Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Looking back pt.1

+ Monitor Woes.

Looking back pt.1

Jeremy McHugh at the Ninja Mountain podcast blog encouraged us listeners to post on the topic of "How has your work improved in the past year?", either in the comments, or on a blog. And I will do just that, in "Looking back pt.2", most likely tomorrow.

The first part will consist of me looking back at the first book cover I did.

Street: Empathy is the first book of a cyberpunk trilogy written by Ryan A. Span - it's very enjoyable and if you're into cyberpunk or SciFi at least a bit, give it a shot. It's not expensive and you can buy the 2nd edition of the book, which should be coming out soon!
I did a cover for the first edition almost three years ago and since then it didn't age very well I must say. So since a second book of the trilogy (STREET:Clairvoyance) has been released recently, also with a cover by me, we decided I'll paint the cover again for the new edition, so it's up to Clairvoyance's standard.

You can either buy the books in paperback, for Kindle, or you can read both books online for free here:

Here are the two versions of the cover: (I would say "side by side", but I have no idea how to format the thumbs to be side by side :D)

The second edition cover is painted entirely in ArtRage Studio Pro mostly with oils.

Monitor Woes

During the process of painting this cover I discovered my monitor is most likely not entirely well calibrated. I noticed a slight change in the image after exporting from AR and looking at it in Gimp or FireFox. Little did I know of icc profiles at the time.

I remembered a story Andy Hepworth shared on the NM podcast once - when he kept jumping between Photoshop and Painter while one was set to RGB and the other to CMYK and how the image kept getting darker with colours changing constantly.

I thought that wasn't my case, because my image was actually getting slightly lighter and washed out blue.
The thing is - ArtRage is a bit "dumb" in this matter and doesn't use icc profiles for colour settings. It uses the native or default system profile, in my case Monitor RGB, which is a colour profile set up by my monitor's manufacturer. And it's off apparently.
Applications which are "smart" recognize icc profiles attached to files, programs like FireFox or Photoshop.

Sure enough, the problem was having different profiles set up in various applications, sRGB was the culprit. I still need to calibrate my monitor, but I set sRGB as a default profile and my images at least look the same in all applications.

"Looking back" will be continued in part 2 soon.

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