Not a word that you should use to describe yourself - but are you?  Are you complacent?  Flash has had a good run - and while it's true that Flash isn't going away anytime soon - it still has it's uses. But for online content - especially banners and intro pages for websites, video is going to take hold like never before.  I expect that because a few of the main carriers for mobile phones will be switching to 4G and because broadband saturation will be reaching untold numbers, this will free content in a way that has never been possible.  Imagine producing a online media campaign that would rival in looks that a major motion picture has in effects. What this means for you is that you need to build up your skill-base and get to a point that you can compete and excel.

Now you may say that you think Flash is still usable and that there's no reason to learn a new program or go deeper into the programs that you know; but honestly if you don't start to learn some of the basics of Video Editing and Motion Graphics you might very well find that you'll be left choking on the dust of those who do know After Effects, Premier, Final Cut etc.

If you're satisfied just doing what is necessary to get by and you feel that your knowledge of Photoshop and Flash can get you by - then by all means just keep on doing what you do.  Don't be surprised though if you aren't promoted, you aren't chosen for juicy projects,  and you constantly are just doing "grunt" work.  You might start wondering why the new guy who just got hired 3 months ago got a promotion above you and seems to be involved in several initiatives.  The answer is simple - they know programs that you don't and are able to produce more engaging content because of it.  It's fine to concept - but if you can't execute and do not know what is possible then how can you compete?

If you want to be involved in the latest innovations and the best creative then I suggest you take heed and start to actively learn the tools you will need to go further in the web/internet/mobile space.  A good start would be AfterEffects - this is probably the most widely used Motion Graphics and Compositing tool out there.  Not only that but starting now and using it even for minor personal projects will let you get a good foothold on how you can incorporate it into your process.  For editing video: Premiere and Final Cut are the two programs that will help you get to where you need to be.  Video editing isn't any harder than creating a complex Flash piece and because you understand the fundamentals of animation using After Effects and an editing program probably will not be that hard and you could start doing it today.

Aside from learning new programs (new to you anyway), there is one program you use probably everyday that will increase your capabilities across the board, PhotoshopPhotoshop isn't just for static images - you can create motion graphic pieces, re-size videos, bring in 3D elements, edit video and more.  There are so many tutorials on this and Adobe has published several videos, online learning tools etc., that the mere fact some designers weren't aware of it - makes me sick.

Why not experiment and get going on this tried and true program that has had these capabilities since CS3.  What?  You didn't know?  My question for you is - why not?  How come you didn't know?  Were you asleep for 3 years?

I'm not saying that Flash should be abandoned alltogether - but that as a new media designer you should take a step forward and integrate some of the possibilities of using video WITH interactivity.

If you need advice or tutorials the internet is swamped with literally thousands of tutorials - Vimeo and YouTube and good places to start, but almost any search engine will produce hundreds of website locations with tutorials and downloads that will keep you in the know (most of them are for free).  Beyond that - my suggestion is much like Nike's motto - just do it.

Here's a few sites to get you started in learning motion graphics, video editing and compositing:

Free Forest Textures and Pics

A smattering of Trees, leaves, ferns and roots for you to use as reference or as part of your design.  Feel free to use in private or commercial work. 8MP or better. I only ask that you do not redistribute alone or in other collections.  Thanks!

Forest Pics

Free for Designers, Artists and all pixel mavens..

I often spend hours scouring the internet for free items that I can use for work or for my personal projects and in talking to a few of my fellow designers I realized that perhaps not everyone knows about these great places on the Internet that you can download items for free or for cheap.

First let's talk stock photos - everybody uses them and everybody needs them right? Yeah! Absolutely, but often the cost of getting photos is well out of the range of the client especially if it's for a Church or your Sister-in-law... ahem. Anyway here's a list of Free Stock Houses and Very Cheap Stock houses.


The Stock Exchange
- perhaps one of the end-all-be-all places for free stock photos. I have found a plethora of photography that I've used in ads, banners, print pieces etc. Just be sure that you read the rights and agreements. Most of the images are free to use in whatever you create although depending on the Photographer - you might need to ask permission..

MorgueFile - This I bumped into a few years ago, I'm not even sure what led me to the site. All I know is that it has TONS of photos that you can download at will. I cannot tell you how many times this has saved my bacon or helped me create that special look just when I needed it.

Again there are limitations on the way you use the photos (pretty much you can use them for personal, school and commercial but you cannot redistribute the images unless you change it quite a bit), but it is free and free is good! They accept donations - so if you have a few extra dollars please donate to keep this site afloat.

