Sunday, December 1, 2013

This, that, the other, and a new e-book

This is kind of a complicated post.

First, as you can see, I've just published a new e-book: Mirrored in Your Eyes. As usual, I'm offering it to my blog readers at a 25% discount if you purchase within the first month. Just go to Smashwords and use the coupon code SZ96S.

I've submitted the book to Amazon as well, but it's still in "pending" status 24 hours after I posted it, so I think their reviewers might be on Thanksgiving vacation or something. Eh, who knows? It'll get out there eventually, and I'm not desperate to make you buy anything. ;-) That's one reason why this post isn't just about the "Mirrored" e-book.

You know by now that I enjoy fetish art, and I assume you like it too since you're visiting my blog. I'm sure some of my readers create their own art, either for private enjoyment or for posting on places like the Hypnopics Collective. Well, this post is really a Peek Behind the Duct Tape on cover art - both for "Mirrored in Your Eyes" and for a reissue of Sleepwalkers with a much hotter cover.

Let's start with "Mirrored." Lex of and has kindly allowed EMC writers to use photos from his shoots on our e-book covers. All he asks in return is proper credit on the copyright page. Well, I used three different images for the cover above. The "Marina" in the foreground is a model named Portia Victoria. She was wearing stockings and chunky high-heel shoes in the original picture, so the first thing I did was turn her legwear into thigh-high latex boots. I'm more comfortable with Gimp now, so that bit wasn't too hard.

What was hard was changing the model's hair. Portia had on a wig in the original shoot, and it was a short, straight bob. But it was important to me to keep Marina's long, curly black hair (because, hey, I love long, curly black hair. I even gave it to Paul in Sleepwalkers!). So I had to borrow and "dye" hair from another of Lex's models...only Lex had shot her from a different angle, so there wasn't enough hair visible on the crown of her head to cover the top of Marina's head. I ended up giving Portia/Marina the cyber-equivalent of a weave: I layered in about four different copies of the other model's hair, putting sections here and there until I got the final look.

Then I had to do the slave-face behind Marina. I didn't care whether that model was the same one I used for Marina or not, since the slave could just as easily be Karen; but I was lucky enough to find another shot of Portia that worked perfectly - sans wig. It took me about a day to work up a decent robot effect (I won't outline the steps here, but if anyone's interested, just say so in the comments section and I'll lay it all out for you). The eyes were even harder. I ended up just "painting" them, like a real digital artist. I have to admit I'm proud about that. I took art lessons as a kid and used to love drawing and painting, but I haven't used those skills in decades. It was nice to put them to use again.

Below are the three images I composited for the "Mirrored" cover (Just a reminder: these are Lex's photos and I'm using them with his permission. If you want to use them, you need to get his permission too.). Now you can see what came from where, and how far I took it all.

Now here's a little taste of what's to come for Sleepwalkers. When I'm done with the guy at left, he's going to be Paul. This is just part of his image; I'm not ready to show you all of it yet. And as a matter of fact, I'm not even able to show you what I want to show you right now. I've actually finished blending and darkening his hair, and erasing the stray marks; but Blogger won't show it in its high-quality glory, so you're seeing kind of an intermediate stage. Well, maybe that will be interesting to you in a way that the final version wouldn't.

I got the original image from The model had long, straight blond hair, and his hands were clasped together across his forehead; so that should give you an inkling of what I've done to him so far.  All the hair, the position of his shoulders, and his entire head above the eyes are my work. The eyebrows and forehead weren't too hard, but repositioning his arms was fucking murder. That's part of why I'm not showing you the rest of the picture yet. };-P

I did his hair much the same as I did "Marina's," by layering sections from another model until I got the look I wanted. And I'm going to tell you what look that was, even though it's kind of embarrassing. I always imagined Paul's hair as being a lot like Orlando Bloom's in The Pirates of the Caribbean - only Paul's was shorter in the beginning. When Hawthorne made him grow it out, that was really me giving him the hair I preferred on him.

Quite naturally, Hawthorne herself will appear on the finished cover. She'll be looming behind Paul, wrapping her arms around him possessively and holding a hypospray gun. I'm using another of Lex's models to portray her, and as a matter of fact, the best shots I've found use Portia Victoria again. Fortunately, she has a lot of wigs and a lot of different personas, so you won't recognize her unless you remember this post when the time comes.

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