Saturday, March 12, 2016

There must be 50 ways....

"There must be 50 ways to leave your lover." Paul Simon said so in a song I loved, though I rarely had occasion to use the advice.

Now the song is stuck in my head. No, I'm not leaving anybody. I'm just trying to finish a project for the carousel* and what seemed relatively easy and fun has turned into The Really Hard and Frustrating Project From Hell. Or maybe The Project That I Can't Figure Out And It's Driving Me Crazy.

We are creating new display panels for the carousel pavilion telling some of its story--its history and restoration, how volunteers can help, etc. When we opened the carousel in Como Park 16 years ago, Peter and I created six panels using lots of newspaper clippings (now yellow) and photos (now faded). Our new executive director and I decided to make new printed panels with sepia-toned images very light in the background, and with type over the images. Everything was going well until I tried to screen the images to be really light.

If there are 50 ways to leave your lover, there must be 250 ways to take a color photo, turn it into a black-and-white in Photoshop, add a sepia tint, and screen it way back to a ghost image. I've tried them all. I spent days experimenting to get a result I liked...and the file was so huge it crashed my computer WITHOUT being saved. I have spent long, frustrating days getting back to that place while keeping the file size manageable. As of today, after trying about 50 more ways, I think I've got it. Which is good, because I am very ready to move on to other things.

There's a hitch, though. When I print a version on my ink-jet printer, I like the results. But how will it look when a commercial printer uses my files to create a panel 34 by 40 inches? I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If all goes well, I get to do this five more times for the other panels. Let's hope I can learn from my mistakes!
 

* In case you don't know, my husband and I founded a nonprofit organization in 1988, saved the old Minnesota State Fair Carousel from being auctioned to collectors, and have operated the carousel with volunteers ever since. A year ago we hired an executive director so we can cut back on our own volunteer involvement. Clearly, we haven't walked away just yet.



11 comments:

joeh said...

Didn't know that...very cool!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Clearly you are still involved! Your printing company should be able to show you what your file will look like when printed...if not exactly then real close. Get a larger flash drive and keep saving your working copies... you go gal!! Nice work! :)

DJan said...

Yes, you are still engaged, all right. I do hope you'll let me know how it turns out. :-)

Stephen Hayes said...

It will be fun seeing the final results when completed.

Green Monkey said...

I did not know this. or maybe I did and forgot? either way, how wonderful! you lost me at "screen it way back to a ghost image." I really should take a photoshop course.

Daughter Number Three said...

Getting an image to "fade back" enough to allow for readable type, while also having the image intelligible is one of the hardest things to do from a technical standpoint. You like to set yourself a challenge. Oh, and as you know, working with images large enough to printout at that size is another challenge. Glad it's almost over!

Jeanie said...

I love what you have done so far and think of all you are learning! Perhaps the printer can run you a proof or you can be there at the press run. With digital printing it's a lot more flex than offset.

Kc W said...

I love it! Such a great way to try and lure in other volunteers! I volunteer a LOT at my granddaughter's school. Maybe we need to create a flyer more motivating to get others to help. Thanks for the idea!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Always fascinates me to discover what others have done. I think I remember you having done this from previous posts, but I'm grateful for the reminder. (Brain cells limited due to raising children.)

Yes, playing with photos can get quite involved. Often too many choices and then mayhem follows. You seem to have it cornered now. Good luck with the printing. Impressive work.

troutbirder said...

We love to visit Como Zoo and my memories of childhood in St. Paul.

Sally Wessely said...

Your project is certainly a labor of love no matter what you do for it. Fifty ways. I get that. I used to work on such projects when I was working. I'd get it just so, and then there was in print and it just didn't look the same. All of this is good for your brain, and your patience, no doubt. I do like the finished project.

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