Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Are the Qualities of a Graphic Artist?

Instructional design can be very useful for graphic art students. They will learn different software programs that are used constantly. These are very vital components that create an overall piece. A student needs to learn exactly how a software program runs in order to use it correctly and efficiently. It will take a lot of practice to acquire the skills needed. Another item learned will be the preciseness that is used when constructing an image. Every item must be in an exact place for an artistic piece to be completed successfully. It will require a test of patience and persistence.
When finding the best type of software to use, a person should experiment with a variety of versions of programs to make a sound decision. Depending on the company who created the software, different features will be available. That is why it is so important to learn what qualities are offered.
Because technology is always changing, a graphic artist will need to continuously take classes on new items. It will allow them to keep up with the ever-changing industry. It is required that they are well-informed of the latest technology if they want to maintain success in their career.
In addition to knowledge, there are many qualities a person should have in order to advance far in the field of design. The most obvious trait is creative thinking. This will include confidently exploring the realm of ideas they contain and successfully turning it into a piece of art. They may also need to create something according to what their client is wanting as well. Another very important characteristic that is required is strong leadership skills. This means that a graphic designer will have capabilities to prioritize and lead different projects that are under construction. They will know what needs to be done and how to successfully complete it.
An aspiring graphic designer needs to learn what will help them gain success in this field. It can be highly competitive and they need to have the skills and abilities to prove they can produce high quality work. A person needs to realize that it will take a lot of hard work to actually see the success occur. This is not an overnight occurrence that can be achieved with just one project. Some different jobs may not be as desirable but if a graphic artist works through it, they will begin the experience the benefits that an expert has.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In-Line Production and Operations - The Benefits of Combining Processes

One of the easiest ways to save money, increase production, and improve over-all efficiency is to combine multiple processes. With all of the technology available today, it's particularly easy to do in the printing, packaging, fulfillment, and mailing industry.
Take the following example from the commercial printing and direct mail equipment industry: A document is printed on a press and sent to a folding machine, where the paper is folded at speeds of up to 20,000 per hour. Then the folded pieces are stacked on a pallet and moved to the mailing equipment to be addressed and sorted. The addressing process requires a high-speed inkjet printer and a tabber, which typically runs slower because Postal sorting equipment slows the process.
What if we can combine a process or two? By simply adding a 'bump-turn conveyor' and a Glue System to your folder, you can fold, seal, and address your documents in a single operation. No need to place it on a pallet and move it to another location.
A bump-turn conveyor can be placed on the output of common high-speed production folders, such as Stahl, Heidelberg, MBO, MOLL, Profold, and others. It will turn the document in the correct direction for addressing as it leaves the folder, and bring it up to a high-speed inkjet printer for final processing. There is no need for a tabber, because the glue system will seal the mailing piece before it even leaves the folder.
Normally, it takes up to two operators to run an inkjet address printer / tabbing machine line, because one person has to feed material and the other has to sort mail. If the high-speed inkjet printer is running directly from a folder, a single operator can focus on sorting, and the feeding will take care of itself. The job can be completed faster and more cheaply because some of the operations have been eliminated.
Other examples include:
Envelope Inserters and Inkjet Address Printers: If you are inserting envelopes that must be addressed, why not run your inkjet address printer directly from your inserter? All that is required is an in-line transport base and an envelope turn-over.
Document Matching: Want to match the variable data on a document with the address on a closed face envelope? Printing all the envelopes in advance and using a Vision Camera System to ensure that the envelope and the document match each other, is often how this is done. Why not use an inkjet address printer that is capable of tracking through the envelope inserter? You could actually read the document in the envelope inserter, send the data to an inkjet address printer (on the output of the inserter), and print the matching address on the closed envelope as it leaves the machine.
Bindery/Addressing: Booklets are typically assembled on a folder / stitcher. That includes machines from companies like Heidelberg and Mueller Martini. By adding an incline acceleration conveyor, you can bring the finished books from the trim station into a high-speed inkjet printer for 'one step stitching and addressing'.
There are many opportunities for combining processes in today's market, and by adding simple accessories, you can often find a solution with your existing direct mail equipment. This will add to your profit margin decrease your turn time for each job.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

