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SXSW 2015: Top Takeaways for Creatives

SXSW Interactive is a hub of activity, new ideas, inspiration, and learning. Adobe was out in full force at SXSW 2015, with a two-day Creative Camp (plus additional sessions) during the conference.

The sessions we presented covered a broad range, from the future of Photoshop to creating video for social media to discussions of the creative potential in failure and inefficiency.


Two themes kept cropping up across the different sessions. First:

The pace of change continues to accelerate

New tools, new frameworks, and new ways to work or to find work—the creative world is changing faster than ever. Portfolios need to be updated regularly and new work shared. And working with different teams and across a broader range of devices is a necessity.

As Paul Trani pointed out, the fundamentals of design haven’t changed. Which leads to the next big takeaway:

The ability to be creative is more important than ever

Creativity not only allows you to bring ideas to life, it’s important in many other areas of life: From how to respond to challenges, to how to reach the people who will hire you, and weaving together the threads of a story you’re trying to tell… all (and more) require creative thinking. Good design is more and more important to the success of not just apps or websites but entire companies.

All these things make now one of the best times ever to be a creative professional or to become one.

Over the next weeks we’ll be sharing in-depth posts with key content from each session. The first post on Revamping Adobe Photoshop CC for Screen Design is already up. You can also see what people were saying about the sessions in real-time by checking out #AdobeSXSW on Twitter.

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I Went to Adobe Creative Camp at SXSW 2015

…And all I brought back is a series of blog posts.

What follows is the firsthand account of a first-time Adobe SXSW Creative Camp attendee: Two days. Nine hour-long sessions.

Session 1: Revamping Adobe Photoshop CC for Screen Design with Zorana Gee and Charles Pearson

Photoshop CC project manager Zorana Gee opened with a brief evolution of Photoshop (and a reminder of its beginnings as a graphic design tool) then launched quickly into the industry trends that prompted Photoshop’s designers, product managers, a cultural anthropologist, and a team of designer advisors to begin the creation of Photoshop for Design.


A return to the needs of designers

The Photoshop team gave anthropologist Charles Pearson an assignment that sounded simple enough: Hang out with young designers, see what they’re making, how they’re making it, and where they gather inspiration… essentially, figure out what makes them tick. Charles spent a boatload of time with design firms and designers learning how teams use Adobe’s best known software.

During hundreds of conversations, he confirmed that Photoshop is ubiquitous in design studios, but he also heard comments like: “Photoshop is not a concise tool for what I do,” “I only use 10% of what Photoshop has,” and “I need to focus on my design and there’s too much UI.” He actually discovered a disconnect between Adobe and these young designers—who felt like they didn’t really have a relationship with the company or its 25-year-old application.

From a negative comes a positive

The Photoshop CC team had some work to do. Not only did it need to continue its onslaught of innovation in the next build, it also needed to reconnect with the design community and build-out design features and workflows.

What began as the addition of features to address designer needs (one-click font resolution, link Smart Objects. layer comps, CC Libraries) has evolved to include a complete rethinking of the design features in Photoshop.

They call it Project Recess

The collaboration—between the Photoshop team and a group of designer advisors that first saw comps, then prototypes, and ultimately builds of the new version of the software—means that every major feature in the next major release of Photoshop will have been designed and developed using the insights garnered from a well-defined feedback system.

After Charles finished describing the genesis of Project Recess, Zorana previewed some of its features in an abbreviated version of her Adobe MAX Sneak (below) from late last year:


My conclusion: Designers, keep an eye out for the Project Recess release of Photoshop CC. It will be a gift.

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A Small(er)-Screen(s) Version of Adobe Illustrator Draw

Optimized for the large (and larger) screens of the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus) Adobe Illustrator Draw for iPhone works on any iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later.


Yep, that’s right. Adobe’s popular freeform vector drawing iPad app, is now available in an iPhone version. And it’s in the iTunes App Store… along with an update for Adobe Illustrator Draw for iPad (more on that further down).

Different. But the same.

This initial release of Draw for iPhone differs from Draw for iPad in only two (minor) ways: There’s no stylus or Touch Slide support and no integration with Adobe Shape CC. Other than that, Draw for iPhone consists of the same vector drawing tools and controls organized in the same UI as Draw for iPad. Which means, a whole long list of features:

  • Five expressive vector pens and an eraser.
  • The ability to customize drawing tools for opacity, size, and color.
  • One photo layer and up to ten drawing layers for each drawing.
  • Layer controls with the ability to duplicate, merge, flip and scale, and define layer opacity.
  • Up to 6400% zoom for finessing details.
  • The ability to send drawings as vectors to Adobe Illustrator CC, or incorporate them into designs in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC.

