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Tips, techniques, and trivia about 35mm slides from digital art, etc.

Digital images are electronic snapshots taken of a scene or scanned from documents, such as photographs, manuscripts, printed texts, and artwork. The digital image is sampled and mapped as a grid of dots or picture elements called pixels. Each pixel is assigned a tonal value (black, white, shades of gray or color), which is represented in binary (zeros and ones). The binary digits, or "bits", for each pixel are stored by a computer and often reduced to a mathematical representation (compressed). The bits are then interpreted and read by the computer to produce an analog version for display or printing.

Pixel dimensions are the horizontal and vertical measurements of an image expressed in pixels. The pixel dimensions can be determined by multiplying both the width and the height by the dpi (dots per inch). A digital camera will also have pixel dimensions, expressed as the number of pixels horizontally and vertically that define its resolution (e.g., 2,048 by 3,072). Calculate the dpi by dividing a document's dimension into the corresponding pixel dimension against which it is aligned. An 8" x 10" document that is scanned at 300 dpi has the pixel dimensions of 2,400 pixels (8" x 300 dpi) by 3,000 pixels (10" x 300 dpi).

A digital camera is an electronic device used to capture and store photographs electronically instead of using photographic film like conventional cameras. Modern compact digital cameras are often multifunctional, with some devices capable of recording sound and video as well as photographs. Professional digital cameras, on the other hand, are generally dedicated to photography. In the Western market, both types of digital cameras now outsell their 35mm film counterparts

Eugene F. Lally of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory published the first description of how to produce still photos in a digital domain using a mosaic photosensor. The purpose was to provide onboard navigation information to astronauts during missions to planets. The concept included camera design elements foreshadowing the first digital camera.

Texas Instruments designed a filmless analog camera in 1972, but it is not known if it was ever built. The first recorded attempt at building a digital camera was by Steve Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak. It used the then-new solid state CCD chips developed by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1973. The camera weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg), recorded black and white images to a cassette tape, had a resolution of 0.01 megapixel (10,000 pixels), and took 23 seconds to capture its first image in December of 1975. The prototype camera was a technical exercise, not intended for production, and it still existed as of 2005.

The first true digital camera that recorded images as a computerized file was likely the Fuji DS-1P of 1988, which recorded to a 16 MB internal memory card that used a battery to keep the data in memory. This camera was never marketed in the United States. The first commercially available digital camera was the 1991 Kodak DCS-100, the beginning of a long line of professional SLR cameras by Kodak that were based in part on film bodies, often Nikons. It used a 1.3 megapixel sensor and was priced at $13,000.

A slide is a special type of transparency film intended to be projected onto a screen using a slide projector. This allows the photograph to be viewed by a room-full of people at the same time. Slides were at one time the most important medium for presentations, but LCD projectors which are now widely available have replaced many traditional slide projectors, especially for business and science presentations. The traditional 35mm slides are still preferred by many art schools and galleries.

The most common form of modern slide transparency is the 35mm slide. The 35mm slide is essentially a positive-image printing onto the standard 35mm film used in the movie industry, then placed inside a cardboard or plastic shell. Older projectors used a sliding mechanism to manually pull the transparency out of the side of the machine, where it could be replaced by the next image, and it is from this that we get the name "slide". Modern projectors typically use a carousel that holds a large number of slides, and viewed by a mechanism that automatically pulls a single slide out of the carousel and places it in front of the lamp.

Slides are still generally preferred by many professionals and amateurs when working with traditional film. Slides are often sharper and have better color reproduction. Generally, slides have a longer life span than color prints. Kodachrome is well known for its archival qualities. Color does not fade in Kodachrome for a long time. Theoretically, they should last about 200 years as compared to 50-70 years for negative colour-film processes (e.g. Kodacolor or Agfacolor) and 20-30 years for colour prints. The Kodachrome process uses toxic and difficult-to-control chemicals in the development process and so remains in use in only a few locations worldwide.

Artists should never give their work away or sell it without first documenting it by taking a photograph or a slide. Slides are a good choice as they will reproduce the work well, but they can be a lot of work. Mark the slides with your name, the name of the piece, medium, the size, and an arrow showing the top of the slide for work where this is not obvious. You may also include a description sheet along with your slides detailing assignments and other information you feel an art school admissions committee should know about each piece. Slides should be focused on your work not on the background. Focus in on the image as close up as possible. One way is to place your artwork on a black cloth that is covering a large chair. Always use a neutral background. Place your work out of direct sunlight but in a light area, and shoot. Be sure to take off the glass or acetate before taking a slide.

