Category Archives for "Basic Technical Skills"

Theming A Room – Ways to Create a Cohesive One

Theming A Room - Ways to Create a Cohesive One

Putting together a colour palette and style! Here are different and creative ways to theming a room.

Theming a room with the help of interior design; you either love it or you hate it. Some people get excited about a blank room with limitless possibilities, and others feel overwhelmed by the choices at hand. We’re here to help!

Find Your Personal Style

If you have no idea where to start, take our style quiz to get an idea of what type of interior decor style would suit you best. Whether it’s country chic or minimalist, this will help you with your inspiration search!

Gather Inspiration

Use websites like Pinterest and Houzz to find images and decor styles that inspire you, and pin/save them to create a moodboard for your room. Use your style from our quiz to help find things that are really relevant to you, and remember to consider who else will be using the room too!

Theming a room: Pixelpaint for theming your room

Theming  a room: Pixelpaint to create a room theme

Pick Out a Colour Palette

Using your moodboard images, have a look and see what colours and patterns come up regularly in what you’ve chosen. You can use a tool like the ColourPickEyedropper Chrome extension, and AdobeColor to find complimentary colour schemes.

Walls & Floors

The walls and floor of your room are essentially your backdrop, and there are a few options of how you can use them in your room theme:

  • Add a burst of colour to a neutral colour palette/theme with a block colour feature wall
  • Introduce pattern or texture with a (sparingly used) wallpaper
  • Make your furniture and decor pieces take centre stage by using neutral painted walls
  • Create an edgy, modernist feel with bare concrete floor
  • Add a natural, rustic warmth with wood floor
  • Bring in texture, pattern or colour with large floor rugs
Theming a room: Walls and floor of your room are essentially your backdrop

Theming a room: Wall and floor as a backdrop from MyDomaine

The Big Stuff

So then there’s the furniture. With interior design, we think comfort tops style. Consider how the room will be used; if it’s a living room that is the heart of your home, you want it to be comfortable enough to spend a lot of time there, so choose items that are durable and that you truly love!

That being said, with things like sofas and chairs you’ll want to take into account the colour scheme and also patterns. Too many patterns in a room can make it feel busy,rather than relaxing and pleasing to the eye, so keep it to a minimum and keep it consistent.

Try and keep materials and finishes on dining tables, sideboards and bookcases consistent too. It’s best to keep these things neutral unless you want one of them to be a feature item, in which case go crazy!

Theming a room: Choose items that are durable and that you truly love!

Theming a room: Comfortable room colour scheme and pattern example  from ThePrettyBlog

Soft Touches

Rugs, cushions and blankets are a great way to enhance the theme of your room. Mix them with neutrals and add colour, patterns and textures that go with your style!

Big throws and carefully arranged blankets are really on trend at the moment, as it adds a feeling of cosiness and comfort to bedrooms and living rooms.

Theming a room: Rugs, cushions and blankets are a great way to enhance the theme of your room.

Theming a room: Enhancing the theme of your room ideas from ByKoket.

Feature Pieces

It’s important to have one or two feature pieces in a room; something that makes those who walk in go ‘wow!’. Feature walls or furniture items can play a part in this, but here are some other ideas:

  • A large, leafy plant in the corner
  • A musical instrument or hobby item as a conversation starter
  • A *beautiful, big canvas* above the fireplace
  • A souvenir from an exotic destination
  • A family heirloom
  • A large, Parisian style clock
  • A *gallery wall*
  • A sculpture or vase
  • An intricate fabric wall hanging
Theming a room: Example of feature pieces in a room

Theming a room: Example of feature pieces in a room from AtHomeInLove

Ready to add a feature piece to your themed room?

Edit Pictures Like A Pro

Edit Pictures Like A Pro

Edit pictures like a pro with these simple techniques. Here's how to turn your images into wall­-worthy art!

So you’ve been through the process of searching through and selecting your own photos to print, and now you’re looking at those images thinking they’re just not quite right...

If you’re not totally in love with the way your photo looks, don’t rush into printing it. A canvas isn’t just for Christmas ­ it should be a part of your home for years to come, so you want to get it right first time!

