If you've mastered the basics of Adobe Illustrator (and/or other vector graphics programs such as Inkscape), and you want to add some new tricks to your repertoire, check out Vectortuts+. This site is an awesome resource full of tips, tutorials, articles, and assignments shared by artists from across the internet. Vectortuts+ is part of the hugely popular Tuts+ Network, an online learning platform which provides free content to help teach creative skills. Tuts+ sites also offer premium accounts with access to e-courses and e-books for a fee to those wanting more in-depth information.
I spent some time trolling the Vectortuts+ archive and found several tutorials that might interest surface pattern designers. Have a look and then explore the site to see what else you can learn. Enjoy!
SPDG members, please join us for our next webinar on October 8 for a presentation on how to use Adobe Muse to create your own website. Our host will be Brian Wood from Adobe Inc., whom you might remember from our January meeting about Adobe Creative Cloud. Brian will be covering the basics of this exciting new tool and answering any questions you might have.
For those unfamiliar with Adobe Muse, here is a description from adobe.com:
If you are unable to make the webinar, don't worry! As always, we will be recording it for later viewing.
We hope to see you there!
A big thank you is owed to the Guild's very own Jill Turney and Sarah Schwartz for the informative Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials that they presented at last week's meeting. Those of us who were in attendance were impressed by your knowledge and grateful that you took the time to prepare and share that valuable information with us!
If you were unable to make it to the meeting or you just want to see the presentations again, the videos for the tutorials are now available for member access. You can find a list of links and passwords to access the videos in our Google Groups. In addition, Jill prepared handouts for her tutorials and they are available for you in our archives.
Thank you again Jill and Sarah! We look forward to more tutorials in the future.
Here is a photo I took while walking on a nature trail. I really liked the shape of the snow between the small rocks—I was sure I could do something great with it! Using Photoshop, I started to apply filters to my photo. I wanted to focus on the abstract shape that the snow was forming, so I tried a couple different filters until I found one that created a shape that I was happy with—the cut out filter. The shape looked great, but the filter gave it a texture I didn't like so I made it a flat object. Problem solved! I then cut off one end of the motif that was too spindly. The shape finally felt just right to use in a design. See my first attempt at a pattern below. Next up: a modern looking Jacquard with this funky shape from nature.
Morris & Co. Wallpaper. Printed between 1915 & 1917.
Have you ever wondered how wallpaper gets printed? There are tons of traditional methods:
Don't stop 'til you fill a page . . . or two. Have fun!
We love to be connected. People are attached to the internet all day long. Businesses without websites may as well be non-existent. And images have taken a leading role in selling products and services.
Fabulous! We love it!
For artists, there’s a catch. Along with ease of ability to browse images, there is an equal ease of ability to copy images, frequently without the owner’s permission, essentially undermining the artist’s livelihood. So what’s an artist to do? Not post images and be virtually invisible, or post images and risk having one’s work copied?
To this, there is no easy answer. But I’ve created a set of guidelines so that if you do post, you are putting yourself in the best possible position.
Understand that if someone wants to steal your images, they will. But by and large, most people are honest — just ignorant. For instance, a large portion of the population believes that if an image is on the internet, it is free to copy. As an artist, you know that as soon as you create an image, it is protected by copyright laws in the U.S., regardless of whether it has the © symbol and regardless of whether you have registered it with the Copyright Office. Nonetheless, a large portion of the public is unaware of this fact. BUT, when they see the © symbol, they become aware of your rights and may be deterred from copying.
Watermarked, cropped, and low-res.
Step #1: Put a watermark on all images you post. Your watermark should include the © symbol and your name at a minimum (© Sarah Schwartz). A proper copyright notice under the US copyright laws also includes a year of publication (© 2012 Sarah Schwartz). It’s also wise to put your website or other contact information in your watermark so that someone knows how to get in contact with you in the event that they are interested in your work.
Step #2: Use low resolution and cropped images whenever possible. If you’re posting images, you may be thinking that you want to post high-res full-size images to show your work in the best possible light. However, posting high-res images just makes life easier for the would-be copier. Having low res images makes it much harder to physically copy your work. Think about it: it is much easier for a copyright infringer to download a high-res image right into photoshop or illustrator, make a couple modifications and claim it as his or her own than it is to download a low-res image where one would actually have to redraw the design.
And if you can, don’t post your full-size image. Just post a cropped version showing only a portion of your image. If someone is “inspired” by your work, at least they can’t copy the whole thing.
Step #3: Apply Metadata. What is metadata? Metadata is basically information about the image that is invisible when viewing the image, but it is stored in the image file. Using metadata is a way to embed copyright and contact information into your image.
It is very easy to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Bridge to apply metadata. I like to use Bridge. In Bridge, open an image in the viewer. Under the Metadata tab, enter your contact and copyright information.
In Photoshop and Illustrator, you can do the same thing going to File>File Info and then entering information under the “Description” and IPTC tabs. Note, that you do not need to fill in every bit of information.The copyright information and a website or email for contact is the most critical. It is up to you if you want to provide additional contact information like an address or phone #. The more you provide, however, the more ways people can get in touch with you about the image or your services, and this is especially useful since over the years email addresses and other contact info change.
Now that you’ve applied your metadata, that data should travel with your image. Your metadata is readable to anyone who opens your image in image editing software (like Photoshop or Illustrator). So if someone ever finds an orphaned copy of your work (e.g., someone copied it and maybe even cropped it!), it is still traceable back to you.
But be warned. Do not rely on metadata exclusively. Some social media sites strip out the metadata information (that’s why you need to make sure you have a watermark too). Reasons for removing this data include protecting personal information (e.g., some people are sensitive to having their address and phone numbers published). Removing the data, however, may be a violation of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act).
Many photo sharing sites remove this information, including Pinterest and Facebook. For information about which sites strip metadata and which don’t, visit Controlled Vocabulary which has preliminary survey results studying which social media sites are stripping metadata. If you want to test an image to see if it includes metadata, visit Jeff Friedl’s Online Metadata Viewer - a tool to view image metadata. Directions to use this tool are also on the Controlled Vocabulary site.
Step #4: Register with the Copyright Office.
Although you do not need to register your images with the Copyright Office to have copyright protection in them, it is always a good idea to do so. First, you cannot sue someone for copyright infringement until you register. Second, there are many benefits conferred if you register early, including the ability to collect statutory damages ($750-$30,000 per infringement). Registration doesn’t prevent someone from copying your image, but it may help you feel better if you have to sue someone!
Let’s face it, even if you take all of the above steps, the unscrupulous individual is still going to copy your images. But short of burying your work in a closet, it is a risk that every artist takes for any image shown in public. But by following the above steps, you have moved yourself a long way down the path toward minimizing that risk and keeping your images traceable to you, while maintaining the visibility that is so critical in today’s connected world.
Image Attribution for "HTTP" internet image at top of post: By Rock1997 (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (image link)