I'm not able to look into the future, but I think other ways of communication will be developed. Now we have to sit at a computer screen to surf the web. I think that will change. I believe in holograms! Holograms popping up at every corner of the street telling you where to go and what to buy.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I've been put on this planet in a country called Belgium. I spend my youth playing lego, drawing, playing basketball and listening to music. I studied industrial design engineering, which was both a creative and technical course. I'm now 26 years old.
When I look at this list of interviewees, I think I'm an eccentric, I'm not a designer in a fancy design company. I'm actually a teacher in a multimedia school teaching flash and 3D animation.
Hey, someone has to coach those upcoming talents.
What do you do for inspiration?
I definitely don't get my inspiration from television because I don't watch it anymore. I started seeing the same thing over and over, same silly reality shows, not my cup of tea.
I do listen to a lot of music and I go see a movie once in a while, plus I like comic books. But inspiration can come to me by just walking the streets, seeing something, by making relationships between different kinds of things, things that don't belong together.
What software couldn't you live without?
Without any doubt: flash and Photoshop!
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
If you mean what I visit a lot, then that must be halfproject, cgtalk and insound. But from a creative point of view, I don't pinpoint myself to a certain kind of site, but at the moment I like 777run, visualdata, and Marines, but tomorrow it might be something else.
Who is your target audience?
r-a-n-d-o-m is there for everybody because it's a personal site, it's not a product I try to sell to a certain group of people. Either you like it or you don't.
What area of web design lacks the most?
I think there are too many "interfaces" out there; I want to see more "environments".
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I'm rather proud of my r-a-n-d-o-m site, because it's something different then what's out there. It's been online for about a year and a half and still people mail me to say that they have never seen anything like it before.
I'm also proud of multimediamadness.be which is an award show my fellow multimedia teachers and I organise each year. It brings our students and the best multimedia companies in Belgium together. We also have great guest speakers coming to us, this year it was duolog.ximeralabs, group94 and grid-vfx. The site is aiming to be a platform for Belgium multimedia developers.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I plan to make a new r-a-n-d-o-m site, but there is no deadline involved, so I work on it when I feel like it. Other projects are that I have to examine the multimedia projects of my students.
And believe me when I say that it is a lot of work when you know I have 500 students all making flash sites and I have to look in their code to make sure they don't ripp from flashkit ;-)
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
It was made in flash 3 and it wasn't that bad, but the navigation was way too difficult.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
I don't often update the site. I put a whole amount of new things online at once, and then I lay low for a while and watch what people do with it. So there is a peak at first but then that stagnates. For a personal site like r-a-n-d-o-m it depends more where the site got linked. If you got linked somewhere in Japan then you can be sure your stats go way up.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it?
It must be the squashers at my r-a-n-d-o-m site, because I wanted to simulate a corridor filmed at different angles at the same time, the different views show the same thing. I spent almost a month (not full time) on it, it drove me crazy. Oh, and the scorpion too was difficult, every part of its body is a movie clip and is controlled by action script. There is even a multi-user version, but unfortunately that's not online.
Have you written any books?
If you take account courses for my students, then yes, I did. ;-) . I'm not planning to write a book, no.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
If you are looking for an artist who can draw or paint very well, I think yes, because that can be a skill you can learn all by yourself, you can create your own style. Although I guess you can expand your vision on certain things by going to art school and listen to what other sketch artists or painters do and how they work. All this can give a certain new direction to your work. So art school wouldn't be a bad thing, it would enhance your spectrum.
If it's for a designer (I studied industrial design engineering) you must be aware of ergonomics (usability), mathematics, physics and materials. You could learn all this from your local library, but who would do that, right? I strongly advise you to go to a school. An interactive designer nowadays must also have good programming skills, so maths is required (if you like it or not). Look at cool flash interaction...all maths!
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Show a case study to new clients so they can see what is possible because clients don't always now how things work and what is out there or what's behind it. You have to show them things, not just bla bla.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
I bought tickets to the ATPfestival.com in the UK.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
- The learning phase: In the beginning you learn from others, look at other people's source files, but just don't copy. Read books about Flash, design, other things that can be useful.
- The experimenting phase: Next you start experimenting. What would happen if you do this, what would happen if I multiply this equation with 2, oh, that's great... this is also known as the happy accident phase. Develop your own way of working with your favourite software. Also be critical, look back at early work and try to improve it.
- The trust-me-I-know-what-I'm-doing phase : Later when you have to work with clients, there will be no time for experimenting, or not that much, you will have to know what you're capable of, what the needs of your clients are and how they are best implemented.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I'm not able to look into the future, but I think other ways of communication will be developed. Now we have to sit at a computer screen to surf the web. I think that will change. I believe in holograms! Holograms popping up at every corner of the street telling you where to go and what to buy. So probably flash will once be taken over by some other cool software program.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I'm not a labels man. I do like to wear nice clothes, but there doesn't have to be a label on them. I buy what I like and wear what I feel comfortable in.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Don't care what other people think, but listen to what people have to say and learn from it.