Here are some of our top tips to edit pictures and enhance your images so that you fall head-­over-heels in love with them:

(Psst...you don’t have to own Photoshop to make your pics look snazzy ­ try a free online editing tool like Pixlr that has all the features you’ll need and more! We’ll be using it for the tutorials below...)

Edit pictures with Exposure, brightness and contrast

Edit pictures: Before and after using exposure, brightness and contrast adjustment

Exposure, Brightness & Contrast

Is your photo a little too dark, or just...a bit dull? Tweaking the exposure (using ‘Curves’)as well as the Brightness and Contrast can help give your image a boost!

Edit pictures through adjustment using curves

Edit pictures: Tweaking the exposure using ‘Curves’

Simply open up your photo and go to Adjustments > Curves (in the top menu bar), and move the points at the bottom and middle of the curve slightly upwards, and the top point slightly to the left, until you’re happy that it’s lightened the image, without ‘whiting out’ parts of the photo too much. If at this point it looks a little washed out, don’t worry,the next step will sort that out...

Edit pictures through Brightness & Contrast adjustment

Edit pictures: Brightness & Contrast adjustment

Head to Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast, and slide these bars up or down depending on what your image needs. In the above image, I have reduced the Brightness slightly so that the clouds aren’t overexposed, and increased the Contrast to make everything look crisp and clear!

Edit pictures with colour balance

Edit pictures: Before and after using Colour Balance

Colour Balance

Sometimes in strange light, or if you’re taking a photo indoors, the colours can go kinda strange in your photos... you know what I’m talking about; that weird blue hue or orange wash ­ not cool!

Edit pictures by color balance adjustment

Edit pictures: Enhancing photo by Colour Balance adjustment

To fix this, go to Adjustments > Color Balance, and tweak the red, green and blue offset bars to warm up or cool down your image.

Edit pictures through Saturation and vibrance adjustment

Edit pictures: Before and after using Saturation and Vibrance adjustment

Saturation & Vibrance

Another fix for if your image is looking a little dull is to tweak the Saturation and Vibrance of your photo. These settings enhance the colours and make your image ‘pop’­ great for if you want your canvas to be a colourful focus piece in your home!

Edit pictures with saturation and hue adjustment

Edit pictures: Enhancing photo by Hue & Saturation adjustment

Go to Adjustments > Hue & Saturation, and move the Saturation bar to the right. The Hue changes the colours in the image (ie, changes a blue sky to bright pink!), so you probably don’t want to use that, but try it out anyway if you like!

If it’s still lacking that extra oomph, try tweaking the Color Vibrance under Adjustments as well.

Edit pictures by using Blemish tool

Edit pictures: Before and after using the Blemish Tool aka Spot Healing Tool

Dust & Blemishes

Now I probably wasn’t planning to hang this photo of Easter eggs on my wall, but hey, it makes a good demonstration...

In the top left corner you’ll see a few chocolate crumbs from previously devoured chocolate eggs, which are kinda ruining the clean white background. Luckily, getting rid is easy!

Edit pictures by removing dust and blemishes in photo using Blemish tool aka Spot Healing Tool

Edit pictures: Removing dust and blemishes in photo using Blemish Tool aka Spot Healing Tool

Head to your sidebar of tools on the left, and click on the icon that looks like a plaster (next to that demonic red eyeball...); this is your Blemish tool (aka Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop). You can increase the area size of this tool in the top left corner.

Then all you have to do is click on your annoying specks of dust, pimples, bugs, or chocolate and they’ll disappear ­ yay!

Putting these edits all together will result in beautiful, bright and blemish-­free photos for you to print with your fave printing company 😉

Layman’s Guide to Resolution

Layman's Guide to Resolution

Image requirements might be a boring stuff but very significant into achieving high-quality photos. Here's our layman's guide to resolution, sizing and formats... yawn ­ I mean yay!

So you’ve got a theme for your room and have found your perfect image. You’re super pumped about it, only to find that there’s a whole load of boring techy hoops like this layman's guide to resolution to jump through before you can send your image off to print. What a dampener.

Pixels and Vectors

What is a Pixel?

