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Guidelines For Article Submissions


This document is out of date and will be rewritten shortly. - Andy

It is the modellers that make TerraGenesis what it is - without their many contributions this would be a much smaller and less varied site.

We used to ask people to send material for publication by email however this has changed and we now ask people to simply post the material on our forum.

Note that posting material to the forum is no guarantee that it will be transferred to the main site as the amount of time available to the administrator/editor is limited. Interesting models, ideas and techniques that are written up in a clear and concise manner, and accompanied by relevant images that are well cropped and uncluttered will almost certainly get transferred. Cluttered and badly cropped images that are accompanied by little or no text or pages of superfluous text that needs a lot of editing will not.

About Copyright & Credit

Let's deal with this first because it's boring, but essential.

It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway, that you should not post any material unless you own it and are free to publish it on TerraGenesis.

When you post material on our forum you make it available to our readership for all time. We do not anticipate therefore that you will have any issue with us moving it to the main site archive. In fact posting it on our forum grants us permission to do just that.

Please note that:

  1. We always give credit for the material that we use on the main site so if we include one of your photos, ideas, techniques etc. in an article, the article will credit you with it.

  2. While we may edit your material for use on the main site we will never change the context of what had been said. Neither would we use material in a negative context i.e. while we might say "here's a good example by X" we would never say something like "here's a bad example".

  3. You still own the material and are free to publish it elsewhere however once you have posted it on TerraGeneis you may not revoke our right to use it. Note that this means that you will not be able to grant somebody else exclusive use of it after you have posted it on TerraGenesis.

  4. We will protect the material that is published on TerraGeneis and we will not give anybody else permission to reproduce it elsewhere.

  5. TerraGenesis provides free access to its content via the web. We use advertising and sponsorship to cover our expenses. We will not reproduce the material as a book, DVD, or in any other format that would cause people to have to pay to see it.

Subject Matter

TerraGenesis is about model terrain of all types. Any bias in the current content merely reflects the interests of the contributors thus far. We are not however interested in featuring other types of models or miniature conversions. There are lots of other sites where you can showcase those.

Competence

You don't need fantastic model making skills for us to be able to use your material. TerraGenesis is a resource for model makers of all ages and skill levels and it is encouraging for new modellers to see things that they stand a chance of being able to do themselves as well as things to be amazed by and aspire to.

You don't need fantastic journalistic skills either. This document gives some guidance and you can read existing articles to get a feel for what works. When you do post your material to the forum there are a whole bunch of people there who will be willing to assist. Just ask.

Format

There is no fixed 'format' that needs to be adhered to. Some articles may only need one or two pictures while another might need a whole series of step by step shots. Some might need a lot of explanatory text while in other cases it might be so obvious from the pictures that little explanation is needed. Avoid 'padding'. Pictures and text should be relevant.

Level of Detail

The trick here is to inform those who don't know without boring those who do. The recent introduction of our glossary helps with this. For example, if you paint something, drybrush it and then apply flock then you should indicate what colours were used for the benefit of those who don't have enough experience to work it out from the pictures. You do not however need to explain the technique of drybrushing or applying flock unless you have done it in a non-standard way. These things are explained in the glossary and/or reference section and I will link to them from the article when/if I move it to the main site.

Err (slightly) in favour of new modellers. It's better to give a little too much explanation than not enough.

Photographs & Images

TerraGenesis is a site for all terrain makers and we don't want to exclude people because they don�t have a huge screen and a super-fast Internet connection. This has implications regarding the number and size of images that we will include in an article.

[h3]Size[/h3]

Be aware that digital images need to be of a much higher resolution if you want to print them out than they do if you want to display them on a screen. A fairly basic printer will print 300 dots per inch whereas your average screen is about 72 dots per inch. Modern digital cameras work at a resolution that is suitable for printing. We don�t need that much data to show a good picture on a screen and TerraGenesis is intended to be viewed on a screen.

The forum will automatically shrink images that are too big to fit on a viewers screen but the data still has to be downloaded to their browser. We have had occasions where I've had to delete posts because the images were so huge, and the amount of data so large, that they were causing problems.

