Monday, January 7, 2013

Thank You, Editors of BeadStyle

Today, after about five weeks of (no so) patiently waiting, I got the final response to an e-mail I sent to Kalmbach publishing about a problem I had with a project download I ordered from them. Thankfully, the response made me happy. Here's the story.

Are you familiar with the work of Kristina Henning? If you don't - it's magnificent. Take a look:

Right?! The detail, the flow, and the colors - amazing. I've been working on some similar earrings, but it didn't seem like my beads were hanging like hers. I tried several different techniques, but ... it just wasn't the same. When I read that she was writing an article for BeadStyle magazine, I was ECSTATIC. I wasn't, however, exactly sure when it'd be in the store, so I didn't manage to get to the bookstore to get the copy in time. Life. Alas. So, impatiently I waited for the project to go digital so I could download it. Serendipity called during one of Kalmbach's random online sales and I found it! I was SO excited. So, I put it in my cart, checked out, downloaded it and ... disappointment. Can YOU see the detail of the wirework in these images?

Furious as I was, in part because I had been anxiously anticipating this article, I did manage to remain relatively clear and rational while emphasizing my very real frustration (as you will read). My main problem was that the image resolution was way, WAY too low. Assume you already know about color selection and multiple ways to do wrapped loops - your main concern is to see EXACTLY how the loops are connected to each other. I couldn't see that. Additionally, the text was edited in a manner that made the instructions vague.

This is the excerpt from my e-mail about the image above:

On the second page of the article the first item is 1 necklace. At the end of the caption under the picture it says “make a set of wraps above the briolette.” Does she mean the standard briolette twist over which additional wraps will be made later, or does she mean the standard wrapped-loop wraps that are made perpendicularly to the main wire? But, wait! I can look at Basics, p. 100. Oh, nope. (because, as a digital download, that resource isn't available) Again, all I see in the picture is a silver grey haze where the visual detail should be and, again, all on top of a stark white background against which the grey has contrast. Genius.

Yeah. I was pissed. Can you tell?

For my final point regarding this third image:

Looking further down the same page, at number 5, you can compare the similarity in the size of the loops in the picture to the size of the letters in the caption and notice precisely how low resolution the pictures are compared to the text. If you go through the bother of creating a publication with pictures that are meant to support the text, doesn’t it follow that the images should be equally well defined in resolution as the text?

I closed with the following:

I would appreciate a personal response to this, preferably in the form of a higher resolution copy of this article. I would also like some indication that this will be sent to whomever edits articles for digital publication. I would finally suggest that person check in, among other places, at the Beadchat forum of Yahoo groups, where there has also been a considerable amount of outrage about the low quality of images in your digital publications. I don’t want to be forced to stop buying your publications. Again, I have been waiting for Kristina’s article to become digitally available for a month. But I can promise that if the low image resolution problem in your digital files isn’t fixed, I won’t be the only one that notices.

Thank you for your prompt action,
Julie Bowen

So, the good news is that I finally receive my higher resolution project. It turns out, reported in the response, that the resolution of the original was 72dpi. The editor further reported that they will now be publishing digital projects in 300dpi, or if the flie size is too large, 150dpi. That's great news. Thank you, editors of BeadStyle! Truly!

Ultimately, I know that there are other beaders out there that are frustrated with the image resolution of digital download projects and magazines. While we can certainly cancel our subscriptions and stop buying products by the offending publishers, it better serves our interest to write and tell them our needs. I certainly had successful results and, if you encounter a similarly frustrating issue with the publishers of the media you buy - let them know! It isn't just you or me that notices these problems and they know their business depends on serving our interests and you may get the improved product YOU need in the process.

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