A pixel (‘picture element’) is a tiny unit of illuminated colour on a screen, which is used (in the thousands!) to compose an image. When you take a photo with a digital camera,in encodes the image into pixels so it can be viewed on a screen!

What is a Megapixel?

1 million pixels = 1 megapixel. So if you have a photo that is 1720 pixels in height by 1280 pixels wide, you can multiply those numbers together to find how many Megapixels the image is in total (so in this case, it would be 2,201,600 pixels ­ or 2.2MP!)

This is really a measurement of what the image dimensions are and how big it is.

What is a Megabyte?

A ‘byte’ is a measurement of memory on your computer (1 million bytes = 1 megabyte). You can think of it as a ‘weight’, or how heavy your file is on your computer. So a 2.2megaPIXEL image might ‘weigh’ less than 1 megaBYTE, or it might weigh more than 5megaBYTES! It depends on what file type you’re using, and the file compression settings (we’ll get onto those in a minute!)

Canvas Megapixel Requirements:

Because a pixel is a size unit, if you try to enlarge an image with a certain amount of pixels, the image will ‘pixelate’ and look fuzzy. For this reason, we have some minimum image requirements for image megapixels for each of our canvas sizes, to make sure they don’t get the fuzzy, pixelated look when printed!

A4: 1 Megapixel +

A3: 2 Megapixels +

A2: 4 Megapixels +

A1: 8 Megapixels +

A0: 16 Megapixels +

Regular Panoramic (100cm x 30cm): 6 Megapixels +

Jumbo Panoramic (150cm x 50cm): 14 Megapixels +

Baby Square (30cm x 30cm): 2 Megapixels +

Mummy Square (40cm x 40cm): 3 Megapixels +

Daddy Square (60cm x 60cm): 6 Megapixels +

What is a Vector?

A vector is actually a mathematical formula that represents both a quantity (or size) and direction. When an image is created a vector, it is not made up of pixels, but rather plotted points on an unseen grid. This means that you can scale a vector image to any size and it won’t lose quality, because the mathematical formula will simply adjust to the new size. Vector files should only be used for graphics and digital artwork, not photography.

Sizes and Resizing

How Do I Find My File Size?
To find the size of your photo, simply right-click (or Ctrl click) your image and select ‘Get info’ or ‘Properties’ (depending on if you’re using Apple or Windows). Here you’ll be able to see the dimensions in pixels:

Layman's guide to resolution: Dimension in pixels

Layman's guide to resolution: Dimension in pixels

If you’re looking through lots of images and want to filter by dimension (megapixels) or‘weight’ (megabytes), go to your image folder, select ‘View’ and order by ‘dimension’ or‘size’:

Layman's guide to resolution: Filter by dimension
Layman's guide to resolution: Filter by dimension and size

Layman's guide to resolution: Filter by dimension and size

Resolution

What Does ‘dpi’ Mean?
Dpi (or ‘Dots/pixels per inch’) refers to the density of pixels in an image. It helps you understand how large a photo can be printed or displayed.

It is recommended that if you want your image to be displayed on the web, it should be saved as 72dpi. This is because screens can’t usually process more than this, so there’s no point in saving it as anything more ­ it’ll just make the file ‘heavier’ on your computer!

For print, images should be saved at 300dpi. Good printers can handle this kind of density, and it leads to a seriously crisp, high quality print! If your image size can’t quite handle 300dpi, the minimum you could go to is 150dpi if necessary.

Aspect Ratio and Cropping

Why Can’t I Make My Square Photo Rectangle?
An aspect ratio refers to the proportions of your image, and is important in making sure your image doesn’t distort when resizing. So for example, if you have a photo that is 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels in height (a ratio of 16:9), and you want to resize it without making it look like it’s been stretched,you need to stick to the ratio of 16:9.If you resized an image with a ratio of 16:9 to a square (1:1), it would look squished and distorted. So in order to make your image fit within a square, you would need to crop it(ie, only use a square portion of the photo). Below is an example of how this works in the free online image editing tool, Picmonkey:

Layman's guide to resolution: Aspect ratio and cropping

Layman's guide to resolution: Aspect ratio and cropping

Compression and File Formats

What are the Different File Types for?
JPEG: This file format is perfect for images with more than 256 colours (ie. photographs and complex Photoshop projects). You can determine the quality of a JPEG file as a percentage; so when you save an image as a JPEG you can set whether you’d like to save it at 30% or 100% quality, for example. This is useful if you want to make the file‘weight’ (megabytes) smaller to upload online, or as high quality as possible for printing.

