Scott Onstott portrait

Secrets in Plain Sight is written, produced, illustrated and narrated by Scott Onstott. Please feel free to contact me at I read all correspondence and appreciate your feedback.

I was educated as an architect at the University of California at Berkeley (graduated 1992) and worked in a number of prominent architecture and engineering offices in San Francisco in the first chapter of my career. Computer aided design was young during the early 1990s and I discovered that I had a natural talent for it.

After a few years I missed the collegiate atmosphere so I started tutoring private students in AutoCAD, 3ds Max, and Photoshop. Then I got some part time gigs teaching courses at several universities in the SF bay area and ended up leaving the architecture firm where I was working to take a teaching job at the Academy of Art University where I taught 38 semester courses over 6 years.

Around the turn of the millennium I started editing books and ended up tech-editing two dozen books. At this time I enjoyed being paid to learn. This experience expanded my knowledge not only of software but of the publishing industry and exactly how technical books are written. The next step I took was to write my own books of which I have authored or co-authored a dozen software books to date.

I have also created numerous training videos on AutoCAD, Photoshop, 3ds Max, SketchUp, and Revit. In the early days I self-published CD-ROMs and then DVD-ROMs. More recently I have partnered with Sybex/Wiley, Video2Brain, Infinite Skills, O’Reilly and where you can find my current video training products.

Along the way I wrote numerous tips and tricks articles at AECbytes, wrote a column for 8 years called “Beyond Photoshop” in Photoshop User Magazine (72 articles in all). I’ve given talks at various conventions and done consulting and created courses and tests for universities and private companies on AutoCAD, Photoshop, 3ds max, and SketchUp.

You can learn more about my professional career at

I had an epiphany which resulted in me taking a new direction in 2009. It took me more than a year of full time work to create an epic documentary called Secrets in Plain Sight, a densely-packed series about patterns found in art, architecture, urban design and the cosmos. Volume 1 runs almost 4 hours long and has been seen by many millions of people on youtube. Volume 2 is a feature film available for sale in the Store on this site. I’ve also written related articles, done many interviews about my films and maintain a popular blog about the Secrets in Plain Sight. I have also written 7 books to date on Secrets in Plain Sight themes.

I would never have perceived the patterns I have without first making a profound epistemological shift from assuming the universe is fundamentally random and meaningless, to opening to the possibilties of universal order, purpose and meaning.

Finding meaningful patterns in the world at all scales has deepened and transformed my worldview from assuming that I am separate from a lifeless universe, to knowing that the universe is alive and we are that vital awareness.