User Stories in Agile Software Development

Agile is a software development methodology in which the process of development occurs through short increments. The phases of development occur continuously in iterative cycles involving creating requirements, design and implementation, testing and reporting. After each iteration, the team members meet to discuss the past iteration and the next phase of the project. The product owner, customers and the development team create requirements for the end product through the use of user stories. User stories are short descriptions of application functionality from the perspective of the user. A collection of user requirements are stored in the product backlog, to be developed as the project continues. The product owner or the business analyst determines which requirements from the product backlog the team will work on during each iteration. Those stories are then moved to the Sprint Backlog, to be used for that sprint. The user stories follow the general pattern of:
I, role, want to be able to, functionality, so I can, reason.
An example would be, "I, as a student, want to be able to pay tuition online so I can register for classes." In traditional development methodologies, a requirements document is usually developed first and lists all requirements the team will work on until the project is complete. In Agile development, there is no large requirements document because the specifications of the project can change easily as the technology changes or new ideas are presented.
The user stories are very simple so that designers can develop portions of the project in short iterations. During the meetings, before an iteration begins, the team can discuss in more detail the specifications of the story and expand on the original idea. The team does not need to develop every user story presented, but they are a starting point of understanding what the customer needs.
Once user stories are written, the team, including the product owner, assigns a priority and approximate develop time. If one story will take more time than a single iteration, it can be broken down into multiple requirements. As with all agile projects, if the team decides later on that a requirement is not needed, it does not have to be turned into functionality in the system. Also, the team can write new requirements as they become apparent.
There are many benefits to using user stories over a more traditional requirements document, including:
1. User stories are easy and fast to write. Not a lot of time or money is invested in writing them; therefore, if they are changed or never used, the team has not lost a lot in developing them.
2. User stories are ideally written by the "user" and therefore allow the product owner and development team to spend time with the user and better understand the functionality that they want; not just at the beginning of the project, but throughout. Also, the development team and product owner can write them and they are forced to but themselves in the customer's position, enabling a better understanding of what the end product needs to accomplish.
3. The user stories are simple enough that an outsourced team would easily be able to understand the end functionality. Even with language barriers and miscommunications, an outsourced development team can still understand the basic functionality the system requires.
4. The user story allows for the development team to be creative in designing the product. It gives a very basic outline of a needed functionality of the system but does not force the development team into specifics that may not work with all parts of the system.
The user story is a very useful tool in agile software development. It is a starting point for discussing requirements; however, they can cause disagreements among team members about how to fill in the gaps of the story. It is important to have a product owner, customer or business analyst to clarify and resolve specific issues that may arise with the ambiguous nature of the stories.
Overall though, user stories offer a fast and efficient way to develop requirements in agile software development methodology.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Demand For 3D

