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Rectangle to Book

How to Make a Book Graphic from your Book Cover

Suppose you wrote a digital book or just didn't want to wait for the print version proof to arrive, and you wanted a nice graphic that would instantly tell your website visitors that you were sharing a book. That's what this tutorial is about. You already have a great book cover, done neatly in a rectangle so you can send it to the printer/publisher, but you'd like to turn that into a picture of a book.


How To

  1. Take a Picture of a Book.
  2. Find a book that looks neatly "used". Set it on a plain, contrasting background, at an angle you want your final image. Take a picture.

    This does not have to be a high-quality picture. Use your cell phone if you like. It's most important to make the background a different color/brightness so it can be easily removed.

    Original Book
  3. Remove the Book's Background.
    1. Open the photo in Photoshop.
    2. Unlock the 'Background' layer by double-clicking the word "Background" and clicking "OK". If you do not see the Layers panel, choose "Window | Layers" from the pulldown menus. If you get a layer-styles window instead of a 'New Layer' dialog, cancel that and make sure you are double-clicking the word 'Background'.
    3. unlock background
    4. Use the Magic Wand to select the background. You may have to change the 'Tolerance' up or down and play with the add-to-selection and subtract-from-selection to get it right.
    5. Original book with bacground selected
    6. Press the Delete Key. The background will turn into a checker-pattern indicating it is transparent.
    7. Original book with transparent background
    8. Press CMD+D (Mac) or CTRL+D (Windows) to deselect the area.
  4. Optional: Resize the Graphic.
  5. Use 'Image | Image Size' from the pulldown menus to make the book the size you want your final graphic to be. This is the only time I will ever say it is "OK to Scale Larger". Don't worry if it gets grainy; it is all going to be covered anyway.

    400-600 pixels wide is good for web graphics. You'll need '300 pixels times the number of inches' wide for printable graphics. If you are unsure, go with the print size and resize a copy smaller for the web; you can always go smaller, but you cannot increase the size without losing quality.

  6. Scale the Canvas Larger.
  7. This will give you some room to work. Use 'Image | Canvas Size' from the pulldown menus. 300-400% is usually good.

    Scale canvas
  8. Import your cover graphic.
    1. Leave your new graphic open. (It's a good time to save it.)
    2. Open your finished book cover graphic.
    3. Use CMD+A (Mac) or CTRL+A (Windows) to select the entire graphic.
    4. Use CMD+C (Mac) or CTRL+C (Windows) to copy it.
    5. Change back to your new book graphic, and use CMD+V (Mac) or CTRL+V (Windows) to paste it. It will likely be way too big (print version), but that's OK.
    6. way too big paste
    7. Zoom out until you would normally see the entire graphic.
    8. way too big zoomed out
    9. Use CMD+T (Mac) or CTRL+T (Windows) to transform the new book graphic layer.
    10. Keep the Shift key pressed and drag the corners in to resize without changing the proportions.
    11. resize import
    12. Click the check mark at the top to commit the transform.
    13. Zoom back in.
    14. Close your own book's artwork file. You don't need it anymore.
  9. Put the front cover, spine, and back cover on their own layers.
    1. Use the rectangle select tool to select the front cover. You can use 'Select | Transform Selection' from the pulldown menus to get it exact.
    2. select front cover
    3. Use CMD+X (Mac) or CTRL+X (Windows) to cut it.
    4. Use CMD+V (Mac) or CTRL+V (Windows) to paste it. It will put the cover on its own layer.
    5. pasted front cover
    6. Change back to the layer with your back cover and spine by clicking on it in the layer window.
    7. Repeat select, cut, paste for the back cover. That will leave the spine on its own layer, too.
    8. layers separaged
  10. Position the front cover. (It's a good time to save a copy of your file as a backup.)
    1. Select the front cover layer by clicking on it in the layer window.
    2. Use CMD+T (Mac) or CTRL+T (Windows) to transform the cover.
    3. Position the top left corner of the cover on the book's top left corner.
    4. Scale the cover down to approximately the same size. Do not worry about proportions.
    5. cover transform scale
    6. Rotate the cover to match the book's spine.
    7. cover rotated
    8. Hold down the CMD (Mac) or CTRL (Windows) key and drag the corners to the corners of your book.
    9. cover moved corners
    10. Click on the warp mode button.
    11. warp mode
    12. Drag the circle-handles to adjust the cover to match the curves of the book.
    13. cover warped
    14. Click the check mark to accept the transform.
  11. Position the back cover. Repeat the steps used for the front cover.
  12. Position the spine. Repeat the steps used for the front cover.
  13. jacket transformed
  14. Use a hard round brush and eraser to touch up any edges and rough spots.
  15. Use 'Layer | Flatten Image' to merge all the layers.
  16. Use the Crop tool to trim off the excess work area.
  17. new book crop
  18. Save your file. You may want to add a background layer to match your website.

See the end result:
Lawful Good Thief by T. L. Ford

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