DIMi Revamp

DIMi is going through a major revamp and reorganization of the websites to better support our activities. This is coinciding with us moving into print publication with a line of DIMi books and magazines coming out early in 2010.

Stay tuned for more info.

SIGGRAPH 2009 Announces Call for Submissions

ACM SIGGRAPH announces the 2009 Call for Submissions for contributors and volunteers at the 36th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, 3 – 7 August 2009 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Showcasing works by some of the most creative artists, entrepreneurs,
researchers, and technologists across the globe, SIGGRAPH is the premier
forum for computer graphics and interactive techniques in the world. New
for the 2009 conference, SIGGRAPH will expand its scope to include
focuses on the fields of music and gaming.

Each year, the content presented at SIGGRAPH
provides an opportunity to view the best technological breakthroughs and
advancements in multiple fields. In no other environment is there such a
high-caliber of computer graphics and interactive content provided,
stated Ronen Barzel, SIGGRAPH 2009 Conference Chair. The
additional focus on music and gaming content this year is evidence of
SIGGRAPHs continuing commitment to foster the
fusion of science, art, and technology.

For focused ideas on how individuals can contribute to SIGGRAPH 2009,
see the Calls for Submission for:

Submissions will be reviewed by a highly-qualified jury composed of top
practitioners in each relevant field. Curated work will also be
presented. Due to the comprehensive decision making process involved
with each programs jury, submission deadlines
are several months ahead of the conference itself.

Important submission deadlines are as follows:

Art
Papers

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Technical
Papers

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Student
Volunteer Team Leader Applications

Monday, 9 February 2009

General Submissions:

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

BioLogic
Art
, Courses,
Game
Papers
,

Information
Aesthetics Sho
wcase
,

Emerging
Technologies
, Panels,
Posters,
Talks

Student
Volunteers Applications

Monday, 23 February 2009

Computer Animation Festival:

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Competition
Films
, Real-Time
Rendering

Late-Breaking Work:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

FJORG!,
Research
Challenge
, Late-Breaking

Posters,
Late-Breaking
Talks

All deadlines are 22:00 UTC/GMT

For more information and complete details on this years
submission process, visit the SIGGRAPH
2009 Call for Submissions
page.

About SIGGRAPH

SIGGRAPH 2009 will bring an anticipated 20,000 computer graphics and
interactive technology professionals from six continents to New Orleans,
Louisiana, USA for the industry’s most respected technical and creative
programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming,
interactivity, education, and the web from Monday, 3 August through
Friday, 7 August 2009 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
SIGGRAPH 2009 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services
from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 4-6 August
2009. More than 200 international exhibiting companies are expected.
More details are available at www.siggraph.org/s2009.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org,
is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society,
uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue,
share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the
computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership,
promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical
excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by
providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and
professional networking.

Urban Legends and Country Tales

An Exhibition at the Bonita Museum International art show, running Oct 4 to Nov 15
A large exhibition showing the work of some forty-two artists from around the world opens on the 4th of October, 2008 at the Bonita Museum, Bonita, California.
The Digital Art Guild brings an international print exhibit to the San Diego area. Fifty outstanding prints demonstrate the multiple directions art has taken in the contemporary art world – both in pluralism of styles and the hybridism of technique and media.

The opening and public reception for Urban Legends and Country Tales will be 6 to 8:30 pm on Saturday, Oct. 4th.  Admission is free to the Bonita Museum, 4355 Bonita Road, Bonita CA 91902.  Hours are 10:00am – 4:00pm – Wednesday through Saturday. For museum information, contact Vicky DeLong, Museum Director, 619-267-5141.

The Digital Art Guild has been running for five years in San Deigo. It worked closely with the San Diego Art Institute in its first International Digital Fine Art Exhibit in 2006. The Guild’s members include authors of digital art, including Joe Nalven (The Practice and Vision of Digital Artists), Jack Davis (How to Wow: Photoshop CS3 for Photography), Stephen Burns (Advanced Photoshop CS3 Trickery & FX (Graphics Series), and Cher Threinen Pendarvis (The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book).

Urban Legends exhibition

An educational display will join the print exhibit, including digital media on metal, canvas and duratran prints in backlit boxes. The educational display is being organized by Jim Respess. For more information on the education exhibit, contact Jim at [email protected]

Artists represented in Urban Legends and Country Tales are from San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Hawaii, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Florida, England and Canada.

For more information, visit the DAG web site: http://www.digitalartguild.com

Jurors
The jurors for this exhibit included Don Archer, the founder in 1993 of the world’s largest online computer art museum – MOCA [http://moca.virtual.museum/]  ; Andrew Darlow, photographer and author of 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques, and editor of imagingbuffet.com and inkjettips.com ; and Mel Strawn an artist for over six decades; published in Going Digital: The Practice and Vision of Digital Artists.

