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March 1, 2007

eBook Covers - CoverFactory.com Updated - and Some Tips for Users

Category: Company Announcements, eBook Marketing & Publishing — Answers 2000 @ 3:55 am

CoverFactory is our company’s software for making 3D images of eBook Covers, Software Boxes, Membership cards, etc. It’s evolved into very powerful software, and it’s way cheaper than the competition, but I recently realized that we were underselling it. And by "underselling it, I don’t mean that we want to raise the price!

The problem was that CoverFactory has improved with time, and got substantially better. However, despite several releases of the program, the example images on the web site, hadn’t been updated. As a result, the examples didn’t fairly reflect the capabilities of the program.

The CoverFactory home page and the gallery of sample eBook Covers on the site have now both been updated. I think that they now give a fairer reflection of what the program is capable of, even in an ordinary mortal’s hands (Sunil: all the images were created by me - and I am absolutely not a computer artist).

I thought it was worth describing the procedure that was used to improve the images, so here it is, step-by-step:

  1. I had saved all the old cover projects made with a much earlier version of the program, so I could of course simply load them in using Open… on the File menu. Some of my projects were in fact so old (made using 2.00) that recreating the background (see this tip) helped. In my case, I couldn’t quite remember which projects these were, so I simply recreated the background on all my projects.
  2. The default size that CoverFactory renders covers at, is 200X200 pixels. That is actually pretty small on modern screens (we may increase the default in a future version), and if you really want to see the detail of the final image, you’ll probably want to render the cover bigger than that. You can do this by going to the Background tab, double clicking where it says Image, and then changing the size on the second page of the wizard that is displayed. The examples at the top of the CoverFactory.com home page are 200X200 and 300X300 pixels. The bigger examples (halfway down and at the bottom of the home page) are 615X615 pixels.
  3. This next point does not actually affect the quality of your final cover, but it is nevertheless important. The Render tab in CoverFactory, by default, displays the final cover zoomed in to fit the available screen area. As on most computers, the screen area is larger than the cover image that is being rendered, the image is zoomed in (enlarged), which can be deceptive - it can make it appear as if your final cover is going to be chunky and pixelated. On the Render tab click the 100% toolbar button (or View menu, then Zoom sub option, and finally 100%) to see your cover as it really is.
  4. When we wrote CoverFactory, even though we put a lot of effort into optimizing the rendering process, it could still take a couple of minutes for larger more complex images. Therefore, we provided options to control the trade-off between quality and speed. Of course, since then, the average desktop computer has become substantially faster. which means that you’ll probably find CoverFactory’s rendering is fast enough even when set to its highest quality. To get the top quality do this:
    • On the Render tab under Rendering Options, double click on Detail and set it to Enhanced.
    • Also on the Render tab under Rendering Options, double click on Soften Edges and set it to Yes.
  5. If you’ve read the tips on the CoverFactory web site, you’ll already know from this tip that enabling Folds Shown (under Object Properties in the Render tab) works best if Soften Edges is also enabled. In our sample images, we did indeed use this combination on some images - we found they they worked best for us when we choose a Folds Color that was subtlely different from the other colors around it in the cover, rather than something that stuck out like a sore thumb.

That’s it for now - do check out the new CoverFactory.com, and if you haven’t already purchased it, why not download the free trial version of CoverFactory.


   

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