For the last six months I’ve been using a really amazing piece of Macintosh productivity software and wanted to give it a shout here. Curio, by Zengobi Inc., is program that lets you rough-out and brainstorm project ideas while letting you collect and organize needed supporting information during the process. Ideas can be presented in the form of outline lists, mind-maps, and diagrams using a variety of tools. What’s great is that you can attach various media types to help develop your project idea. Images, weblinks, sound recordings, videos, text files, and pdf documents are some of the types of media that can be attached as your idea and project formulates over time.
Curio’s depth is far greater than any sort of proper review I can give in limited space available here, so I thought I’d talk about how it’s helping me in a current photo project, and that’s putting together the October edition of Blow-Up! Magazine. Blow-Up! is a very social group of San Francisco-based urban photographers numbering close to 70 with about half being very active in get-togethers, shooting, group events, etc. The group has recently started publishing a monthly journal of photographs, where different members sign up for being editor of the month – and it’s my turn for October’s edition.
Photo magazine and book design is challenging enough even when it’s limited to just your own photographs. I try and select images that reflect a theme and sequence well with a rhythm and energy all the while keeping an eye out for image pairs that compliment for adjacent pages. That process becomes much more challenging when there are two or three dozen potential contributors. I wanted to create an editing environment where I could put the magazine together in the background without having to pester members in the process – at least until the end when I need hi-rez files for the final ready-for-publication layout which I do in Adobe InDesign. But there is so much more that needs to be done in terms of organization and managing image selection before that happens. And that’s where using Curio really shines.
I started by creating a new project in Curio called “Blow-Up! Mag October.” From within that top level container, I created spaces to hold the magazine design, as well as spaces for each members’ images that I select for potential use.
The image you see above shows the rough layout of the magazine in its early stages. That’s where I try try out different image-pairs and sequencing ideas – it’s far from finished.
Images used in the layout come from the named image spaces I created in the left pane. Filling those spaces with images is easy. I go to the Blow-Up! flickr pool and individual photostreams and just drag images to a member’s cork-board space; in the above case they’re John’s, aka Alapan. What’s really outstanding, is that if I double-click any of those images, the underlying flickr page where that image resides opens in my web browser.
What’s great is that I can approach the magazine development from both the top and bottom. That is, the magazine design, trying out different ideas, sequencing, etc. While simultaneously collecting images from all of the contributors up until the deadline when I need hi-rez versions. I can attach notes to a space, setup a system to track if hi-rez versions have been submitted, etc. It’s a very visual system of keeping track of a lot of information – hopefully culminating in a good looking magazine in the end.
My project above just scratches the surface of Curio’s utility. But I think it has great value for organizing any sort of photography-related project. One can story-board ideas, collect sounds from shoots, write stories, add photos, and on and on. Curio is definitely worth checking out if you’re into photography and project-minded…