Designers’ Guide to Inkjet Explains Production Inkjet Technologies

DesignersGuidetoInkJet-Cover_440x657DESIGNERS. If most of the jobs you design for print have been output on offset presses or toner-based digital presses, you should be aware of a new class of digital printers: high-speed production inkjet printers.

Production inkjet presses offer some major advantages in projects such as premium direct mail or book publishing but use different technology than offset presses and digital color toner devices.

To help you get optimal results from projects printed on production inkjet presses, Canon Solutions America has published “The Designers Guide to Inkjet.” The “Designers Guide to Inkjet” includes guiding principles, best practices, real-world recommendations, and practical advice. Topics covered include:

  • inkjet media and inks
  • design software settings
  • file preparation
  • questions designers should ask their print providers

“The designer plays an integral role in making sure that a given print piece is optimized for production on high-speed inkjet equipment,” said Dave Johannes, vice president, Digital Print and Mailing Operations at IWCO Direct, a direct marketing agency in Chahassen, Minnesota. “With the publication of the ‘Designers’ Guide to Inkjet,” Canon Solutions America has given the designer community — and the printers they work with — an invaluable guide for choosing the right colors, images, sheets, and finishing techniques for today’s inkjet technology.”

“The Designers’ Guide to Inkjet will help create a more seamless workflow between an agency or in-house designer and a printer, increasing profitability for everyone involved,” said Francis A. McMahon, vice president, marketing, Production Print Solutions division of Canon Solutions America.

The guide itself was printed using robust Oce inkjet technologies available from Canon Solutions America and serves as a real-world sample of what can be accomplished when designers follow the guidelines in the book.

“We see inkjet as the future–plain and simple,” said M.J. Anderson, chief marketing officer, Trekk, Inc., a global multimedia marketing agency based in Rockford, Illinois. “This guide will play an enormous role in helping agencies and designers develop their expertise in inkjet and better serve their clients.”

The book was written by Elizabeth Gooding of Insight Forums and Mary Schilling of Schilling Inkjet Consulting with input from Dave Johannes of IWCO Direct and Jared Johnson, a designer with IWCO Direct.

IWCO Direct has been a leader in the adoption of digital inkjet technology. In August 2011, the company became the first company in the U.S. to install the Oce ColorStream 3500. The company currently has six Oce ColorStream 3900 digital inkjet presses.

The book can be purchased for $29 from the online bookstore of the Printing Impressions website.

To see a Canon production inkjet press in action, watch the demonstration video on Vimeo.

LINK

The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet

Video: Press Demonstration of Oce ImageStream 3500

Art Hive Online Connects Artists, Buyers, and New Collectors

Art Hive Online is a new curated online art gallery. Focused on original art by emerging and established artists, the website is designed to facilitate social and business interactions between artists, buyers and art enthusiasts.

Art Hive Online

The multi-tier platform contains three main sections: Connect, Select and Collect.

The “Connect” section features artist interviews, video and audio elements and photo slide shows that give viewers a more intimate experience of an artists’ work.

The “Select” section offers galleries for browsing and purchasing works of art.

The “Collect” section is a virtual resource center where website visitors learn expert tips on art collecting. Topics include art as an investment, art history, art composition, art in the home, and how to care for your art.

“The word ‘Hive’ is about building a community,” explains Oyin Charles, founder of Art Hive Online. “We’re not just trying to be an art retailer, we’re looking to nurture a community of artists, art enthusiasts and collectors.”

The goal is to increase artist exposure through targeted marketing and outreach to the wider online art buying audience.

LINK

Art Hive Online

Harold Davis Explores New Frontiers of Photographic Art

According to renowned artist-author-printmaker Harold Davis, Photoshop, DSLRs, and pigment-ink printers have empowered artists to produce photographic works that go far beyond what they could print in traditional darkrooms. Now that digital capture equipment, processing software, and printing technology have matured, he believes digital photography has emerged as an entirely new art medium.

With his background as a classically trained painter, accomplished professional film photographer, and meticulous printmaker, Harold Davis is proud to be at of the forefront of this new art medium. Through his experiments, craftsmanship, and unique insights, Harold Davis is expanding the definition of photography to include realms that go beyond documenting the decisive moment.

