Careers: Interviews
Graphics Expert Peter J. Bauer

In this, the third and final series of interviews by Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P. dealing with graphics experts, Stephen interviewed Peter J. Bauer, contributor to Photoshop 6 Web Magic:

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 got my start with computer graphics while in the US Army at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany. The Center needed a multi-lingual graphic artist, and decided that it would be easier to teach a linguist to draw on a computer than it would be to teach an artist to speak Russian and German. Once in the field, I fell in love with it and, after leaving the Army, I decided to stick with it. With my wife’s encouragement, I devoted myself to becoming an Adobe Certified Expert.

While this worked for me, I will say that I think formal training is a better route for most. Experience is great, and necessary, but it should be based upon on solid foundation, rather than learn-as-you-go.

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

A: I expect to see less specialization in software. Just as Adobe Photoshop now has vector-based type and uses clipping paths to simulate vector objects, Adobe Illustrator’s latest version gained transparency and improved raster (bitmap) capabilities. We’re probably not too far from incorporating 3D and motion in our illustrations and images. Animation is already a part of both Photohop/ImageReady and Illustrator. Each program, I suspect, will retain its particular strengths.

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

A: 1) If you think the hardware is fast now, watch out! No more time for coffee breaks.
2) Low- cost, high-volume storage will continue to allow us to develop more and more complex illustrations and images.
3) High- speed Internet connections will become the norm. Animation and streaming media will become the standard.
4) If you’re not working with the Web, start learning!
5) Digital imaging will reach a plateau for still photos, with multi-megapixel shots affordable. (Another reason to pray for #2!)
6) Digital video will make great strides, with near-broadcast-quality available in “home” cameras.
7) 3D modeling will become more common-place, and some 3D skills will be required at all levels.
8) The SVG standard will finally be adopted and all the rules will change. SVG has the potential to become the vector standard for both Web and print.
9) The pre-press world will continue to move toward PDF.
10) Combination drawing tablets/LCD screens (hopefully) will mature and become affordable.

Q: List 10 reasons, why would you recommend your book?

A: 1) It’s fun!
2) The techniques in each lesson can carry over into many projects.
3) The Web is, if not now, soon going to be a part of almost every designer’s job description.
4) It’s one of the few Photoshop books that takes a serious look at ImageReady.
5) The price is right!
6) JavaScript rollovers are covered, opening the door to some of the most advanced features of Web image design and production.
7) The accompanying CD has a ton of extras!
8) Animation, animation, animation….
9) The descriptions are complete, yet easy to follow.
10) Jeff Foster’s imagination is near limitless.

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: One of the big things in the next couple of years is high-speed Internet access. As things get faster, we can (and will) do more and more to take advantage of that bandwidth. But it will important to still maximize efficiency, so I’ll be looking at utilizing new technologies in a “minimalist” way. SVG, for example, will allow us to do great things on the Web, while still keeping file sizes down. I’m looking forward to this format becoming integrated into the browsers’ capabilities.

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: 1) Join a professional organization. For example, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals offers member discounts, an extensive Web site, a top-notch magazine, and a free Help Desk.
2) Participate (responsibly) in on-line discussions and other forums to keep current. The Adobe Web site offers a number of user-to-user forums.
3) Subscribe to a couple of carefully-chosen magazines, rather than trying to find time to a dozen or more every month.
4) Everyone who works with imaging should have some “play time” built into their week. If you’re the boss, schedule it for your employees – and make it untouchable! Without time to experiment and learn, we stop growing.
5) Learn to be your own Help Desk. Become as fluent as possible in the operating system with which you work.
6) Discover and explore those “other” tools and commands in your favorite programs. If you don’t know what they do, check the User Guide or the Help menu. And then play with them.
7) Buy more RAM. When upgrading, spend the money on memory rather than processor speed.
8) Learn frame-based animation.
9) Start looking at SVG now.
10) And, of course, have Photoshop 6 Web Magic nearby at all times!

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: Animation, especially vector-based, will continue to grow in importance. SVG will soon be taking off – it’s too good a technology to ignore. Become the in-house expert.

Q: What changes do you see for the future of graphics, computing, conducting business, and the use of the Internet?

A: High-speed access will become more common, allowing us to do far more complex things over the Web. Don’t get too carried away. Keep in mind that not everyone will be viewing on a 21” monitor with a gazillion-by-gazillion resolution. Be prepared to conduct more and more business over the Web. The day is coming (it’s here for many of us) when you never meet or speak with your clients.

Q: Many analysts are predicting a transition in design and graphics that could last years for many companies. What are your predictions?

A: Animation, 3D, streaming media are the easy answers. But don’t overlook the inclusion of sound with illustrations and imaging. You just don’t know where creativity might lead….


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