GIF: This file format can only process up to 256 colours, so is best used for very simple artwork with only a few colours. GIFs are highly compressed, small files that are designed to be quick to load and easy to send, so should really only be used for web purposes.

PNG: To get past the limitations of quality associated with GIF files, PNGs were created! These files are designed to load fast but still look high quality, making them perfect for online use. They also support transparency.

TIFF: Similar to JPEG files, you can choose the compression/quality of your image using percentages when you save it as a TIFF. The main difference is that you can alter the background of a TIFF to be transparent ­ useful for a photograph/graphic mix!

VECTOR: As explained above, vector files can be scaled easily without losing quality,and are best used for graphics and digital art. Because vectors are based around paths and shapes to build an image, they can’t process details such as colour fades or complex brushes very well, so for that a PNG or TIFF would be better.

What Format Do You Need for Printing?

We always ask for JPEG files for printing on canvases, because they provide the best file quality. However, if you have a vector graphic that you would like us to resize for you, you can send that to us directly!

Canvas Gallery Wall – A How To Guide

Canvas Gallery Wall – A How To Guide

Creating a canvas gallery wall can be tricky but there are tips for artwork choices, sizes, shapes and layout!

You’ve seen canvas gallery wall take over Pinterest, and now you want one for yourself. No, I’m not talking about a super epic cinema room (although that would be cool!) ­ I’m talking about the infamous ‘gallery wall’.

We love them, and think they totally lend themselves to a fun selection of canvas prints too. Here are some of our top tips for creating one for your home:

1. Pick a colour scheme and general theme

Of course, this is the same when choosing any art for your home, but it’s even more important when you’re finding lots of different pieces for the same space.

Yes, gallery walls should look random and whimsical, but in order to get ‘that look’ you actually need to put some effort into it. Kind of like hair. You want that laid back surfer/bed-­head look but you gotta spend money on highlights and an hour backcombing and putting product in each morning to look that natural, right?

Check out our guide to theming a room, or take our style quiz  to get some colour and style inspiration!

2. Choose an ‘anchor’ or ‘focus’ piece

Use your largest (and more important/meaningful) piece of art as a starting point for your layout. And no, that doesn’t mean it has to go right in the middle... check out how each of these gallery walls use one big piece to create a central point:

Example of a travel-themed canvas gallery wall

Example of a travel-themed gallery wall from LiveLaughRowe

3. Mix up shapes, sizes & styles

The best gallery walls (in my opinion) are those that use a range of different imagery,rather than just photos of a similar type. Using a mixture of photography, illustration,block colours, patterns, and abstract art can create a feature that really interests your guests.

When you’re searching through images to use, consider what size and shape to print them in. We offer *a range of shapes and sizes* for our custom prints, from A4 to A0,panoramic to square!

Mixture of styles, sizes and shapes in a canvas gallery wall

Mixture of styles, sizes and shapes in a canvas gallery wall image from LTLPhotography

4. Plan your layout first

Drawing out your gallery wall plan first can help you decide how many prints to use, and also what shapes and sizes to get. Once you’ve sketched it out, another helpful tip is to create some to­ scale paper cutouts of each print and arrange them (using masking tape) on the wall so you can imagine how it will really look!

How to draw out your canvas gallery wall plan

How to draw out your canvas gallery wall plan image from MomtasticLife

5. Forget about symmetry

Symmetrical gallery walls simply aren’t as fun and interesting to look at. Quirky layouts are best, not only for looks, but also practicality.If you’ve left the edges rough and not squared off/symmetrical, you always have the option to add to your gallery wall should you want to!

