Neil A Christensen BFA, MSc
This is my journey so far in interactive design and development.
A BFA in Photography provided me a solid base in the visual arts that I applied to many different digital interactive applications over my 25 year (and counting) career in digital media. I have cultivated my ability to be technically adept and visually aware and found it extremely helpful in developing a wide range of consumer and business applications, instructional software, and interactive marketing both off and online. Working in IT as a Systems Analyst defining requirements and building automated test suites gave me a solid grounding in traditional software development as well as varied network implementations (WAN and LAN) as the Internet boomed in the late 1990s. Communicating between disparate members of a development team has been my forte as I approach projects holistically and move easily between user experience, design, and programming goals. I continuously migrate my software skills from platform to platform and leverage my learning in design, animation, and video throughout projects. I have worked across various delivery mechanisms: CD-ROMs, kiosks, web, desktop, mobile and the cloud. I pick up software tools and programming languages rapidly and produce high-level experiences in short order.
Video and animation have always factored into my work and my passion for digital media. User experience has also been paramount. When I made my first multimedia piece with MacroMind Director in 1994, my senior year in Photography at the University of Calgary, I imagined the digital canvas exploding with movement, animation, and video pulling the focus where I wanted the user to go and audio creating layers of aural and emotional response with their interactions. Unfortunately, my imagination far outstripped the technical limitations of the time. Over the years, I have found bits & pieces of this ideal experience and moments of a true transcendence of the medium but I continue to push further.
I have always found myself attracted to 3D space, visual storytelling and sensorial experience. I am pursuing the opportunity to create experiences in extended reality (XR) encompassing virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR) that incorporate user experiences in new and unimagined ways. I seek to intertwine natural user interfaces with information visualization, animation, hi-resolution video, and sound. Virtual spaces and augmented experiences are a tipping point for a new user experience beyond the flat screen that has limited our perspective for too many years. I wish for these experiences to bridge specializations: art, entertainment, marketing, medicine, business and more. Industries transformed by experiencing information and data in what now seem like gameplay and fantastical movie-like ways. I want to turn some of those interactive fantasies into reality.