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Member Since 01 Jan 2006
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: November Promotions!

07 November 2015 - 08:13 PM

Congratulations, everyone!  Those awards are gorgeous, too - you're lucky to get such lovely ones. :D


In Topic: October Promotions!

03 October 2015 - 05:08 PM

Congratulations, everyone!  Those are fantastic awards, too.  :)


In Topic: An Apology

03 September 2015 - 10:48 PM

In response to those asking for more MA promotions: yes, it would be the loveliest thing (I loved promoting people - it's one of those fuzzy-feeling moments), but one of the major worries about promotions is whether you're promoting for the right reasons. Numbers and sympathy are the last two reasons anyone should be promoted, and as many of the JAs and SAs have raised, no one wants to have their work devalued, even in the case of receiving a promotion too soon. The question of standards for each rank could be re-evaluated - for instance, how much inconsistency is acceptable (be it between banners and sigs or of a poorly-chosen graphic and the rest of a gallery), but overall, members need to ask what kind of value they place on the JA rank. One has to find the right balance between making JA something valuable and preventing MAs from being discouraged. 

 

Opening up more dialogue with MAs and relentlessly encouraging them would be really productive and much easier to implement. Tutoring has worked well in the past, but as with most of the group activities of the kind members have suggested, it fizzles after the first burst of interest. It would be fantastic if dedicated posters could be there in MA galleries, giving what they can. Anyone, regardless of their own rank and experience, has an opinion on what looks aesthetically pleasing and shouldn't feel unable to express that opinion. All experienced artists offer in critique are suggestions for how to improve (probably because their graphics used to have the same issues and they remember how to fix it).

 

Cycling the groups is best. Randomly assigning groups, too. 


In Topic: An Apology

02 September 2015 - 06:59 PM

I'm sorry too. I lost my temper - a good reason why I stopped being admin. It's not a good temperament to have when you're trying to juggle a site like this. The word elitism has appeared a few times in this thread, and I think that it's sibling privilege should also enter the conversation. Those of us who have been staff artists for far too long are privileged with experience and a system that required less work for us to go further. I was promoted to Staff in August 2006 after less than a year of making graphics, and that was so wrong - even at the time, I didn't deserve it. How can I fully understand what it's like for artists who took years to reach the same point?  Reading this thread has brought that question to my attention in a way that I don't know ever did before. 

 

The rubric for promotions, as they were around 2010 or so, exists, but sadly in my head. There may be a topic somewhere in which I attempted to explain it. The first promotion to Junior was based solely on the basic techniques required to fill a request - can you blend, use text, and edit images in a way that demonstrated a solid understanding of these techniques. From there, Senior and Graduate (which sprouted from Senior) required a finessing of the basic techniques - can you use textures? be more creative with text and image placement? Here, I suppose is where style begins to enter the equation, increasingly with the Graduate level. Staff is meant to be the pinnacle of solid technique and a striking style - and to judge that final rank, we used a mixture of a more quantitative measurement (technique) with the qualitative (style).  I like to think I stressed technique above style because the latter comes naturally. But technique is where the labour comes from: "I will blend this perfectly" or "I will fit this text in so that it looks just like part of the image." Style is instead what happens when you make a hundred graphics and you notice, "wow, I do X a lot" or "I really go for a darker, more Gothic look."  As you evolve, your style may change drastically, but the basic technique beneath levels out because that's your practice in Photoshop - like how a scientist follows certain habits in the laboratory.

 

TDA might have reached the point where fewer ranks are necessary. We put together what we have now rather haphazardly - JA, SA, and Staff were createdfor specific reasons in 2005 because of the site organization at the time. I never expected the site to last this long (none of the others have), so there is a mountain of habits and traditions behind the running of this site, some of which are a decade old. It was easier to have multiple ranks when there were 100+ Juniors, etc. The Junior/Senior divide in particular was always a little contentious - the latter was a more advanced Junior, but there wasn't a solid measurement for it. I tended to judge against the other Juniors - "this one has progressed beyond the others" and thus got promoted. Reducing the number of ranks would be my suggestion, if members think that it could cut down on competition and actually help people make stronger graphics rather than worrying about promotion.

 

It would probably help to actually list the basic techniques: image quality (editing), blending, placement, text, and colouring. There is still room for subjectivity in the execution of these techniques - I know that I have a serious dislike for overcolouring and I will never be convinced that it ever "looks good." But what does "looks good" mean? If you notice that a large number of Staff Artists specialize in naturalistic colouring, that is my subjective taste at work. Is it right to discount oversaturated graphics? *makes a face* Probably not. There will always be cases where someone can make it an effective stylistic choice in particular circumstances. At this point in the argument, the artist in question has to turn to outside inspirations - where does it work, and how? How can it be adapted to suit that artist's abilities and program? 

 

Those are pretty advanced questions, though, and I've always wondered why there are certain techniques that artists can't overcome. Why do some people overcolour and like it so much? What about it appeals to them and, if asked, what would they say to defend it as a choice? The same equally goes for using multiple types of font on a single graphic, or using a ghostly style of blending. Perhaps in addition to just requesting critique, artists could also discuss their process and their choices. Maybe that would help those giving critique understand why a graphic or whole gallery looks the way it does. This is why full-graphic tutorials were wonderful (before some started copying the whole thing and slapping it in their galleries - that ruined a generation of artists who never got the learning experiences I did). Those tutorials let one understand process and why certain techniques were important and why

 

I'd like to presume to ask all members here to give and/or receive critique to consider process - both their own and those of the ones being critiqued. And to thus value technique over style. I've probably said otherwise at some point in the number of ill-considered and ridiculous posts I've made over the years, but perhaps don't think about style. It comes to you - not you to it. 

 

This doesn't even touch on a fraction of the issues raised in this thread, but maybe it will offer some background and possibly even something useful. It's admittedly uncanny to find that these are issues that recur every few years for widely different reasons. It's not an excuse, of course, but to someone who has seen each recurrence, it feels as though they are issues that can never be wholly resolved. 


In Topic: September Promotions!

01 September 2015 - 06:00 PM

Congratulations to all of those promoted!   :dance:

 

 It's sad to see such a small list, but Ayesha is right that many are still having a lot of difficulty with technique - I have to admit the same complaints were rampant when I was admin. This situation is as frustrating for the admins as it is for those who aren't promoted, especially when the problems are silly things like overcolouring and poor quality - again, the same problems I critiqued people on during promotions. These problems so easily ruin good graphics, and are, furthermore, very easy to prevent. Some may find Ayesha's comment blunt, but it's a good wake-up call for those who have been spinning their wheels. Blunt criticism is useful - if it makes you angry, if it makes you upset, that's when you make something. Put the critique to the test and see where it takes you. You can make it constructive!

 

Please don't use four fonts on one graphic. It's really not a good idea.