Showing posts with label Holiday Cards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday Cards. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Holiday Card 2018 - Morris Returns

Can you spot Morris? He escaped from Santa!

Happy 2018 Holidays & New Year !

This card tradition really kicked off in 1998, a mere 20yrs ago; historical cards are shown on the Team Lindberg Craft blog.  This year's photos were actually taken early last year. Heidi shot a bunch of neat card material back then (even baked the cookies too), and with this year being busy, our design process was .... hmmm... accelerated  (confession below). 

The gingerbread theme was partially inspired to echo the 2002 "death of Morris" card. My brilliant ideas to take pictures of cookies with missing heads went ignored by my partner.

Poor Morris
Heidi has a great eye for design and has an inventory of cool photos, but she didn't think these were ready to share yet.  So they rested in storage. Many other raw photos could easily have made awesome cards (below are a few):
Heidi's photos - the powdered one's look like ghosts. Is that Morris? 
We almost skipped making a card since time was scarce; in fact, Heidi thought we were just going to let the project slide. Heidi was tied up thinking about hosting Thanksgiving (we even missed getting our tree up the weekend after Halloween, but Erin came home from college to remedy that). Pressured to keep the tradition going, I secretly raided her stock images. I was anxious to make a card without content of my own, and thought her works was splendid, so ... for the record, Heidi didn't participate in the editing process. In fact, she took the pictures and no Photoshop retouching was done (I did try to white balance the cover, which apparently could have been done better).

In an age when consent matters, I recommend being a better teammate. But after 22yrs of marriage, I had some points to spare. Of course I had to confess eventually.  With her birthday being in late November, I decided to share the proof in a faux-birthday envelope. It was like a gender reveal ceremony, without any pregnancy: "Hey honey, we are expecting a great card :)" .  Drawing a heart on the card really helped. Would have been even better if I actually had a birthday gift.
After due pause and glare, she said the cover had a slightly unacceptable green tinge, and scoffed at the kerning and font choices of the interior (below).  Thankfully I already accepted the proof and ordered a bunch, so I said "No worries, I got this."

Heidi rocks as a photographer, but sometimes she needs to be in the photo! So we turned to retired P&G imaging specialist Julie Lubbers at Teal Gate Studios earlier this year for family photos. Highly recommended.

Team Lindberg - 2018 - Teal Gate Studios
Here's wishing everyone a peaceful, safe 2019.
Go eat some cookies!

Sweetie and Shorty







Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Holiday Card

 Behind the Scenes (BTS)

Sweetie the Cat poses
We had a few ideas that never came together this year, so we turned to the 2016 archives for this year. Yes, we actually have several cards developed over the years we keep as backup (recall the past ~19yrs or so of cards are on Seth's desk and online).  Heidi (Wife, Art Director, Boss, etc.) took the lead with the photography (as one can tell from her Instagram Page and Photography website, she leans towards capturing portraiture). The original intent last year was to have both animals featured like a sequel to the 2009 card (sans Stinky the white cat).  

The Behind The Scenes footage documents a fraction of the challenging photo-session (2min compilation produced by Erin). Even though Seth donned an "Attempting to Care" T-shirt...and Heidi had "Loads of Hope"... the desired picture of both animals together was never achieved. Shorty is shown below with the classic Bokeh effect. With a keen eye, viewers should see the split seconds used for Sweetie (card image) and Shorty (shown below). After entertaining the idea of printing both Cat and Dog cards, we decided just to make hardcopy prints of Sweetie. Erin politely covered up the audible curses with the "Sleigh Ride" song. It is fitting, since both portraits of the animals seem "calm and peaceful" even though the photoshoot was not.
Shorty the Pug, runner up model
2017 has been fun, with Seth releasing another weird fiction novel: Helen's Daimones, Erin applying for college (either for secondary education or for eMedia/script writing), and Connor growing to 6'2" (yes, Seth has a complex about that). Connor should be driving next year, eh gad!

Here's wishing everyone a safe and action-packed 2018!

2009 Holiday Card

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Card 2016 - Promise and Peace



May every sunrise
hold more Promise,
and every sunset
hold more Peace

 - Irish blessing




Happy New Years!

Team Lindberg 2016

To moderate embarrassment, we show Erin and Connor sans hats

2016 has been interesting, with Erin getting her driver's license and Connor growing fast enough to make his father feel small. Seth continues with his writing hobby, this year appearing and moderating on author panels for the first time (at the World Fantasy Convention); he has a few works in progress that should appear next year. Seth and Connor continue to enjoy Aikido under Domaschko Sensei (it's a great martial art for disarming folk without inflicting harm, and tossing family members). Heidi has been continuing to build her photography portfolio, and this year's card features one of her snapshots from an angel in Spring Grove Cemetery (Cincinnati OH). Some runner-up options are below:

West Chester Cemetery

West Chester Cemetery

Spring Grove Cemetery
The angel theme echoes of past angel cards from 2007 and 2011 (below); the sunset/sunrise key in 2012 and 2013 (MMXII and MMXIII). See all cards since 1998 (link).

2007 Lindberg Card
2011 Lindberg Card
With Heidi's meticulous scoping out cemeteries at various times & lighting conditions, the natural shading on the main subject was all taken care of (for many angels). The background didn't have our desired clouds, so some simple masking/merging with another photo in Photoshop fixed that. Then all we had to do is agree on some artificial color casting. Obviously, we needed to have a sunset/sunrise feel to match the interior blessing, which we eventually achieved.


Printing / Proofs / Traditional Font Disputes

Heidi always wins the font discussion. She cut my Roman Numerals (shown in the above Photoschop screen, and used previously on many cards) and then offered her keen eye on the faux sunlight. In addition to tackling the RGB to CMYK conversion, it's always best to get a proof in one's hand.  We print from PSprint.com which has a proofing option. It takes ~1-2 weeks to print/receive/review a proof, so much of November involved the Lindberg's bickering over subtle colors. Turns out, Heidi steered this too.


Cheers to all, and may everyone embarrass their friends and family! 
Lindberg kids loving their hats!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Holidays 2015 - Snow Flake Trapping Experiment - Lindberg Greeting Card




Happy Holidays and New Year too!

This year's theme is “snowflakes” – real ones. Due to winter's erratic precipitation and the self-imposed theme, we had to start early on this design--no snow would be present the months preceding card distribution (Aug-Nov) so we started in Feb 2015.  We were eventually successful. The snow flake design displayed on the card are actual shapes of flakes harvested and imprinted in West Chester Ohio. It took ~4 attempts, two of which were ~4AM since that is when the snow came. If interested in trapping snowflakes and learning how the card was made, then follow this link/blog post detailing to how this Snow Flake Card was made (previous 17 years of cards are displayed on Lindberg Craft Blog).  

Capturing Snow flakes 

0) Collect Snow Trap equipment: namely glass microscope slides (available via Amazon) & hair spray; put them in a garage to cool.

1) You need to have snow falling at the "right" rate/density: snow needs to be falling at a slow but steady rate.  Too much snow, and they do not imprint separately...not enough, and you won't catch enough on on your "snow trap" described below. This took several rounds of testing.

2) The snow trap consists of microscope slides coated with hair spray (cheers to Aquanet, the champion of 1980's hair styles!).  Most hairsprays are dissolved polymer solutions that, once exposed to atmosphere, evaporate allowing the polymers harden. Using "hot" (i.e. room temperature) hairspray will melt fresh snow.  Using cold/old coatings will not work since they will not be too dry or too hard to be imprinted. The trick is to coat the slides right before use with pre-cooled hairspray. Keep hair spray and slides in a cold place (i.e. garage); freshly spray the slides right before a snow event and lay them out in the yard.


3) Weigh down the slides on card board otherwise, wind (that often comes with snow) will flip your adhesive coated slides over...and you'll have mulch/debris embedded through out (tested that too).

