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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #635: What You See Isn't Always What You Get

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 03-07-2012 12:24 PM 919 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 634: Many Directions Part 635 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 636: Time to Hit the Road »

I am afraid that I don’t have many interesting things to talk about today. I spent the majority of the day yesterday working on photographs for the pumpkin pattern. I had shown the step-by-step pictures that I had taken earlier in the week and since then have taken more pictures to show the steps to painting the pumpkin faces. The results is quite a few pictures necessary for that one packet.

In order for the pictures to be useful, they need to show the true color of what they are. While that may sound easy, it is really quite the opposite, as many of the subtle shadings and highlights that I added were getting lost between seeing them on the screen and what came out of the printer.

Calibrating what shows on your computer screen to your printer can in itself be an art. I am finding this our more and more as I create these painting patterns. With so many user options and settings, both on the printer and in the Adobe Photoshop software that I use, there is a lot of room for variances and it isn’t always easy to get what you see on the screen to come out of the printer.

I chose to scan in the pumpkins, because it did at least keep the input at a consistent level. Changes in lighting and settings on the camera would only add another layer of variables into the mix, and I didn’t want that. Since I took pictures of the painting as I progressed, naturally the lighting would be different from step to step and I found that the only way of completely avoiding that problem would be to take scans along the way.

I literally spent most of the day merging files and printing, adjusting and printing them over and over until I finally got a result that I deemed acceptable. I also did research read a lot in between prints to learn what I could about calibrating printers and monitors while using the all-powerful Photoshop, which in itself had an endless amount of adjustments that could be used.

While I realize that all this work could be for nothing if someone had very different settings on their own printer, I still needed to be sure that at least when I printed it, it would be as close as it possibly could be to the real objects. I also wanted to be sure that the subtle changes I made when painting each step would be evident both on the screen and also on paper, so the pattern would make sense to those trying to learn from it.

I believe that I accomplished this to the best of my ability. I say it that way because I do realize that as soon as the file is moved to another printer, things may change. But that is just the way it happens to be and I can’t control that. It is one of the downfalls of digital files, and even occurs in many of the painting books that I buy as hard copies. And while I, myself don’t have a high end printer (I have a Canon Pixma 4700) it does do an excellent job and is what I feel is quite adequate to get the point across.

As I look at the final output of the photos, I am pleased with the result. And while it doesn’t seem that I did much to push the pile yesterday, I actually moved a couple of mountains.

All these steps take time. While I wish that I could blink my eyes and have them done, that just isn’t the way it is. I would far rather be painting or working on the scroll saw and seeing the result of my latest idea come to life before my eyes in a couple of hours. But things aren’t always like that.

I am sure later on today when I am holding the finished pattern in my hand, I will feel just as proud of it as I am of the actual product itself. While it may not dazzle people the way that putting something new in my gallery would, I will know that those who buy the pattern and are going to be using it as a learning tool will see and appreciate the amount of work that went into making the pattern itself. Perhaps they won’t even think about it, because things will flow together and be easier to make than they would have ever thought possible. If that is the case, then I will be happy too, as I will know that I have done a good job. And that extra time that I spent would be worth it.

Enjoy your Wednesday.

(photo courtesy of www.cheezeburger.com)

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



8 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1774 days


#1 posted 03-07-2012 03:46 PM

hello Sheila … had to lough at that picture :-)
I remember in the good old days only a few years ago
when I photographed with films and developed them in the
darkroom we used a reference card on the first picture (to get the white zone right )
even though the card was grey :-)
it will take too long to explain the tec. behind it
and in my young days when I was service repair man on televisions
we used the reference picture the station send when no programs was scheduled
so set the TV spot on both with colours and the plum and level lines
I gess there is a reference card for digital photo too when it comes to the colour
I here they still use the greycard as well to set the whitezone on the camera
if you can find the info about it and be able to juse it
then the life will be much easyer since you can set up the software and printer
right on so its the same on every picture
then you only have to play with the light ….. more or less :-)

have a great day
Dennis

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7732 posts in 2711 days


#2 posted 03-07-2012 05:55 PM

Sheila,

What is the real need to have the pictures printed on paper?

In this digital world, it would sure be a lot easier to keep it digital & in CD/DVD files.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1579 days


#3 posted 03-07-2012 07:42 PM

Dennis – you know so much about so many things! I didn’t know you were a photographer, too. There is so much to learn about light and photography, and you are right, it can be confusing. In the ‘old days’ I used to use a program by Pantone which was supposed to calibrate your monitor screen to your printer. You went through a series of steps and yes, held a card up the the screen to get it to the proper brightness and tone for optimal printing. But now with all the monitors being digital, there are very few adjustments that can be made. I am sure that there is some sort of software that would help get things all on the same page (excuse the pun!) a little easier. Thank you for your suggestion.

