Adobe Systems Incorporated

Unlocking The Power of 3D for The Creative Community – Adobe Acquires Mixamo

Artists: Francois Veraart, Corey Barker

Artists: Francois Veraart, Corey Barker

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3D tools have come a long way in the past few years, but are still generally inaccessible to most designers due to the great expense and extensive training required to learn the complicated techniques. However, using 3D in 2D workflows adds flexibility to the design work you’re already doing and delivers better output options for interactive websites, game content, video and 3D printing. Our research tells us that one of the most in-demand skills for designers is 3D, but using it is just too hard with the current tools and technology. We’ve been working to close this gap between power and usability, which started last year when we announced some exciting new features in Adobe Photoshop CC that make 3D compositing and printing much easier.

Today, we’re taking another step toward unlocking the power of 3D for designers by announcing the acquisition of Mixamo, a San Francisco based company that enables designers to create and customize a broad range of high quality 3D characters and animations, which provide significant benefits for the design community:

  • Increase productivity by reusing assets that can now be easily customized in 3D
  • Gain flexibility in making changes to lighting, environment, perspective and materials
  • Generate more realistic scenes in your projects with life-like lighting, reflections and shadows
  • Produce greater output options in both still and motion
  • Create realistic packaging, product concepts and prototypes before manufacturing

Designers are currently using Photoshop CC to produce a wide variety of 3D outputs, but we will increase what you can do with Photoshop CC and 3D content while making it easier for more people to take advantage of those benefits. We plan to integrate Mixamo’s technology into Photoshop CC to empower designers to create, customize, manipulate, rig and animate 3D content, as well as to take advantage of tens of thousands of high quality, turnkey 3D models, starting with stock characters that can be easily pulled into projects.

Designers are increasingly being asked to create photo-realistic scenes that don’t exist in the real world. And while this is already being done in Photoshop CC today, we can push the envelope further to enable a level of precision like never before, and to make it easier for everyone to use. This is because there is a confluence of changes in 3D technologies that will make this much easier in the near future. First, the emergence of 3D scanning technology will drive demand for readily available, high quality 3D content. Second, hardware improvements make it much easier to work with 3D content on standard devices, even tablets. Finally, we see a marriage of high quality content and powerful tools geared toward graphic designers that make working with 3D more accessible than ever before. Mixamo helps us address these market demands and the current challenges of working with 3D.

Characters are one of the biggest growth categories of 3D content and we see interesting use cases for graphic design. For example, we made this video by using Photoshop CC to composite a rigged and animated character from Mixamo onto an image.

But this is just the beginning. From content through capabilities, integrating Mixamo into Creative Cloud provides an incredible platform for more 3D innovation in the future. With this acquisition, we are excited to offer greater value to customers while introducing a new way of working to our design community that is looking to push the limits with 3D tools.

8:07 AM Comments (1) Permalink

Designing Tomorrow’s Cycling Trends

Market-leading bicycle distributor, Accell North America, improves collaboration with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

DesignCycling_1Bicycling has surged in popularity in the United States. According to a report from the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans biking to work jumped by about 60% between 2000 and 2014. Accell Group, widely known as one of the strongest players in the mid-range and high-end segments, serves the fast-growing bicycle market. After acquiring well-known brands such as Raleigh and Seattle Bike Supply, Accell North America serves the North American market with fun and functional bicycles, bike parts, and accessories.

“At Accell, we’re always drawing inspiration from the latest trends,” says Josh Podolske, associate art director and designer at Accell North America. “We try to predict what customers will be looking for in the upcoming months or year. That means we need to stay ahead with the most cutting-edge software and technologies to support our designs.”

DesignCycling_2 Designing for a fashionable market
Since the merger, designers for the Seattle Bike Supply and Raleigh brands have worked closely from their respective offices in the United States using Adobe creative tools to produce professional designs. The brands’ colorful bike, helmet, and glove designs are redesigned regularly in Adobe Illustrator CC to reflect current fashion trends and capture customers’ attention.

