Virtual Team Apps - Skype

In my virtual design team experience, one essential tool that makes communication so much easier is to use Skype to host a group conference call. Not only does this application allow you to talk directly to the group, but you can also have a group chat that enables the team to share documents and even share your desktop. It is free and works on both mac and PC. www.skype.com

Dropbox - Great Doc Share App.

A great app for document sharing. This application has been a life saver in my virtual team experiences. It updates the file for everyone in real time. It is just another folder on your and their computer.

See the video and check out the website to get this great app. http://www.dropbox.com/


Team Conflict

QUESTION? Why do conflicts arise in a virtual team?

Conflict occurs in teams for many different reasons. Whether the team struggles with who’s in charge, a lazy teammate, individuals trying to get off task, a change in direction, or even not meeting deadlines, conflict occurs. In the end most conflicts that arise can be boiled down to due to two types of conflict.

Cognitive conflict involves problems with ideas, principles, issues, or even processes. A cognitive conflict is more targeted at the task and how it is accomplished. The other type of conflict is affective, which focuses on people, values and emotions. This type of conflict is directly linked to personal and the different personalities and background.

Most of the time poor communication is a cognitive conflict. When things are unclear as far as, goals, delegation, expectation, deadlines, quality, and even concept, a team will fall into conflict because of the lack of communication. To avoid this it is important for everyone to ask questions, and take time to make sure everyone is on the same page. It may also be wise to over communicate and have critical items in writing more than once. In the virtual environment it is even more difficult as there is not the visual cues to reinforce what is being said. Also technology does sometimes fail, and critical messages may never actually make it to their recipients.

Having unrealistic expectations is of an affective type of conflict. This is especially true when members of the team may not have as much experience or talent as they claim. Emotions run wild when teammates cannot meet expectations. Individuals in the team may become disappointed in coordinator, and try to take control of the team themselves. In contrast a coordinator my not be satisfied with the work of the finisher and create conflict with trying to improve the quality. Another issue almost every team experiences in this area, is when some members may not commit the same amount of time and effort other team members feel should be given. The conflict arises as the over achiever is irritated at the slacker and the slacker is annoyed at the push of the over achiever.

What ever the conflict is it is important to try to repair the breakdown, to make the unit function more effectively and not a repeating incident. Conflicts can either be resolved constructively or destructively. A constructive resolution would show growth and change from the conflict. It actually fixes a problem and the team is stronger because of the conflict. A deconstructive resolution is the worst way to resolve a conflict as no resolution is reached. It then divides and team and breaks down team moral. It drains the team of energy and vision.

AIO Lecture Week1

Team Mission Statement

QUESTION? What is the importance of a mission statement for a team?

A mission statement helps a team keep on track with the objective and direction of the task. One of the many functions of a mission statement is to identify a direction and goal for the team to work towards. It will help define and prioritize how and what the team does, as well as, how resources are used. It reveals the identity, standards and core function of the team’s aspirations. In the most simple of terms, it organizes the group to be more productive by getting everyone one the same page.

Without a mission statement a team could easily get off task and waste time floundering instead of making steps to accomplish and expedite the goal. A team lacking a mission statement might trying to accomplish the same goal, as a team with a mission statement, but will waste time, energy and resources. Without a sound direction the team also may be come frustrated, conflicted and even hostile toward each other. The end result the team produces will also probably not be as clear and effective as a group with a mission statement.

A mission statement helps turn a team into a well-oiled machine, as it spells out the values and objectives. With the values and goals defined direction is quite clear, therefore, eliminating some opportunities for conflict.

AIO Lecture Week 1


Extreme Realism

Extreme Realism

Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jmpuMQdvH2c/SognjcyIQbI/AAAAAAAAAHU/aIiXUlBWgys/s400/Picture+3.png

Isn’t that a photograph? It is hard to believe Don Eddy was able to capture such detail in his paintings of cars. He is obviously an artist that was strongly influenced by the Extreme Realism Movement and actually considered himself to be a photorealist. In this piece Don Eddy is able to give the viewer a very accurate account of a common everyday setting. His work is so detailed with realistic reflections, light, color and value that at first glance the viewer might think they are actually looking at a photograph opposed to a painting. The artist has revealed the setting without distorting it.



