Translate the idea: Computer

The next step is to get the image in whatever medium into the computer using an ordinary scanner. I use the scanner's software to scan the image, save it, and give it a name.

Then I use LView Pro for the next three steps.

The rest of the computer work is done with DeluxePaint II, a paint program designed in the 1980's by Electronic Arts. First I reduce the image to a quarter of its original size. Thus a unit of, say 40 x 40 pixels becomes one of 10 x 10 pixels. Then I return the image to its original size. Now the same 10 x 10 pixels, with each pixel enlarged to a square of 4 x 4 pixels, each representing a bead. Now I go through the image's palette, highlighting one color at a time, and adjusting the positions and concentrations of the squares of color to make the best use of each one. This is a complicated process, as so many variables are involved. The particular qualities of beads as a medium must be taken into account in the same way as when a watercolor sketch with its characteristic transparency is translated into a painting on canvas with oils which have a very different consistency. Some kinds of beads recede visually; for example, dark-colored and transparent beads, and others advance, for example, light-colored, opaque, and acid-etched matte beads. The colors glass comes in must be considered, too. Some colors are naturally more vibrant than others, due to the nature of the substances that fuse with silica to make colored glass. Cobalt blue, for example, is a very intense color in glass.

Now I choose the colors of beads I will use in the actual piece. I have a file of cards each with a sample of one color of bead, about 425 colors and variations of colors. They're numbered in sequence from white, the lowest number, to black., the highest. I use these to choose my palette for the piece, taking into account color, texture, value, and the relationship of each quality with the others. The last things I do while at the computer are to make a chart of what colors are in the image and then to adjust the colors on the screen so that the beadmap will be readable when it comes out of the printer. I also replace some of the bead units with symbols that further differentiate between colors. There are only so many shades of, say, dark green, that can be separated from each other by the eye, and a beadmap with 40,000 tiny squares on it must be made as clear as possible.

Next: Embody the image: Beadweaving

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Laura Willits
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Page created 3 July 2000. Last modified on: Sunday, May 04, 2003. 12 September 2000 at 10:12 AM.