Guidelines For Creating An Effective Worklog

Worklogs Defined
This guide is designed to assist the novice modder in creating a worklog that most effectively displays his or her work while making it easier for others to follow along. First off, letís define a worklog because it can mean different things to different folks. Our worklogs are essentially web-journals which utilize text, photographs, and graphics to display the progress of our computer mod projects. A well planned and neatly constructed worklog can greatly increase the exposure your mod receives and also improves your chances of your project being recognized as exceptional, possibly leading to the coveted placement in the ďfeaturedĒ section.

Worklog Components-Getting Started
While there are no concrete rules to building your worklog, there are some general methods that you can implement which will help your work appear more professional and pleasing to the audience (us). These features can be broken down into two primary components, ďthe storyĒ and the visualizations you use to support your story. Letís start with your story. You are using the worklog to tell the story of what you are creating and how you are doing it. With that in mind, you should begin your worklog with a clear introduction to your project. Start by introducing yourself (unless you are already famous I suppose) and give a brief description of your plan. You should detail what materials you have to begin with, what your theme (or purpose) is, and why you have chosen to undertake this project (e.g. to make your computer look cleaner, to commemorate an event, game or movie, etcÖ). If you have drawn blueprints, sketches, or graphical models to plan out your course, this would be a good time to display them, although it is not necessary. Some people prefer to omit the design so as not to ďgive away the endingĒ, remember that itís your story and you can tell it the way you want.

Worklog Components-Methods
Now that you have set up the stage and are ready to get to work, it may be helpful to jot down an outline of your plans to keep the project moving and to avoid lingering in one phase of the project. When you update your worklog each time, you want to give the viewers a concise summary of what progress has been made. It is preferable to give a short and concise explanation of a key step you have taken versus a drawn out explanation of what you have obviously done. It is also not necessary to explain how you have done everything, there is such thing as creative license and you are free to include or omit whatever you like. This approach can be taken throughout your project. A worklog seems more fluent and enjoyable to read if each update provides noticeable progress and clever ingenuity as opposed to documentation of every single step you took to get something done. Remember, you will be getting feedback and questions all along so you can choose to provide more detail when you feel itís appropriate. You may also get some suggestions that appeal to you and ultimately become implemented into your project, the creative process is dynamic after all.

Worklog Components-Visualizations
Now for the other crucial aspect of showcasing your work, the visualizations. Throughout your progress you should keep the camera handy and take lots of pictures. You can sort out the ones you plan to post later but itís better to have a variety to choose from. Also important is the quality of your shots, and there are a number of aspects to keep in mind when taking your pictures. Good quality photos can make the difference between an exceptional worklog and one that is hard to follow. To begin with, take your pics in high resolution and save them often because you can shrink them much more effectively than blow them up. If your camera doesnít have great optics or you have an unsteady hand then use a tripod and the timer to allow hands-free snapshots for the best clarity. Also be mindful of the setting, although itís not always possible to have a tidy workspace it will always improve the quality of your photo to minimize distractions from the point you are trying to illustrate. Make sure if you are showing a precise detail, your photo is zoomed in enough to clearly see what you are describing. Experiment with lighting conditions to get the best appearance, take your time and get it right, itíll pay off in the end. And just like keeping your verbal descriptions concise, try to limit the number of photos needed to illustrate your progress. You want folks to see clearly what you are showing, but too many photos can make your worklog feel cluttered. Another thing to keep in mind when posting your updates is picture size. There are a variety of free online photo hosting sites and we have a section dedicated to describing how to use them HERE. It is an inconvenience to the reader to have to click on links or thumbnails in order to view each picture, try to avoid this as it will ruin your worklog. The pictures need not fill the entire screen but should be of sufficient size to be seen easily.

Concluding Your Project
Once you have reached the point that you have completed your glorious mod and are ready to unveil the finished product, a short closing statement is a great way to present your work to your audience. You can include a list of materials/components used, how long it took, what you have changed/preserved from the original design, how happy you are with your finished product, even a brief thanks to folks who contributed to your design has been done. And here is where you want to be extremely picky about your pictures. Setting up a clean stage with a good background composition and appropriate lighting can seal your presentation. You should try lots of different settings to find the best presentation you can as this is your glamour shot and could land your project in an exclusive gallery! Good luck with your project and mod on!

This is an early draft that will be expanded on and combined with an in-depth tutorial on photography.