Image Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_H__ZfihjeDc/S7UVYnXvKdI/AAAAAAAAAd4/QdckPLurCNw/s1600/zhatter.png

This illustration of The Mad Hatter, titled "Time for Tea" by Alex Pribnow, reveals a solid influence of the cubism movement. The viewer can see the different parts of the figure have been broken down into simple geometric shapes used in this movement. The viewer can see the cone, cylinder and sphere forms used to create the figure. It is also apparent the artist does not use a traditional perspective with the figures face, but shows multiple viewpoints. The main view of the figure is a profile view, but we are still able to see both eyes and eyebrows on the face.



Image Source: http://behance.vo.llnwd.net/profiles/57681/projects/488962/576811271844962.jpg

This self-portrait, by Francesco Sambo, shows great influence of Surrealism. The artist has placed brought the viewer into an unresolved conflict. He has placed a figure that is morphing into or out of the wall. The figure has a large hole in his chest. Seeing the texture and slight color at the top left is symbolic of the blood splatter that would have happened when the hole was created. I notice that there is not a rich use of color, but more muted. The blood has turned browner in color, which tells the viewer this incident happened a while ago. Finally the gesture and expression of the figure lets the viewer know that the experience is still fresh and unresolved by the figure. Further more the surreal influence is very present in this piece as we are looking into the subconscious of the artist.


Pop Art - Andy Warhol - Soup Label

QUESTION: Is the label on a can of soup, art? What is your opinion of the work of Andy Warhol? In what ways has it affected your own style - or has it not?

In my opinion the label on soup is not art, but has been graphically arranged for effective communication. There is an artistic touch to the organization and use of space, color, fonts that establishes visual hierarchy, but in my opinion it is not art on the typical Campbell’s soup label. I would consider this more design or layout or design.  In examining other labels for example Hobo Soup, I find this example to be a form of art. The designer has incorporated and illustration in a clever combination with the necessary text and color. The movement of the cooking soup smell works great to create visual hierarchy and lead the viewer to the product name, which is also identified by the imagery. The imagery is interacting with the text and works together as a whole.  I would consider this label art.
The practice of taking common everyday objects, images and even icons that are easily identified in their culture and incorporating them and redefining them in artwork is known as the “Pop Art” style. Andy Warhol is one of the many artists known for working in this style and being part of this movement. While he has been able to create many pieces and be quite successful in this style, I personally am not a big fan of the style alone. It seems strange that an artist can repeat an image, object or photograph, change the colors and claim it as their art. I know as a designer, I can’t even really use photography that has been produced by another individual without purchasing it or asking permission.
Even though I am not a huge fan of this movement in art history, I personally think it is one of the best and more inspiring movements. The main elements I pull from this style are rebellion, mockery, and free political expression. I see how it mocks mass production and materialism with the boom of consumerism in that time of society. I see had it points its finger at society and laughs. It shattered the division of fine artists and commercial design and has bridged the gap between these two art forms. Without the Pop Art movement graphic design would be completely different today.

AIO Lecture


Preflight, FlightCheck - Printing problems

Preflight is very important. I really never knew much about it before I started working my first job as an Art Director. In this position I had to flightcheck all projects before we would send them to the printer. Basically, if there were any issues it would come back to me as I was the one that did the final checks.

In the beginning I was very confused by the process as I found so many issues alerted I, that I was told just to ignore. With more experience I learned what issues would cause problems and which ones would not.

One key thing to keep in mind of why flightcheck is important is it will make you aware of issues that you may not have even considered. One time I was running fight check on a project to send out to a specific printer. This printer had sent me their personal settings for the flight check software, and would make sure everything was setup to their specs.

When running this project through I found that many of the gradients in the design did not meet the standards for the printer. In this case the printer wanted no color less than 10% or it would not show up. The gradients were created with 10% color, and would not show up at all.

While I was not the one that created the gradients, I would have been the one that got nailed with missing this detail when the project didn’t print correctly. I was able to flag this issue and got the company that created the gradients in some hot water.

Fight check is a great last step to ensure you will have the print you are looking for. If you don’t flight check you will probably end up making multiple trips to the printer as little details easily slip by, and affect the print. I have found something as silly as not having embedded images and not including them with my print package has wasted my time as well as the printers.

As far as checking it yourself, without software assistance, I don’t suggest it. The software is there, USE IT! There may be a small issue that you are not even aware of.


Photoshop Adjusting Levels.

