Digital Design in 2012

What will it mean to be a digital designer in 2012? Computer based tools, computer assisted processes, and computer-enabled experiences have all transformed the space. Design is a catch-all for so many creative practices - visual design, sound design, interaction design, all rolled into one as experience design. Or separated out in silos. Traditional techniques such as drafting and layout remain as relevant as ever but today's designers have access to technology that imitate many of these functions. The Apple iPad used as modelling clay (Autodesk 123D). The Microsoft Kinect recording motion captured live choreography. The Unity game engine as virtual set.

What are digital designers building? Everything. We live in a largely rendered world. You can't avoid it. For the specialists, there are so many sectors in which to hone your craft. The lovingly crafted animated 3D sequences on casino slot machines. The high-gloss car ads dripping cool on the cinema screen. The ultra-slow-mo title sequence capturing the soul of a TV series within ten seconds. The pre-visualisation and final renderings of a dramatic VFX sequence. The throw-away mobile and web apps enticing punters to Like an alcoholic beverage Page and maybe win a prize evocatively laid out on the small screen. The wow factor of pop-up live interactive arts such as projection mapped visuals on the front of classic buildings. The grand spectacle of new technology weaved into car shows and expos to draw the eye. The game designers crafting digital games for both the casual and hardcore players. For the select few, the game design is sensory overload in the form of massively multi-player online gaming and the alternative reality games for devout fans to scour both the real world and the virtual world for clues.

When pre-rendered design meets live experience design, when local audiences meet online users, the traditional lines between disciplines start to blur. That's arguably where the real magic occurs. The best design is surprisingly good. The evolution of production design is where interdisciplinary teams produce immersive content across multiple platforms driven by storytellers working in partnership with technologists. No doubt there will be some surprising developments in 2012.

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