Thursday, 29 November 2012

DIY light-box in less than 2 hours.

Hey Guys, thanks for asking about how I made the Light-box. I'm going to give a quick overview of how I made it. 

I was asked by one of my clients to do some food photography, nothing major, just a couple of products for their point of sale display. However, I wanted to do the best job I could rather than just handing them a lousy ass poster. So I had a quick idea this morning of building a light-box for myself.
I knew that they cost around £100, but my logic couldn't justify forking out 100 bucks for a box which simply diffused light. + I thought it would be a cool idea to make a light box out of nothing. 

-To make a light-box without leaving the house or purchasing anything new. 
-To record the time, just so I can make it interesting. 
-To please the client with photography which is on par with a semi-professionals work. 

This will differ slightly for you depending on what you have, but most of these products can be found in your stationary drawer or in your garage. I've shared with you the list I've used but I also provide some alternatives if you don't have the exact things which I used. 

-Stanley knife (Scissor, kitchen knife, your house keys)
-Marker (Pen, pencil etc)
-Clear tape (Brown tape, duck tape, glue etc) 
-Ruler (I didn't use this but if you need a clean cut, its useful to draw a line)
-Measuring tape (I prefer measuring tape but you can quite easily use a ruler)
-Smoke sheet (this could be tracing paper, vinyl sheet or just some white cloth which you have lying around) I used one of the sides from an under bed storage bag. 
-Cardboard box (if you don't have one, just nip down to your nearest store and ask them to give you a Walkers box or Invaders box) square is usually fine but my lighting set-up is quite low so I went for a rectangular box. 

Making the box should be self explanatory but the main aim is to cut the sides of the cardboard to make  big windows. These windows are then covered with these vinyl sheets to help diffuse the light. Make sure you cut the paper slightly bigger than the windows so you can easily tape the area over. Its okay if you make a mistake, I did some quick measurements mainly because I had a small amount of smoke sheet. When it came to cutting up the box, I just eye balled the required clearance from the edge and starting cutting through it. 

I also slit a horizontal line at the back of the box. This was to insert the A2 sheet of paper and hold it in place. By using the slit, you can easily reach the paper from the back and tape it. The curve paper will act as a ground plane and it'll give you a really nice fall off on the horizon line. I prefer this over having the sharp edges of the box. 

The example above shows the difference between standard outdoor lighting and the controlled lighting set-up of a light-box. Notice how the highlights and shadows are crisper in the lightbox version in comparison to the Outdoor version. Having the objects on a white background also makes it a whole lot easier to mask out using Photoshop  

I'm using three of my favourite Ikea lamps to illuminate and control the lighting. However, you can easily do the same with a tube light or simple bulbs. Just mask them off using printing paper if the lights are too harsh. If you've read the 1000 Charcoal blog, you'll know about my lamp. Since I was using three of these I got away with not taking the paper off the lamps. I kinda like it this way. 

Final result

I got the desired result that I was after, and I was happy to not only make a light-box with just some bits found around my house but also saving me pounds. The total project took me less than two hours with the stop watch clocking at 45 minutes for the whole building process. I recycled the parts around my house so the total project cost was actually nil. 

I don't even have a professional camera. I'm just using my HTC camera phones for these images. I've shown a few samples of these to the client earlier on and they liked it (Not Ferrero Rochers). 

I hope this blog has been of some help to you, I always think that there is no one method of getting to your end result. Just have fun and add a little bit of yourself into what you do. I'm a big fan of sports car so I added a little spoiler on top of my box by folding a little flap and taping it over.

There are plenty of lightbox tutorials out on YouTube and google so if you want an in-depth workarounds or alternatives just look them up. This is just my way of solving this particular task.   

Enjoy making your light-box! 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Day 15: Colour study

We just had the Big speedpainting event over at ConceptWorld and it went awesome.

Lets resume the blog with a Deathline post. Lost count of days so starting at 15.

A colour study I started some time again, just had time to finish it off:

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Schoolism workshop

Hey Everyone,

I'm so excited whilst writing this blog. Let me start by sharing this image with you guys:

Bobby Chiu was in London with his Schoolism team and I was lucky enough to grab tickets for two of the workshops. I missed out on the All events pass so I quickly bought Alex Woo's workshop ticket and Bobby Chiu's ticket. 

People from all over the world came to these workshops and I was lucky to be just a tube journey away from the Moving Picture Company. I seen people from Netherlands, America and Portugal and they were all massive fans of Bobby. I can tell!

I'll refrain from sharing the images from inside these books, it was a surprise for me to open and I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone doing these workshops in the future. 

This was the session overview of Alex Woo's workshop:

Session Overview

Hour 1
Lecture - (20 minutes)
Line of Action session - (20 minutes)
Shape session - (20 minutes)

Break (10 minutes)

Hour 2
Silhouette session - (20 minutes)
Space session - (20 minutes)
Exaggeration session - (20 minutes)

Break (10 minutes)

Hour 3
Extrapolation session - (20 minutes)
Story session - (20 minutes)
Story pitch - (20 minutes)

Hour 4
Final lecture (20 minutes)
Questions and Answers (20 minutes)

We drew a lot in this workshop and it was awesome getting some critique from Alex on my drawings, he actually went around and gave everyone 1-1 critique. Bobby was also in the room taking pictures with his iPhone and I had my work on the projector at one point and Alex drew over it to explain a few things I was doing wrong.

At the end of the session I asked Alex to sign my business card and in his usual style, he drew me a gestural sketch of himself. Neat!

Here is the agenda for Bobby's workshop:

Session Overview

Artistic Skills
- Increasing ability, speed, healthy art habits, finding your natural style.
Setting Up
- Brush settings, reference, multiple views.
Visualizing and Effective Sketching
- What to see vs. what to draw.
Fictional Light Sources
- Lighting, highlights, textures.
Finishing Touches
- Soft lighting, detailing.
Three Principles of Motivation
- Positive & negative motivation, measuring true success.
- Creating a strong "brand", building a fanbase
Attracting Big Clients
- Creating demand, closing deals
Financial Security
- Quoting, diversifying, making yourself irreplaceable
Questions & Answers

After the event, I managed to grab Bobby, Jason and Kei for a 1-1 chat. That was epic!

I learnt a lot from Bobby's workshop, it was really nice to see Bobby share his personal life with everyone in the room and everyone had goosebumps at the end of the day. I really couldn't have asked for more.

A lot was covered in both of the workshops and it was really nice to hear from the professionals in the top of their game. Couldn't have asked for more.

It would be impossible for me to put in words all the things i've learned from these artists but hopefully i'll be able to pass some of the things i've learned down to my peers.

It was a really good networking opportunity and I met a lot of great artist who i'm now in link with through Facebook and Twitter.

I managed to get two Retweets from Bobby within a weekend. What else could you ask for. I welcomed Bobby, Kei and Jason personally to visit London again soon and also handed them my business card so they can get in touch with me if they want.

Before ending this blog I would just add that i'll never forget this weekend and i'll try and keep this page really close to my heart. It was Bobby, Kei and Jason's signature on it.

Friday, 2 November 2012

My first Exhibition. Excitement!

On 31st October, I had my first ever exhibition in Stoke-on-trent. I had been planning this exhibition for a while now and I really wanted it to be the best it could be. There is a company called Start-up Britain, which helps young people start their own business (great idea I know). They were scheduled to visit our university on the 31st and as part of this exhibition they asked us to set-up an exhibition stand so we can help inspire a few of the students and answer any questions they might have.

For this exhibition I wanted to launch three new pieces, this time I wanted try my hands on portrait art, following the Sam Spratt style that I had been practising for some time now. I launched three new pieces on this day:

These were by far the biggest painting i've worked on to date and by mistake I increased the canvas size in the process so I was dealing with over 20k of pixels, no wonder my pc was crying....

The concept behind these pieces was quite thought after. I wanted to give a sense of these athletes entertaining the world and also being the role model for them. It doesn't really matter what colour they are or represent. I also wanted to show some grit/ dirt/ scratches on their faces to show the hard work that celebrities usually hide behind their skin. I used textured brushes to add noise into these pieces and kept working in layers to get the desired result I was after. 


To prepare for this day, I bought a box of empty key chains from ebay (cheap as chips) and also got my business cards printed (finally). 
 My sister also decided to help me with this event so she helped me along at every stage.

We were quite strapped for time with everything else that was going on around us, I really wanted to wear a custom made t-shirt saying Banksy, Damien, Warhol, GDSWorld on it (the people I would like to reach/ beat one day). Since there was no time left to get them printed and shipped over from eBay my sister decided to buy some T-shirt printing paper. What a genius idea and the end result looked epic.

To gain some interest and momentum on these pieces I utilised a campaign trick to reveal a small preview of the images before the exhibition. 2 days before the event, I uploaded Usain Bolt's preview, a day before Mo Farah's and on the morning of the event a small preview of Jessica Ennis. 


As I live over a 100 miles away from Stoke, I decided that it would be best for us to leave a day early and stay at a place called 'The Lodge' in Stoke. This Bed & Breakfast was a great place to help us get away from our city lives and the people running this place (Alan and Sue) are just brilliant. 

 In the morning of the exhibition, we woke up early and decided to go for a little walk to get some fresh air into our system. The sight seeing in this place was something I can't describe in words. Nothing too extra-ordinary if you live in a farm but if you're used to living in a city this with no room to breath, this was definitely a vacation.
We also decided to take a walk around a tiny lake just behind 'The Lodge'. 
We couldn't spend too much time there as I wanted to get to the exhibition nice and early. 

Image Credit: Leila Abar

I was so busy in this event that I didn't take any pictures on my phone. This was the first time my work was exposed in this way so I tried to make the most of it. 

Dragons Den: As part of this exhibition I was asked to be a part of a workshop which was designed to help young people interact with each other and come up with a business pitch based on the product they were provided. I was one of the four dragons helping with the event and it was past awesome helping all these students get to know each other and come up with a winning idea.

The winning team not only had a good business, but they also made use of the whole package that was provided to them and everyone pitched when it was their time to shine. Well done guys! Enjoy your Amazon voucher.

So that concluded our day at the exhibition. I still get happy just thinking about it. After this event, we decided to have a nice dinner at Sweet & Spicy across the road and then me and my sister drove back to London.

I want to say a big thanks to my sister without whom the trip would've been a bit bland.
One last person that deserves a big thank you is Leila Abar, who not only helped us throughout the day but also made it a fun day for all of us. She's always smiling! Go you!