When adjusting levels in Photoshop use Adjustment Layers so you are doing “No Destructive Editing”

Go to your adjustment layers pallet.
Choose levels.
Hold down the “OPTION” key while sliding the sliders and adjusting your histogram.
Notice when the color starts being revealed. That is a good stopping point.

Start Image:

Notice adjustment Holding Option Down

 See Corrected Image:

Fashion Illustration VS. Technical Illustration

Fashion Illustration VS. Technical Illustration

While fundamental drawing and rendering skills are required in the professional illustration industry, the various fields require greater discipline of certain techniques than others. In taking a closer look at fashion illustration and technical illustration one will quickly realize these two areas of illustration require a drastically different approach to accomplish their objectives.

Fashion illustration has greatly evolved over the years. With the advances in photography, fashion illustrators are no longer burdened with the responsibility of rendering out fashion advertisements, catalogues and displays. Today these items are mostly done with photography. Photographers, however have not replaced the job of fashion illustrators, but rather opened the opportunity to work specifically in the initial creation and design of clothing, accessories and garments. Fashion illustrators work out the design of the items, before they are created with fabric or materials. Their designs do not have strict standards as far as needing to be realistic or proportionally atomically. Rather, they can be loose, expressive and stylized, which may help display and even sell the overall look of the proposed style. The drawings rely on the use of line and the simplified human form to express the concept, look and style the designer has in mind.

The fashion illustration below, for example, uses the same girl over and over in different clothing and accessories combinations. It is not at all realistic as the drawing of the figure is quite distorted and the model is identical in each rendering. At the same time, it gives the viewer a strong sense of the look the designer is going for with their clothing.

Image Source:http://www.lushlee.com/images/art/09/9/fashion-illustration-by-bu.jpg

Technical illustration is known for its detail, accuracy, dimension and proportions, which is quite a different direction from fashion illustration. A technical illustrator needs to have a great understanding of perspective, drafting, mechanical drawing, and even knowledge of software like CAD, CorelDraw and in some instances 3D software. While some technical drawings maybe simplified line drawings, others may be a detailed perspective rendering. The overall effect should show the viewer what something does, or give a greater understanding in a technical nature or direction. Regardless of how detailed the technical illustration maybe, it will reveal the important details needed to communicate a sometimes very complex idea. A major advantage of a technical illustration over a photograph would be the ability to simplify the drawing for an easier understanding of a complex idea. A great example of this would be a technical illustration showing how a four cylinder engine functions. The illustrator, James Provost, has actually cut away a section of the engine case to reveal what is going on inside. The drawing below is detailed; proportionate and accurate to show give the viewer an understanding of the complex process happing inside the engine.

Image Source: http://jamesprovost.com/files/2009/11/power-split-device-cutaway.jpg

Technical illustrations many times use colors and added symbols for clarity and even sometimes my show a extra enlarged view to accommodate certain details and complexities.

Fashion and technical illustration are quite different when considering how detailed and precise technical is compared to the free stylistic renderings done for fashion. These two drastically different approaches do have a few things in common. Both fashion illustration and technical illustration are sometimes used in initial studies before fabrication. A technical illustration of a new product would be proposed to a board, like a fashion illustrator may have created a rendering of a collection in proposal for a designer looking for a contract. Fashion obviously deals with fabricating garments, and technical drawing may show a design for a new product, part, or piece of machinery. While these two divisions of illustration have a demand for different disciplines of illustration, both require a fundamental understanding of illustration, form and rendering techniques.

Works Cited:

"How to Become a Fashion Illustrator, Fashion Sketcher." StyleCareer.com, How to Work in Fashion, How to Break Into Fashion and Image Careers. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. .

Intermediate Illustration | G320 UA. Week Five Online Lecture: Specialized Fields in Illustration, 11 2010.

Lushlee, Angie. "Bu Lago Millan." Lushlee.com. 09 Sept. 2009. Web. 06 Nov. 2010.

Provost, James. "Power Split Device • James Provost • Technical Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Motion Illustration & Infographics." James Provost • Technical Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Motion Illustration & Infographics. Web. 06 Nov. 2010.


Contrast - Identify, Correct,

A great technique to identify contrast issue as mentioned in this weeks lecture is switching the image to gray-scale and checking the overall range of gray-scale value. Then after identifying areas that need adjustment using the history pallet or undo command, or if the image did not have previous edits before the color change using a “Revert” command would also restore the file to its original state.

