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One might think how hard could it possibly be to capture an object? Little do they know that product photography is an in-depth field that has a lot of science, technology, physics and dynamics being controlled by the master-the photographer. Clicking for a purpose, like a project, only adds to the pressure. Devang Singh, a product photographer, understands the basics and the tricks. Here, he shares his lens and his vision.

The Photographer

1. Understand the Brief and Your Subject.

Before the physical production of a photograph, the shoot needs to go through a mental process, regardless of whether it’s a 50 Cent Solitaire or something as large as a washing machine. During this process, ask yourself the following questions like ‘What is the scale of the product?’ because this will help you visualise the space required for shooting and lensing. Also, ‘How many sides/facets does the product have?’ as this will enable you to get an idea of the number of lights required along with the framing. This is followed by questions like ‘What is the surface material, whether it is metal reflective, matt, textured etc.’ and ‘What are the styling requirements of the campaign.’ Such a Q n A session with one’s self helps give direction.

The Photographer

 2. Prepare a Mood Board for Yourself/Client.

Once answers to the above questions have been obtained, start making the mood board to help bring into perspective your thoughts that enables team mates understand your vision. It helps in keeping all stakeholders on the same page leaving no room for miscommunication.

The Photographer
The Photographer

3. At Shoot.

At the time of the shoot, equipment that you will need is a 35 mm DSLR, 24 mm, 35mm, 50mm macro or non-macro, 85mm and a 100mm macro lens, minimum four light set up- 200W to 500W, light meter, light modifiers that include soft boxes, reflectors strip boxes, bounce boards- white, silver and gold, mirrors for concentrated reflections, a black chart to cut out extra light, a sturdy tripod with a sandbag and finally a laptop to tether capture and observe all details.

The Photographer

4. Understand Camera Settings and DOF.

If shooting in a controlled environment, like an indoor studio, it is important to keep a few things in mind. It is preferable to shoot custom white balance using a grey card. It’s also important to control shutter speed. For example, always shoot below 1/160 when using staple light setups of Profoto or Elinchrom FX/RX series. This is to make sure the camera syncs with the light and doesn’t give you a black band at the edge. If you are shooting splashes or moving subjects which demand faster shutters, take a wider shot and crop the black band or use a speed light at low intensities like 1/32 or 1/64.

The Photographer

5. Two Scenarios You Shall Face.

If you are shooting products for a catalogue which requires shooting the product in focus through and through, then maintain a distance of at least four feet from the product and try shooting at apertures from f/11 up to f/16 from a 50mm lens.

The Photographer

When conducting a stylised product shot which demands the product to be separated from the background and other props, then there are various ways to deal with it. One can go as close to the subject using wide lenses with wide apertures like f/1.8 and blur the background. Another option is to use a telephoto till 100mm at mid apertures f/5.6 – f/8 to avoid compression of the frames and make the product look smaller than it really is. Finally, one can also use low angle with forced perspective, head on, side or even a 45 degree top down.

The Photographer

6. Understand Lighting and Light Attachments.

Light plays the most important role in creating a spectacular image. It’s best to pre-plan using lighting diagrams in order to avoid any surprises on set. Use soft light for reflective surfaces and cut light with cutters to create gradation. It’s also important to understand highlights and shadows and to always have the final image in mind. The treatment in post-production should already be in your head while you shoot. Another point to add is the use of hard light for rims if required to separate subject/product.

The Photographer

Essential Tricks:

1. Carry a polarizer to minimize highlight and to get details in burnouts on reflective surfaces.
2. Carry a dulling spray to make glossy surfaces matt. Please note that excessive usage of the same can result in a wrong representation of the surface of the subject. Hence, use carefully.
3. Lock down your tripod and maintain a frame and add things to make the image.

The Photographer
Product and Automobile Design

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 

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Devang Singh

With rigorous training from the Life and Light Academy in Ooty, Devang Singh gave up on his corporate career to take control of the camera. Starting his own venture called Studio Fry, he also manages production and handles the business side of things.


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This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

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Shreya Shetty

LA-based freelance concept artist and illustrator, Shreya Shetty, shares her insights about handling and organising finances as a freelancer, so that it no longer feels a daunting task.

