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    The new Web Graphics Creator (version 4.0) will be out soon.

    For now, version 3.0 is still active and works great on most Windows machines. It no longer runs on Macs using Lion or greater... (but the new version will fix this)

    So hang in there! It's almost done!

Problem saving ecover--what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Web Graphics Creator' started by Jack Zavada, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    I'm getting the basics of creating a cover image in Art Center, then placing it on a model in eCover Creator, but when I save that image to "My Pictures," I get an out-of-focus image of blurry squares. I always add the .jpg extension when I save, but when I open the image in IrfanView to crop it, it's a mess.

    Can someone explain what I'm doing wrong? I get lost at the Rendering step. Which renderer do I choose? Is there something that isn't loaded on my computer that's causing this?

    It's frustrating to have a decent looking ecover but be unable to save it so I can load it onto my web site.

    Thanks for your help.

    Jack
     
  2. Mr Laughingbird

    Mr Laughingbird Staff Member

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  3. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    Sorry, those weren't any help. They didn't answer my question.

    I see the choice of three renderers on the eCover module. How am I supposed to know which one to pick? I've experimented with all three and the problem remains.

    I think you expect users to know WAY more than we should to make this software work. I don't even know what a renderer is, and there's no explanation anywhere. People who used eCover Creator either dinked with it enough to figure it out or had training in graphics programs.

    I used the Template Dimensions supplied by Gray Matter Graphics to make my cover fit the model. But I stumbled upon that in the Forums after a lot of reading.

    Right now my frustration level with Web Graphics Creator is pretty high. Trial and error only adds to it. Your tutorials don't go into enough detail to make it work. Somehow I suspect I'm only a couple corrections away from producing a usable realistic cover image.

    Would it be too much trouble for somebody write a post going through all of the steps in order, start to finish, assuming we have no previous knowledge of graphics software? I think all of us newbies would be very grateful and it would head off a lot of future questions.

    Thanks!

    Jack
     
  4. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    I ran a search on my computer on openGL and it found several files. I also searched directX5_2 and directX7_0, but it found nothing.

    However, in another test tonight, I created a 3D image in eCover and it was fine in the eCover module of WGC, but when I chose openGL as my renderer then saved (rendered) the thin ebook, it again came up blurry in my graphics program.

    I don't need to reboot as antn did, since I shut my computer down after every session.

    I can't seem to get past this step to save a clear image.

    Any advice?

    Jack
     
  5. KD-did

    KD-did

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    Jack, welcome to the forum the truth is all graphic programs are not created equal some do not handle some formats as well as other formats, however,with some experimenting you should be able to find a file format that does work well for you. What graphic program are you seeing fuzzy results with?
     
  6. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    I have two graphics programs that I alternate between.

    IrfanView is a freeware program but has lots of nice features. I've gotten good results with it in the past. It was recommended by other SiteBuildIt users.

    PhotoStudio 5.5 is graphics software that came with my Canon scanner. It's done all right in the past, although I just do very basic stuff with it--cropping, sizing, auto enhancing.

    Last night I created a new cover texture in the Art Center, then saved it to "My Pictures" folder, adding a jpg extension. When I tried to merge it onto the thin ebook model in eCover Creator, I got a "bitmap won't work" message.

    If I were to guess, I'd say my problem is not with my graphics program, but some mistake I'm making in rendering and/or saving my finished ecover.

    I like all the great options in Art Center. I think I'll be able to work up some very eye-catching covers. They look so great in eCover Creator, but I just can't seem to get the image out of there without it getting all blurry.

    I've been experimenting with WGC for almost a month KD-did, so if you could put me on the right path, I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks!

    Jack
     
  7. a¿ex

    a¿ex Staff Member

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    Hi Jack,
    is there any chance you can upload such a blurry image, so that we can take a look at it?
    I don't quite understand what you mean, as I haven't seen such a blurry image.

    thanks
     
  8. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    The image with the yellow background comes up very blurry in my graphics program, typical of my early attempts. The "Inspirational Plaques" is better, but it's still too blurry to use.

    As I said, everything looks great in the eCover Creator module, but when I render them, this is how they are saved.

    I did search my computer and found several files with "OpenGL", so that's the renderer I used on the "Inspirational Plaques" project.

    I feel that I'm getting close, but still can't produce a usable cover yet. Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?

    Jack
     

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  9. a¿ex

    a¿ex Staff Member

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    How big is the image you used for the mapping in pixels?

    As for the renderer, it really depends on the graphics card. some of them can do nicer images with directX and others with openGL (although I'd say, that openGL is more often the better choice in terms of quality. directX sometimes is better in terms of performance)
    as we can only use directX7 and not the newer version directX8, directX9 for compatibility reasons, we are pretty behind with directX unfortunately.

    Anyway, I think your problem is more the size of the source image, which you use for mapping.
    how big are the source images in pixels?
     
  10. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    Is source image the texture I create in Art Center?

    If so, I found some dimensions for the various templates (models) at http://www.graymattergraphics.com/html/ecc_dimensions.html. I followed a thread from the old eCover Creator Forum to there.

