Monday, 14 January 2013

ASSIGNMENT 5 : Response to tutor feedback

I have now received the feedback from my tutor on the final Assignment 5 – Illustration and Narrative– and I am very pleased with the positive response.  The summary comments were:

You comment how much you enjoyed creating a narrative on a factual subject.   I can only comment that I enjoyed your discourse to a similar degree, but also for the well planned and executed narrative.   The lighting in the silversmith’s department did not appear to be on your side but I feel that you coped with the conditions with some skill.   Your commentary is complete and well presented and your use of a storyboard to plan your work has obviously been used to effect.   The images which would figure in the magazine article are laid out with a taste which is appropriate to the hand-crafted product for which it is intended.  

You have finished this module with a well-conceived assignment.   The chosen subject has enabled you to demonstrate your ability to reproduce colour and texture.   The framing and composition have necessitated that my criticisms have been quite limited.   I my opinion your work has been of a consistently high standard throughout this module and up to the standard expected of students at this stage of the course.   Your enjoyment of this assignment has only been matched by my own and I hope you will pass on my own appreciation of the work of the jeweller.  Done!

Revised 'magazine' layout is here.

Of the more detailed comments on specific images there were a couple of challenges and points for consideration, so I’ll take these in turn.  On the front cover image the comments were:
Hand-made jewellery is a labour intensive bespoke product at the high end of the market and requires the restrained and tasteful presentation you have aimed for in this image.   Placing the subject off centre immediately lifts the product out of the mass market area to appeal to a more select clientele by its contemporary character.   There is one point I would like you to give a little consideration.   As I studied this image I became obsessed by the area of black which occupies most of the upper half of the image and I wondered if a very thin line of wide spaced white lettering running just below the upper edge would alleviate my feelings.

Having reviewed the image that I submitted as a single photograph I agree with this and that the area of black at the top of the frame is too dominant.  However, in the version of the image that I submitted for the magazine format I had cropped this photograph a little as well of course having added the white text.  In response to this I have made a change to the submitted single image and made a different crop to match that used in the magazine cover as shown below.

The Stone

If you had made this quite beautiful green turquoise much bigger in the frame you could have given it the effect of a paving stone and I think that you made the right choice.   There is just enough shine on the edge to demonstrate the surface quality to effect.
I was especially pleased with this as I spent some long time trying to flag the lights to get the edge effect without getting glare off the top of the stone.

Meeting the Client

The idea of separating the product from the discussion is very good but the jeweller and client in the distance are almost lost in the gloom and if you could do a bit of Photoshopping to make them by more prominent it could yield a big improvement.   I know that you cannot reshoot but I have a thought running around in my mind that if you could extract the image of the stone from the previous image and set the whole shot again with a piece of black paper in the immediate foreground.   The image of the stone could then be arranged on the paper.   My own preference would be to have the product discussion clearer in the background not as far from the camera position and the image of the stone much larger.   The idea is to keep the stone in its principal role with the meeting still appearing blurred but not too distant.   I would be interested to know you reaction.
This was a good suggestion and although the stone was no longer available I did have the opportunity to re-shoot the set up with the ‘client’ with a blank in the foreground, and then use Photoshop CS5 to select the stone from another image (using the select and the refine edge commands) and place it as my tutor had suggested.  I thought this made a big improvement and I amended the submitted images and magazine layout accordingly with the following photograph.  Although this was of course not as originally shot, I thought it was an acceptable approach in light of this whole assignment being targeted to a final magazine layout.

Drafting the Design Idea

This is a successful ‘looking over the shoulder’ shot during the design process.  Exposure has been just right to handle detail of the emerging design on the drawing board and the drawing implements.

Cutting out the Baseplate

The cutting out of the baseplate with a hand fretsaw is an essential part of the process.    This operation requires considerable concentration is shown at a an angle which depicts the position of the hands in relation to the sheet of silver and the silver dust particles around the saw blade give added realism.
I was pleased that the silver sawdust got noticed as my first efforts were taken at the start of the cut and I went back to repeat the shot specifically to get the metal particles as it looked rather a sterile image without any sign of action.

Forming the Bezel, Rolling the Textured Corner pieces and Doming the Corner Pieces were not specifically commented on other than that they fitted the narrative well and were executed appropriately.

Soldering the Bezel to the Baseplate

The flame of the blow torch and the glowing charcoal portray the essence of this image.   The camera angle has been well chosen.    I think that the brightness of the shadow detail could be raised to show a little more detail in the bottom right quarter of the frame.
I agree with this and I can see that on screen the shadows look blocked in the charcoal slab, so I used the diagonal gradient tool in Lightroom 4.3 to lift the brightness and expose some more of the detail as below.

Checking against the Brief
You have created a very appropriate image with which to close your sequence.   The details in the drawing and the texture of the finished pendant have been captured accurately.   There are some parts of images, presumably taken in the course of the project which I find distracting.  If a reshoot is not possible they could be removed by some judicious Photoshopping although the fall-off of the illumination of the paper in the back ground could make the task difficult.

There were indeed some distracting elements in the original, although at the time I thought this made it more of a ‘work in progress’ type of image.  However, I re-cropped it slightly and removed the areas of concern to end up with a less cluttered image as below which I think suits the ‘clean’ magazine layout and tone rather better.

As I posted before in my original blog on Assignment 5, I got a huge amount out of process and from trying my hand at shooting images to a specific brief and then formulating them into an article for a magazine.  I don’t claim to have too much idea about page layouts and magazine composition as yet, but it was interesting to make an attempt and at least end up with something that pleased me anyway!