My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #363: Progress

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-07-2011 01:36 PM 4192 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 362: The Weekend of a Thousand Excuses Part 363 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 364: Unstuck »

Yesterday turned out to be quite busy. I am pleased to say that I pushed the pile a bit, and also got some definitive answers on some things, however I still need to keep a good pace up and continue on. Yesterday I was reminded of a very important word – focus – and that is what I need to do.

I finished the base coat painting on the five figures. I also got to the post office and got the package off to return the mouse to Wacom. That was good to check off of the books. When I returned, I needed to photograph the figures for the pattern. I want pictures of them in progression so that even the new painters can follow the instructions easily.

Part of what made having only five pieces to this set good is that I could go into a bit more detail regarding the instructions without having the instructions read like War and Peace. I still want to keep them simple, but I also want to be sure to entice new painters into giving it a try. Everyone likes pictures. And having at least two per piece would make a nice pattern.

I set up things so that I didn’t depend on natural light to photograph them. I wanted them to be consistent, so if in several months I were to put together a subsequent set, there would be some continuity in the photos. I decided to use a flash because I also needed the colors to come out as close to the real thing as possible. I took the pictures and brought them up on my computer for adjustment. So far so good.

I did my usual adjustments in Photoshop, getting rid of the background and getting the toning and everything else just right and ran my print of the picture, just to test. It came out good, but it needed a slight level adjustment. I did that and re-printed and much to my horror, it came out totally dark and discoloured. Now what? The tiny adjustment that I made didn’t warrant that much of a change in the output. I couldn’t understand what was happening.

I won’t bore you all with the details, but after a couple of hours (yes- HOURS) of trying to figure what the heck was happening, including totally uninstalling Photoshop CS5 from my computer and reinstalling it (which is no small task and reset all my preferences to the program – which I need to deal with later) I was up and running again. I finished the first photograph several hours after I began working on it and went to the next. It only took me about fifteen minutes to adjust it to how I wanted it to the pattern. It was now after 8:30 pm, but I was on a roll. There were only three more photos to do and I would at least have that under my belt at the end of the day.

On the third photograph, I did my first set of adjustments and made a print. My heart sank when I saw that it went BACK to what it was originally doing several hours before, which was randomly spewing dark and unacceptable photos. This would not do. I converted the photos to PDF format and they were fine every time. I could also print them from the Windows7 picture viewer and they were fine too. So it was not the printer and it was Photoshop that was the problem.

I Googled it and and discovered that there was a conflict between Photoshop CS5 and Canon printer as far as which color profiles would be used for printing. In explaining that an easy way, I can say that you choose whether you want to use the printers’ color profiles or let Photoshop manage them. It is very complicated and believe me, I don’t know a heck of a lot about them besides the basics. But it appears that whether or not I check one or the other, Photoshop has a bug in it where it randomly changes it and does what it wants. It is very frustrating.

I wound up disabling the profile management in the printer settings and I did manage to get decent print outs of the final pictures. It works for now, but somehow I feel the battle isn’t over yet.

I feel that it is so important – especially in printing color patterns for painting – that the colors on the paper match the actual colors closely. What you see on the screen is not usually the same as what comes out of the printer. Calibrating the two is quite a challenge. I don’t have a three thousand dollar printer, and can not afford one. My Canon Pixma does an excellent job, and has done so for two years now, so I don’t know why this glitch decided to rear its ugly head right at this moment.

My friends think I am pretty smart with computers. I think I know more than average, perhaps, but it is only because I have fought these battles for the last fifteen years and I am the type of person that not only wants to have the problem fixed, I want to know why it happens in the first place. My son (who is a programmer and networker) has taught me a lot. He fixes computers as a side line to being a police officer and he has done work for large companies and even his large department in Joliet. He is working toward getting off the street and being involved in the computer crime unit of his department (which is a great relief to me!) and his first job out of high school was to work on Michigan Avenue in Chicago as the computer administrator for a large doctor’s office with many physicians.

He used to come to visit me wearing a T-shirt that said “I will not fix your computer”. It was kind of a joke between us because so many people used to ask him for help wherever he went. I learned from him and he knows that when the problem is big enough for me to call him, it is usually a big one. I try not to bother him unless there is really a disaster. This didn’t quite qualify.

So for now, I am back up and running. Although I am not one hundred percent sure what is going on with the program, it is (for now) working adequately and I need to move on and get the rest of the painting done today. The base coats are finished on the figures and now is time for the shading, highlighting and line work. Hopefully I can finish it today and then do another set of photographs. Then I will reconstruct the pattern packets and the items will be ready to send off.

