#PSW was kind of a blur for me. Most of my time was spent on the Expo floor meeting with some fantastic people, including Adobe engineers and managers, fellow authors, editors, and my sponsors. Of course, I can’t forget the friendliest crew at the show, the Facebook Maniacs. This group was very welcoming, and represents an amazingly diverse set of talents. I’ll talk more about them in a future post, and I’ll be naming names – you’ll want to get to know them! But let me get back to the show, my thoughts, and what I heard from others.I really enjoyed the opportunity to participate and hang out with every one. The social elements and networking were key reasons for me breaking my 9-year hiatus on Photoshop World. While the classes looked informative and engaging, I managed to spend nearly all my time chatting with my fellow attendees, many of whom filled their days with NAPP instructor sessions.
The overall impression was that energy was kind of low this year. For me, looking back after nearly a decade, I’d gotten the same feel. In particular, Adobe’s roll-out of Carousel was less than enthusiastically received by the crowd. And while the release cycle is far enough away that I wouldn’t expect Adobe to give out any hints on features in the next version, I did expect to see some broader notes on Photoshop-centric news from the previous year. Things like how Pixel Bender is progressing, what to look for on Labs, and outlook for different markets of Photoshop users.
In particular, this show seemed very focused on photographers, almost to the exclusion of all other digital artists. Many illustrators and painters felt left out, and this was very evident in looking at how crowds gathered around some vendors more than others. One of my sponsors, Digital Anarchy, appeared to have lower traffic than I’d hoped, especially with their new release of 3D Invigorator and Primatte Chromakey. These are great applications, offering something for both photographers and illustrators. On the other extreme, the photo gear booths were packed constantly. The classes were certainly aimed at photographers more than anyone else.
Of course, photographers also seem to be spending a lot more money over time than illustrators – and you can see that spent money in the number of high-end camera bodies and lenses all over the place. It was almost obscene 🙂 It’s really hard to pick out digital illustrators in the crowd, but you can spot photo geeks a mile away. Perhaps this skews NAPP’s perception about who wants what information from their conferences.
The talent represented this year was just incredible. All of the Guru Award entries were top-notch, and I got to check out some additional work by attendees which blew me away. Congratulations to all the Guru winners, and to everyone who was nominated. I’m glad I wasn’t judging – it would be difficult to choose a winner from that field.
There are a few stand-out personalities I’d like to mention. I got to chat a couple of times with Larry Becker, NAPP’s director. He is a somewhat quiet guy in casual conversation, and a quick thinker. Very personable and a lot more approachable than I would have guessed. I enjoyed chatting with him, and was impressed that he remembered my name throughout the conference. The same goes for Matt Kloskowski – I ran into him a few times, including the Peachpit author’s mixer. These two folks really embody what I’d love to see in NAPP going forward: talented, genuinely nice, well-grounded personalities.
Grant from psdtuts+ was also there, and he is one happy guy. I loved hanging out with him. His enthusiasm is infectious, but he can get straight down to business when necessary. I hope to write for him soon! Stephen Burns is a bundle of energy and conversation, and really well connected around the community. And there was not a single person from Adobe that wasn’t just what you want in a public presence from The Mothership. They all seem to really love working with Photoshop and her adherents. What a cool gig to work on such a popular product with some of the best talent in the world both as customers and contributors.
And finally, I want to give an enormous THANK YOU to all of my business connections at Photoshop World. Adobe, Digital Anarchy, onOne Software, and Smith Micro all contributed to my ‘Secret PSW Page’, providing great discounts, freebies, and prizes. I love working with these guys and their products. Go check them out when you can. And I also want to thank Wacom, ThinkTank, PhotoshopCafe, and Zenfolio for engaging me and taking time to listen. Everyone was genuine in their interest and conversation, which is a rare find.
So for me, the show was a raging success. I went in hoping for good face time with the community, and came away with more than I’d expected. I’m really looking forward to growing the relationships that were formed, and digging through the massive PSW book for treats and insight. With any luck, I’ll be able to make it back to Vegas next year.