Since April this year I’ve been writing a science fiction serial called A Day of Faces, which I’ve been publishing over on Wattpad. You can read it for free.

Much like a physical cover in a bookshop, the image representing your work on Wattpad is a big part of attracting the attention of readers. I wanted something that was intriguing but mostly abstract, and which tied in with the themes of the story without being too on the nose.

Hence this:

Flare

I’m not a designer, so it’s not the fanciest cover in the world, but I thought it might be interesting to show how I put it together. I actually used HitFilm 3 Pro for this particular image, which is designed primary for video projects but has a bunch of useful features for this kinda thing.

So the first step was to grab a 3D scan of a human head. There’s a bunch of free models available online which you can find with a quick Google.

It started off looking a bit like this:

Basic head

Adding a couple of lights reveals some additional details. I also deliberately went for a metallic blue specular highlight:
Basic lighting

Here’s the same model with the final lighting setup, which used a softer, more diffuse style. The main light was positioned above the head, resulting in shadows falling on the eyes and from the nose, with a soft fill light coming up from below:

Softer lighting

This head was duplicated multiple times. Lighting was disabled for the duplicates, such that the central head is the only one retaining full detail. The outer heads look more artificial and mannequin-like. The idea was the represent an anomaly among the population:

Multiple heads

The primary head was adjusted to be reflective, with a chrome-like appearance:

Reflection

The final step was to add some additional grading elements, first in the form of some volumetric light rays blooming out from the centre:

Rays

This was followed up with some anamorphic flaring, creating the vertical smears and a more atmospheric look:

Flare

And that’s how it was done. All entirely in HitFilm 3 Pro.

I’m taking a short break from ADoF but I’ll be back with the second story arc in August.

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One thought on “Creating the cover for A Day of Faces

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