Archive for the ‘Workflow’ Category

Video: What Motivates me as an Artist

August 11th, 2015

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It’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog and while I don’t have future plans to write as I once did, I’d love to share this with you. This video is a collaboration with ASUS Laptops to find out what motivates myself as an artist. Also a part of this project are Skylar Grey, Sam Horine, and Devin Supertramp.

Check out the video above or here and make sure to follow on Instagram because I’ll be heading to Iceland this week and sharing photos from my journey.

5 Hours of Power: Design Discussions

August 28th, 2010

Justin Maller

James White of Signalnoise

Fabio Sasso of Abduzeedo

Five Hours of Power was a live broadcast event this past week. The broadcast featured Justin Maller a freelance illustrator and art director, Nick Campbell a motion designer & photographer), James White a visual artist & designer, Fabio Sasso a graphic & web designer, and last but not least Erin Loechner of Designchat. Only three of the broadcasts were recorded, but there is still a wealth of advice and information to be taken from each.

I hadn’t heard Justin Maller speak before so it was very refreshing to hear him answer a lot of questions about freelancing and business. In fact besides mentioning “explorimenting” his whole broadcast was about the business side of things. If you’re interested, I believe Justin has a live broadcast Thursdays at 4PM EST.

James White of Signalnoise (we aren’t related) always has something interesting say. The questions were all over the map but there were some particularly great ones about where he finds inspiration and about about growing as a designer. Check out his weekly broadcasts on Thursdays at 3PM EST. I recently have been tuning into them and find them to be inspiring.

One of my favorite of these talks was Fabio Sasso Abduzeedo. This was his first broadcast and Prior to it hadn’t been a close follower of the site. That has completely changed now. Fabio seems to have a lot of great information to share, especially about blogging and doing what you love. He seems to have this way of talking that makes it really easy to listen to.

Thanks go out to the speakers for putting this together and to Fabio for including Wanken on a few of the daily inspiration posts.


August 19th, 2010

Launchlist is a website built to check websites that you’re working on against a series of questions pre- launch to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. This is the perfect tool for freelancers.

I know that on my next web project I’ll be using this. Although you really should send someone the url to your project link and have them check things off. That way you’re not checking things off that you’ll “do later” or “will get to eventually”. If you feel the need to add more questions, you can customize that at the bottom.

Life Series: One minute of footage takes two years to make

March 31st, 2010 you know those time lapse sequences on the ever-so-amazing Planet Earth and the new LIFE series? This video, from the new LIFE series on BBC, shows how they make those epic time lapses. I’m still in awe every time I watch this video. The amount of room for error is huge here, yet they nail it perfectly. Ninety-five layers deep in what looked to be After Effects most certainly was difficult to work with.

The rigging that the crew used is also very cool. You can see in the video that they are shooting Nikon and using a large gliding dolly combined with an arm/crane to help with the fluid movement. They used a similar motion control setup when shooting the autumn mountain landscape, Japanese cherry blossoms in bloom and a sand storm in the Sahara (see them all here) the more well known of Planet Earth’s time lapses.

Video sourced from Wimp

Power of the Sketch

November 16th, 2009

wanken shelby white sketch

wanken shelby white sketch

wanken shelby white sketch

The sketches above are a few of many pulled from two recent projects of mine. Just over a year ago, sketching concepts was one of my least favorite things to do. It seemed less time consuming to go straight to the computer to try and bring my concept to life. The truth was though, that it took two or three times longer to come up with my concepts than it would have taken to sketch by hand.

The reason it’s faster to sketch is because we can think faster from our brain to pencil than from our brain to computer. In a sense we can compare it to talking. An example would be that we use our voice to communicate; it’s far more effective than communicating digitally and there is little room for misunderstanding. This is my point exactly. Talking is natural and sketching is close to natural (the cavemen did it). When trying to use the computer to hash out our ideas, there seems to be a physical communication barrier that, no matter how good you are with computers, stunts your creative drive.

Being able to provide two or three-minute sketches to clients or the design firm you work for is a valuable asset, but only if you understand the principles of proportion, spacing (type), and ingenuity. In the sketches above, you can tell which ones were the 2-3 minute, 10 second, and 45-minute sketches. The 2-3 minute sketches are the ones you should focus on. The 10 second sketches don’t have the direction they need and the longer, 45-minute sketches are too timely (unless you’re creating an art piece). The 2-3 minute sketches help myself or my client envision the evolution of the project in the design phase. If I were to immediately show my client refined sketch, it may give them the impression that this is the final product. It’s also a safeguard to make sure you don’t spend too much time on an idea that may not be the best solution.