“Gates after Rodin” is part of the Multiple Exposures collection by Harold Davis. The series shows an unusual photographic technique in which Harold Davis captures in-camera multiple exposures that are precision timed in the studio using strobes and motions choreographed with a model or models. The artisanal pigment prints are output on Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl on an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 printer with Epson Ultrachrome HDR inks. Photo: ©Harold Davis

“Gates after Rodin” is part of the Multiple Exposures collection by Harold Davis. The series shows an unusual photographic technique in which Harold Davis captures in-camera multiple exposures that are precision timed in the studio using strobes and motions choreographed with a model or models. The artisanal pigment prints are output on Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl on an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 printer with Epson Ultrachrome HDR inks. Photo: ©Harold Davis

Harold Davis describes his current work as “Digital paintings that use photographs as the medium.” With the power of Photoshop and advanced digital printers and inkjet media, he believes that photographers who have the vision to tie it all together can craft images and styles that are uniquely their own.

Castelo Marvao by Harold Davis

This artisanal pigment print of Castelo Marvao in Portugal was printed on Moab Exhibition Luster 300. Photo: ©Harold Davis

To put his concepts in perspective, let’s review how digital photography workflows have evolved and why traditionalists in the art world must overcome some misperceptions about how Photoshop is being used.

Photoshop Preceded Professional Digital Cameras

First, it’s important to remember that Photoshop and digital photography didn’t always go together.

According to the timeline Adobe created for Photoshop’s 25th anniversary, the first version of Photoshop debuted in February, 1990 – about 15 months before Kodak launched the first DSLR camera.

In an interview on Adobe’s website, one of Photoshop’s creators Thomas Knoll explained that the first few versions of Photoshop were primarily for graphic arts and publishing. Photography workflows weren’t practical with Photoshop until inkjet printers enabled photographers to scan their film, manipulate the file in Photoshop, and then print each image without the cost of making film separations for each photo.

In the mid 1990s and early 2000s, DSLR cameras became more powerful and less expensive. The popularity of Photoshop surged, because digital photography made it faster and easier to bring digital files into Photoshop.

To inspire the huge new wave of photography enthusiasts to “shoot like the pros,” the digital camera and printer manufacturers encouraged professional photographers to adopt digital photography and the “digital darkroom” in which Photoshop was used in conjunction with pigment inkjet printers. This required the technology developers to make products that could generate digital prints that were as good as (or better) than the prints that buyers expected from professional film photographers.

This took a while, because many established pro photographers were reluctant to change. Many photography pros might still be shooting film if their editorial and advertising clients hadn’t demanded the workflow and cost benefits that digital capture provided.

Unfortunately, eager newcomers to professional photography never learned how to shoot film. Many regarded Photoshop as a fast way to “fix” photographs that weren’t properly composed or lit on location. Plus, graphic designers routinely “doctored” images of models and celebrities that would be featured on magazine covers. Because some of these photographs looked “unnatural” and “off,” photographs that were “manipulated” in Photoshop were initially shunned by photography contest organizers and art collectors.

Those attitudes are changing because most professional photographers today have become much more skilled in the nuanced use of Photoshop. Digitally manipulated images have become the norm – in print and online. Most people really can’t tell if an image has been “Photoshopped.”

So now, photographic artists feel free to experiment and explore everything that’s possible with Photoshop. In addition to replicating film photography, Photoshop can be used to execute the artist’s inner visions.

Photographic artists such as Harold Davis don’t necessarily care if their work looks like a traditional “photograph” or not. They make images and visual stories that until now could only exist in their mind’s eye. Today, if an artist can dream it, they can depict it in photographic art.

Experience in Multiple Disciplines Pays Off

Harold Davis thoroughly understands the vast differences between film and digital photography because he has such an eclectic background. In the 1980s he supported himself as a commercial film photographer after studying painting in college. In the 1990s, he took a break from art and photography and wrote books about software and computer programming. He missed all the technology iterations that professional photographers struggled with as the digital imaging tools matured.

By the time Harold Davis’s publisher asked him to write a book on digital photography, most of the quality and permanence hurdles had been resolved. Digital capture, processing, and printing technology had become incredibly powerful, versatile, and accessible.

When Harold Davis picked up a DSLR for the first time in 2004, he quickly discovered that with Photoshop and new advances in printing media, he could combine his love of painting with his love of photography. He quickly recognized that his Photography 2.0 digital photography career would be vastly different from his Photography 1.0 film photography career.

