Careers: Interviews
Graphics Expert Jeff Foster

For this issue of News from National, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P. had a chance to interview another world expert in the area of graphics design and IT. As with last week's interview, whether you are new to the game or an old pro, you will find useful information in the books and in the comments from this global authority.

Interview: Jeff Foster – Photoshop Web Magic series

Q: Some in the audience are considering long-term careers in design, graphics, and computing. What personally prompted you to enter the field?

A: I was a traditional commercial artist for about 8 years prior to going “digital” in 1990. I specialized in airbrush photo retouching and photo-realistic illustration. Since there wasn’t any training programs for advanced desktop graphics programs in the early 90’s, I had to get close to the developers to learn the cutting-edge tools to continue to be in the lead of the industry. Thanks to software companies like Adobe, their beta programs not only allow power users a sneak peek at the new tools, but they also solicit functionality requests from those who use their products. The concepts I use in my writing have been proven in classroom settings throughout several Southern California College and University programs.

Q: Where do you see graphic design software development heading in the next two years?

A: I don’t think there will be any earth-shattering advancements in the next two years, but I believe there will be more focus on refining the tools we have – making them better work in concert with each other – and continue to be more Web-specific. There are some companies making development tools available online – not just to download demo versions of packaged software, but to actually function as an online application. Onflow.com is one of many companies charging-ahead with “instant” Web graphics and animation on-demand. Higher-speed access and broader bandwidth to a greater number of people will definitely increase the demand for this technology. I believe that people will want to make their own space more personal – including their work space. Anyday.com is an example of personal/work space, communications and active scheduling on-demand via the Web.

Q: What top ten technologies should graphic design professionals be watching for in the next two years?

A: Adobe upgrades (Photoshop, Illustrator, GoLive and AfterEffects)
 
  • Mac OS X (and faster/better hardware)
     
  • More FireWire connectivity with peripherals
    Quicktime 5 (More Web-savvy than ever! – Watch for cubic VRs)
     
  • Better Mini-DV cameras (quality, resolution, storage & price)
     
  • Better digital cameras (quality, resolution, storage & price)
     
  • More on-demand development tools, libraries and plug-ins available online.
     
  • Increased scanning/printing capabilities
     
  • An increase in the number of high-speed, broadband connections
     
  • More books and articles by Jeff Foster!
Q: List 10 reasons, why would you recommend your book?

A: Here is why:
 
  • Great new easy-to-follow format (and a great new Publisher!), with full-color screenshot images throughout the book.
     
  • Overview of the new tools and features in this important upgrade.
     
  • Real-world techniques you won’t find in any other Photoshop 6 Book.
     
  • Step-by-step “recipes” for creative components that will not only be useful for Web design, but they will teach the user new techniques they can apply to all of their work.
     
  • Concepts in this book have been proven with live-classroom participation.
     
  • All Project files, sample images, Custom Libraries and Styles come on the enclosed CD-ROM.
     
  • Companion web site that will support the material in the book with downloadable free Custom Styles, Shapes and Patterns each week.
     
  • Web site will also include an area to share your custom libraries with other users for free.
     
  • Written by a real artist/designer – not just a computer geek!
     
  • Buy 10 and get a free goldfish in the mail!
Q: Can you describe your role with your company and how you plan to shape the company one year and two years into the future, and in the long term?

A: I am currently the Director of R&D and Training at Narratus, Inc. My role changes daily, as our requirements are constantly changing and shifting to meet the demands of our clients. We have a growing team of artists and technicians that constantly strive to grow in all of their diverse areas of expertise. This keeps me on my toes to make sure they are prepared to handle the challenges that may come – and be equipped with the hardware, software and knowledge to use it.

Q: What are your top 10 tips for the professional from your experience base and your book (“useful” and reality-based real world checklist) including which resources (book, utilities, tools) to use and any advice of where to obtain these tools?

A: My advice:
 
  • Local User Groups & SIGs… Join. Get involved!
     
  • Online discussions and organizations. Get involved!
     
  • Software producer’s discussion groups and beta programs… Get involved! Tell them what you want!
     
  • Take time to “joy ride” an application… don’t just sit down with a think manual and expect to find where everything is and what it does.
     
  • Bug people and ask questions… computer people love to help!
     
  • Check out the web site – www.photoshopwebmagic.com (starting Dec. 17th) for more information and resources.
Q: For those relatively new in the field and for seasoned veterans, which areas should they target for future study, what are the high-growth areas?

A: Anything visual. We use Photoshop several times a day – hardly ANY project goes out the door without some Photoshop work in it… especially Video and Web work. Learn an HTML program (like GoLive or DreamWeaver) – even if you aren’t currently building web pages… you will greatly benefit from not being left in the dust down the line. Get involved with local and online User Groups and SIGs. They will be the lifeblood in your special interest community!

Q: Can you provide five book extracts that best reflects the tips/pointers in your book and provide a compelling reason to thoroughly study your work?

A: Check out the samples online at http://www.photoshopwebmagic.com


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