Friday, September 23, 2011

THE DESCENT INTO HECK

And I live to tell the multi-part tale… with commercial interruptions.

WELCOME TO HELL
There are plenty of horror stories floating around in the industry about clients from Hell. I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone.  However, it surely does not help my plight one bit to know that I am not alone… but still. I will now share a story with you about one such client. 


We will call this person X. “X” is short and easy to type. X works for a large company as their in-house designer. For the purpose of the story, I must state that I have done artwork and layouts for companies far larger than X’s. 
HAS NEVER BEEN MY CLIENT

I have, however, never run into a more professionally cantankerous human being in MY LIFE… except maybe my mother. In fact, perhaps it was my mother who prepared me for X because comparatively speaking, X is a rank amateur... but still.

LARGER THAN LIFE


The job: A T Shirt. God, it sure SOUNDS easy enough, doesn't it? Print methodology: dye sublimation transfer (it is a continuous-tone CMYO technology, where each dot can be any color). My job: preflighting.
Did I mention that this is a repeat client and the wacky antics are ALWAYS like this. "Always" isn't even a sweeping generalization. (I gird my designer loins for X's artwork before even receiving it).

ARIAL - DON'T USE IT

My God – I have been doing art for shirts for almost 2 decades. I hope I know something by now. I may have to sue a certain university.

There is a routine: the call goes into the printer: Vector art preferred (as always) but live Pshop files will work (don't question, just accept) as there are exceptions for differing methods of printing and printers (sublimation printing being one) – but seriously… a word of advice for anyone interested in being in this industry:  

Learn your industry. Learn the vocabulary, know what you are talking about and most of all, speak with genuine authority. Know the difference between 4color process, digital print out and screen. Know what spot colors are and how to art them. Know formats for digital production.

LEARN YOUR INDUSTRY OR IT WILL COST YOU (figuratively AND monetarily).
Know how to work with DUOTONES and MEZZOTINTS, know about HALFTONE SCREENS AND MOIRE PATTERNS, LPI vs DPI, CMYK vs RGB, and the entire alphabet soup that is this wacky world of print.

I TYPE IN CAPS TO FEEL IMPORTANT.
The best book I have read on digital print:   CLICK TO BUY

SERIOUSLY - GET THIS BOOK


 ...I’m scatterbrained enough as it is, the added stress makes me have to up the Xanax dose. Maybe it's menopause...

POWER SURGES (HOT FLASHES) AUGMENT DESIGN


MEDS AUGMENT DESIGN


SPEAKING OF MEDS -- 
NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:
Outside of our beloved Studio 566, the park benches have been returned. Be it known that Toledo, Ohio's place as a cultural mecca is now set on the map.
 
Right outside of my building's door:
AGEISM ON "THE AVENUE OF THE ARTS"
(NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE
"BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS")


How about a nice dose of ...
Middle Aged Artists at Work!?

More importantly, where exactly do those paintbrushes go when I sit on that bench?








Half a Block Down the Street:

SIT LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Where exactly does Pharaoh's finger go when I sit on this bench?












Across Summit Street
AND ALL FOUR OF THE CANOPIC JARS
PROTECT MY BUM


Mr. Baboon (Hapi) protects my lungs
Mr. Man (Imsety) protects my liver
Mr. Jackal (Duamutef) protects my stomach
Mr. Falcon (Qebehsenuef) protects my intestines









THE X FACTOR PART II
The artwork I received (late) was, at first, all in a JPG – a CMYK JPG at that. Albeit PShop can open said document...COME ON. We were already crunched for time. If everything was in order, it would not have been an issue. All was not in order.

The next set of art I received was a PSHOP file – not one part of it PRINT READY – which included SIZE. (AT SIZE 300dpi PLEASE). Also, there is a reason it is called PHOTOshop - PHOTO - PHOTOGRAPHS - there is a connection here. Again, it was for a transfer, so it could have worked provided...



Vector art was needed for a specific element for the current project… We were informed that X has done hundreds of Tshirts and understood vector art. Well gosh. We were informed that X is “FAR MORE HIGH TECH than vector art.” I really do not even know what that statement was supposed to mean.  I received a Photoshop file of an image drawn with the pen tool, flattened into... did you guess a CMYK JPG?


I AM SO TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED
I DESIGN WITH THE POWERS OF MY MIND.

For future reference for the beginner:
VECTOR is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics. They can be resized without losing integrity. This is the preferred format for logos/basic imagery/etc for offset and screen printing. (That is not saying you cannot have photo images in a job).

