At g94 WWFT stands for we work for Tamara.
Please give us a brief bio of the group94 team.
group94 is a gang of 7:
Frederik:28, Php-developer, aka "Jezter"
Thomas:24, Developer, aka "Langeuh", 2 meters (6.56 ft) tall
Pieter:30, Designer/Flash developer, Graduated in as an industrial designer but started as a web designer immediately after graduation.
Ciel:24, Designer/Flash developer
Steven:28, Designer & developer, graduated as a graphic designer, did one year of print design and then started at group94.
Pascalis the founder/chieftain and
Tamarais the project manager.
At g94 WWFT stands for we work for Tamara.
As individuals, what do you do for inspiration?
Frederik:A big challenge is my greatest inspiration, something we haven't done before always gets me motivated.
Thomas:You don't really need inspiration to program, but music is a big source of inspiration. Yeah, music and the people around you.
Pieter:Anything that helps me clear my head: a long walk, a nice dinner, a good game of ultimate frisbee, parties, movies, music, anything but design really.
Ciel:I usually get the best ideas when I’m not working. So I try to start the day with a good idea instead of trying to find it behind my pc.
Steven:inspiration is hard to control, ideas indeed often come unexpected. But other creative or beautiful work always stimulates me, eg great architecture or graphic design (rather than webdesign).
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Pieter:Digg.com / www.yayhooray.com (design community)
Steven:I use google a lot. Maybe I should stop doing that now that they're taking over the world.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Frederik:Mick94, the first content management we used for big projects. Not to impressive now but back then it it was really advanced stuff. Our new content management system Flash94 2.0 is really nice and something we can be proud of.
Steven:I guess being at g94 for over five years now.
Pieter:beating everyone at pool here every single lunch break
What software couldn't you live without?
Frederik:Topstyle - Nice and basic editor, does most of the stuff I need
Thomas:Flash - otherwise there wouldn't be any work - and our onscreen ruler
Pieter:Flash / Illustrator / xtorrent
Ciel:Flash, Illustrator, Textpad, Firefox, … but if you want my favourite: Photoshop!
Steven:Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, the usual.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Frederik:a Cultural youth site, a mix of flash and html with a very nice look & feel.
Pieter:the same cultural youth site
Steven:currently there are a couple of interesting portfolios waiting to go online which I look forward to. We’re waiting for the client to fill in the cms. Some sites aren’t finished when they’re ‘done’.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Frederik:2advanced, 3advanced and 4advanced ;)
Ciel:first on my mind: www.northkingdom.com, www.wefail.com, …
Steven:top three.. lots of people make great work. To name some also Northern Kingdom, and Second Story & Hi-res
Pieter:I like the work of Wefail,
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Frederik:A big one ;)
Steven:depends on if they have video or not, or lots of big images.
Who is your target audience?
Ciel:Everyone who appreciates a good quality website?
Steven:that depends on the project.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Frederik:the basic and simple designs, smart and good usability.
Steven:also I prefer typography over bevels and embossing anyday.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Frederik:Very basic blog website, it was only online for about a year or so.
Thomas:I don't even remember. My archive only begins at version3 and it's a laughter. Currently version 6 is online at www.opcd.net and it's about 2 years old.
Pieter:My first resume I used to find my first job with was made in html. Luckily it has only been online for about two weeks.
Ciel:My first site was part of my graduating project on high school. But I took it offline a few moths ago.
Steven:my first page was a html 1.0 splash page, featuring magenta, black and creative use of the background-image. It's not online anymore, but i think i still have it somewhere.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Frederik:No and yes, a un-healthy cookbook would be nice
Thomas:No and no
Pieter:No and no
Ciel:Mmmm I no think me good writer
Steven:I’d love to write a book some day. The tactile sense you get from them is stronger than looking at a screen. Plus books give you the false impression that you’re making something that will last forever.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Frederik:Make a movieclip
Thomas:The dynamic text-effect in www.mortierbrigade.com. That week was a period of extreme sighing, cursing and complaining. But when you get it finally working, after using tons of tricks and workarounds, there's so much satisfaction! "In your face Flash!"