And, because we’re trying to keep this short, that’s not even a complete feature list. Get the whole story about Draw for iPhone by giving our pocket-sized drawing app a try: Download it free from the iTunes App Store.

Or, stick with the big(ger) screen.

If the iPhone provides what seems a scant drawing surface, there’s still Adobe Draw for iPad. And, although it may be hard to believe, we’ve made it even better with the inclusion of an often-requested feature: an Eyedropper to quickly and accurately sample colors.

We’ve also added support for Pencil by FiftyThree and Wacom’s Intuous Creative Stylus for iPad, (along with Adobe Ink and Adonit Jot Touch). And, now, not only are drawings automatically saved to the Projects folder (so even work you’re-not-yet-sure-you-care-about can’t be lost) but now that there’s also Draw for iPhone, drawings will automatically sync between the two devices when someone is using both versions of the app.

Get the update in the iTunes App Store and get drawing with a better-than-ever version of Adobe Draw for iPad.

And what about Adobe Ideas?

Been using Adobe Ideas and worried about getting projects out of that app and into Adobe Draw? Don’t. Import all of them or bring in just a few: Included in both the Draw for iPad update and the Draw for iPhone release is the ability to do a speedy batch import of existing Adobe Ideas files saved to Creative Cloud.

Our mobile apps are even better with a Creative Cloud membership. Haven’t tried it yet? Give it a trial. Free.

10:19 AM Permalink

Nature’s Path Organic Foods: Healthy Food, Impactful Packaging

This leading maker of organic foods supports consistent creative by implementing Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.


Nature’s Path Organic Foods is the largest independent manufacturer of organic breakfast and snack foods in North America. Making tasty organic, sustainable food is the family-run company’s passion. The Nature’s Path team loves finding new superfoods and developing delicious, new recipes that pair healthy eating with social responsibility.

Making delicious organic food allows Nature’s Path to take care of people and the planet. In everything they do, from sourcing ingredients to designing packaging, the Nature’s Path team strives to leave the earth better than they found it. The company’s design team supports that mission by doing what they can to make the packaging as environmentally friendly as possible.


Worldwide brand consistency

Highlighting the company’s drive and commitment, Nature’s Path offers hundreds of products for sale in more than 40 countries. For the in-house graphics team, this translates to the need to create a wide range of packaging designs that are fresh and eye-catching, while conveying a consistent brand worldwide.

“We work closely with each other and our vendors to develop packaging we’re proud of,” says Jeff Deweerd, creative team lead at Nature’s Path. “We’re always sending files back and forth, which means that standardizing on the latest and greatest design software with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams streamlines workflows and reduces incompatibility issues.”


Time well spent

With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, the graphics team at Nature’s Path gains access to all of the creative software it needs.

Printed materials and artwork are designed using Adobe InDesign CC. Designers can easily bring in visuals from other Adobe software, such as photographs edited in Adobe Photoshop CC or logos developed in Adobe Illustrator CC to enhance designs. Designers also rely heavily on Illustrator CC for signage, promotional graphics, and flexographic packaging designs for plastic or metal wraps and pouches. And, everyone working on the same up-to-date versions of Adobe creative software means smoother collaboration, less time spent exporting and repackaging files, and more on developing ideas.

Read the Nature’s Path Organic Foods case study.

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This Week’s Creative Challenge: Explore The Blues

This month, we’re celebrating the vital role colour plays for all creatives; we kicked things off last week with our post, The Importance of Colour for Creatives.

The truth is there’s so much you can explore around it that nailing down just one colour at a time can be the true challenge. That’s why we’re big advocates of smart colour palettes and the right tools to bring them to life wherever you go, like Adobe Color CC which is available in the iTunes App Store.

BlueBlog_1 Last week we challenged you to bring a new lens to your home and find interesting or exciting uses of yellow.

This week we’re turning our attention to blue—here are a few interesting “blue” facts to get you going: blue is the eye colour of 8% of the world’s population, and from a historical point of view we didn’t speak of “light blue” up until 1915, when it was first recorded as a colour term in English. But perhaps most importantly, research has shown that blue rooms tend to make people more productive, which is why you see so much of it in offices.

So your challenge this week is to find interesting uses of blue around your workplace. We’ve included an example of how that might look, but use your imagination… photograph a colourful mug, a notebook or a simple pencil, your boss’s jacket or just a nice overall frame.

