19 November 2008

Adobe CS4 Premium Design Suite

The good:

Much better integration between the softwares, some really useful features. All the Macromedia products (Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireowrks) have had long overdue overhauls. Flash is finally back in the hands of animators and not developers again. There are very interesting layout plans, pretty much consistent throught the suite now. Making it much easier to go from one to another without too much learning curve. The roundtrip editing in Dreamweaver from Photoshop is a long desired feature, saving lots of time. Installing the suite also seems to have solved many of the problems encounterd from the disastrous CS3 suite update which had a terrible bug in the install program, causing a really annoying crashing of Indesign.

The bad:

Some new features are a bit overplayed in the publicity as to thier usefullness in real life.The intelligent scaling for example, is great, but only works as advertised on projects that are very simular to the photos used to advertise it. If you really want to get the most of this feature you need to take the photos with the idea of using it in mind for the best results. For some reason Fireworks still uses the old Macromedia keyboard shortcuts (importing, for example). How hard it is to change that to the same shortcuts, Indesign and Photoshop use? It seems a no brainer.

The ugly:

As a company that uses many printers for many different clients, Behemoth like everyone else must deal with the extreme reluctance of print houses to update to the latest (or even the 3rd latest) versions of software. Adobe must also be well aware of this and still since Indesign CS2 have limited backwards compatibility. There is nothing more annoying than trying to remember what client's printer uses what version and having to keep several incarnations of the same software on your hard drive.. I must use 3 versions of Indesign now.. simply because there is no « save for : Indesign CS,CS2, CS3 ». This is simply mean spirited to users and makes print houses even less likely to update. Pagemaker and even earlier version of Indesign had a reasonable depth to the backwards compatibility. Not having this feature makes the nicely done but not so improved Indesign CS4 practically useless unless designing in house projects for your in house printers. I aslo managed to crash Fireworks by simply importing a really not all that complex Illustrator file. It's clear not that much attention is given to Fireworks developement beyond a nicer interface even though it complements Dreamweaver really well... I don't know why these features haven't been folded into Photoshop (even in an « extended » version like the 3D stuff is) if they really don't want to give Fireworks it's due.


A decent update, though the price is foolishly high. I had wanted to get the Mastersuite collection, but there was no upgrade path for long time users who bought many things long before the suites came into being. We are left to buy each piece apart from the others at a much higher price... or buy a suite from scratch at a much higher price. I was looking forward to using Premiere with my copy of After Effects for all in house video work, but not at the ridiculous prices offered. Adobe is not alone in this, though Apple made a huge effort to make sure I had what I needed when they went the "suite" route. They even sent me a full version of the First Final Cut Pro Suite and not an upgrade version so I would not have more updating issues. Adobe needs to be willing to do the same if they want us all come on board. I won't be rushing to update any other Adobe products anytime soon. Not with this uncertain job market!

11 November 2008

Creative people finding work on Craigslist?

Craiglist is a huge resource for small companies, start ups and excited creative people looking to find people to collaborate with, but can you really find work there? It all depends on what you mean by work. Can you find professional level, well paid contract jobs for example? While much depends on your location, the simple answer is, not very likely.

Most of the people looking for contractors or small jobs are in reality, looking to get something for nothing. I know there are exceptions, but if you want to use Craigslist or a similar service as a starting point for a great career... you are in the wrong place. You can find the occasional quick job for little pay now and then and while some big and legitimate companies will from time to time place ads looking for new talent, for the most part you will get well intentioned start-up people with no idea what they are doing and no business plan (not to mention no budget) or outright theives looking to take advantage of people desperate for work.

Some things to be aware of:

Everyone will tell you how « professional » they are. What ever that means. It usually means they are trying to rip you off.

They will also tell you to you get in « on the ground floor » and give them a deal on price you will be 1st in line to recieve work after the company « takes off » (Even if this were true, you would be forgotten by then)

Do not get caught up in someone else's dream, you have your own dreams... which usually involve being paid a decent amount for the services you provide.

Don't undercharge... these people are strangers to you, you don't owe them a lower price. They will not respect someone who charges a low fee, they will milk it for all they can. They can pay you for « future work » when there is such a thing, until then make them pay you for the present work you are doing. There are many charities you can offer low or no fees too if you want experience. If someone is really looking to succeed, he/she will be willing and able to pay for services needed.

Set a time to stop the project and insist on ½ up front, ½ on finish. They are taking as much a chance on you as you are on them... be fair but not stupid. Setting a stop time can really help you from getting on never ending, never paying projects and if the client is serious, it will help them to focus on what they really need and not take you for a pointless ride while they satisfy their egos making you try every (bad) idea in their heads.

Don't get bullied into work. You have every right to say no... for any reason. Maybe they give you a bad feeling, maybe the work is distasteful to you. You are not losing work... you haven't recieved any yet, and you can't lose what you never had. If you feel pressured... say « thanks, but no thanks ».

Expect dissappointment. We all know about « AOL » inches so expect « AOL » salary promises.

Expect SPAM... lots of it!

04 November 2008


Nomi & Chog has won a prize at the Canadian International Film and Video festival. 
Thanks to Denis Leclerc for the tech help and Nick Dion for the music! 


The new animated short film, "Nomi & Chog" is now visible on the Behemoth media homepage and our You Tube page. Sadly this film was inspired by two real dogs and my dog of 17 years, Nomi, passed away recently after a short illness. Behemoth media and my life were all the better having him around and we will never stop missing the little pest that he was. The better quality clips are on the Behemoth homepage.