In addition to product designs, the designers also create the catalogs and flyers that provide vendors with clear and accurate product information. For the most complicated document, a 150-page parts and accessory catalog, character and paragraph styles in Adobe InDesign CC go a long way to improve consistency and designers can easily import assets from other Adobe apps, such as photographs edited in Adobe Photoshop CC or graphics created in Illustrator CC.

To consistently create high-quality content, the designers share and reuse brand logo and product images throughout their designs.

“Before we merged companies, Seattle Bike Supply worked on a private server while Raleigh worked with Egnyte cloud sharing services,” explained Podolske. “The IT department for Accell operates out of Holland, so it’s not easy for IT to just pop over when we need them.”

Rather than consolidating, Accell kept each brand on its own design server. Although the separation didn’t affect most daily design tasks, inefficiencies occurred when trying to share assets. If a designer for Seattle Bike Supply needed a brand logo on Raleigh’s servers, the designer needed to request the file from a colleague. As a result, designers could spend a lot of time waiting for a response—time that could be better spent adjusting artwork or layout.

In addition, designers from the two brands had previously worked with slightly different versions of Adobe Creative Suite. After the merger, it made sense for everyone to be on the same version of Adobe tools to improve their ability to collaborate across the team.

Connecting through Creative Cloud Libraries
While the designers continue to work on separate servers, brand assets are shared through libraries accessible through Creative Cloud for teams. Designers can quickly search for assets they need, easily bring those assets into projects, and continue work. The result is greater brand consistency and productivity.

“Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries saved the day by helping us work around our file-sharing challenges,” says Podolske. “We share color palettes or campaign graphics for more consistency across projects. It’s a wonderful alternative to integrating our servers, but without needing to invest resources in a server migration.”

DesignCycling_3Inspiring the latest trends
The Accell designers are constantly looking around for inspiration and trends that will influence their next product designs. “We never know what will inspire us,” says Podolske. “A billboard may use colors that would look great on a bike. A graphic on someone’s bag could be transformed into a cool pattern on a helmet. We’re used to finding inspiration on the go and working with our phones to capture that inspiration.”

The Adobe Creative Cloud mobile apps tie work done on smartphones directly into the creative workflow. When working on a new glove, a designer might start out with a physical sketch. Rather than scanning the sketch and trying to recreate the shape in Illustrator CC, the designer can simply take a picture; Adobe Shape CC turns the sketch into a vector image and uploads it to Creative Cloud Libraries.

To achieve a unique, organic design on a glove, designers may use Adobe Brush CC on a found shape or fun sketch, turning a picture into a custom brush in seconds. For the final step, Adobe Color CC turns a photograph into a fashionable color palette.

DesignCycling_4“When I’m out on the street, I can use Creative Cloud mobile apps like Adobe Color to take pictures that inspire me and have the palette waiting for me when I get back to work,” says Podolske. “We even use Adobe Color to instantly identify colors from our manufacturers’ swatch books. It saves us a ton of time that we used to spend physically comparing colors.”

With Adobe Creative Cloud mobile apps, designers no longer need access to bulky scanners. A picture from a smartphone automatically turns photographs into usable assets.

A recipe for success
Accell North America designers love the frequent software updates through Adobe Creative Cloud for teams and  take advantage of it to experiment with software. Rather than relying on outside resources, designers try editing video themselves with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, or redesigning the website with Adobe Muse CC. “Adobe Creative Cloud apps all use similar interfaces, which makes it easy to pick up new software,” says Podolske. “With access to all of the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud, we’re expanding our skillsets and bringing more creative work in-house, making better use of company resources and expertise.”

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams also helps Accell’s remote IT team in Holland manage software halfway around the world. It now spends 50% less time managing licenses and eliminated the need to store software serial numbers. “With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, we’re collaborating easier and working more efficiently as designers,” says Podolske. “I don’t have to wait for IT to enable certain software. I can just download and update what I need in Creative Cloud. The smooth workflow helps us concentrate on shaping our ideas into great designs that reach a growing audience for cool biking gear.”

