Bezier Curves

This week we had an introduction to using Adobe Illustrator. After a look at the different tools we were set the task of tracing round a simple image, particularly using the pen tool and bezier curves.

In the past, I have created a path around an object by clicking with the pen tool and then converting each point to a curve. It is a very time consuming way of working even if it did achieve similar results.  Using Bezier curves, by clicking the pen tool and then dragging the anchor was a little tricky at first, but I think I mostly got the hang of it.

To practice this tool further I found an image of a script font, that had lots of curves on it, and copied and pasted it to Illustrator. Then I used the pen tool and Bezier curves to trace over the letters.

I also used layers to create each letter separately.

This is the result:

Bezier Curves-01

This is the original image that I copied from.

Bezier Curves-02

There are a couple of areas that are not quite the same and I have drawn some of the lines a bit thicker than they were supposed to be but all in all, I don’t think it is a bad first attempt.

Histograms

A histogram is a statistical graph that represents the frequency of values of quantity by vertical rectangles of varying heights and widths. The width of the rectangles is in proportion to the class interval under consideration, and their areas represent the relative frequency of the phenomenon in question (Dictionary.com).

My camera’s light meter measures how many light and dark pixels (luminosity) there are in a scene and displays them as a histogram. The blackest pixels, or the shadows, are displayed on the left, the whitest pixels, or the highlights, are displayed on the right and the other shades in between in a 256 step scale. The midtones, displayed at 18% grey are in the centre. The taller the graph is, the more pixels of that tone are in the image.

If a pixel is totally black it will be shown against the left axis and it cannot be corrected in Photoshop or Lightroom. If a pixel is totally white it will be shown against the right axis and again it cannot be corrected. This is called clipping and is best avoided.

If the photo being taken is under-exposed the histogram will be mostly to the left, if it is over-exposed it will be mostly to the right. A correct exposure displays a histogram with a good range of shades throughout.

It is always worth checking the histogram on the camera to see if all of the tones are where they are expected to be. Low key images should display a histogram with most of the tones to the left and a high key image should display a histogram with most of the tones to the right. Cameras try to automatically produce photographs with a good range of midtones so particularly when taking low key and high key images exposure settings may need to be adjusted manually.

Histograms also give an indication of the amount of contrast there is in a photograph. A narrow histogram generally reflects an image with less contrast while a broad histogram has more contrast. Contrast has darker shadows and brighter highlights to ‘pull out’ texture in an image.

Things in a Pile

For the Things in a Pile element of the Interpretations assignment I chose to take a photo of my ironing in a pile.

Things in a Pile
Click for a larger image

In the picture, there are several piles of ironing and I have added other piles of different things hidden around the room too. There are some biscuits in the bottom left, slippers on the floor, blankets on the window seat, videos on the television cabinet, conkers on the corner of the rug (to keep any spiders away) and on the edge of the mantle you can just see a pile of coasters with my Slinkachu figures sitting around.

On the television you can just see Iron Man playing. Not being keen on this chore I’d rather see a superhero called Ironing Man but I’ll take what I can get!

I took this photograph using the natural light from the window, converted it to black and white and tweaked up the contrast ever so slightly.

Red Ball

Under the heading of Red Ball, I wanted to photograph something that was red and round but not necessarily a ball.

I’ve been meaning to take some photographs that I could use on my Christmas cards so I’ve started with a red bauble. Of all the photographs I have taken today these are my favourites.

The photos are ok to be used on my Christmas cards but I’m not sure that they are creative enough for my assignment. I’ll post one of them to the assignment page for now, but I hope to do something a little more creative before the assignment is due to be complete.

Robyn Woolston

We had an interesting talk from Robyn Woolston this week.

Robyn is an artist that works across several disciplines and is also an activist. Working predominantly with waste materials, she aims not only to make us think about what we throw away but also about how we use various ‘waste’ spaces.

Smart Price

In her work Robyn has used thousands of reclaimed plastic knives and forks, plastic bags, lanyards and plastic gift cards. Items that would otherwise be sent to landfill and take several hundred years to degrade

I really like the way her work is so focused on her message. She has a clear understanding of what she wants people to think about and sticks very firmly to that.

Robyn explained how her own work was informed by her circumstances and the the death of her mother, pointing out that discussion about waste is closely related to discussion about death.

It has led me to think about what I throw away and what that says about me. Perhaps my own Vanitas photographs should be based around what I throw away.

More of Robyn’s work can be found at www.robynwoolston.com