Converting from RGB to CMYK

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As I stated on my last article, RGB is the natural language of a lot of the Adobe software that are typically used by multimedia designers. On the other hand, CMYK is widely used for offset printing as well as digital printing.

When creating a design on a software that understands RGB, it is important to understand that even though through the design process the document should be set at RGB color mode, once you are moving to the printing part of your work, you should know how to properly convert it to CMYK mode. Luckily, it is quite simple, and I will show you so with a few screenshots from my own project.

This is my finalized identity brand for my project “Snout.” During the entire developing process, I had my color mode set up at RGB, because it is a natural mode for Adobe Illustrator. On the top left corner of your Artboard or your design, these software will always tell you what color mode you are on.

In order to convert from RGB to CMYK, we only need to know a very short amount of steps:

On top of all your screen, there is your typical option bar. Here, you will select

  1. File
  2. Document Color Mode
  3. CMYK

And just as simple as that, your document’s color mode will change.

Now, it is indispensible to understand that making this conversion will most likely alter the way your initial image looks like. This is totally normal, being that these two systems of colors work in very different ways because they are trying to achieve very different results.

This might be a little frustrating. I can tell you it is for me! But if this happens to you, all you need to do is to play with your colors, experiment and keep previewing in both of the color modes. The only way to get great at this color game, and truly understand the differences and variations of these systems is to play with them as much as you can.

Colors: not as simple as one would think.

Color

The human eye is capable of seeing such a wide variation of color that we sometimes unerestimate what comes into hand when we have to professionally categorize the value of color. In this industry, color plays an essential part of the process. Whether you are created art that is meant to be printed, or you work solely on the computer, or you are developing web pages; color will always play a big role in your work.

As a multimedia artist, there are a few crucial things that you should know about colors. In this medium, we call Web Safe Colors the standard amount of 216 variations of colors that would quite literally be “safe” in the internet. To explain througholy, it is the technical visibility of the colors in a computer. Although there is a known maximun color of 256 that are used regularly in web, these 216 “Web Safe” ones are the ones that will surely display exactly the same on all monitors.

Now, passing from screens to tangible coloring, there is another term that you should know: Spot Colors. These colors are seen exclusively in offset printing, being that they are colors that are produced by an ink printer that uses a single run. The main purpose for the use of this color category is to strive to maintain the accuracy of the colors throughout the whole printing process.

In the world of colors, it is indispensable to understand the following four models

PMS (Pantone Matching System)

This system is used exclusively for offset printing. It is (technically) the least complicated model our of the four, being that it is used mostly for two color printing works, and that its main purpose is to provide standardized color inks.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

This color model is used also for offset printing, in addition to digital printing. The way it works is by a subtractive color system, which works by partially or completely masking different colors on lighter backgrounds so as to achieve the desired tones.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue)

Most people outside and inside of the multimedia world are well informed on RGB. This approach is popular especially because its the natural color language of known software such as Photoshop, and other Adobe applications. Essentially, this system works entirely to be used on a computer display.

HEX (Hexadecimal Color)

RGB color system is basically Hex’s parents. This color mode is used to do web developing, and it works by mixing the value colors of RGB using a six-digit combination of numbers and letters. In other words, it separates the three values and specifies the levels on the component of the colors in order to form solid ones in the web.

All in all, these four modes of “coloring” are very simple to understand, specially when they are actually applied into real work. On top of these color systems, there is one last thing that is important (and some might argue obvious) to understand about color types. There are two different types: print and onscreen. Once you know that, the rest will come to you effortlessly as you adjust your projects into your final results.

Finding a Job.

Multimedia'
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

There is no doubt that the multimedia industry is a tough one to get into. To this day, there are countless people that dream of having a well payed job where they get to sit on their a**es and do creative art for a living. As an outsider, it sounds dreamy, and to some it is. However, it is quite difficult to truly make it, and an enormous amount of work needs to be executed before one can actually land one of these jobs.

Now, as everything goes, if you have connections within the industry this whole process might be a lot easier to get through. Connections will almost always open incredibly difficult doors for anyone that has them. Although this would be a great route to follow, must of us aren’t as lucky, which means we need to work extra hard to get where we want to be.

