Evelyn Chartres Author

A Brief Reprieve

In the week since the initial review of The Grand Project was completed, I finished reading The Martian and caught up on some television.  In other words, I have spare cycles until the review process begins anew.

My review began on 16 August 15 and was finished 14 January 16.  This process took six months to accomplish and 4039 corrections were logged.  This means there were 1132 additional corrections made after the 71% mark was noted in Slow and Steady on 17 November 15.

At that time, there were 41 modifications done for each percent of the manuscript reviewed.  The last 29% saw that number drop to 39 corrections while the global average settled in at 40 corrections.  Overall, the number remained consistent and that is not a bad thing.

If my progress on The Grand Project follows a similar path to the The Portrait then I expect numbers to drop for the next revision.  My final review of The Portrait yielded less than 50 changes for the entire manuscript.

During my next review process, I will keep statistics for every chapter.  That should yield some very interesting results!  For now, there are a few more readings on my to-do list to accomplish before I start again!

Taglines and Layer Styles

Dressing up the Cover – Part 5

This is Part 5 of the Dressing up the Cover tutorial and previously we covered Borders and Text.

Make use of the Pick Tool from the Tools Bar to reduce the size of Lady Shade until she fits within the confines of the borders. Take your time to ensure that the resize operation is done using one of the Corners to maintain Aspect Ratio.

Note

Sometimes the Pick Tool will not Resize. Attempts to modify will instead alter the Perspective which is not the desired behaviour. To correct this behaviour change the Mode to Scale.

After completing your adjustments Lady Shade should look roughly like below.

20-Lady-Shade-Adjusted.png

Now is the time to add a Tagline, a sentence or short paragraph which is used to grab a reader. Since we not use complex Layer Styles for this section we can go ahead and create it one layer.

The Liberation Sans Font was used for the tagline. The Font Size was set to 72 Points so we can work on it later. Note that Bold or Italics in the Font Styles were not selected.

To match our example the following line was used:

A vision from the

past becomes a

writer’s deadly

obsession

Once the text is inserted, resized then moved the appropriate location (shown below) the image should resemble the following.

21-Tagline-Inserted.png

Next make use of Layer Styles to finish up the Text Lines and Borders.  From the Layers Panel, select one of your Author’s Name Layer’s then click on the Layer Styles icon.

22-Layer Styles.png

The Layer Properties window will open and feature effects applicable to layers. As seen below, operations range from Reflection and Drop Shadow effects.

23-Layer-Styles-Window.png

For the Title and Author we want to make use of the Emboss style, use the settings above then click on OK to set the Layer Style. This process must be repeated for each layer, so save these settings to use as pre-sets. This will ensure consistency throughout all of the elements.

24-Layer-Styles-Window-Tagline.png

Now for the Tagline Layer, we will adjust Drop Shadow. You can copy the settings found above, to provide a subtle shadow effect to create the illusion the tagline floating over-top the Lady Shade Layer.

Use Layer Styles to Emboss the Borders as well. Once complete the cover should appear as it does below.

In Part 6, we will talk about Notes and Variants.

Borders and Text

Dressing up the Cover – Part 4

This is Part 4 of the Dressing up the Cover tutorial and previously we covered Creating a New Image and Placing Lady Shade.

To continue with our design, we need to add two rectangles that have a Black Border and Fill. From the Tools Bar, select the Rectangle Tool.

15-Rectangle-Tool.png

Create two new Rectangles, one at the top and the second at the bottom and have them in the same Vector Layer to manage. Also ensure the Lady Shade layer is just above the Background Layer else the rectangles will be obscured.

Now create a Rectangle that has a Red Border and Fill. This one will be small and narrow to create a transition between the Lady Shade Layer and the Filler Layer. Duplicate this Rectangle using CTRL-C/CTRL-V combinations then move them over the transition points.

These two Rectangles should be grouped as this permits the application of consistent Layer Styles later on. This Borders Layer should then be placed on top the Filler Layer.

The image should appear like the one shown below.

16-Rectangles-Added.png

Now it is time to add text. For now, we will work on the Title and the Author’s Name. These elements are prominently found on covers, although the prominence of the Author’s Name tends to vary with name recognition.