Instead of picking a best of show and risking a compromise choice, the jurors opted to pick their own personal favorite.

Mel Strawn picked Urban Totelm Poles by Fred Marinello. Mel observed that “the image is both graphic and effective in the color/space language of painting. The luminous, overall tonality, play of textures and color and complex organization of space, including integration and contrast of the near and far structures (poles, wires and buildings) all create a symphonic transformation of a common, even grubby reality we’ve all seen around us.”

Andrew Darlow was drawn to Room With a View by Pete Axcell. This is a beautiful image that almost looks as though it was photographed without any human intervention. This image conjures up so many different thoughts about how man and nature interact (and are affected by) one another. Urban legends and country tales often center on relationships between nature and people, and this masterfully produced image achieves that, despite the fact that there are no people in the image. Is this a warning about global warming? Maybe it’s simply an illustration of the artist’s ideal living room. The viewer can decide for him or herself what it means, and that’s the power of great art.

Don Archer picked Marie Otero’s Robotic Stepford Wife – Version 2060.
For more information, contact  [email protected] 

Seek Out Peers

While there is great value in the idea of the artist or photographer working away in blissful isolation, there is also a lot of value in learning from others.
One school of thought is that if you work in isolation that you will be free to create your own, completely personal and original voice as an artist or photographer. Now while there is some value in this line of thought, there are also major issues. Art and photography are an outcome of our social nature and as such can benefit from interaction. Likewise how will you know if your work is original if you do not have a good look at what is already out there. There is also so much to learn, doing so in isolation can be, for most people, less than ideal.

So if you are going to interact with others then how, why and where do you do it?
The opinion of family and friends about your work is good and valuable personally, but are often worthless from the perspective of making your work better. Family and friends will usually not be brutally honest about your work and often do not have the visual experience to provide solid, critical advice. What you do want is the opinion of other people experienced in your form of art or photography, and preferably more experienced. Seek them out, join groups or create them. Now you must use careful judgment, as there are lots of people who sound convincing but, in fact, will lead you astray.

Clubs and groups of all sorts have experienced a decline as people’s lives have gotten busier, but they are still worthwhile. Face to face discussions can’t be beat in many ways. Plus they provide the opportunity to see real prints, which is invaluable. The shared experience of doing photography or art together gives you the opportunity to observe different working methods and approaches, which can be key to your development. These positives must be balanced with the negatives of groups, such as requiring a time commitment, travel to and fro, plus the inevitable politics and personality issues.

The Internet and things like discussion groups and forums, bring the club into your own home. There are groups for all sorts of specific interests, from users of a particular camera model to people who shoot through a microscope. Now there are problems with online groups, but they can be worked around. You don’t have the immediacy of looking at a physical print, but this can be solved with a portfolio circle that sends physical prints between members. Discussions can become quite heated because you can’t read the body language online and people tend to be more abrupt online. You can also come across cultural differences that can get in the way, because the online community is really global, even between different English-language speaking countries. And you also get people with the ‘big fish in a small pond’ syndrome, which think they know much more than they do. But the benefits are that you can meet some wonderful people online who live too far away for you to ever meet them in the flesh and keep the dialog going over a long time. Plus in the case of typed messages, you have a history of the discussion you can look back to, something I find invaluable. Online groups also usually have the benefit of not costing anything to join, making it zero risk to try.

A specific word about portfolio circles. In these at set of prints are circulated around the members of the group for comment. When you work online for too long you start to forget just how low-resolution email and website images are, and how limited in tonal range and color. Seeing prints is a key to getting better as a photographer or artist. Now there is some cost involved in posting the prints around, but it is not huge and is more than offset by the great benefit that comes form handling real prints. I highly recommend looking into one.

When you look at the biographies of great people of the past they usually entered into lengthy and prolonged written communication with others of like mind. They were great correspondents, in the older use of this word. The online world is probably the modern day equivalent of this. The secret is in finding the right people. There are so many forums to choose from. The big places are Yahoo and Google, but there are also great forums run by the online magazine sites and many smaller, more focused, private forums. It is also very easy to start your own, although building them up can be tough. Online groups, like all such groups, virtual or physical, want people to participate. It is important to realize that everyone can learn from everyone else and your experience is as valid as others. So when you join a group, get involved in the discussions that interest you and do not let the loud mouthed ones put you off from contributing. What you want to say is as valid (and probably more sensible) than theirs.

One thing to watch out for is the time consuming nature of groups. They can soak up as much time as you want to give and are often used as a subconscious means of avoiding having to actually create work. So you need to balance your commitment with groups with your commitment to practicing your own art. But they are a fantastic way to learn and grow.

