Wikipédia:Atelier graphique/English presentation of the Graphic Lab

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Introduction[modifier le code]

The Graphics Lab are a graphic forum and workshop aiming to improve Wikimedia Commons graphical content used by Wikimedia projects.

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Wikigraphists (wiki-graphic designers) work on requests to improve the quality and clarity of images that the community submits to them. This work most often involves emphasising key elements in pictures, removing distracting elements and improving images' general appearance. Creating drawings, diagrams and maps is also within the scope of this project if requests are clear and the work can be done in a reasonable time frame (up to about one hour).

Short historical presentation[modifier le code]

The Graphics Lab was created in 2005 after a Belgian user did a great job cleaning up some images on the French Wikipedia and realized that a lot of very amateur images were being used in articles. Most of the time, these poor images could be easily improved by a quick clean-up of the lighting and background, or by removing useless objects.

The French language Graphics Lab was set up to bring together participants with graphic design skills, but who didn't know which pictures they should focus their attention on, and other users who could find and submit some easily improvable images.

The Graphics Lab is organized around a forum page. At first, this forum approach was efficient because it allowed quick interaction between users (especially unexperienced ones) and graphic designers as well as mutual assistance between graphic designers.

This is one of the first vectorizations made by the English-language team.

The graphics lab was a clear success in its first year, and some important point became apparent:

  • The presence of "Image Hunters" (users that scour the wiki for images to improve) was vital to the amount of images improved.
  • Requests were often completed within a week and so Wikigraphists were idle most of the time.

We tried to address these limitations by increasing the visibility of the Graphics Lab amongst Wikipedians, so that new Image Hunters and Wikigraphists could be attracted to the project.

After a year, the Graphics Lab was expanded and the project was split in two:

  • An 'Images-to-Improve' Lab
  • A 'Maps-To-Improve' Lab

The split made sense because graphic design skills are distinct for these two categories, and it's still in use today.

On the German side, an active Graphic lab (forum) independently appeared too, and soon split into 3 sections: image clean ups; creation of draws and graphs; and maps. Language differences meant that the French and German Graphic labs had little communication, and accordingly, are still developing themself independantly.

On the other side, the English wikipedia set up a list of graphists, each working by receiving request on his user talk page. This worked, but didn't not eased cross help and cross teaching between graphists. Also, French graphists -conscientious of the potential of the English community- opened an English Graphic Lab as of December 2006 (en:WP:GL), announcing it on several forums across the English Wikipedia. Slowly, the first wikigraphists gathered and involve themselves it the project. In winter 2007-2008, the English graphic lab was submerged by requests, especially the request of some few images hunters, and became more active than the French Lab, with an average activity around 50 requests satisfied by month (so probably 100 to 150 images cleaned up and created monthly!).

How the Graphics Labs work[modifier le code]

Bob is a Wikipedia contributor. He is working on an important article.

To illustrate it, he got a photograph (but this image is kindly ... perfectible), a diagram (at a hand-made state), a small explanatory drawing he made (and unfortunately he is not an artist !), and others. Of course, all images are under a free licence. So Bob come to Images-to-Improve Lab forum and fills out a request:

 == Title ==
'''Requested by:''' -- ~~~~
'''Graphist opinion:''' 
Then, a Wikigraphist checks the request up: Is the license status OK? Is the request technically possible? How much time does it require? Does he have time/motivation? When a Wikigraphist decides to take care of the request, he/she replies and declares that they shall now take control of this request. Now, Bob knows that someone is working on it. And other Wikigraphists know it's too late :)
When the work is completed, the Wikigraphist uploads it to the Wikimedia Commons in order to share it with every Wikimedia project and adds the template {{Atelier graphique}}. Then, Bob can include the modified image in his article and, even better, he can also add it on other projects. For texts on graphics, the vector format allows translations of any text on it.
The Graphics Lab is divided into two parts: the Images-to-Improve Lab and the Map Lab. Each Lab has its own forum, but they work similarly.

After some requests on the Graphic Lab, Bob will learn tips to obtain better results from Wikigraphists, such as clearly explaining his request or taking pictures on a monochromatic background.

Finally, Bob may wish to become a Wikigraphist. Is it difficult? Not at all! Using some very cool software (see below), he will quickly be able to make some great modifications to graphics. Furthermore, he can find some tutorials to help him. Finally, the Graphic Lab is a community and thus an array of people are always ready to help.

Main software and file formats[modifier le code]

This image illustrates the difference between bitmap and vector images. The vector image can be scaled indefinitely without loss of image quality, while the bitmap cannot.

Bob has a dream — He wants to be a Wikigraphist and he needs some software.

If he had some money, he could afford a proprietary software such as Adobe Photoshop as a raster graphics editor, and Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW as a vector graphics editor. Unfortunately, Bob is short of money.

This isn't a problem. Bob can be a Wikigraphist using free applications under GNU GPL licence such as The Gimp (raster graphics editor with some vector abilities) and Inkscape (vector graphics editor). Bob downloads and installs these applications on his computer.

Now, he can do his first job. If he wants to work on a picture (cropping, resizing, cleaning, improving, removing or recreating a background, correcting lights or colours...), he uses a raster graphics editor, such as The Gimp. If he would rather work on a map, graph or a drawing, he uses a vector graphics editor, such as Inkscape.

Bob wonders why he can't use a raster graphic editor on the diagrams, graphs etc. The reason is that a vector image can be scaled indefinitely without loss of image quality, while the bitmap can't as pixelation becomes apparent on the picture. Furthermore, it is very easy to modify a vector image (.SVG), which makes translations, for instance, much easier. What is the problem, Bob? You think these applications are hard to use? No problem: For example, Inkscape is a very easy to use application because one of the priorities of Inkscape's project was the interface's consistency and usability. So in a couple of hours, you will be able to contribute a lot to the Wiki Community, for the benefit of the wide world. Good luck, Bob ;-)

Afterwards, Bob wishes to make a map of his country. No matter, he can use free software too, such as 3Dem or GlobalMapper, and he'll find free sources from NASA FTP sites or NASA WorldWind . He's ready to do a nice topographic or historical map, combined with Gimp and Inkscape for an easily translatable SVG image.

Other trivia (as of August 2007)[modifier le code]

The result is that over 1000 images were improved, cleaned-up, translated or created by the French-speaking Wikigraphist team, while several other Labs already work in the same way. We take note of the German Bilderwerkstatt (since 2005), the English Graphic Lab (since 2006), and the Spanish Taller Gráfico (since 2007). These Graphic Labs add valuable high-quality illustrations to Wikipedia, potentially usable in all languages, and completing the content created by thousands of volunteer Wikipedians around the world.

This work improves articles' accessibility and understandability, especially for young users, such as Taiwan children. All Wikigraphists, as well as all Wikipedians, are driven by the same ideal to improve the worldwide knowledge.

We can finally conclude this presentation of the Graphic Labs projects and work by Jimbo's sentence:

"Imagine a world where all common people are given free access to the finest knowledge in the world: that's what we are doing."
(on the bottom right of the A3 page, in small:)
This presentation was made freely and under free license by Wikigraphists from several countries such as France, Brazil, Taiwan, UK and USA
for Wikimania 2007 held in Taipei, Taiwan (ROC).

Graphic Summaries[modifier le code]

These images are to print to illustratre the previous presentation in conferences, wikimania and other local conferences as well.

Bilan (A3) Détails (3*A4)

Images which can complete this text, and a proposed legend:[modifier le code]

Articles avec illustrations professionnelles