Posts in Category "Spotlight"

SeattlePUG-15Jan2013-Mtg-ColinSmith

15 Jan 2013  Seattle Photoshop Meeting with Colin Smith

Seattle Photoshop User Group Meeting 15 Jan 2013

It all started with an email from a User Group Manager frantically looking for a last minute speaker.  As a Community Manager, sometimes I can help, sometimes I cannot.  But this time, I was able to go the extra mile in trying to help this User Group….We originally just intended to do just an Adobe Connect Webinar; but then I thought, wouldn’t it be great to bring a live speaker to Seattle? We have never done been able to do this with one of the Creative Suite User Groups on such short notice.  And so fortunately, after a few phonecalls, I was able to find an Adobe Community Professional Speaker (ACP): Colin Smith from PhotoshopCAFE.com.  Howard Heflin who runs the Seattle Photoshop User Group (SeaPUG) was thrilled! Now, the SeattlePUG originally started in 2008; and, it is one of the larger Photoshop User Groups in the Adobe Group’s Program. Initially, we had over 200 RSVP’d and over 81 on the waiting list for Colin’s visit. We were fortunate to pack the place with over 160 attendees. I usually start off a session by asking a few questions about product usage; 50% were using Photoshop CS5; 50% were using Photoshop CS6; not too many Creative Cloud Users; lots of Lightroom Users, including some newbies who came just for this meeting. All in All, this was a heavy photographer focused User Group.

After the marketing stuff by some Adobe guy, Colin got right into the Lightroom and started his Demo. Colin generally does not cover the demos or content material from his many videos, instead he focuses on new discoveries and questions he’s come across with the products…. Like, I did not know that there was an xml-based file associated with a Lightroom image and the adjustments made to it.  This XML file can actually be opened in Dreamweaver. And Colin, did just that, by opening the XML file and changing the lighting/Color adjustments from text in the XML file. Pretty Nifty and something new.  Colin is so patient as a presenter. Now, discussion did get bogged down a bit on “Photoshop/Photo file–Meta Data”, there was a lot of interest in this subject, but as Colin answered a few of the immediate questions, he then pointed to his Lightroom 4 DVD that pretty much covers all the basics, and then got back on track.  Colin then move onto more “juicier” topics, like What is “High Dynamic Range – HDR Photography?.  Lots of folks, really didn’t know, so Colin did a short explanation on how today’s cameras are limited in the amount of “details” that can be picked up in a photo, less than what the human eye would normally see.  He also went over some of the new features in Photoshop CS6 which allows for the combining of “bracketed” exposures of a subject into one singular image with higher dynamic range (Colin was flipping back and forth between Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 to make his point). Very cool part of the presentation and seemed to hold the interest of some of the newbies.

All in All, there was definitely audience interest in having more topics on Lightroom at the SeattlePUG. The audience was appreciative of having a high quality speaker come to present at their group.  The Adobe Community Team often tries to bring Adobe Community Professionals to the User Groups (when feasible) to:

  1. Bring Fresh new content/speakers to an area
  2. Promote Photoshop & the New features available to Creative Cloud Members
  3. BUILD COMMUNITY.

Seattle will be hosting another ACP – Stephen Burns of Chromeallusion.com on March 19th at the Adobe Offices. This will again be another GREAT! user group meeting, brought to you by the Adobe Community Team.

“Creating Your Own Uniqueness” — March 19, 2013 Workshop by Stephen Burns

Lastly, while I was at the meeting I got to meet the Adobe sponsor for the Seattle Photoshop User Group, John Cornicello and thanked him  for volunteering and helping out this user group. One of the hardest things for a User Group going is finding a venue in which to meet at consistently.

 

Time Lapse Coverage 0f SeaPUG meeting

While at the meeting, I set up my camera to take a series of time-lapse photos which resulted in a short 30 sec movie. It’s not meant to provide detail just a high level overview of what happened at the user group meeting.

Or Play Movie (Click 

here)

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From SeattlePUG-TimeLapse-15Jan2013

 

Thanks to the volunteers at the Registration Desk! And to our Speaker — Colin Smith from PhotoshopCAFE!

