Yesterday I attended the Secrets of Design workshop at Fairfax Community Church (FCC) in Fairfax, Virginia (look at initial post). It was definitely worth the $29.00 to attend (which is an insanely good deal considering other workshops range from $100-$500) . From 9 am- 4 pm, I was shown the newest and most sought after techniques in Photoshop CS5 by John Falke, Executive Director of Creative Arts at FCC.
I strolled in yesterday morning to the church around 8:30 am, found a seat, plugged in my MacBook and prepared myself to absorb the knowledge. The workshop was at capacity by the time 9 am came around with every seat in “the Hanger” taken. Paul Snyder, one of the other creative folks at FCC opened the workshop with a few jokes including how the “holy chicken” aka Chik-Fil-A would be served for lunch. Delish!
Thereafter, John started things off by describing the bare bone details about Photoshop, such as how to purchase it (without going broke), the difference between Vector and Rastor images, Layers (which I still need to work on) and understanding print which is a problem I am approached with quite frequently when I send things off to the printers. It’s always important to make sure whatever image you’re sending bleeds over the edges so the printers won’t snip anything important on whatever artwork you hand them. Remember the 1/4 rule is what I learned.
The session I found to be extremely helpful was one not really involving Photoshop at all but on how to work with clients and other individuals involved in decision making around the office. The key takeaways from this session was to do your research and be an expert on the target audience you’re producing for. Also I learned you should phrase comments for feedback as, “how will your users react?” not “let me know what you think.” That’s like opening Pandora’s Box. I also learned about a few good resources to use for free fonts and stock images (dafont.com, urbantfonts.com and sxc.hu to name a few).
The next two sessions focused on additional techniques in Photoshop like the Photo Collage Effect, transforming a Photo Wall into a 3D shape and Content Awareness Scaling a new feature in CS5. Content Awareness Scaling is probably my favorite new feature because you can make an image’s foreground objects become close together without distorting the background objects. Pretty neat. See it here.
I felt the last session was also super useful too since John and Paul described the creative process behind the development of many of their awe-inspiring sermon series. Religious or not, you cannot argue their creative abilities are a gift of god. Look here just to look at the FCC website to see past creative concepts for sermon series they’ve crafted.
As promised, the workshop ended promptly at 4 pm and I was able to be on my way with a bag full of tricks on Photoshop CS5. I am very thankful my boss at my current job allowed me to take the day off to attend the workshop and even expensed it for company purposes. This was a win-win for me. A few tips for anyone who plans on attending a workshop focusing on software tutorial:
- Bring a sweater (it’ll probably be very frigid in the room 😉
- Watch and learn; you’ll absorb the knowledge if you observe rather than try to keep it up with a pro.
- Download all files you need before the workshop (even if its the trail version like I did hehe)
- Get there early; there’s nothing more flustering than jumping in mid-way and already not having a clue what’s going on.
- Tell yourself practice makes perfect; you won’t remember/learn everything in that one sitting.
An event I attend regularly is Creative Connects. What is Creative Connects you ask? Well, it is “a free social event hosted by The BOSS Group for creative, marketing and interactive professionals.” Creative Connects is throughout the U.S. with events in:
About every three months, Creative Connects events are hosted in synchronicity in their respective locations at the exact same time. I ventured out to my first back in May with my coworker Lori (of Lorikeet Media). We had a pretty good time and got to mingle with other creative professionals, hand out some business cards, and eat some tasty finger foods. The best part is that it’s free to attend (along with free food).
They also always have special guests at every event who have some sort of creative professional background. For example, at the last event Jason Ferrera, Creative Director of Match.com was in attendance and representatives from CDIA Boston University. I’m especially looking forward to next month’s event since I’m actively seeking any business development individuals/opportunities. The individuals in attendance are also eager for freelance work, so this is right up my alley. The demographic is usually 21-34, so its great for generation Y and X. I’ll follow-up with a post on when I actually attend the event, so keep an eye out for it.