 
Read the Accell North America case study.

7:36 AM Comments (0) Permalink

Great Ideas Are Not Enough

If ideas aren’t brought to life, they never become…. more.

It’s why, every year, Behance organizes the 99U Conference—to shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution. The premise of the conference is simple. By bringing together some of the world’s most productive visionaries, researchers, and creative thinkers, who excel at executing on their ideas, 99U offers road-tested insights on making ideas happen.

99UGreatIdeas

These last few years some profound insights have emanated from 99U: Scott Belsky entreated people to ask themselves, “What are you willing to be bad at?”; James Victore officially proclaimed, “work is a gift”; entrepreneur Marc Ecko offered advice about how to take control of a creative career; Ink & Slide designer Robert Brunner let the audience in on the secrets that all design companies know; and Tina Roth Eisenberg implored that people “stop complaining and instead start creating.”

In past years, speakers have made making ideas happen sound almost easy. (Spoiler: It’s still not.) And this year was no different. Six key insights, that Adobe evangelist Michael Chaize garnered from this year’s 99U Conference:

  1. Collaboration and innovation go hand in hand.
  2. Change your perspective for optimal results.
  3. Know yourself first and foremost.
  4. Be open if you want to succeed in business.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.
  6. Fear is natural but changing the world is a responsibility.

Of course Michael went into more detail; so make sure to read his post, “99U Conference 2015: Six insights on making ideas happen,” in its entirety on Adobe’s Creative Connection blog.

12:54 PM Comments (1) Permalink

A Cultural Icon, A Centennial Celebration, An Emerging Illustrator

The signature curves of Coca-Cola’s iconic bottle were introduced November 16, 1915. That centennial milestone is being marked with a year-long celebration and a global campaign. And nascent Belgian illustrator Bert Dries is taking part.

CulturalIcon_3When Coca-Cola calls
The assignment came by email. It was Coca-Cola Belgium asking if he’d take part in an art exhibition for which every piece would incorporate the unmistakable bottle as the primary subject. Soon after, client and illustrator met; but the meeting was little more than a formality: “There wasn’t a lot to discuss because they were giving me carte blanche.

They did, however, talk about the details of the partnership. Part exhibition and part celebration, Bert’s participation would also include live drawing (at an expo at Coca-Cola headquarters) with a permanent marker on a six-foot-tall, whited-out replica of the iconic bottle, and a workshop demonstrating his design/illustration process using Adobe Illustrator CC.

By the end of the meeting, they’d asked him to create three pieces. An assignment Bert took on more like a personal art project.

CulturalIcon_1The color(s) of artistic freedom
Consisting primarily of “These are the colors we use. Create some art for us.” the creative brief was, to state the obvious, brief.

Bert got busy thinking in red, white, and black: “I did make some initial sketches, but after sending them, I went in a completely different direction. So, in the end, they weren’t even a representation of the final art.”

But Coca-Cola Belgium liked them. And the works were printed. And hung at the expo (along with the work of other artists/designers). Interestingly, Bert’s first piece was printed incorrectly serendipitously giving it a pink hue and a pop art vibe that capture the bottle’s pop culture status.

About that six-foot high bottle? It was sent to Bert a few days before the event so he could take some time to consider its dimension. Not wanting a fully-fleshed-out idea, he composed just a general outline of what he wanted to draw: “I made a few lines ahead of time, but once I got there, there were people watching and asking questions and I just drew.”

CulturalIcon_4CulturalIcon_2That same audience, interested in his process, participated in the creation of Bert’s fourth piece when, armed with nothing more than a blank canvas in Illustrator CC, he asked the audience what they wanted to see him create. They made suggestions. He designed. They asked questions. He explained. And so it went until the illustration was complete.

