Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Diagrams or Photographs?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I want to know what your preference is... diagrams or photographs?

Photograph from my Perfect Binding Tutorial

Photograph with added text detail from my Essence Table Topper Tutorial

Photograph/Diagram combination from my Dolly Dresses Tutorial

Diagram from my Binding Curves Tutorial


So do you have a preference?
Does your preference change if we are talking about printed patterns vs. tutorials?

I want to know!
:-)

--

oh and since i get a bunch of e-mails asking me...
I do all of my graphics and diagrams with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  

Photos
I take a ton of process photos when I know I'm going to do a tutorial. {Since my photos are digital and not film taking excess photos just requires additional hard drive space and not money to develop film.}  The last thing I want is to have the project 99% done and realize I forgot a key photo that I can't "fake" now.  Sometimes this requires taking a photo of another project or making an additional sample.  When I have a photo that needs more clarity in explaining what is going on I add text overlays in photoshop to help explain.

Diagrams
In general I sketch on graph paper what I want, scan it into the computer and then make the diagram.  I went to college for graphic design and my AI skills are slowly coming back to me.  If you want to learn the basics of AI my best suggestion is to go visit Cyndi at Stitch Studios.  She has some great beginner AI tutorials.



© Blog post written by Julie Herman
For more information visit http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/

59 comments:

Sarah Craig said...

Photos are nice, but sometimes diagrams are clearer - we're less distracted by the beautiful fabric!!

harleywife57 said...

I am with Sarah Craig ! Your diagrams and pics are usually very easy to follow ! Use boring or solid fabrics in pictures ????

Auntie Pami said...

I agree with Sarah. I love Lazy Girl patterns with photos. But, overall, the best patterns are those that are well written. I wish more designers would put measuring at each major step. Example, if you make a block or part of a block (esp. with lots of pieces) that the 'should be' size is listed as it should be (8.5 inches vs. 8 inches finished).

Cathy said...

Personally I like both! And I like lots of labels too! :)

Kwilt Noob said...

I much prefer a clear diagram over a photograph. Often with photos, the fabric design can make it difficult to tell exactly where you are meant to pin/cut/sew etc.
Is Photoshop something that can be learned without taking a class? I would love to learn how to use the program, but I don't want to commit to a long class.

DianeY said...

Both are good especially together, but if I had to choose only one I think diagrams are a lot clearer. Sometimes things are hard to see in a photo

kelly said...

i'll be the voice of dissention and say i prefer photographs.

angela said...

For tutorials I like photographs with text added in - especially for something that's new to me.

Patterns - I am LOVING your Taffy pattern with the clear diagrams at each block step. I don't have to read all the text to quickly find what I need. Like a visual index. And all your size and cutting info in one place with the block construction is fabulous. Makes it easy for me to change up specific parts if I want.

Denise :) said...

I like a combination of both. Diagrams by themselves tend to be dry and (in my opinion) lack dimension, if that makes sense. To be honest, I love video tutorials -- I like to see a process in action. Pictures come closest to that!

I've always found your picture tutorials very well laid out and comprehensive! :)

Elena said...

It's easier to see what you mean in photos. That way I can more easily compare/relate to what you're saying as I work on my own project.

Thanks Julie!

Sandy said...

For tutorials i love the photos best. They just pop and I feel I am working along with you. For patterns I think a combination of both is cool, but all graphics aren't bad either....it is just the feel of it for me.
I agree that having the "should be" size is very helpful too.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Your diagrams are so clear and excellent so that is what I prefer.

Willa said...

As I usually try to invent my own, I may not be one you want to hear from. I do from time to time read tutorials and find yours easy to look at and understand.

There are some out there that are too cluttered to see......multiple prints. Changing fabrics with steps (forgotten shot?)

I like both but think the diagrams are the best if push comes to shove.

I am Just One Mom said...

= combination approach for me. pics with diagrams/notations overlayed are very helpful.
= diagrams help me see how I might personalize your idea.
= pics help inspire me to do it.
= thank you for sharing your fine ideas.

Katy (France) said...