Show us that you also get the blues (in a good way) by sharing your own photos on Twitter and Instagram, and using the hashtag #InspiredByColour​.

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Working Late with Samantha Warren

We’ll be welcoming designer Samantha Warren at our next Working Late event on Wednesday March 11—if you aren’t already signed up, there’s still time to grab a ticket from Eventbrite.

Samantha will be presenting “Mind the Gap: Becoming a better designer by owning your blind spots”; she was kind enough to spend some time answering a few of our questions about her work as she prepares for Wednesday’s talk.

Who are your mentors and what have you learned from them?

I don’t have “mentors” so much as I have a personal board of advisors. OK, that sounds too fancy, but I have a very talented husband who is a designer, and friends and family who are all brilliant and successful across many disciplines. I go to them for a lot. Make friends with those you look up to, because they will help you to be better.

Some things they’ve taught me:

  • HTML and CSS
  • To always have a good accountant
  • To use Illustrator symbols for making wireframes faster
  • And to never buy cheap tools or desk chairs.

Where do you find your inspiration for design?

Everywhere: history, fashion, culture, environment, books, and art.

Inspiration is less something you seek and more something you keep yourself open to receiving. It’s all around us, it’s just a matter of taking it and connecting it to something in our everyday work. Art and history are big ones for me. There are so many rich associations and feelings that have already been dug up and explored, and it’s just a matter of reinterpreting them in our everyday work.

All photos courtesy of Samantha Warren.

All photos courtesy of Samantha Warren.

Environments are also really strong inspirations for me, particularly in California where there is so much textural contrast in both rural and urban spaces. Just look at downtown San Francisco, with interesting visual juxtapositions that you can see just by walking down the street. There are beautifully-worn facades next to new and modern architecture, and signage and lettering that run the gamut of time periods… all of this nestled in a city that itself is juxtaposed against this fairytale backdrop with the blue-gray bay and the mountains of Marin. The geometric lines of the bridges set against the fog and the organic lines of Yerba Buena Island… there is just so much to be inspired by.


What was your favorite project to work on? Why?

It’s hard to have a favorite design project. Design projects are like children; they’re all special for different reasons. But there is one art project that stands out.

You know how some cities have community art projects? The city votes on a sculpture and local artists all get sponsored to paint versions of it differently and then they’re displayed around town. When I was in college I submitted and was selected to paint a Rockfish in Richmond, Virginia. My Rockfish was a beauty pageant winner with a sequined dress and a big pearl necklace. My entire family pitched in to help me with it. It was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever had the opportunity to work on, but it was a challenge. I had never worked with the fiberglass medium that the fish was made of, so I had to be flexible and resourceful in order to build up the lady parts that my fish needed to have. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and that made it all the more fun.

What’s your daily routine?

I’ve tried to develop a more disciplined routine, especially after reading Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit, but then I don’t follow through; I like to have a “framework” for tackling the day:


  • I wake up to my cat meowing in my face and pawing at my ear.
  • Then I enjoy coffee and breakfast with my husband in our SF apartment (which is also my office).
  • I scan Twitter for my daily design, animal parody, and world news.
  • I try to do some sort of exercise or go for a walk or jog.
  • And give myself a deadline to be at work by 9:00am.

My day is then usually mixed between calls, design, and other work-related activities. I may meet a friend or potential client for lunch or coffee and usually try and take another trip to the park. (I love the parks in San Francisco.) I also try and make time for at least one day a week at the ceramics studio, and one day a week for an outing at the beach, a museum, or a drive.


In anticipation of your Working Late talk, how about a teaser?

“The seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece.” —Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland

It will be a treat hearing more from Samantha next Wednesday. If you haven’t signed up already, claim your spot on Eventbrite.

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Colour Masterclasses in March

If you’re a designer or visual creative, colour is an important element in making your work stand out.

We discussed our own fascination with colour in a previous post, The Importance of Colour for Creatives, but now we’re taking it a step further: We’re hosting a series of masterclasses during March to explore how exciting uses of colour, powered by Adobe Creative Cloud tools, can help you to achieve amazing results.


Let’s start with the basics

On March 18, Creative Cloud expert Stéphane Baril explored the theory of colour. Through Stéphane’s masterclass, attendees learned about principles of colour theory and how to apply them to their work with Adobe design tools, in a practical way:

Stéphane’s full masterclass is available on YouTube.

Let your colours flow

On March 25, Danish designer Maria Grønlund, who bases her images on organic shapes such as flowers, smoke and ink suspended in water, will outline the process by which she creates her amazing work through various tools in Adobe Illustrator CC during her masterclass I Speak Fluid Colours.