Things like this do change as technology advances but currently, we do not often use images that are wider than 400 pixels and would certainly not use one wider than 600 pixels. Sometimes we use thumbnail images to link to larger images but if you are sensible about the way you use images then they don't need to be big:

  1. Crop images so that the thing you are photographing fills the image space i.e. use the space efficiently.

  2. Use additional images to show details rather than trying to take a single picture that is so big that it shows everything. For example, don't try to take a photo of a whole gaming table that has enough resolution that you can zoom in to see the details. Instead take a shot of the whole table to use as an 'overview' and then take additional close up shots of details. Similarly if you were photographing a figure, not really appropriate for TG but I'm using it as an example, it would be better to take an shot of the whole figure and then close-ups of the face etc.

[h3]Number of images[/h3]

The number of images required to 'describe' a piece varies according to the piece. Sometimes a couple of photos of the finished piece, and a decent description is all that's needed. On other occasions, a complete set of step by step images may be required.

It's normally good to have at least one photo of the piece prior to painting. I generally recommend however that you photograph a piece at every stage of construction and painting as it is often difficult, until the piece is finished, to anticipate which are the best stages to illustrate. It's better to have too many pictures and be able to choose which ones to use than find yourself wishing you had a photo of something that you didn't think was important at the time.

[h3]Clutter[/h3]

A cluttered background detracts from the actual subject of the image.

The easiest way around this is to avoid having clutter in the first place. That's right: give your mom a shock and go tidy your room! Seriously though, methods that I have used are:

  1. Obtain an A1 sized sheet of paper from an art material shop and stick it to the wall about 14" from the floor such that it hangs down the wall and 'curls' around onto the floor. Stand the model on the paper such that the paper on the wall behind it forms the background. The model is now in a mini studio where the floor, background, everything is all one colour. Note that you can buy different colours or paper and that the best way to store them is rolled up in a cardboard tube. Also note that black or white paper is more difficult to use because of the contrast. You may also find that using coloured paper requires that you switch off your digital cameras auto-correct function (if it has one) for different types of lighting.

  2. Throw a plain bed sheet, curtain, decorators dust sheet or other large piece of cloth over a chair and use it as a mini studio as I suggested above.

  3. Either of the above techniques can be used outside (where the light is generally better) however, my 'back yard' is an area of concrete approximately 10' square and I find that I can stand small items on that and photograph them from an angle of about 30 degrees without getting anything else in the background. We also have a plain green carpet in our living room. Every terrain maker should have one. Wink

If you really can't eliminate the clutter beforehand then you'll need to use something like Paintshop or Photoshop to remove it. There's no magical 'remove clutter' function so you'll have to use your tools of choice to paint it out manually. This can be rather time consuming hence my suggestion that you endeavour to take uncluttered photos in the first place.

[h3]Clutter on Work in Progress Shots[/h3]

While clutter is always bad in photos of completed work you needn�t worry quite so much about work in progress shots. Good cropping will remove most clutter but I think that having items like craft knives, paintbrushes or whatever else is being employed in that particular stage of the construction can give a useful indication of scale. In the case more 'exotic' tools it might also help people to understand exactly which tool was used.

[h3]Indications of Scale[/h3]

Note that it can be useful to include a figure, vehicle, whatever, in final photos to help give an indication of scale.

[h3]Special Effects[/h3]

You can create some amazing effects in Photoshop and the like but these should be avoided. TerraGenesis is about what can be achieved with model making skills, not what you can do with software and special effects.

Reviews

We are very interested to expand our reviews section. There are dozens if not hundreds of products that we 'old hands' have been using for years and we ought to get some of that experience written up for the benefit of 'newbies'.

Note that:

  1. By its nature a review is usually the work of just one person i.e. it's that person's opinion. It could be a collaborative effort but TG will not create them. If you review something we will use it intact. If you collaborate we will use that collaboration intact. We will not merge and edit reviews.

  2. If you would like to write a review of something it might be as well to state you intention on the forum so that you don't finish it and then find that somebody else posted a very similar review only an hour before. You might also like to invite others to help you write a collaborative review.

  3. While a review should point out negative aspects of a product they should concentrate on the positive aspects. For example if you were reviewing a particular brand of scatter adhesive you might want/need to say that it works well for flock but isn't strong enough to hold heavier material like ballast. If your opinion of a particular product is that it is totally useless then simply don't review it. For a product to continue to exist, somebody somewhere must like it and have a use for it. Leave it for that person review it. Our reviews section should be a list of what is good as opposed to being a list of things to avoid.


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