From the Tools Bar select the Text Tool.

17-Text-Tool.png

As seen above, the Neuton Font was used for both the Title and Author’s Name. Since we are working at high resolutions, setting the Font Size to 72 Points and Bold is enough to both select and adjust at a later time.

Because Layer Styles will be used later on, the Title and Author’s Name are broken into smaller chunks. The image below denotes the different segments by alternating colours.

18-Fonts-Adjusted-Coloured.png

Using the tricks learned in Higher Resolution Blues, we lined up then Link the layers for both the Title (3) and Author’s Name (4).

Note

Make sure to line up the individual elements before making any alterations.  Once dimensions change, replicating the change in individual components is difficult to achieve.  To adjust a line, select all layers by holding down the SHIFT key.

Experiment with these Text Lines until it looks like the image below. Be aware that you may need to move the Border Layers in addition to adjusting the Filler Layers to achieve this result.

19-Fonts-Adjusted-Normal.png

Note

When you want to resize a Text Line, always do so from the Corners. Using the other methods will stretch and skew the Text Line.

In Part 5, we will Add the Tagline then Adjust Layer Styles.

New Image and Lady Shade

Dressing up the Cover – Part 3

This is Part 3 of the Dressing up the Cover tutorial and previously we covered Caveats and Workarounds.

Before creating a cover, look at best-sellers within your genre. They showcase trends and expectations, such as the location, placement and style of image. After some research, I created a series of covers including the Bravo variant.

We know that Amazon.com requires their covers to be of a certain size. This guideline informs us that a resolution 625x1000px is the minimum resolution. From the File menu, click on New, which will open the New Image Window.

12-Slate-Create.png

We are going to create an image that is bigger than required to maintain detail:

  • 6250 pixels wide;
  • 10000 pixels high;
  • 300 Pixels/Inch for resolution; and
  • Transparent.

Once you are satisfied with the settings, click on OK, which will create a new image base. Now that we have a blank slate, it is time to start adding in elements.

For this particular version, we are going to use Lady Shade without the Ethereal background. Open up your fully rendered version of this image then copy it into the New Image. To copy a Background, select the Background Layer then use the CTRL-C keyboard combination. Alternatively you can click on the Edit menu then select Copy.

Click on the Tab for your New Image. Then use the CTRL-V combination or from the Edit menu select Paste As New Layer. This will drop in Lady Shade which takes up more than the allocated space. The end result should look like this:

13-Copied-Shade.png

Lady shade is currently not in position, we want her closer to the centre, even if that leaves a blank at the top.  From the Tools Bar, select the Pick Tool then drag it down for a bit.

Note

Do not worry if the image moves off the confines of the image.  This has no effect on the layer being moved.

Resize and adjust as necessary, until you get the result below:

14-Shade-Adjusted.png

In Part 4, we will Play with Borders and Text.

Caveats and Workarounds

Dressing up the Cover – Part 2

This is Part 2 of the Dressing up the Cover tutorial and previously we covered Font Selection and Licensing.

When using Corel PaintShop Pro there certain behaviours that you should be aware of before moving on. Being unaware of these pitfalls can lead to a great deal of aggravation.

Resolution Matters

The resolution that you with with makes a difference for a lot of operation.  If you recall from Digital Alchemy tutorials, we increased the resolution of the image then used Brush Strokes under Art Media Effects to make it look more like painting.  Ever wondered what would happens if this same operation were to be done at a lower resolution?

The image below was generated using the full resolution and matches the one we generated in the tutorial.

01-Size-Matters-Painting-Full.png

This second image was done using the original resolution. As you can see, the image is no longer recognizable and most of the details have been lost in the operation. This is not the desired effect since it radically changes the look and feel of the work.

02-Size-Matters-Painting-Small.png

While we could change the Brush Strokes settings to work on a smaller scale, the truth is that this option is not always available. Hence you may never be able to achieve the same look by working at alternate resolutions.

Working in large resolutions has its own problems, since memory and processor usage increase so operations take longer. The Brush Strokes effect we used above took several minutes to run at full resolution, while was done in seconds for the lower resolution image.

