Since starting at Adobe four months ago, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the world’s most creative individuals – one of them being Daniel Presedo, imagineer and evangelist for the Photoshop team. Daniel has been at Adobe for almost 17 years. Daniel took some time to sit down with me to give some insight into his life as a creative, his road to Adobe, and what it’s like to be a Photoshop mastermind.
Adobe Life: What inspired you to pursue a career in art? How old were you?
Daniel: I knew I wanted to draw and be creative ever since I was a baby picking up crayons and drawing on the sidewalk with rocks. My mom was always very encouraging of any artistic activity and my father was a chemical engineer, so he used to bring home stacks of computer paper. One side would be the computer printout, and the other side had nothing, so I would just sit there with stacks of paper and draw. I started off going to school at Louisiana State University (LSU), thinking I wanted to be a graphic designer, but after a few years, I decided that I wanted to pursue something completely different. I left LSU and started my own business as a comic artist.
For as long as I can remember, I was also interested in technology, so in the ‘90s when everything was evolving with desktop publishing and the Internet, I began testing software. My brother-in-law told me I could go out to California and work for Adobe or Apple, where they built the software I was testing, so I made the move out here. Once I got to Adobe, I saw the amazing variety of creativity that was very different from Apple and any other company, and knew I had to work here.
Adobe Life: Why did you choose Adobe and what has kept you here for almost 17 years?
Daniel: The people. If you work with the right people who truly care about the process, the product, the company, and the creative people who use them, it makes work enjoyable. Adobe has a very unique culture that fuels creativity and keeps ideas flowing. If you go to other companies, you will quickly learn that Adobe is one of a kind and like no other company.
Adobe Life: What is your favorite creative convention, show, or conference to attend?
Daniel: It is hard to say which show I like best, but I really enjoy the Salt Lake Comic-Con show. It is different than the others because it’s a more family oriented show and much smaller than the others. San Diego is extremely fun, and for pure entertainment value, it is probably the best; however, for pure enjoyment, Salt Lake has been my favorite.
Adobe Life: What is the most valuable skill to have as a creative?
Daniel: It’s important to be diverse and have multiple skill sets. Don’t limit yourself to being an illustrator, painter, or photographer. The more experience you have in everything, the better artist you become. Even if you just want to be an illustrator, playing around with photography, 3D and other things will elevate your skills as an illustrator. There is no singular skill set that will make you the master of your trait; you want to digest everything.
Adobe Life: What’s the one Photoshop feature that you love the most?
Daniel: The painting and drawing tools are by far my favorite. It is the most incredible engine on the face of the planet in terms of software. I love 3D and the stuff we’re doing with 3D is amazing, but day in and day out, I use the brush tools and tool presets. During my sabbatical, I tried multiple different drawing apps, but after about an hour, I would always find myself back in Photoshop.
Adobe Life: What are 5 Photoshop tips that you would give someone looking to improve their Photoshop skills?
1. Tool Presets.
2. Experiment with 3D in Photoshop. Check out Daniel’s YouTube channel for help.
3. Learn Masking.
4. Adobe Capture app, create your own brushes easily.
5. Effects and styles – learn how to use them.
Here are some of Daniel’s masterpieces: