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Five tips for starting out in Digital Media
In school, I was fortunate enough to have a subject in computer graphics for a year. At the time we used an application called Paint Shop Pro by Jasc Software. I was immediately awed by the amazing things you could do. I was mostly using clone stamp techniques to mash multiple images together, for example, turning the floor of our family kitchen into lava.
Starting my career in digital media was the easiest decision I had ever made, my passion for design and digital tech fuelled this and I tailored all my future education to subjects in the graphic and media disciplines. It wasn’t all that straight forward though, as I have gone across disciplines from graphic design, filmography and 3D graphics/animation. So from back then to now, what have I learned? Here are five tips for starting in digital media.
Scott Wilson – eTutor
One application to rule them all
Without a doubt, Photoshop is the tool you should aim to master. Whether you are working in graphic design, video production, game development, web design, etc, Photoshop is the one application that is used in all the design jobs.
It’s extremely flexible you can edit photographs, create vector graphics, create game art, do animation and even edit videos. Photoshop is the application to rule them all. I frequently look at job specifications and 99% of them require extensive Photoshop experience.
For any student coming onto eCollege who is thinking of doing one of our Adobe courses, I will always recommend that they study Photoshop first.
Be inspired by others
“Levels of creativity” is not something to take for granted, I believe it is shaped by our surroundings, our relationships with people, our experiences, our dreams and an infinite amount of other things.
For me, creativity can be difficult to get in different situations, so from time to time, I will get for inspiration by looking at the work of others. I’ll reverse engineer and re-create. That way I’m able to make something “uniquely familiar” and improve my creativity at the same time.
Create your portfolio now
Whilst having the required education and certifications shows your technical ability, the winning factor over someone picking your CV for an interview, is your portfolio. Your portfolio should be in an online format, be easy to navigate and have some personal flair.
Always put your best work out in front on the landing page, so that a potential employer can see it immediately. You do not need to get overwhelmed, trying to build a website from scratch. There are lots of platforms out there to help you, such as Adobe Portfolio, Wix, SquareSpace, Dribbble and Behance.
Upload five of your best projects (maximum), even if they aren’t good. Then when you make anything new, decide if it’s better than what’s already there and replace it. Never have too many projects on your website. Quality over quantity.
Another tip passed on from my mentors, is to look at other artists portfolios and try to match the quality of those. It’s a tall order but you want your work to be outshining the competition.
Get on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great place to build your professional portfolio and a great place to find work. You can add your education history, add projects, certifications and even take online courses in almost anything.
LinkedIn can be filled with some spam and recruiters, therefore do ensure that your network of contacts is filled with genuine and important people. Give me an add on LinkedIn if you don’t know where to start. Being able to stand out from the crowd is important, because getting out there and getting your work noticed is tough, especially when you’re new to the industry.
It may be the most cliché tip out there, but having passion for creating, drawing, animating or whatever you do is key to keep you motivated and to keep you striving to produce the best project there is.
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