I like the 'photo and diagram together' from your list of examples. I think the importance is to clearly explain, and in some cases, photographs don't do this as well as diagrams. I do however like photos when I need to see what a finished item or block should look like.

Regina said...

I prefer photos. To me, they are easier to follow because they should look like whatever is in my hand.

Monica said...

As a newbie quilter, I prefer photos with text overlay.

mascanlon said...

Well I'm not sure if we are any help Julie...it depends seems like the universal answer! For me too... its a case by case (or pattern by pattern) basis. I love your patterns, clear with lots of good diagrams. And the photographs help see what it should look like and sometimes I need that visual. So in the end I'm in the diagram/photo camp.

Rachel said...

OK, seriously "going with the flow" here. As a simple preference I don't have one.LOL.I am very (very!) visual, so something I can see it super important. Clearly written directions are also super important. I think the photo/diagram debate is HIGHLY dependent on who is producing it.If it is clear, it will work.In your case I think either way works great. If I had to choose it would be Photo for tutorials, because I like colors.LOL. But seriously I think it depends on how well each method is presented.

SkippityDoDahQuilts said...

It's hard to say. Photographs are good for most things, but sometimes the photos have weird shadows that you can't get rid of. Diagrams, on the other hand, are great for eliminating the shadows, but I much prefer them for cutting instructions, and less for assembly instructions.

Hannah said...

In most instances, I think diagrams are clearer, although sometimes a photo with labels does just as well.

Marieke said...

I think there's a place for each method really. Overall I think diagrams are probably clearer, but sometimes, especially if you're new to things (as I am), it can help to see a more real world interpretation of a diagram through a photo.

Thumbing through your Taffy pattern, I would say that the diagrams for everything are perfectly clear and I wouldn't require any photos. I think on a blog/web tutorial the photos might add a more personal touch, some additional visual interest, if you will.

Cori Lewis said...

Photos. It's nice to see what the fabrics do and how the fold and such

diana said...

another vote for diagrams. clear, simple, easy to understand. the angle of the photo, the camera lens, the pattern of the fabric... a little to much for me.

bethanndodd said...

No preference for me. I am just thankful that you share your wonderful tips, ideas and talent with us! Smiles~Beth

tracy_a said...

diagrams - or diagrams with photos. With photos - there is too much to look at, and I can't always tell what is going on. If photos - solids with high contrast. Especially with PDF pattens - I print in b&w and so many photos are just too low contrast.

Sallie said...

Photos with added text.

Judith said...

Photos with added text.

Quilting Yai Yai said...

It really doesn't matter to me as long as the directions are clear and easy to understand. Don't assume I know something, because I probably don't. Newbies never do.
Thanks for asking!
Deborah

Angela said...

In general I find diagrams more clear. But sometimes you just need to see the fabric and the way it actually bunches up when you are doing things. Two dimension instructions are not the best for every type.

Helpful?

Paul said...

This is why my daddy always said, "Son, Whatever you do, never take a poll. You will only confirm what you already know... That you can not make everybody happy."

I have used a few of your tutorials and have found them very easy to follow and understand. BUT I would NOT attribute my finding to the graphics. I would attribute it to how well they are written. The most important thing is that you communicate clearly.

I did a quilt recently from a pattern that was not written clearly at all and I found myself basically ignoring the directions and making it up based on the photos that were there. (And there weren't many, which made it a very difficult pattern to follow.) I have done others with VERY few graphics, but they were written extremely well, and I found them easy to follow.

Paul
www.OutnumberedQuilter.com

iluvmybugs said...

I prefer photos with added text detail. As others have already stated, clearly written directions are most important.

Sarah Marie said...

Photo tutorials. I am VERY visual

NorthernStar said...

I prefer a good, clear, diagrams for most things but some things can be really hard to draw. The top picture with the binding is a good example. When it comes to 3d things a photo is often the only way to show what is supposed to happen.

Mommarock said...

If it is a how to, I would prefer to see a diagram, it is more clear than a photograph. I love to see photographs of the finished products. It is always nice to see the fabrics and the details. I think though taking all of the distraction away in a how to or tutorial makes it easier to see what you need to see in order to learn something new.