One collector of Harold Davis’ work appreciates his unusual and effective use of technology in support of the classical tenets of photographic art and is excited about its possibilities: “I would compare his work to Ansel Adams’ and Edward Weston’s work during the crucial 1930s and 1940s time frame.”

Inspiring Others to Make New Forms of Photographs

To inspire other creative souls to push the boundaries of what’s possible with digital photography, Harold Davis leads workshops, posts webinars, and write books on topics such as Monochromatic HDR Photography, Creative Black & White, Creative Landscapes, Photographing Flowers, and Creative Lighting.

The Way of the Digital Photographer cover

His newest books encourage photographers to develop their own visions of what a photograph might be. In his award-winning photography book, The Way of the Digital Photographer, Davis emphasizes that previsualizing an image today not only includes how a shot will be composed and lit but also how it will be processed in Photoshop and printed. Creative choices can be made during every phase of the process.

His next book (which Focal Press has scheduled for publication in August, 2015) is entitled Achieving Your Potential as a Photographer. The book presents an organized and cohesive plan for kickstarting your creativity and taking the resulting work into the real world. The concepts are accompanied by a workbook of exercises that can help you refine your thinking and skills.

Making Artisanal Prints and Limited Edition Portfolios

In a recent post on his blog, Harold Davis answered questions about “Making the Artisanal Inkjet Print.” Unlike the inkjet prints you buy from places such as Costco or giclee printmaking studios, artisanal inkjet prints are crafted one by one in the studios of solo artists. They take their time and fret over every detail. Taking into account file preparation, printing, and post-print issues, Harold Davis says he might spend five to ten hours making one print. Sometimes, he prints the same image 20 times until he gets the desired result.

“Just as much craft, skill, and artistry go into making a good artisanal pigment print as ever went into a print made in the chemical darkroom,” says Davis. His printer of choice is the Epson Style Pro 9900 with its Ultrachrome HDR pigment inks.

This artisanal pigment print “Star Magnolia” is featured in the Botanique limited edition portfolio of floral images. Botanique shows the type of art that can be created with the new digital workflow and backlighting technique Harold Davis invented to create luminous translucent imagery. The image looks fantastic on Moab Moenkopi Unryu Washi paper. Photo: ©Harold Davis

This artisanal pigment print “Star Magnolia” is featured in the Botanique limited edition portfolio of floral images. Botanique shows the type of art that can be created with the new digital workflow and backlighting technique Harold Davis invented to create luminous translucent imagery. The image looks fantastic on Moab Moenkopi Unryu Washi paper. Photo: ©Harold Davis

He considers paper selection an important element of the printmaking process and has experimented with a number of different papers. Because he is a huge fan of the range of Moab photo and fine art papers and an expert printmaker, Harold Davis was named a Moab Master in 2012.

Harold Davis numbers and signs each print he makes, but doesn’t sell limited editions of single prints. The concept of “limited editions” arose from printing processes in which it made sense to destroy the plates after relatively small number of copies were printed. But most photographers are unwilling to destroy any of their best files that could be used to make additional prints. So if a “limited edition” of one size print sells out, they might simply change the size of a print and call it a new edition.

“What I affirmatively do is keep track of my prints,” explains Davis. “That way, I can look up how many copies have been printed of any one image. Knowledgeable gallerists and collectors I have discussed this with tell me that this provides them with all they really need – a good sense of how many copies of a given print have been made.”

Harold Davis does make limited editions of the portfolios he prints. The first portfolio he made (in collaboration with his wife, graphic designer Phyllis Davis) was called Botanique. Each collection contains 21 original floral prints that emerge delicately from the hand-assembled presentation box. The images are printed on a variety of substrates, including Moab’s Moenkopi Unryu Washi, Moenkopi Kozo Washi, Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl, Moab Lasal Exhibition Luster, and translucent archival vellum.

Because so much work is involved in hand-crafting each portfolio, Botanique is limited to an edition of 25 copies. Each book is hand-signed and numbered, and accompanied by a 9 x 12 –inch print of Harold Davis’ popular “Red Poppies” image.

Harold Davis has also released a portfolio entitled “Monochromatic Visions” and is currently working on “Kumano Kodo.”

