In my last node concerning the digital artist, I gave the budding little uber-technoartist a general idea of the kind of editing rig for multimedia development. The hardware setup I described allowed for certain expansion options. Many times, a digital artist will find a home in a sub division of the multimedia field. This for example, may be web design or possibly photographic image enhancing (in simpler terms, someone who retouches old photographs). As a d.artist matures, the hardware needed will obviously begin to specialize in whichever field they’ve decided to focus on. Multimedia artists specializing with photography may want to invest in a slide scanner, for example.

This node will discuss and advise a digital artist on the general software available that will be important in their creative endeavors. Being able to call yourself a multimedia artist implies a certain technical ability to work within varying software environments. Many times, having proficiency with several different programs is not only recommended, but ESSENTIAL to properly acclimating yourself to the rigors of professional standards. I’ll try to breakdown the software needed into the following future nodes:

a)Multimedia software essentials 2D IMAGE EDITING

b)Multimedia software essentials WEB DESIGN

c)Multimedia software essentials FLASH ANIMATION

d)Multimedia software essentials SOUND EDITING

e)Multimedia software essentials 3D MODELING

f)Multimedia software essentials VIDEO EDITING

g)Multimedia software essentials POST PRODUCTION

I advise anyone reading this to follow the nodes in order when reading them, as each node will build upon the previously written node. Here’s a general idea of what to expect from each future writeup:

a)2d image editing. I’ll chat a little about the wonders of Photoshop and only Photoshop. In three years of multimedia design it has been the keystone of all the software part of my bag of tricks. Photoshop is mother. Photoshop is our all mighty dark lord that governs all other programs with a mighty, thunderous hand.

b)Web design. This is the ‘cut the fat and serve only the white meat’ gist of it. I will only explore the vital programs necessary for a digital artist to properly express themselves visually over the internet. This means that there will be a strong concentration on visual/aesthetic/design over technical/backoffice/programming issues. Don’t worry, I’m not going to impart bad advice on creating overtly bloated web sites. Rather, I am more concerned with noders having an in-depth understanding on the bells and whistles of web design before they start their education with file optimization, bandwidth related issues, etc…

c)Animation. I will tackle first year multimedia design animation packages. I say first year, because as one grows accustomed to certain specifics of animating they will of course hunger for more robust animation software. Motion is more important than you think. The ability to capture the moving world around is key to understanding future design concepts. Animation will be broken up into two main discussions, vector-based web animation and cinematographic animation (read: special effects / television motion graphics).

d)Sound editing. Audio audio audio! I’ll die before the acknowledgement of soundtracks as important aspects to multimedia design becomes accepted within the general digital artist community. Being a digital artist means that at some future level of mastery, you will want to create EMOTION and subtle beauty to your digital endeavors. SOUND IS VITAL to attaining that goal. This means that, until you’re rich enough to hire interns, all your sound editing will be done by YOUR POOR ASS. It’s not as bad as it sounds. A side benefit to learning basic sound editing techniques is that you’ll probably end up making crappy electronica mix-tapes for your friends. Just remember that you’re a budding digital artist and you’ll greatly lessen your chance of accidentally becoming a really bad DJ. Aphex Twin YOU ARE NOT. REPEAT AGAIN. APHEX TWIN I AM NOT. THIS IS YOUR MANTRA.

e)3D modeling. I’ll discuss rudimentary techniques to be done with the various 3D modeling and layout packages out there. Off the top of my head, I’ll name 3D studio max, lightwave, and just a LITTLE bit of MAYA as software we’ll learn more about. Oh, by the way. Being a good 3D modeler scores you chicks (feel free to pump your arm in a vertical fashion..NOW). I don’t know why, and until the general electronic community figures this weird fact out and jumps on the damn bandwagon, keep your mouth shut.

f)Video editing. Sit down, cause this one’s gonna hurt. I’ll say it only once, ok? Then you’re free to walk out the room and set fire to my house in blind anger. YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO WORK WITHIN A NON-LINEAR EDITING ENVIORNMENT. It’s worse than you think. Cause after you get the gist of it, you’ll have to deal with.. ..TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF FILE IMPORTS AND GENERAL BANDWIDTH/RESOLUTION FACTORS. Be afraid, young Jedi. The Force will be needed for this particular node.

g)Post production. It’s everything I forgot to tell you about in previous nodes. Also, there are certain concepts that I’d like to impart on you before I send you off to be the best damn little multimedia fiend you can be. Mainly, post production will deal with tying up certain loose ends with your workflow, professional output advice, how to get paid extreme amounts of money for your digital work, and so forth…

Finally, a little disclaimer: Being a multimedia artist requires access to a lot of programs that when totaled, amount to a dollar figure that probably exceeds the amount you paid for your house. By the time you finish with all my multimedia nodes, I will have easily covered over $200,000 worth of software. If you aren’t savvy enough to figure out how to get these programs for free, drop me an e-mail. I’ll set you on the path to enlightenment. And for the critics against the use of pirated software, I have these three words to say to you:

I am sorry (for real).

Sincerely, if there were a way for budding multimedia artists to learn the lessons vital for future growth without resorting to theft, I’d discuss it. But there’s not. Unless you are naturally talented, rich, and somehow networked into the computer/visual design world (read: George Lucas is your dad, or something), getting where you want to be with this stuff is close to impossible. All I can say is that, from the designers and artists I’ve come to know (and call friend), ALL have gone FULLY LEGIT after their early birthing pains into a career as a professional digital artist. Many times, money will have to be allocated to hardware, leaving zero cents leftover for essential software. Hopefully you can understand.