How to Capture Mouth-Watering Food Photographs

written by Georgia Schumacher 20 June 2014

Do you delight in creating new appetizing masterpieces in the kitchen? Do you take pride in the color and appearance of your culinary accomplishments? If you want to remember more than the lingering flavors after a meal, perhaps you might consider trying your hand at food photography. With some guidance, the proper technology and techniques, and a bit of practice, you too can produce fabulous images that let you document the gastronomical miracles occurring within your kitchen, or someone else’s.

Get started with these tips, consider taking photography classes to expand your skill set, and practice with other enthusiasts.

Choose a camera with a good macro setting.

Most of your food photography is up close and personal to capture the textures, colors, and shapes of the food. A camera with a good macro lens and feature set allows you to take the focal range within a few inches of the subject you’re photographing. This brings all of those details into crisp, clear relief in the photos.

Master basic lighting skills.

Most photography classes provide extensive information on lighting techniques, the appropriate type of lighting for different situations, and tools you can use to direct the light. White paper and even cheesecloth help out with food photography in the kitchen. Ideally, a kitchen would have a great deal of natural light, but if it doesn’t or you’re working in a professional kitchen, daylight light bulbs provide a similar lighting environment. Consider using a tripod when light conditions aren’t ideal and increasing the shutter speed so you have an appropriate amount of light coming through the aperture.

Work on your plating.

If you want to create exceptional food photography, look at the plating designs that high-end restaurants use to make their food look irresistible. You might not have a food stylist waiting around for your photo shoot, but you can use their techniques to help elevate your home food photography to the next level.

Mix and match serving platters and backdrops.

Some food simply looks better on a plain white plate; others look good with a complex backdrop. It requires a bit of trial and error, but taking a look at some of the popular food photography blogs will give you plenty of composition ideas.

Capture the entire process.

Don’t just snap a picture of the cooking conclusion. Take photos of the ingredients, the preparation, and the cooking process. This helps the viewer get an idea of how the entire cooking process goes, instead of guessing at the way the dish comes together.

Keep it clean.

Wipe away any drips, grease, and smudges that may end up on the edge of your plates when you’re putting the food together. You want every part of the food placement on the plate to be deliberate, so take a second look at your plating before you start snapping pictures.

Explore our photography programs at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- Online Division.

4 Keys to Success as a Game Designer

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 June 2014

scene from a video game

Video game design is as much of an art as it is a science. It's important to take the time to get the artistic elements right while also balancing all of the crucial technical aspects of game design. As a game designer, it's your job to engage your audience when you create computer and video games--whether your goal is to educate or to entertain. Here are a few techniques to help you improve your game design skills and provide better game play experiences for your audience.

1. Spend time on your design document.

Your design document forms the backbone of your video game. While writing a design doc is not as exciting as actually developing the game, it provides you with a blueprint to help you keep an eye on the big picture for the game. It also forces you to break down the overall goals of the game design into smaller, more manageable pieces for your team. This can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the total amount of work that goes into any design project.

2. Become a student of the field.

As a game designer, you’ll want to understand a variety of platforms and game engines, especially the most popular ones. You can learn from open source games, moddable games, and game development kits, but pursuing a degree in the game design field can also be particularly rewarding and help you to gain valuable knowledge. As you gain more experience with game design in general, it becomes easier to focus on intricate details such as the storyline and complex game mechanics.

3. Remember the basics.

You can create the most technically complex video game in the world, but if you don't include the basics that every video game needs, your players will go elsewhere. The core focus of the game designer is providing quality entertainment for the players.

Some games are simple at their core, such as Angry Birds, but the colorful art direction, fun sounds, and accessible game play captured the hearts and minds of millions across multiple platforms. Sometimes such simplicity is key, but, for more complex games, aim to create an engaging experience through deep characters, fleshed-out storylines, and taking advantage of the interactive medium to tell an engaging story. Either way, one never-to-be-overlooked step is thoroughly testing the game play to ensure that it works and responds properly. The game play needs to work with and for the player so it doesn't detract from the overall experience you're developing.

4. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back.

The video game industry requires a high level of passion and dedication to make your mark. One of the best ways to succeed in the industry is simply to keep trying your hand at making games and putting a product out of which you can be proud. You need to get your name out there among your peers and build a strong portfolio of work to show game developers and publishers.

Explore our programs in the area of game design and programming!

Read More

How to Be a Better Game Designer
How to Get into the Games Industry
7 Mistakes That Will Make You a Better Game Designer
3 Fundamentals of Educational Game Design
4 Benefits of Earning a Degree in Game Design

10 Names Everyone in Fashion is Expected to Know

written by Georgia Schumacher 10 June 2014

fashion designers

Want to carve out your place in the fashion industry? The history of fashion design is filled with brave entrepreneurs and artistic trailblazers who defined the styles that surround us today—and as someone with a passion for the field, you’ll be expected to know the clothing and history of these important fashion designers. Remember, their names are more than labels or brands; they are legacies of determination and creativity.

1. Elsa Schiaparelli

This Italian designer found much of her inspiration from the Surrealism and Dada art movements. A rival of Coco Chanel, Schiaparelli is known for the avant-garde creativity in her designs, which included such oddities as a lobster dress and shoe hat.

2. Pierre Cardin

Cardin's highly original style centered around geometry, and he's attributed with creating the modern bubble dress. He later developed one of the first package trims available in American cars with the AMC Javelin's colorful interior.