3D printing is coming into practice on an international scale. This technology is becoming more and more accessible to the ordinary computer designer, opposed to highly qualified engineers and product developers. First off, what is 3D printing? This innovation is beginning to lead the manufacturing world through its special form of production. So, what exactly is it? 3D printing in a nutshell is the layer by layer assembly of products, either by fusing/gluing the powder, or laser melting it. Very small layers of powder are stacked on top of each other while they are melted and fused together to form a specific product. The manufacturing process uses a 3D computer graphic as the blueprint for designing each product. Traditionally, this means that engineers in the workforce would professionally create high detail models for specific products to be manufactured. Up until recently, that's what 3D printing has revolved around. Recently, private companies have been involved with spreading the idea and marketing it to every day artists and designers across the globe. This technology isn't just for the professionals.
Hobby designers exist all over the globe. If a community has regular access to computers, it is more than likely that there are multiple computer artists within that community. This means that artists exist all over the world! In modern countries such as the United States or Western Europe - 3D is rising in popularity. In 2nd world countries like India, computers are beginning to play a larger role for the upper class civilians. 3D is gaining popularity as technology is being distributed across the world. What does this mean for 3D printing? This means that there is a rising demand for manufacturing of computer graphics.
With the rising availability of 3D printing, and the rising number of computer graphic artists out there, this form of manufacturing is beginning to bloom. It's possible for 3D printing to gain some serious buzz, but why is it so special? What is so fascinating about 3D printing? This isn't just any form of manufacturing. It isn't targeted for mass production; it is a little bit different. If anyone with 3D talent wanted to manufacture something, they could probably do it. "Printing" a design at the size of a coke would usually cost under $100 depending on the material. This is for consumers and artists! There isn't a minimum quantity required, molds usually don't have to be created - anyone can create something and have it at their doorstep within a couple weeks. It is fascinating!
Aside from being able to produce on a smaller scale, what is so magical about 3D printing? This technology can manufacture unheard of products in comparison to other styles of manufacturing. CNC cutting was a crazy feat in the manufacturing world, and it's about to be replaced. Based off of the layer by layer process of creation that is enabled within 3D Printing, almost anything can be created. Magnificent feats such as a ball within a ball can come into play. Printing an object similar to a Christmas tree could be done without a mold. How is that significant? To create something that small scale with the detail and shapes of a Christmas tree would be unheard of by other forms of manufacturing. The ability of a 3D printer will astound traditional industrial engineers. This technology is simply amazing!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Process Of 3D Printing

What is 3D printing? It is a style of manufacturing that is becoming more available by the day. This style of manufacturing sticks out to engineers across the globe for its ability to create unheard of products, all while doing it on a small scale. These products stick out in the manufacturing world, as they can do feats that have never been done through methods like mold injection, or CNC cutting. Products created through 3D printing can include fully functional moving pieces, products like a ball within a ball, and incredibly high detail parts. Let me cover the basic process of a 3D printed product.
Before anything can happen, a product must be developed. This entails the creation of a 3D graphic on the computer by an artist or engineer. This computer graphic will be used as the blueprint for the manufacturing process. After a product is developed on the computer, it will then be sent to a 3D printing bureau, or a facility that has at least one 3D printer.
These "printers" are machines built to manufacture products. The size of these machines can range from the size of your night-stand, to the size of a smart-car. When a product is ready for 3D printing, the 3D file will be sent to a 3D printer, where it will then be manufactured. Typically, a 3D printer runs by laying down small layers of powder down on top of small layers as thin as a few microns.
This powder will usually consist of only one material; there are over fifty materials to choose from. Like I said, 3D printing involves referring to the blueprint to determine how a model is manufactured. On top of each layer, certain sections of powder (dependent on the model) will be fused together through a form of glue, or through a laser melting process. A printer will continue to lay down layers of powder on top of layers, all while fusing them together as the layers are laid down through laser melting, or a form of glue.
The final product will consist of layers on top of layers glued or fused together, surrounded by unused powder. The model will then by removed from the machine, dusted off, and dipped in a liquid known as Zbond. Zbond is a glue-like liquid that will flow through the model, adding additional stability. When a model created through 3D printing comes out of the printer, it is typically vulnerable and needs Zbond to stay strong with many materials. The remaining powder will be recycled in the machine. This product could hold the shape of almost anything, whether it is a miniature character model, a specific tool, a piece of jewelry, or even a functional piece to an engine. There are virtually no limits on what can be manufactured through 3D printing.
In a nutshell, 3D printing is the layer by layer fusion of small powders that consist of a certain material. Products can be developed out of a wide variety of materials in 3D printing. These materials could consist of thermoplastics, precious metals like gold or silver, mechanical metals, rubber like materials, translucent materials, etc. The list goes on; there are over fifty materials to choose from when it comes down to manufacturing a product. Essentially, it is the assembly of almost anything out of almost any material on a small scale.