Maria is passionate about inspiration from colour, stating that “these are digital drawings developed primarily for aesthetics. It’s a study in colours and Illustrator CC techniques… in principle, there’s no right or wrong way to interpret the drawings. It’s a bit like watching the clouds and finding rabbits and sheep in the shapes—though [they are] created with the intention of evoking a positive and light feel.”

Register for her March 25 masterclass and listen firsthand to her amazing insights on colour.

Let’s get practical

Then, on April 1, we’re inviting worldwide design evangelist Rufus Deuchler to talk about Real-world Colour Inspiration Workflows and how to leverage mobile devices and shared Creative Cloud Libraries in desktop applications such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop CC.

Colour defines our world, and our designs, so be on the lookout for this exciting overview of what you can do with the power of Adobe’s creative tools. Don’t miss out on Rufus’ April 1 masterclass… Register.

What a great time to be #InspiredByColour!

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An Adobe Inspire Webinar with Alejandro Chavetta

Alejandro Chavetta will demonstrate his collage and animation techniques on March 11, during the second session of Adobe Inspire’s webinar series Inspire: Creatives at Work.

AlejandroChavetta_1With its webinar series Inspire: Creatives at Work, the Adobe Inspire team is providing something different from typical tutorials. These live online sessions provide “ride-along” views of each artist’s creative process, as well as an examination of his or her inspirations. Nearly 500 people attended the last Creatives at Work session, which showcased the work of Danish graphic designer Maria Grønlund.

We’re very excited about the next one-hour event: On March 11 (at 10:00am PST/6:00pm GMT), graphic designer (and former creative director of Dwell magazine) Alejandro Chavetta will be showing us how he uses Adobe Photoshop CC to create his imaginative collages—and then he’ll show how he animates those collages in Adobe After Effects CC.

Alejandro’s otherworldly digital collages (as well as those he creates by hand) are beautiful juxtapositions of antique machines and organic forms. The incorporation of historical ephemera and images from antique reference materials gives his animations a rich patina and a striking depth, and his frequent use of skulls and other disembodied body parts adds a playful spookiness.

AlejandroChavetta_2His viewpoint is unique, but his techniques can be easily adapted to other styles and other aesthetics. (And if you’re still relatively new to After Effects CC, don’t worry: importing and animating a Photoshop collage like Alejandro’s can serve as a great introduction.)


Please join Alejandro for this inspiring hour; register now for the free March 11 event.

For people who can’t attend on March 11, we’ll be posting a recording of the event on Follow @AdobeInspire on Twitter for updates about this and future events.

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At SXSW 2015: Twice As Many Films Cut with Adobe Premiere Pro

Over 120 films at this year’s SXSW Film used Adobe Creative Cloud video applications, including 60 edited on Premiere Pro.

What a difference a year makes.

Last year at the 2014 SXSW Film Conference & Festival, a respectable 23 films had been cut with Premiere Pro CC, including gems like Evaporating Borders, by Iva Radivojevic, and The Immortalists, by Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado.

THE BOY, helmed by Craig McNeill,  premiering at SXSW 2015.

THE BOY, helmed by Craig McNeill, premiering at SXSW 2015.

This year the total has more than doubled with 60 films showing this year edited in Adobe’s professional NLE. Similar growth in Premiere Pro CC and Creative Cloud usage was seen at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and 2014 ended with a bang with the release of David Fincher’s Gone Girl, edited entirely in Premiere Pro CC with over 80% of the film’s effects assembled in Adobe After Effects CC.

“We’re really excited to see our growth at SXSW, especially given how this event cuts across genres to showcase artistry in so many different disciplines,” said Al Mooney, product manager for Premiere Pro CC. “The application is increasingly becoming the go-to NLE, both for established and up-and-coming filmmakers,” he explained. “Editors tell us they feel right at home very quickly and Premiere Pro CC’s  tight integration with other Creative Cloud applications, like After Effects CC and Adobe Photoshop CC make this an incredible creative environment in which to work.”

Adobe Creative Camp at SXSW 2015

For filmmakers attending SXSW, Adobe will be hosting Creative Camp on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 with two sessions focused on video content creation and storytelling.

Below is a listing of films showing at the 2015 SXSW film Conference & Festival that incorporated Premiere Pro CC in their post-production workflow.

