.

Never assume you know it all, there is always someone somewhere who knows more - find them and learn it, then read this sentence again.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I was born in the bottom left hand corner of the UK in ’68 where I grew up and live today. I guess my career as a creative was sealed by the fact that my father was and still is a well known artist and his genes fitted me just fine. 3 years at art college taught me little, so I spent a couple of years working freelance as an illustrator, in which time I established my own style and techniques.

Still feeling like I was waiting for something, I decided that this didn’t really suit me so I gave up on anything creative until my PC happened in ’95. I fell in love with Photoshop and 3D Studio 4 (the predecessor of Max) which re-awoke my need to create. I landed a job with Websight 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.

  What do you do for inspiration?

I used to love and collect all those fantasy art books when I was at college for inspiration - Jim Burns, Tim White, Syd Mead, Boris Valejo, etc. I tried oil painting, acrylics, pen and ink, just like them - set out ground rules for my own skills and honed them into the styling I have today. These guys were the building blocks of my skill-set, I now rely mostly on movies and games for new ideas.

Sharp, dark and polished is what I’m into right now, I like to play around a lot with light - I think it’s one of the hardest things to get right in design. Other sources of inspiration include TV, Album cover art (particularly Hugh Syme) and sometimes... dreams!

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

For resource, it has to be www.flashkit.com. For kicks, www.joecartoon.com cracks me up, and for competition, ideas and inspiration - FWA of course :)

  What software couldn’t you live without?

1 - 3D Max; 2 - Games

Since buying my first PC I’ve had some kind of 3D software installed. I guess I’m a bit of a game head, so the interest in game graphics steered me toward 3D modelling. I quickly discovered that working in Max is the only thing I can do on my PC that gives me the same buzz as playing a good game...

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

In the design field, Outpost was definitely a breakthrough project, there was a hell of a lot of work put into it.

Basically by myself and Pete Otaqui, the genius behind the scripting that holds it all together, and a couple of other invaluable guys here that added their own unique touches.

It took nearly six months to build and it’s very much my baby. Which reminds me, it needs updating pretty soon - other floors were due to be added to the building but heavy workload prevents any major expansion at the moment.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

A recent shift in the balance with Websight means standard web site design takes a back seat and multimedia e-learning takes over. There is a huge market here that is still relatively untouched and the potential for creativeness is there in a big way. Our latest e-learning projects involve a lot of interactivity, a marriage of custom 3D modelling/animation and Flash make an interesting learning medium.

  Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Books? No, never. I like to write tutorials and generally help out with what I know on forums but I’m too lazy to write a book, I’m more of a reader.

  Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

www.fantasy-interactive.com for stunning visuals, www.nanonews.net for optimisation and content (check out ’The Product’ under features for an awesome piece of optimisation. You WILL believe...) www.yugop.com (more of a collection of designers) for sheer scripting genius.

  Who is your target audience?

From a company point of view, our audiences are usually large Corporates who aim their courses at potential graduates aged between 18 and 100. From a personal angle, I suppose my ideas and designs are influenced by and aimed at the 20-30 somethings of the world, myself in other words.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

As a company we like to consider ourselves as groundbreaking, but whether we influence other design companies with our products or have any major effect on the market is anyone’s guess. We like to think so.

As a designer, I’m always frustrated at the amount of work put into a kickass little Flash gadget or neat bit of scripting that will never be used because of time issues or cost. Given free reign I think there would be a lot more interesting stuff on the web to influence and inspire others, but the web is always hungry and there is never enough time to feed it.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

Originality and Quality. Flash is capable of so much now, yet the current trend dictates that sites need to look and function in a way more suited to the styling and technology of 2 years ago - there are only so many times a mono-tinted, minimalist site with little macromedia style arrows everywhere can be done. *sigh*.

It’s even being carried across to TV and Print media now, it’s everywhere - just seems like an easy ride for designers, based on the limitations of the web. Now look at the work of Fantasy Interfaces, for example - this is how I think the web SHOULD look.

Bring on the day when current game visuals become commonplace on the web, that’s when I’ll be in my element!

  What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

It was a site advertising a local decking company about 4 years ago before the wonders of Flash were introduced to me, and I’m ashamed to say it is still online.

If you think I’m giving you a URL though, forget it! Call it a learning curve. A very steep one.

  What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it?

My strong point is in visuals. I won’t pretend to know complex action scripting or code, to be honest that stuff is well beyond my mathematically challenged brain. I leave that to the pros. (That’s not to say I can’t hold my own though!)

Since Outpost I have toyed with various 2D/3D innovative Flash interfaces which have pushed both creative and functional hemispheres to bursting point. This work is still ongoing and won’t be available to view online until it is implemented in final projects. The toughest thing? It’s whatever comes along tomorrow ;D

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Who knows what the future will bring? No, I can’t see it being around in a few years - probably a distant relative, but the chances of Flash (as a vector package) surviving as pipes get fatter and technology advances are remote. Everything moves on at an increasing pace, Flash will evolve into something better too, hopefully combining 3D and actionscripting at some point. Until then, I’m keeping my 3D skills sharp...

  How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

For assistance I have always used user tutorials or FLAs from sites such as Flashkit. I found these a lot clearer and easier to follow than Macromedia help files, though I won’t recommend ripping in general as this sux. I’ve been a victim of this a couple of times now.

Every design is an improvement on something that has been done before, the trick is making it appear unique.

Push Flash to its limits, don’t be influenced by what is classed as ’good design’, and... be proud of what you create.

  What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

Jeans and sweat top in the winter, T-shirt in summer. I guess my favourite labels for Flashing are North Face, Headworx, Rip Curl and Oakley. Scruffy, but hey - since when did designers ever wear suits?

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Never assume you know it all, there is always someone somewhere who knows more - find them and learn it, then read this sentence again.

  It’s been a privilege, Graham, thank you!

Thank you back, may your site keep expanding!


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