Aug 17 2008

for photographers (and photoshop students)

Radiant Vista logoThis will probably appeal more to photographers than graphic designers, but I have been subscribing to The Radiant Vista feeds for over a year and find this site to be among the best for instruction on general digital photographic technique and digital darkroom (Photoshop).

With a worldwide audience, people submit their photos to The Daily Critique and Craig Tanner (I think he’s from Georgia) gamely critiques them and suggests several “perfect world” improvements. He’s a pro photographer and has a decent résumé. Even so, his critiques make sense and the quality of this information does not usually come free. He covers the photographic technique, camera settings (based on the EXIF data from the image, if available) and basic editing (or not). As a daily feed it’s a little hard to keep up with each one but if I miss several I pick my way through their catalogue of past feeds for the images that are of interest. You might not agree with his improvements, but the point is that he is as good as he is audacious. Take it or leave it, but I recommend at least sampling a few.

Not content to just critique the work of others, Craig also posts (somewhat infrequently) a video blog based on his own work. The Light Diary is a platform to demonstrate his own technique and critique the result.

Mark Johnson (another pro from Colorado) runs one of the best (advanced) Photoshop video tutorials that I’ve found (though I really miss the [more artistic Photoshopping] tutorials from John Reuter come back John!) Each week in The Photoshop Workbench Mark takes things a step farther and choses among the worldwide submissions for one to demonstrate Photoshop editing techniques. Less frequently he posts more general Photoshop Video Tutorials. Both these tutorials and The Photoshop Workbench are not generally for beginners but Mark is pretty mindful of the fact the photographers (most of the subscribers to the feeds) are not necessarily Photoshop wonks. As far as being a Photoshop “super user”, I think the results are more important than the actual technique. As I preach to my students, there are so may ways to achieve the same thing in Photoshop that there often is no one “right way”. I judge the quality of the result. Mark‘s technique preserves the original and each step is non-destructive with plenty of use of adjustment layers and layer masking. In that way, he is teaching to the accepted standard.

This is also a relatively uncluttered site has no advertisement (except for their own workshops and products). For that reason, it’s worth a look and if you use, please support.

Aug 10 2008

new website launched

It’s been years since I’ve updated and it was frightening to see that I had not even updated the copyright notice since 2001, so I carved out a little time to do some work for myself. It’s sobering to go over the vast body of one’s work and choose the few that are portfolio material. In fact, I realized that most of it represents the design sensibilities of my clients as much as or more than my own. I tried to choose the pieces for which I placed a heavy hand on the aesthetic scale. The site itself is the one thing that comes close to demonstrating my capabilities. It ended up being mostly Flash-based, built on a CSS template and that gave the left side of my brain a bit of a workout.

Moving away from the portfolio portion of the website, I am actually more pleased with the consulting/training area (“geek translation“). CGCC students who are most likely to visit the site will appreciate that I finally removed the “2002 Class Schedule”. I also used the summer break to update course handouts and exercises. They are pretty elementary but may be of interest to someone in search of really easy Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or Flash tutorials.

My résumé is also more-or-less up to date but the basic idea hasn’t changed for 12 years. It matches an 8-page printed piece. I’m not job-searching so I’m not even sure why I keep it up, except to impress potential clients that I am skilled as a water witch (among other things).

A few loose ends remain, such as the tie to projects under construction. Some clients are not anxious to reveal work in progress but there are some recently completed projects that would work to at least ensure that my portfolio doesn’t go stale. A final loose end is the SEO work. Since most of my business is referral I am sure not aiming to be in the top 1,000 search results for “graphic designer” but it is useful to get the old site out of the Google cache and replace it with something with a more current copyright date.