I am told you innovate and help others to.
Can we have a coffee?

The title of this post comes from the opening line of an email I received recently. It certainly isn’t the first enquiry I’ve had of this nature but the fact it was sent to me by someone at director level within a local authority on the recommendation of someone they trust, perhaps confirms I can be of use and interest to others.
Entitled: Conversation coo-coo-coo-cu-cu
Original image licensed under creative commons by Steve Bridger

Are you a doer with half an idea or plan?


Over recent years I’ve invested a lot of time, and my own cash, in getting to know and help people who are doing and initiating great things across Medway or Kent. I’ve become a sounding-board and go-to-guy for people like Emma Dewhurst of WOW magazine (testimonial below), and the team behind Digibury Canterbury; plus a range of social minded startups, and regional investment opportunities like CreativePeoplePlace.info

To continue inspiring and helping others, and to entice yet more interesting folk through the doors of coFWD, I’m considering making myself available for a series of one-to-one drop-in sessions – for local people seeking a sounding-board for their idea or project.

I’ll be clear, I’m not a legal or financial advisor, and because of the broad nature of this idea I can’t offer any assured or insured advice, but I promise that I’m very used to shaping and launching ideas and I’ll do my best to join-the-dots and provide useful insight and direction.

If you are doing, or want to do something for community and cultural benefit and would like someone to talk to about the challenges and hurdles, and generally bounce some thoughts about – please do get in touch or leave a comment below.

I’ll only announce dates if/once I know people are actually interested but in the meantime, inspired by Mark Suster, James Yorke and I invite you to join us at the next Startup Saturday event, please do signup via eventbrite.

Coworking in Rochester, Kent
Creative Pros, Social Entrepreneurs
& Students Wanted!

The post below is out of date. We’ve now grown into the coFWD coworking community and workspace (Rochester, Kent, UK), for more info please see: http://coFWD.org




To keep up the local co-working vision and momentum, and to help the wonderful Deaf Cat out with its financial commitments to its currently vacant artists studios, James (@BecomeKnown) and I (Carl @FellowCreative) have just moved into Studio 5 at number 10 Rochester High Street – and we’re opening up our WiFi (including more secure Ethernet connections), Desks and Kettle to freelancers, startups, visitors, students and community initiatives.

Our new Studio 5 space isn’t as flexible as the Former Westminster Bank we had our eye on back in February (sadly removed from the rental market by the owner), nor is it as big as the original 2008 Brighton Skiff but we’re hoping it’ll provide us with a temporary foundation upon which to build even greater momentum and vision.

Studio 5 is currently equipped with 4 desks and an overflow space for an additional 3 desks (Studio 3), as well as access to toilets, a fitted kitchen and an enclosed courtyard.

We’ve already secured our first two part-time coworkers at £50pcm each (big thanks and welcome Paul @p_r_anderson of Sustaina.co.uk and Paul Baker at iDesignFor.co.uk).

We’ve still got room for two more full-timers (at £100pcm) or some more part-timers (at £50pcm), plus we’d like to encourage Students and other good folk to call in and see us. Occasional coworkers are very welcome for a day at no charge, just give us a ring on 07929 601737 to make sure we have space on the day.

We’re also exploring the potential for an event/workshop space for small groups so please let us know if you’ve got any ideas. We’ll post more details soon, in the meantime if you’re an organiser of small workshops, talks or other activities and you like the look of it please email us.

Finally, with this being a 101 Project and in support of The Deaf Cat (and the larger coworking vision) its important we’re transparent with finances. The space costs £260pcm to rent and any money we make beyond this will go into funding additional space usage (as and when its needed).

Bitmap or Vector?

This is a quick attempt to explain an age-old quandary… it’s a question I’ve been asked a thousand times by clients and students, and even some designers who will of course remain nameless… but I’ve never found what I would call a ‘simple and relevant today’ published explanation, not in a book or online.

Please do comment if you know of such a resource because the teacher who spurred me on to write the following is also struggling to find ‘simple and relevant today’ resources for his GCSE students.

Some background details: In 1997 I started working commercially as a designer for print and web, from the young age of thirteen I dabbled with really basic image-editing software such as Microsoft Paint, and at college I cut my teeth on Adobe Photoshop (then version 3.5) – I came to understand digital imaging in the context of ‘bitmaps and pixels’ and ‘vectors and bézier curves’.

 

Bitmap imagery explained:

File-types such as BMP, JPG, GIF, PIC, PNG and TIF (to name some of the most common) are built on the concept of bitmap imaging. A bitmap is quite literally ‘a map of bits’ that forms an image. The ‘bits’ in question are generally referred to as ‘pixels’.

An image that is 10 pixels by 10 pixels has ‘a map of bits’ that looks like this:

10x10grid

An image that is 32 pixels by 32 pixels has ‘a map of bits’ that looks like this:

32x32grid

Image-editing software (also referred to as photo-manipulation software) such as Adobe Photoshop allows the creation of imagery through colouring each individual ‘bit’ of the map. The ‘magnified’ example below demonstrates how a bitmap image is made up of individually coloured pixels.

pixelzoom

Bitmap images are not only created in software packages such as Adobe Photoshop, they also form the basis of digital camera photography, digital video and television; and they even form the basis of the media captured on the latest mobile phone handsets.

The greater the number of ‘pixels’ within a Bitmap, the greater its ability to contain detail; and the higher its ‘resolution’.

It is extremely important to note that neither the number of pixels within an image, nor its resolution, define its physical size (cm).

Digital displays such as computer monitors and televisions offer various resolutions and formats. A 30cm high Digital TV using ‘480 Format’ can display 704 pixels wide x 480 pixels high, where as a 30cm high Digital TV using ‘720 Format’ can display 1280 pixels wide x 720 pixels high. This means that if the same Bitmap image (480 pixels x 480 pixels) is broadcast to both displays, it will appear at different physical sizes (cm) on both, as the diagram below highlights:

screensize

As shown in the top example, if a Bitmap is enlarged, its ‘bits/pixels’ enlarge and the image that once appeared detailed and smooth (when small) now appears to ‘pixelate’ and reduce in visible quality.

 

Vector imagery explained:

Unlike Bitmap’s, Vector images do not lose their quality when scaled in size.

Vector images are ideal for logo design and large-scale graphics because no matter what their size (big or small) they always appear smooth and sharp.

Software such as Adobe Illustrator enables the creation and manipulation of vector imagery and illustration (perfectly scalable for print output); and software such as Adobe Flash provides vector based tools for animation and online interaction (perfectly scalable for any size screen or display output).

File-types such as Generic EPS (now commonly called an Illustrator EPS), SVG and DXF are all vector based formats.

Vector graphics are created using mathematics rather than pixels.

Vector shapes are drawn by plotting ‘anchor’ points. Each point is given a coordinate ‘location’ on the page (or artboard); mathematics then enables a computer to perfectly plot a smooth path between each ‘anchor’ point. Each point on a path can be given Bézier handles to control the direction and curvature of the connecting paths.

vectorcurves

Because a vector image is based on mathematical coordinates it can be scaled (smaller and larger) without loss or quality or definition.

The example below shows the visible difference between Bitmap (left) and Vector (right) when scaled.

difference

 
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This Vector Tool Exercise published by the amazing team at Tutorial Plus may be of further interest to you if you’d like to learn more about bézier curves, simply follow the guides to create precise paths, using the hints and shortcuts covered in the article. The key tip is to be sparing with your use of anchor points, the fewer the points, the neater path.