A stark white bottle and a blank canvas
In the end, the four-piece assignment was much more of an art exercise for Bert: “Usually when you work for a big client they provide a lot of direction and have a lot of concrete ideas; but this time I had a lot of freedom.”

Not a bad way to help kick-off a year-long party.
 
Read Adobe Inspire’s “In Pursuit of Passion” to learn more about the burgeoning career of Bert (aka Musketon) Dries.

11:19 AM Comments (0) Permalink

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

Throughout time we mere mortals have had a tendency to believe that our generation was the first to realize or invent pretty much everything. Take teamwork, for example. We talk a lot today about the value of teamwork and how important it is to our personal and professional lives. We quote people like Michael Jordan who said, “There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there is in win.” But teamwork is older than language so let’s take the concept back. Way back.

Most historians agree that our earliest ancestors organized themselves into cooperative clans or tribes because their chances of survival went way up if they worked together. Teamwork. Even back then some members of the team were faster or smarter or more creative so it’s likely they learned to specialize. If you were weak or slow you could still help score dinner by making loud, annoying noises and aggressive arm movements to drive the prey towards the guy who was phenomenal with a spear. Voila. Protein with a side of vegetation provided by the gatherers. Shared by the whole team.

Combined effort, shared knowledge, and collaboration
Fast forward to the reign of the pharaoh Khufu (approximately 2,589 BC to 2,566 BC) and imagine the teamwork it took to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. To raise it, laborers moved into position six-and-a-half million tons of stone—some in blocks as large as nine tons—with nothing but wood and rope. Originally 481 feet high with sides of 760 feet at its base, it was the biggest building on the planet until the early twentieth century. It represents 20 years of high performance work by a team estimated at 100,000 workers. Probably not aliens.

Take another giant leap forward to 1660 when The Royal Society of London was formed to promote the free exchange of scientific ideas. Admittedly, this wasn’t your average bunch of Joes. Just a few of the names you might recognize include Sir Isaac Newton, architect Christopher Wren, Gottfried Leibniz (the “father” of calculus), Edmund Haley (as in the comet), and Robert Hooke, who invented the steam engine. Shared knowledge and collaboration over the course of 70 years led to the formation of several sciences—anatomy, zoology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and botany—as well as the industrial revolution, embryonic evolution theory, mechanical computation, the understanding of planetary gravity, and much, much more. Even Steve Jobs might be humbled.

A couple of themes begin to emerge
Clearly, none of these things could have been done by one person working alone and that’s not meant to imply that individuals haven’t accomplished great things. However, there’s another little thing called shared vision.

Henry Ford and his team of engineers shared the vision of an affordable automobile and focused on the cost savings gained from mass production to make it. Walt Disney and his “nine old men” revolutionized children’s films and created some of the most memorable and profitable characters in cartoon history.

In this blog series, we’re going to look at various aspects of great teamwork, which we’ll loosely define as the cooperative effort of a group of people seeking a common end. We’ll be inspired by the knowledge that the greatest civilizations have been those that encouraged cooperation and the smartest animals we know—great apes, elephants, wolves, dolphins, crows—tend to live together in cooperative groups. We’re not zoologists here at Adobe, so we’ll share what we do know about the importance of teamwork inside the company and in collaboration with some seriously creative customers using Creative Cloud for teams.

Stay tuned. It’s our goal to keep the conversation lively.

8:35 AM Permalink

Contemplating Design… One State at A Time

A lover of vintage design and typography, Jonathan Lawrence had noticed, over the years, a decline in license plate design. He’d asked himself before why they weren’t designed in a way that was pleasing. Why sometimes they didn’t seem to be considered at all.StatePlates_1_Logo

But the final straw came in the mail. In the form of new license plates for his car. His description, “It’s the worst thing in the world. It’s this crazy peach farm with a sunset, peach state script that’s pushing Georgia out of the way, and all this craziness happening behind the important information.”

That irritation provided the impetus for his effort to redesign every state plate in the US. “With the older plates, there’s a simplification of order, of hierarchy, of consideration that I feel has gradually gotten lost. I wanted to bring a little bit of that back.”