Images from the Monochromatic Visions series by Harold Davis. Photo: ©Harold Davis

Images from the Monochromatic Visions series by Harold Davis. Photo: ©Harold Davis

Monochromatic Visions consists of twelve high-dynamic range black and white prints, created in an edition of 12 portfolios (plus three artist proofs). The idea of the portfolio is to show the capabilities of new high-tonal range black and white printmaking in the context of an apparently classical portfolio presentation.

The center spread of the limited-edition Kumano Kodo portfolio crafted by Harold Davis and Phyllis Davis. Photo: ©Harold Davis

The center spread of the limited-edition Kumano Kodo portfolio crafted by Harold Davis and Phyllis Davis. Photo: ©Harold Davis

A Modern Pilgrimage: The Kumano Kodo portfolio is based on photography of Harold Davis made during his journey through rural Japan in 2013. This portfolio is unique, hand-assembled and strictly limited to 12 copies plus 4 artist proofs. Each copy is hand-signed and numbered, and embellished with the artist’s hand-applied personal Japanese inkan.

The primary portion of the portfolio is printed on one continuous 16 ½ foot long piece of archival Japanese kozo washi produced at Awagami on Shikoku Island, Japan. (This paper is distributed in the United States as Moab Moenkopi Kozo.) This printing technique combines traditional paper with technological innovation and ideas into a handmade artist book creation.

The portfolio is wrapped in a cover showing a view of Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po, meaning “the view of 3,600 peaks,” from a high pass on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail. The cover is printed on a single piece of archival, mould-made cotton paper.

Webinars and Workshops

To learn from Harold Davis, you can watch some of the webinars he has posted, order one of his books, or apply for an upcoming workshop in several locations in California, at the Heidelberg Summer School of Photography in Germany, or the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine. In October, he will lead a 15-day photographic adventure to the Sea-Girt Villages in Italy.

Achieving Your Potential cover

Harold Davis is excited to be pioneering new forms of photographic art. He believes the type of prints and portfolios he is currently creating could never have been produced before because the technology simply didn’t exist: “I am able to create in a domain where many techniques and crafts have come together for the very first time.”

“Times of disruption bring great opportunity,” says Harold Davis. “Basically, digital photography is emerging as an entirely new art form.”

LINKS

About Harold Davis Studio

Book: The Way of the Digital Photographer

Book: Achieving Your Potential as a Photographer

Webinar Recordings Harold Davis Workshops and Events

Blog Post: Making the Artisanal Inkjet Print

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Can You Believe Photoshop Debuted 25 Years Ago?

PubSense Summit Enables Entrepreneurial Authors to Meet Publishing Pros

PubSense_logoThe 2015 PubSense Summit, March 23-25 in Charleston, South Carolina, helped aspiring and emerging authors understand the three major ways to publish their work: traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing. Authors who pursue hybrid publishing use self-publishing to start building an audience, then seek traditional publishers to help them expand their reach and audience.

The stellar line-up of PubSense speakers and panelists included:

Other PubSense panelists included authors, literary agents, independent booksellers, and executives with small publishing firms and companies that offer author-support services.

Exhibits showcased services can help emerging authors with website development, video book trailers, legal issues and liability coverage, marketing, editing, cover design, publicity, trade-show representation, and global distribution.

Here are a few key points made during the sessions I attended.

As an author, you are an entrepreneur. You are the business manager of the content you create. You can choose the goals you want to achieve with your writing, then build a team that can help you meet those goals. Ideally, your primary goal will be something you are passionate about – not just the number of books you think you can sell.

Traditional publishers still are the best (and only way) to get your printed book into traditional bookstores beyond your local market. Because shelf space is limited, bookstores seek certain genres/sub-genres of books they are confident they can sell. The big publishers have well-established sales relationships with the bookstores.

Small, independent presses can be a good option for debut and mid-list authors. Amidst all of the turbulence in the publishing business, debut and midlist authors often get very little personalized attention from the big, consolidated publishing companies.

If you choose to self-publish, your local bookstore may opt to sell printed copies of your book. But you can increase your chances of getting your book in the store by becoming a regular customer, getting to know the store employees, and promoting events that will help bring other people into the bookstore.

Self-publishing is the best path if you want to write about whatever topic you choose (regardless of “trends” in the market, or whether the manuscript has commercial potential). The global market for books that can be read on mobile devices is so vast that you can be confident that your self-published books will appeal to some people.

