Thursday, February 17, 2011

Basic Photography: Lesson 2-The Rule of Thirds

The ancient Greeks are amongst the first to realise the more pleasant effects that a visual presentation using the rule of thirds would present. Hence most of their works of art uses this rule in its visual presentation. In fact the rule of thirds are amongst the first few rules that are taught in basic photography classes.

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. As follows.

As you’re taking an image you would have done this in your mind through your viewfinder or in the LCD display that you use to frame your shot. With this grid in mind the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image. Not only this – but it also gives you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.

The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

In learning how to use the rule of thirds (and then to break it) the most important questions to be asking of yourself are:
  • What are the points of interest in this shot?
  • Where am I intentionally placing them?
Once again – remember that breaking the rule can result in some striking shots – so once you’ve learnt it experiment with purposely breaking it to see what you discover.

Basic Photography: Lesson 1-Knowing your focal point

It is important in basic photography for you to be able to know what are the focal points of the photos that you are taking. Are you taking a single subject matter or a group of people engaging in a certain activity? The reason why a focal point is important is to allow your viewers to maintain their focus on the intended subject matter. Hopefully the ideas and messages that you would want to show, highlight or put across in the photos would be put forth across successfully.

For example, compare the 2 pictures below:

 Picture 1

Picture 2

Which of these pictures would show more clearly the idea of students being engaged in an IT-based activity?

 6 Techniques to Enhance the Focal Point in an Image
A focal point can be virtually anything ranging from a person, to a building, to a mountain, to a flower etc. Obviously the more interesting the focal point the better – but there are other things you can do to enhance it’s power including:
  • Position – Place it in a prominent position – you might want to start with the rule of thirds for some ideas.
  • Focus – Learn to vary your depth of field to blur out other aspects in front or behind your focal point.
  • Blur – If you really want to get tricky you might want to play with slower shutter speeds if your main subject is still and things around it are moving.
  • Size – making your focal point large is not the only way to make it prominent – but it definitely can help.
  • Color – using contrasting colors can also be a way of setting your point of interest apart from it’s surroundings.
  • Shape – similarly contrasting shapes and textures can make a subject stand out – especially patterns that are repeated around a subject.
Keep in mind that a combination of above elements can work well together.
Lastly – don’t confuse the viewer with too many competing focal points which might overwhelm the main focal point. Secondary points of interest can be helpful to lead the eye but too many strong ones will just clutter and confuse.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sketchworks 8...with Playdoh!

Some of the potential problems that most students would have are in the areas of visualisation of their proposed ideas. For today's lesson, what we are going to do is to leverage on the flexibility of Playdoh for ideation and visualisation.

Design Challenge 4:
For your first challenge, you are tasked to design a door-wedge or stopper that is going to be used for a toddler or for a child up to the age of 6 years of age. The design should fulfill the following considerations:
  • Use only a SINGLE colour material
  • Should not have sharp corners
  • Is secure when placed as a door stopper, meaning that it cannot be removed easily without adult supervision
  • Must have an interesting theme relevant to their age group, i.e. favourite cartoons, shows, fairy tales, etc
Use the Playdoh to create a model of your intended design or designs, and sketch it out on your sketchbooks. Take a picture of BOTH your models and sketches and upload them in your ADMT personal blog, putting in the URL in the 'Comments' section of this post.

Design Challenge 5:
One of the main problem that one faces when charging a few electrical appliance at one go is the mess created by all the cables from a single power point. A possible scenario would look something like the picture shown below:

Take from:
For your second challenge, you would need to design a phone charger set or unit that would allow one to use it without the hassle and mess of having the wires and cables being all over the place. Your proposed designs should fulfill the following considerations:
  • Able to hold and secure a maximum of 2 phones concurrently
  • Able to be secure the charging cables neatly and safely
  • Can be used for most power-points in Singapore (either 3-pin or 2-pin plugs)
  • No sharp corners and easy to be used by the target group
  • Target group is anybody who has a mobile phone
Use the Playdoh to create a model of your intended design or designs, and sketch it out on your sketchbooks. Take a picture of BOTH your models and sketches and upload them in your ADMT personal blog, putting in the URL in the 'Comments' section of this post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Shot@Fame

Inviting all students who are interested in photography, don't really matter whether you are a beginner or someone who have been taking photos the last few years of your school life. Here's an opportunity for you to showcase your talents in the Canon Singapore Photography competition! I hope that some of you would be taking part in this after the initial photography lessons that I would be conducting from week 8 onwards.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week 7: Sketchworks 7...Design Challenge 3

Design Challenge 3...

