Thursday, March 15, 2012

Man Eater Release Day and Make a Book Cover in Photoshop CS5 in 10 Easy Steps

I have another short story out today titled Man Eater. It's free on Smashwords with other distributors to follow.

This book also marks the first time I created an ebook cover in Photoshop CS5. There's a steep learning curve with Photoshop, at least for me, and, not finding the help I needed online, I made a video tutorial of the process I used to create the Man Eater cover.

I figure I can't be the only one trying to learn Photoshop and wanting really basic instruction so the video is below for your amusement or education, whichever applies most to you.

By the way, the video is not the greatest quality...I'm technologically challenged, but, if you can put up with my camera work, you'll be all set to make simple ebook covers in Photoshop in ten steps in just ten minutes.

The key to these simple covers is finding really great stock art, something with different textures and depth to the image. The Man Eater cover is nothing more than the picture,a  background color and the text. There's no shading, no special effects because the picture itself is of high quality.

Below is the process written out. You can copy/paste it and print it out for reference. I've also elaborated on some things that I didn't mention in the video.

How to Make Book Covers in Photoshop CS5: A Basic Tutorial for Beginners

1. Buy stock art from a stock art site such as or similar.

2.Crop the photo as required--for example, if you just want to use one part of the picture, crop that now-- and save to your computer. (You can crop in PS, but, as a beginner, this is easier).

3. Open Photoshop CS5 and open a new file using the settings: 6” x 9” 300 dpi/pixels per inch. Give it a name, but note this is not your book cover file, it's a working file that will make the actual book cover in a minute. We are using this just to establish the background color. I like to pick up a color from my stock art with the eyedropper tool, if you want to pick from the PS color palette that's fine too--you can just skip ahead to the bucket fill step.

4.Click file, click place, select picture.  This inserts the picture so we can use the eyedropper tool to establish the background color.

5.Size picture to fill screen as desired.

6. Click the eyedropper tool to select color from picture for top and bottom margins. Now we're going to open a new file to do the actual cover--as there's no way I can find to use the paint fill bucket without covering up the photo (it actually can be done, but requires deeper knowledge of PS, which I lack right now).

7.Repeat step 1, then click on paint fill bucket tool. Be sure foreground color from the eyedropper is visible in bottom left of tools and fill in the white 6x9 cover. Click on that color, then take the bucket and click on the book cover to 'fill in' the background color for your ebook cover.

8. Click file, click place, select picture to insert stock art.

9. Size picture to fill screen as desired, keeping in mind this is going to be the actual book cover.

10.Click the text tool and type in title, selecting font and font size, type in title on top, author name on bottom---center text as necessary.

Note: font color is selected in upper right menu. Usually, the program tries to type the title the same color as the paint bucket fill so you need to manually change it.

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