Sunday, November 4, 2012

Go Learn Something!!!

I'll keep this one short.

If you accept the premise that personal development is achieved through a persistent state of learning, then you must accept that continuing to do things the same way (especially for extended periods of time) will stagnate personal development.  I crashed face-first into this only a few weeks ago when a coworker of mine (Helder Pinto) was nice enough to point out that I was doing something the slow way.

As a lead/manager/director, I've spent several years crafting documentation for internal teams, outsourcers and (in the past) tutorials for the public at large.  As all of them have been largely art-centric, I have always been dependent on Alt+PrntScr to capture an image and then taking that capture into Photoshop for editing.

Imagine my stunned silence when Helder showed me the "Snipping Tool" in Windows.  Others then kindly pointed out other software that achieves similar results.  My first thought?  Damn, I'm stupid (and old.)  My second thought?  Awesome.  I just got better at something.  I have to share this with someone.

Thinking that, if I didn't know this tool, there were bound to be some other developers around me who didn't know it.  You know what I found?  I was right!  There were quite a few senior artists and leads who didn't even know about the tool.  Some did.  But, not everyone.  Ironically, this is how people improve -- by sharing knowledge.

So, here's my chance to pay (a simple) one forward.  I used to run semi-regular Photoshop guru sessions with groups of artists in which everyone who share some tip or some technique.  Every year, there would always be at least one person who didn't know about the "New Window" function in Photoshop.

She short explanation is that the new windows allows you to maintain a zoomed-out view of your image in one window as you perform any detailed work in another zoomed-in window.  This is great for both concept development as well as texture creation.

The irony of this example is that Snipping Tool didn't work here.  Snipping Tool would cause a defocus and thus hide the menus I was trying to show.  Proof that, even when learning new techniques, that doesn't automatically mean the old ones are defunct.

Lesson:  Stop doing what you're doing, and Go Learn Something!