Giving back to Open

Giving back to Open

I often use public domain and creative commons licensed images and audio in my work. I really like the idea that high quality media is available for free to the public and that you can create something amazing without infringing on copyright. For businesses and professionals to function they can’t give everything away, but it’s nice to share what you can. With that in mind, I’ve recently posted several of the agriculture and GPS illustrations I created for work on Openclipart. I think that it’s time that I gave back to the OCAL community since I’ve definitely used dozens of graphics from other artists. You can see all of my illustrations on my tmjbeary OCAL profile, but here are a couple of my favorites:

How trilateration works to determine GPS position.

How trilateration works to determine GPS position.

Combine harvester with grain platform.

Combine harvester with grain platform.

Do you have any suggestions for illustrations I could create? I’ll also take requests for custom illustrations, with the stipulation that I’ll release it to the public domain on OCAL.

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Evolution of a Design

Evolution of a Design

It’s usually best to force yourself to come up with more than one version of an idea. Each iteration is more refined until in the end you have a better overall design. Sure, you might make missteps, but overall you’ll make progress. When I first started the Stahl group website, this was the graphic on the home page.

Original graphic from the Stahl Group website.

Original graphic from the Stahl Group website.

I wanted to try and make something with a bit more flair, while still keeping the original meaning. The graphic shows a catalytic cycle and how each focus of their research feeds into it. As we discussed the design more we wanted to show that some aspects feed into the group’s catalysis research (reaction mechanisms, synthetic methods, electrocatalysis) and others are products of the research (renewable energy, green chemistry). For those non-chemists out there, in a catalytic cycle the reactants typically enter on the lower-right, and products exit the cycle on the upper-left. Prof. Stahl also wanted to incorporate oxygen (O2) as the group’s catalysis research focuses on using oxygen as the oxidant. Below shows how my design evolved over time.

Design C was the last one I created and I felt it was the best overall. In the end, Prof. Stahl preferred the design from A, with slight modifications–the final result being design D.

There were actually more versions than this, but I wanted to show you the big steps in the design evolution, not every subtle change. This whole process reminded me that in the end the designer has to go with what the client wants, not necessary the version that the designer prefers.

Open Clip Art Library (OCAL)

 

buildings at night by tmjbearyI mentioned in an earlier post that OCAL is a great place to find vectors in the public domain. If you don’t know how to work with vector images, you can also download the image as a .png with any size you specify. I frequently use clip art from the site, and now I’m trying to do my part by contributing some of my work. Granted, I’m still a beginner with Inkscape, so my graphics aren’t incredible. Still, I hope that someone might find them useful and that the quality will improve over time. My latest upload is shown at right. Check out my tmjbeary OCAL profile to see all my uploads and the clipart I have collected from other users.

Most of what I have is science-related from posters I made in grad school (I haven’t uploaded all of that work yet). I’m not sure how relevant that work is since it’s very specialized to the research I was doing. Any other suggestions for drawings I could attempt to make?