Terri said...

Hi Julie, I like to see pictures, lots and lots of pictures with detailed instructions, like yours!
It is so frustrating to read something that can be interpreted in many ways but if there is a picture.....the way is clear! Diagrams can be helpful but I prefer the pictures, step by step.
Thanks for your blog, I love it!

ritainalaska said...

either, preferably both ..... never a problem with your tutes; they're very good.

Amanda said...

Diagrams are good, but photos for me bring it to life and make it make sense - sometimes written instructions can confuse me because they are so over explained they make simple tasks seem complicated. I always appreciate a good visual tutorial - I am also admire the forward thinking involved. Step by step is great, even if we can skip some steps - I know the tricky bits are going to be easier for me with a photo!

kpitmv said...

I prefer photographs

VickiT said...

GOOD diagrams can be good but they lack the 3D vision that comes with seeing a picture. What helps even more is a picture that has arrows pointing to the exact spot being discussed in the tutorial if it's complicated. Diagrams seem to be too 'flat' for me if it's a complicated part of a tutorial. I guess for the most part pictures help me much more because I am such a visual learner.

a.niza said...

your tutorials have always been so precise and clear. I've never had any problem understanding them. I prefer photos to diagram.

Sooz said...

Definitely photos. Sometimes diagrams can be useful, but the 3-d of the photos makes it really clear. Diagrams are better at "illustrating", presenting what might be a more abstract concept, like string piecing, or figuring measurements from patterns/designs. Actual techniques, for me, like to be seen in the flesh-and-blood, so to say. Tho, hopefully not much blood :-)
Thanks, Julie!

MimiQuilts said...

I like a combination of both, diagrams are clear, but the pictures add something more.

Donna said...

Photos for me. I get the concept quicker with pictures.

WoolenSails said...

A diagram that looks like a photograph, lol.
I need visual when I make things, so I like the steps in pictures that I can follow. I tend to get lost in photographs of a technique, but I do like photographs of how it looks. So, I need it all;)

Debbie

corina said...

I love a good photograph, but sometimes a diagram is needed to illustrate exactly what has to be done. So I guess I want it all, I want both!

Jessica Levitt said...

I mostly prefer diagrams, especially if they're done well. Sometimes a photo can tell the story a little better, but usually they don't look very pretty. And diagrams are easier to use to point out something you want to draw attention to.

Vida said...

I love it when good photos are used. Although I agree that sometimes a diagram is easier to read. I would go with a mix of both.

Summer Killebrew said...

As long as it's clear, either is okay; however, my favorite is a clear photo that has writing and/or arrows pointing to exactly what I need to know.

Carol Jordan said...

If everyone did their instructions as clearly as you, I would vote for both illustrations. I think diagrams take away the distraction of the fabric.
But you are great at both.

Jo said...

I like the photos better sometimes with the drawings I get confused as to what is what.

Mrs. Monkeyboy said...

I like both!

If I can only have one, then it would be pictures.

:o)

teresamnj said...

Photos are the way to go, for me!

Lisa S. said...

I like both diagrams and photos - I think that there are situations where one or the other is better. I really like the example you showed of text over a photo. That makes things clear as a bell!
BTW, I used your binding tutorial recently and did my best binding work ever!!! Perfect corners!!! Thanks a bunch!

Pinky said...

I like both actually. For me it depends on what the purpose is. Sometimes a photo is enough, but sometimes you need the diagram and/or overlays on the photo to really understand what is happening. I thought I was being really picky, but I see some others have made similar comments! :)

Jan said...

I like the photos with diagrams as well. Your patterns seem to be clear though.

bruinbr said...

I like anything visual, but generally I prefer photos. If there is something tricky/not clear in the picture, then diagrams work great too. Have a great 4th!

Alisa said...

I prefer diagrams over photos. For a tutorial photos are great but when I buy a pattern I prefer diagrams, especially when it is printed in B/W.

Vesuviusmama said...

Am I being a pain by saying I like photos with text overlay?