You’ll be using three of the most popular image programs available: Photoshop, Fireworks, and Illustrator. These programs are available for a free 30 trial from Adobe (download software at home at your own risk; be sure to check with your parents first). Keep in mind that the trial programs are the most up-to-date versions. The school has licenses for slightly older versions (either CS2 or CS4), but the main principles remain the same.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in digital art/multimedia design, there’s an international organization called Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH) with a professional chapter in Vancouver. They hold conferences for design professionals all over the world.
For fun, check out this demo of digital painting by Scot Drake (Principal Concept Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering):
If you like manga, look what you can do with Photoshop:
The two most popular programs to create images for print and for the web are Photoshop and Fireworks. Advance your knowledge of Photoshop to prepare graphics and images for high-resolution publication. Learn to use colour, effects, palettes and layers effectively. Use Fireworks to create banners, images and animated graphics for the web.
Learn how to create illustrations, logos and ads with Adobe Illustrator. Although a basic ability to draw is useful, there are many tools & techniques for Illustrator that help you create stunning 2D and 3D vector images for various media.
Other Useful Information:
To transfer files from school to home and back again, you’ll need a memory stick or USB/thumb drive. If you tend to lose your thumb drives, don’t get anything bigger than a 4GB one (about $15, except during back-to-school sales when you can find them for $10). You can also use online storage sites like Box or DropBox.
Being able to draw will make a difference in the relative quality of your work. If you want to improve your drawing skills, try borrowing the book, “Drawing for Dummies” from the public library. Other than the title, the book does a pretty good job introducing you to drawing concepts that will help you produce work that looks pro. At the very least, you’ll be able to make more deliberate design decisions.
If you’re artistic, you might want a tablet for home. At the lab, we have about 10 available for student use.