Results-oriented and innovation-driven Mac® UX/UI, Multimedia Scientist & Graphic Designer at Phantom Records™, LLC & User Experience Design™, LLC
I have cultivated a career of accomplished success while leading design projects. I have constructed a 15+ year track record of repeatedly delivering superior visual assets that consistently exceed client expectations.
15+ years of Subject Matter Expertise statutorily defines me as a “Specialist” under the U.S. Government’s Occupational Handbook guideline. I am authorized to bring, choose, and pay for unique tools that experience has proven are necessary to complete quality, advanced, work, without the need to explain or prove why.
I have demonstrated my expertise in a wide range of design categories including graphic, web, motion, UX/UI, multimedia, DVD menu, Flash “scene-jumping,” and more. I have honed an exceptional project management skill that has been clearly displayed across a history of excellence within fast-paced, high-volume, creative settings that enrich, not stifle creative inspiration that is compatible but not identical to Agile or other project management styles ill-suited for visual design workers.
I am dedicated to remaining at the forefront of Industry Mastery through the pursuit of continued professional development and research on new trends converging design toward development until they meet and produce modern mobile examples of the combination of everything I know.
Although this is a High School entry, it's an Honor's School & extremely selective. With an annual tuition topping $35,000 per year, the curriculum is rigorous and follows a University model. Students choose course slots and must complete up to 40 hours of homework per week per class. One can choose to take one "period" off during the day. I always chose one to be my lunch period and during the actual lunch twelve of us ran our study group - because it was the only time we knew we'd all be free our entire time at C.P.S. Graduates have gone on to lead Kaiser, create the "digital rain" animation in the Matrix series movies, and one whom I know was profiled during the Obama campaign for Presidency to predict the electoral college votes whose numbers were within 5 points of the outcome. His interview was calm and reassuring; intentional to ease the worry and end last minute concerns among supporters about misinformation in electoral vote tallies.
My first job in Graphic Design; following a first job out of High School as an Ice Cream Scooper, was at 18 years of for a ten-person, Mac® and post-up design firm in Oakland, California on 16th Street. Back then, computers were slower and relatively more expensive; however this firm rented one and I was to leverage it. I designed business cards and pages for magazine doing what was then called "Desktop Publishing." I used the Apple® Macintosh Plus with a 14-inch, monochrome screen. Back then Super Paint was Apple® design program for small jobs categorized as Desktop Publishing so I also ran firm's Microsoft® Word-powered mail merge and packed, sealed, and mailed the introduction letter throughout the community. I used a flat-file Word document to store the name in an Excel format so they could be printed for my direct report instead of an ODBC link to a databse. That would have required a database form design of its own just to print the contents. (I learned enough Microsoft® Access to understand ODBC, tables, queries, forms, and master IDs versus simple IDs). Click the circle to left for a picture of the vintage Macintosh®.
After deciding I would like to become remain in the computer-based Design and Desktop Publishing field, I left the workforce to focus full-time on that discipline in education. I enrolled in Lanely Community College in Oakland, California, one of four Colleges in the Peralta College System, majoring in Desktop Publishing - the closest degree for my objective. I took major coursework but also excelled at Trigonometry, Macro Economics, Accounting, Basketball, and Pascal Programming.
I left the program when the opportunity to work in the field presented itself and became self-employed. I worked independently and self-managed for East Bay Books in San Leandro, California, designing all pages of their monthly magazine, Affair De Cour, that had several authors send in book reviews for romance novels monthly for me to type into a Macintosh SE/30 mom bought me and create the magazine, minus the high-resolution cover, which was photorealistic and outsourced. As a point of innovation, before arrival, articles were manually entered by the previous designer but I changed that and asked that writers simply place their electronic copies of their finished review on floppy disk and mail the disk instead of a printed paper copy of it. I then imported that text into Aldus PageMaker, saving hours of manual entry and typographical errors. The time savings allowed me to apply editorial judgement and grammatical correction to all reviews to bring a common voice and prose to the entire magazine. Following my time there, I felt I had learned as much as I could from that position, and taught the owner of the bookstore who as also a designer how to take over what I had done, as she ended up obtaining the means to do that.
