Printing Process & Final Hardcopy

Hello! So this post will conclude the semester of Text & Image, and it was fun, especially rewarding seeing the final product after everything was printed and bound. So this post will address the printing situation and process while putting the hardcopy photo book together.

I printed my book at Sunshine Plaza, and visited three printing shops in total. The first was to print the inner pages of the book, the second to print the cover and back of the book, and the third to bind. This is because the shops all offered different services and paper and sizes, and it was rather difficult finding a particular shop that could provide everything I wanted.

Firstly, I did up my files on InDesign, and then exported as PDF to print. I also had soft copies of the JPEGS, PDFs and Photoshop files for printing, just in case things needed editing or shapes only accepted one file type. I find that it’s useful to over prepare for printing because…things will go wrong (somehow!).

The first shop I went to, I chose to print the inner pages on 190gsm glossy paper to achieve the photo book kind of look and feel. I also printed my transparencies there, and bumped into an issue whereby the scratch marks on the transparencies could not be seen because they were white. I had to change them to black instead to get the ink to show on the transparencies, which was actually ok because I felt the black suited the theme of the book and the cover page, as white would be more stark and may have looked out of place. Another issue was that the colours showed up nicely on my computer and the printing computer, but when they came out, all the photographs had a yellow cast to it, creating golden looking skin that wasn’t accurate, unfortunately.

The shop also did not have A2 paper. Because I wanted my book to be B5, I went to the second shop to print the cover. I needed A2 because I wanted perfect binding, and it would have to include printing space for the book spine in order to accurately fit the B5 size, so I couldn’t print the cover on simply A3. I chose B5 as I felt it was a nice size for a photo book, as A5 was too small and A4 would be too large. I also chose to design it horizontally longer in B5 instead of the usual longer vertical spine as I felt like the shape was nicer and flipping through felt more pleasing.

At the second shop, I printed my A2 cover, back and front in colour on 250gsm glossy paper. The printing quality was really good this time, and the colours turned out pretty accurate so I was really satisfied with it. But that’s also because it was at a really exorbitant price. You really get what you pay for!

Because the first two shops did not have perfect binding services, I went to the third shop to get it done. I also realised given that this is my first time printing a book of this thickness (20 pages), I should always export the document properly so it’s easier to cut and bind. I had crop marks but no bleed, so in the future I’ll definitely remember this. Thankfully, the binding turned out well! The spine was scored well and allowed for easy flipping through the pages.

So that was my printing journey! And I’m quite happy with the end result, except the colour for the inner pages, so I may get it reprinted. Here are some photos of the hardcopy!

Media Wall – Progress & FINAL

Hello! For the media wall, I started off by wanting to animate the motifs in a way that made them fall off the screen in a haphazard way, to add on to the colour and chaos in my project, so I came up with these designs for testing.

These three jpegs are designed in a way to be viewed from 1 to 2 and then to 3, so it would look like a sequence and structured falling of the motifs. It was to be arranged such that the streaks of colour would fall down like paint, like it was dripping, and then the cakes and sweets would follow after that. To achieve this, I started anew on Photoshop, using my motifs that I had drawn out in the beginning. I also created a new version of the paint splashes, as the previous one for the banner was more explosive in nature, but this one was more slow moving in a downward motion.

Initial Design – Media Wall 1
Initial Design – Media Wall 2
Initial Design – Media Wall 3

However, after testing it out at the media wall, I decided to go for something less colourful and vibrant, and instead create something simpler. This is because I found that the scale of the media wall, being very huge and wide, made it difficult for a viewer to take in the whole design, and it made the whole thing rather messy instead. The colours were also a lot more vibrant on the media wall, which I found to be slightly distracting, because of the clash of colours from the background (paint) and the foreground (the motif desserts).

So, I came up with a plain white background instead, and spread out the motifs more so that it would look evenly spread, instead of being too top heavy.

Below are my new designs – there are 3 jpeg stills taken from the final 30 seconds animation. I did the animation using two softwares, Premiere Pro and After Effects. I wanted to keep up the motion and movement of the falling motifs, but at the same time, minimise the distraction. If you compare the 3 jpegs, each of them have a different arrangement of the motifs, because the cakes are continually rotating and spinning.


Final Project – What Is A Child Worth?

For this project, I chose to focus on the topic of child trafficking in Southeast Asia. Child trafficking is a serious and poignant subject to delve into, and it was not very pleasant digging through sources and sources for information because there were many things that were quite terrible stories and facts that I came across, but when choosing the topic for our final, I knew instantly that I wanted to do this because I felt it was something that was sort of taboo to talk about in society and that made it something that wasn’t usually broached. Also, I felt that just because it was not as common in Singapore as it is overseas, it was still something that needed more coverage. 

I began by asking around my peers, to try to see what information they knew about child trafficking. However, time after time, the answer would be the same – vague. I also asked what would really leave an impact on them if they were to be told about the subject, and they mostly said if it were people they know that it happened to, or people they knew who told them about it, and one common answer was the survival stories of victims.

Therefore, I came up with the idea of a way to mail out postcards to people we know, as a method of spreading information and awareness. Each postcard would be unique, with a bit of information that I thought was not nearly known as well, and was shocking. I also found organisations online that helped prevent child trafficking and assisted children who were saved, and thought that it would be good to incorporate ways and a platform the postcard receiver could get in touch with and help. So each postcard also has a link to a different organisation. The postcard could be torn off a booklet that can be kept for yourself, so the person reading it would always have access to information and a list of organisations as well.

Here are some pages of the softcopies:

After that, to tie the whole project together, I created a monthly newsletter that would be mailed either physically or online to people who have helped in any way, whether they volunteered or donated, etc. This would allow them to see how their efforts have contributed to the organisation working against child trafficking, so it would provide some encouragement to show that their efforts were not in vain. 

I chose to ‘partner’ Urban Light, an organisation working in Thailand, and came up with newsletters for the months of January and February 2017 as examples. Some of the information I found on the Urban Light website, some I adapted, and others are based on information from other sites.

Here are some photos from the exhibition! These show the final outcome of this project after printing.

Octavia – Process

I chose Octavia because I liked the idea of a hanging city, fragile and beautiful in disguise. To me, it was both unique and deadly at the same time. The passage by Italo Calvino can be found below:

“If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm’s bed.

This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children’s games, cable cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants.
Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia’s inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will only last so long.
What stood out to me immediately was the sense of loss and death inferred from the last line of the passage, whereby the inhabitants know that the location is dangerous and one day, they could all fall.
I began by searching for visual inspiration online, to see what others thought the city looked like.
After getting inspiration from these sources, I decided I wanted to play with string as a medium, given that string and rope were the very elements that gave and controlled life and death of the city. Then, I also thought of the causes of death, and instead of the inhabitants falling off that caused the entire city’s demise, I came up with my own statistics and thought that it would be interesting if something else caused the all the deaths, and I wanted it to be also related to the entire structure falling. Therefore, I reached a conclusion that fire would be the cause.
I started by drawing out and making notes, creating statistics that recorded all the deaths in the city. And where there is death, there is life. So I also wanted the births of babies in Octavia to be noted down as well.
In the end, I came up with a booklet, sort of like an old fashioned hand made journal (given that Octavia was supposed to be read to Kublai Khan, who was alive in 1200s. The entire book was envisioned to be very tactile and physical, instead of a softcopy.
Below are the photos of the pages of the book, with each page showing three months of the year, as well as documenting the different seasons and timeline (it’s over a year because a typical industrial rope would usually last about a year if used daily), so one could see the relation between deaths and time.