    For the thin book, I used 352 x 541, pulling or pushing the window in Art Center until the border of the window read those dimensions. Both of my examples used the thin ebook to wrap the texture on.

    Site Build It limits us to 100KB for an image file. Ideally what I want to do is a tight crop on the book, as I did with the "Inspirational Plaques" example, so the cover is fairly large.
     
  11. a¿ex

    a¿ex Staff Member

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    Yes, although you can use any other image file as texture.

    352 x 541 pixels should be definately enough.
    so the blurryness may come from some settings of your graphic card driver.
    some antialiasing or anisotropic filtering or how those newish settings in the 3-D section of your graphics driver settings panel are called...
    ;-)

    It really depends on the settings.
    not so much, if you use openGL.
    just note, that openGL does only work on one sreen in case you have multiple monitors attached.
     
  12. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    No, I'm using only one monitor.

    I did bring in a photo on the "Inspirational Plaques" cover.

    You mentioned settings on my graphics card driver. Should I experiment with changing those settings, and if so, how do I do it?

    After spending $50 on WGC (I also bought the CD), I don't want to have to say, "Oh well, my computer isn't up to it. I can't make WGC work like it's supposed to so forget it."

    I need ecovers because I'll be selling ebooks on my site and a professional cover is crucial to sales. I'm determined to get the quality of results you show on the WGC Web site. Now I guess the question is, are you folks willing to work with me (via the Forum) to do that?

    Jack
     
  13. KD-did

    KD-did

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    Jack, I know more than one of us is trying to duplicate the issue/s you are having so that you can get the answers you need. It would be helpful to know (at least for me) if I knew which module you are working with. If you converting files from one format to another or if you are resizing after exporting.Have you tried exporting in other file formats from the Art Center?
     
  14. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    I've been creating my texture in Art Center, then exporting it to the "My Pictures" area on my hard drive as a jpeg file.

    Then I load it from "My Pictures" to eCover Creator, place it on the thin ebook model, work with it until it looks the way I want, render it using openGL, and save the finished image in "My Pictures" as a jpeg.

    After that, I take it from "My Pictures" to PhotoStudio 5.5, my graphics program, crop it to eliminate most of the background and floor, and save it again to "My Pictures" as a 72 dpi jpeg.

    The "Inspirational Plaques" cover is an example of those steps. It came out MUCH better than my earlier attempts (which were just a mass of small, blurry squares). However, it's still not razor sharp like the examples on your site, or those of another SBI site owner, who used the old eCover Creator, to create the cover at http://www.customerservicepoint.com/images/csp_upsell.jpg

    BTW, I do appreciate your continuing help. Thanks!
     
  15. KD-did

    KD-did

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    Jack, I think I have isolated or atleast honing in on the problem. The export file is being handled too much. Everytime something is done to a graphic outside of a program there can be visable deterioration.Unfortunately there is no way to predict with files will deterorate and which will not.In other words to prevent deterioration do as much as possible inside of the WGC/eCover program itself. If you click on the tools at the bottom ( the wrench and screwdriver) then choose enviroment there you will be able to remove the floor, mirroring,fog and shadows.You will be able to change background color and some other things.

    I would also experiment with different file formats for exporting and set the DPI higher in the Art Center. As of yet I have not had to resize any of my images to fit the cover when using the regular Art Center canvas size , it seems to resize automatically or you can right click on the book itself and resize there if necessary.
     
  16. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    Okay, KD-did, thanks for the advice.

    Yes, I've been using the environment tools. Maybe I can make the book image bigger so less floor is shown--then I won't have to crop in my graphics program. I'll also experiment with the format that lets me remove the environment altogether.

    I will try your recommendations with a new project then attach my results and give you a run-down of the different options I used.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Jack
     
  17. KD-did

    KD-did

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    I think between using the built in tools to remove those effects you don't want and using the rt click on the cover to resize to fit map (if still necessary) you will have much better results.
     
  18. KD-did

    KD-did

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    Also once you have exported all your work you could resize the entire thing afterwards using PIXresizer to size for a website without loss of quality.
    It is free and an absolutely wonderful tool to keep on board.
    http://bluefive.pair.com/pixresizer.htm
     
  19. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    I've been doing some experimenting with different file formats, resolutions, sizes, etc.

    My results are getting better but my ecovers are still not as razor-sharp as they are when I'm finished with them in Art Center. I've tried to attach two examples, one the basic texture I created in Art Center and the other the thin book ecover I made from it. You can see the degradation in the ecover.

    For this particular test, I saved my Art Center image to my desktop as a png. In eCover Creator, I rendered it with DirectX 7 as a low quality JPEG with 2X antialiasing, then saved the final as a jpg in "My Pictures."

    Any ideas why the image gets a bit fuzzy?

    Jack
     
  20. Jack Zavada

    Jack Zavada

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    Oops! That png file may have been too large to upload. Anyhow, you can see the blurriness on the final product.

    jZ
     

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