To find readers for your self-published books, you need to plan how you will produce, distribute, price, protect, and promote your books. Start with a clear vision of how you define success.

The avenues for bringing your work to market are multiplying. Amazon is still the dominant online seller of books, but new platforms are emerging to promote curated collections of self-published books. Organizations such as NetGalley, Chanticleer, and Foreword Reviews can help you connect with people who will review your books.

Author events are still great places to meet face-to-face with readers and other audiences. But if you want to expand your reach, you must use social media and online marketing to reach the biggest audiences with the least amount of effort.

Don’t overlook legal issues such a copyright, libel, privacy rights, permissions, and partnership agreements. Consider buying media liability insurance, because even if you do everything right, you can still get sued. If copies of your book are sold overseas, you can get sued in a country with libel laws different from those in the U.S.

Keynote: Taking Your Author Business to the Next Level

In her keynote PubSense Summit presentation on authors as entrepreneurs, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn blog, emphasized the publishing revolution has greatly empowered authors. She suggests that writers think about the many different ways they can turn a single manuscript into multiple products that can be sold on multiple platforms to generate multiple revenue streams. Unlike traditionally published books that may only get a short burst of publicity after publication, self published authors can create a book once and keep selling it forever.

You can start with a Kindle e-book, said Penn, then make it available as a hard-copy, print-on-demand book, and convert it into an audio book using Amazon’s new www.acx.com service. Plus, you can sell your book through platforms such as Nook and reach a global audience through Kobo.

Here are some other takeaways from Joanna Penn’s presentation:

Don’t be afraid to try new platforms or to start small. At first, your income streams will be trickles. But they will grow over time if you keep promoting your book and distributing your work in new forms. Eventually, many small streams of revenue can turn into a larger cash flow.

When you produce and distribute e-books, hard-copy books, and audio books, you are creating assets that can put money in your pockets for years to come. Because the copyrights won’t expire until 70 years after your death, these assets can provide income for your children as well. By exploiting different formats, you can expand your customer base and reach different groups of readers.

Be consistent in identifying yourself as an author on social media. All of your social profiles should start with the same first few words.

Think global, mobile, and digital. Having a website is still important because social media platforms keep changing how they operate. You can control the look and content of your website, and use it to build an email list for direct marketing to your fans. Make sure your website can be viewed on mobile devices.

Pay attention to technology trends and cultural shifts that will change how and where we read and buy books. For example, people who start reading e-books on their tablets and smartphones will soon be able to pick up where they left off when they listen to audio version of the book in their cars. The trend toward living in smaller spaces and owning fewer things will accelerate the migration to e-books. The transformation in brick-and-mortar retailing may lead to easy-to-browse virtual bookstores. .

The importance of design can’t be overstated. As readers spend more time viewing content online, we expect everything we read to meet certain basic standards of quality and design.

Develop a fan base. Collect e-mail addresses of your biggest fans and send them a newsletter to keep them informed about the progress of your next book.

Be a Great Writer!

Although the number of books published each year is rising, one of the literary agents at PubSense panel reassured attendees that it is indeed possible to build a thriving career as an author. The agent emphasized that the best way to get noticed is to be a great writer: “If you’re a strong author, you’ll be fine.”

Additional details about the PubSense Summit speakers and their  can be found in blog posts on the 2015 PubSense Summit website. Dates for the 2016 PubSense Summit have not yet been announced.

LINKS

The PubSense Summit

Facebook Page: The PubSense Summit

The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn: Author Entrepreneur-Increase Your Revenue

Survey Shows Creative and IT Collaboration on the Rise

As marketing becomes increasingly dependent on technology, creative and information technology (IT) teams are crossing paths more often.

Research from The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology underscores this trend: More than half (55 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they are collaborating more closely with technology leaders within their company compared to three years ago. One-third (33 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) reported the same of their marketing counterparts.

