You very often see 3D mockups of books that look realistic enough to pass for a photo of the book at a glance. They’re a great way to make a flat front page come to life, and it’s no wonder they’re frequently used in marketing. Something along the lines of this is what I’m referring to (taken from CoverVault):
Working for a publisher, I would like to somehow incorporate this type of mockup into our marketing strategies, since they are in many ways superior to actual photographs (no glare, and the distortion can be reduced just enough that the book looks like it’s seen from an angle without being all bent out of shape like it gets in a photo).
Googling for tutorials on how to create these things turns out to be surprisingly difficult: a lot of people apparently want them, so there are a million and one websites with free and paid ready-to-use Photoshop templates and plugins. Great. Except they’re all completely and utterly inflexible. You cannot customise the size of the book or the angle the book is seen from or anything else, which makes them essentially useless to me. There are a bunch of actual tutorials I can find as well, but step 1 in all of them seems to be “download a Photoshop book cover mockup from the Internet”, which doesn’t really help me much either, since making the mockup itself is what I’m trying to find a tutorial for.
I’d much rather learn to actually create a flexible shape that I can wrap or distort my artwork around to create a 3D mockup, but being a relative Photoshop rookie (I generally work more with text than graphics), I don’t even know where to begin in doing this.
Does anyone know of any resources for figuring out how to go from having just a flat book cover image to 3D-ifying it into something that looks realistic?
(I don’t have access to, nor much of an inclination to [re-]learn full-blown 3D modelling programs like 3D Studio Max or Blender. That’s too much effort for this one thing.)