Creating the cover for “Asteroid” was a process summed up as frustrating. Generally, there is a lack of quality resources when it comes to space and celestial bodies, let along space craft. However, in times fraught with turmoil, I turned to NASA and their satellite imagery.
The cover art began with a good photo of an asteroid and a cool space background, the latter being courtesy of Flickr’s creative commons section. Flickr usually provides a fairly good base of pictures and even some space graphics, but for the oddly specific stuff, I head to NASA.
I used Photoshop Elements 13 for this project and I started by working the asteroid into some poster filters and color overlays of blue and purple hues. Then, I fitted a new background behind the object of interest. I had a hard time retaining the asteroid as the focus of the image and the final product for that day left me feeling a lack of quality. The imagery captured the right components, but the color and lighting were off somehow.
I tried a few tweaks, but in the end, I had to put it down and have faith that I could think of something good later. Still, I feared that I had reached a point in which any improvements beyond incorporating new base materials would be negligible at best. I am a firm believer that the base image determines the final product. Though I can work with lighting and color and even apply some really nice filters, there is no substitute for a quality starting image for any project.
However, a night with my friends rattled a few things loose in my head. Sitting back down, I recognized that the original image wasn’t too bad to begin with. On the other hand, blue didn’t do it justice. What would, then? Hmm…how about orange. I went back and tweaked the levels, added a few layers. Most of all, however, was the shift from a blue hue to a bright fiery orange. It complemented the solar eclipse of the asteroid and I think overall, the image rose a handful of points on my scale of approval. A fresh start and a good color made all the difference in my eyes.