Written and Media by Kelsey Neier.[divide]
Digital Media is an awesome major that Greenville College offers. This major allows us to think creatively and allows our ideas and concepts to be brought to life through photography, video, graphic design, web and many other courses. So far, I’ve learned a lot about time management and want to share my thoughts and helpful tips on how to make the most of being a Digital Media major.
Never procrastinate. When you’re a Digital Media major, the amount of projects that you get every semester can seem unbearable. It can feel as if you’re constantly switching between Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and other Adobe programs while trying to balance other general education credits and extra curricular activities. Sometimes, even thinking about all of the hours I’m going to spend hunched over on my computer for the week is enough to stress me out, and put all digital media assignments on the back burner for awhile. However, I’ve found that the easiest way to get these assignments done is to find a quiet place to sit down and work on them as soon as possible. Procrastination is only going to make the project seem bigger and more terrifying than it really is. It is best to just sit down, focus, and start early so you’ll be showing off your best work during critiques.
Creativity will boost your grade. Digital media majors should try to be as creative as possible when completing assignments. Our portfolios are a big deal, and we want to showcase our best work. If we slack and don’t put our full effort into making something we’re proud of, then what’s the point? If we add just one more color, element or texture and take a risk with our work, it can push our masterpiece to the next level, grade wise and design wise. Don’t be afraid to try new concepts and ideas with your projects.
Buy a sketchbook. A creative spark can strike you at any time, and even though you think the idea will stay in your brain, sometimes if disappears, never to return again. It’s so important to have a sketchbook to write down your idea or draw out a design that just popped into your brain. You never know when inspiration will strike, so it’s important to be prepared. Sketchbooks are a great way to stay organized and creative throughout your day.
Talk to your professors. Your professors are here to help you succeed. Many times, I’ve found that talking with a professor can help give me a new outlook on an idea I had in my head. They can help you with a design, coding or a photography problem you may be facing and help you look at your work from a different approach. Sometimes they will suggest a change that you had never even considered that will improve your design. Jessa Wilcoxen, Deloy Cole or Jacob Amundson are always happy to help see your projects come to life.
Stay up to date on software and trends. The creative field is always changing. Employers are more likely to hire someone who is fluent in more than one program rather than someone who just knows how to use Photoshop. The internet and all that inhabits it is always changing. We must remain flexible and adapt to these changes. We’ve been introduced to six second videos and ten second snaps. Instagram has taken over and now it’s considered a must to have a LinkedIn account. It’s crucial to stay up to date on how technology is always changing, and this includes all the latest trends and apps.
Find people in your field and get to know them. You can learn a lot from each other. Some of my best friends are majoring or minoring in digital media, and they’ve helped me out a lot when I’ve been struggling with a creative project. It’s always good to get a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective on your work. The more people you get to know in your field the more they’ll be able to help you, and vice versa. It’s always fun when you can team up with your friends on a photography portrait shoot or video assignment. I’m thankful that my friends and family members let me take pictures of them as seen below:
Sleep is important!! It’s so easy to get caught up in the details of masking in Photoshop, and drawing the perfect path in Illustrator. Sometimes when we’re working on a project we can lose track of time. There have been many cases when I got caught up writing an article for the Papyrus (such as this one) or designing a magazine spread that I look at the clock and two a.m. is flashing back at me. Make sure that you always find the time to take naps throughout the day and get as much sleep at night as possible.
Make your own designs in your free time. Go shoot a random video, drive around for a couple hours and take pictures. Sometimes I just like to go into Photoshop and create whatever I’m feeling that day. I’ll create pictures, graphics, logos or swap faces of friends’ Facebook pictures to create something hilarious. The possibilities are endless. Get your creative juices flowing by trying to create something unique that you’re proud of at least once a week.
Youtube tutorials are very helpful. Whenever you’re struggling with a technique in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign you can always turn to Youtube. Youtube has countless videos on how to do just about anything you can think of with these programs. Some channels on Youtube that I enjoy are Photoshop Tutorials and Solopress. Youtube videos can quickly show you how to mask something, remove an object, or blend two images. Be sure to watch some videos in your free time to try on your own projects!
Think creatively. There are many ways to go about a project, especially in our field. Think outside the box, and then think outside that box. Use your resources, whether that be the internet or your friends to help you out. Take your camera and shoot something small from different angles, or blow it up and add fun effects to it. Don’t ever feel like you have to follow the “rule of thirds” or stick to the rule book all the time. It’s important to know the rules on how to create a good photo or design, but it’s just as important to experiment and create something that’s different and visually appealing.