Artists often dread documenting their work, especially making slides. It can be expensive and time consuming. But with a decent digital camera and a little know-how, artists can now make good looking images of their work with ease and little expense. These images can be produced as slides, prints, or added to web pages.

Three-dimensional work, sculpture or ceramics, or any work that is not flat, should be submitted to schools, art shows, or galleries in slide form. You should include no more than two slides of the same piece. Remember if you are applying to more than one college (and you should be) the deadlines often overlap, which means you will probably need to make multiple sets of slides. Take your slides early because you must have time to see if the slides are accurately represent your work before you part with your work.

An art portfolio is a collection of an applicant’s best work, presented as professionally as possible, demonstrating the applicant’s interests and aptitude. Quality is more important than quantity. Applicants should submit only their best work. The slide portfolio is helpful in evaluating the applicant's commitment to pursuing education and a career in the visual and performing arts, design, the building arts, or the history of art and architecture.

Your slide portfolio is a selection of your artwork that represents the variety and quality of your capabilities as an artist. It is important to an art college because it exemplifies who you are as an artist. It also gives a sense of your passion and work ethic in relation to your art. Originality and creativity should come through in your work as you show your ability to draw from life rather than printed images. The work should demonstrate knowledge and versatility of media and subject matter, combined with an understanding of color, composition and design.

The portfolio should include a minimum of 15 to 20 slides of recent work. You may add more work if desired, including current sketchbooks and journals. Drawings and photographs do not have to be matted or framed. However, a strong visual representation of your abilities is essential to ensure the more accurate assessment and the best results for you. Remember that decisions made in choosing what to include in your portfolio are important ones.

To shoot your portfolio slides, place each piece of artwork against a neutral background. Use a solid color background in white, gray or black. Choose a clean wall and large sheets of drawing paper or cloth. Black cloth reflects less light than black paper. The object of this is to eliminate the surroundings so that attention is directed to your work and not to the distraction of the setting. Move in close enough with your camera to let each piece occupy as much of the vewfinder as possible. When shooting 3-D work consider shooting a detail of the piece as well. The best time to shoot work outdoors is an overcast day or in a consistently shaded area such as the side of a house. This way, the sunlight will be diffused and allow for even lighting without shadows or glare washing out the color.

Your slide portfolio is a substitute for your originals. Be patient. You cannot be expected to be an expert photographer the first time you pick up a camera. A little practice along with some helpful advice from a camera shop owner or a knowledgeable, competent photographer, computer person or art teacher may be all you need to produce excellent results. When you consider your image taking as an exercise and training that will serve you well for your college admission and for future submissions in applying for an art-related position, it's worth the extra time and attention.

Always show your best work. Plan your art portfolio carefully. A good portfolio should have continuity and provide viewers with a clear idea as to what your vision is. It should be organized by subjects or different photographic styles. Horizontal and vertical images, as well as different size prints should be organized and grouped separately. Black and white images and color images should also be grouped separately for easier viewing.

The AP Studio Art portfolios are designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art. AP Studio Art is not based on a written examination; instead, students submit slide portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year.

AP Studio Art is a series of Advanced Placement Courses divided into three different categories: AP Studio Art Drawing, AP Studio Art 2D, and AP Studio Art 3D. Unlike traditional AP Exams that utilize a multiple-choice section, free-response section, and occasionally an audio section, the AP Studio Art Exam is a portfolio that encompasses 3 different categories: Quality, Concentration, and Breadth. Depending on the AP Studio Art exam the person is taking, the components for each of the 3 categories will vary.

In the United States, Art and Design schools that offer BFA and MFA degrees break down into several basic types with some overlap. The most fundamental is a small, private art or design school. O'More College of Design, Maine College of Art, Montserrat College of Art, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, for example, would all be representative of that model. Add to that the larger private art schools, such as the Rhode Island School of Design, Art Center College of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Pratt Institute, University of the Arts, Philadelphia and Otis College of Art and Design. Some of these schools belong to a consortium called AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design).

Generally, visual artists fall into two categories - graphic artists and fine artists -depending on the artist's purpose in creating a work of art. Graphic artists put their artistic skills and vision at the service of commercial clients, such as major corporations, retail stores, advertising, design, or publishing firms. Fine artists create art for their own reasons and may display their work in art galleries, public spaces, museums and homes. Some of their work may be done at the specific request of clients – whether private individuals, corporate clients, or a public commissioning body. Fine artists work independently, choosing their mediums and subject matters as they see fit. Often, they specialize in one or more forms of art, i.e. painting, sculpting, or printmaking. Some artists make a living from selling their work at galleries or craft fairs, some earn their living primarily from large scale public art commissions, and in many instances visual artists work in more commercially connected endeavors, while pursuing their "fine arts" goals.

