Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nico armchair for Catapult Design

Cubic designs, function or artistic, remind me of architecture. If I recall correctly from back in my schooldays, in technical drawings class, we learned about perspectives. Occasionally your mind conjures up jargon that suddenly become relevant again. Words like...

* Orthographic projection: front, side, top, lots of right angles (like house blueprints)

* Oblique projection: front with right angles, side at 45deg foreshortened to half depth, top [or another variant where the top view is king with lots of right angles, but pivoted at 45deg for a sense of perspective, and the front and side are extended downwards] (great for games!)

* Isometric projection: centered axis, right side 30deg, left side 30deg, top, no right angles (like diagrams of machine parts where there is a sense of perspective and correct lengths are preserved)

* Perspective projection: realistic 3d distortion with vanishing points (like contemporary 3d games, and real life)

As with architecture photography, with anything boxy looking, you have to make a judgement call whether to leave natural distortion or correct for it so it looks as good as you imagined it to be. And the answer is not entirely consistent, but it takes you back to the schooldays conundrum of why do we have a multitude of ways to do anything -- a bit of insight enables you to pick the most appropriate option, or mix and match. One thing's for sure, a chair is a good place to sit while doing so.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hunter armchair for Catapult Design

Last week, a random morning, the phone rings, and I see Leigh from on caller ID (the Linkedin app with contacts sync hard at work I presumed). "Can you shoot a chair? And get the photos back quickly?", asks he. Of course! He drops it off, with a deadline. And so with the excitement of a new high end client, I got to it.

When it comes to choosing between great detail and interesting styling, the preference depends on any number of factors and conditions that avail themselves. But generally a few simple angles and high basic detail makes for bulletproof catalog images, which can be recomposed into any promotional collateral as needed at a later time.

As a matter of interest about workflow, knowing in advance that you are not keeping the background or shadows makes for an efficient shoot. Luckily the client knew to ask for deep etching, which resolved that issue instantly.

The three columns illustrate what we want as useful deliverables: white background JPGs (for the web), transparent background PNGs (for Illustrator/Inkscape compositions), and a pre etch references. The other workflow files that form the project are the original RAWs (camera) and sidecars (Darkroom/Darktable), and retouching files (Photoshop/GIMP), all of which come in handy when you need to go back to redo anything that was not immediately known.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


You know good material when you see it, or at least that's what your gut instinct tells you. When I was shooting the OST Wave Puzzle, which was a while ago now, I knew that I wanted to make a graphic out it.

There is just something about it. The telling texture and artifacts that result from the construction process (3d printing, sand casting, and a rumble tumble); the primitive cobble stone like familiarity; the mathematical cold hard physics; with rounded cubic general form softened by erosion and intent; the timeless solid mass of the thing!

This time I was working with what is basically just pure form. Special consideration did not have to be made for color, complexity or context, like with the previous caclotus project. I got to test some ideas, like layering and depth, tiling and scalability, and going with simplicity for recognition rather than running over the complexity cliff. I shall call it OSTWAVE.