BITMAP images are made up of a collection of dots or pixels; these images appear blocky when you zoom in; also known as raster images. NOT easily resized. Do NOT take a bmap/raster image and UPSIZE. DO NOT.

Perhaps because said person uses only one program to design – which isn’t vector based, there is confusion. It doesn't help that Google vomits up "vector" images as those sharp crisp images drawn and saved in PShop without paths. I once received a file as an ai file. It was Pshop flattened magic placed into Illustrator then saved as an illustrator file.For the record, that isn't vector art either. I have also received logos and layouts in EXCEL.
Please, join me while I digress:


Graphic Designer's Judgment Clouded By Desire To Use New Photoshop Plug-In:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/graphic-designers-judgment-clouded-by-desire-to-us,249/

September 27, 2000 | ISSUE 46•52 ISSUE 36•34
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH–The aesthetic judgment of Paul Gaskill, a graphic designer working on a brochure for Valley View Apartments, was "severely clouded" by a desire to use a new Adobe Photoshop plug-in, coworkers at Blue Moon Design said Monday...

IN NEED OF PHOTOSHOP INTERVENTION



STATION IDENTIFICATION
Studio 566
studio566@bex.net

Interested in any design on a TShirt or Mug? Check out my stores, and write me. I'll make you an offer you can't refuse. Purchase directly from Studio 566!

studio566@bex.net


THE X FACTOR PART III
I sent a list via the cyber universe of everything I needed to make things work. I received 2 CMYK JPGs, one of which was not 300dpi. In fact, I received an image of a lighting effect that was a jpg. This effect was going in the background, which was fine, except that its background was black and was to go on a tan shirt. We are talking 2001 Monkey Monolithic imagery now. One day later I received some elements I could use.



There was more image trauma involved, but I will leave the rest to your imagination as I will end up registering for Toledo’s Academy of Beauty and Culture if I continue with said details. Just know: I had to recreate the art for the digital "stamp."  It nearly crushed me.

WAIT - WHAT HAPPENED TO THE "CULTURE" PART?


At last, I emailed a digital proof for online approval. Said proof was then... printed out and compared to X’s proof.  Who knew this very action would be the downfall of Rome?

“Why is yours so fuzzy where X’s is beautiful and crisp.” I really did not feel like killing a half hour while I explained SCREEN PROOF (you know – smallest file size for online proofing) vs PRINTED PROOF vs PRODUCT PROOF. Nor did I point out that what X did will look FAR WORSE ON A T SHIRT – which, after Xs 20+ years of doing 100’s of T’s, this should already have been known, shouldn't it? And so began my descent into a wonderland comparable only to Dante's Seven Circles of Hell.

MANY HURRPS WERE DURRPED THAT DAY

My head was already metaphorically bruised and bloodied from the brick wall it was banging against. Explaining things became an exercise in futility. The statement, “We can’t do anything without print ready art” was made many times. The elements I could use I received a week past its due date.


BUT WAIT -- THERE'S MORE!
Coming Soon:

The FACE CARDS poster (created for THE BUNNY STOP) will be included in this eBook!










MY SIMS SOCIAL CHARACTER:



I am level at 2 insanity. I talk to plants and flail my arms at the oddest moments. Next level: I will be able to eat my own shoe.






THE X FACTOR PART IV
Then the backpedaling began.

WEEEEEEEE
CYA: It goes on a lot in this industry (pointing fingers as well as excuses for procrastination/lateness). There should be 400-level courses offered in it. Be it known to all of you future artists out there – blame ALWAYS falls to the artist. Again, "always" not being a sweeping generalization. We are at the bottom of that proverbial crap heap.

It was pointed out that I either am not used to working with large clients OR I simply do not know what I am doing. ::blink blink::
I wanted to tell them to go back under the rock from whence they came, with a few technicolor words tacked on for good measure.

Instead, I apologized to my boss – confessing that I did the best I could with what I had and what I know. The meeting ends with them asking for the right to refuse the order. It is a feeling like no other. I would prefer a spork in the eye. Now, due to time constraints, the original printer was scratched from the game and a local screen printer was brought in on the scene...

Due to the time constraint and local screen print situation, I haven't seen the art since. (All because of a "fuzzy" paper proof not meant to be printed out). This means that art set up for a dye sublimation transfer will now be screen printed. . . without preflighting.

There is a saying in the industry: CRAP IN – CRAP OUT. 



