Invisible ink – still lots of fun!

I bet at least some of you experimented a little with invisible ink when you were young. Lemon juice was my chosen method, because it was easy, but mainly because I didn’t really know anything else. It dried clear, but heating the paper brought out the writing or drawing in brown. It was good, schoolboy…

Preflighting: boring but important

Know more about preflighting than your software or you’ll get caught out. Grammar purists, look away now; this is all about a word that’s made its way from composite adverb to standalone verb. Preflighting is the act of going through a series of important checks before committing yourself. It originated in the flight industry (hence…

Hanging in the (white) balance

White balance can make or break a shot, so take the time to understand its foibles When is white not white? That’s a trick question, by the way. I’m not about to try and prove that white is black, but this is a serious issue. What colour something is – or, more precisely, what colour…

Dazzle and digital camouflage

Camouflage is the art and design of staying hidden. But there’s more to camouflage than blobs of muted green, yellow and brown – just look at the modern Marpat patterns and WW1 dazzle ship designs. Seeing patterns in things is one of the most basic instincts we have. It is a survival instinct, something that…

Color perception: more than meets the eye

Color plays a crucial part in how we perceive things, so understanding its emotive effects is fundamental to creating effective designs. How do you react to colour? The hue of things has a surprisingly strong affect on how we perceive things and even on how we feel, both physically and emotionally. It is thought that…

Understanding profiles and color

Tackling color settings, profiles and calibration can leave even experienced designers quaking with fear, so here’s what you need to know. I find that RGB vs CMYK, colour profiles and picking the right settings is a constant source of confusion for designers. This isn’t surprising; it is a murky subject, and there’s a load of…

Focoltone: Cut to the chase

Sometimes, when you need to get something done, the simplest approach is to cut to the chase. Colour matching is a case in point. This stuff is important but it can also be annoyingly, sometimes mind-numbingly, complex. What I’m about to say may sound a trifle heretical, but hear me out. Forget science, forget abstract…