Ten years of imaging instruction with Philippine Center for Creative Imaging

Ten years of imaging instruction
By Walter Ang
June 14, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Digital technology has become so integrated into photography, videography and graphic design that it's difficult to imagine working with these mediums without the use of computers and gadgets. But beyond the availability of powerful hardware and the intricate software that make these machines or gadgets run, the knowledge or ability to use these tools is actually the key to unlocking results.

The Philippine Center for Creative Imaging has been teaching Pinoys and foreigners alike how to use creative applications for print, web and multimedia to further personal hobbies and professional careers for the past ten years.

PCCI tags itself as "the country's premier digital arts training center," but there is no hubris here. After all, it's run by industry-recognized practitioners, has a complement of 50 available courses taught by a pool of more than 20 industry-certified instructors, and boasts of being the authorized training center of several global image and video manipulation software companies.

The training center was borne out of Mariano "Jun" Miranda's passion for digital arts. He's been the president, creative director and resident photographer of PixelMagic, a digital imaging studi, since 1996. That was the same year he founded the International Designers Network Club-Philippines with other digital artists, layout artists, graphic artists, and photographers.

"We became the first Filipino organization of digital artists who aim to promote the use of computers and different software as a new medium for visual art," he says. To fund its activities, the club would hold seminars with Miranda and other members like award-winning artist and Cocoon Magazine Art Director Guillermo "Ige" Ramos as speakers. Participants clamored for more and sparked an idea in Miranda.

"I'd been going to the US to study digital imaging and how to use software like Adobe Photoshop," says Miranda. "I fell in love with the concept and convinced the club's board members to open a computer training center in the Philippines." The club incorporated the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging with Miranda as the president and program director.

"From day one, I knew that for PCCI to succeed, it had to establish credibility in the market. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can teach Photoshop but are they recognized by Adobe?" he says. He promptly returned to the US to become the first Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop and Lightroom in Asia. He also became a Certified Technical Trainer for the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction and for the Computing Technology Industry Association.

Industry recognized
"Now we're celebrating not only our 10th anniversary as a computer training center but also as an Adobe Certified Training Center. We are the first ACTC in Southeast Asia," he says. PCCI has gone on to pass the requirements of other companies to become their certified training partner in the country. In 2003, PCCI became the first and only Apple Authorized Training Center in the country. In 2005, it also became the first and only Corel Training Partner in the Philippines. It's also the Epson Digital Learning Center. Canon has appointed PCCI to be its training partner for its cameras, printers, and scanners, as has Wacom for its tablets.

Miranda discerned that post-graduate training for professionals would have to be handled differently from college classrooms. Unlike college students, professionals bring their knowledge and experience to the classroom, which become the foundation for further learning. "Professionals relate and strengthen what they already know with new information. We use this instructor-led, participant-centered method of instruction at PCCI," he says.

"We tap practicing digital artists to become our instructors. Participants benefit from the instructors' real-world experience," he adds. PCCI's roster of instructors include filmmaker Adolfo Alix, Jr. and photographers Raymund Isaac and Patrick Uy. 3D animation instructor AJ Siytangco works for Industrial Light and Magic-Singapore; After Effects instructor Robert Quilao directed Dayo, the first Philippine all-digital full-length animated film; and Corel instructor Sonny Leon is recognized as one of the country's top Corel artists. "We also have Ed Yap, Managing Director of iMag magazine; Stanley Coloma, a multi-awarded multimedia designer; and Dopy Doplon, an award-winning book designer in our pool," he says.

Students have included the World Health Organization, ABS-CBN, GMA 7, Sykes, Aboitiz, 3M Philippines, Hallmark, Central Bank of the Philippines, Accenture, Supreme Court of the Philippines, the US and Australian embassies, Ayala Foundation, Bayantel and Bayer Philippines, among others.

From its initial offering of ten courses, PCCI eventually added the entire offering of Adobe, to include video editing, animation and video effects, and web design. It has also added videography, cinematography, editing and 3D animation classes.

"Now our most popular courses are the photography courses. We are the only training center in the Philippines that offer 24 courses on photography," he says. "This includes food, jewelry, product, wedding, commercial studio, architectural, fashion, and even nude photography." It has even given a workshop on "techniques of creating art-like images that touch the heart and soul of others."

Miranda foresees the popularity of digital photography to continue for the rest of 21st century. He also dispels the notion that animation is a popular choice. "Contrary to initial expectations, the demand for animation courses have not picked up. Maybe because of the price of the software. The course itself is expensive. Plus, video editors earn more than animators."

In this vein and riding on the current interest in independent films, he predicts that "video-production and video editing will become popular since the new digital cameras are also equipped with HD video capability." "We plan to strengthen our video courses to offer `indie'courses and we're adding more courses that are not software-specific," he says.

As part of PCCI's 10th anniversary, the center plans to offer scholarships to four deserving individuals. "Our scholars will take all photography and Photoshop classes for free," he says. Miranda is still working on the components of the scholarship (like trying to wrangle free cameras for the scholars) and will announce the mechanics at a later date.

PCCI will hold its 10th Anniversary celebration on June 19, 5-7 p.m. at the 15th Graphic Expo and the Photo Video Expo at SMX Convention Center. Call 759-3087 or email 10years@pcci.com.ph.

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