I posted earlier about my frustration of being called an IT Tech Guy. I've mentioned I still have computer issues but I've learned my way around things and have learned what works and what doesn't. There is incredible hardware and software out there to help make you technical, BUT you need to be creative in order to use it. In some ways it's this balance, but in the end I really believe it's creativity that needs to be your strength. You can teach creativity and tech, but at the end of the day, if you don't have creativity you'll never have it. Here's some great tools to use (remember these are tools of the trade and you're not limited to them):

Teachings Lynda.com - lynda.com is an award-winning provider of educational materials, including Hands-On Training™ instructional books, the Online Training Library®, CD- and DVD-based video training, and events for creative designers, instructors, students, and hobbyists. (straight from their 'about us')

Creativecow.net - The peer to peer support community for media production professionals. (This is a great site, BUT it lacks in flare. Don't let that fool you, they are people on CC that are amazing teachers and have incredible creative and technical talent - everything from Premiere Pro, to After Effects to Dreamweaver and Flash, check them out)

Resources GoMedia - Go Media is a progressive design studio based in Cleveland, OH. We get paid to create artwork all day and we love it. (This is an incredible website, check out their portfolio, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their blog. They have incredible, affordable resources for any designer, just don't do this with it.)

BlogSpoonGraphics - Blog.SpoonGraphics is the personal project of Chris Spooner, a UK based Graphic/Web Designer. The site acts his digital playground where he presents Illustrator and Photoshop Tutorials, Free Vector Resources and Articles on the topic of Graphic Design.

Software Adobe.com - I work primarily in the Adobe Creative Suite, right now CS2... a little behind. I love Adobe, I'm more and more impressed with the endless possibilities and the ease of use between all their programs. It might seem expensive, but when you work out how much you could use it and what you can do with it, the price is far more than worth it. If you're just starting out, I recommend trying Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, you get a little taste of what it's like at a fraction of the cost.

Cinema 4d - I personally haven't worked with this yet, but it's on my to do list, my "very soon to do" to do list. Great software that people are starting to pull some awesome stuff together with, PLUS easily use it in your After Effects compositions as well!

Hardware Computers - Mac or PC? Really it's up to you. I'm currently PC, I don't have an issue with PC, but I have an issue with Windows. I'm really on the fence of jumping to a Mac, but there's a lot of things I need to look at before doing it. Choice is up to you as so many programs are compatible with both computers these days.

Tablet - I use a Wacom tablet for a lot of the stuff I do in Photoshop/Illustrator. I just got it a few months ago and I love it. It's very different to use at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll love it. It's a great tool and they have become really inexpensive.

Camera - Digital SLR I say go with Nikon. If you have the budget go D3 from there go to D300 and from there go to D60.

Video Camera - I have been working with Canon's for the last 3 years. The XL2 has been great for us, but I've been looking elsewhere for higher quality and HD capable, it's the next step we need to take. In a perfect world I'd love to work with a RED but for now I'm looking at the XL H1 and the JVC HD 200. More info on DV cameras here DVinfo.net.

Stay tuned for some tools on Creativity.


Matthew A Hawkins

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