Quickly realizing the enormity of the project, Jonathan reached out to his designer friends and colleagues and before he knew it, more than half the 50 states, that would eventually comprise the State Plates Project had been spoken for; after he posted on social media, the rest were snapped up. Each designer, either born in the state or having adopted it as home, was passionate about the location, Jonathan’s project, and design.

Jonathan sent each of them a template and a design brief.

StatePlates_2_Template The union of function and beauty
Not wanting to get too prescriptive, Jonathan’s creative direction was fairly simple: “Bring back the union of functionality and design in a way that the plates can be beautiful, but also make sense and serve a need, then wrap that all up in a package that feels like the state.”

Since he wanted the focus to remain on applying a design approach, he asked the designers not to get too bogged down in the specifics of plate design (for instance, although it’s a requirement in some states, he didn’t insist on the redesign of the registration stickers), but to focus instead on the hierarchy of the primary content: the size and placement of the tag numbers and letters, the name of the state, and the message related to the region.

StatePlates_4_Options Jonathan chose Georgia.

Originally from Florida, he’d gone back-and-forth about which state he wanted to design. He ultimately chose Georgia so he could finish what compelled the project. For him, simplification was key: “As designers, we have a responsibility to design but somewhere along the line, whether it’s a marketing decision or something else, things get over-analyzed (as an example, URLs—state.pa.us, myflorida.com, georgia.gov—on license plates). It’s like everything has to be everything. And really, we just need license plates to be license plates.”

Considering Georgia
Like anything that looks simple after it’s done, the small space, the historical context, and the design parameters made it a challenge. Although he’d been living in the state almost four years, he began researching prior plate designs.

StatePlates_3_InspirationOne of the first things he noticed was that since the 1940s, a peach had been the symbolic center of the design. So he knew it had to stay. While for many states the plates have always been two specific colors, Georgia had bounced around the color wheel. Ultimately, inspired by a color scheme from the 1960s and ’70s Jonathan threw that into a design equation, along with a nickname he found (Empire State of the South), that was already beginning to get complicated.

At the same time he was curating, guiding and creative directing 49 other designers with anything from minor tweaks to major concept simplification.

The next chapter
In the end, everyone’s work paid off; Jonathan’s State Plates Project tumblr launched with a plate-a-day last October. Now, it’s a rich archive of design concept and execution with detailed comments by each of the designers.

StatePlates_6_Final Although Jonathan wouldn’t mind seeing some of the plates used in the special interest plate programs that benefit private organizations, he ultimately he feels that it’s the conversation that’s most important: “When the project went viral, people who weren’t designers were starting to find out about it. If we’re just talking to ourselves, that’s great, but actually getting past that early adopter stage, and having people start to realize the potential, that’s where the real impact is.”


We met Jonathan at Creative Jam Atlanta where he was one of the local speakers. Join us for the next Creative Jam and meet someone new.

7:20 AM Permalink

Four Students to Make Their Comic-Con Debut

This spring, Adobe collaborated with Marvel to make the first-ever student-illustrated Avengers comic—powered by Creative Cloud.

The limited-edition origin story comic will officially debut at San Diego Comic-Con, where the students will get one-on-one portfolio interviews with Marvel pros.

Marvel_1

Students from around the world submitted their portfolios through Behance—garnering responses from students in more than 47 countries.

We’re proud to announce that Chad Lewis, of Kent State University; Alexandria Huntington, of Academy of Art; Hayden Sherman, from RISD; and Emil Friis Ernst, from Animation Workshop in Denmark were officially selected for the opportunity.

Though we have selected four students to illustrate the new comic, we are working on another opportunity for two additional students to help with special effects or creatively think of ways to bring a few pages of this comic to life when it’s complete. Stay tuned for more information on this opportunity.

The students are currently working with Marvel on their comic using Creative Cloud and its new mobile apps, like Adobe Brush CC.

