Al Campbell, Field Editor

March 10th, 2003

Digital Imaging Part 9
Cover Works
By Al Campbell

Next week we'll look at the winners of our contest, and work with a few final thoughts. This week, we're going to build a magazine cover. I'll leave enough room on the cover for the name of the contest winner, so I can print the cover as a prize to the winner. It isn't every day you get a photo published, and most of us rarely, if ever, see our names on the cover of anything.

We have already played with a lot of useful tools, and hopefully you've gained new courage to try your hand at this game. It really isn't hard to spice up a picture with a few added special effects. All it takes is some time and a willing attitude. Any photo can be used, from a picture placed on a flatbed scanner to scanned slides to digital pictures gathered from a digital camera.

Remember that photo (scanned slide) of my friend Steve fishing on a spring creek?

That will be my cover photo. You can use any photo you like for your covers, but remember what it takes to have a good photo. The subject should be placed in the right area of the photo and facing into the action. For a magazine cover, there has to be enough room in the photo to have titles and headlines. I love close-up type pictures, but the majority of my outdoor fishing photos are kept at a certain distance so they can (hopefully) qualify for a magazine cover someday.

Using Microsoft Picture It Publishing software (for the sake of variety), I start adding text to the picture. Borrowing a thought from a popular sports show, I'll call this magazine "FAOL-the magazine". OK, some days I don't have a very original imagination, but the title fits pretty well anyway.

Adding a picture in a bubble seems like a good idea to spice my cover up a bit. You can use this style of imaging to create a lot of useful things. Maybe your club is having an auction or you just want to advertise your annual yard sale. Color and style attract attention to what you have to sell. Make your own posters or signs at will, once you get this imaging stuff figured out.

If you own a web site, you can use the same techniques to create unique and impressive cover pages and more. There are few things more impressive to me than colorful and artful web pages. If you sell things on your site, use your imaging skills to show your shoppers just what you have, and do it in an entertaining way.

Before I take up too much of your time, let's create the index page for our magazine. If you have been following along with me in this series, you already have the skills to create an index page. You just add some pictures and text to go with the articles in your magazine. Just start at the top, give your page a title and add the rest.

If you want your index to be colorful and show the subject of the feature articles, leave room for a few pictures that show the subject, on the left of the page.

When you finish filling the page, it might look something like this.

This has been a fun and sometimes difficult series. Fun because I enjoy working with photos and seeing how far I can push the envelope of my imaging software and talents. Difficult because I had to learn a few new things about capturing images on the screen and making them somewhat viewable by you, the readers. It's one thing to manipulate photos, and very much another to show someone else how you do it. For every image you viewed in this series, there were at least a dozen that I decided to discard and start over, because they weren't viewable in smaller sizes. However, I enjoyed it and hope you did too.

Next week we'll look at the contest winners. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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