Week 2 of 52

Week 2 has seen highs and lows, but ended reasonably well. Things started with my ordering the final piece of furniture for my studio fit out – one that I’ve been procrastinating on for a while. What I needed was a work bench that could fit under a set of shelves, and over my filing cabinet & mobile air conditioner. I had originally planned on a stainless steel skin, but quotes were up around $400. With a switch to melamine, the cost dropped to $85, and since it’s still water sealed, I can work on it with wet media, like clay. As a worst case scenario I can afford to replace 4 or 5 before I get to the price of stainless.

With that table in, and a larger one that had been in its place removed, my studio is now MUCH larger in terms of the largest continuous rectangle.

On the software and systems front, the week saw a long battle with my main production machine, in which I ended up removing iTunes 11 and replacing it with 10.7, as well as completely disengaging from Apple’s iCloud service. All in an effort to get my iPhone to start syncing automatically when plugged in – a behaviour it had lost somewhere in the upgrade. There’s a whole rant stewing away on this topic, but for the life of me I can’t understand why two devices that can have a physical cable plugged between them, should require a connection to a server on the other side of the world to exchange data with each other. So, now I have everything removed from iCloud, everything is local to my system, or synced through my own servers, except Reminders, which are stupidly tied to Calendar syncing.

The up side of the digital front, has been Aperture, from Apple. It’s the photo management software the new camera will be using, and it’s a pretty nifty piece of kit. I’ve also been checking out iBooks Author, and trying to figure out how to translate my existing graphic novels to iPad format. This is proving a lot harder than I thought, since iBooks Author seems almost specifically designed to prevent the creation of graphical storybooks. Every tool for the presentation of images, for example, prevents them from being zoomed larger than full screen. The HTML widget, similarly limits zooming that is fully achievable in the actual browser. My last option is to see if I can use an external javascript library to take over zooming, and see if that will get around the iBooks Author limits. The last option is perhaps a lateral move and reprocess my InDesign pages as pdfs or graphics, and go with standard ePub files.

One major bright point of the week has been the actual use of the new camera. On Wednesday, I did my first shoot. This was done with some improvised lights, as the Elinchroms aren’t up and running yet. The shoot was of a 1/10 scale miniature set a prop making student had built. This is the first step towards my ArtStart goal of having a photographic practice & service that I can offer to other artists.

All these have had done to them, is the filesize reduced from 7.5k to 1k pixels wide, and a single sharpen filter in photoshop, followed by a save to web in jpeg format. Aside from that, they’re more or less untouched. Lighting was with a standard home spotlight, a fluorescent articulated desk lamp, and a mini Maglite for spot highlighting. Colour was with folded sheets of cellophane, held over the lights to give different levels of colour & darkness. All in a all, a successful week.