FURTHER TO MY LAST POST, I wanted to say something about production time, as this is key to the viability of creating images like these for the self and indie publishing market.
The faux paintings (click the images for a larger view) were created using the method outlined in the tutorial here and from opening Poser (the 3D staging program) to exporting the faux painting from Art Rage (a natural media paint program), each one took just 90 minutes to produce.
This time was achieved largely thanks to preparation. I had a selection of characters already set up in Poser, I knew the content I had ready and had a good idea of what each of the images was going to be before I started. I also got lucky. Frankly, setting up a pose can take that long alone, so I try to use pre-set poses that I modify for my needs – it happens that in this instance, it proved very quick to set up.
Taking the resulting render into my photo editor (Affinity Photo), I used a practised process, starting with some adjustments layers (highlights/shadows, brightness/contrast, and colour balance), then using the Topaz Simplify plug-in. The result was then taken into Art Rage for painting.
If luck is against you, or you need a little more detail, then I would say that a simple faux painting like this should take you between 90mins at the minimum to perhaps 150mins at the maximum. That assumes that you know your content (and where to find it) and have some prepared characters, poses, and lighting suitable for your project.
Integrating the image into a cover design is another ball game. In this instance, none of my prepared cover templates fit what I wanted for these books, so I had to tinker and took a couple of hours to come up with a design that I liked. Of course, once I had that design set up as a template, then each book took about 15 minutes to set up in it.
So, this project represents about 5.5hrs work, partly thanks to some luck. Further volumes in the series, if I can use prepared materials to create them, might take between 2 and 3hrs each.