Working as a freelancer means you have a wear a lot of hats. Being smart about your finances will allow you to continue to operate smoothly. Here are some ways to help you through the ups and downs of the freelance life.

1. Know Your Worth

Charging a below par rate is going to hurt you, over time. Talk to your peers and know the general rates. Sources like ArtPact, Glassdoor, etc. help find out the hourly and per piece rates for illustrations and such.


2. Budget for Taxes

Freelancers pay at a higher tax rate. Consider this when you quote your prices, and budget for this when you have expenses. Virtually, all work related expenses can be written-off as business expenses. Find out all possible allowed business expenses that you can claim as a freelancer. Be sure to keep your personal and professional spending separate.


3. Consistent Clients

Try to have consistent clients so you know that you will be making a certain amount per month. Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to have a couple of different clients, so even if one stops commissioning work, you won’t be out of work.

4. Invoicing

Be prompt about sending in your invoices as soon as the job is done. Most of the bigger companies have fixed billing cycles so if you are late and don’t send your invoices in by a certain time, it might take up to the next cycle to get paid.


5. Passive Income

It’s always great to supplement your commissions with passive income. This means that you can generate revenue with minimal effort, based on the work that you have already done. Examples of this would be Print on Demand (POD) services for prints, licensing; selling content like tutorial videos, brushes, and so on.


6. Plan Downtime

Plan for the downtime and try to save up at least 3-6 months of your basic living expenses. When you start out keep your overheads low, embrace the frugality till you know you have saved up enough to not panic if the work dries up for a while.

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter.

 

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Strategic Design & Communication Agency VGC have been Aditya Birla Group’s brand custodians since 1997. The latest campaign, conceptualized and executed by VGC, is the next step in the Aditya Birla Group’s brand journey.

Aditya Birla Group

Brief:

The vision of the Chairman, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla whose deep commitment towards creating a brand of immense worth based on solid foundations of impeccable values, has seen the Group journey across many a milestone to emerge as a multinational power-brand of statesman stature, in the matter of just two decades.

Aditya Birla Group

The Group’s radical shift from being architects of a global India to a powerhouse across the globe & various sectors has now led to the understanding of how ABG is a big part of peoples’ lives at every step.

 

This called for revamping the group’s identity to match with the contemporary world.

Aditya Birla Group

Solution:

VGC has partnered Aditya Birla Group over two decades to build an iconic brand and continues to do so.

 

Over the years, VGC has conceptualized and developed all of Aditya Birla Group’s brand campaigns. Starting with the ‘Taking India to the world’ campaign, which introduced the Group as an Indian Multinational with diversified interests across the world, VGC through continuous strategic and creative efforts has helped the group reaffirm their position as a powerhouse across the globe and across sectors.

Aditya Birla Group

VGC refreshed the company’s identity, defining it as a new mark for new milestones. Based on this, the new brand language was extended across various touch points and collaterals, the details of which can be read here

To add more power to the deep-rooted brand that the Aditya Birla Group already is, VGC as its strategic brand and communication partner took the campaigning spirits to a whole new level!

Aditya Birla Group

Following the logo change campaign in 2016, VGC conceptualized a brand communication campaign called ‘Big in your life’, to highlight the Group’s journey to a super-brand that enables and empowers people at every step in their life. The campaign in India was launched as a television commercial and was digitally broadcast across USA, Canada, the Middle East and Japan.

Aditya Birla Group

While the previous campaigns highlighted and established Aditya Birla Group’s ‘Big’ geographical presence, economic might, omnipresence of the Group’s products and the way they touch lives across the world, this latest campaign showcases the narrative of the company moving from ‘Being Big’ to creating and delivering ‘Big Value’ for its consumers and people at large.

Aditya Birla Group

It introduced a new icon for the group – the Aditya Birla Giant, who travels across the world enabling, empowering and enhancing the lives of millions.

 

The film, directed by the globally renowned Eli Sverdlov and post-produced by Gravity from Israel, carries forward the surreal epic signature of all Aditya Birla Group’s films.

