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Documenting Your Work

2009-05-20 17:14:54 by Art101

Tutorial List

This tutorial will teach you how to take pictures of, or scan your work, and how to clean it up so that it can be presented and published online.

--WHAT YOU WILL NEED-- for photographing
A blank flat wall (or any smooth flat VERTICAL surface, an easel can be used as well)

A camera and tripod (tripod is optional but very very helpful, makeshift one if you don't have one)

A black cloth (optional but helpful, any dark background is ideal)

2 Directional Lights (it helps if they are equal or similar strengths, white light is better than yellow)

Your piece


Step 1: Tape the cloth to the wall (make sure the tape wont ruin your cloth or wall)

Step 2: Tape your piece to the cloth, if you have one use a level to make sure its straight, if not just eyeball it the best you can.

Step 3: Step up the two lights at about 45 degrees from the piece at about the same height as the piece. (This is done to reduce shadows and glare, as well as light the piece)

Step 4: Set the tripod up as close to the piece within the camera frame as you can get straight on WITHOUT ZOOMING.

Step 5: Take picture


Step 6: Transfer the pic to your comp. Save it as a .tif file if you can. KEEP THIS FILE UNTOUCHED. Its important to have one high res copy that you never save over so that if you need to ever go back and touch something up differently you can without retaking the pic.

For the sake of simplicity we will be using photoshop. Really any photo editing program will work.
Step 1: Crop the Pic. Notice the curve of the edge that happens with some cameras, keep this in mind when you take pictures because it makes cropping more challenging.

2740186_141654810411_crop.jpg      2740186_141654817193_curve.jpg
Step 2: Adjust the colors and tones. Even with the best camera and lighting you need to do a bit of tweaking. If you aren't using photoshop use whatever image adjustments you can. If you are using photoshop go to "Image -> Adjustments" and play around with the features in there to get the picture as close to the original that you can. if you are lazy you can try using the auto tone, color, or contrast features, but these often don't work the best. Experiment with each feature and learn what they do. You wont always need all of them, but knowing what each one does is crucial and will save lots of time.

2740186_141654824612_tones.jpg        2740186_141654899661_adjustments.jpg

Step 1: Resize the image. Make it the appropriate size for the site you will be posting it. In photoshop this is done with "Image-> Image Size".

Step 2: Optimize it. Most sites have a file size limit, so use your program to save it at an appropriate size. The best way to do this in photoshop is to "Save for Web" Adjust the quality until the file size is the correct size for that site.

2740186_141654948512_save.jpg     2740186_141654955482_quality.jpg
Step 3: Submit it to whatever site you want.

If you have a web cam follow the steps as close as you can. the picture quality wont be as good, but its still possible to get a good picture if you use the lighting and clean up techniques.

If you have a Scanner just scan the image in and go straight to the clean up section.

Digital pieces go straight to the Publishing Section.

Documenting Your Work


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2009-05-20 17:35:50

god I hated documenting my work in my first year of college. Glad I'm doing my stuff mostly on the computer now


2009-06-19 13:30:55

Thank god I have a copier.

Art101 responds:

A scanner and copier is only good for flat, clean, dry, and small work. And the optimizing the photo for the web is still a rather unknown skill to many people.


2009-07-21 17:31:58

thanks man this really helped with my killzone drawing :]

Art101 responds:

You're welcome, always glad to help.


2011-10-24 10:20:20

Very Helpful