Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

The second of this week’s deadlines came in the form of the identification project; pick a specimen from the museum, photograph it, use these photographs to create an infographic in Adobe Illustrator highlighting how to identify your chosen subject in the field.  This was using the knowledge we’d gained from our time with Greta Powell earlier in the course (see Adobe-Wan Kenobi Part 2).

I chose the Atlas Beetle (below) as my specimen because I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer size of these insects and the impressive horns they use to do battle over mating rights.  With a tonne of instructional sites on how to make various objects in Illustrator (examples below), I had great fun tinkering with the design.  In order to allow me to spend that long designing the project I had to be pretty organised with my time.  Now ‘organised’ isn’t a word often used to describe me. I need to place crucial items required for a day so I virtually fall over them, otherwise they’re forgotten (even then it’s not guaranteed…).  However this course is really helping me get to grips with this challenge in my life.  I’m starting assignments early enough so that I have time to tinker, and I’m feeling in control; a new and welcome experience!

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Adobe-Wan Kenobi – Part 2

This blog so far has focused on my developing skills as a photographer and editor, but in this week’s post I’m going to concentrate on the three very intense graphic design days we had with the superb Greta Powell (http://www.curveandlearn.com/).

We learnt the skills necessary in ‘Illustrator’ and ‘InDesign’ to create all the documents for the course, focusing on the infographic for an Identification Project, and a magazine for a Design Project (progress after day one below).

For me, one of the most challenging parts of this course is not being hesitant in showing work which fits the brief but may not be top quality.   This was demonstrated in the latest three hour design task:  ‘Go out, take images, and use those images to make two magazine covers, one single page, one wrap-around…’.  I had just about completed one (see below) and thought, “I’m running out of time, so I’ll just copy and paste into the other image to make my second cover.  When it came to review, even though I met the brief, I didn’t feel comfortable showing the second cover.  However feedback suggested that what I’d done would have been the smart thing to do.  Hit the brief first then you can work on improving.  Lesson learnt.

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Adobe-Wan Kenobi – Part 1

So this is the first of a two-part blog because the subject will be such a large part of my course (plus all the information my brain absorbed during the last week can’t be condensed into a single post!).

This week was all things Adobe, and I’m going to log my journey into the world of image editing in Lightroom and Photoshop.  I have always been slightly hesitant to edit my images so I didn’t ruin them.  However, as soon as I was told it was non-destructive and really you just need to practice and experiment, it suddenly clicked.  I became much more relaxed about editing and started to enjoy seeing the subtle, image-enhancing changes I could make.

I’ve posted two ‘before-and-after’ shots from a couple of images I edited this week to show what I mean by subtle, image-enhancing changes.  The first comes from Lightroom, where I’ve applied a gradient filter to darken the sky and draw the viewer’s focus onto the goose in the foreground, and the second I’ve applied dodging and burning in Photoshop to lift the deer and remove some of the distractions in the background.

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