In Multimedia, the diversity in jobs ranges widely, which gives us artsy tech geeks the liberty to pick and choose from many different options.

Some of the most popular jobs within this industry:

  • Advertising Manager: this job entitles exactly what its title says; advertising managers work together with a sales team so as to create promotional work that will successfully accomplish the goals needed within the company.
  • Creative Director: as a creative director, the finalization of the overall vision of a product/commercial/advertisement lays in your hands. Essentially, this job titles gives you the power to command decisions throughout any creative process in the company.
  • Multimedia Artist: this broad title covers a few different things related to technological art. As a multimedia artist, you would be performing different jobs ranging from animation, music videos, graphics, and so on.
  • Film and Video Editor: an editor, whether it is for films, commercials, music videos or short films, will always have the same job in hand; assembling, organizing, adapting and polishing video content so as to create a final product.
  • Game Designer: this job, although fun, can also get quite hectic. As a game designer, you are in charge of developing pretty much everything within the chosen game. This includes the characters, the levels, the scenarios, the graphics, the story-lines, and so on.
  • Animator: as an animator, you will work in a multi-faceted environment that will ask of you the same concept of work (virtual animated sequences) but for different types of fields. Animation is not limited to only film, but rather it is expanded to any desired multimedia forum.
  • Graphic Designer: these artists are wrongfully narrowed down for logos in our society, but graphic designers do so much more than just logos. If you take on this job, your production design will know no limit, since this is a tech resource that allows you to create substantially any graphic you want.
  • Installation Designer: this job title is more about the aftermath of art rather than the development of it. As an installation designer, you would enroll on the management and direction of art installations. Be it paintings, print work, film showings, sculptures, and so on. As an installation designer your sole purpose is to present the work beautifully and to handle the vendors, contractors and clients.
  • Photographer: last but not least, photographers… In this day and age everybody thinks they are photographers. Unfortunately, this job has suffered tremendously for it, but this does not mean that it is less serious or professional. Photographers are in charge of capturing moments, feelings, expressions, circumstances, events, etc. Through the complexity of their lenses in order to achieve images that can speak for themselves. To be a photographer is to be a storyteller. The only difference is that instead of a pen/keyboard, they use very expensive camera equipment and get down and dirty whenever it is necessary.

All of these jobs are great and, surprisingly, not as underpayed as usual. On average, you can make as little as 35k – 44.9k a year in any of these jobs. However, you can also get to make as much as 50k – 72k or even more (if you get either lucky of reaaally good). Both of these ends are not terribly abnormal, as they could enable you to afford life, at least if you don’t live in San Francisco.

When, How and With What: a brief guide to edit your photos accordingly.

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In the world of multimedia design, there are many different ways that we can edit our pictures, images, videos, audio and so on. Today, we are going to discuss the outer aspect of these editing techniques, which amounts to two categories: destructive and non-destructive editing.

Photo by Max Duzij on Unsplash

Destructive Editing

Many may believe that this kind of editing automatically means that you have destroyed your image and there is no way of fixing it. Instead, it is (more or less) quite the opposite. Destructive editing is called as such because it is a process in which the changes cannot be undone. This is what gives it that name, the fact that once an alteration is made, it will not be able to go back to its original form.

Some of the software that are usually used for this type of editing consist of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements, Serif Photo Plus, Photostudio, etc.

Non-Destructive Editing

When choosing a non-destructing method of editing, your picture will remain always within the same range of quality. This happens because the pixels that are found within your digital photograph are not altered in spite of your editing, which enables you to dabble on your image as much as you desire without worrying about permanent results.

For Non-Destructive editing, designers will normally work with software such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Raw Camera, Bibble, Capture One, etc.

Now, in addition to the two categories we have when referring to editing processes, there are two results that come along with these: raster graphics and vector graphics.

Raster Graphics

Photo by Dark Rider on Unsplash

These graphics are developed out of a destructive form of editing. Raster Graphics are made out of pixels, which therefore means that they are digital images that are captured externally and brought into a screen. As a result, you will have a wide range of alteration. This is because Raster Graphics constitute of pixels, which will give you the freedom to assemble every single pixel to your liking. As a result, you can achieve a high resolution image. Nonetheless, these images are also susceptible to change because just as they are flexible with their transformation, they also do not respond well to expansion. If you try to zoom into a raster graphic you will notice the drastic change on quality, which will make it easy to differentiate it from a vector graphic.