Craft fairs can be the best way to get your crafts business off the ground. Since you are meeting with your customers face-to-face, it is an excellent way to do market research for your work and its price. As you sit quietly by your table, you will receive all kinds of unsolicited advice from the crowds of shoppers passing by your booth. It seems somewhat magical, the minute one walks into one's craft booth, one turns invisible and customers will discuss your products as though you aren't there - what a great opportunity for market research.

There are two kinds of craft fairs, juried and non-juried. When crafters are first starting out they often exhibit in non-juried fairs, usually based on the low price and the fact that they really don't understand the difference between that and a juried show.

A non-juried art or craft fair is a sale that accepts its exhibitors on a first-come, first-serve basis. Non-juried shows do not have a selection committee. The costs to exhibit are usually very reasonable, anywhere from $10.00 to about $65.00. Craft fairs are seldom more expensive than that; the most common price is about $20.00. Occasionally, as an alternative, you may pay a small table fee and then a percentage of sales, usually 10%. Often this money is donated to a good cause. A well-organized fair will result in better profits for all the exhibitors, so the key thing to look for when choosing fairs is Organization.

The larger craft fairs are generally juried. The jurying process usually involves sending in a portfolio that includes slides of your work and a resume, along with a jurying fee. When you call or send for an application form, all the information regarding the jurying process will be included. Some fairs will have you send in actual samples of your work, however, this is becoming less common. The booth fee for a juried fair is much more expensive, but the number of people who generally attend this type of show is much greater. Juried shows start at about $100 and go upwards to as much as $3500 depending on the size of the booth and the type and duration of the show.

More and more art shows and craft shows are becoming juried. As there is more competition within the shows, many show promoters have found that running a juried show is more profitable for them and for their exhibitors, the primary reasons being that the show then has a higher quality of exhibitors and products.

When submitting your product for the jurying process, pay close attention to all the small details. If you don't print or write clearly, type whenever possible. Ensure that you have good quality photographs, with each marked with your name and return address or phone number. If you are submitting your application by mail - be creative with your media kit. Spend some time and some thought. Use the envelope as an opportunity to peak the show promoters interest.

Going to the movies is a favorite pastime of U.S. citizens. In 2001, the 10th consecutive year of record-breaking ticket sales, U.S. box offices reached an all-time high of $8.4 billion. Since 1996, each U.S. citizen has attended an average of at least five movies a year. Advertisers use the silver screen to reach their audiences in new and innovative ways. With more than 2,400 screens displaying cinema advertisements nationwide, you are sure to find a theater near you for your “big-screen” message. Cinema advertising is paid advertisements on the movie screen or in the theater lobby. Cinema slides (on-screen still ads) make up 75 percent of all cinema advertisements; rolling stock or “live-action” ads (filmed spots prior to movie trailers) cover most of the rest. Cinema slides are affordable and can be very effective.

Cinema on-screen slide advertising has fantastic benefits as an advertising medium in that the audience is affluent and dynamic, they pay to be entertained while seated in a darkened auditorium with no distractions, and the screen is larger than life with all eyes focused on it. All these factors combine to make cinema advertising the one of the most effictive ways to communicate your message.

Cinema advertising has been proven to have high levels of recall thanks to the unique atmosphere, big screen and surround sound. Cinema attracts a wide cross section of the population. Frequent cinema goers are typically hard to reach with traditional media, they are young, have high disposable incomes and an active lifestyle.

Cinema advertising has experienced double digit growth for the third consecutive year and is anticipated to grow as much as 20 percent in the next year.

Cinema advertising--slides and rolling stock--is now appearing on 50 percent of America’s 36,000 theater screens and enjoying double-digit growth. Business is growing at a rate of 50 percent to 70 percent a year. Local businesses typically dominate the slide shows. Automobile dealerships, health care providers from dentists to chiropractors, local restaurants and insurance companies submit a billboard image or logo that the cinema advertisers format for their screens.

Research shows that recall is three times higher for cinema slides than it is for television and five times higher for rolling stock. Light type on dark backgrounds using brief copy--15 words or less--work best for cinema slides.

Cinema advertising companies try to keep a 50/50 mix of entertainment--movie and movie star trivia--and advertisements. Slides carousels hold 81 images and rotate between showings.

More and more churches are using 35mm slides to project the words to their church music. This has proven more cost effective to maintaining, storing, updating, and replacing traditional hymnals. Worshippers also find it more convenient than searching through the hymnal for the right page.

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