Just a Vent/Advice

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Abraxsis, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    OK, as some of you may know Im an Art Director and Design Lead for a toy company. I have been working on a huge packaging set for a high end license for a WEEK. Ive completed 4 different revisions and I keep getting "I dont like it" and zero direction. How does everyone else deal with situations like this? Honestly speaking this is some of my best work ever, and my bosses just keep sending it back cause they have a preconceived notion from the DVD cover of this particular license. See the problem is that this particular movie is 20 years old and high res images to work with is near impossible to acquire other than scans of actual photographs taken during the filming, and so Im limited to what I can do with live action. Beyond that, my bosses just don't understand why it cant be done without destroying the clarity of the images. I know the boss is always right, but what about the cases where they aren't, and refuse to listen to reason? I honestly don't know what to do, any advice?
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    You do what they want and you learn to compromise because another piece of work is always just around the corner. Design is for the client, not for artistic self-expression, unfortunately.

    Pearls before swine, we've all been there. Let it go and move on.
     
  3. jerryrock macrumors 6502

    jerryrock

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Location:
    Amsterdam, NY
    #3
    Great advice Blue Velvet! I just went through a similar situation and got the same advice.

    "The client is always right, just let it go...."
     
  4. klymr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Location:
    Utah
    #4
    It's just as my professor said, as a graphic designer, you pull something out of your own soul that will work with what the client wants. We often aren't like other artists. If we wake up in the morning wanting to paint a purple cow but the customer doesn't want a purple cow, we don't get to draw that cow. We have the challenge of taking our thoguhts and ideas and merging those with our clients thoughts and ideas in a way that others don't have to worry about. It's all part of the work I suppose.
     
  5. PupnTaco macrumors regular

    PupnTaco

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #5
    Can you demonstrate to them visually why it's important to have clean hi-res source material? Like print out full-size HQ proofs showing the difference?

    You could also request a meeting and tell them that you need more detailed direction on what they expect in order to do a better job.
     
  6. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    Yes, I realize the whole "boss is always right" but if there is ZERO direction other than "Make it" its just so freaking annoying. If I were freelancing it would be one thing cause I could charge by the hour, but Im burning my normal work hours and because of the deadlines Ive have to let other projects go, which I will get the blame for as well. It just seems completely lose-lose ... the funny thing, this item is a game and I got an email back from the company who did the game engine and they LOVED the packaging. Maybe they'll offer me a job.

    My bosses understand the need for clean high res images, but they don't understand that I cant just create them out of thin air. Especially not for a licensed product. One even asked why I hadn't pulled the needed images from a DVD and used those cause DVD's are high res ... I almost laughed.
     
  7. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #7
    Do it their way so they they can see the design, and maybe the problem for themselves, and do it your way and tell them that this is also a possible solution.
     
  8. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #8
    Are you certain you've exhausted all possibilities before you can honestly state that it cannot be done? :)

    Watch the film, note the images you'd like to use, the time code (and if you can figure it out, the act) and then try contacting the film/production company of said film enquiring about the possibility of them providing specific frame transfers.

    That'd be my first thought if I was working on a licensed product. ;)

    If they can't provide specific frame transfers, enquire about them making available a copy of an old theatre reel, which you can then arrange to have scanned yourself.

    That'd be my second thought if I was working on a licensed product. ;)

    If you hit a dead end, then it's time to consider more creative solutions... even though it's a 20 year old film, has it been transferred onto HD DVD or Blu-ray yet?

    Not to worry if it hasn't... DVD resolution will do, you'll need a widescreen TV (the smaller the better, because of pixel size), or a projector (and a very smooth, clean, white wall) a tripod and a dark a room as possible.

    Now I've only ever used a film camera for this, though it could well be that the latest digital cameras can achieve the same... I simply don't know.

    With a film camera (at least), suitably fast film and experimenting with various f-stops and shutter speeds, its entirely possible to get almost native resolution quality, suitable for print reproduction directly from taking a picture from either a TV screen or from a projected image on a wall.

    Then scan the images in at the highest resolution you can get away with, and tweak them in Photoshop, paying particular attention to the removal of pixel artifacts (much like how you'd approach moiré removal) which will likely require some kung-fu rivaling combinations of Gaussian Blurring, Despeckling, Sharpening and colour correction granted, but it will work. ;)

    Of course if hi-end digital camera's can achieve the same results... use one of those and save yourself a shedload of time. ;)
     
  9. bluetooth macrumors 6502a

    bluetooth

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #9
  10. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    Bluray is delayed until next year due to an issue with the master reels, which also got back to why I cant get cel scans higher than 150 DPI. The 150 DPI scans were fine for the cards in the game, but no where near what I need for packaging.

    As for the picture idea, that would be a very last resort. As an Photog on the side I just think the color would be too washed even if it was taken by one of my high end digi-SLRs. But its def. something I might try.

    See the main problem is myself and the company producing the cards for the game, have alot of experience in game box design. The number one rule is don't use live action as the main component of the box because it makes it look like a cheap dollar store puzzle box. As accents it's fine, but there is still a limit. Only in very rare situations would you violate this "rule" ... and this packagign is not one of those exceptions. I sent a very detailed email Friday night to explain the situation and my opinions on the topic. Hopefully something will come of it.

    Thanks for the advice tho.


     
  11. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #11
    Sorry man, everything we do with a new license operates on a NDA until officially announced with marketing and licensor approvals are obtained on items. Funny thing is, thats MY rule, lol. Im the one who implemented it after a noob almost lost us a license by pre-releasing information before it was approved. I got chewed out by my boss, and the next day I wrote up an ironclad NDA and ran it through legal. You release a file before its been approved, or talk about a license before its made official you get one strike and youre removed from all new license work for no less than 6 months. Second offense ... well dont let the door hit ya on the way out. I almost think the former 1st strike is worse than the firing, imagine 6 months of filling in packaging templates and product revision sheets for factories. It seemed to work though, no breaches in 2 years now.

    Thanks for the links, Ill read up on them and see if there is anything I can use.

     
  12. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #12
    Basically, they have no clue what they want, and are using you to provide the creative direction (and any kind of idea). I had a large number of bosses like that. They'll just keep saying "no" until you hit on the combination that appeals to their limited sensibilities (it'll likely be your "who gives a s**t, anyway" effort!).

    Not that it helps, but once I got so frustrated I handed in a blank sheet of paper, and once they got over the concept that it wasn't a polar bear in a snowstorm, I essentially forced them into thinking about their likes & dislikes, and got the kernel of an idea that I could move forward with, with at least a hope of seeing completion in my lifetime.

    Bon chance!
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    The only other thing I could add is to limit the time investment you put into each one -- do roughs only UNTIL they approve the concept.

    If you are in a time crunch, you need to have the project manager of this project contact the managers of the other projects - you are a limited resource, management has to sort out between themselves how you are to be deployed.

    If you are on critical path of more than one project, you have to proactively get the managers talking to each other.
     
  14. Z.Beeblebrox macrumors regular

    Z.Beeblebrox

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Location:
    NJ / NYC
    #14
    Exactly. This is how I get the job done in this situation. I make the one that conforms to the rules of good design and then I make the version they think they want (usually pushing it towards the tacky, unbalanced craptacular end) and then I place them side by side. Nine times out of ten they choose the better designed one.

    Also, did you write up a design brief? I find that in projects, if you outline the marketing goals of the piece before hand, you can use them later on to demonstrate how your design solution achieves those goals and how their design ideas do not.
     

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