But barriers to effective partnering persist. When asked to name the number-one challenge for creative and IT teams when collaborating, the top response among advertising and marketing executives and CIOs was communication. Project logistics and IT-related challenges also are significant barriers, according to both sets of respondents.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “Compared to three years ago, how closely are you collaborating with technology leaders within your company?” Their responses:

  • Much more closely: 30%
  • Somewhat more closely: 25%
  • The same amount: 39%
  • Somewhat less closely: 3%
  • Much less closely: 0%
  • Does not apply: 1%
  • Don’t know: 1%

CIOs were asked, “Compared to three years ago, how closely are you collaborating with creative/marketing leaders within your company?” Their responses:

  • Much more closely: 12%
  • Somewhat more closely: 21%
  • The same amount: 37%
  • Somewhat less closely: 3%
  • Much less closely: 2%
  • Does not apply: 23%
  • Don’t know: 1%

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

“Technology’s increased role in customer acquisition and other marketing-related functions is one factor prompting higher levels of collaboration between IT and creative departments,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Poor communication between groups doesn’t just lead to discord and decreased productivity; it can also undermine a company’s ability to innovate.”

“The success of an organization’s digital strategy and initiatives is dependent on a strong partnership between creative and IT colleagues,” added Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “It’s imperative for business leaders to encourage teamwork and ongoing dialogue between the two groups, especially since there is so much crossover in key roles, such as user experience professionals, web designers and mobile application developers.”

The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology offer five tips to help creative and IT teams overcome common collaboration barriers:

  1. Form cross-functional teams around a central goal. While resources may come from different departments, creating one work group to tackle a particular project, like a website redesign, can help improve collaboration and eliminate an “us versus them” mentality. Once established, make sure objectives are clearly defined and communicated at the onset.
  2. Make time to meet — and use that time effectively. Creative and IT leaders reported that scheduling in-person meetings is difficult given heavy workloads. However, carving out an hour or two to discuss projects can save valuable time and prevent miscommunication down the road.
  3. Check jargon at the door. Workplace and departmental lingo can help colleagues communicate ideas more quickly, but excessive use can cause people to lose interest and tune out if it’s unfamiliar to them. Throw in technical terminology and buzzwords like “IoT” and “growth hacking” and the dialogue will only go downhill. Explain concepts in terms the audience will understand and use concrete examples when doing so.
  4. Encourage constructive criticism. Creative and IT executives said providing feedback to their counterparts is challenging because it’s often not well-received. Empathy can help pave the path toward more productive conversations throughout the duration of a project and at post-mortem meetings. Teams must also clarify the time and resources that go into an initiative: A seemingly simple task may include behind-the-scenes complexity.
  5. Resolve conflicts quickly. When miscommunication leads to frustration, tempers can flare, especially when creative and IT personnel are under pressure. Addressing cross-team discord swiftly can go a long way toward maintaining momentum and building morale.

TCG_RHT_0315_Creative-IT+Collaboration_final

About the Research

The surveys were developed by The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology, and conducted by an independent research firm. They include responses from 400 U.S. advertising and marketing executives and more than 2,400 CIOs from U.S. companies with 100 or more employees in 24 metropolitan areas.

About The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology

Both The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology (rht.com) are divisions of Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm and a recognized leader in professional staffing services.

LINKS

Career Advice on The Creative Group Blog

Infographics: Creative and IT Collaboration on the Rise

Chaotic Moon Studios Gives SXSW Visitors a Glimpse of Futuristic Urban Parks

In “The Future 100 Report: Trends and Change to Watch in 2015,” JWT analysts predicted that creatives would collaborate in designing “Experiential Public Spaces” that would use new multi-sensory experiences to augment nature and public spaces.

On company at the forefront of this trend is Chaotic Moon Studios, a creative technology studio in Austin, TX. They are partnering with the Austin branch of the global architecture and design firm Gensler to consider how technology could be used to create new types of parks.

Their first initiative will be an “Orchard” of 30 ft. interactive trees designed to enchant and delight visitors and bring new life to an urban environment.

Orchard will include 30 pneumatic structures standing three-stories tall. Each structure inflates to form the abstract shape of a tree. This form is anchored by a steel pole running up the center of the “trunk”.

Chaotic Moon Studios Orchard

“We intend to create a pop-up icon that will transform any place into a destination,” said Gensler’s John Houser. People who touch any tree will experience a harmonious kaleidoscope of light, sound, and color as the Orchard blossoms into an homage to technology and nature.

Chaotic Moon Studios Vision

A prototype of the first tree was unveiled during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin.

About Chaotic Moon

Chaotic Moon describes their studio as “a group of thinkers, builders, designers, developers, leaders, dreamers, and doers hell-bent on changing the world through better digital experiences.” Forrester Research mentioned Chaotic Moon as an example of the fact that “The lines between creative developer and technologist are not neatly drawn.”

