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PowerPoint Heaven eConvention 2009
PowerPoint Heaven eConvention 2009

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eCon 2009 > eCon Awards > Contributor of the Year

eCon Awards 2009: Contributor of the Year Interview

Colin Neal is our PowerPoint Artworks Specialist. He joined PowerPoint Heaven on March 02, 2009. His PowerPoint Artwork, Captain Jack Sparrow, has also won the eCon Awards 2009: Artwork of the Year.

Colin is a full time lecturer for Hull College teaching Game Design, Digital Graphics, Web Design, Computer Animation and other areas in IT. His teaching area involves a lot of graphic works. Colin specializes in digital arts and realistic human portraits using PowerPoint and Paint Shop Pro. His works can be found on Colin's Projects.

1) Tell us more about yourself.
I have been married to my beautiful wife for 19 years and we live in a small country town in the east of England. I work as a College Lecturer teaching many areas of computing, the following are but a few: Digital Graphics, Computer Animation, Human Computer Interaction, Web Design, Presentation Graphics, Spreadsheets, Communications Technology, Networks and Multimedia. I am also known to other digital art forums and go by the name of Lecturerman, Deviant Art, MBC, CG Society, and Digital Wet canvas. I purchased my first computer around 9 years ago although I did work in the electronics industry for many years which gave me experience when working with modern technology.

The reason for changing direction into computing was to learn something new, I used to teach art part time and I wanted to teach myself to paint digitally. From there I joined some computer classes to learn how to use the basic office packages and was soon on my way to gaining Cambridge certification in general applications. Whilst studying on this course the tutor recognized my flair for design and encouraged me to take a teaching qualification so that I could teach digital photography and image editing at the college.

My career started at that point and I have since studied at Higher education level at Selby and Hull Colleges as well as Huddersfield University. I recently gave seminars at both Hull and Huddersfield promoting PowerPoint and PowerPoint Heaven. I am self taught in Digital Art and this has become my specialist teaching subject.

2) How long have you been using PowerPoint?
I have been using PowerPoint for around nine years, however it was only in March 2009 that I came across PPTHeaven and realized the potential of PowerPoint as a drawing package.

3) What was your first PowerPoint and how was it like?
My first PowerPoint of any meaning was delivered at Selby College as part of the course work, the title was “How can computers save and improve our everyday lives”. The slide show was just that, a slide show using basic custom animation and slide transitions. My first PowerPoint artwork was "Seduction".

4) How long do you usually take to complete a PowerPoint artwork?
This varies depending on the complexity of the artwork, Seduction took around 36 hours, Jack Sparrow 18-19 hours, Fine Wine around 15hours, my most recent work “Assassins Creed” around 7 hours.

5) How have you improved your skill over time?
Practice, practice and more practice, I have also used on-line tutorials.

6) Are there any areas in PowerPoint that you think you need to work on?
Yes creating games using VBA and triggers.

7) What motivates you for creating PowerPoint works?
I was first motivated by some of the excellent works that I saw by young artists on PowerPoint Heaven, especially the Prince.

Now my motivation is to push the boundaries of PowerPoint’s capability, Every where I look I see potential artwork, e.g. TV scenes, the streets, parks, pubs and working with my students.

8) How do you plan your works and where do you get your inspirations from?
Ever since I was very young I have always been creative and been able to visualize things in my mind. I never stop thinking of ideas and when something pops into my mind I will right it down wherever I am and make some sort of design sketch, when this happens I can’t wait to get started on a the new project.

9) How do you think PowerPoint compares against other graphics creation software such as Photoshop?
I think PowerPoint has its limitations but so do other software packages, ease of use is a massive plus for PowerPoint. As a vector type drawing package it is excellent but file size and image resolution can be limited compared to packages such as Illustrator, Maya, Corel painter etc. I have a great deal of experience using Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop CS3 and Google Sketchup and if you combine these packages you can get excellent results. I must admit I find that I can create cleaner and better vector drawings using PowerPoint than I can using other packages.

10) What principles or concepts did you learn in PowerPoint that has also been applied to real life?
Discipline, patience and above all organization. PowerPoint is an excellent tool for getting a message across providing you avoid death by PowerPoint, this can apply to conversations and interaction with other people, e.g. friends and acquaintances. When you engage with others it is important listen as well as speak.

11) What else do you do apart from PowerPoint?
I love gardening; here I can also be creative. My wife and I really enjoy traveling; we have been to many places in the USA and traveled Europe extensively. I find any kind of computing enjoyable and am willing to learn new things all the time. Football is a passion of mine as is martial arts.

12) What do you consider your greatest creation?
Captain Jack Sparrow.

13) What would you say to someone who is new at PowerPoint?
Start simple and build upon what you learn, ask for as much help as you can and look on PPTHeaven for inspiration.

14) What are your plans for future PowerPoint works?
A portrait of David Beckham, a full video tutorial for creating artwork and the next thing that pops into my mind.

15) Can you share with us some PowerPoint tips and tricks?
I certainly can share some tips and tricks with you all and I have started a video tutorial which should be completed shortly. The best tip is to look at what other people can do and make a plan to work towards this. You always need to experiment with the tools available and if you don’t like what you have created you have still learned something. Study perspective and light to create depth in your artworks.

Special Thanks to the following PPTH Discussion Board members for the questions: TypetyTypeType, J Master XP, GLDSMTH
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