From there I went back to school to add education and refresh professional growth skills to avoid becoming too narrow in skillset. I decided to enroll in Undergraduate college and to travel to Europe to have a Western European perspective for the evenual coursework, especially history classes, which I could compare between what I would be reading of Wester Europe's evolution and use where it was at that day and age as experience to inform papers and opinions having been there recently. Given a multitude of personal experiences around Western Europe totaling 13 countries, during the first year at the University of San Francisco, where I enrolled up return, I identified with a large and diverse population, leading to winning Freshman Class President as the first-ever "write-in" of American Indian and African American descent. I memorized 200 names and spoke to students using their names about University concerns as part of my campaign and told them they wouldn't see my name on the ballot and if they wanted me to do the things we discussed they had they had to just write me in. I was later told I won by a larger margin but those votes could not be counted because the voter misspelled my last name. It was critical that I handed out small, business card sized-name tages with my name on it because I believe most voters took that into the booth and spelled my name correctly using it. Click the circle to right see the University logo.
I left the University of San Francisco before graduating because my major (to augement design), Decision Science, was terminated because only two students chose the major. Instead, I opted for a once-in-a-lifetime Internship at Skywalker Ranch with my Star Wars creator, George Lucas' George Lucas Educational Foundatin or GLEF. I became an Design Assistant there where I improved my computer support skills (in support of design efforts) while studying the convergence of education and technology in the Foundation's specialized educational technology library, which I catalogued for them. I also used Mozilla during its first launch and was excited about my future.
Copies of signed pages from Lucasfilm's 20-Year Anniversary book with co-workers compliments are linked here as testimony to a cherished work experience that will remain a milestone in professional growth and a goal in dedication to qualify, lasting work which wins lasting clientele, and an enduring, profitable business enterprise. Researching the Foundation's library revealed a computer animation school in Sunnyvale, California called Cogswell Polytechnic which taught the techniques the Foundation allowed me to witness during selected field trips to Industrial Light and Magic in retur for the donated hours during my Internship so my next stop was there, to major in Computer Video Imaging (creating characters that move like people within three-dimensional worlds much ike we see in high-profile video games today).
Having left the University of San Francisco to Intern at Skywalker Ranch, and now going back to school at Cogswell, both endevours happening without earning income, it was time for a dual school and income strategy I hadn't yet tried. I enrolled in Cogswell & simultaneously, I took a job at a computer store as a Salesperson & Technician so I could personally build the products I sold, and sell them to Cogswell students who had to use highly specialized, expensive computer hardware to "render" homework so it displayed smoothly without visual "artifacts" that loweree their grade.
Computers like this needed special hard drives that non-animation professionals were unaware of. They're called "A/V Hard Drives." These drive never "sleep," i.e., they never spun down. This matters because during a rendering or video encoding process, which is how animation turn into photorealistic footage we see, the hard drive and software are in perfect sync. If the hard drive spins down to rest, the rendering data must store itself in memory while it goes and wakes the drive back up and push the data back to the drive. You can see that depending on the size of the footage or quality of it, and that of the buffer (or 'writing memory') it's best to just keep the drive awake. That's an A/V drive.
A movie, special effect, beautiful 3D image, or video game character could be lost if anything goes wrong there and to give you an idea of how many hours could be lost it took me 45 hours to render a five minute video and it only had special effects in the text.
The drives were very reliable but expensive and had to be special ordered in most cases. The owner of the computer store trained me personally and allowed me to combine school insight to gain this new clientel while also serving his existing one. He worked for IBM before opening his computer store and shared tried and true techniques for reliable PC assembly, testing, support, and expectation-setting. I learned customer service & technical support, remote customer support using PCAnywhere, and how to conduct to house-call visits with patience and plain English explanations of technical work to non-IT customers who were worried about their computer.
Following this, I progressed to network administration, obtained Novell Network Certification, and was earning $60 an hour doing concierge house-calls to Walnut Creek, California. For today's digital artists, when combining their full-time experitse with my User Experience and Multimedia Subject Matter mastery, look no further than ArtStation.com. There you'll find amazing artists, learn the different kinds (and the proper terminology) at this beautiful website full of dazzling, photorealistic work.