 

Higher Resolution Blues

At higher resolutions, Corel PaintShop Pro will not always complete its operations. When using Layer Styles some text some effects will trail off. This seems to be a problem related to the overall area the program is working with. For example, in the image below we added a Bevel and Drop Shadow.

03-Size-Matters-Font-Effects.png

You can see the two last letters are not fully rendered, a matter which is obvious when you compare the two visible T’s in the title.

Note

This rendering behaviour was seen in Corel PaintShop Pro X7 and X8.  It may not have existed in prior versions.

Fortunately there is a workaround, though it requires splitting the title into multiple Vector Layers. Each layer will be rendered individually to display as expected.

To make it easier to align the components together, create the complete Text Line, then create them in smaller parts. It is recommended that you use different colours for the reference, so that you can overlay and observe where you not aligned, like below with the tres section of the Author Name.

04-Size-Matters-Font-Workaround-Create.png

Above we have both sets of fonts under one Vector Layer. As long as all the components are in the same layer they will render improperly. So we need to create two new Vector Layers and transfer the parts into them.

Once the parts have been moved, you must individually manage Layer Styles for each Vector Layer. Use the same settings for Drop Shadow and Bevel. Once complete your fonts will render correctly like we see in the image below.

05-Size-Matters-Font-Workaround-Individual.png

Now that the effect renders properly, the image can be exported without incident.

Note

When satisfied with the look of your Layer Styles disable or hide them.  When Layer Styles are on or visible Corel PaintShop Pro slows down noticeably.

Watch Your Groups

How you group your elements may play a part in how they are rendered. When dealing with Layer Styles, distant items can create artefacts in between for no logical reason. To showcase this behaviour, we added an Outer Glow effect, with a Transparency and get artefacts in the middle.

06-Grouping Matters.jpg

The generated material can be a nightmare to remove, especially at high resolutions since the system responds slowly. The easiest option is to remove this effect entirely and make sure that the Top and Bottom Text Lines are in separate Vector Layers before enabling the effect.

07-Grouping-Matters-Corrected.jpg

Now have the effect desired without introduced artefacts.  Easy!

Unexpected Effects

There are various behaviours related to the Text Tool which should be noted.

Creating Multiple Text Lines

When you are creating a Text Line, you cannot simply click elsewhere to create a new Text Line. One way I found to get around this limitation was to switch to the Pick Tool then revert to the Text Tool.

Alternatively you can click on the Background Layer which will have the same effect. Additionally this method will force the creation of a new Vector Layer vice stacking them into the same Vector Layer.

Text Wrap Around

The first behaviour relates to elements created when using the Rectangle Tool or similar. Rectangles, ellipses, symmetric and preset shapes will change the behaviour of your Text Tool if you accidentally work too close to them.

This image outlines one of the more common problems.

08-Unexpected-Text-Behaviour-Wrap.png

When we clicked near the border, the icon changed to a Text Tool with a Border. Now text will wrap around the object in question. When expected, this is an awesome feature, otherwise it will drive you up the wall!

Text Boxes

Now when you click inside of the box, text will flow within the confines of the shape. This essentially creates a Textbox which is a desirable feature that should have been incorporated into the Text Tool directly. However, there is a catch and if your background is transparent this capability will not be enabled. The screen below demonstrates both behaviours.

09-Unexpected-Text-Behaviour-Textbox.png

Watch Where You Click

Attempting to use items from the Tools Bar have the potential to behave differently. Creating text items in quick succession will group them naturally into a single Vector Layer and lead to the problems outlined in Watch Your Groups.

As a test we used the Rectangle Tool to create a new Rectangle. We also did not pay attention to the selected layer and ended up passing on the set Transparency and Layer Styles to the new object.

10-Unexpected-Text-Behaviour-Layers-Selection.png

This can lead to confusion and generate hard to remove artefacts. So be aware of which layer you are working on prior to moving forward.

Note

If you get into the habit of selecting the Background Layer prior to every operation, then newly created elements will fall under a new layer.  You can rearrange them at a later time.

In Part 3, we will create a New Image and Place Lady Shade.