- ['Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Powerpoint', 'Scanner or camera card reader', 'Digital camera']
Making your own digital-art portfolio is a matter of following a few basic steps. First, you'll need to produce photographic images of your art. Consider presentation and lighting and compose photographs with an attention to detail, paying attention to such elements as background, perspective and place in a series.
When collecting the art pieces you want to include in your portfolio, group them according to categories that are easy to sort, such as landscapes, portraiture, and three-dimensional versus two-dimensional. Consider how you wish the viewer to progress through the portfolio. It may be helpful to include a narrative for each piece, as well as specific information such as size, medium and asking price (if artwork is for sale).
With your outline for the overall presentation developed, you can then begin to produce images of the artwork. For most Windows computers you can choose to show thumbnails, instead of lists or icons, of the photographs by specifying so in the toolbar, next to the search icon. These images can be manipulated in Photoshop (or any photo editor) to produce Web-ready photography. If you are using a scanner, the scanned image can be saved to your desktop so you can quickly access it. If you have a card reader that will download camera images to the desktop, give each image a unique name for easy identification. Once you've loaded the images you wish to include open the files in your photo-editing program.
Editing the photos is simple. In Adobe Photoshop, open the "Image" tab, scroll to "Image Size" and adjust the pixels. The image size determines how quickly the image can load through the Internet when you open the portfolio for presentation and allows you to change its quality if it is destined for print media. As a general rule, any image can be adjusted to 600 pixels per square inch without compromising its quality, in terms of the way it is seen by the human eye. Reducing the size of each photograph allows you to standardize and format the portfolio contents.
As you work through the images in Photoshop, be aware of any variations in light and color that may distract from the artwork. These can be adjusted using the "Image Adjustments" tab. Also look to fine-tune brightness, contrast and color balance. Save the original and edited version of each image, giving them unique names, so you will always be able to return to either one.
Adobe Acrobat, which is compatible with Macintosh and Windows operating systems, will place your images in separate files. In Adobe Acrobat Professional there is a button in the toolbar with a plus sign that says "Combine Files." This is an easy system for packaging all those images you've created into a single document that you can then attach to any email or link to any Web site. From "Combine Files" click "Add Files," and if you've saved everything to the desktop, then this is where you will go to add them into your Adobe Acrobat PDF.
No portfolio is ever perfect. Seek a critique from someone who has an interest in your artwork, as getting advice from others will greatly improve the quality of your presentation.
The larger the size of your final document, the longer it will take to load and the more space it will occupy in an email inbox. Get creative and selective with what pieces you present and use criticism to make your portfolio concise and representative of your talents.
- Comeau, 2005