22 November 2009

This cover has its origins in a pen-and-ink illustration I did way back in the early nineties, in which I first had Wrack threatening Striker with her knife (instead of the Doctor as in the original publicity photo). They say if an idea's good it's worth using again, and I'd need to feature those characters on my cover anyway, so I recreated it in photo form. With the Doctor taking up the rest of the foreground, that left the background to the scene of ships floating in space - obvious, I guess, but it is central to the story. It just depended on being able to find usable shots of the ships themselves. I had on file a photo of a Buccaneer-like clipper that I'd come across years ago and kept for potential use on this cover, but in the event the DVD photo gallery had some nice images of the model filming taking place so I was able to use the genuine ships.

I began producing the cover with the Doctor. As with the recent remake of my 'Remembrance of the Daleks' cover, I had a scan from DWM that had good detail but also print screening and rather oversaturated colour that limited its contrast, while a grab from the DVD's photo gallery had more realistic colour but was very soft. Again, I combined the two, the scan overlaid with two copies of the screengrab, one set to colour and the other at a low opacity just to smooth out some of the scan's print screening. I had to distort the grab to get it to align with the scan, but being soft and magnified there was lots of colour bleed along edges. I therefore created multiple channel masks for different elements - face, hair, jacket, lapel piping etc - so I could make colour adjustments individually and sharpen edges.

Wrack and Striker were simpler as I had larger scans from DWM which just needed flat areas smoothing and colours corrected. Cutting around Wrack's hair was a pain, and when placing the two figures next to each other I couldn't position them as closely as I'd anticipated or it would have looked like Striker had no shoulder. I saved some time on the ships by making sure their backgrounds were pure black so I could set their layers to 'screen' and avoid cutting out around all the rigging. I added the wisps mainly to liven up the background starscape and also to hopefully give the ships some sense of movement rather than just floating there. In the event they became a bit wave like which I think adds to the overall effect nicely.

Download the final ENLIGHTENMENT cover here

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