Staying Current

While updating my online portfolio, I sifted through my old VCT projects and located my Director portfolio from 2001. What fun! I’d forgotten that I knew how to do cool things. Shit was changing color, flying around the screen, zooming in and out — and I’d made some cool-ass icon graphics to illustrate. I made them! I didn’t steal them. Sure, some of the stuff didn’t work, and you could tell where I started running out of time to complete the project, because objects on-screen didn’t do as many cool things anymore, and there were some flubbed links to movies and such… but, damn, I forgot that I knew something cool!

Pathetically enough, whenever I think of cool things I’ve managed to throw together, my thoughts usually turn to Tim Schavitz. Yeah, yeah, I know… I shouldn’t have to compare myself to anyone… but sometimes, you just need a yardstick to measure up with. Back in college, when I felt like academia was dragging me down, and my lack of creativity was dragging me down, Tim was one of the only design influences who pulled me up.

He and I had enough classes together during my last year at BGSU that we compared notes and fed off of each other. …OK, truth is, I fed off of him. He was everyone’s starchild, and rightly so, although he’d deny it if given the chance. Anyway, we’d look at other people’s projects, and critique them privately amongst ourselves, and wonder in amazement at how many of our classmates were sub-par designers (though, in retrospect, given the VCT curriculum and focus, it’s not surprizing).

Among what you would expect from design students — that is, lumping VCT students in with Graphic Design students — I’d have given most VCT students in our general age range at the time a 4 out of 10. Myself, I’d give a 7 out of 10. Tim, 9 out of 10. Most Intro Graphic Design students and Typography students I studied with, I’d give them a 6 or 7 out of 10. Some rated a 5, some rated an 8 or 9. Graphic Design students just seemed more immersed in design than VCT students, who were more immersed in the mechanics and process of “how” than the overall plan and scheme of “what.” Like Sean used to say, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit. You need good ideas, good media, good footage, to produce a good product. Ideally, anyway.

Usually at this point in the “I suck and I should be destroyed” rant, Aaron (or whoever’s handy) will smack me around and say, “You don’t suck! Look at the shit I made! Now that sucks!” Very well. I will accept your compliments with thanks, and continue with my rant.

So, looking back on all this — my Director portfolio, my designs, my wares in general — I have decided that I need to find more foo-foo projects to embark upon, to sharpen my skills. Now, Tim used to do this all the time, making funky Flash stuff that didn’t really mean anything too deep, or do anything too amazing, but it was cool to look at and probably fun to make. With that in mind, I sought out a source of design inspiration… and came up frighteningly short. All the old, bleeding-edge style that used to make our entire group of self-proclaimed VCT Elite spontaneously mess in our drawers — that stuff just doesn’t do it for me anymore. 2advanced, meh. I’m having a hard time finding anything that takes my designer’s breath away these days. And if I can’t find it, if I can’t even identify what it would be, how am I to produce it?

Links I’ve found to mildly get my juices flowing:
+ Designs by Mark (great Photoshop tutorials)
+ THREE.OH: Digital Design Journal
+ We’re Here: Intelligent Design & Development
+ The Shodown Forum: Graphics & Web Dev

P.S. – I know I had another weird dream last night, but I forgot it before I could write it down.