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  • Pattern Design

    Since there are so many different types of scrolled patterns (intarsia, portrait, compound... the list goes on), it would be interesting to hear what people regard as the most crucial aspects that a non-woodworking designer needs to consider when producing a pattern for a scroller.

    I like segmentation and for me it's critical that the designer should separate areas of contrasting color. I also hate it when I have to fit one piece into the middle of another, as with fitting pupils into eye balls, so I like patterns that don't have such features.

    If you were commisioning an artist to design a pattern for you, how would you instruct that artist?

    Gill
    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

  • #2
    Great Topic Gill!


    For fretwork patterns, I like a shaded fill on the piece you keep and nothing on the cut out piece.

    I have done patterns the other way where the cutout is shaded and I found it easier to cut. I don't think the rest of the world will catch on though

    It would also be nice to see which way the grain should go, inexperienced sawyers often cut patterns with weak bridges because of the grain.
    Marks for the starter holse can also be an advantage to the novice.

    I would like to see more patterns for pinned blades. I know most of us use pinless but there is no reason why good patterns couldnt be made for pinned blades.
    Scroller LTD made quite a few patterns that only had outside cuts, while some of them were too fine for coarser blades the idea is there.

    I would also like to see the line width at a reasonable thickness. Sometimes they are too fine to follow, other times they are so thick you couldn't wander off the line blindfolded.

    I would also like to see patterns that can be used for many styles of cutting.
    Toni and Sue are doing that already, but I would like to see others follow suite.
    CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

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    • #3
      Hm-mm,

      My problem has to with style of the creation.

      I am mostly a fretwork person, lots of piercing cuts. From my perspective the patterns tend to fall into three kinds of fretwork: Victorian; German/Swiss; hanging (Xmas for example) ornaments. Only a few fretwork patterns fall outside one of these three.

      But, since it is a judgment call, just how do I ask for a Shelf Clock with a 6 inch face plate, done in Corian, or other man-made material, in the style of Art Deco "Streamlined", complex fretwork, and result is heavy enough to be a challenge for a full grown cat to knock off the shelf. Well, at least so the cat won't just sneer at me with a "No Challenge" stare before the project hits the floor.

      Phil

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      • #4
        I know they have to save paper, but I just hate it when piece 1 is on page 1, piece 2 is on page 4, and piece 3 is on the back of page 15 right in the crease where I can't see it ;p

        Also, if the pieces are on different scales, I wish they would write in *REALLY BIG LETTERS* that piece 1 is 100%, piece 2 needs to be blown up to 200%, and so forth. I recently cut a piece where that information was not printed in the instructions or by the piece but at the bottom of the last page of the patterns in with the rest of the gobbledygook. Better yet, keep them all the same scale! I need Patterns for Dummies!

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        • #5
          I want a pattern that cuts itself out, finishes and miraculously appears as one of those beautiful clocks on my mantle or An incredible butterfly intarsia that suddenly appears on the wall over my TV.
          I quess that won't happen for awhile
          Marsha:
          LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Marsha
            I want a pattern that cuts itself out, finishes and miraculously appears as one of those beautiful clocks on my mantle or An incredible butterfly intarsia that suddenly appears on the wall over my TV.
            I quess that won't happen for awhile
            Marsha:
            Those do exist!!!! The problem with that kind is that the price's vary from $65 to $500.

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            • #7
              Magpies post made me think of one of my biggest pet peeves with patterns. For example on one sheet will be part 1 (1 req'd) part 2 (1 req'd ) part 3 (4 req'd . The next sheet of that pattern might have part 4 (2 req'd) part 5 (4 req'd) part 6 (2 req'd) part 7 (6 req'd) Now, that would mean I need multiple copies of page 1 just for the part 3 qty.Why not just put an extra drawing of that part on there, to make less copying needed . Same with my example of page 2. if there were three drawings of part 7, it could be one copy, and sawn stacked two layers thick, instead of needing to run off the extra copies . Its not a big deal, but it can be on a clock such as the Sheherezade Clock, designed by Dirk Boelman, where certain parts require 18 . Dale
              Dale w/ yella saws

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              • #8
                Pattern design

                I have found that one of my biggest problems in pattern design is not so much the actual cutting of the pattern as it is trying to explain coloring, shading and relief in a segmentation project. Some projects involve hundreds of segments and it's near impossible to address each individual segment in the text for some of the more complex projects. The folks at Fox Chapel came up with a great solution by including two additional color coded images for each of the patterns in my book. One addresses the color and shading of each segment while the other addresses assembling the project in relief. This, combined with a full color photo of the completed project provides enough visual information to take a lot of the guesswork out of, "what's he trying to tell me in this step"?? As a side note, I received the final draft of the book last week and it's a beauty!!! The layout, in and of itself, is a work of art. I think scrollers who are doing, or thinking of doing, segmentation will really like it. Some of the patterns are however printed on two pages. It had to be that way to get them large enough so that when they are enlarged to project size the lines won't be too thick. The pages face each other and the patterns are the same scale on both pages so it's really not a problem to copy them.
                If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

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                • #9
                  Neal, any exclusive secret insight as to a few of the projects in it???????????????????????????????????? Dale
                  Dale w/ yella saws

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                  • #10
                    I suppose the implicit question in this thread is, "do you have to be a scroller to design scrollsaw patterns"?

