Archive for December, 2015

Final tweaks

lasttweaksI’ve made some small tweaks to a handful of past covers, mainly just updating elements with better-quality picture sources where past limitations had bugged me, but also so that as the site passes into more of an archive phase any new users have access to the best-quality covers.

I was initially going through the covers to see which ones still had the old Black Pyramid web address on the back so that I could change them to Velvet Jacket, when I spotted a few elements that I’d long been unhappy with or knew that I had since found better source images of. They didn’t warrant completely new designs, as I’d done with Pyramids of Mars, although I have rebuilt some from scratch.

An Unearthly Child (and its title variants) mainly required the Tardis redoing, since I now had a high-res copy of the image (actually from Marco Polo). I also adjusted the colours on the Doctor and Susan (changing her dress colour to balance the browns on the right of the cover) and re-did the swoosh from the opening titles with better contrast.

For The Daleks (etc) I just planned to replaced the Doctor with a better-quality version of the same image but in the event decided I wasn’t keen on his pose. I found a good shot of him unobscured by the equipment he gives to the Thals at the end of the story, but his face was rather blurry, so I replaced his head with a clearer shot. I also took the opportunity to use a sharper photo of the Dalek city, even though on the final cover it’s hidden behind the title.

The Edge of Destruction took more work as I wanted to redo both the Doctor and the console with higher-res images (the latter colourised from scratch). I thought I might need to recreate the Tardis wall and doors too, but was happy to find my original was better done than I’d remembered and was just improved with some more dramatic lighting. Although mostly hidden, I did also replace the ceiling light with a better quality image.

For The Dalek Invasion of Earth I thought the Doctor needed updating but found the quality better than I had remembered, certainly after a bit of tweaking of levels and colour balance. I also re-levelled the sky as the blacks weren’t true, and replaced the flames with better sources. While the blue burst behind the Dalek is the same as before, I did tinker with its layer mask.

The Leisure Hive was just a case of updating the Doctor with a higher-resolution version and he now matches the quality of the other elements much better (a long wished-for improvement).

Finally, The Two Doctors I started from scratch, although keeping the essential design the same. One thing I wasn’t happy with on the original cover was the way the title had to be squeezed in, so I reshaped the two background panels to allow the lettering to be larger (and to make them more interesting shapes than straight rectangles). Chessene and Stike (actually, I think it’s Varl) were taken from the previous cover with minor tweaks, as was the space station wall behind the Sontaran. As I was unable to take screengrabs when I first designed the cover, I had used some holiday snaps of a Seville street behind Chessene, so took this opportunity to replace that with a more appropriate view of the hacienda. I had a much better quality photo of the Sixth Doctor (not quite the same as previously but from the same shoot) but because he was standing with Peri, some of whom I was able to paint out, I had to place him a bit further to the left than I’d have liked. I had intended to just update the Second Doctor with a higher-res photo but decided I didn’t like the way he was looking over his shoulder to the right, so replaced his head with a nice close-up of a classic Troughton expression. I also allowed him to overlap the title, which I had avoided previously but now felt his stature justified.

For those who have already printed my covers for these stories, it’s entirely up to you whether you feel these changes warrant a reprint. Personally, I have (although I hesitated a little over whether to bother with The Leisure Hive) but I felt they were worth doing for any future users who stumble across the website. Less significantly, I’ve also been through the 60s stories and tweaked some of my colourisations of the Doctor as I feel my skills have improved since originally attempting them. Those I’ve altered and uploaded new ZIP files for are: The Keys of Marinus, The Rescue, The Romans, The Space Museum, The Chase, The Web Planet, The ArkThe War Machines, The Dominators and The Mind Robber.

There is one last cover I want to amend. The photo of the Doctor on Earthshock is rather poor and I’d like to improve it but for now I can’t find a better copy than the one I used originally. So if and when one turns up, I’ll revisit that cover. Until then, Velvet Jacket is finally complete and I hope you enjoy my work.

Best wishes to all my readers