Upon many years betwee work and school, and some doing both at the same time, I became eager to find professional direction that combined my interests and pension for technically creative and technically supportive work. I entered to a veery specialized program for Network Engineering but was hired before completing it because the employer only asked for an Administrator not an Engineer. I took the job. I leveraged my Network Administration Certification for the Network Admin position on a 50-user network and upgraded it to a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to make it easier for users to use, and added InForms functionality to allow Supervisors to create digital requisitions for monthly supplies purchases instead of using paper.
I re-organized the entire kitchen, broght in a cleaning crew for all offices, one for the bathrooms for good measure, and left to pursue the engineering level of Network Administration as self-employed.
After five months of self-employment in Networking, and considering Network contracting, I understood that path meant the end of the creative, visual side of my direction and chose to, instead continue self-employment but move to a less competitive market wher I could find flexibiity to spend more time honing my skill and settling on a directoin. One that combined technical and creative expertise but didn't sacrifice livable pay.
A high school friend suggested the small, but technologically-advanced city of Christchurch, New Zealand because he knew it was a test-market for U.S. protoype products and services such as GSM/Smartchip phones, Smartchip Debit Cards, stadium-style movie seating, and many experiemental types of music nightlife. He knew I'd fit in there because I tend to prefer smaller communities and do well that way.
While there, I created an online video game retailer that received 1.2 million "unique" hits in its first year.
To an outsider looking in, buyer's remorse would be expected in a location such as New Zealand for boxed software, especially video games, which were made in "the States" as we are known there, they have no return policy if the package's wrapper is broken, and if it is and the installation fails or the game installs but crashes later it was far too expensive to call the States or even download patches because the calls costs $2.00 per minute and the downloads costs $1.00 per megabyte.
At that time, and perhaps now, (I haven't checked), New Zealand had the third highest data rates in the developed world. The result was buyer's remorse and to solve it moved all popular video media, including patches, demos, shareware, advertising graphics, pages, reviews - some persoally written after playing them, and allow sales of used games to those who couldn't afford them new, on my website Gamescape.co.nz. The speeds were only 2400 baud at the time.
Nevertheless, he did include me when it was time to file his patent. Why else would I be in that publidally available document? View the document here: Amazon.com's Patent document. Click here to dig around Google and see some of the articles about me in New Zealand.
During my time I was in New Zealand, the dot-com bubble started growing. Unemployment in the U.S. hit an all-time low of 4.6%. Tech companies were searching high and low for creative talent to fuel innovative start-ups. I moved back to the United States to apply my success with the New Zealand start-up that won attention and broke even in one year in order to on that in the larger, more competitive, U.S. market; and to return home.
I went to a job fair and took a job at a startup in Los Gatos, California, where I learned the value of separating the UX/UI (The UI or Frontend is the part of website you see like the buttons, pictures, and background images for all pages - the Frontend is the text-code based 'rigging' that makes those button do customized actions that attach to 'web applications' when a web site is actually a 'web application' appearing as a website.
Web Applictions are the ones that process credit card payments, for example, and they can have 'Frontends' designs like I make, or Stakeholders can allow Software Developers to make it.
From the UX (which is the process of deciding that the UI should be based on how the user will use it which is measured according to the principles and assets from Usability techniques), User Experience Designers end up with digital designs and interactive experiences tht are based on how the end user is or will be using the current or proposed version of the product.
Along the way, UX Designers create wireframes, prototypes, interactive mockups, user-centered design plans, and depending on whether they are certified in Usability or not, personas, red routes, conduct interviews, A/B tests, end user activity captures, and produce project timelines for Stakholders. Computer Scientists, on the other hand, work on the 'Backend' of the project (because it takes longer to code and test), while the UX Designer works with a team and many levels of design to create the 'Frontend' that Software Developers (Computer Scientists who've specialized for Web) know how to "attach" to what they've created, their 'Backend.'
From my time in Los Gatos, a high-pressure, ever-evolving work position in a Startup, I learned that separating the user experience from its underlying software development is critical.
I created improved user experiences as interactive prototypes (or "mockups"), and Frontend developers validated that it could be implemented if the CEO signed off.
When he signed off he brough me into his office to explain and I was promoted to Product Manager. I explained both ends of the process in plain English and the Return on Investment in business language. This combination of language and skill continues to remain current and I continue to use it quickly understand the value of my role and how to add value, be it technical through design, or pivotal through explanation to decision-makers or Stakeholders. I am still on that course.