I then suggest using the adjustment layers. When I first started using Photoshop we never had these. I would always keep a copy of the original image in a separate layer in case I needed to go back. With adjustment layers this step is not needed. The first tool I always use to adjust contrast is “Levels”. In my experience taking a quick look at the curve will explain most contrast issues. I then simply correct it by adjusting the arrows on the curve.

Another tool I use quite often in adjusting contrast is the curves tool. I also use this tool with an adjustment layer as well. The curves tool has quite a bit more control than the levels adjustment and allows for a more involved correction. One of the main times I go to the curves tool is when I am adjusting an image and removing a colorcast. I great starting point for this adjustment is to click on the mid-tone eyedropper and find a middle gray tone in your image and select it. This may correct the cast, or at least give a great starting point to make further adjustments too.

AIO Lecture

Norman Rockwell - Essay ad campaigns

Norman Rockwell is well known for his illustrations on covers of numerous magazines and especially The Saturday Evening Post. He had the ability to look at the culture around him and create visual stories that expressed the wants and needs the people. His illustrations had ordinary people doing everyday activities with exceptional details creating a utopian scene. In the words of Norman Rockwell, “I paint life as I would like it to be” (American Masters, 2006). More plainly stated by Steven Spielberg, “ Rockwell painted the American dream – better than anyone” (American Masters, 2006).

Rockwell’s career as an illustrator spanned many years in which he created many wonderful pieces, and icons that are still recognized today. One thing many people do not remember about this talented artist is his great talent in advertising. It estimated that Rockwell actually did twice as many ads than covers. His incredible talent gave him the opportunity to promote and sell a wide variety of products.

In the 1920’s illustrators had more of a celebrity status and were revered for their familiarity of culture and especially public preference. On many occasions Rockwell’s clients would give him complete control of ad campaigns and strategies of how to promote and sell their products or service. Rockwell knew how to make his pieces interact emotionally with the viewer, which made his advertisements extremely successful. The techniques used in his advertisements are similar to how the photography is set up today to tell the story of the product.

Rockwell began doing advertisements in 1914 and continued illustrating commercial campaigns for 60 years. By 1920 he had already done advertisements for a diverse amount of products. Heinz, oil heaters, tires textiles, Post cereals, US Marines and even motors were the products he began promoting.

He shows that he has great understanding of visual communication in the Norman Rockwell’s advertisement for Parker 61 pen’s in 1959. The viewer sees this master put so many little bits and pieces into this ad. He uses great balance of color in his blocking of the product to bring the viewer back and forth from the color combination. The viewer’s attention is brought to the center of the illustration with the brilliant yellow and he places the product clearly on this background, which really showcases the product. Next consider the all American look he has given this girl and her friends. They are all pretty, conservative, and happy for each other. This wholesome group is every father’s dream of a successful, happy daughter ready to go off to college and be even more successful with this great gift from her father. He then reassures these assumptions when he places the text, “Daddy is trying to spoil me!” This makes the suggestions placed in the illustration more concrete and reassures the viewer that a Parker 61 is a real treat. His eye for detail makes his message incredibly successful. In today’s advertisements many times stock photography is uses. The stock photographs do not contain the elements that tell the story like Rockwell did.

Norman Rockwell’s creativity and understanding of the human figure, as well as, the American culture has made his work very successful for over sixty years. As an accomplished Illustrator he has collections of techniques to establish visual hierarchy and strike an emotional card with the viewer. Not only is his work an inspiration for today’s designers, but also it is a wealth of techniques that need to be observed, understood and used to create incredible pieces with solid design techniques. Today as designers we can appreciate his attention to detail and telling the visual story with his elements first. The initial glance can tell the story, but the more you look there is much more to the story than meets the eye.

Works Cited

"1959 Rockwell Illustration for Parker 61 | Monochromatic Outlook." Monochromatic Outlook | There She Goes, My Beautiful World. 27 Mar. 2008. Web. 02 Nov. 2010. .

American Masters. "Norman Rockwell - About Norman Rockwell | American Masters." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. 07 Feb. 2006. Web. 02 Nov. 2010.

"Norman Rockwell Advertising Art 1914 to 1976." Where Norman Rockwell Art Collectors Begin. Web. 02 Nov. 2010.

"Norman Rockwell." American Art Archives, Illustration, Illustrator, Art. Web. 02 Nov. 2010.

"Norman Rockwell Art." Norman Rockwell Prints. Web. 02 Nov. 2010.