Creating eBook Covers: Software

Software to Create Images and Covers

The image needs to be saved as a Jpeg, therefore it is easier to work in a program that can save as jpeg files.

  • Microsoft Paint
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • GIMP (freeware)

There are many other programs, but you will already have Paint if your operating system is Windows.

You could already have PowerPoint as part of Microsoft Office. Like me, you could already have Adobe Photoshop Elements as part of another Adobe package. Adobe Photoshop is a more expensive option.

However, if you want a package that can do much more than required to alter or create images you can download GIMP, a free graphics program.

  1. Open your browser and type in http://www.gimp.org/downloads/
  2. This will take you to the download page on the GIMP site. Make sure you locate the Windows operating system version of the program.
  3. Click to download and follow the instructions.
  4. There is an online manual, and I recommend you take the time to read through, just to familiarise yourself with the different commands and abilities of the program.

You need to learn what each button in the tool box does. The best way is to read the help file for the program. Once you are familiar with the names, look for tutorials using each of the tools.

There are free tutorials on the web for Photoshop and GIMP. I have tried some Photoshop tutorials, then repeated the steps in GIMP. Some of the commands are named differently in GIMP but, once I located them, they work the same as for Photoshop.

To locate the tutorials, I did a Google search on “Photoshop tutorials for beginners”.

From there, I looked at the tutorials, and tried to follow the steps on my own photos or drawings to get the same or similar results.

The main thing I learnt was layers. Understand them. It is much easier to change any part of an image if you work in layers.

The Lasso Tool is useful to pick an object out of a photo and save to a new layer. The Magnetic Lasso Tool is found by right clicking on the arrow at the bottom right corner of the Lasso button.

Also learn how to alter clothing, cropping and resizing the images, setting transparent levels and how to lighten or darken the picture.

There was a steep learning curve for the advanced actions, many of which I will never use, but I am confident knowing I can achieve certain effects if needed by following the steps in the tutorials.

Once you have mastered the basics of altering images, you can search Google for more advanced free tutorials.

I purchased four editions of a magazine called Photoshop Projects. Each edition has over 20 projects with easy to follow steps. Each magazine came with a CD filled with images to help follow the tutorials. I gained confidence by practicing each of the projects.

However, if you try the free tutorials on the internet, they will be enough for you to get started.

Free Tutorial Sites

Photoshop / Photoshop Elements

Mashable Tech

Photoshop Magic for Newbies

Standout Blogger

About.com Graphics Software

 

GIMP

The Basics

Beginner to to expert

Photo Manipulation

youtube.com Video Tutorials for GIMP

These links should be enough to get you started, or refresh your memory, until next week.

Part A: Introduction

Part B: Basics

Part D will cover Researching Genre

Part E will cover my examples

How far along are you in understanding all the different areas of eBook creation?

Any questions or suggestions appreciated.

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6 comments so far

  1. Angela/Curiocat on

    Ooohh! Great information. With the class I’ve already taken, these tutorials should be a fun way for me to gain more confidence to take baby steps in designing my own covers.

    Maybe one day, I too will be able to design a good cover for a story I’ve written.

    Thanks, Diane.

    • D J Mills on

      I am working on altering Broken Faith cover to look more like the other two in the series. I will put it up for comments over the weekend or next week. Always room for me to improve, even if I don’t like the dark dark dark images the US cover creators are into at the moment. 🙂

  2. ekcarmel on

    The GIMP program looks really good. I’m grateful there’s freeware available for this sort of thing. I learned on CAD and CorelDraw for a job years ago and my skills are rusty. It’ll be nice to ease back in without shelling out a lot of money. And it’s fantastic there are tutorials available!

    • D J Mills on

      Yes, the tutorials are wonderful, easy to follow steps. Of course, I have to find the time to practice, and have not yet come close to watching and practicing all of them.

      I had (probably still have the 3.5 inch disks somewhere) CAD version 1.0. I also have Corel Painter. 🙂

  3. LisaM on

    Hi Diane,
    I’m following this series of posts with great interest!
    Lots of useful and helpful information here – I must get a few copies of Photoshop Projects – it would be a fun way to pass the time and get to understand the principles of image creation and manipulation.
    I downloaded paint.net (www.getpaint.net) which I’ve played with a little, and once I get to grips with the concept of layers, I know it’ll be a lot easier. 🙂

    • D J Mills on

      Thanks, Lisa. You will probably not agree with my conclusions in the summary article, which will be out Friday. But, in the meantime, I am working on improving the existing covers, based on my conclusions. 🙂

      I looked at your link and Paint.net looks impressive. However, I talked myself out of downloading it just before I clicked the download link. 🙂 I decided I need to back up the hard drives before I add more software. I would hate to lose last week’s work. Also, better to continue to learn on Photoshop Elements and GIMP first. If I ever get them mastered, then I can play with paint.net.


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