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Saturday, 5 May 2012
Testing dictation app to see how well or badly it will do for blog posting...
Topic: Technical

So now it then I am trying the voice dictation I of course have nothing to say.

Alright it's sort of got that last sentence. Maybe doesn't make too much sense. Still nothing much to say.

I should have something to read out loud. But I am totally unprepared for doing this. It's also very strange to have to say. When you need to period. I cannot say T ER I OD because that will give me the punctuation. And I am trying to talk about that PE are IOD. Ha ha what nonsense comes out. Very strange to talk to want to talk with expression but need to talk slowly so the dictator the dictation can understand. No, I am not going to correct this writing. Let it stand as a spontaneous somewhat cooperative venture cooperation. Well, I had to correct that last word because it was really inappropriate and would've just embarrassed me. This is such a strange experience to write this way.

Now if only there was something use useful to say.

I wish I knew how to make up stories on the fly. But stories on the fly do not work with having to say one's punctuation marks. Nor do they work trying to say them with expression but having to speak slowly. And, while having to try to remember to turn the dictation Mike thingy on and off every few sentences. So much for this nonsense signing off for now. 

 ....Okay you can get punctuation words written out if they come next to the punctuation by for example, I will say the word period. And that should give me the word written out properly.

 Sorry, no editing or just the tiniest bit....

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 6:52 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 1 October 2008
How to Photograph and Reproduce Your Art
Topic: Technical

A novice painter asked today  how to photograph her work to save the images for future possible reproduction as notecards or prints, so that she can go ahead and sell her paintings. I sent off a brief overview reply and then did a search to see what I could find online. The search - how to photograph art for reproduction - took several pages of results before anything informative showed up.

My reply and my findings (down below):

This is a complicated question, a huge topic,  that I unfortunately don't have the time to delve into now. It would make a good article for my website when and if I get the chance! Instead, I will try a brief overview:

Art used to get photographed. (Some art still does.) (There is a whole technique and science of how to properly photograph art for  accurate reproduction.) The resulting color transparency, whether 35mm or 4"x5", would then be scanned by a laser drum scanner to create "color separations" which were then used to create plates for printing.
There are now high-end and low-end flat bed scanners that create digital files of flat art. The work must be able to fit on the scanner. Scans can be of enormous 'file' size or much smaller file size. Art may also be photographed by digital camera. Whether by by digital camera or film camera, photographing art for reproduction needs to be done with  special expertise.

As for scanning - you can make phone calls to companies, local or distant, who provide such a service. Ask questions. In the beginning you will betray you naivitee and probably be treated that way. Take notes. Start a rubrik of the information you gather. As you get a bit of info here and there you start to get clues to what else to ask, and will be treated with more respect. Research online (what search led you to find my site?). Look for books related to this topic rather than the top of art or art instruction itself. Don't stop at just one source of information.

My experience in high school working on the yearbook taught me a bit of what was involved in printing. In art college I ended up as a printmaking major, where I learned a bit more. Years later I worked in the graphic arts industry, first as a receptionist at a color separation firm, and then at a sheet fed printer's doing office work, brokering, and production.  I learned on the job. Printing has changed enormously. I continue to learn by researching and paying attention.

I've been making my cards and prints for years by making color xeroxes (at the local copy shops) of my art, which I then cut out and glue onto card stock. It costs far too much to print directly onto card stock. I could never offer the array of work that I have otherwise. I've only been able to make a living from it (barely) because I have such a wide selection of local Maine scenes. And, time is drawing to a close on that chapter. The way I've been making cards is very labor intensive, but does not require large amounts of upfront capital. The labor, however, takes a toll on the hands, and, the glue is toxic. I have other priorities than scanning all that work into digital files, so I'm not sure what will happen next.

My findings:
I've skimmed through the articles found at the links below. They seem to be mostly in depth. One is a digital printer's site - just to give you an idea. I have not evaluated the articles for accuracy but  many are so in depth that I'm inclined to trust them.  At the first link here you should also follow up on the 6 part series on reproducing and marketing one's art work found in their sidebar. There is, however,  a problem with this website in my browser - the left hand margin is nonexistent, thereby cutting off the first letter or two of each line. I saved the articles by selecting the text and dragging to desktop. That way I can read offline. The last link is the relevant article of a 3 part series for photographers.


Posted by Catinka Knoth at 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 October 2008 2:20 PM EDT
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Monday, 9 April 2007
How to Optimize Your Photos for the Web and Dial-up Bandwidth
Topic: Technical

This is a recurring situation: people tell me they will send me a photo and I worriedly start to explain that I'm on dial-up so please make your photo a small file size. Here is the, probably unwanted, advice I just sent to two friends. Perhaps it will help someone else. You can help me clarify this or add to it.

To one I explained how to make photo a smaller file size:

Remember you can adjust your photos to be a smaller weight (not pixel dimensions but file size in bytes/bits). Send your photo to your email client from the photo browser (where you look at your photos and do things to them). You will have the option to change how large the photo will be in pixel dimensions and at what quality it will be. The lower the quality setting, (which has nothing to do with picture dimensions/pixel count) the lighter/smaller the file will be. Play around with it.

And to the other, how to make the photo be bigger in dimension but smaller in weight: 

You brought the file size or weight down to 52kb, a very good weight/size. At that rate you could also have kept the pixel dimensions larger, and, using the same 'quality' setting as you chose this time, it would probably still yield a low file 'weight/size'.

Next play around with intensifying the color. Use the bright, the contrast, and the saturation +- settings or levels. Usually I lower the brightness and contrast, and raise the saturation. Most of the time the lighting that photos of artwork are taken in just doesn't bring out the best in them. They need pop. I have to do this with almost all of mine, even when I'm scanning. Otherwise it looks flat like there is a haze or fog over the picture. It doesn't matter if it seems to match the original. It matters that it looks good when it translates onto screen or print.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 12:20 AM EDT
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