Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your PWTM Starter-for-Ten

Okay, as most of you will know by now the CGAA Post With The Most is gearing up to engage a new audience.  The PWTM has always showcased what is exciting, innovative and creative about your respective project pipelines, and is always a popular post 'out there' in terms of views.  However, from this point onwards, a link to the PWTM will also be emailed out to a network of industry professionals, all of whom have agreed to participate in our creative community as PWTM blog-watchers.  Below gives you an idea of who's already watching, but I am approaching more contacts daily, so you can expect this network to grow.

The next PWTM will publish on Sunday 29th April.  If you want  work considered for inclusion within the PWTM, make sure your blogs are up-to-date and your workflow is topical.  You should always seek to ensure that your blogs are properly professional spaces, and that any work you publish on it is presented appropriately, but it is now more important than ever that you a) update your blogs regularly, b) present your work professionally, and c) ensure your blog is a 'one-stop-shop' in terms of business contact details.  I will always link any work featured in the PWTM back to the blog from which it came, so make sure your blogs are consistently dynamic and exciting places to visit, free of spelling errors, typos, and negativity.  It has never been more true that you don't know who is watching!  I will also be showcasing the PWTM on the professional networking site, Linkedin.  In addition, the PWTM will now be a regular feature on the UCA Facebook page.

Some hints and tips then in terms of ensuring your best foot is always forward in terms of professionalism and presentation.  Many of you are already doing this, but for those students who are still publishing without due care, see how Leo presents his 2d archive - always with the project title, concept/design designation, and his own name/brand and blogspot.  Leo ensures all work on his blog is presented accordingly, which gives his workflow coherence and credibility.

All of us have bad days when things don't go to plan or our confidences take a dip - however, refrain  from narrating your fatigue/anxiety/catastrophes on your blogs.  If you've had a nasty cold, or your hard-drive has exploded, or you're just pissed off, don't be tempted to rant, wail, or sound-off on your blog.  Use Facebook to vent etc. but keep your blogs up-beat, positive and 'about the work'.  It's fine to express challenges and problems, but do so constructively.  Negativity on a blog is very off-putting.  You want people to want to follow your progress - and keep following it.

Spelling/typos/post titles - I know I go on about it, but it really does matter to the way people view you and your work.  If you're misspelling words in your post titles, for example, that looks particularly awful and amateurish. Trust me - poor spelling and grammar will work against you 'out there' - it is unacceptable professionally, and you're just giving people reasons not to take you seriously.

More generally - just think carefully about how your blog looks in terms of layout: for example, don't embed videos or images that are wider than your template - reduce to fit.  Centre your videos and images so that they align neatly on screen.  Take the time too to clean-up your pencil sketches etc.  Post-produce your drawings. Your blog is the 'shop window' into your studio, so make sure the window display is expressing your professionalism and not doing your abilities or your content a disservice.

 The PWTM is a selection made from work that's been made available to me by you via your blog over the course of a month (or thereabouts).  If you're not keeping your blog up-to-date and sharing your workflow with the CGAA community (and beyond), I am obviously unable to consider your work for the PWTM.  

Let's not be coy here - if your work is presented professionally, if you've taken the time to ready your work for blog publication, if it looks great, then yes, chances are I'll be more satisfied by it.  The same will undoubtedly be true of our industry blog-watchers!  Make no mistake - there is a reality-check element to the PWTM - and now more so than ever.  The quality, creativity and professionalism of your work does matter - because it has to matter, because it's the thing on which you'll ultimately be building your careers.  There have been many instances in the past when work I've otherwise admired or found interesting hasn't been included because it's been published poorly, cropped poorly, photographed poorly, scanned poorly, spelled incorrectly...  Remember, the PWTM is meritocratic  - the selection of work is based on merit, not on individuals.  Remember too, the PWTM is monthly - it's not a one-off or 'do-or-die' - if you're not in it, no worries, there's always the next one, and the one after that. The PWTM is a good thing - an opportunity; an incentive to make the best work of which you're currently capable and have it looked at by industry professionals.  That said, the PWTM is not a popularity contest or a crit and it's not summative assessment.

If anyone else has some great advice in regard to hints and tips for professional blogging and presentation skills in preparation for the PWTM going 'out there'I'd love to see some helpful comments gathering here.  Also, for any of our alumni or sessional staff reading this, the PWTM isn't restricted just to students.  If you're up to something interesting and you're sharing it via your blog or Vimeo account etc., the PWTM is your showcase too.

The next PWTM publishes on 29/04/2012.  "Be amazing."


  1. I know applying watermarks to each of your images may sound tedious, so here's the main method I've been using so far to speed things up:

    Instead of having to position your watermarks over and over again for each image, I find it easier to paste all the images onto one psd file and position the watermark(s) just once there. Once set up, you simply run down toggling the visibility of the layers and saving the images out respectively using the hotkeys ctrl + shift + alt + s (save for web).

    Using save for web will remember the folder you save these images out to, allowing you to save quickly to a dedicated blog images folder.
    Here I also output the images to +80% jpg quality for optimal viewing and file size.

    This process works best for images of the same size, which will most likely be the case for a given set of images.

    Otherwise, a few other ideas to speed the process up can be setting up a template document, having the watermarks stored in a small and easy go-to psd file, making watermarks a brush, or setting up as a action preset. Hope this helps!