 

16 Jan 2013 – Dinner with Seattle Area Adobe User Group Managers

While in Seattle, I took the opportunity to gather up the local area Adobe User Group managers in order to talk to them about the upcoming #CreateNOW tour being sponsored by Adobe. The CreateNOW tour was fast approaching and we needed to speed up the logistics and planning for the event. More importantly, we needed to decide on a venue for the next big event.  It is not often the Adobe Community Team gets around to the user groups; and, we are trying to do more of this when it is practical and makes business sense.  The Seattle Adobe User Group will be holding their #CreateNOW tour on March 9th; I am looking forward to attending that event to see what they can do.

Seattle Area Adobe User Group Managers (Creative Suite & ProVideo)

 

The Future of Developer Communities: Some Thoughts

Lately, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of discussion about the role of the “platform agnostic” developer – a developer who is equally comfortable across a range of languages and technologies, switching from one to another as each new project or customers requires. To call out just a few examples, Seb Lee-Delisle has been talking a lot about this subject, as well as Grant Skinner and too many others to list here.

It makes a lot of sense for developers to take this approach. In today’s environment, with significant fragmentation in the mobile world, lots of change in the browser environment, and new devices coming to market practically every week, sticking to closely to what’s worked in the past can limit your future options.

I wonder, though, what the role of community will be in this new world. Today’s user group model is focused very much around communities of expert practitioners within single technologies — ColdFusion developers form ColdFusion communities and come together to discuss CF-specific techniques, frameworks, and practices. Flash developers, the same. It’s all very siloed and very focused.

What will happen when that developer is working on an Android project one month, maybe an iOS gig the next, and then some Flash work after that? The old model doesn’t fit the need so well anymore.

One answer might be for that developer to find and join multiple communities to help support him or her in their work, but I’m not sure that’s the best answer. It’s hard enough to find and build relationships within even one community. I wonder if developers will have the energy or the time to create those kinds of connections across multiple communities.

So what’s a better solution?

A change in focus, for one thing. With more developers looking to expand their skillsets, I expect that we’ll see developer communities paying more attention to supporting new to intermediate developers coming into the community and a little less to deep-dives into expert-level topics.

And that changes of focus is already being reflected within our own community. We’re seeing an increasing number of people wanting to hold Camps – from Flash Camps to After Effects Camps and more. Camps are a great way to reach out to new community members and introduce them to new topics, as you have more time than a typical user group meeting. If this trend continues we”ll see a whole lot more Camps in 2011.

I also think our concept of community itself will evolve. We need to start thinking about defining communities less in single-tool silos and more in broader categories. “Adobe developers” instead of “Flash developers”, for example.

Some user groups are already changing to meet the needs of this new environment.  To name just a few examples, SanFlashcisco has been doing sessions on HTML5 as well as Flash in recent months. Fire On The Bay is expanding beyond Fireworks to focus on a range of web development tools. FlashBrighton is now dotBrighton, covering a range of topics from HTML5 to AfterEffects and beyond.

I don’t have all the answers yet, but we all need to start asking those questions.

What do you think?

Learning From When Things Go Wrong

Image via Wikipedia

One thing you learn early on in community work (as in life) is that not everything works out the way you think it will. This is especially true when you’re trying to start a new event or user group.

New user groups face a lot of challenges when they get started. Finding a place to meet is a huge issue for some. For others, it’s finding local speakers. Still others struggle with how to get the word out about the group and attract members. And then there’s the whole budget issue … it is not easy, and many groups can’t get takeoff velocity despite the best intentions.

Putting on a bigger event, like a conference or a camp, is even more challenging. Even a small conference in a less-expensive part of the country can run up a five-figure budget, and for the bigger conferences the costs spiral up fast. It’s not easy and when things don’t go as planned, it can cause a lot of financial havok for the organizers.

It’s always sad to hear when a conference fails, whether it’s one that has been around for many years or is trying to become a new conference. The fact is, trying something new is always a risk, and inherent to risk is the possibility of failure. You don’t get one without the other.

And that’s OK. It’s more than OK, in fact – it’s necessary. You cannot learn or grow or build anything new without risk.

Even worse, sometimes people who fail at bringing a new conference or user group into a community will feel they’re not able to participate at all; that they don’t have “what it takes”.

If that’s you – please, don’t take the wrong lessons from failure. Learn what you need to learn about why you failed, and take the steps necessary to fix them. Maybe you need to find a partner who has some of the skills you lack. Maybe you need to change your focus, or try a new approach to your outreach. Maybe you were too ambitious in your goals, or maybe you overestimated the demand in your area. Whatever it is, though – push through it.

And once you’ve learned what you need to learn, if the fire to make something happen is still there, try again.

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