Alien Skin Software has been producing cool graphics software since 1993. In the early days we made the first drop shadow filter for Photoshop. Since then, we have released a steady stream of highly regarded tools for photographers and graphic designers. We distill advanced math and cutting edge research into simple tools that render beautiful pictures. Our reputation for bug-free software and fast, friendly tech support has created an ever growing band of loyal customers.

Corporate Philosophy

It’s important to us that work be satisfying. For Pete’s sake, you spend half your waking hours there. We’re the kind of people who would lose our minds at regular jobs. We need the inspiration that comes from being part of something great. For us that means making excellent software and treating people well. Let me elaborate.

It is intensely satisfying to hear our customers praise our work. They gush about how beautiful our software makes their images. They are pleasantly surprised by our prompt, friendly, and human tech support. That glow of pride makes us want to do even better.

It is inspiring to work with smart, effective people. If you’re like us, you’re excited to work with someone who is brilliant. It makes you want to work harder and learn from them so you can reach their level. That’s why we only hire the best people and give them all the tools and support they need. That includes private offices, 100% coverage of family health insurance, profit sharing, IRA contribution matching, and espresso that will bend your mind.

Notice that I didn’t start by mentioning money. That comes naturally when you make great products, thrill customers, and provide an intellectually stimulating workplace. Money is of course important. It’s what gives us the resources to keep going, so we do pay attention to the bottom line. But profit is only sustainable if everyone involved is thrilled with the enterprise.

That’s our recipe for happiness at work. Be part of something great. It’s good advice outside of work too, but that’s another essay.

—Jeff Butterworth
Queen Bee, Alien Skin Software

Meet Our Team

Adam

Adam Haile

Purveyor of Finely Crafted Code

Due to the realization that our world will, inevitably, be ruled by digital beings, I have dedicated my life to understanding that which will become the digital DNA of our future oppressors.

I love programming because of the beautiful and elegant logic of it all. Code is never wrong. It is the programmer that is wrong, for the code only knows how to do what the programmer told it to do. (Until it gains sentience, see above).

On the other hand, I have long had a love of photography because of the unbounded interpretation and creativity required to produce an image that evokes emotion in the viewer.

It is a welcome challenge to combine these two seemingly opposing forces into something that allows an elegant and logical process for producing creative beauty.

Asdiel

Asdiel Echevarria

Programming makes sense to me, so it makes sense that I do programming; and I’m horrible at all other art forms. The family portrait to the right was taken on Wilmington, NC; the same day my little daughter saw the ocean first.

On: Family, photography, road trips in foreign countries, nature, old trusted physics, debunking, stinky cheese, taking pictures of our feet everywhere we go, shorelines, Middle Earth, the human brain.

Off: Envy, fast food, halogen lights on cars.

Finley Lee

CEO

Finley spends much of his time completely motionless at his keyboard, locked in a fierce struggle of wills with a computer. The computer hasn’t won yet, but you never know.

Turn-ons: Playing bass guitar and ukulele, making beer, baking bread, cooking, Laphroaig, hard sci-fi, gadgets, disturbing cinema, clean teeth.

Turn-offs: Commercial radio, being interrupted, bad drivers, raisins.

Finley Lee

Jeff Butterworth

Jeff Butterworth

Queen Bee – (The Founder)

I dropped out of Computer Science grad school and founded Alien Skin Software in 1993. For the first 12 years I worked on the mathematical core of our products. Then I moved into marketing. Now I advise the team and write in the blog, but am no longer on the front lines.

Jimmy Beech

Marketing Guy

I studied Fine Art up until the term ‘starving artist’ began to make sense. So I moved headstrong into architecture. It took me a few years to realize I’m not anal-retentive enough for the corporate architect’s daily routine, so I went back to my roots in art, this time digital. Luckily for me the blistering years of stuffy meetings, all-nighters & detail memorization paid off. I learned how to not get stuck in the details (it could have been sleep-depravity) like what type of concrete additives to use rather than what the space ‘feels’ like, It was a long lesson in communicating. Share the essence first, then support with detail. I’m proud of my wife & kids; some day I hope to be half as smart and talented as them. In the meantime I’ll rely on the inappropriate use of big words to sound smart.

Turn ons: Thinking, Exercise, Design, Freedom (no particular order)

Turn offs: Basically the opposite of the turn-ons. For further questions please see turn-on #1.

Jimmy Beech

Joe Payne

Joe Payne

Marketing Director

I am Alien Skin’s Marketing Director and a Raleigh-based wedding and portrait photographer. I look after all the promotional activities for Alien Skin from advertising through to our social outreach, website and blog. I also liaise closely with the product development team as we work to enhance our suite of editing and image processing tools for photographers.

Turn ons: Photography, Reading, Cinema, Music, My Wife!

Turn offs: Selfishness, Inconsideration, Politicians, Talk Radio

Mary

Mary Gukelberger

Bookkeeper

My white armor conceals the blackness of my soul. My mind has been molded flawlessly into a mere extension of the Queen Bee’s will. I cannot be bribed, influenced or pleaded with; I have been carefully selected for my unquestioning determination to serve Alien Skin Software to the death.

Turn-ons: NYC, Mike Patton

Turn-offs: blue cheese dressing, aggressive drivers

Matt King

Matt King

QA Nanobot

In a parallel universe, I have some sort of superpower. Not sure what, but I bet it’s really awesome. I hope my parallel counterpart makes good use of his power, be it invisibility, hyper-intelligence, or matter manipulation. I also hope he finds some like-minded heroes to hang out with, because evil never slumbers, and it’s easier to handle that schedule when you can trade off sleep breaks.

In this universe I mostly just test software.

Mike

Mike Erickson

The Software Whisperer

“I prefer to remain an enigma.”

Robert

Robert Lounsberry

Technical Support / Customer Service

I am the Gatekeeper for Alien Skin.

Turn ons: My wife, good food, electronic music, dark beer, and the NE Patriots.
Turn offs: Dallas Cowboys

Terence

Terence Tay

CTO

Self-expression can take many forms, like that of a painting, or a poem, or a program.

int main() {
int* i;
printf(“Hello %d World\n”, i);
}

This program expresses several ideas. First, the variable i is not meant to be used in this way, but it does not crash the program. This represents human fallibility and resilience in the face of mistakes. Everyone that runs this program will also get a random and possibly different value of i printed, depending on your computer and compiler. This represents each person’s individuality, which makes us who we are. But it is also this individual difference between us that divides our world. Is it possible for us to see past our differences and work together to build a better world? I don’t know. But I find it silly that the same program should give so many different results just because it was compiled or run differently. Isn’t it also silly that the same human beings should quibble and squabble over race, sex, politics and other i values?

Turn ons: Simplicity, serendipity and space.


THE NAME

Here is the story of the funky company name. George Browning and I dropped out of grad school at UNC Chapel Hill in 1993 to commercialize some texture creation code we developed on the side. It was inspired by the work of Karl Sims in his 1991 paper “Artificial Evolution for Computer Graphics” and by the texture explorer in Kai’s Power Tools. The early images the software created often looked like lumpy slimy alien skin, thus the name. The product became Alien Skin Textureshop. You can see some examples from it below. They tile, which makes them good for desktop backgrounds! :-) Unfortunately, the product had a short life because of a falling out with our publisher. Eventually George left to get a real job and later started Zengobi. I’m still glad we made Textureshop. It got us moving and the lessons learned in both programming and business helped our second product, Eye Candy (then called The Black Box), start strong.

– Jeff Butterworth, Queen Bee