Picture taken from:

Current Situation: The above picture shows the typical wall fan that is used mostly in classrooms or office environments. One of the most challenging part about this fan types is to clean the fan blades. You would still need to remove the front portion of the fan to access the blades, but it would take someone quite a fair bit of time to clean all the 3 blades as shown.

Design Specifications
 Your task: Design and sketch a simple gadget or device that would help an average adult to clean the fan blades more efficiently, i.e. at a quicker rate. Your idea or ideas must include or use at least one recyclable material, and must be lightweight and simple to be cleaned too. It must be manually operated and is able to be used simply and effectively for those between the ages of 10 to 50. It should primarily be used at a home or classroom environment.

Sketch your idea or ideas in an isometric view, and include relevant details and information on how the device works. You may or may not use shape borrowing for this proposed solution/s.

Please take a photo or scan of your proposed idea/s and upload it into your personal ADMT blogs. Put in the URL of your blog posts into the 'Comments' section of this post. Follow this up with comments on at least 2 of your classmates' ideas! Consider the Creativity of their solutions, the quality of the sketches, and the overall these 3 are key criteria of your test.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Environment CBL: Report on 'Strategies for Sustainable Growth'

Here is a useful report that was prepared for our Prime Minister on the strategies that Singapore would need to adopt in order to ensure her sustainable growth. There are useful information on the topic of 'Energy Conservation' that you might want to glean and refer to as part of your project work on the CBL theme of 'Environment: Energy Conservation'.

SketchWorks 6: Design Challenge+Shape Borrowing

Using the shape borrowing technique that you have learned in the previous post, resolve the following design challenges by applying it:

Design Challenge 1...
Design Specifications: Design a simple book stand/support that is able to support between 15 to 20 A4-sized sketchbooks vertically. It must be suitable to be used in a desktop or study-table environment, and is catered primarily to secondary or high school students between the ages of 12 to 17.

Your task: Sketch out your ideas in an isometric view. Include relevant annotations/notes in your sketches to explain how your ideas work

Design Challenge 2...
Design Specifications: Design a desk tidy/stationery organizer that is able to store the following items:
  • 3 x 2B pencils
  • 2 x pens
  • 1 x 20cm ruler
  • 1 x soft eraser
  • a pair of scissors
The owner of these items loves the colour RED as a symbol of good luck, and would like the design of the desk tidy to be inspired by any one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.

Your task: Sketch out your proposed ideas of the desk tidy design in an isometric view. Include relevant annotations/notes in your sketches to explain how your idea or ideas is going to store the abovementioned stationery items.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shape Borrowing...

Shape Borrowing technique is a very good way for one to generate new and creative ideas for new products, shapes and forms. One of the key advantage of using this technique is that there is inherently an unlimited number of product shapes and forms that are available around us. What would be the challenge is to then creatively use these shapes and forms to morph them into something unique, creative and yet able to be produced and accepted by your target audiences. Take a look at the slideshow below:

Rubrics for Sketching & Ideation test in Week 8

The test in week 8 would test students on their sketching and ideation skills. The following is the marking rubrics for the test.

Marking rubrics for 'Sketching & Ideation' test

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 5: Showcasing your sketchworks

For your follow-up 'homework' over the long weekend:

Activity 1:
Please upload a minimum of 3 pages of your best sketches into your personal ADMT blogs by midnight on Saturday, 5th February. You can either take a picture of them and upload, or a better and more preferred way would be to scan them in instead. Please key in the URL of your blog post of your uploaded sketches into the 'Comments' section of this post.

Activity 2:
Comment on at least 2 of your classmates' works and sketches. Some rules that you would need to follow are:
  • No disparaging remarks are allowed
  • Do give your positive or constructive comments ONLY
Some areas that you can comment on are:
  • The linework or isometric lines being sketched
  • How your classmate can improve on his or her lineworks/sketches
  • Compliment on certain aspects or components of his sketches
The commenting should be done by Monday, 7th February at 6 pm.