THE DIGITAL PORTFOLIO Basics Of architecture,

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THE DIGITAL PORTFOLIO Increasingly interior designers are using digital portfolios as components of a complete package, which often includes a physical portfolio, resume, and perhaps a mailer or sample protflio. Digital portfolios provide an excellent vehicle for relaying the types of visual imagery and project information found in standard interiordesign portfolios. There are significant issues involved in creating digital portfolios, and these relate to the use and selection of software, organizing and obtaining digital images, and the decision about whether to create a Web-based portfolio or a compact disk (CD). These issues present something of a roadblock to many students and designers, which is unfortunate, because despite having to deal with these issues, digital portfolios can be easier than one might think to create.

 Initial digital-portfolio development involves many of the same steps as a developing a “real” or physical portfolio. Decisions about what to include and the manner in which to include it must be made well in advance of stiting down to the computer with Web-authoring software or a CD to burn. Consistency between the digital portfolio and the actual physical portfolio is a worthy goal and can be accomplished with some thought and planning. Very often digital images of the actual pages of the physical portfolio are used to create the “pages” of the digital portfolio. Therefore, selecting background colors or type styles consistent with the elements of the physical portfolio is worthwhile when possible. Interior designers and design students often produce large presentation boards containing items and elements created by hand. This means that in order to include this nontechnology-based material it must be scanned, or photographed with a digital camera to prepare it for inclusion in a digital portfolio. Many colleges and universities provide digital-photography services. In cases where this type of service is not available students can photograph their own work using standard or digi
tal cameras. High-quality cameras must be used to avoid distortion, poor color rendition, and generally poor quality results. Standard photographs can be made into digital image files at most places that process standard film. In place of photography, many copy and reprographics shops provide scanning and digital file-creation services for all but the largest presentation boards. With the desired digital images on hand, the actual digital portfolio can be authored. Digital portfolio-authoring programs are those that allow text, links, digital images, and often audio and video to be imported and viewed. Adobe Photoshop®, Macromedia Dreamweaver®, and Microsoft FrontPage® are commonly used among students with whom I come in contact. Adobe Photoshop Elements® is less expensive than the standard version of Photoshop, and it allows for easy creation of a Web gallery, Although it does have some design limitiations, given the price it is quite useful. Netscape Communicator comes with a free authoring program called Composer®; FrontPage Express comes with Windows 98®. These free options allow for the creation of gallery pages that can be used to create a simple digital portfolio. Most digital portfolios start with a main page, which provides some sort of introduction as well as links to the various pages of the portfolio. Each page or slide should then link back to the main page or provide some form of navigation. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and FrontPage all provide standardized templates that allow for quick and easy generation of digital portfolios. Working with standardized templates is useful for those with little experience using Web-authoring software, but it can be limiting in terms of font selection, layout, and backgound colors and styles (Figures 820a, 8-20b, C-88, C-89a, and C-89b). I agree with Robin Williams, writing in The Non-Designer’s Web Book (2000), “It’s easy to make a web page; to make a well-designed web page, however, is not so easy.” Webauthoring software allows those of us who do

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