Vector Graphic

Vector Graphics are most commonly seen as logos and illustrations. These type of graphics are very fun to make, and have essentially infinite possibilities to play around with. Unlike Raster Graphics, these images are built in the screen; they are sequences of paths that are composed of lines, squares, triangles, curvy shapes, and so on. These paths have a start and an end point, which is where the final image will emerge from. Since these graphics are absolutely digital, it allows designers to manipulate it fully and extensively all the while seeing no quality loss.

When designing a digital image whether it is coming from the computer or from an outside source, you have to take into consideration what type of editing process you want that photo to go through. Once you are informed and have made your decision, the editorial possibilities will become endless and your editing skills will better as you partake in these forms of editing.

Setting The Tone

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There are many different kinds of designers out there. Fashion designers, interior, web, digital, and so on. All of these artists, despite working towards a distinctive outcome, use very similar tools to achieve the same. A very prevalent —if not the most important one— mean used by them is what we know as Mood Boards.

Mood Boards are, just as its name plainly states it, a way for designers to convey an idea and present a concept. Tipically, a designer will work with either a creative crew or directly with a client that will vocalize their needs and preferences. Having these, the process of the mood board will set its pace. With this creative method, we have to use a great amount of brainstorming. The idea is to accumulate a wide variety of different images that channel more or less the same approach, to then put them together in coordination so as to identify the desired tone.

Prior to initiating the fun and enhancing process that is creating one of these boards, there are a couple of things that need to be taken into consideration. If working for a client, their concerns and ideas should play the main role in the task. Of course, a designer’s job is to use their creativity to attractively achieve an impression for a brand that could otherwise seem boring or dull. Nevertheless, it is important that as designers we pay close attention to our client’s demands, as they are the ones that will conclusively have the final say. On the other hand, if working for oneself, it is crucial that we understand and assemble a clear idea of what ‘mood’ we are trying to display before we start our mood-boarding journey.

TOOLS

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Before the web facilitated this practice with its various apps and pages for mood board building, these used to be assembled out of magazine scraps, textiles and handwritten and/or drawings set in a tangible piece of paper. Nowadays, we have multiple different tools that are not only for professional designers, but that also anyone with an internet connection can utilize.

  • Google: my personal favorite. Google has been helping us out with pretty much everything and anything for a few decades now. To this day, if one has any type of question, one will most likely resolve to ‘googling’ it so as to find an answer, or most likely hundreds of them. For that, Google is a designer’s great friend. Images, examples, ideas, and so on, come in handy when creating a mood board, and this extensive platform will give you infinite options to choose from.
  • Pinterest: this web page has been increasing in general popularity in the last years. For this creative process, it is an encompassing and extremely user-friendly tool that everyone in this industry should take advantage of. It is as simple as typing a word (one that perhaps describes the mood you are looking for) and this page will give you all the photos that have somewhat of a match to the word.
  • Mural: when working with a team, some might say that Mural is a fundamental tool to use. Essentially, this site will allow you and your team to pitch in ideas, write comments and concerns, plug in imagery if needed, and so on. Enabling you to put the brainstorming into action and have all the evidence from it showcasing in your screen all the while.
  • Evernote: for this particular application, some may not agree that it is as important. However, Evernote serves as a great tool for note-taking, specially when working with a client. Although it is true that one can simply use a pen and a piece of paper, when typing ideas the process becomes much quicker, and in this web page one can be sure that all of our info will be on track and well kept for later furthering.
  • Morpholio: last but not least, this is an application that allows anyone to build a mood board from scratch and with pretty much all the flexibility one could ask for. A few paragraphs back, I talked a little about the “old school” mood boards and how they worked. Morpholio works virtually the same way but in a screen.

