How Computers Destroyed (And Could Save) Cover Art

I just found this great article called “When Movie Artwork Was Great.” Long story short, the cover was an important part of advertising, and thus was worth the expense even for otherwise low-budget productions. A combination of computer tools making it easy to do a basic cover (Ie, it’s not like “you have to hand-draw it anyway…), and lower production values as the industry got squeezed meant that generic photoshopped mush took over.

It felt very familiar to me because the exact same thing happened concerning book covers for exactly the same reasons. Weirdly enough, otherwise high-profile books tended to have minimalist covers from the get-go. But trashy pulps that couldn’t even keep the main character’s name consistent (I’m not joking) would have spectacular covers from the likes of Gil Cohen and Ken Barr.

Now it’s just-look at the book section of a grocery store and you’ll know.

I mentioned the ability to improve book covers at very little cost as one of the upsides of AI art. Now that I’ve gotten more into it, I can say even more comfortably that something quickly makeable with the least controversial models (closed source, public domain only, etc…) and only small amounts of manual tweaking could leave most contemporary covers in its dust.

So yeah, shed a tear for the running silhouettes and clunkily shopped-in muscle men. I know we’ll all miss them so much.

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