Wednesday, October 8, 2014


First day back for term 4 today and there are only four weeks until we finish. Time for a check over the task list which I jotted down in my first post. 
  • journal entries for digital art--this is entry #10, but they're rather piecemeal . . . 
  • improving photoshop skills--I really haven't done much with photoshop recently. I do have a new set of photos I could work with, though, in addition to Emily's formal pics which could do with some attention. 
  • improving illustrator skills--I've done several tasks in Illustrator and certainly picked up new skills along the way. I haven't done anything much over the break, though.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Digital Art Task List

Here's the to do list that's been sitting on the Whiteboard in the computer lab for the past several weeks.
  1. Resume
  2. Career Path/ Further Study Plan
  3. Self-directed Portfolio Piece/s
  4. Journal
I wonder if I could set up tabs for some of these different tasks in this blog? That would knock over one of the skills I want to build for myself in my Z Twist Art blog.

Here goes:
  • Using "Pages" I created a new page called "resume"
  • Using "Layout" I added a gadget, "Pages" clicked on "Home" and "Resume" that put it into the blog layout. Initially it comes up on the left as a list, which is not very spectacular. I need to work out how to make it as tabs across the top of the page. I'm guessing that's in "layout" as well. 
Here it is as a screenshot--and that's achieved with shift, command 3 on the Mac

Market Poster--Retrospective

Time for confessions again. A couple of weeks ago I rushed myself though completing the flier for Made n Thornbury Market. I had planned to document my process, but somehow I got ahead of myself. For the record, here's the poster I made.

The beginning of my process is here.

I was quite proud of the number of skills I managed to apply in this task, so I really should try to document as many as I can. Meanwhile, I may as well get the disappointment of reporting the result over and done with . . . despite my efforts, it was the victim of a committee and never saw the light of day. Nevertheless it achieved its purpose at this end by motivating me to apply my skills to what at least had the semblance of being a real life project.

Landscape Task--Digital Approach

Our last Studio task for the term has resulted in--and benefitted from--some progress in my digital work. The topic is Australian Contemporary Landscape. At first I felt overwhelmed by complexity. Tracy took us through a powerpoint presentation on the topic and we had a pile of book resources to access as well. The book, "Williams Creek and Beyond: Australian Artists Explore the Outback" is now on my wish list.

One of the approaches which I hadn't previously considered is to design a painting with Photoshop techniques. I'm not sure whether Tracy meant that was what these artists actually did, or whether the approach is merely reminiscent of Photoshop blending techniques. Nevertheless I decided to attack the task from there.

Coincidently, there's an exhibition including Australian Landscapes currently at Bundoora Homestead. And we need to visit some galleries for our Studio subject, so I made that my Sunday afternoon outing. I took some photos in the gardens and got myself started. Here's the result:

There was a huge ghost gum in the grounds. I've been taking shots of trees silhouetted against the sky for a while now. I had several I was considering for this task, but this ghost gum had the twisted shapes and the grandeur that is iconic of the Australian landscape.

  • I wanted to retain the proportions of the mobile phone image as a clear acknowledgement of the place of those images in my experience of the world. It's rare for me to come back from a walk or an outing without extra images snapped on my phone. 
  • I opened the image in Photoshop CS5. My phone pics come in huge, with 72 dpi resolution, so my first task was to take it to 300 dpi and set height as 60 cm--compatible with and A3 print out. 
  • I boosted the levels to increase the drama of shadows and highlights
  • Next I posterised the image in a new layer. I played around with how many colours to keep and settled on four. The idea is to simplify in my mind the task of blending colours for the sky, even though I expect the painted image to by less blocky than the photoshop version. 
  • I blended the posterised layer with a copy of the original image using "hard light". 
  • Next step was in Illustrator. I placed the saved image from Photoshop into an A3 Artboard. By now I was getting fond enough of the image that I imagined printing it out as a digital art piece in its own right. 
  • I'm planning to use an A4 canvas sheet for my first attempt at the painting, and I was impressed with an approach of using separate panels within a painting, which I'd seen in the Williams Creek book. 
  • So I placed the Photoshop image off centre and added two panels to fill out the image to the A4/A3 proportions--using the rectangle tool and sampling colours from the sky using the eyedropper too. 
  • Adding black lines between the blocks of colour completed the image. 
  • Now it's printed out and ready to use in my Studio class this afternoon. 

Posters 101

 Mark got us started in Illustrator by having us design a poster in the Phoster App on the school iPads. There isn't a version for Android, so it's not an App I'll grab for my phone. I need to check if there's a Windows version, but then again, it was really an educational launchpad for the class, so neither here nor there, really. The main point was to have a simple design template to then copy using Illustrator functions, rather than getting hung up on lots of design decisions as well as learning the basic tools.

Basic Tools Used for my first poster: 

  • Create an Artboard--this one is A4
  • Rectangle tool to the same size: click and drag
  • Add fill for background colour
  • The next step was adding the "bunting" top and bottom. This began with a triangle with the polygon tool: 3 points and then clicking on the top point and stretching it to the required shape. 
  • Fill and stroke set the light blue colour of the triangle and the size, colour and style of the surrounding line
  • Copy and paste, multiple paste using command-D 
  • Group the triangles and drag the row to fit the bottom of the page
  • Copy, paste and rotate to make the top row of "bunting" 

Commercial Printing Templates

As I'm learning to use Adobe Illustrator, the issue of how to set things up for commercial printing comes up. Caroline suggested using a commercial print template such as these ones as a starting point.

Moo printing

It's sort of the opposite way around to how I would have thought to approach the problem, but it works

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Uploading Photos

It's been a week since my last progress report, but nevertheless progress has been made.

  • I now know how to convert my Illustrator file to upload--via File>Save for web and devices. Just to prove the point and celebrate, here's a digital collage I created in photoshop earlier this term. 

And it seems that the ease of upload in Blogger has improved since I last used Blogger eighteen months or so ago. 

For the record, this image consists of several layers of my work in Photoshop:
  1. A collage of japanese papers
  2. DI drew into it with contours in related colours--inspired by the warm-up exercises we did in Studio class with Andy Sutton in week 1.
  3. A photo of succulents I took on one of my regular walks forms the other dominant layer
  4. There's a layer formed by another photo of a plant: converted to a black and white using tonal drop out
  5. And another layer of autumn leaves
  6. Blending modes pull the layers together--note to self, I need to get more familiar with the various blending modes and what they do. At the moment it's pretty much a matter of trial and error. 
For extra excitement, I've just received a print-out of this image on fabric. It's printed on the school printer using Esiprint--printable cotton sheets from Embroidery Source in Fairfield. Esi-print is a printable woven cotton sheet pretreated for printing with removable backing paper. It comes in A4 or US letter size.  I've also been able to purchase a similar product from GJ's--one of my favourite local fabric stores. That one is made by Matilda's Own and there's an A3 size available, so I can see a skirt panel in my future! I've been told that the quality of print-out depends a lot on the printer quality, rather than just the quality of the substrate. Meanwhile I'll soak the fabric panel I have to loosen up and excess dyes and start to play with it with my textiles techniques.