Aditya Birla Group

Conclusion:

The television commercial is about the group and its journey towards crossing new milestones, culminating with the logo reveal. With the conceptualisation of this commercial, VGC has taken forward the ‘Big In Your Life’ position and adds a greater purpose to the group. Big is what big does.

Aditya Birla Group

The evolution of the brand with time to keep up with the versatile eye-catching recognition-screens of the present day while still being true to its roots is a symbol of its genuineness and client-commitment that it has followed since its inception.

__________________________________________________________________________________________


Client:
Aditya Birla Group
Design Studio: VGC
Film Director: Eli Sverdlov

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Art is all about materialising your expressions. Vishnu PR takes us through his tutorial of how he transforms the expressions in his mind or even the expressions visible in a piece of art into his style and statement by creating a digital portrait.

Creating from imagination and references is one thing, adding your personal touch to these references and imaginative thinking completely changes the structure of the artwork for the good, defining the artists’ style.

 

For the creation of a portrait, inspired from an oil painting, in his own style, Vishnu has represented his personal touch in various forms of detailing like managing the light, shadow and highlights and addition of textures in just the right amount.

 

Follow the step by step guidance to know the secrets of making a digital portrait look real and surprise yourself with your own creation.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 1

Start by making an outline of the image that you want to create.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 2

A suitable base colour needs to be added to the created outline. Base colour is an important factor to create a digital art or portrait.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 3

The next step is to add different tones of colours in order to achieve the desired light and shadow effects. To give the skin a realistic look, use texture brushes to create a textured effect on the skin.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 4

In your mind, divide the picture into multiple parts and start by detailing out one part of the picture at a time. This organisation helps in a clear analysation of what exactly needs to be done next and is a smooth way of developing the picture.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 5

Then comes the time to adjust the levels of light, shade and highlights. This will take the picture art a step closer to the actual image.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 6

The fixing of lights and shades is followed by the addition of textures. The more accurately the textures are added, the more detailed will the outcome be.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 7

The textures add depth to the portrait. This is then followed by the detailing of the face and its parts like the eyes, nose, lips, etc.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 8

Now focusing on the hair and detailing it out to perfection. But always keep in mind that doing the hair is time-consuming and requires a lot of concentration.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 9

Finishing up the hair gets us very close to the finished portrait. Make sure that all different parts are detailed out in the proper manner and in the right amount of detail. As a mistake, as small as that of placing a strand of hair at the wrong place can disturb the portrait.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 10

The final steps to finish up the portrait include last-minute touch-ups and detailing.
The amount of time put into creating a portrait is directly proportional to the outcome! This painting in particular was done by Vishnu in about 15 hours.

It is not easy for an artist to explain all the details and steps required through just a few words! Every step described above is needed to make it look the way it looks. Missing out on even one step can change the final result.

Published in Issue 43

With the changing weather comes the season of Interns, with fresh new energy everywhere and your talented creatives wanting to test their skills and knowledge in the real world of live creative briefs and super creative professional environment.
This issue is a must-read for internees and fresh talents. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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Sabeena Karnik

Sabeena Karnik has a degree in Applied Arts with a major in typography. She joined an ad agency straight after graduation and started designing paper products. She is now a paper typographer and an illustrator.


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The first interactive issue of Creative Gaga with Augmented Reality features. This issue focuses on the transition of Advertising from real to virtual and blurring the boundaries of both at the same time. Also bundled with lots of interesting articles and interviews.

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To coincide with 100 years of Bauhaus, the German art style made famous in the early 1900’s, recently relaunched YouTube channel DW Euromaxx have released a new series showcasing some unique, simplistic designs.

YouTube

The series, hosted by architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel, features an easy to follow ‘how to’ guide so even beginners can introduce home-made, fantastic Bauhaus inspired creations into their homes.

In episode one Van Bo creates a simple, but versatile, wooden stool design with just a few pieces of wood, some screws, and whatever shade of paint suits you. He then shows us each step in detail to ensure that viewers can follow along at home. It’s the perfect project for people looking to get into design, with a wide range of uses, from stool, to table, to shelves.

