The Design & Publishing Center and Graphic Design Network present this Photoshop Star
Photoshop Tips and Tricks | Alien Skin Software

(1996 interview with Black Box Creators Alien Skin)
Special Interview...
Alien Skin Software

I thought it would be interesting to get some comments from Alien Skin, makers of Black Box plug-in for Photoshop. Although brief, here are some interesting comments from Michael Pilmer, of Alien Skin...

DT&G: Michael, how did Alien Skin get started?
Pilmer: Alien Skin Software was started in 1993 by Jeff Butterworth.
He was a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he published papers on virtual reality and supercomputer simulations of fluid flow. He has degrees in Physics and Computer Science, but has chosen to abandon an academic career in favor of applying his knowledge to concrete problems. He also enjoys hiring his friends to work for him, and revels in their loyalty.
DT&G: I know many of our readers are really curious --
Where did the name "Alien Skin" come from ???
Pilmer: Jeff and a former partner came up with a product called Alien Skin
Textureshop before he formed the actual company that exists today. After doing the core technology, they sold the idea to a company called Virtus who sells the product under the same name. Jeff decided that he liked the name Alien Skin and used it for the name of his own company which he started shortly after the deal with Virtus. We like it 'cause it makes people ask questions. It's also amusing to see how people get the name screwed-up. We've received letters to "Allen Skin Software", "Alien Skins Software" (as in 'skin heads'?), and "Alien Skin Care"!
DT&G: What do you consider Black Box's strongest feature?
Pilmer: Well, I don't consider myself a Photoshop pro, but I use it enough
to know that The Black Box saves a hell of a lot of time. I especially like the user friendly preview window and the fact that you don't need channel recipes to do effects.
DT&G: Since Black Box is destined to be a classic... any new products in the pipeline?
Pilmer: The only one that I can tell you about now is a
product called "Stylist". It's a plug-in set for Adobe Illustrator 6.0. It will be the first product to add "live" effects and style sheets to Adobe Illustrator. We are currently beta testing and should be ready to release it soon. We are also planning on doing other Photoshop plug-ins sometime in the future.
DT&G: your FAVORITE thing about Photoshop?
Pilmer: It's probably got to be the use of layers. It really helps out
when I'm doing ads or brochures or whatever.
DT&G: ...and, the LEAST thing you like about Photoshop?
Pilmer: The fact that you can't legally run filters outside of a
selection without the selection disappearing after the effect is applied. This is something that we have been trying to get the folks at Adobe to change.
DT&G: Now, if I had just opened Photoshop a couple of days ago,
what would you recommend as the most important feature of Photoshop that a beginner should study, and learn?
Pilmer: It's hard to pick one favorite feature, since Photoshop is
so useful in so many ways.The most important aspect of understanding Photoshop 3.0 as I see it is the whole idea of layers. Once you understand that you can make selections and work on layers, then the rest should be easy.

We'd like to thank Michael for taking time to chat. We're looking forward to "Stylist" for Illustrator, and you can bet, we'll pass along information about it as soon as we get it in our hands!

Alien Skin Software, Raleigh, NC -- 919-832-4124 --
www.alienskin.com/



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