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Making the graphics grade

Brookings-Harbor High School sophomore  Hunter Niedens takes his Adobe Photoshop certification test. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Brookings-Harbor High School sophomore Hunter Niedens takes his Adobe Photoshop certification test. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Five students were back at Brookings-Harbor High School on Monday, June 10, to take certification tests for Adobe Photoshop photo editing software and Adobe Premiere Pro video editing software.

The Adobe programs are the standard for the graphic arts industry and are so powerful that they have many features that some professionals will never touch.

Of the five, four passed on their first attempt, which Morin found to be amazing.

“It’s surprising to have four out of five pass the certification,” he said. “That’s not bad for an industry standard certification.”

Senior Joey Howe, juniors Alex McKee and Kyle Rice and sophomore Hunter Niedens all passed the Adobe Certified Associate certification for Visual Communication with Photoshop.

According to Niedens, it wasn’t a difficult test to pass.

“A few of the questions were really tricky,” he said, “but the rest were pretty easy.”

For senior Easton Scaggs the Video Communication with Adobe Premiere Pro certification was a little more difficult and he failed to pass.

“I was pretty sure that I got most of the answers right,” he said. “I just must have not done them the way it wanted them done.”

For most of the test-takers the challenge that Scaggs faced held true: There was more than one way to do what was being asked.

“There are multiple ways to do things but the test only accepts one way as the correct path,” Rice said. “It can be tough to be sure that you have the right way done even though you’ve gotten the end result.”

For each of the students, the purpose for certification is to put the notation on their resumes.

“At first it was just a class I was put into,” Howe said. “But we started doing stuff in Photoshop and I got involved in typography. When Morin said we could get certified in Photoshop I decided that I wanted to do that.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to use it in my career. This summer I want to get a job at InMotion Graphics and having this certification on my resume will show them that I know how to use the program. It should help me to get the job.”

Rice agreed.

“It’s a really nice thing to put on my website or resume,” he said. “It increases how good I look to potential employers when I’m applying for jobs. It’s something you say you have: ‘I’m certified in Photoshop.’ ”

Other students who have taken classes from Morin and obtained the certification have gone on to work on major projects.

Royal Sybrandt, who graduated from Brookings-Harbor High School in 2006, is the lead artist at Liquid Development and his latest work included helping design the video game “Halo 4” armor sets.

Blake Heiss, a 2003 BHHS graduate, recently finished his master’s degree in film production and directing at Chapman University in California and is now the director of video production at Fish Marketing in Portland.

For Morin those success show how important it is to get higher-level training and certification.

“That is what colleges are looking at: certifications,” he said. “Not only will the kids have certification for competency, they will also have a portfolio they can show an employer. That’s pretty important. This certification will put applicants in the top levels of job interviews.”

According to the website www.itcareerfinder.com, “The demand for skilled and educated graphic designers is on the rise. Graphic artists with strong web design and multimedia skills are in the greatest demand, as businesses seek to gain a competitive advantage with stunning visual effects for social media hubs, e-commerce storefronts and corporate websites.”

The tests aren’t free, costing close to $80 per student and, according to Morin, the students helped raised funds to cover the costs. “They made banners for various businesses,”  he explained, “and they made a documentary for Southwestern Oregon Community College. They raised close to $3,000.”

While the cost may seem expensive, it includes an entire term of online instruction, unlimited pre-tests and two attempts to pass the final certification test. Scaggs — the only one to fail — won’t have to pay for a second shot at getting his certificate, which he intends to take after he looks back through the instructional material.

Whether they work for a major video game company or shoot small-scale documentaries, each of those who passed the test will be able to echo Rice and say, “I’m certified in Photoshop.” 

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