It’s funny sometimes what areas of a project get sketched the most. For example, the HH Annual Report project had more sketches about binding the book, than the design itself. Some of my other projects–a project for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington–started with word lists instead of sketches and eventually moved on to sketches of the photo-driven concepts.

Sketching has helped me spend less time staring endlessly at my monitor so I can spend more time making progress on my personal projects. Since I feel pretty strongly about the power of sketching, I’m curious to know what your thoughts on it. What is the balance between pencil and pixel in your work? Share with us.

Your Most Important Data Isn’t Just Your Work

October 29th, 2009

Is it just me or does it take something negative happening to your files before realizing that you should have backed up your most important data? Not just your work, but your address book, iPhone, website, Email, etc. You can never be too safe. Just last week I went from 1,000+ images and full address book on my iPhone, to diddly-squat. It’s totally an inconvenience to lose that data and hundreds of contacts, but needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson.

Over the past few days I’ve begun my new system of backing up due to being paranoid over the idea of losing work. I purchased another LaCie Poultron 1TB drive from MacMall the other day to back up more data. They’re worthy, cheap drives and have a gorgeously sleek black casing. Other than the external backup drives, I’m also running three internal SATA drives inside of my MacPro Quad Core. Each drive in the machine is used for separate purposes. HD1, standing for harddrive #1 in slot 1, holds the main OS and applications along with immediate documents and fonts. HD2 is my Design Work hard drive holding all of my design work, both personal and client based. HD3 is my photo drive. All of my Aperture vaults and libraries are saved to this drive and then backed up on a weekly basis or just after shooting. I have all of my photos currently in an Aperture vault but also have the native RAW files backed up just in case.

In addition to backing up to hard drives, there are a few online businesses such as Mozy or BackBlaze that perform online backups. Instead of that route, there is also the option of backing up to your server, which I would only do if you trust it fully. I am working on online backups, but the process is slow due to the amount of data being transferred.

This data pinch has pushed me to refine my system of performing backups so I want to ask you–are you backing up? If so, how often do you perform backups? What are your methods/setups and have you run into trouble in the past with data loss? Share with us in the comments.

Screen Printed – D.Nine & Successful Speaking

April 25th, 2009

Two new projects have been added to the constantly growing project wall. The first is for Inspirational Minds (Inspirational Minds Live Lives), originally a Wanken sub-portfolio section but now expanded to encompass more range of ideas. This new project is titled ‘Successful Speaking Inspires Minds’ and it really is just that–successful speakers inspire you.

The original, still standing idea is to bring together lessons from inspirational speakers such as David Lemley, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Mau, and Seth Godin so that we can appreciate what they’re doing. To begin the project, I’ve started screen-printing posters. The first test run was in tabloid format, which to my eye seemed small. The next test run will be in a larger format (14/20 or 13/19 depending on screens). Continue reading to see images of the SSIM transparencies and exposed screen and test run of Dnine Series 1 posters.

SanDisk in Style for Once

March 9th, 2009

For the years I’ve been into photography, I’ve never seen a card reader with a great design. I believe that SanDisk has hit on something here with their new multicard readers. The design is more modern than the previous and has a high fashion look to it. Personally I haven’t seen the new card readers, and I’m slightly concerned about the functionality and sturdiness of them. Does anyone have any information on these? What do you think about them and would you make the upgrade?

Chase Jarvis Book Signing

October 18th, 2008

To those who didn’t make this event, shame on you, it was awesome. Besides Chase’s two Hangar photo events he hasn’t made a public speaking event like this since 2001. This was my first of his events that I’ve been to since living in Seattle. The book signing took place at REI in one of the conference centers on the top floor. The purpose of the event was to sort of launch Chase’s new Stevens Pass photo book. You can visit the microsite for the book, here. Unsurprisingly the book sold very well and there were about 200+ people in attendance. If you have a few bucks, snag a book before they go out of stock.

With there being quite a few people and each having their book autographed, I was only able to sneak in two questions for Chase. The first concerning the amount of web traffic that his site gets and the second one was asking him who is doing the design end of things for the business. After the questions, I snagged a few pictures of the crowd and Chase’s assistant/right hand man Scott, raffling off items. Along with the raffle, there was a silent auction of Stevens Pass season passes to benefit the Northwest Avalanche Center. I’ve posted some pictures from the event and also one of the videos that was played during the presentation. It was a completely filled event.

