DELAYS COME FROM WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT THEM
Because they can.
Every beginner has to make a certain number of mistakes, commit a certain number of sins (which everyone else already knows are sins), has to stub toes and fingers on obvious prominences.
It is de rigeur.
Maybe someone can learn from my mistakes.
Never give up resolution: it is the high ground
In graphics, picture quality goes one way: down hill.
If you start with a high resolution picture, and reduce that resolution (squeezing the picture into a smaller space so it will fit on a blog post is an example), you can NEVER get it back.
It is possible to do a pseudo-fix, manipulate a low resolution image into giving you one with higher apparent quality, but it is never easy, and is incredibly labor-intensive – just to get something adequate.
Why? Because sampling down takes information from neighboring pixels, creates some kind of an average. But increasing resolution must INVENT data pixels. Out of thin air.
Which is why images which have been edited to ‘increase’ the resolution usually look pixilated: you had one yellow pixel – now you have FOUR yellow pixels.
Increasing resolution requires knowledge of the image
And it’s still going to be imperfect. If you know something is smooth and continuous, you can use graphics tools to smooth out harsh lines with algorithms which use nearby data – and how the tool is used – as their input. I did some of that for the image on the cover of the Pride’s Children ebook.
It matters less when the final product will not usually be seen at the higher resolution (your screen gives you 72 dpi images).
But it matters a whole heck of a lot when you print.
So why the talk of images, resolution, and high ground?
Because I started the print cover with an image of a template from CreateSpace of where the lines and boundaries are on the print cover: you tell them what size your book will be trimmed to, and how many pages it has, and they make a downloadable frame that shows where to put everything.
And I don’t know how, SOMEWHERE along the path of creating a whole cover, and without me consciously choosing it, the size of the image I was working on in Pixelmator went from 11 x 14 – to 5.5 x 7″. At the same resolution – 300 dpi (required for print).
Which means that I will have to redo EVERYTHING.
If I’m lucky, I will find out during the process what the heck I did, so I can avoid making that mistake again.
If not, I have become extremely sensitive to image size and resolution of images (something I though I had mastered). I sincerely hope I will never have to do this again.
And yes, backups save your life
NEVER work on your only copy of anything. When a computer forgets, it usually forgets very completely – by overwriting your data with whatever else you told it to write. Very stupid and very fast, are our computers – which we couldn’t live without.
The second time around, I will take everything I learned in the course of the disaster – and repeat things much more efficiently. I learned which color adjustments to make, made decisions about fill, and how things might look, and which of my images were good sources for the material I need.
But I’m going to be VERY careful this time around.
I’m slow – it takes time and energy to reverse errors, making me even slower.
Fortunately, not less determined. Just slower.
And slower to get back to writing.
It’s probably going to save me a lot of time somewhere down the pike.
What has been YOUR most useful mistake lately?