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jim unwin
186 followers -
Hello, I'm an illustrator, designer and inveterate maker of things.
Hello, I'm an illustrator, designer and inveterate maker of things.

186 followers
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Hi, I redesigned your microwave for you.
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This is a story about telling stories...
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So I borrowed a Wacom Inkling (my review: don't bother) and made some animated drawing things: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjxb6Vfz
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Panoramas from Paris and Rome. You can find the full 3D things here: http://photosynth.net/userprofilepage.aspx?user=jimunwin - Though I kind of prefer the flat photos.
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PHOTOSHOP MUST DIE

Adobe’s Creative Suite software is ubiquitous across all visual industries, but as the collection rumbles into its third decade are these tools as useful as they once were, or are they now limiting the way we create?

Photoshop, the flagship programme of software developer Adobe’s product range, has been around for years, and therein lies a problem: Photoshop has been evolving in a vacuum and in this vacuum the software has become such an abstraction of itself that it is baffling to new artists and limits experienced practitioners.

We now routinely carry around multi-mega-pixel cameras in our pockets, touch interfaces are commonplace, people share their lives in myriad ways (of which print is a tiny, if not absent, facet), and wonderful things like 3D scanning and printing are just around the corner. Yet despite all that the standard Photoshop tools we are presented with are based on twenty-year-old design decisions. Though the original Photoshop was released in 1990 and intended to work with monochrome images, if you look at the evolution of the tool bars and work space ( http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/evolution-of-photoshop/ ) you will find that while some things have been shuffled around the essential form factor of the piece has remained largely unchanged. The interface is an apparently unstructured mish-mash of both simple and incredibly technical components that imply neither work flow nor inter-operability. Without either specific education or years of trial and error how would you know what those tiny icons in the tool bar mean, and why do you need to know about DPIs before you start doodling?

It is interesting to note that Adobe’s software has become so ubiquitous that piracy, rather than harming, may in fact be benefiting the company. In the public consciousness “photoshop” is now a verb almost as well recognised as “google”; the brand is now understood to mean both the task and the output. As the world stands the first thing any wannabe artist is going to torrent will be Photoshop; after which they will plough many lonely hours into learning the software. Finally, with their education complete they will find themselves talking to the IT guy at their new workplace about the tools they need to work. Of course they will ask for Photoshop. In this way that new artist is not even allowed to consider other tools, Photoshop as the standard crowds out all other options.

And it isn’t just Photoshop; standards like 3DS MAX are also lurching into their own amorphous evolutionary dead end; both choosing to add more features and more complexity despite the prevailing trend of iPhone simplicity and the precision of the per-task app model. In the meantime, focussed tools and toys like Omnigraffle and Instagram are effortlessly slipping and sliding past the generalist dinosaurs of old, each empowering its user to work faster and better.

So what should replace these tired gods? In the real world, if you take a piece of paper and put a crease down the middle then it will stand on its end as a 3D shape. Make a couple more folds and I have a paper plane that when thrown will (probably, maybe) fly. I could then tear that plane to pieces, colour the bits in and stick them down. Where is the digital toolset that allows me to replicate that workflow?

Ok, so I might be reaching a bit there (if that is what I want to do then I should just use paper) but in our daily lives we easily flip-flop between different dimensions, disciplines and ideas. I see no reason why our digital toolset shouldn’t encourage and enable such playfulness first and then worry about details later. When Photoshop was released twenty years ago computer art was hobbled by what the technology could do, but in 2011, long after the number-crunching machines have caught us up, these limitations are still ingrained in our tools. I shouldn’t have to care what words like vector or bitmap, so specific to a by-gone digital world, actually mean. It is wrong that the first decision we are forced to make about a new idea is which piece of over-specced software we are going to tie ourselves to in order to realise it.

Of course this is a very subjective take on the problem. But the point is that the way we divide up the creative process should not be dictated by software from a different era. As it stands our current tools are limiting what we can imagine and therefore what we can make.
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I designed some invites for my friends' wedding:
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Not sure what to say about this one... a partial success?
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Part of the recently released Move Pack for LittleBigPlanet includes a paint package I designed with my friend Jonny Hopper.

Much of the testing and development involved using it to draw pictures, examples of which are shown below!

You can find out more about the pack here: http://www.littlebigplanet.com/en/game_guide/ps3/downloadable_content/littlebigplanet_2_move_pack/
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