Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Kitted Out - Author Tools that Rock: 3DPackage Online

This one is quick and easy, but has some very nice, very usable results.  3DPackage Online is a simple online version of box-shot software.  You just go to the site, plug in your files, and it generates a 3D image of your book, complete with shadow and reflection.  How cool is that?

Here's how mine came out.
...and the back

Need to Know:

  • You will need three separate files: front cover, spine, back cover.  If you have created a full cover for Createspace, you can just crop the image in the right places and save separate files for each part.  If you only have a front cover, you will need to use photo editing software to create at least a spine image.  (I recommend Inkscape.)  You can get by without a back cover, so long as you don't want to show off that part of your 3D book.
  • Internet Explorer is not a recommended browser with this one.  I have had no problems using Firefox.
  • Just browse and select the files, then hit the button that says "Create 3D box".
  • Your book will be generated.  You can drag it with the mouse for full 360 degree rotation.  Place it how you want it, and then choose which type of file you want your picture to be in: jpeg, png, or gif.  Hit that button.  Easy-peasy.
  • Your image will freeze.  Right click on it and choose "Save Image As".  Save your image where you want it.  Voila.
  • Want a shot from a different angle?  Hit the back button a couple of times and redo.  Your files should already be there.
  • Tip:  This is a free version of a paid software.  You will notice that the book that is generated will have a bit of green along the inside cover.  This doesn't look so good.  I just position my book so that this part does not show.  (You will also have an unobtrusive promo for the site in the upper corner of your image.)
  • If you really want to get fancy, you can buy the paid software version and customize further.  I keep trying to convince myself that I actually need it because... yeah... I want my book cover on a bag of chips.  That would be fun.  
Use your 3D book images to promote your book on your website, on Twitter, and anywhere else you want to include a 3D representation of your book.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.  Rock that 3D book!

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