Follow Adobe Students on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see sneak peaks of the comic, and origins of some of the most famous Avengers characters!

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What’s New in Creative Cloud Learn

Some curated highlights of new tutorials released by the Creative Cloud Learn team in March and April 2015:
 
CCLearn_ 1_ AcrobatAdobe Acrobat DC

  • Learn about the new features in Acrobat DC that help make it easy to work with PDFs and other documents—from anywhere.
  • See how the all-new Acrobat Tool Center assists with finding the right tool and completing almost any task with PDFs.



CCLearn_2_LightroomAdobe Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015



CCLearn_3_CompCCAdobe Comp CC



CCLearn_4_NicoleAdobe Comp CC and Adobe InDesign CC



CCLearn_5_TimothyAdobe Shape CC and Adobe Illustrator CC



CCLearn_6_LibrariesAdobe Photoshop CC and Creative Cloud Libraries



See our library of Learn tutorials for Creative Cloud products at helpx.adobe.com/support.

7:22 AM Permalink

Creative Cloud for Teams… It Makes Sense

Adobe Creative Cloud is a great solution for creatives, designers, photographers and video producers to always have the latest and greatest tools. At first glance you may think that it’s all about individual users. But there’s much more to Creative Cloud than the plans for individuals and freelancers. We offer a solution for enterprise customers, and for those who manage a team or are part of a small to medium size business, we created Adobe Creative Cloud for teams (CCT).

CCTeamsTerry_1I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t get the value proposition of CCT at first. Now that I see all that you get from an administration standpoint it makes sense to me.

With CCT you’re in control
Your Creative Cloud licenses are tied to the company, not the individual users. This way if someone leaves the company or a project, they don’t leave with your software. You simply turn it off for one user and turn it on for the next. You can also dictate/deploy which applications and services are being used by your team or employees.

Stuck on a project?
Each of your users is given two one-to-one consulting sessions per year and you’ll have a one-on-one consultation with an Adobe expert. And as of April 20, Adobe is now offering priority support exclusively for CCT business customers around the world. Creative Cloud for teams admins will now have 24/7 (English only) advanced technical support by phone (and web support via chat) to help deploy their CCT software smoothly and resolve issues. This level of support is not available to customers with individual Creative Cloud memberships, but it’s something Adobe realizes businesses require.

Collaboration is the key
Adobe Creative Cloud offers a wealth of services and features that allow your users to collaborate and share files, colors, styles, etc. As a CCT member each of your users will get 100GB of cloud storage instead of the 20GB of cloud storage for individuals. With this additional storage your team members can share more and work on bigger projects that they can access not only from their desktop computers but also their mobile devices.

CCTeamsTerry_2The bottom line
Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is where it’s at if you manage a team or business. If I still had my training and design company, Creative Cloud for teams would be a no-brainer. Learn more about it.

6:18 AM Permalink

Trending Now: The Pulse of the Creative Economy

Today, Will Allen, senior director of digital media at Adobe unveiled original research on the global creative economy. From data and findings associated with the public projects of nearly five million Behance users, it’s the first look at Adobe’s ongoing analysis of creative industry trends.

CreativeMashup_1

The new insights, “Adobe Digital Index New Creatives Mashup,” focus on the formative years of a creative career and offer a view into the thoughts, aspirations, and focus of younger creative professionals. It delves into how innovation on mobile has enabled second-screens to become increasingly integrated into creative workflows; which parts of the world are hotbeds of ideation and project creation; and what appears to be a renaissance of analog elements (like ink and pencil) in design work.

Adobe has been a catalyst in the creative industry for years; now, with the considerable insight available to us from Creative Cloud, Behance, and the Fotolia Stock image service, we have access to ongoing data that can illustrate and predict creative trends and help us determine how to best support the next generation of creative professionals.

Want the full story on the interests and passions that are fueling the creative economy? Read Will’s “Adobe Digital Index: New Creatives Mashup.”

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