Quirky layout in a canvas gallery wall

Example of a quirky layout in a canvas gallery wall from DesertDomicile

6. Keep your gaps consistent

While random layouts are fun, there’s one thing that should be orderly and consistent,and that’s the gaps between your prints. To keep the whole feature pleasing to the eye,this is kind of important.Usually a gap of between 2 and 4 inches will be fine ­ any bigger and your prints may not look like they are all part of the same feature, any smaller and it may look cramped.

Example of a canvas gallery wall with consistent gaps

Example of a canvas gallery wall with consistent gaps from MebleWnetrza

7. Treat your gallery wall as one piece of artwork

As I said, you don’t have the keep things central or symmetrical within your gallery wall by any means, but you probably want it to be central in the space you’ve chosen, and you definitely want it to be at the right height.Check out our guide on *how to hang your artwork* and remember to measure your gallery wall as a whole as though you were treating it as one piece.

Extra Ideas:

  • Use mixed media
    I love seeing gallery walls that have taken that extra creative step by including a range of items and objects. Here are some ideas:
Use of mixed media in decorating your canvas gallery wall

Use of mixed media in decorating your canvas gallery wall  from DrivenByDecor

  • Use a template
    Get someone else to do that hard work for you and download a pre­-made layout template for your gallery wall! There’s a lazy way to do everything in life.:

Ready to get some art for your gallery?

Hanging Art: The What, Where and How

Hanging Art: The What, Where and How

Hanging art that you love could be tricky most of the time as you find ways where to hang it perfectly. But let's take your worries away as we show you how to find the best spot, and get the sucker on the wall!

When choosing art to print you may have already considered where in your home you are making or hanging art piece particularly where your canvas print will be going. If you didn’t and you just ordered some art out of pure spontaneity, I appreciate that; you little rebel, you.

Okay you probably have some kind of rough idea about where to hang your artwork,whether it’s ‘above the bed’, ‘in the porch’ or ‘behind the sofa’. You may have used this rough idea to decide what size and shape to order to print in too, which is great! But that’s still not specific enough to help you actually hang the thing.

Before You Start

Before we start all that measuring business, make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job, or you’ll be left for days with pencil scrawlings on the walls while you try to remember to visit the DIY store....

You'll need:

  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil
  • A level
  • A hammer
  • Painting hooks (or drywall/concrete anchors depending on the weight of your print and the type of wall it’s going on)
  • A pipe & live­-wire detector (while not absolutely necessary, if you’re hanging in a kitchen or bathroom and using anchors, you may want to check where you’re hammering first!)

Prepping the Print

All of our canvas prints come ready to hang with string already attached, so you don’t really have to do anything to prepare it! However, if you’re buying prints from elsewhere, here’s a great video tutorial  on how to add your own wire/string.

Making the Mark

You don’t need me to tell you that things should be nicely centred in the space, either centred above a piece of furniture, or centred to a wall. But when it comes to what height to hang your piece, are you just using guess­work?

Hanging art: Hanging artwork too high up on the wall

Hanging art too high up on the wall example from StyleByEmilyHenderson

Hanging artwork too high up on the wall is a very common mistake, and some people may not even realise they’ve made that mistake. What you may not know is there is a simple, universal guide you can use:

A standard eye level height of between 57 and 60 inches from the ground to the centre of the print is a golden rule to work to! However, there are exceptions:

  • If your artwork will be hanging above a piece of furniture, 57” may be too low or high, so a guideline of between 6 to 10 inches above that piece may fit the room better.
  • If the print is going in a room that is mostly for sitting, you may want to hang your piece a little lower to reflect the average eye level in that room (not too low though!)
  • If it’ll be hanging in a child’s room, again it’s best to hang a little lower for their eye level
Hanging art: Example of a good height above the sofa

Hanging art: Example of a good height above the sofa from KerrisDaleDesign

Once you know the measurement from the ground to the centre of the print, it’s time to do some maths.

Measure the height of your print and divide it by two; then add that number to your ‘eye level height’ (let’s say 57”). Next, get your artwork and measure the height between the top of the canvas and the centre of the wire/string when it is pulled tightly upwards; this might be something like 2 inches. Subtract this from your other height number and this is the height where you need to make a pencil mark and add your picture hook.

