Why it’s called “multi”-media

As a multimedia designer or a digital creative it’s really important to embrace all the tools at your disposal.  Because a computer is basically a ‘virtual thing’ which can pretend to be anything else the potential of interactive design is almost unfathomably deep.  You make that experience rich by utilising the possibilities the computer offers.  Here’s the advice we just gave our new recruit at Swamp.

Make some connections
Make some connections

The screen has a time element, so think and work in 4D.  Use animation and video to engage with people and deliver more dynamic and clearer information.  You should be flitting between Flash, video editing and compositing software seamlessly and embracing animtion techniques from stop motion, to frame by frame animation using photoshop, tweening – whatever.

There’s speakers built into laptops.  Use them.  Whether it’s in tems of sound effects, music, speech or reinforcement for actions in an interface the importance of sound is often overlooked.  Great audio can carry simple visuals and turn the good into the magnificent.  You need to be comfortable using wave editing software and if you’re any way musically inclined get to know sequencers like cubase.

The ability to use 3D software like 3D Studio Max is like being given a bag of magic fairy dust.  You don’t have to spend a million years coding the latest Pixar blockbuster, use 3D as part of your bag of tricks and you’ll discover a quick and simple way to beautify your digital world.  And remember – it’s 3D ANIMATION software – think in 4D.

Get real.  Draw and scan, get your plastercine out, make pictures in nature and take photos.  It’s easy to sit at the computer and push pixels around, but your style will explode with life if you put life into it.  Get some inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy and go design your new interface using differnt coloured leaves.

You’re all about interactivity and connectivity.  You need to live and breathe this digital world you live in and think in terms of input, interactivity and how the internet connects people.  As form and function these are design tools for your digital products.

Code.  The more you can code and understand what code can do the more you’ll see possibilities and be creative with your approach.  Not your thing?  Go get a job in a print shop.  From actionscripting to css and javascript, it’s going to make you more powerful.  Never even dipped your toe in?  Go meet Webmonkey.

Words are powerful, they are your friends.  If you’re going to be a digital renaissance woman or man get jiggy with the words.  I recommend a course of Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled and a delve into Russian Typography.

Your a designer.  Digital designers often don’t get the focussed design training you get at design school, read this book for a start, Stephen Heller the graphic design reader.

Now you’re ready.  Go forth and make web stuff, games, cartoons, movies, mash up e-story map blogs – whatever.  Put yourself into it and put your heart into it and you’ll be GREAT!  (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed).  Oh, the places you’ll go.


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