As Senior Worldwide Creative Cloud Evangelist for Adobe, Paul focuses on workflows that empower designers and developers to create amazing interactive content for the web and mobile devices.
Paul has been an Adobe Certified Instructor and courseware creator for over a decade. A writer and prolific trainer, Paul has earned top author status at Lynda.com and has created a constant stream of content for AdobeTV as well as his own tutorials on www.designupdate.com.
Prior to joining Adobe, Paul led a team of interactive designers and developers at Starz Entertainment producing multimillion dollar web and mobile campaigns.
When he is not traversing the globe he can be found hiking somewhere in the Colorado mountains (and he’s not telling where). Best chance to find him is to follow him on twitter: @paultrani
Colorado Institute of Art interview with Shawna Higel.
When did you decide you wanted to be a designer?
I don’t know if I ever had a day where I “decided” to be a designer. Growing up I’ve always had a natural talent for drawing and creating things. I had notebooks filled with drawings of heroes, dragons, mazes and basketball stars. I would take my mom’s cigarette boxes and turn them into little video games. Whatever I could get my hands on I would try to turn it into something cool but it was probably just weird. Still, my parents were always so proud of me and supported me every step of the way (0r looked the other way) and I thank them for that.
In school, my art teachers put me in charge of any extracurricular project they had. I illustrated the school newspaper for as long as I could remember as well as any logo, t-shirt or poster needed. I was the “art guy” (without the stereotypes associated with such a title). So when it came time to go to college, art school was a no-brainer.
You are from Denver, where did you attend school?
I went to Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Graduated with a BFA in Illustration.
Did you have to “pay your dues” and put in time as an unpaid intern?
No. I’ve never worked for free, and I’m not 100% sure if I believe in it. I think it’s a question of worth. For you and the client. If you’re bringing real value to a business I don’t see why they can’t pay you. But at the same time if you want to learn no matter what, then sometimes it means being unpaid to gain experience. As long as you know your value. But no. General rule is to never do work for anyone who says, “But it will be good for your portfolio”.
What was your first design job?
I worked for Up the Creek newspaper while still in college. A Denver newspaper where I illustrated the cover (airbrush), did the layout (wax machine), and all the article illustrations (ink). And I would kill myself every other week to hit deadline. Still, such a cool job and I was so proud when it hit stands and saw my work in print.
What do you feel your design specialty is?
Great question! I think right now I’d say interactive design and animation. Using Edge Animate, Muse, anything that gets the job done fast. But my goal is to always be in the field that allows for the most creativity. I started out in print (flat design). Then I did on-air graphics/animation for a couple years (motion). Then jumped into CD ROM design. Which meant design, motion and interactivity. Which is basically what I do today. So typically anything involving the most senses is what I gravitate towards because that gives me the most creativity and the biggest opportunity towards awesomeness.
What do you think the most important thing a designer should remember when designing?
That it can be better. And be humble enough to seek other’s advice. I remember getting a former classmate a job at the television network. She didn’t last 6 months because she couldn’t take criticism. Could have been such a growth opportunity, yet she thought she knew it all. I still don’t know it all. Which is why to this day I post work to Behance.net to get other’s feedback and ultimately making my work better.
I hear quite a few commercial designers state that they don’t draw well, can you?
Actually, yes. Which is why I got an illustration degree and had life painting and all those fun classes. Sadly, I kind of looked down on my college roommate because he couldn’t draw and was in the graphic design program. I just thought he wouldn’t be successful. But I was wrong. Brandon Genova is a successful art director in Denver to this day. So you don’t need the drawing talent. But lets face it, it helps.
Do you use thumbnails and sketches to lay out your initial design ideas or do you design as you go?
Since I’ve been using Photoshop since version 3 it’s like an extension of myself (as cheesy as that sounds). The software doesn’t get in the way, or drive what I’m trying to do. So I just jump right in and start creating. Admittedly, I can’t wait for tablets and pens to have more accuracy and flexibility because I really miss drawing and do find it more natural to sketch, with the flexibility digital gives you. Luckily Adobe is working on something like that now with Project Mighty and Project Napoleon so I’m really excited.
What is your favorite design tool?
Photoshop. With my new favorite being Project Mighty.
Any closing remarks on your career or the design field in general?
Well. I must say that I am more than blessed to be where I’m at right now. And looking back on my career I just don’t think I’ve ever worked a day in my life (don’t tell my boss). I’ve just created cool stuff and do it for what people call “work” and for pleasure. So I’m constantly working but it never feels like work. And I feel like anyone in the creative industry should feel the same way. Creatives have the best jobs in the world. Period. We get to create things. If we don’t like what we’re doing for our boss during the day, we can pursue our creative interests at night and see that evolve into something amazing. And Creative Cloud gives me the flexibility to jump into any area I want.
- Senior Creative Cloud Evangelist
- March 29, 2010 – Present
Responsible for showing designers and developers how to create amazing content for the web and mobile devices using the Creative Cloud.
- Senior Interactive Designer / Interactive Design Manager
- June 2002 â€” March 26, 2010
Duties include leading a team of Interactive Designers/Developers in creating award-winning online experiences that promote the Starz brand and movie product. In this position I have been able to build a strong team that has executed many multi-million dollar online campaigns that promote Starz and are consistent across media (video, print, etc.). Some of the projects include:
- Interactive Designer and Courseware Developer
- June 2002 – Present
Trilemetry specializes in high-end, custom online communications as well as development of courseware for Adobe. I have been an integral part of this group as their designer, developer and trainer.