CG Textures - This site is absolutely awesome. Granted there is a limit as to how many images you can download if you have the "Free" account, but still they're giving away gorgeous texture photos and images for free. The best part of this site is that most of the images are very utilitarian and are for use as reference or as textures or even as scenes. Need a dirty old building? It's there... Need a lion? It's there too. Check them out when you get a chance.

TextureKing - Speaking of Textures, you just gotta check out TextureKing. A great site that has so many textures of different elements. Like CG Textures these are more utilitarian than anything and really meant for 3D or compositing... But wait - isn't what what most designers do? Composite images together... yeah, I thought so.

Deviant Art - well now, for those of you who aren't Deviants... I have to ask why not? Deviant Art has been around for a hell of a long time in terms of Internet Age and if you just peruse through the Stock Photos section you could get what you need for whatever you're working on. I have found some really great resources this way. Often it's hard to find gorey pics, or certain elements - even on the higher end stock sites. Deviant Art has them! Although it's important to read each of the EULA's for the different people providing the art. Some are free others aren't unless you only plan on using the art for non-commercial purposes. Please make sure you read those agreements! Check it out here:


Dreamstime - I love Dreamstime, not only do they provide an excellent service but the library is absolutely enormous. Its a great asset to have if you need just the right image but you are strapped for cash. What I like about using them is that you needent worry about model releases or rights - those are part of the deal. Unlike the Freebie sites this one has the documentation to go with the photos so you are clear on what you can use... no matter what.

IStockphoto - Getty Images little brother (or sister), like Dreamstime they offer thousands of images (and vector items) at a very low cost. This site has been around for a while and if you weren't aware of them you must have been locked in a closet somewhere. Istock also offers low-cost stock footage as well as audio and flash items. Great place to procure lots of great images for your site, ad or whatever you're making.

Theme Forest - While these guys aren't my favorite, I have to admit the entire network has become very appealing. Whether you're looking for an image, a PSD brush or if you need an After Effects project file - this is the site for you. The prices aren't horrible so almost anyone can afford the cost.

Photoshop Stuff. Now I'm talking the crap that you don't normally find on a stock site (brushes, scripts, actions, styles, gradients, shapes etc) . I wonder why sometimes - although some sites are starting to catch on (Envato marketplace, Deviant Art etc). But the bigger sites still have yet to offer Photoshop resources for artists... Perhaps that's because there are SOOOO many free items there's no point? IDK, but onto the list of goodies:

The Exchange - originally this site was started by some undergrad at MIT. I went there just about everyday in the early 2000's, eventually the site got so popular that Adobe bought him out and it now is part of the Adobe site. You can find just about anything you want/need for any of the Adobe Products but Photoshop probably takes the lions share as far as breadth and content. One caveat is that several entrepreneurs have taken to listing their items on the site, not a bad thing necessarily but it does make for a lengthy search if you just wanted a free PSD brush of fingerprints and then have to wade through several pages of crap to get there. Well we all know NOTHING is absolutely free.. or is it?

Brusheezy - AWESOME SITE! A absolute must as far as a designer's resource and bookmark library. Almost every brush eventually ends up here... At least the free ones do. I suggest that if you haven't visited the site, get up off of your bum (so to speak) and do so. They do have a sister site called vecteezy that contains several hundreds (perhaps thousands) of vectors, so do please check them both out.

Ok... now it's getting crazy for me so I'm going to JUST list all of the exciting and wonderful sites dedicated to JUST Photoshop...

Blogs... Oh yeah the blogs. There are so many great blogs to go to that contain freebies, downloads, links etc. That you could literally spend hours, days, weeks just jumping from link to link to link and grabbing all the free stuff. (Too bad money isn't given out like this. If I had a nickel for all the free stuff I've gotten - well I'd have about $1,000.)

I could go on and on and on. But I think for now this should keep you busy and relatively well stocked (get it? Stocked... lol). Anyway, I'll post another article on Free Vector sites, 3D and stock footage. Yeah - I know, you can't wait at all can you?

Truffles - 3D Models on TurboSquid

3D models of Truffles in Dark, Milk and White Chocolate. With chocolate drizzles - all of which are mesh objects and can be deleted or re-arranged. Also - no bitmaps were used... the materials in this scene are all shaders and do not need external files. Original files were created in ZBrush.

You can purchase the models here: