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Thread: Checker Board - Opinions Wanted

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Charlotte, NC

    Checker Board - Opinions Wanted

    Look at the 3 pics and tell me which background color you prefer. Working on my photo taking skills. The 3 backgrounds are dark blue, light yellow and ....ummm....some shade of greenish turquoise??? Which one do you like in regards to how it sets off the piece?

    FYI - The checker board is solid walnut and figured sycamore with a solid walnut frame & thin maple accent stripe. When these pics were taken the finish was not complete. As shown here the pores are filled w/ 2 coats Target high solids 5100 which was lightly sanded and a coat of blond shellac applied. After these pics a 2nd coat of shellac and then multiple coats of water based lacquer (acrylic) was applied.

    I'm having issues with glare on pics of the finished piece. Seems like no matter what angle I use, I have glare from external lights or flash.

    Critical comments are welcome.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_1622_sm.JPG   100_1630_sm.JPG   100_1635_sm.JPG  

  2. #2
    I'm with Steve, the green looks best, but that is the "lesser of three evils" I guess,

    Vaughn has lots of experience with a light box I seem to recall, hopefully he will chime in. I think a neutral light grey background would allow the work to pop out more. Personally, I dislike rumpled fabric backgrounds, looks to me like someone just threw the thing down on a bed and took a pic,.

    The work now, well that is a different matter, it really looks great!
    Especially since I saw a board without any of the character you have created in a shop today, the squares didn't line up and it wasn't flat. But hey, what do you want for $62?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Gotta tell you John, the green one looks best. The yellow is getting too much light bouncing back and the walnut fades into the black. Picture tacking is a weak point for me. A lot of the pen turners actually set up light tents for their pics. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    First off, let's get this out of the way...Wow! I really like the board. You're getting good at this stuff.

    On the pics, the light background is my preference. Like Jay, I find that I like a smooth gray background for most things, and a black background every once in a while for light objects. On the lighting, I can feel your pain. Having a light tent helps, but even then I find myself having to do some experimentation to get things to look good (to me).

    For these pics, I'd suggest playing around with the white balance on your camera, and also the exposure compensation. Looks like your camera has four white balance presets and eight exposure compensation settings. Try them all. Take a few pics, adjusting one thing at a time a notch at a time, and see how the results come out. One nice thing about digital photography is you can burn a lot of "film" for free, and toss out any pics that you don't need.

    When all else fails, Photoshop or some other photo editing software can fix some lighting and color issues. I finally checked out Google Picassa a few nights ago, and it's got some real powerful stuff. It seemed easy to use, but I wasn't fond of the way it wanted to catalog all my images. Still, for a free program, it looked great.

    Lastly, I'd suggest saving your picture files at a bit larger pixel size (like 800 x 600). Your beautiful work deserves to be shown off big. Chances are, saving it that large will also increase the file size. To keep the file size within the 107 KB limits here, you can save it at a lower "quality". (You won't be able to see a difference, but lower quality uses fewer bits of data.) In whatever photo software you're using, look for an option when you save the file to change the photo "quality". Knock that down to 70% or so (or even lower if necessary to get the file size within limits) and you can have pics that display big, but don't take up as much computer space. In the attached picture, I saved your original 104 KB file at about 50% quality, and it's now 51 KB. (I also played with the lighting and tweaked the color a bit, too.)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	John Whittaker Chess BoardT2.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	50.6 KB 
ID:	11812
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Good feed back...thanks.

    Jay I see your point about wrinkled cloth. You caught are not taken on a bed but with sheets spread out over work bench.

    Ed, A light tent??? I'll have to look that up. Don't know what that is. Sounds like reflective light.

    Picassa...I think Kim Komando recommended this at one time as a good "free" pic program. I'll check it out.

    Ed - If you remember my table saw accident where a kickback hit the back of my hand going about 120 MPH....this is that board....still healing

    Thanks for the advice guys...I've posted a pic again just to practice some of Vaughn's advice. [ didn't get any bigger]
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_1635_comp_resize_315.JPG  
    Last edited by John Whittaker; 08-22-2007 at 03:50 AM. Reason: to say DANG

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by John Whittaker View Post
    ...Thanks for the advice guys...I've posted a pic again just to practice some of Vaughn's advice. [ didn't get any bigger]
    You got the file data size a LOT smaller. Now look for something that says xxx by xxx pixels. Something like 800 x 600. What software are you using? Maybe I can help you find the button to push. It might also be that your camera is set to take smaller pictures. You should check to see that it's taking pics at the highest resolution setting. That should be about 2000 x 1500 pixels.

    Light tents (or photo tents) are available on eBay. Here's an example. I've gotten one good one and one really poor one. If you decide to buy one, I'd recommend looking for one with the "velvet" fabric as opposed to "photographic nylon". The velvet diffuses the light better in my experience. You can also build a frame to hold a backdrop and diffuse the lights at the source, too.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    I prefer the colored backdrop but I would also smooth out the wrinkles a bit . Too busy and distracts from the picture's centrial theme. IMHO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Hi John.

    Great work, I would love to play chess on that one

    As far as your questions, I agree with most of have been said, the green one is the one that works best. Why not try with some others?

    Wrinkles on the cloth should be avoided, they are distracting, they can be used if they complement or emphasize the object that you are displaying but usually they draw attention away from it. Yes there are advertising pics that use them and it works, but those are professionals, and every single wrinkle or fold is there not by hazard.

    Background colours should either be complementary of the ones used on the object or contrast with them, I still remember the color theory I was taught at school and it works. ( Despite what we think when we are there)

    As far as light is concerned with pictures I can't be of help, my picture taking abilities are reduced to look and press a button, however I've found that using a flash created to much contrasted shadows and pics dont' look right.

    Hope this helps.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Sorry, I think they all suck, as they do LITTLE justice to the fantastic work you did on that board, I too would love to lose a game of chess on that board!

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    #1 compliments the wood the best, IMHO.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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