I just wanted to give you an update on how the book production is going. In a word: WONDERFUL!
Last time I talked about revisiting and restarting a book project that had languished on my projects list for far too long. You can read that post here.
I compiled all the images I wanted to use (there were hundreds to choose from) and made thumbnail copies of each one.
Then I arranged all the very best images into the limited number of pages I had to work with (approx 125 ). It was very challenging to fit in as many as I could while still maintaining a pleasing whole.
There were some images that were personal favorites of mine that just did not fit with the flow of the book, so they had to be let go. I had other sculptures that had been photographed in several different locations and all of them were dear to me…but I had decided that I would try and limit any single sculpture to no more than 2 versions within the book. That meant letting more images go. Finally, I had my lineup.
Next I needed to process the images I had chosen. When I started making these sculptures over a decade ago, my digital camera was a simple one and produced low quality images. I quickly realized that I needed a better camera so I stepped up to a digital Nikon SLR but at the time I had only rudimentary photo processing software and the resulting images were inferior to what I can produce now. This meant I needed to process all my images, new and old, with the new software to bring out the best in the digital data. To give you an example, here is an original image I shot using a medium-grade camera without any processing:
The image below is the best processing I could achieve with the software I had at the time. As you can see, there is not a great dynamic range and the sharpness is a bit fuzzy. (This is a low resolution version for web-based sharing so the differences may harder to see. In the files I would be using to make the book are much larger, the details are very noticeable. )
Now let’s take a look at that same original image, re-processed with the new software. The quality of the image is much improved with better range of light and shadows as well as improved sharpness overall.
Once I had the exposure, lighting and color balance where I wanted it, I did some final clean-up on the image.
Below is that file with the final tweaks applied. I decided that the red lily-pad leaves in the lower left were too distracting so I carefully removed them. I also enhanced some of the shadows and highlights in the twig work of the house to help it “pop” a wee bit. I also re-cropped the image to bring the viewer in slightly closer. I also cleaned up a few stray reeds that were not enhancing the image overall. This final result is from the very same original file but is now much improved.
Each image takes between 30 minutes to 3-5 hours to re-process and get ready for placement. There are over 180 images. Yes, it is slow going!
When I have all the images processed for a particular page spread, I then put them into my master template. I triple-check the position and how the images look together on the 2 pages. I then add captions and page numbers and choose the appropriate back-ground image (if I am using one for that page). When I am happy with how everything looks, I save the spread and move on to the next one.
Here is an example showing a spread featuring 2 environmental sculptures (please note, the copyright notice will not appear on the book pages! It is only on the images I put up on my website to alert that my images are copyright protected) :
And here is an example of a spread featuring some early springtime Fairy houses:
Some of the images/houses/sculptures are brand new and have not been published anywhere else before, so readers will be treated to many new works. As for works that have been published before, I tried to find different views from what we have already seen, just to keep things fresh.
The Mistletoe Manor (above) has never been seen before and the Pomegranate Cottage has been published before but in a horizontal format, however that was many years ago and with the old software so this version of the image feels brand new.
So the book production is going well, and I’m just over the half-way mark. I wish it could proceed faster, but it all just takes time, patience and diligence to get it all put together in the best possible way.
Thanks for visiting and next time I’ll have some exciting news on a different front for you.
Bright Blessings to you