3. Coco Chanel

One of the most prolific and influential fashion designers of all time, Chanel rose to fame in the 1920s with her innovative use of jersey fabric and the development of every woman's wardrobe staple: the little black dress.

4. Yves St. Laurent

This legendary designer is best known for creating the first French ready-to-wear line, as well as developing menswear styles for women, such as the innovative and renowned "Le Smoking" suit.

5. Hubert de Givenchy

Givenchy worked alongside designers Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen while dressing icons such as Grace Kelly. Most notably, he designed almost all of Audrey Hepburn's classic movie wardrobes.

6. Azzedine Alaïa

When Cher from Clueless insists that she can't ruin her dress by lying on the street during a robbery, she gives one reason: "It's an Alaïa." This elusive Tunisian fashion designer is known for dressing an array of celebrities while never selling out in his marketing.

7. Vivienne Westwood

Westwood began her career working for Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols, and her contributions to punk fashion and new wave street style are unrivaled. Carrie Bradshaw's Vivienne Westwood wedding dress in the Sex and the City movie is considered one of the show's most notable designs.

8. Miuccia Prada

The founder of both Prada and Miu Miu, this legendary Italian designer is known for her minimalist and comfortable styles, with Miu Miu a more affordable take on her personal wardrobe.

9. Valentino Garavani

The man behind the Valentino label has designed for a collection of starlets and socialites such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Lee Radziwill. Jackie Kennedy's gown for her wedding to Aristotle Onassis was a Valentino original, and he's well known for his vibrantly colored "Valentino red" dresses.

10. Paul Poiret

Poiret is credited with introducing the draping technique to fashion, thus giving women an alternative to corsets and launching the modern aesthetic still seen today in fashion marketing and sales.

Interested in fashion design or fashion marketing? Learn more about our programs today!

Kitchen & Bath Design Program Recognized as NKBA Supported Program

written by Georgia Schumacher 6 June 2014

NKBA programThe National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recently announced that The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division located in Pittsburgh, PA, has met all requirements to become an NKBA Supported Program provider of Associate of Science Degree Kitchen & Bath Design (Online Division).

NKBA Accreditation serves the professional needs of the industry and ensures consistent, quality education for students who want to become kitchen or bath professionals. The NKBA currently recognizes over 55 supported and accredited schools in North America whose kitchen and bath curriculum meet the educational standards established by the NKBA.

NKBA Supported Program status is the first step to attaining full accreditation. To become an NKBA Accredited Program, an educational institution must have a kitchen and bath curriculum that prepares students for the NKBA Certification Exams. NKBA kitchen and bath design programs are evaluated with respect to mission, administration, curriculum, faculty, and resources to determine eligibility and ability to fulfill the Association’s requirements for fully accredited status.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division earned NKBA Supported Program status by demonstrating that it meets the initial requirements toward accreditation, which represent the basis of a program the NKBA considers essential for quality education. Each student must complete classroom work and internships monitored by the educational institution, which will enhance and extend the classroom experiences and make certain that they meet the NKBA’s required student competencies.

About the National Kitchen & Bath Association

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a nonprofit trade association that owns the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS®). With 60,000+ members, the NKBA has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry since its founding in 1963. The mission of the NKBA is to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry worldwide.

Learn More

For more information on this exciting new development, please contact your Academic Counselor or Faculty Member.

Not a current student? Learn more about the Associate of Science in Kitchen and Bath Design degree program at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- Online Division, or request more information today!

Essential Advice for Pursuing a Creative Career

written by Georgia Schumacher 3 June 2014

Person Starting a New Career

You're a creative person, and you've always wanted to pursue your passion as a career, which is exactly why you came to art school. When you have that special combination of talent, passion, and a drive to succeed, an art school education followed by a creative career is an obvious choice.

You bring a lot to the table as a creative individual, including innovation and a unique way of looking at challenges and tasks you encounter in a day-to-day workplace. With the possibility of automating more menial tasks in many industries, employers look for employees who have strong critical thinking skills, interesting perspectives, and thought processes that can't be replicated by a computer—employees like you. However, to set yourself up in a creative career that is fulfilling and financially stable can take hard work and dedication, so here are some techniques to get you started.

1. Market yourself

"Show your work" is a common adage in the arts, and it applies just as well to creative careers. Learn how to sell yourself. Your business skills are arguably as important as your creative talent, and if you can't market yourself, it doesn't matter how good you are at what you do. Learn how to reach clients through social media profiles, maintaining a blog, and creating an online portfolio so you can easily show it to companies looking to hire. These skills serve you well whether you're after a job at a corporation or agency, or you want to end up creating a thriving freelance business.

2. Bolster your network

The next essential is networking within your industry. Many jobs are all about who you know, and in the creative field, that means who you sees your profile and portfolio. Stay in touch with the people you went to art school with and get to know other alumni. Talk to people about your work, attend trade shows, conferences, and directly visit businesses that hire for the type of work you're looking for. You want to get to know people, companies, and the movers and shakers in your field.

3. Plan your progress over time

It’s always good to dream big, but you’ve got to plan a path to reach your end goal and accept that working your way up will likely take time and hard work. Remember, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities only come around, well, once in a lifetime!

You may not end up in your ideal job immediately after graduating from art school, but as long as you're actively taking steps towards career progression you can build up to the position and salary you desire. Two ways to move forward in your career after art school include taking freelance jobs to expand your network and your professional portfolio, and applying for jobs across a variety of industries that may be interested in your particular creative flavor.

Resources

12 Practical Tips for Those Pursuing Creative Careers 
9 Dream Jobs that Actually Pay