to have a tattoo around his eye, and I created the 2D version of the tatto in my 2D photo editing program. The trick then was getting it to onto Leo 7 HD’s head in DAZ Studio.

If you use DAZ Studio to do 3D renders, you probably know about the LIE Image Editor. It’s useful for layering your own images on top of the normal images used in materials applied to surfaces. An example usage is to overlay a tattoo image on the skin of a figure. I’ve done it before, but ran into a problem this time.

There are several properties for a material in DAZ, and it’s usually the “Diffuse Color” property that I’d edit with the LIE Image Editor to drop in my tatto image. But with the Leo 7 HD figure, the “Diffuse Color” property isn’t used in the material for his face skin. Instead, it had a “Base Color” property. Problem with that is the “Base Color” property doesn’t have an image assigned to it. There was nothing for me to layer my tattoo image onto.

So I assigned to the “Base Color” property the same image that was assigned to the “Translucency Color” property, and set the associated color value to pink. This turned out to look decently well imo. Once I’d done that, I had an image to lay my tattoo image over. Opening up the LIE Image Editor for the “Base Color” property, I loaded my tattoo image, and scaled and positioned it until I was happy. Perhaps I could have used the LIE Image Editor on the “Translucency Color” property instead of the “Base Color,” but that’s an experiment for another day.

After the render, it was time for postwork. I typically don’t do much postwork to images rendered in DAZ Studio. The exception is in adding text, since I have more fonts available in my 2D photo editing tool than in DAZ Studio. Other exceptions are rare but do happen. For instance, I wanted the skin tone in this image to be just a tad darker than it had rendered in DAZ. But I didn’t want to take the 40 minutes it would require to render the image again after tweaking the scene in an attempt to get the desired darker tone, especially as there is no guarantee I’ll get what I want no matter how many tweaks I make in DAZ Studio.

So I did the little trick of creating two layers with the same image in them, then combining them in the desired way. If I want light areas in the image to pop out more, I screen the image with itself, usually at about 40% to 80% opacity on the screen layer. If I want a darker tone, I use the “burn” effect on the top image layer, with an opacity setting usually in the range of 10% to 80%. For this image, I used the burn effect in the top layer and have it set at 10% opacity, so the overall effect on the image is subtle. The first image below is the one with the burn layer. The second image (the one where I used some white text) doesn’t have the burn layer, so it shows the original skin tone as rendered by DAZ Studio. Do you notice any difference between the two images other than the text color?

If you’re a self-publishing author looking for book cover art and you like my style, leave a comment below if you’d like to discuss the possibility of my providing exclusive, unique book cover art for you at a low, low price.

Author: Michael K. Eidson

I'm a software engineer, an author, a digital artist, and a music lover. I've also dabbled with composing contra dances. I've written and published a few speculative fiction short stories, online tools for gaming and fiction, and a number of Tunnels and Trolls supplements and adventures. I'm continually working on my debut fantasy novel, currently untitled. I listen to all sorts of music, primarily with female vocalists, while I'm working on all my projects.

6 thoughts on “Fake Book Cover Art – Mean Streak Leo”

  1. That’s awesome! I tried working with Daz, but because I started with Poser, its been a little daunting to get used to. I love your work, though. I’m just now learning how to work with lighting inside Poser and it has eased my need to do a lot of it within Photoshop. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you do. And you know me, if you ever need any help or assistance with anything, just let me know. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Yelle!

      I started with Poser and Bryce, and I thought my experience with them helped me understand DAZ Studio. Finding docs for DAZ Studio when I started with it was a daunting task, but there’s a lot to be said for experimentation. Lighting has been the most difficult aspect of getting an image right in any of the rendering programs I’ve used, but I think it’s been more so with DAZ than Poser, for whatever reason. But you have to just keep trying until you find what’s comfortable and works for you, hoping there will be others out there who appreciate what you appreciate.

      Likewise, Yelle, if you need help with anything, you know I’m here for you, too.

    1. It’s not a book I’m working on. It’s just a practice cover. If you wanted to write a story that goes with it, I’d let you use the cover at no cost except to credit me as the artist and link to my site. I’d change the text as you needed, of course. Wouldn’t have to be full novel length either. Interested?

Any thoughts?