4) Keep the slides cold as the water melts & polymer hardens: after harvesting the snow flakes, place them in a cold garage. If the snow is coming down heavy, you'll have to retrieve the slides before they get too covered. You need to let the polymer harden and dry before taking them into a warm house. Wait for the snowflakes to melt/evaporate.

5) Image these via (a) a photographic macro-lens with the flakes are still present.... or (b) via a microscope after the flakes melted and evaporated (leaving their image in cast). You'll see that many flakes are only half embedded or overlap.  The camera used on the scope is monochrome which reflects the colorless imprint.  Simple bright-field imaging is used.

Monochrome Raw Data 

7) Faux-color in Photoshop & Font Battle:  These monochrome images are now doctored up in Photoshop with lots of false coloring, masking, and layering options; a number of the snowflakes are isolated atop a template provided from PSprint.com (one of many online printers screenshot below). Art Director Heidi may initiate a war over appropriate fonts, and you should expect to lose. My blocky carved ice letters were "not right for this project" and I was convinced to follow her advice to use a sleek font instead. Erin and Connor concur with mother as per their training. The next battle is with the computer to ensure the printing of CMYK reflects the RGB coloring; this is resolved via opening & exporting the template in Adobe Illustrator (see variety of blues/cyans below). The template is made read for printing.  A proof confirms all is well. 

Team Lindberg Update

2015 had Connor growing taller than his dad (he's now 6 feet tall at 13yrs of age, cripes). Erin, Connor and Dad were promoted in the Kyu ranks in Aikido (Mushinkan Dojo in Liberty Township under Sensei Domaschko...a great place to learn self-defense without striking/harming your opponent…highly recommended to all).  Heidi ramped up her photography hobby to the point she is beginning to take portraits for clients (family photos, Linkedin head shots, & pet portraits). Dad continued pressing his writing hobby and saw his first short story appear in an anthology Heroika: Dragon Eaters (17 authors chronicle the killing of serpents across as many centuries--Seth covered ancient Egypt); also audio books for Seth's dark fiction were released thanks to voice professionals found via Amazon's ACX service. 2016 promises to be fun, as Team Lindberg tackles crazy artistic endeavors!

Best to all, Seth, Heidi, Erin, and Connor (Shorty & Sweetie too)



Monday, December 8, 2014

Lindberg Holiday Card 2014


HAPPY HOLIDAYS, 2014!

Crafting Holiday cards has been a tradition in our family since ~1998.  Most of the cards are on display on a website, clicking on recent ones (2010 onward) provide links to how they were made. This year, Heidi pushed me away from the art board. To make this beautiful rendition of a Poinsettia plant, she blended her photography, batiking, and design skills. Here is how she did it:

Summary: Photography > Batik > Digital Design


Phase 1: From Picture to Cloth
Photograph Poinsettia > Print Copy Onto Paper
Expand in Copy Machine > Outline Edges on White Cloth

Heidi took the Poinsettia picture Dec. 2013 and has been eyeing it ever since. It was destined to be a template for some other craft.  Printing it Summer 2014, she used an enlarged copy to trace the outlines onto a cloth.  This enabled subsequent dying.
Phase 2: Selectively Color Cloth 
Trace Edges to Cloth - Mask Areas With Removable Wax
The art of batiking involves masking sections of the cloth with removable wax.  Using the photograph to guide which areas should be kept light (i.e. the white background), the artist protects the cloth with wax.  Then the artist dyes the entire cloth, setting the darkest areas first. The original wax is kept on, and more wax is applied on the next gradation of color. Then the cloth is dyes again.

Adding Color
  1. Masking & Dying & Drying (mask lightest areas first..i.e. white, pink, etc.)
  2. Applying new masks... Mask On Areas Desired To Be Lighter/Pinker…
  3. Repeat...darkening the exposed areas


Phase 3: Iterative Masking – Dying - Drying
Beware, annoying husband's hell-bent on documenting the process may photograph you with your hair "up." Crackled wax provides a cool, vein-like pattern. The wax can be removed by bathing the cloth in hot water...the wax melts and floats to the top.

