What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
The title I most use is Adobe Certified Instructor (and Adobe Design Master), but I wear many hats. On a day to day basis I’m often in class from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, but rarely 5 days a week (I try to reserve at least 1 or 2 days for email, calls, scheduling, writing and Adobe User Group management). When I’m not teaching I also work as a “virtual producer” for AMA (American Management Association), helping deliver online classes on a wide range of management topics. I am NOT a subject matter expert on Management (but am an Adobe Certified Expert). In this role, I help management gurus & PhDs to deliver classroom courses in an online environment, using Adobe Connect.
I don’t believe we should be limiting our access to education based on our geographic area (Adobe products, or otherwise). For the last 5 years I’ve also been teaching Creative Cloud applications from home (often in my PJs when there is an East Coast start time of 6 am). I share my screen and students work along with me, from the comfort of their home or office. When they are practicing on their own, they share their screens with me, so I can help if they get stuck.
What inspired you most to become a Graphic artist? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I don’t consider myself a graphic artist. I am a teacher, who is good at explaining the tools that will help a graphic artist create their vision. The more I teach, the more I learn about the creative process (I often feel like my students have taught me as much as I teach them). My skills are directed at streamlining the creative workflow (working smarter, not harder).
I love sharing power user tips & tricks and high-end photo correction techniques. On the other end of the spectrum, I love to show a talented “traditional media” artist (someone who isn’t naturally inclined to design electronically) ways to create using a device or an application (while staying true to their artistic vision).
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
The first obstacle is experience, the second is pricing, they both go hand-in-hand. There are so many websites that let you “job-out” design work. This is WONDERFUL for people who want to gain experience, but may be damaging to companies who hire the lowest bidder. You get what you pay for. Some of the inexperienced designers who work on these sites may drive prices down for more talented, and more experienced, designers. It’s a catch 22, you need the experience to develop a portfolio and get work, but if you aren’t trained well in the products you are using, you may create nightmares for the client. Designers have to start somewhere and customers need to learn to evaluate based on quality and price (not price alone).
There is a science to logo design, photo-retouching, page layout, etc. Just because you own the software, it doesn’t mean you can do all of the aforementioned things. Just because you are VERY talented artistically, it doesn’t mean you can get work right away.
With all the new versions of Photoshop what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Maybe it’s just me, but I LIVE for Adobe Camera Raw, the fact that you can run it as a Filter (or, better yet, as a SMART FILTER) blows my mind! The camera shake reduction feature is also fabulous, especially with the proliferation of high-resolution smart phone images (and many GREAT shots taken with shaky hands). Those are just 2, but I could list 20 more…
What Photoshop artists/creatives/ do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I love everything Terry White (of Adobe) and Julieanne Kost (also of Adobe) creates. There is a young lifestyle and sports photographer who is doing some very cool work: Ryan Siu. Gary Peck has also shown me some fascinating images focusing on texture, light and detail (his Photoshop techniques are mind-bogglingly cool). On Behance I seem to gravitate toward photographers in Italy and Brazil (not fully sure why, but those are the countries of most of the photographers I follow there). Of course there are legendary photographers that inspire me: Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe and Annie Leibovitz.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Graphic design the best?
The main social network I’m heavily active on is Facebook (I simply don’t have time for exploration on many others). I love the photos shared in the Photoshop & Lightroom group and the feedback given by fellow group members. Outside of the “likes” for fabulous photos, the feedback is often be very specific and constructive (if it’s not, the user is quickly banned). I’m active on LinkedIn & Twitter (but I rarely spend a lot of time on either). I have an Instagram account (with 3 photos shared so far). I belong to Tumblr and all the other top social media networks, but I concentrate my efforts on the network that I find most enjoyable, Facebook (I have 2 children under 5, so time on the computer, or a device, is precious). I’ve just started teaching Social Media Fundamentals, so I have to keep up with the hottest trends and be aware of services each network offers.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Well, I have a bet with a friend that Facebook will STILL be a viable social network in 4 years (a bet made 1 year ago). The winner gets a trip to Hawaii. I do see Instagram gaining huge market share and I think the social network your kids use most, won’t be the focus for businesses for a while (at least until their generation takes over). Behance is a very exciting way to showcase photography and art of all kinds. I check it several times a week, but again, I’m not heavily active there. Flickr seemed to be big a few years ago, but I hear less and less about it today.
Everyone I know who is active in Social Media has a Google+ account, but most of them admit they aren’t active there. I use BufferApp to push updates to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Google+, so while I post on many accounts, I’m not really exploring other people’s content.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Graphic Design?
Photoshop is a very rich and very deep application. It remains the de facto standard for photo editing. Not much competition has come along and I don’t see Corel Painter or GIMP giving it a run for it’s money. Photoshop Lightroom is an exciting newer application, built by photographers for photographers. There are some Lightroom users that never touch Photoshop, but I couldn’t live without it. I don’t use or teach Lightroom, but I do live in Adobe Camera Raw when I’m editing images in Photoshop or Adobe Bridge. As my image library grows, I know I’ll need to move to Lightroom for the searching, storing and indexing features, but for now Adobe Bridge and my own hard drive management system, does all I need.
Follow Kelly here! Creative Cloud Lovers http://creativecloudlovers.com on Twitter: http://twitter.com/onlineinstruct on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kellymccathran on Google+ http://google.com/+roundpegKelly & on Behance https://www.behance.net/onlineinstruct