Eg.
Eye level height: 57”
Canvas height: 12” (divided by two = 6”)
Difference between top of canvas & wire: 2”

Picture hook final height: 57” + (6” ­ 2”) = 61” above ground

Final Steps

Carefully knock in your picture hook or anchor as per the instructions that come with them, and you’re ready to hang!

Getting the print to sit totally straight can be a bit tricksy, so feel free to use a level and/or a patient family member to get rid of any lopsided-­ness!

6 Colour Reproduction Basics – RGB, CMYK …WTF?

Colour Reproduction Basics - RGB, CMYK .......WTF?

Ahh colour reproduction; the bane of every designer/photographer/printer’s existence. Although we regularly receive comments about how accurate our colours are, a 100% match to what you see on your screen is influenced by lots of factors, so let's cover colour reproduction basics.

But, fear not my friend!  Read on because this article will:

  • Explain colour reproduction basics in layman's terms
  • Describe the two biggest factors contributing to a perceived difference in colour
  • Help set your expectations when it comes to printing
  • Give you some tips on how to match what you're seeing with what we're printing
  • Immediately increase your intelligence by 0.0021%*

* Experiences may vary

Factor 1: RGB and CMYK

* Uber geek alert *

RGB 

Images on your camera or computer (and most other screens) are created through mixing different colours of light called RGB - short for Red, Green and Blue.

Physics lesson coming back to you now?

CMYK

Meanwhile, just to confuse things, printed materials use inks that mix together to make colours.

These colours are CMYK - short for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, BlacK. (K is used because it is the "Key" colour)

You’ll know this if you have a colour printer at home that yells at you every week “FEED ME MORE MAGENTA! NOM NOM NOM NOM”.

What makes the difference then?

The main difference here is that one uses light to create colour (RGB) and the other creates colour through the reflection of light off pigmentation (CMYK). This is why the colours on your final print may look slightly different to the colours you see on your screen.

We ask for RGB files and convert it to CMYK ourselves, so if you’re printing with us, you shouldn’t need to worry about any of the above unless your image has been edited to CMYK colours (e.g. by a designer).

Most photos are RGB, so unless you know someone has been fiddling with your image, you'll be fine.

Factor 2: Your Screen

BUT that’s not all; your screen itself might be causing the problem.

If you were to show the same image on 5 different screens, they’d all appear slightly different to each other.

Why?  

  • Different brightness & contrast settings
  • Different temperature & saturation settings
  • Maybe they were turned on at different times… some screens take a while to ‘warm up’ while others are quicker
  • Different screen resolutions
  • The lighting and position of the screen in comparison to the lighting or any windows will have an effect on how the image appears

So many reasons why your print might look different on your computer and IRL**. Yay.

**In Real Life

How To: Basic Screen Calibration

Windows

The display calibration tool can be found in Appearance > Display Control Panel (if you can’t find it, just search ‘calibrate’ and it should pop up - God knows I can’t find anything on Windows).

Click the option to calibrate your monitor and follow the instructions to edit your brightness, contrast, gamma (here’s an explanation of what on Earth that is, if you don't mind slipping into a coma) and colour settings to match the test image you’re shown as best you can.

Choose ‘Current Calibration’ once you’re happy!

Colour Reproduction Basics - Basic Screen Calibration on Windows

Improving Colour Reproduction - Basic Screen Calibration on Windows

Apple

You can find the ‘Display Calibration Assistant’ in System Preferences > Displays.

The program will walk you through editing the brightness, contrast, gamma and colour settings.

At the end, press continue to save your new settings.

Colour Reproduction Basics - Basic Screen Calibration on Apple Mac

Improving Colour Reproduction - Basic Screen Calibration on Apple Mac

Serious Colour Calibration

Or, if you’re serious about getting accurate, spot-on colour for regular printing, you can buy a screen calibrator and let that do the work for you!

How much you spend is up to you, but we would recommend the following from Amazon.com... price range approx $130 to $260 NZD (excluding shipping) 

If you’re printing a canvas with us, rest assured we calibrate all our systems regularly, but we’ll always let you know if something’s looking way off balance! So now you know colour reproduction basics....

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