“Close observation is the first step in any scientific inquiry, and to my mind, there is no better way to observe than to try to draw what you are looking at.” – Barrett Klein
Barrett Klein, a trained artist and entomologist, is a preparator and display maker in the Exhibition Department at the American Museum of Natural History, and what he said couldn’t be more true for a couple of my recent commissions.
In December, I spent a luxurious handful of days in Arizona’s Sonoran desert, sketching and photographing the landscape, creatures, and plant communities. As I mentioned in my January newsletter, I was working on reference images for a set of commissioned pen-and-ink sketches slated to run in a book about desert bighorn sheep.
Perhaps one of the most revealing observations I made, though, had nothing to do with bighorn sheep.
“Dear Digit, there are so many terms and technicalities associated with digital images, I’m lost. Do I need to know the difference between JPG and GIF, DPI and PPI, resizing and compressing, etc.? If so, how can I keep them straight?”
There are three categories of terms that are essential to producing, using, and sharing digital images: file type, file ‘quality’ and file size. Let’s take a closer look at each category.