My work and words helped sell their Web Application to Juniper Networks in Silicon Valley for over one hundred thousand dollars and won me an invitation to join the same executive team at their next start-up as a Director and a promotion to Director of User Experience Design because it was my prototype which was demonstrated in the Sales presentation and the CEO and my two direct reports felt it appropriate to award that because that was the job I had been doing in their assessment. This was in 2000 and I'm still doing the same thing today using up-to-date software and techniques and gathering certification where they are of practical compared to what I know.
When 9/11 hit in 2001, our investor pulled out of his venture and reduced our staff to Research and Development only. I was offered a role in Quality Assurance but declined to return to and complete my undergraduate degree. User Experience Design, at that time, was not an offered major at any known, mainstream or Ivy League school. I knew I had to create something as close to it as possible.
[2020 Update: The money was amazing until 9/11 when reality hit like a ton of brickme s. However; much like then, my current pursuit is an adaptation of the times. It has won two international awards because it is more relevant due to COVID, and that's both a good and bad thing because my family members face the new threat as do we all. It's a long road ahead. We don't know what we don't know.]
Returing yet again to school after 9/11 like so many at the time, I went from school to school in California seeking a major that combined all I'd learned without success. I learned a ton but it didn't add up to an Undergraduate degree. Feeling dissatisfied with the customizable educational opportunities in California, I moved to the East Coast and enrolled in American University, a member of the Washington Consorsium of School. There, I created a custom-made degree combining Graphic Design, Multimedia Design, and Web Programming, now known as UX Design, UI Design, Graphic Design, Web Development, and generalized as "coding" of one kind or another or "User Experience Design" or one kind or another. I moved to the east coast in case I had to combine coursework from different schools in the Consorium to cobbagle together a custom degree but wound up falling love with AU and graduating with the only Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Design & Development in the University's history. (Still the case.)
While boasting about the achivement is not the AU way, the road to that achievement was fraught with financial, medical, mental, and social challenges being a new student, an adult student, and a new comer to the other side of the country such that I'm boasting anyway. Going to school part-time, I also worked part-time to apply what I learned directly to the work world at the business I created in 2000 which spun off from the other one I created in 1997, Gamescape. I graduated on May 8th, 2011 with a 3.49 GPA but the school had me walk with the honors students because my Academic Advisor (later promoted to Senior Academic Advisor) believed I had earned it, plus, rouding up it's a 4.5 (which is latin honor, serously). There is video footage of her handing me my degree and I have that DVD.
[2020 Update: I still donate in her name and occassionally receive Thank You postcards in return; and she's one of my most respected LinkedIn connections. The school is so much so I created a Facebook Profile for school graduates alone and am active in reaching out among travels growing the award-winning business described above.]
After graduating from American University and while applying that to my company and various post-graduatio Internships, I landed a job for the NIH, settled into Silver Spring, Maryland from downtown Silver Spring (too noisy at night durin the week). While applying my education and experience to many contracting, freelance, consulting, and portfolio building activities, I also researched updated regulations and laws regarding how Intellectual Propery rights and media licensing rights had evolved since my time using them for educational purposes at American University. My high school, self-employment brand, which always started with the word "Phantom" because it meant many things mostly related to feeling like an outsider in an Honors school and a business man who is an artist on the inside, Phantom Records™ emerged in 2016 when I split it into two tracks: one for Multimedia for UX/UI/Web and Prgramming, and one for whatever it took to do creative, music-related business without running afoul of the RIAA. (A feat given the constantly changing laws coming out of Congress to thwart Mp3 theives.) It was time to take what I knew and move in a single direction to grow a single discipline to innovate entertainment. No other industry is open to the combination of technology, creativity, business, profit and story-telling like the world of game, movie, and art entertainment. It became my home and I achieved success in Web Design contracts, UX promotion, UI designs for software developers, and, [2020 Update] the two awards. I'll link them here once the Press Release is public in February 2020.