Narrative Feature Competition

  • THE BOY: Craig Macneill, director; Craig Macneill and Clay McLeod Chapman, screenwriters (World Premiere).
  • Creative Control: Benjamin Dickinson, director; Benjamin Dickinson and Micah Bloomberg, screenwriters (World Premiere).
  • KRISHA: Trey Edward Shults, director/screenwriter (World Premiere).
  • Uncle John: Steven Piet, director; Erik Crary and Steven Piet, screeenwriters (World Premiere).

Documentary Feature Competition

  • Peace Officer: Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber, directors (World Premiere).
  • Twinsters: Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto, directors (World Premiere).

Narrative Spotlight

  • The Frontier: Oren Shai, director; Webb Wilcoxen and Oren Shai, screenwriters (World Premiere).

Documentary Spotlight

Uncle John, directed by Steven Piet, premiering at SXSW 2015 in the Narrative Competition.

Uncle John, directed by Steven Piet, premiering at SXSW 2015 in the Narrative Competition.


  • Ava’s Possessions: Jordan Galland, director/screenwriter (World Premiere).
  • The Nymphets: Gary Gardner, director/screenwriter (World Premiere).
  • Planetary (UKUK/USA): Guy Reid, director; Steve Watts Kennedy, screenwriter (World Premiere).
  • A Wonderful Cloud: Eugene Kotlyarenko, director/screenwriter (World Premiere).


  • The Diabolical: Alistair Legrand, director; Alistair Legrand and Luke Harvis, screenwriters (World Premiere).
  • Excess Flesh: Patrick Kennelly, director; Sigrid Gilmer and Patrick Kennelly, screenwriters (World Premiere).
  • The Nightmare: Rodney Ascher, director.
  • Pod: Mickey Keating, director/screenwriter (World Premiere).

24 Beats Per Second


  • Free Entry (Hungary): Yvonne Kerékgyártó, director/screenwriter (North American Premiere).

Festival Favorites

  • Being Evel: Daniel Junge, director; Daniel Junge and Davis Coombe, screenwriters.

Special Events

Narrative Shorts

Documentary Shorts

Animated Shorts

  • Butter Ya’Self : Julian Petschek, director.
  • Half Wet (UK): Sophie Koko Gate, director.
  • PALM ROT: Ryan Gillis, director.
  • Pig: Steven Subotnick, director.
  • teeth (UK/Hungary/USA): Daniel Gray and Tom Brown, directors.
Twinsters, directed by  Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto, a documentary premiering at SXSW 2015.

Twinsters, directed by Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto, a documentary premiering at SXSW 2015.

Midnight Shorts

Texas Shorts

Texas High School Shorts

Music Videos

Learn more about the pro video tools in Creative Cloud.

12:10 PM Permalink

The Importance of Colour for Creatives

As designers, photographers and creative professionals, we all know the importance of visual impact in our work. It is, after all, essential to communicating a message in a way that’s exciting but also effective.

During March, we’ll be exploring this topic a bit further, with a particular focus on the importance of colour for creatives.


Colour curiosities

Colour is a fascinating subject. Not only does it bring our work to life through inspiring and balanced themes and palettes, but also helps make our lives easier by allowing us to associate complex ideas in simple and subtle ways; for example, when you see red on a street sign, it’s a signal to stop as there might be cars coming… That’s colour in action.

Even more interesting is exploring the science and psychology behind color: Did you know that research suggests men and women actually see the colour red differently? Or that colours are responsible for at least 62% of our first impressions? Or that seeing yellow and orange can actually make you hungry? It’s not hard to find these and many other curiosities around colour, which illustrates its potential to help us create amazing work with Creative Cloud.

We want to celebrate colour in a vibrant way, and invite you to join us throughout March. Here’s how:

  • Talent Tuesdays
    We’ll be actively looking for interesting artists and projects on Behance that explore colour in exciting ways. We’ll highlight one artist per week, each Tuesday. Expect a lot of interesting talent and amazing work getting the attention it deserves
  • Weekly colour challenge
    We love a good creative challenge and know you do too, so in these next few weeks we’re exploring a different point of view around colour. Each week, we’ll pick one colour, tie it to a specific environment, and challenge you to take your best shot (pun intended) in a creative way that brings that colour and environment to life.


Let’s get started with yellow!

The first challenge is now live: We’re looking for inspiring uses of yellow around your home (like the image on the right).

Why yellow? Well, yellow is commonly associated with warmth, happiness, fun or friendship, which all sound like great things to have around the house. So time to create!

So, show us what you’ve got by sharing your own photos on Twitter and Instagram and using #InspiredByColour.
Have a colourful week!

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