Over the past few days, my camera has gone through much development. I was initially going towards simplistic forms, mainly of the additive and integrative variety. My professor kept encouraging me to move on to more interesting and refined forms.
It is difficult to move past simple, geometric forms when the product you are designing is made primarily from rectangular components, e.g. screens, processors, image sensors. Nevertheless, I came upon this form:
It helped when I moved from a simple point-and-shoot camera to a “prosumer” camera.
By doing so, there was no need to extend the camera past the left edge of the lens. This was due to prosumer and professional level users preferring to hold the camera lens and rest the underside of the body on the heel of their left hand. This is a positive step for my project, as the main objective of my design is to take better product pictures easier. This grip is preferred because it provides stability over sustained use.
This change in grip allowed the form to be more asymmetrical. After that, I added as much curvature I felt I could while still containing the optimal components for a quality camera.
Another notable feature is a hand and screen that articulate around the lens and sensor unit. This assists users in taking pictures while holding the camera below eye level without having to bend over to achieve the same shot. Upon further refinement, this aspect will become more apparent.
I haven’t refined the colors, but I did want to distinguish the grip surface on the front and the removable flash unit.
After I did my initial ideation, I wasn’t sold on a concept. Here is the pile of sketches that most people don’t show. I did these for myself to get from my more refined concepts that I decided wouldn’t work and a new form. It’s difficult to get back into ‘early’ ideation when it is no longer early in the project.
I thought so, but no longer.
Etsy– handmade and vintage… how about a vintage-styled camera. Okay, key features? Wireless flash and wireless syncing. Done.
I wanted to make a camera that was less boxy– this one is pretty boxy. And this one doesn’t have much over many other mid to upper range point-and-shoots.
Back to the drawing board (or the literal sketchbook).
After choosing a few concepts to develop further, I did some sketch models to test out scale and form in the hand. After this stage, I was encouraged to pursue less simplistic forms, and I agreed. It is so difficult to move beyond basic geometric forms– especially with consumer electronics.
I also attempted another form in foam, but, as I discovered shortly after modeling them, they were reminiscent of ovaries (read: I am not going this route).
While developing concepts, storyboards help to give context to an idea. These storyboards. were for some later concepts in addition to the ones I did previously.
Ideas were chosen to put into three use scenarios that showcased the concepts’ key feature.
The first concept was a camera that has wireless flash units that also serve as extra battery packs. They supplement the battery within the camera. Upon later review this idea no longer seemed applicable because this user is typically found in their own home or studio and could easily plug in the camera or battery.
The second concept was showcased the removable flash component introduced in the first storyboard. The user could then relocate the flash off camera for less harsh lighting. With some creativity, this allows users to create drama, use as a fill strobe, develop more flattering shots, or simulate natural lighting in a studio environment. Different flash levels adds to the versatility.
The third concept allows for the user to control the camera wirelessly from their computer or tablet. Using either bluetooth or a shared wireless network, images could be transferred to allow for quicker image review during shooting. Also, this would offer Etsy sellers an alternate workflow. Their shooting backdrop or scene could be on a desk shared by their computer and the camera could be left on a tripod. Items could quickly be repositioned swapped between shots without the need to run back and forth between the camera and the scene.
The sketch pile is growing.
This round, I had the added direction of a specific target user. Some aspects I tried to include involved vintage styling and simple components that emulate professional gear like ring lights and wireless flashes.
Etsy sellers and bloggers unite!
There’s a new camera coming your way, hopefully with some features to streamline your work.
There’s more to come later this weekend.