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So I previously worked as freelance motiongraphics designer but it was almost impossible to get a full time position so I decided to look elsewhere within "design" circles. After a few months of try I got a graphic/interaction design position at a studio that designs and develops apps for phones and tablets.

Before starting this job, I had no professional experience designing apps, even though I had a handful of mockup designs and I made it quite clear during my interview. They hired me because they felt I had a good design sense and I also had some other expertise in animation/video that they might need in future.

I'm a few weeks into my new job and even though I haven't heard any complaints yet I think I'm being far too slow. In my previous works, my workflow was pretty much centered around Aftereffects/Illustrator/3ds max and Cinema 4d. In my current position it's rather Photoshop and Illustrator (my Phtoshop skills is not as sharp as it should be). To make things worse I work solely on a Mac now which adds an extra layer of complexity to everything (shortcuts, workflow etc).

I recently I finished work on my first project and was suppose to deliver graphic assets (over 200 of them) to the developer, it was going to take me a couple of hours but the other designer intervened, asked for the larger versions of the files and used a Photoshop script/plugin to get the over 200 files all in a matter of seconds! Even though I know he has more experience, I couldn't help but feel quite useless.

My question is, how do I improve my workflow and get things done as quickly as possible? (especially within Photoshop) Does anyone have any tips, plugins, scripts and OSX specific apps that I can use to the things done more quickly.

My second question is, my other colleague (the other designer), keeps interrupting my work to show me "how things are done", at first I thought he was only being helpful but I'm beginning to get the sense that there is a competitive edge it. Almost every time walks up to my desk to give feedback, he (the other designer) chimes in to give his own thoughts as well. How do I deal with such a person without coming off as a jerk?

  • Workflows can be very centric to the team you're on. I'd say seek out the help from your co-workers. – DA01 Sep 15 '14 at 0:56
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That person is definitely trying to help; they may also be looking for a promotion; but why look a gift horse in the mouth? They're trying to help you.

For me, optimising workflow is pretty much: learn, practice, learn, practice - constantly. There's no point at which you can know everything; there's always more to learn.

My advice is, continuously show that you are trying to improve through your actions, but don't bring it up unless they do - in which case, try to briefly summarise all of the major things you've learned so far and hope that they're willing to nurture and grow your skills further. You can only do as good as your best, so do it.

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Best I can say: You are not as experienced in certain tools. That is fine: you were upfront about it, and there will be a learning curve.

The best advice I can give is to ask the more experienced designer for help in concrete, single tasks. Make it clear that you want to achieve one clearly defined task, and ask how he would do that one single thing. Even get him to show you at his workstation, so that you can say "ah, got it" and walk away. When he shows you, try to be clear that you will now work on it on your own.

If there is a competitive edge to your colleague that is of course not helpful, but try to be clear that you need to focus. If necessary, and you get desperate, set clear time-limits. "I will work on this for an hour - I will get back to you at two o' clock".

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