In another episode Van Bo challenges viewers to recreate his minimalistic, yet hugely stylish lamp design. This one is a step up from the stool, and involves some slightly more challenging techniques, such as filling a metal rod with salt so you can bend it without it cracking and some basic wiring. It may seem daunting to those who haven’t tried these techniques before, but the step by step style of the video should ensure that anybody should be able to follow along without any trouble.

The DW Euromaxx YouTube channel also features other How To Bauhaus videos, with more episodes due for release over the coming weeks.

Bauhaus was named after the German design school, founded by an architect in 1919, which focused on creating modern, simplistic designs which have remained popular to this day. The school may have closed in 1933, but DW Euromaxx and Van Bo are ensuring that even people new to design can learn to work in this fantastic, accessible style.

If you find the DIY furniture and want to keep getting inspired then we recommend you check out the DW Euromaxx YouTube channel and why not see if you can recreate some of Van Bo’s created designs for yourself?

Aman Khanna

A graphic artist, illustrator, sculptor and a visual storyteller, Aman Khanna has his hands full with ‘Infomen’ that he started in London in 2005 and ‘Infonauts’ in New Delhi in 2009. His latest venture goes by the brand name ‘Claymen’ which is a set of functional and dysfunctional objects as well as unique handcrafted sculptures.


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This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them.

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Bored of two dimensional design, Aman Khanna started exploring the third dimension of it by getting his hands dirty, literally! He got inspired by local Indian potters who breathe magic into a simple raw material like clay. Aman started molding sculptures and day to day knick knacks from clay.

Your Hands Dirty
Gray Water
Your Hands Dirty
Seek and How
Your Hands Dirty
Colour Me White
Your Hands Dirty
Pourer
Your Hands Dirty
Conscience of a Subconscious Mind
Your Hands Dirty
Shared Burden

What People Want

In India, the design is perceived in various ways; what works about Claymen is that it caters to a wide spectrum of users. Functional objects satisfy the practical shopper; dysfunctional art-oriented pieces attract the fanatics and the clay sculptures appeal to almost anyone who looks at them. Aman clearly understands the needs and more importantly the wants of the people thereby bringing to the table a fresh take on art.

Your Hands Dirty
Man and Woman v/s Society
Your Hands Dirty
The New Mountain
Your Hands Dirty
Mess is more - Bottle
Your Hands Dirty
Planter
Your Hands Dirty
Flask
Your Hands Dirty
Crow Bottle

A Shout Out to All

The theme of his project follows the daily routine of a common man; his ups and downs are captured beautifully in objects like lamps, cups and sculptures. The choice of colours and the fact that each piece is an outcome of love and painstaking labour is what sells across stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangaluru and soon in Melbourne

Your Hands Dirty
The Attachment
Your Hands Dirty
Balancing Vase
Your Hands Dirty
Scream
Your Hands Dirty
Lost In The Noise
Your Hands Dirty
Loud Mouth
Your Hands Dirty
Brain Drain

Exploring Forms Through Material.

Being inspired by local Indian potters, Aman tried his hand at clay sculptures; clay as a material is quite versatile and at the same time simple. Hence the exploration of design and expression of his thought process is quite clear. The idea behind using clay was because it is commonly used and worked with; making the theme of common men and his life more relatable.

Your Hands Dirty
Hyperventilating Vase
Your Hands Dirty
Release
Your Hands Dirty
The Balancing Act
Your Hands Dirty
Distressed Planter
Your Hands Dirty
Holler Kettle

Published in Issue 32

This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them.

 

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Vivek Nag

Vivek Nag is based in Mumbai and is currently Faculty of Pre-Visualization and Comic Book Design at Whistling Woods International, School of Animation.


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This issue is dedicated to the talented design graduates who are not just looking to work but seeking experience in order to realise the greater goal of life. The issue features various designers from India and abroad. Kevin Roodhorst from The Netherlands realised his goal so early in life that propelled him to start his career as a designer as young as 13. To name a few talents we have Vivek Nag from Fine Arts from Rachna Sansad Mumbai, Simran Nanda from Pearl Academy New Delhi, Anisha Raj from MAEER MIT Institute of Design Pune, Giby Joseph from Animation and Art School Goa and many more. This issue gives a fresh perspective of talented graduates and their unique approach to design.

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