Here is an important question: Are bad clients like this really worth it? For the blog, ABSOLUTELY. In the long run, however, they cost time, money, sanity and injury from biting through one’s lip else we tell someone to F OFF (which, I am told, is very unprofessional). Where does X's job end, Mine begin and how much is the printer responsible for?

In the end, the print job requires




wait for it....




23 screens. 



AND NOW, SOME BUNNIES:

AT PLAY IN THE COSMIC WEB / Studio566

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, 

but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
--Vincent Van Gough





WATCHING THE STARS / Studio566





SKUNK BUNNY / Pet Supplies Plus







I FINALLY GOT HIM!
CHIP IS HANGING OUT WITH ME AND SAM

 
THE END




Saturday, September 3, 2011

THE BEAUTIFICATION OF THESE HERE TOLEDO, OHIO

In this little burgh, 1% of taxpayers’ money goes to the beautification of the city. This includes artwork and plants. I would like to invite you on a short trip around the block from Studio 566 to see what I have seen.

DANCING ON A POLE
Parking Meter cozies are, apparently, the new rage. These things are popping up all over town. I do not, for the life of me, quite understand their symbolism – but I imagine there could be a market for pole cozies in the adult entertainment industry.








Toledo... seriously, W T F?





 


Here is a light pole that is cleverly painted with a pattern of a smoking drunk kitty. 


Really, a cat with a beer and a blunt. ME-OW.
We have new plants also! This is for when out of towners come to visit. They will behold the great beauty of the Glass City and tell their friends. Consequently, those friends will come visit to behold our giant topiary phalluses.

FREUD IS LIVID!



THE SHOES
ATTENTION: THE RAPTURE OCCURRED
AND ONE HOMELESS MAN MADE IT FROM TOLEDO, OH.


They sit as a pair, in the empty parking lot as a testament of humanity's fragility. Whose shoes were these? Will the homeless man by the river take them for his journey? They sit as a pair, at the end of the line. The river rolls before them. Could it have been a suicide? No one knows. Only the river, the line, and the shoes. (It's a pair of shoes I saw in the parking lot fer cryin out loud).








In these here Toledo, Ohio we have shoes -- East of Columbus in Lancaster, Ohio, there are 3000 PANTIES HANGING FROM THE TREES!

I wonder how much Columbus pays in taxes for such beautification....
FORESTRY
To counter balance the results of our 1% funding, I jaunted out to one of my favorite places in this area: Cullen Park on the banks of Lake Erie. It is still very popular for fishing (Don’t eat the fish!!)

REALLY... DON'T.

And hanging out. There are still the firepits that I remember sitting around when I was a teenager.  There are also spiders—lots and lots of spiders: long spiders, tiny spiders, fat spiders, big ass spiders. With spiders come spider webs so skillfully woven across the walkway’s path. I didn’t sleep for 2 nights as I was wrestling imaginary strands of silk.


AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!


LILY PADS LEAD US TO THE SERENITY OF EAST SIDE TOXINS




PHOTO OF ACTUAL EAST SIDEIAN


SCARIEST HOLE, EVER.



PRETTY



JUNGLE ON THE NORTH END





BEAST IN THE JUNGLE


ONLY IN THESE HERE TOLEDO

WAIT... WUT??


SINGING SKY LIONS
LAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


ANIMATION CLASS
Is killing me. I had never so much as OPENED Flash let alone animate anything with it. It is an amazing program but I would prefer other populations work with it. I did manage my very own animation. Please make yourselves comfortable and enjoy the movie.



video

I smell an ANNIE!!! (That's an international award for animation for all of you civilians)


STUDIO 566
LOOK AT THESE PENCILS! LOOK AT THEM DAMMIT! Stay tuned as I will soon be receiving DERWENT'S GRAPHITINT PENCILS. I am very excited about this. I saw some work utilizing these pencils and it was EXACTLY what I had imagined for my fly woman. 


BUY THEM HERE


ARMIN MERSMANN
Check out this art. LOOK AT IT DAMMIT! This man's gallery is where I discovered the tinted graphite work. He is amazing. I am planning on studying his graphite work intensely. 


 Mersmann's Graphite




Tinted Graphite



This work is truly inspiring...




MY WORK
THE FRAILEST LEAVES OF ME

HERE the frailest leaves of me, and yet my strongest-lasting:
Here I shade and hide my thoughts—I myself do not expose them,
And yet they expose me more than all my other poems.

Walt Whitman -- Leaves of Grass.  1900.




THE END