Our blog readers may not know everyone at Alien Skin, so introductions are in order. This is the first installment of a new series appropriately titled “Meet the Team.” These articles let you get to know each of the Aliens a little bit more. They’re all humble folks, and I’m more than happy to brag all about them. It works out nicely.
Matt King–our beloved sage of QA–audaciously volunteered as the guinea pig of the process. Thank you, Matt. It’s tough to be the first one on the dance floor. Most of the time, all of the other people tease those daring few to no end–which we all plan to do with Matt.
Matt joined the Alien Skin team back in 2012. His friend, a big fan of our software, had been encouraging Matt to apply here for years. Matt came aboard and immediately got to work on testing Eye Candy 7, one of our bigger products. This was the first major release that Matt tested from beginning to end.
Integration is often one of the most challenging aspects of any project for Matt. He performs the painstaking task of checking, double-checking, and triple-checking every button in every condition with every set of criteria we can throw at it. Every new change breeds additional complexity. Our software now has more moving parts than previous ‘plug-in only’ versions. It’s a big task for Matt to make sure everything works correctly. He wants everything to look like it’s been a mature product for years. “I don’t want users fighting through bugs when they should be making great images,” said Matt.
Best case scenario, Matt won’t be swamped with bugs after a new release. This is, by far, the worst of his worries. So far, the team has been successful on that front, and we all want to keep it that way! We have to work together, resisting the urge to put too much into a product revision. We’re all on board to make as many improvements to our software as we can, but we have to draw a line at some point. It’s like trying to eat a hamburger in a single bite–it’s possible, but it’s not going to taste as good as if you pace yourself. Deciding which features to integrate into a new version of a product is a tough call. It can be hard to keep the balance.
According to Matt, QA is typically a roller coaster. His daily workload is a high-swinging pendulum. One week he feels like he has all the time in the world, on the next it seems like he will never have enough time to test it all. People in QA typically have a healthy amount of paranoia about calling something ready for release and Matt is no exception to this rule. Once the end of a product cycle comes, it’s really tough for him to put his stamp of approval on it, even when he knows he’s tested it to the gills.
Outside of the office, Matt does a bit of writing. He’s spent years publishing short stories and has since moved headlong into a series of modern fantasy novels. Anyone that knows Matt will attest to his love of superheroes. The books he’s writing are his take on what a superhero story might look like set in today’s world. With any luck, the first one will be published later this year. Keep your eye out!
Stay tuned for some behind the scenes articles that cover lighting, conception, setup, and editing workflow for the images you see in this post. Questions and comments are warmly welcomed. Share with us in the comments below or on our social pages.