I received the final OK from the company yesterday and they accepted my proposal as to how much I will make on each set. I also talked to my friend who will assist me in the cutting if the orders get to be too much (Hopefully!) My final safety net is to again send the line drawings to the laser cutting place I found in Ontario and get a price on them. I know that is thinking big, but it is best to have the base covered so that there are no surprises.

Knowing that things are pretty much cemented in has helped my motivation a lot. I think that until I got the final OK, there was part of me that was wondering in the back of my mind “what if I am doing all of this work and they back out at the last minute?” I have put a lot of time into this project and as you know, it has hit many bumps. I suppose I was thinking on the cautious side.

So that is the story for now. I hope to keep progressing in this way and button this up maybe even by tomorrow. If the box goes out by the end of the week, I will be happy.

Thank you all again for your support and positive thoughts.. It truly helps to motivate me, knowing that I have such good friends. I hope you all have a good day too.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

7 comments so far

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2806 days

#1 posted 06-07-2011 01:52 PM

I, as I’m sure there are others, would love to see a sneek peak of what you’re working on if you don’t mind too much.
Glad to know things are looking more positive than yesterday.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2884 days

#2 posted 06-07-2011 02:04 PM

Hi, William:
They are going to look like “nothing really” because these are only the base coats (undercoats) of color.

They came in big and look over saturated here on the screen, but when they print out, the colors are nearly identical to the actual pieces. You are probably thinking that I have been whining a lot about a simple task, but I want them to be “just right” :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2732 days

#3 posted 06-07-2011 02:25 PM

It’s very frustrating when computers work fine one minute and the next start doing weird things. I’m glad you figured it out. I know how you feel. I spent an entire day once, even re-formated the hard drive a couple of times and reloaded everything, only to find that a software upgrade of a required program was not compatible with my label printer.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2884 days

#4 posted 06-07-2011 02:31 PM

I hear you Dan! What bothered me most, was that this wasn’t doing it consistently . No single operation or string of operations caused it to happen. I can deal with cause/effect. There is logic to it. I have a hard time dealing with ‘random’ errors. If you can’t pinpoint the cause, it is even harder to fix. And yes – it takes a LOT of time. I love when I get the questions “how can I make a pattern like you do?” I usually want to answer “How long have you got?” :) It has literally taken me YEARS to learn this stuff. Maybe I am slow. :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3267 days

#5 posted 06-07-2011 04:51 PM

boy do i hate computer problems, i just bought a new printer about a month ago and compared to what i had , its a real was a 200 dollar printer and with it going on sale and a promotion they had, i got it for 79 bucks. but anyway…i do just a little fix it here and there…nothing wonderful or great, so i give you a round of applause for being able to handle things…im really glad your proposal was accepted..i know how much you have gone through to get it this far…i hope you have to get the laser guy to give you a price…as it would mean a good success …plow into the day and have a good one…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stevebuk's profile


57 posts in 2648 days

#6 posted 06-07-2011 08:31 PM

really pleased things are moving for you at last, figures look great, folks are going to love em ..

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2806 days

#7 posted 06-08-2011 12:07 AM

No, I don’t think you’re worrying about nothing. I just think you are good at what you do. In my opinion, I think they look great. However, I can see where they aren’t exactly ready to be sent out into the world either.
I hope you don’t think I take lightly what you do. You do fantastic work. I also know that it takes a lot to get that work to look fantastic. No matter how good you get, nothing in wood is ever routine. I learned that early on. Just when you think you have a certain skil down to a science, the wood will throw you a curve. That may be a brittle section of a knot, wood that doesn’t want to be cut, wood that doesn’t seem to take paint like no other wood on the planet. The possibilities are infinite.
You work at your skill set on these and have fun. Then one day you can make them out of a different material and learn this same skil set all over again. That’s wood work.
I’ve been dealing with a different sort of computer issue most of today. I burn audio disks and data disks on my computer quite often. When I buy a new CD, I make backup copies so that for some unforeseen reason my computer crashes and my shop (where my CD case is) burns to the ground all in the same day, I have copies of everything (over 20,000 songs). For the data, I have patterns and photos backed up. All this is kept at a third location away from my home and shop.
Well, today, all of a sudden, I can play CDs and read data disks, but I can’t burn anything. After doing everything tech support has recommended, it now apears I’ll be saving up money (what is that?) to get a new CD burner.


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