Hi, Joe! I was almost agreeing with you about not needing a printed copy and then I remembered why I was doing this – I hope to have some wholesalers distribute these patterns and sell them through their catalogs. When I sold the skating pond to the Artist’s Club, they needed several hundred printed copies and I had to mail them in the kits. I will be responsible for printing them if they pick these up (which I hope they do!) and want them to be as good as I can get them. The extra time is worth it in the end. I feel much better about giving a good product and a good teaching source. It just seems to take sooooooo long sometimes! :)

Have a good afternoon! Sheila

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

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7732 posts in 2711 days


#4 posted 03-07-2012 10:45 PM

I thought most printers now days preferred to get Digital files like PDF’s or highest quality JPG’s…

Yes, if they absolutely NEED the Printed thing, that’s what you have to give them…

Just in case, you might ask them if they could take a Digital file instead… just to be sure… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1579 days


#5 posted 03-07-2012 11:00 PM

Well, I do the printing Joe and send them the paper patterns along with the wood pieces for the kits they sell for me. Everything is still digital for my own customers who prefer digital files (most of them) but with the step by step painting instructions, lots of painters like to have the ‘hard copies’ at their painting table with them to follow along. :)

Sheila

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1774 days


#6 posted 03-08-2012 12:11 AM

hej Sheila
I just remembered it cuold be the camera that makes tricks with you
speciel if you use one of the small compact
they can flip thrugh several zones even when you take the same picture
with the camera on tripod and not having changed a thing between the clic-clic-clic

the best you can use is a digital that have manuel control option
of setting the depth (iris opening) and shutterspeed as well as the sharpness (on objective )
some of the compact can do that but not easely then it have to be a SLR camera = expencive :-(

I remember worse case for the old film was when walking on the sideway and on the other side
there was buildings with the sideway under firstfloor like a porch and with arches
and trying to take that picture when the building were white and there was a door open
into a grosserystore …. not good
either you would get the building white with beautyfull texture and the door opening like a black hole
or you wuold get the picture spot on of the inside and the building totely bleached out
since the old films only cuold strech over 6-7 zones ….. normaly so you had to deside what was the picture you wuold have … you cuold not get both since the scale has 13+ step from black to white …..
not quite thrue about the film since Ansel Adams was one of the men behind the zone system
(try to google him if you want to see some beautyfull picturees in black and white )
I think one of his most known pictures is those of the lunchbreake on a skyscraber under construction
where the workers sitting in the mittle of the air on one of the beams
I learned that system back then and was able to get 10-11 zones on the pictures (sometimes)
but he usualy got 13 zones every time
but to be able to use the system you have to calibrate the camera with the lightmeter
and you had to know both the film and your paper-paper and when you developed the film
and the paper-paper you had to follow stricked time schedules on the splitseconds
before you cuold benefit from it
many find Ansel Adams pictures boring .... but that is up to you …. taste is different :-)
but he set the standard for what is possible when it comes to photographie ….. his is the best of the best

today its possiple to get both the building and the inside of the store every time
with a digitalcamera …..........but again ….. have to know how to …. :-)
its possiple to get them in software since its on the file but the best is to get it spot on when
the picture is taken instead of making the picture in the labrytorie …. :-)
even though small things often has to be dealed with in the darkroom
now we just do it on the computer with software …..... I still think the picture has to be
made infront of the lense instead of in a dark dongeun …. lol

enoff from here …. a lighter besoffen costummer wants a cab home from the pub :-)
take care
Dennis

View HamS's profile

HamS

1168 posts in 1048 days


#7 posted 03-08-2012 01:13 AM

I have to laugh a little at this conversation. I found out I was color blind when I took my army physical. I got through high school and did not know I did not see colors correctly. It is kind of funny now, lots of software tools are color coded and I say, ok that’s great, but what if I don’t see the colors? Miss Julie knows to make sure I don’t have anything but black socks in the drawer and she does not let me buy anything that doesn’t go together regardless of what it is paired with. I manage to match wood tones just fine, but don’t ask me to tell between pink and purple or maroon and brown. The reds just don’t do anything to my eyes.

-- My mother named me Hamilton, I have been trying to earn my nickname ever since.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1579 days


#8 posted 03-08-2012 02:52 AM

Hi, Ham:

They used to have a brand of children’s clothes called “Garanimals” where you would match the animal tags to make outfits! Somehow your post made me think of that! ;)

Sheila

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

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