Chase Jarvis Event At REI
Chase Jarvis Event At REI
Chase Jarvis Event At REI
Chase Jarvis Event At REI
Chase Jarvis Event At REI
Chase Jarvis Event At REI
Chase Jarvis Event At REI

YouTube Preview Image There were 3954 still frames were used in this video, pretty cool right? Here are some words from industry known professionals:

“Chase’s images have always had that certain intangible quality that set them apart. It takes a photographer who really knows skiing and snowboarding to document it well, and Stevens Pass captures this beautifully… What I also love about this book is that the photos go beyond cliff hucks and deep powder. By including some beautiful scenics, some quiet moments, and images of little tykes learning to ski, Chase has made this book something that everyone can enjoy.”
– Chris Jerard Associate Publisher | Freeskier and Snowboard Magazines

“Images and moments from one of Washington’s classic ski areas, Chase’s photos provide an intimate look at contemporary NW ski and snowboard culture.”
– Jeff Galbriath, Publisher, The Ski Journal & frequency: The Snowboarder’s Journal

“If a picture really is worth a thousand words than Chase Jarvis’ images from Stevens Pass go a long way toward putting us writers out of business.”
– Crai S Bower, 2008 Northern Lights Award Winning Writer

ColorSync Calibration

April 5th, 2008

ColorSync is a great thing to have built into an OS. The first time that I ever tried to calibrate my monitors using this App, I failed miserably and had to borrow an Eye-One system from Dave. I definitely succeeded this time around and have a few charts to show the difference.

wanken shelby white

Take note that there is a large difference in brightness/contrast of objects on white backgrounds. The monitor had a tendency to over comphensate the brightness and would result in blow outs. I noticed this largely when opening Safari or Firefox.

wanken shelby white

Part of the reason that these monitors were largely off calibre was because of my recent reformat of the Mac Pro Quad workstation. Things had been running a little slow and the main drive was getting congested. There is bound to be a full network format here in the next week as well as the addition of a Time Capsule. It never hurts to make sure all machines are up-to-date and running full speed.

If you’re interested in using this method of Calibration, just remember these few things:

1. Make sure you sit back at least 2.5-3 feet from your monitor (depending on how large it is).
2. Set your Brightness control to 100%.
3. It won’t be a perfect calibration. I’d still recommend getting a Calibration device such as EyeOne.

EyeOne can be purchased online at X-Rite.

Workflow Question & Answer

June 23rd, 2007

I think I may start doing a weekly, maybe even daily, question and answer post. But for now here’s a question from Andy. He asks:

“What’s your typical digital work flow? From CF card to finished piece ready for print.”

I work on an Apple Mac Pro so my work flow is lean and mean to say the least. In the past I’ve been troubled by working on a PC but now that I’ve made the switch, I feel as if nothing really stands in the way of my work flow. Moving onto my process, I’ll run through some of my work flow steps briefly.

1. When I get to my station I tend to close all of my applications and pop the card into my SanDisk reader and open up Aperture. To import quickly I use the quick import shortcut (CTRL + I) to import the items directly into the library. I like to keep organized so I make a new album and continue importing.

2. Once all of the photos are fully imported, I’m ready to skim through and rate images. I rate the images from one star to five stars. One star being the good, five stars being the excellent. Once I’ve rated all of the images, I tell Aperture to select all of my five Star (sometimes 4 star) photos in a selection area for the next step in the process.

3. With a larger number of photos–sports–I like to organize them into groups/stacks (I.e. tackles, kicks, catches). With portraits I tend to organize by full, half or head shots. This is a huge way to cut down on time trying to decide which shots are best to use (time management).

4. After sorting, rating and stacking, I then begin color correction and other post work that might need to be done.

5. After post-processing is done, I can finally select the images to export at full quality TIFF’s or JPEG’s and designate the sizes for the printer. I just leave my PPI (Pixels Per Inch) at 300 for best print out quality.

Andy also asked me:

“What’s your preferred method of long term storage for your digital images?”

I would have to go with Hard drives. Even though its not the safest storage option, it is the most convenient for me. I backup all of my photos onto Aperture’s Vault system and maintain backups elsewhere. See my post about backing up your work.