- Flash 8 Advanced Design course – Co-Creator
- Flex Getting Started Experience – Asset Creator
- ColdFusion 8 Getting Started Experience – Asset Creator
- An Introduction to Flash Builder – Asset Creator
- Flash Cast – Asset Creator
- Adobe Certified Instructor
- June 2001 – March 2006
Instructor and courseware developer for GT Alliance delivering classroom-based courses in Denver as well as on-site for such companies as Doublclick, MDC Holdings, Los Alamos National Labratory, Carmichael Lynch, and Martin Williams. Average instructor rating is 4.7 out of 5.
Adobe Certified Flash Courses:
- Flash Advanced Design – Asset Creator
- Flash MX 2004 Rich Media Development
- Flash 8 Rich Content Creation
- Design Techniques with Flash
- Macromedia Flash 8 ActionScript
- Flash Application Development
- Flash Video Development
Adobe Certified Dreamweaver Courses:
- Dreamweaver Website Development
Adobe Photoshop Courses:
- Fast Track to Adobe Photoshop – 2-Day Coursebook. Writer, Creator, Publisher.
Moxie Media Group
- Interactive Designer/Developer
- February 2000 – June 2002
Responsible for the design and development of web sites, CD ROMs, DVDs, and broadcast animation. Responsibilities include all aspects of production including concept, design, animation, and programming. Partial client list include: Arcadis, Hallmark Channel, Invesco Funds, Lucent Technologies, Qwest, Sprint, and Western Union.
COMPANY 39 (a divison of Parsons Brinkerhoff)
November 1998 – February 2000
- Multimedia Designer/Developer
- July 1997- November 1998
Responsibilties include designing and creating solutions delivered via the Internet and CD-ROM. Worked directly with such clients as: Lucent Technologies, StorageTek, Kaiser Permanente, IBM, State of Colorado, and Cabelaâ€™s.
Interactive Television Network
- Motion Graphics Designer
- May 1995 – June 1997
Created the visual identity of the entire network channel, which included the creation of network identity spots, commercials, trailers, bumpers, game introductions for such shows as: Interactive Jeopardy. Catchwords, Quick Play Trivia, Pro Team Dodgeball, Crosswords, Grid Lock, Stud Poker, Blackjack Masters, Press Your Luck and QB1.
Portfolio of Projects
Here is a partial list of projects I’ve worked on prior to 2010:
- Spartacus – Galleries, video, augmented reality etc.
- Crash Press Room
- Neutrogena -Delivered in multiple languages.
- Flex Animated Overview – Yes, that is my voice.
- Arizona Interactive Map Guide – XML-loaded lattitude and longitude, converted and displayed exact locations.
- EcoSports – Design and asset creation (internal team did the programming).
- WorldOrphans.org – Art direction and all Flash design/development.
- BlessmanMinistries.org – Art direction and all Flash design/development.
- Cube Dash Game - Cartoon version of me is on the 2nd floor.
- Arcadis & Arcadis Branding
- Margaret Boyd Photography – All XML-driven.
Sampling of assets I’ve created for demos/tutorials:
- Easy/Early Success with Flash – Adobe MAX 2009 Session
- ActionScript 3 Animation – Adobe eSeminar
- Architecting a Flash Website – Adobe eSeminar
- Creating Your First Website Using Dreamweaver – lynda.com
- Creating Your First Website Using Flash CS4 – lynda.com
- Flash Advanced Design for Designers (FADD) – created this Certified Macromedia Course
- Create Rich Interactive Experiences eSeminar, February 24, 2010 10AM PT
- Oklahoma AIGA presentation – Thursday, May 6, 2010
- New Mexico AIGA presentation – June 2010
Flash 2010 Tour:
- Philadelphia, PA February 26th, 2010
- Minneapolis, MN March 26th, 2010
- New York City, NY April 30th, 2010
- Chicago, IL May 28th, 2010
- Boston, MA June 25th, 2010
- San Francisco, CA July 30th, 2010
- Los Angeles, CA August 27th, 2010
- Saddlebrook, NJ September 24th, 2010
- Toronto, Canada October 29th, 2010
- Dallas, TX November 19th, 2010
2009 Adobe Speaking Engagements:
- Adobe MAX 2009 – Flash sessions
- Rocky Mountain Adobe Camp
- Getting Started with Flash – 5 city summer tour
- Peace, Love, Print Conference (Phoenix, Denver) – CS4 Design Premium sessions
- Adobe MAX North America 2008 – Learning Lab and Flash Session
- IPA Technical Conference – Keynote and Learning Lab
- Adobe Day at Turner Studios – Advanced Flash sessions
- Adobe Day at Pearson – Flash and Dreamweaver
- Promax BDA Conference – Flash, Flash Video, and After Effects
- GAIN Conference
- AIGA Presentations on CS3 and CS4 in Colorado, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, Orlando, Seattle, Phoenix, Boise, Des Moines, Albuquerque
2008-2009 Adobe eSeminars:
- Flash CS3 Professional vs. Flash CS4 Professional
- Creating Cool Animations in Flash CS4
- Creativity Unleased: What’s New in CS4 Design Premium
- Using InDesign and Illustrator to Create Flash Animations
- CS4 Design Premium: Creativity Unleased
- From Pixels to Playback: Adobe Photoshop to Adobe Flash
- Move Your Design Across Multiple Media
- Create and Deploy Print Creative Across Multiple Media
- Create and Deploy Streaming Flash Video
- Advanced Design with After Effects and Flash
- Whats New in CS3 Web Premium
- Whats New in CS3 Production Premium
- Flash for Video Professionals
- Flash CS3 Crash Course
- Flash CS3 for Web Designers
- ActionScript 3.0 Animation in Flash
- Architecting a Website in Flash