Shoot Extras and With Variety

They say variety is the spice of life and when it comes to photography, this is certainly true.
With film there is a financial advantage (superficially) to being frugal in our shooting. Film and processing costs money we may not want to spend. But with digital photography there are no such financial benefits from being frugal. Memory cards are fairly cheap and can be reused over again. Portable disk units that will download your pictures in the field are available which minimize the need for extra memory cards. And sometimes having a laptop with you in the field is a great idea.

You can never predict in advance exactly how you will use an image. Your images can be a resource well into the future and what will you be using your images for in 20 years time? Can any of us know?

It thus pays to shoot a great variety of shots of each subject you find. Verticals, horizontals, wider shots as well as details are all great to take. In basic photography courses we were taught to crop in camera, but this was in the days of film, and especially transparency film, where there was little opportunity to work on an image later. But with digital, working on an image is natural, so having a wide variety of shots is hugely useful.

Let me give you one practical example. When I was editing Digital Photography & Design magazine we were always looking for cover images. Readers would send in great cover images that were cropped tight in camera with the subject filling the frame. However magazine covers typically need space for the magazine title and for the all so important cover lines that promote what is in the issue and attract potential readers. It was sad how many times we would find a great image sent in but with too much of the scene busy with the main subject. We would contact the photographer and ask for a wider shot and guess what, they would not have it. They had cropped in camera and only taken that single shot. Or they had send in a landscape shot (a horizontal) and we naturally needed a vertical, yet because of the shot could not adequately crop one from the supplied (and usually only) image.

So if you view your photographs as a resource that you may use over an extended period and in many ways, you will benefit from shooting a variety.

Chance for Fine Art Photographers

Silvershotz is publishing a book of portfolios of photography.
While there is a fee attached to this, given the quality of Silvershotz magazine and the likely exposure, it seems a reasonable and worthwhile opportunity.

Silvershotz is publishing a 210 page soft cover book to be released in October 2008. Building on the reputation and integrity of the Silvershotz magazine this book will be a serious item to purchase for all those interested in collecting and acquiring work from contemporary fine art photographers.

20,000 copies will be printed for distribution through our regular bookstores and newsstands in 11 countries. A further 2,000 will be available for purchase online or through our magazine and 500 copies will be provided free of charge to selected Auction houses, galleries, museums and collectors around the world. Every artist will be entitled to a double page spread showcasing their work to the key decision makers in the world.
Applications are invited by previous artists featured in this magazine, aspiring artists who want to be considered and artists nominated or represented by galleries and/or agencies.

 There is NO application fee.

How to apply.
1. Only electronic submissions please to [email protected]
2. To avoid the SPAM filter put “100 fine art folios submission” in the subject line of your email.
3. Attach a maximum of 6 images with your email; save at 72 dpi, jpg images sized at approximately 21 x 21 cms. The file size should not exceed 1mb.
4. Attach a word document that contains a bio and artist statement of up to 500 words.
5. Ensure that the email contains ALL your contact details; name, address and contact telephone numbers and website details of you or your gallery.

All applications will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts who will determine the final 100 folios to be showcased. Their decision is final. Successful applicants will be notified in August and must have high-resolution files ready.

If accepted, there is a fee of USD$990.00 or £450.00. This fee covers: editing, administration, approval of the layout for your two pages, creative and design fees, post editing, printing, binding, shipping , distribution, marketing and three free copies per artist. There are no articles or advertisers, just folios. The soft cover book is your showcase and a unique opportunity to be on the world stage. Silvershotz has the infrastructure to help artists promote themselves and their work.

The fee can be paid directly by the individual photographer, the photographer’s representative, a sponsor, either individual or corporate. Please DO NOT send an application if you are not in a position to pay the fee.

What a fantastic opportunity.

Closing date for all applications is extended to July 31st 2008

Plan, Then Shoot

Shooting spontaneously is great, and can produce stunning shots. But with most of us time limited, a bit of preparation ahead of time can maximize your chances.
Many people have the impression that photography needs to be spontaneous to be creative. This is true for some people and for some of the time. But like all human activities, sometimes a bit of preparation can increase the likelihood of creativity triumphing over mediocrity. Call it creative foreplay rather than planning, if it makes you feel better.

Studio photographers plan ahead all the time. They may need to book a makeup artist, get in props, hire equipment, construct sets and more. All of us also plan ahead in some ways, such as packing our camera bag and making sure the batteries are all charged up.
I am mostly a landscape photographer. Planning a shoot can be little more than checking the weather forecast and consulting a map to know how to get there. But it can be much more.

Landscape photography by Wayne J. Cosshall

Let us just consider landscape photography for now as an example. Before a landscape shoot, we could do the following:

  • Check the weather, plus high and low tide times if in a coastal area;
  • Determine sunrise and sunset times, plus moon rise and set and phase. You can also determine the azimuth points around the horizon of the rise and set points;
  • Google for shots of the same location;
  • Go look for books at the library;
  • Use Google Earth to examine the ground;
  • Consult a topographical map to look for potential vistas, shooting locations, approach routes, etc;
  • Writeup a list of the shots you want to take.

