Workflow – Part 3

Workflows as we discussed in Workflow – Part 2, is supposed to be a logical progression from start to finish. No worries if you do not understand the process outlined in Workflow – Part 2. While the principles will work in whatever project you apply them, the logic or thought process may not be yours. Allow me to give another perspective of this process so that you can break it down for yourself.

A workflow is “a process designed to stop detail loss; to produce the best quality product in the least possible amount of time.” This is my working definition of “workflow”; a dictionary definition gives this meaning: “progress of work: the progress or rate of progress of work done by a business, department, or person”. I have described this at the level of a personal project but will become business if you use it for your photography studio and departmental if your studio hires employees. See how quickly this expands?

Let the progression be your own, but be careful to include the details. In my experience working in the corporate world, one practice run on a workflow is good and two is better but three is wise. I have run it through on paper the first time, working out the major problems. The second time I run it through with friends, explaining to them the details: I ask for their questions, understanding and critiques. Third time through, I take a test product through my process making notes of snags and problems.

Make no mistake, by this time I am tired and ready to quit. This is the point at which you are closest to letting the workflow do your heavy lifting. You are doing a great job!

One of the best ways of making certain your workflow has everything you ought to have in your completed product is to write these details on paper. Documents are your friends!

Workflow – Part 2

Workflow is a process that details the first step to the last. Setting up a workflow will become an instinct to you, but until then let us catalog and learn the process of priorities. By priorities I mean, by completing the previous step you now have what is required to complete this step and have made available to yourself the tools for the next step.

Taking a small project using the same principles as photo processing will help us explain the process in as few words as possible.

To build a storage shed there must be some decisions made of the size and design. From these decisions an architectural blue print can be made. Now with the blue prints we can make a materials list and go shopping. Do you see the progression? Here is another way of looking at the process:

  1. Design and size
  2. Architectural drawings
  3. Materials list
  4. Materials shopping
  5. Ground breaking and construction

Each step when completed is setting up the success of the following step.

Starting with a new project, what are the signs of the first step?

  1. What is the first puzzle piece? First, set up your end product. How will it look? What are you providing; service or tangible product?
  2. What will you give with this service/product? What else should hold your attention in the phase of “material gathering”?
  3. How many practical steps can be made or planned to affect a clear understanding for everyone involved?

Something I have found invaluable in this process is having a scratch pad and new paper to record both ideas for consideration and decisions leading to the conclusion.

Take deep breath and relax. Things will start to fall into place on their own with these foundational questions answered. A challenge is not worth gray hair, unless you like the distinguished look. *Grin*

Enjoy.

Post-Production Software – Part 4

MyPaint is a program designed for the creation of digital art or artistic expression on a digital image in .PNG; . JPEG or .ORA (Open Raster images). Do not worry if you do not understand the “Open Raster” terminology for a file format. This .ORA format will largely only be used by or applicable to professional artists.

For those that do use the Open Raster format, you will be interested to know that you can transfer .ORA images between GIMP and MyPaint.

MyPaint does not as much occur in the daily workflow of a photographer, unless there is a special ordered image to be styled or retouched as a painting.

Parents, this is a wonderful and inexpensive alternative to getting an artistic interpretation of your child’s professional portrait. Using one of your favorite photographs of you child, import the photo in .JPEG (.JPG is the same format) into MyPaint and use the different brushes for your desired effect.

Copyright of Foetoss Light 2012

I took a photo I had taken, imported it into MyPaint and used different brush style to compliment or fit the texture of the surface being altered. Now it has a feel or photograph and hand painting.

Artistically inclined users will find MyPaint intuitive. Be sure to look around the menus. There are many hot keys listed next to the operation in the menu. (The menus being “File”, “Edit” and so on.)

Capabilities: Layers, Brush Styles, Quick Tool Selection, Paper Texture, Single Key Hot-Keys and Quick Working Surface Positioning.

Strengths: The software is very attentive to each detail, including mouse cursor position, touch-pad scrolling and touch-pad selection. These three touch-pad specific things will affect your work by rotating your work surface, zoom in or out or move your work surface in the opposite direction of your mouse cursor’s position. Quite a surprise if you are not expecting the help.

MyPaint is a “light” program meaning that it is quick to respond and resourceful in its operations so as not to require large amounts of CPU time and Swap space. (Those are technical terms for “thinking power” = CPU time and “temporary memory” = Swap space.)

Weaknesses: While I have a hard time saying this, it is true. MyPaint devotes 75% of its power and ability to graphics pads like the Wacom tablets. It is still possible to use the program (MyPaint) without a graphics tablet, but it is not as fluid or convenient. This is not to make a case against the program. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a program as effective with both graphics tablet and touch-pad.

This is a strong program also young in the market as Darktable. MyPaint is currently on version 1.0. While I have not found bugs in MyPaint, I must confess I do not have the time or experience in the program that I would like.

Each program has its own capabilities, strengths and weaknesses just as we will choose them based on our use for the program’s applicable service.