MOOD-BOARDING: Do’s and Don’ts’

It seems to me that Mood-Boarding is a practice that should not be used only by designers, but instead by anyone that has dreams and aspirations. In my case, I have been doing this ever since I was a little girl (with the old school method, of course). When developing these boards, our creativity bursts out and allows us to think more openly and enter a clear set of ideas that were otherwise hidden or unknown. All in all, whether the intention is personal, professional and/or informal, it is a process that gives us an outlet to well constructed projects.

Don’ts’

  • Do not be immoderately detailed with your board. Having a structure is by all means important, but having too much of it will defeat the whole purpose of the mood board. As the name states it, a board’s solely purposes are to simply embody a mood, not to construct the entire imagine altogether.
  • Do not put imagines that are too literal. This one is one that I have always struggled with, as it is easy to get lost in the process of the whole ‘mood’ impetus. If you are creating a mood board for a hotel lobby, the worst thing you can do is put pictures of an actual lobby with the exact style of furniture your client wants, and a perfect depiction of the type of floors and walls that will be used in the making. This will take away the inspiration of the project and will direct your client to a strict and closed idea of what the same will result in.
  • Do not be inconsistent. Even though it is important to have diversity in a mood board so as to collectively set a tone, it is also essential to stay within a parameter of uniformity with the images, textures and colors that you are incorporating. Why? Because consistency equals balance, and balance not only looks clean and professional, but also gives the green light for creativity and vision to come together and expand smoothly.

Do’s

  • Do go out of your comfort zone. Try out those colors you are unsure of mixing together. Put controversial pictures that might not seem like the perfect match but that exhibit your objective beautifully. Make that drastic change you are scared it might ruin the whole board (do also take a picture of the board before just in case it does indeed ruin it).
  • Do ask for help, opinions or assistance on anything that is making you dubious, or even if you just want a second hand to boost the project. Two minds work better than one, and sometimes it takes a lot more than two to come up with amazing ideas, or to correct work that is already good, but will become great once it is reviewed and reconsidered by outsiders.
  • Do have fun. Despite the fact that Mood-Boarding is essentially just work for some, it is also a way to exploit one’s brain for creative and imaginative activity. If we are dreading the process, it either means that we have chosen the wrong career path, or that the work is so awful that your brain is rejecting the whole thing. When we have fun, we think more openly, our minds are susceptible to innovation and progress, and we generally tend to like the results a lot more.

On the whole, the art and custom of creating Mood Boards is not only fun and enhancing, but also matter-of-factly valuable, constructive and crucial for any creative company and/or freelance artist to utilize.

An Eyeful in Advanced Photography

Photography

In photography — although all the results account for the same conceptualized form of art — there is an enormous range that we can explore and choose from. Our cameras have been designed to force us to learn how to manipulate them correctly to achieve the desired results. Early on, it was a lot more complex to know how to work these devices correctly. In today’s technology, our cameras come equipped with a lot more features that enables pretty much everyone to look like they know what they’re doing.

Nevertheless, real photographers have the skill to take certain types of pictures that some fancy new cameras have a bottom for, without that bottom. Like I mentioned before, there are various categories within the art of photography that we can delve into. Today, we will touch up on three of the ones that many professionals take a special liking to.

Black and White Photography

Photo by Arianna Coletto

This type of photography can often be misjudged as plain and easy to achieve. Some of us amateurs make this assumption, and use crappy black and white filters to try to make our pictures look more interesting. This is a terrible ground to stand in and I will explain to you why.

In order to create a high quality Black and White photo, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. First thing, we need to attempt to always shoot in RAW format. This will allow us to fully perceive the color range of our picture (and yes, shoot in color) so that later on in the editing process, we can note the variation in tones. In addition, you will want to have as long an exposure as possible, which will enable you to get a defined result.

When aiming for these pictures, you want to look for contrast, negative spaces and textures. These are the things that will look great in Black and White. The goal is to create a photo that has tonal contrast and that gives you the closest thing to pure white and pure black.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Photo by Arianna Coletto

Today, many people think that an HDR photo is anything that gives you great definition and that has a high saturation. Although they are not completely far off, it is not as simple as that. HDR photography is, per se, a conglomeration of 2 to however many pictures you want, merged together to create a perfectly balanced photo.

