The creative Cloud challenge. Making dreams manifest.

I only have one week of Creative Cloud left, and that’s a big problem. Why is that a big problem? Because for a designer and digital artist, it’s like trying to paint without a paintbrush, easel, and canvas. Which is actually still possible, but it is very difficult. Not only are these tools industry standard for anyone trying to work in the industry, they are practically as essential to working in a design firm as knowing color theory or typography. Say nothing of freelancing. To put it in other terms, it’s like Microsoft Office for the rest of the working world. Expert knowledge of these software is the base requirement to even get in the door. It is very fortunate, then, that I have had Creative Cloud for the last two years to get me through the end of my degree, as well as years of experience with CS4, CS5, and, CS6 beforehand. All of this is coming to an end soon sadly, as life after graduation hasn’t been as profitable as I would have hoped. But what else is new; a millennial, over qualified and under paid, disenfranchised and betrayed by a false sense of an American dream? Say it ain’t so. I am only one in a sea of young (well, youngish, being an “older” millennial) people granted a pair of debt shackles and a giant “fuck you” with our diplomas, but that is not the point of this ranty little essay; and even if I never make a cent off of my BFA in Visual Communications, I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I am grateful to everyone that helped me along the way, and still help me a great deal through my failure to launch as a successful adult.

"...I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I am grateful to everyone that helped me along the way..."

It was on this night one such individual had some hard talk for me. The fact is, I have had access to tools that I have been under-using, and at the very precipice of them being taken from me, snared in the jaws of grim financial realities it was the following fact I was confronted with tonight. I have many plans but nothing to show for it, folders and folders full of half-done projects, and even more stored in the library of my mind and desire. The only thing I can show for them is promises, promises said to myself, and promises and boasts of my grand intentions to those I love. And now the time has come to prove that it is worth it, and though my dreams and passion, hell even my ability as a creative as not come in question, my efforts, the proof that I mean what I say I am has. And as much as I want to refute the claims I have not done anything substantial in terms of craft after my graduation, I can’t. And that’s the worst feeling for me in a long time. That’s coming from someone who’s had a suicide attempt in the last year, tried no less than three different antidepressants and has possibly the least qualified person on the planet as a president. But I can’t show enough for my work. And that’s a crime given I had full unlimited access to the most powerful set of creative tools for eight months and have shockingly little to show for it. Those in any position to help me, or to at least feel sympathetic, don’t have not much to go on, other than my word. And talk is cheap. It is free and worthless in a world where people in creative fields have unprecedented ability to at least show their value. I have written a check that I don’t have to capital to back. So all of this is to preface that the work I will be doing in the next couple of weeks is not merely a technical demonstration or test of endurance. It is a small effort on my part to make to make my intentions clear. I am serious about what I am doing. Failure is a continual part of the creative process but it will never be an endpoint for my journey as a creative. I refuse to let any more dreams die, and I refuse to have my very real intentions and work be betrayed by my lack of progress due to fatigue and insecurity.

"I refuse to let any more dreams die..."

In writing all of this, I was originally just writing some copy to introduce a cool new project. But I realize it has become far more personal than that as I have been writing. Not so much a quick introductory blurb as a manifesto. But this a desperate proving, and manifest of all I have dedicated my life to for the better part of a decade. The skills I will be using and growing for it have been hard won, through many crushing defeats and hard lessons. I have been subjected to critique on all levels, the worst of all almost always coming from within. So let me at last reveal what the Creative Cloud Challenge is:

"[my] skills...have been hard won, through many crushing defeats and hard lessons."

I only have a week to use creative cloud, so I am going to go though and do as much as I can with all the apps. And I mean all, even those I have never needed or tried, I will at least try and make something with them. In addition to finishing up a couple of long in the tooth but incredibly important projects, I will be doing demonstrations of the power of as many of these apps as I can in this short period. And I will be documenting my journey through the apps, part review, part tutorial, but mostly all personal blog. I will show you not only what I can do with these apps, but what you can do. The price is lofty, and the plans arguably exclusionary in their nature, but the fact remains that there are no better tools to do what I want, nor a set better equipped to let you bring your dreams to life. I hope some of you will join me as I update you in this challenge. If you like want I’m doing, leave a like, or a comment, or if you really want to help, consider becoming my patron on Patreon. But whatever you do, thank you for taking your time to see what I am doing. Here’s to a hopefully productive new year,

—Thomas Kee

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