John Nack is a Sr. Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop. Prior to joining Adobe John was a web designer and animator at AGENCY.COM New York, where we developed online content for clients such as Gucci, Nike, British Airways, and Coca-Cola. That experience convinced him that design tools could and had to be better, leading him to join Adobe in 2000, working on the web animation tool in LiveMotion. John has been on the Photoshop team since 2002 and has worked on features such as Adobe Camera Raw, Smart Objects, Vanishing Point, the File Browser, and Adobe Bridge.
Why do you blog?
I’m inspired, both personally and professionally, by the work I see going on in photography, design, typography, and other creative fields. I’m grateful for other folks who take the time to share interesting finds, and I like to return the favor when I can. With my job it’s easy to get lost in the weeds, thinking that Photoshop and other software is an end unto itself, rather than a means to various creative ends. Sharing and reflecting on creative work helps me keep some perspective.
If you only had time to read three blogs a day, which ones would they be?
Tough question! I really like Core77 for their eclectic, well-edited mix of design-related info. I rely on the MXNA, Adobe’s (formerly Macromedia’s) aggregator of Web design-related feeds, for info on technology developments. And I enjoy The Online Photographer’s perspective on gear and developments in the world of photography.
How long have you been using Photoshop/been a photographer?
I started using Photoshop my freshman year in college, 1993. I was used to MacPaint-class tools, so when my friend pointed out Photoshop, it was a real revelation.
As for photography, I’ve had an interest as long as I can remember. As a little kid I used to snap away as much as my parents’ film budget would allow, and when they first got an SLR I loved experimenting with things like shutter speed.
Unfortunately I was too lazy to really learn enough, so I ended up drawing more as that came easily to me (and didn’t cost much!).
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with?
I own a Canon Rebel XT, which for most of my needs is great. Lately I find myself rather hungrily contemplating a 5D, though first I think I should invest in some better glass. Of course, I’m reminded of what my friend says when he teaches at high-performance driving schools on the weekends: if most of those guys invested a tenth as much into learning how to use the gear as they put into the gear itself, they’d be way better off than they are. Therefore I continue to want to make time to take more classes. Too bad it’s so much easier just to plunk down cash for gear than it is to become a better photographer.
Mac or PC?
Mac, since ’84. :)
What is your favorite piece of photo or computer equipment (other than your camera)?
I love Wacom tablets, though I’m sorry to say that my job keeps me in email far more than it lets me stretch my legs in Photoshop. That said, I find a tablet invaluable for any kind of drawing or retouching work.
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have?
Well, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is a real beauty. I think the 5D would be great for indoor low-light shooting, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens would be a step forward there as well. I’d also like to start experimenting with polarizers and graduated neutral density filters.
What advice do you have for a novice creative professional/photographer?
Get out there! The picture you take or design you create is infinitely better than the one you don’t create. I think that patience and humility are essential. Just as with exercise, music, or most other worthwhile pursuits, know that your skills will take time to mature. Try not to take the work or yourself too seriously, and enjoy the process.
What inspires you to create?
I’d like the world to be a little more beautiful, a little happier, a little more truthful by virtue of my having been here.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Good grief; how about, “Don’t take a self-absorbed 30-ish software dude or his pronouncements too seriously!” ;-)
Where would you most like to live (other than where you live now)?
Heh—not San Jose. I live here strictly because it’s where I work, and I didn’t want to waste my life commuting. I still miss New York.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What is this “spare time” of which you speak…?
What talent would you most like to have?
Being made of liquid metal (mimetic poly-alloy).
From Inside the Actors Studio:
What is your favorite word? Passion
What is your least favorite word? Apathy
What turns you on? Possibility
What turns you off? Pomposity
What sound or noise do you love? I love steel guitar. And I smile when hearing just about any native instrument (steel drum, Peruvian flute, sitar, etc.) made to play The Godfather Waltz on a subway platform.
What sound or noise do you hate? The drone of meetings, and the bitching of suckaz.
What is your favorite curse word? Teabag.
What occupation other than your own would you like to attempt? Ice road trucker.
What occupation would you not want to participate in? Processing anything bought or sold…
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? You’re okay, kid. You done good.
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