                    If so, there's no way we could ever commission a non-woodworking artist to design a pattern or adapt a picture for us to use. If not, how should the artist be instructed to produce the pattern?

                    Gill
                    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Gill:

                      This is in response to your posting on artist and woodworking.

                      My response is a paraphrase of something from a College class from back in the '60s:

                      The Artist needs to know about getting artistic supplies, not how to run a store.
                      The Artist needs to know about paint, not how to make paint.
                      The Artist needs to know about canvas, not how to weave the fabric.
                      The Artist needs to know about the frame, not how to harvest trees.
                      The Artist needs to know about brushes and brush strokes, not how to run a factory that makes artist brushes.
                      The Artist needs to know about color and light, not physics.
                      But most important off all:
                      The artist needs to know about composing, arranging, portraying objects within the frame of the medium chosen to display their artistic creativity.

                      {the class was about History of Film, and the point of the above was there are many artist who work on a Film, however, the cameraman, sound-man, electrician and so forth, are the tools and brushes of the artists. These people are only to capture the creative work of the many artists.}

                      So, Yes the artist can create without being a woodworker, but the artist must be aware of just what the medium can and cannot do.

                      Hmm-mm, I don't think I actually answered your specific questions.

                      Phil

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                      • #12
                        what a wonderful thread ....thanks for starting it Gill!!
                        I don't always cut the projects I design but it is definitely helpful that I am at least somewhat familiar with how projects are put together and what goes into making an intarsia/segmentation piece... fretwork designs continue to be beyond me lol..both to design and especially to cut..

                        one of the things that I have recently learned is that just because it is difficult for me to, say, make really sharp inside corner cuts doesn't mean that they should not be included in my designs..the skill levels of others are beyond where I am currently at and they can make those cuts like the pros that they are..(I will be there someday hopefully)...sooo, as a designer I try to come up with projects for all skill levels..

                        if I was asking a pattern designer to design something for me I would probably ask that it be a 'tweener'..not really simple, but not way way beyond what I can do now..nudge me to improve, don't necessarily show me how far I have to go to complete a project I have asked for

                        Sue Chrestensen

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                        • #13
                          Hi Phil

                          I think I see what you're driving at, and it is relevant to the discussion in so many ways. You've helped focus our minds on what an artist can and cannot do, plus what an artist should and should not be asked to do. What I'm hoping we can do in this thread is identify the components of useable patterns so that any of us can go to an artist and say something like, "I want you to design me a pattern of this subject that I can cut on a scrollsaw. In order to be cuttable, it needs to meet the following criteria: ..... "

                          In my original post I mentioned that for a segmented pattern the colors must be blocked, and that it's desirable not to have islands of color. I could also add that the pieces need to be reasonably large, especially if the edges are to be rounded over.

                          For a portrait, I'd want the picture to be limited to two colors, have no islands, and bridges that were substantial enough to support the main structure of the picture.

                          I think we also need to consider picture resolution and size, plus the width of pattern line in relation to the size of blade being used.

                          The reason I'm pondering this subject is that I visit a number of scrollsaw pattern forums, especially the free ones, and I'm struck by how many patterns there are which would be impractical to cut. I sometimes wonder if these pattern designers, generous as they are, actually test out the patterns before they post them. It's a problem I'm unfortunately well aware of myself, having designed patterns which looked great on the computer screen, but when they were printed off it became obvious that they needed heavy amendment.

                          Many of us here like to design our own patterns and the recent introduction of the Coyote software means it is an option open to even more people than previously. I'm just trying to identify what we need to expect of ourselves when we set out to design patterns. Although I'm not intending to consult an artist, I thought I'd pose the question as if I was doing so because articulating the process can be very useful in identifying the criteria by which we need to abide.

                          Gill
                          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Sue

                            It's always nice to hear the thoughts of such an accomplished pattern designer as yourself . You posted whilst I was drafting my post to Phil.

                            The point about the skill of the scroller is well made. I think we need to consider who the pattern is actually for; if it's being designed for a newbie, then we need to make sure that there are no particularly sharp turns and that it won't matter too much if the blade strays from the line.

                            As an artist yourself (and no, this isn't just flattery) how do you distinguish in your own head between the pattern and the picture? Do you decide upon the picture first and then adapt it, or is the picture development constrained by practical considerations that you know will be required if it is to be workable?

                            Gill
                            There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                            (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I haven't done much fretwork design yet, but I've done tons of fabric design, and may I say quilt tops are amazingly similar to some of the scrolling I've done--you wouldn't think so, the mediums are so different.

                              Anyway, I start with a picture in my head, and then when it doesn't work, I adapt it, and then adapt some more, and pretty soon the thing looks nothing like the original picture I started with ;p I find designs have a life of their own. Also quite often the materials that are available to me are nothing like what I designed for. I find quite often designers do not make much allowance for required materials substitutions. Hope that makes sense, I just worked 16 hours and I'm fried.

                              I noticed that about the patterns too, that they often don't seem to be actually workable. Sometimes I can figure out how to change them but sometimes not.

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