Pieter:Not really tough, but nice nonetheless: the dynamic pixel texteffect on www.flink.be -> a bitmap with some text is read in by php. Colored pixels are outputted to xml, read by flash and animated with colored boxes.
Ciel:Must be the Sprite project. Making a flat 3D image look like real 3D environment without using pre-rendered movies. Where you can walk around and meet dynamically placed 0bjects, in flash, only 2mb large.
Steven:The first Flash94. Its first version took a month and was initially developed more than three years ago for the www.mskgent.be site. It got improved and expanded over the years, and was the only flash content management system time for quite some time - at least that I know of. I have yet to see a cms that is as quick and easy to set up, adapt and implement. Except the new version 2.
There were quite a few hard coders over the years. Recent toughies for me were www.atelier.ie and www.handelsbeurs.be, which really pushes the edge of the flash/html hybrid site. If you look at photographers’ sites anything that has resizing scaling photos is difficult.
You cannot always tell, sometimes the things that look the simplest can be the hardest to make. Technology can be invisible, and that’s how it should be.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Frederik:Yes, but I think the use of it will change.
Thomas:I guess so. Technology doesn't stand still, why would Flash?
Pieter:I hope so...I'm missing out a bit on all the ajax stuff, so I hope there will still be a market for flash the following years.
Ciel:All good things come to an end :). No, I think flash will have to make some major improvements to be able to survive upcoming technology. But so far I didn’t see any big competitors yet.
Steven:Flash will keep on evolving as the technology of the net changes and as broadband gets wider. If it gets replaced it will be by something better with more capabilities. Flash might not be here to stay, but multimedia interfaces are.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Frederik:As a programmer I think having both in a company is nice.
Pieter:Well, I'm not really a graphic designer, and although industrial design shares some of the fields with graphic design, I do sometimes feel limited as a designer. That being said, I'm convinced that I'm learning as much here from my collegues and Pascal than I would be able to learn from a design teacher in school.
Ciel:Graphic school gave me time. They didn’t really open up the world of graphic design to me. They just gave me time to learn it myself. So I think anyone who’s interested in graphic design could learn it.
Steven:You don’t need to go to graphic school to become a designer. But what you learn there gives you a big head start over those who have to discover everything by themselves. Like Ciel said, it gives you time.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Frederik:I think making good websites
Pieter:Nice work with great visibility
Steven:also having someone with commercial skills helps.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Frederik:Trial and error is the way to go.
Thomas:I studied Multimedia, but most of the things I learned were thanks to the Internet, hours of practice, experimenting, creative thinking and group94 of course!
Pieter:I downloaded the 30 day flash trial, did all the lessons that came with it, joined some online Flash communities (www.were-here.com & www.twelvestone.com), downloaded source files and tried to understand them, read tutorials, etc.)
Ciel:If you are persistent enough, you can learn everything by yourself. The internet provides everything you might want to know… Maybe a taking a few courses will get you on track, but afterwards you have to learn new things everyday, for the rest of your life :)
Steven:I started with Flash 3 (all tweens and no variables), taught myself some basics with Friends of Ed’ Foundation ActionScript and learned & developed all the rest at group94. I think I begun at a good time, if you’d start now and you don’t even know how to tween flash 9 must be overwhelming.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Frederik:Train tickets to London
Ciel:Some parts for my Vespa I guess.
Steven:I almost bought a house, too. Almost buying something is quite cheap. I should do it more often.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Frederik:No big labels, just clothes that I feel good in.
Thomas:I take off my shoes whenever I work, sits more comfortable in our big chairs! And we all have t-shirts from Threadless.com. That says about it.
Pieter:not really a labels man, but I do like volcom, threadless & diesel
Steven:totally not a labels man, a shirts brand doesn’t matter. I don’t like clothes with huge imprinted logo’s that make me feel like I’m a walking billboard. But I like most things from gsus and diesel.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Thomas:Keep your Flash library organised, your code clean and add comments
Frederik:Think before you do something, don't overdo the trial and error theory.
Ciel:Bezint eer ge begint! Or try to work out a concept before you start to think of designs and technology.
Pieter:Always save before exporting
Steven:If Flash crashes you can still save your project if you don’t close the warning screen. Besides that: use ease out.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Frederik:Thank you :)