The above list is, of course, only representative and similar lists could be prepared for other types of photography. A bit of preparation helps to maximize your chances of success. For example if you know that the moon will rise at 3pm in the afternoon and that there is a particular location with an appropriate vista then you can arrange to be there a bit before three. Without knowing it you will not be sad for what you missed but you just might have completely missed what might have been a stunning shot.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not plan all the time. Sometimes I just have to get out and so I grab a selection of gear and just drive. But sometimes planning lets you get far more out of whatever time you have available for shooting.

Use What You Have

In a consumer society it often becomes a programmed response that we need a new camera, lens or the latest software to life our work. But have we really obtained all we can from what we have?
It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we can just do something when we have that certain lens, or whatever, and that we can’t do anything until we have it. This is a common condition and whilst obviously reasonable at some level, is often a manifestation of our consumer society and/or an avoidance mechanism to avoid actually putting ourselves to the test. Coupled with the above is the fact that we often lust after a new piece of gear when we have only used 10% or so of the capability of the gear we already have that we intend to replace.

It is worth trying to overcome any tendencies to these above traits that you may have. In reality all they do is hold you back and stop you from achieving. No matter how great the circumstances, there is always something that is less than perfect. You may have a really good close focusing zoom but not that dedicated, single focal length macro lens you lust for. Yet that close focusing zoom lens could still produce stunning macro images if you worked at it. Perhaps you might need to invest $30 is a really good closeup filter to aid its close focusing, but perhaps not. Do you really need that top power studio flash set or could a couple of secondhand Sunpak flash guns and some cabling do the job for now? Or even a reflector made from white card or aluminum foil and your single flash? Or is that software upgrade really necessary?

There is another, hidden side to upgrading our software and gear: the time it costs you. How much time do you spend researching the purpose, daydreaming about it and then learning how to use it? Particularly with software upgrades but also with some gear there can be a huge learning curve involved in coming to grips with it so you get the best use from your money. You might be better off putting all this time into your photography or art. Remember too that there can be ripple effects. Upgrade that software and suddenly you need more memory, an operating system upgrade and maybe even a new computer to handle it, all with their attendant costs and time cost.

Most photographic and art gear and software can be used in many more ways than any one of us do. Most has underutilized potential just sitting there. Different types of shots, extended uses, creative uses and more. When was the last time you turned that lens off autofocus and shot everything out of focus to see how it looks? How long have those extension tubes sat in the cupboard unused? Have you explored the full potential of your bounce capable flash gun? Have you used its wireless capability and got it off the camera and in a different relationship to the subject, such as behind?

Of course there can also be a bit of the collector mentality to overcome too. Do you really need that battery grip for your camera or is it just to complete the look? Must you have every prime lens in Canon’s, Nikon’s or whoever’s current catalog? And so it goes.

The equipment and software suppliers want to convince you that you need the latest, that you need more. They are not always the best to listen to because they have an interest in it.

Discipline is the key to overcoming these traits, which keep you stuck and not performing and in saving all the time you will waste in indulging them. Put that time to better use and make more images.

Revisiting is Good

Just as revisiting your previous work to see if it can be improved is good, so is revisiting favorite subject matter or places.
With the wealth of subject matter and locations that most of us have access to, there is a huge urge to not revisit something or someplace we have already worked but to constantly try for something new.

In a previous tip we discussed the value in revisiting our images or artworks and reconsidering the direction we took in the light of further experience and growth. We can and should extend this.

Throughout the history of art, many artists have revisited the same subject matter over and over again. It might be a favorite place, subject or topic. Recurrent topics can be the self-portrait, a favorite landscape location, the same type of flower or whatever. Why would they do this?

When you revisit something or somewhere you are familiar with you are freed from the novelty and thus able to perceive through to a deeper level, explore different techniques and of course see completely differently as we have, hopefully, grown as an artist or person. Of course when it comes to locations, you are also exploring it over time and thus can explore how the time of day, season or development changes the location. Our equipment may also change over time, or our technique of using it. As photographers we may have new lenses or accessories, even new cameras, that open up new picture taking possibilities. As artists we may also have developed techniques, new software (or new versions) and new art making tools, from a graphics tablet to new papers or materials for working over a print.

Personally, I am doing a lot of landscape photography at present. I’ve fallen in love with a particular broad location, about an hour from home, and I am now exploring it and reshooting it as often as I can, with all the gear I have and with whatever gear is coming in for testing, at differing times of day and as the seasons shift. I am loving it. My photography of the place is getting better (in my view) and I am learning more about the place.

Give it a go. Indeed it may be a lifelong study as even while you work other subjects and places you keep revisiting the familiar, find new things or just new things to say. Give it a try.