The founders of Creative Moon agree that “traditional shops are a thing of the past.”  According to CEO and co-founder Ben Lamm, Chaotic Moon is based in Austin because they believe in the city’s potential: “The fact that every leading name in tech has built an outpost here is a testament to that.”

About Gensler

Gensler is a global design firm that partners with clients to create more livable cities, smarter workplaces and more engaging leisure destinations. Last year, Gensler worked with 2,390 client in 114 countries. Gensler is headquartered in San Francisco and has office in 30 U.S. cities and 16 offices in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Their clients include 40 of the 50 top-ranked Fortune 500 companies, 8 of the top 10 retailers in the U.S., and 9 of Interbrand’s 10 best global brands.

LINKS

Chaotic Moon Studios

Orchard

Gensler

RELATED POST

JWT Future 100 Report Highlights Trends to Watch in 2015

Take Your Photography to the Next Level by Hacking the Digital Print

Digital photo printing has reached the point at which anyone who knows how to push the right buttons can create a decent print. Getting a high-quality image out of a desktop printer is no longer the challenge it once was.

In her new book, “Hacking the Digital Print,” artist Bonny Lhotka illustrates how photographic artists can take their work to the next level through alternative methods of capturing and printing photographs. She proves that the hands-on art of printmaking is alive and well in the digital age. And she explains why you don’t always need Photoshop to alter the reality that you capture through your lens.

HackingWorkshop

By using analog distortion filters and lens modifiers you can create images that look like you—not an app—made them.  As Lhotka explains, “Capturing altered reality is different from altering captured reality.”

In the book’s introduction, Lhotka points out that, “A photograph is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world. We can restore the third dimension by using materials such as slate, granite, wood, or metal that have heft, mass and texture.”

In “Hacking the Digital Print,” Lhotka shows how to make original art objects and hand-crafted photo gifts by transferring your photographs to materials such as wood, glass, plastics, and metal. Lhotka also shows how to create skins that can be layered to make mixed-media photographs.

Some projects explained in the book use non-toxic digital alternatives to re-create classic printmaking techniques. For example, Wonder Sauce is a water-based transfer solution that is safe enough to use anywhere, whether it’s the studio, classroom, or kitchen counter.For the truly adventurous, Lhotka shares her custom techniques for taking photographs and applying them to 3D-printed objects created with popular consumer-model 3D printers.

Part artist/part mad scientist, Lhotka has spent many hours experimenting, hacking, and tearing things apart to discover new ways to take, make, and print images.

In the early days of wide-format color inkjet printing, Bonny Lhotka organized “Digital Atelier: A printmaking studio for the 21st Century” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and was an artist-in-residence there for 21 days. The artists of the Digital Atelier demonstrated some of the creative possibilities of scanning and inkjet printing.

Lhotka is also a recipient of the Smithsonian/Computerworld Technology in the Arts Award.

Bonny says she designed “Hacking the Print” for “artists and photographers who enjoy serendipitous discoveries—those intuitive accidents that lead to new discoveries and possibilities.”

She encourages you to take the techniques in this book, hack them, and make them your own. She cautions that the process will be messy, and failures may require you to keep trying: “But in the process, you will make your exciting discoveries, find solutions, to your problems, and create a body of work that is uniquely yours.”

HackingWorkshop2

You can purchase “Hacking the Digital Print,” through Amazon or buy a signed copy through the DASS ART website. “Hacking the Digital Print” was published by Peachpit, the Pearson imprint the publishes technology books, e-books, and videos for creative people.

On the DASS ART website, you can also register for related workshops or order the specialized transfer media Lhotka has developed for transferring images printed with pigment inks on inkjet photo printers.

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DASS has also started a Facebook group for artists and photographers who are creasting work with the techniques featured in Bonny Lhotka’s two previous books on contemporary printmaking techniques: Digital Alchemy and The Last Layer.

According to Lhotka, “The Facebook group is a place to post your work, share processes, and ask questions. I will pop in an out to answer questions and post tips.”

LINKS:

Hacking the Digital Print: Alternative image capture and printmaking processes with a special section on 3D printing (Voices That Matter)

The Last Layer: New methods in digital printing for photography, fine art, and mixed media (Voices That Matter)

DASS ART