Putting Technology to the Test
Image-editing and paint programs that make the grade for Computer Graphics Instructor Mark Short.
A fine artist and painter, Mark Short began to study computer graphics a decade ago to increase his productivity. He honed his skills as a digital artist for a multi-title trade magazine publisher, and now works as an instructor at The Art Institute of Philadelphia, while also doing freelance digital illustration.
At the Art Insti-tute, Short offers all levels of computer graphics instruction, from image-editing fundamentals to advanced graphic design and computer animation. "I teach everything from [Adobe] Photoshop Basics to Digital Imaging, which takes aspects of Photoshop out to the Web, then to video with Adobe AfterEffects," he explains.
"We train students for an entry-level position at a graphic design studio," Short adds, noting that he assigns projects—including a Web page, a CD-ROM interface, print advertisements and posters—that prepare pupils for real-world tasks. Former students pursue careers at agencies, publishers and corporations; several recent graduates have done computer animation for high-profile televisions shows, such as The Simpsons and MTV's Daria.
One of Short's job responsibilities is making sure that his students are trained on up-to-date technology. He recommends software and hardware upgrades and acquisitions for the Institute's design department. "I teach on both [Mac and PC] platforms, and I'm PC-based at home," he notes.
Short prefers Photoshop as his primary image-editing program, both in the classroom and for his home studio. "I've used just about every [image-editing program] in the past," he comments. "I started out with Photoshop, and I just keep going back to it. It's easy to use and has plenty of great features—
layers, paths and color correction tools, just to name a few." The Art Institute recently upgraded to version 5.5 for the current quarter.
Photoshop 5.5 advantages, Short opines, include its ability to save images for Web use, drop-shadow creation and great type. "Another great new feature is Extract. [The Extract Image command] lets you pull images out of one background and drop them into another," he reports. "Also, if you're bringing graphics to the Web, [Adobe] ImageReady allows easy rollover." Recently, Short used 5.5 for a freelance job to create graphics for Matchbox Cars packaging. (See samples of Short's work at www.voicenet.com/~shorty.)