Amid growing Phantom Records and its spin-off company, UX Design (now called User Experience Design for ease of understanding for clients), I continuiously take coursework to remain up-to-date on various areas that feed into these pursuits. Seeing how online education can be delivered through an amazing User Experience in my time at Full Sail University, and how a UI Dashboard can control actual, physical valves and switches powering the NIH, it was without question that User Experience Design and User Interface Design was the glue between human control of complex systems from pipeping in large faciities, to navigation on ships, to simple and complex naviagation on a web page. The only untapped area left to seek growth was in entertainment. Phantom Records would be the vehicle for entertainment growth and User Experience Design would focus on the non-entertainment work of the exact same kind simply without the different priorities of an entertainment-focused project.
Between the intervening years until now: 2020, I've been expanding Phantom Records™ legally and protecting its Intellectual Property, as well as, registering, where necessary, the proper certifications for government work to take User Experience Design deeper into government contracting by qualifying for various programs. Both pursuits allow for steady IT jobs (be it in digtially DJing a remote event via Phantom Records under its protected brand, DJ eXperience, or remote-controlling an IT support session under User Experience Design) which build on years of customized business and educational history. Phantom Records™ is coming out of the shadow of legal pergutory following the Napster deboggle and User Experience Design is making partnerships based on quality working conditions, with other companies to, together leverage the new tools for completing our work that are making it easier and easier to do well in less time.
Now, with COVID, remote presence is the norm, and although some employers consider returning employees to desk model employment, we all have to settle on who's responsible in the event of a COVID contraction on the job. Worker's Compensation is simply far too inadequate to cover an on-the-job expsosure to COVID and were that to be a worse case scenario would expose the employer to very large and financially hazardous lawsuits. For now, remote work is safer until the CDC gives the all clear. In the meantime, tech savvy workers and tech-infused businesses who can deliver experiences and products remotely or via shipping, even by way of Amazon's shipping network, are thriving.
I created an interactive "mini game" animation to represent the "Peace Process" in an interesting way. I bought a dance pad with a USB cable connection. The dance pad is three feet by three feet wide. I then designed a "cover" for the pad. My "cover" was also three feet by three, designed in Adobe Photoshop and created at full print quality: 300DPI. That is an extremely large file and it was very time consuming to work with but I believe in quality and flexibility so I did it anyway. I had the "cover" printed at FedEx Office on to vinyl paper. Then I "stuck" the "cover" on top of the dance pad with tape so that my "pictures" precisely covered the dance pad's contact points. In other words, a dancer stepping on my "pictures" would activate the "hotspots" beneath the "cover" and send a signal into the "mini game" I created.
The "mini game" was made in Adobe Flash, and I used a small Mac OS X utlitity to interpret the dance pad's "buttons" to send keyboard keystrokes depending on which one was "stepped on" or "pressed." The keystrokes were then mapped, within Flash, to activate certain animation sequences. During my design process, it was told to me that moving within Flash from one "Scene" to another the way I wanted was impossible. I searched Google for three days and found the same claim. So what did I do? I guessed. Based on the "syntax" of ActionScript, I created an original code sequence and it worked! Fair Warning: My "Mini Game" was not made to be a full game. It was an animation that was supposed to "pretend to be an museume exhibit but then surprise a user who stepped on the nearby dance pad." So there are no instructions that popup. Simply click anywhere on the game's screen to make it start. You will have to figure it out, just like you'd have to figure out the "Peace Process" if you were a Diplomat. There are no manuals! Click here to see the artistic statment.
"Kinetic Type" is a type of animation with moving text. Movies that have opening sequences with elaborate movements, such as the Spiderman movies, where the camera moves around the web hopping from one text phrase to another, are using "Kinetic Type" or "moving text." I used Adobe After Effects to create this animation. But with this one, I also used my DJ-skill to "time" the animation to the audio in the attached sound file. An author read their famous passage from "Lenore," and I animated the entire portion. This is only a portion, as the project was split between myself and others: Lenore Kinetic Type Animation.
After creating hollywood quality animations for this project, I received feedback that I only had to make very simply, slow-moving animations because the senior customers viewing the animations were likely only interested in that, instead of something too fancy. So I created these to accomodate the Client's request. These are very easy to make and fun to make in various colors or to make various alternatives such as ones that play normally and ones that play on holidays with different animation that's festive. To make the Ads "aware" of the holiday, I uses PHP to detect the date and then switch the animation file to that holiday's version. Then it switches back when the holiday is over. See one of them here. NOTE: The animation is very slow!