Phase 4: Photoshop
Finally, the cloth is photographed and Adobe Photoshop is used to experiment with some lettering.

In this case, "Noel" in landscape mode wins! Then an inside needs to be made to match the front:

Print copies are sent to an online print company.  First proof arrived Nov 13th.  It looked fine, so it was approved.  A stack was ordered to arrive ~Nov-20th.  This allows a few weeks (over Thanksgiving) to prepare the cards and issue them prior mid-Dec.

This marks the 17th year of hand-crafted Holiday Cards!  Check out the others at:Team Lindberg Cards.  So that's it.  From our family to yours, have a great 2015!  Sincerely, Team Lindberg (Seth, Heidi, Erin, and Connor).

The Kids!

Cool Update: The McCrone Research group's card also features a poinsettia!




Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Card 2013

Season Greetings & Happy New Years! 

The Lindberg Family wishes everyone a smooth transition into 2014.

 2103 card

Mythic Santa Concept

The Lindberg Card tradition has been escalating since 1998 (see Teamlindberg crafts gallery).  Each year I arbitrarily blend two themes.  This year was "Myths" and "Santa," borrowing design elements from the 2010 and 2011 cards, while portraying Santa as are more heroic. Below I list some of my initial concepts to explore:
 2010 Holiday Card 2011 Holiday Card
Santa + Centaur = "Santaur." Okay, I made that word up.  I liked the idea, but centaurs do not fly. I went out looking for horse creatures that could (i.e. Pegasus).      
Santa + Sleipnir = creepy weirdness.  The centaur alternative would be "Sleipnir", the 8-legged Viking horse who could ride the sky.  This concept just produced creepy sketches (not shown here :) ).   Winged horses might work, but didn't Santa have reindeer?
Deer + wings = "Peryton." Okay, Santa doesn't need wings if his reindeer have them.  Thanks go out to Seabury Court Resident Mythologist Erin (a.k.a. daughter) for educating me that winged-deer actually have been classified already.
Sleigh or Chariot?  Suitable vehicles for sky riding include chariots, as per Helios, Sun-driver.  For starters I tried working with the chariot.

Sketches Start the Process

Setting the Landscape with Photography & Virtual Globe

Envisioning an epic, celestial landscape, I went to my neighborhood street (Seabury Court) to capture the sunset's awesome clouds.  Thanks to neighbor Frank for letting me trespass on his driveway and grab the below snapshot (in July no less, I had to plan early this year!).   For the earth, I decided to take advantage of Photoshop's 3D object capability (I had to learn how to use it sooner than later). Online tutorials (video demo and step-by-step tutorial links) guided me through wrapping the 2D earth-map over a sphere.


Composition: Rotating Earth & Adding Sketches

The sunset image and globe were combined to get the composition started.  Adding the sketches came next. The earth had to be turned such that the sun came from the east, chasing Santa as he rides into the night.

Blocking-in Sketches

Next came painting the characters, so I “blocked in” their bodies by tracing over the previous sketches with the digital paintbrush.  

Readjusting & Detailing Perytons ... Chariot morphed into a Troika Sleigh

The chariot idea wasn't working for the image, so it morphed into a sleigh. Notice that Santa is more like a beefy-god rather than beer-belly fatso.  Custom brushes were used for the fur, cloud, and feather textures. The Swatch and Brush panels serve as paint palettes.  A Wacom Bamboo tablet enabled pressure-sensitive brushing.


Photoshop Workspace

A screenshot captures the complex document.  It is >250MB, full of layers (most with masks) and Smart Objects.  Had to colorize the 50+ layers to maintain sense of them.  Adjustment layers (also masked) help tune lighting, saturation, color-temperature.  To wrap things up, the year was added in Roman Numeral style (as done in 2007, 2012).  Then it was submitted to psprint.com for hardcopy printing ~Nov 5th.  This provides a few weeks to approve the proof and get copies in before the hectic Thanksgiving Day week.