When trying to create this type of photography, there are essentially four things that we need to know:

  1. What we call a “dynamic range” refers to the lightest light and the darkest dark of a picture. Being so that with your camera, you need to archive a combination of photos that give you both of those, and the in-betweens.
  2. In order to have enough material to work with, you will want to take as many pictures as you like of the same subject, but gradually change your exposure. This will grant you enough variations of the same picture to build a beautiful HDR image.
  3. When attempting HDR photos, you will want to go for something like a landscape, or a subject that is virtually still, because you will need the same exact picture over and over and a moving subject will disrupt this.
  4. Last but not least, use a tripod. You can freehand your HDR pictures, but chances are that you will move, even a millimeter, and then struggle later on when you are in the editing process.

Panoramic Photography

Photo by Arianna Coletto

Panoramic images have a few different definitions, but the technical one states that they are photos of wide format that have a ratio between height and lenght of at least 1/2. These pictures are quite attractive and can be achieved very simply if done correctly. Typically, you will see panoramics of city skylines, featured events, or landscapes.

The rules for creating a panoramic picture are very simple: you will need a tripod, because you want to make sure your alignment does not vary within your pictures (for editing purposes). Secondly, you will need to adjust your camera’s settings accordingly so as to secure that all of your pictures will follow the same color range. Lastly, when taking all of your pictures, make sure you always photograph at least a quarter of your last picture onto your next one; this will help your editing software recognize the sequence of the image and merge it proportionately.


All in all, these variations of photography are what allows us to explore our imagination inside of the guidelines and resources of previous professionals that have created these awesome categories. Anyhow, we should as well learn to dig into our own creativity and build and discover our own ways of performing the art of photography.

A Virtual Artist’s Editing Heaven… Adobe CC

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Photo by Mark Cruz on Unsplash

Most people understand art as a physical form of expression; be it a painting, a sculpture, or a drawing. The thing is, art is so much wider than that. In this day and age, Art is a combination of not only physical, but also written, oral and virtual works that amount for different types of statements, declarations, messages, feelings, and all that agglomerates meaning and composition.

Today, we will leave aside the traditional forms of art, and get more in touch with the virtual ones. When I say virtual, I mean everything that at some point or the other has to go through a computer in order to achieve an end result. This means that even if initially it was not created in a screen, it still had to touch one so as to create the outcome desired. These forms of art are called Multimedia Elements, and there are five of them: text, image, audio, video and animation. All of these are completely different, yet they all have the computer as their technical process in common.

Some of you might think I’m a little off, since photos, videos and audio are typically originated from cameras. However, in order to produce an art composition, it must first go through some type of software that allows the artists to edit the same in order to create a content. These software range widely through this industry, but the (I dare say) most popular one is Adobe Creative Cloud. Just as the name, it is quite literally a creative cloud that holds a variety of different applications that have diverse functions according to the needs of the consumer.

There is over 16 different services offered by Adobe CC, all of them are highly used and important to assist various types of artists. For photo editing, there is the well known program of Photoshop, where you have all the freedom to mix and match, play with color and shapes, write, add and erase things, etc. If you are a graphic designer, you would typically use In-Design or Illustrator, which allows you to create printed layouts and make literally something out of nothing. For website building, Adobe Muse is essentially a website architect, enabling you to play as much as you want with the structure of the site. For the videographers, there is Premier Pro, which gives us the independence to break down our clips, edit them, theme them, format them, and so on, all in a high definition quality. Also, Adobe Audition, which both videographers and sound engineers praise for its high-end audio management functions that can make a simple sound develop into a soundtrack or musical arrangement. Lastly, we have Adobe Animate: as the name says it, it is popular for making animations come true, giving a 2D graphic life, or possibly transforming it from 2D to a higher visual.

All things considered, these services, on top of being awesome, they aren’t perfect. Commonly, people find trouble in the installation process, which Adobe is helpful enough to layout different possibilities to help anyone that might find themselves in a problem. But for the most part, the programs are pretty clean and don’t give technical issues that are not easy to solve. On a final note, if you are an aspiring artist like myself, and are looking for platforms to join to help you improve your work, Adobe CC is the way to go! Its extensive array of applications grant any type of artist the autonomy to work on their projects from the comfort of their own home, their favorite coffee shop, or wherever they want to take their creativity to.