Using Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise as its foundation, digital entertainment content provider Square Enix Co., Ltd brings fantastic stories to fans around the world.
Creating unforgettable experiences
“Spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences” is the corporate philosophy of Square Enix. Building on this philosophy, the company delivers high-quality entertainment and services to fans around the world.
From classic game series including Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy to popular comic series FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST and Black Butler, Square Enix is home to countless hits. And Adobe’s creative software, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC, are part of the backbone upon which these creations are built.
Square Enix deployed Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise across its creative teams. Creative Cloud gives all development staff access to the latest creative applications and the Adobe Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA) helps the company improve software asset management and compliance.
Managing large-scale software licenses
Square Enix supports more than 2,000 employees in its Tokyo headquarters alone. The vast majority of those employees are involved with creative development; each developer has two to three high-performance computers, each with a wide range of necessary applications. Managing software licenses associated with each of those systems is a complex task.
“We want our developers to use the latest software to produce the best entertainment possible,” says Daishiro Okada, general manager at Square Enix. “But, when we took cost into consideration, we couldn’t always provide every employee with the most recent updates. As a result, employees were sometimes working with different software versions than their co-workers as well as on each of their own machines. Keeping track of all of this took an inordinate amount of time and effort.”
Helping train new employees
To create fantastic entertainment, Square Enix developers need the skills to get the most out of the latest technologies. “We want to provide training on the latest technologies to help our employees improve their skills, regardless of the software version they are using,” says Okada. “And, ideally, we want to provide knowledge that applies to all of our employees.”
Complying with standards
Square Enix considers compliance with software usage regulations to be of utmost importance. “As a company that deals with the creation and distribution of digital content, we strongly recognize the importance of licensing and compliance,” says Okada. However, in an environment with multiple types of software and versions, eliminating unauthorized software usage can be a much more laborious task.
Reducing license management
Square Enix signed an ETLA for Adobe Creative Cloud to help improve the creative environment, simplify license management, and strengthen compliance. “Working with the Adobe enterprise agreement dramatically reduced the amount of work required for license management,” says Okada. “The ability to manage the licenses for all of our software centrally, without needing to pay attention to versions, has led to unbelievable administrative efficiencies.”
Square Enix developed an environment where users can download and install whatever software applications they need from an internal server. Only the agreed number of licenses can be issued, which greatly contributes to better compliance. The system also eliminates the need to connect to an external server, which reduces the risk of access to unauthorized copies.
Improving skills with free access
By deploying Adobe Creative Cloud, development staff can download the software that they need, when they need it, from the internal server. All creators, from experts to beginners, share the same cutting-edge environment. As a result, development teams can improve their creative skills while working to produce unique products and services.
“Most employees jumped into using Adobe Premiere Pro CC right away,” says Tomoyuki Hiraoka, KSK procurement supervisor in the general affairs department at Square Enix. “Many people wanted Premiere Pro CC, but we previously limited access to keep costs down; now everyone can have the applications they want through Creative Cloud.”
“Creating the best entertainment ultimately requires not only the best possible output, but also the best possible processes,” says Okada. “Using the latest technologies in Creative Cloud, we’re providing our developers an environment where they can quickly create brand new entertainment.”
Reducing annual costs
While analyzing the new licensing model, cost was a primary concern for Square Enix. Even if the new model improved licensing management, the efficiencies would not be worth it if costs also increased. The company examined costs from all angles, including initial purchasing and upgrade fees.
“Compared to our previous licensing model, we calculated that Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise reduces our costs by an amount equivalent to two full-time staff per year,” says Hiraoka. “The cost savings were a major factor in our decision to work with Creative Cloud.”
Shifting the focus to online content
The video game market is changing rapidly, expanding from traditional home console games to an increasing number of mobile games played on smartphones and tablets. Square Enix is also focusing on development and delivery of online and social games played over networks.
“New types of devices will continue to enter the market, and we want to provide the best content and services for all of those devices,” says Okada. “Creative Cloud already has an established reputation for use in developing content on multiple devices and we believe that it will form a strong backbone for building our mobile services.”
Developing for the global stage
In addition to offices in Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles, Square Enix has additional creative studios in Montreal, Copenhagen, Shanghai, and San Francisco for a total of more than 3,500 development staff. The company plans to grow international operations in the future.
“Currently, each international office handles its operations independently, but we are looking to unify the development environment and management system on a global level,” says Okada. “We want to pull in top talent from not just Japan, but around the world, and provide them all with an excellent work environment. Expanding use of Adobe Creative Cloud globally would be ideal. If we can consolidate global license management, we will improve administrative efficiency and improve compliance even further.
Read the Square Enix case study.
David Fincher crafts a thriller with a talented team of artists and Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
If the first film review in Variety is any indication, Director David Fincher’s film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel Gone Girl will be well worth the price of admission. Many filmgoers will see the movie because they like the actors, the genre, or because they’ve read the book. Many others will go because they love Fincher’s vigorous storytelling, his impeccable pacing, and his striking visual style.
Whether the audience is conscious of it or not, it is Fincher’s careful structuring of narrative and imagery that makes his films so powerful. Gone Girl is the first Hollywood feature-length film cut entirely in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Fincher is a director known for pushing technology to the edge. To help realize his ambitious vision for Gone Girl, he shot the film with a RED Dragon camera in 6K and assembled a top-notch post-production team. Two-time Academy Award winner Kirk Baxter, ACE, edited the film with help from an editorial department that included Tyler Nelson, his long-time assistant editor. Peter Mavromates worked as post-production supervisor, while Jeff Brue of Open Drives was the post-production engineer. Fincher had worked with the group before, but the decision to use an integrated Adobe workflow with Adobe Premiere Pro CC at the hub, was a first for the tech-savvy director.
After successfully cutting a Calvin Klein commercial with Premiere Pro CC, the team set out to determine what it would take to support the demands of a two-and-a-half hour feature film using the same Adobe workflow. Brue was tasked with designing the storage system that would enable Premiere Pro to work smoothly within a demanding 6K production pipeline.
“Our goal was to get as many iterations as possible of the opticals and visual effects in a given period of time to make the story as strong as we could,” explains Brue. “The ask was for nothing less than perfection, which pushed us to do better. When it came down to it, Adobe Premiere Pro CC was faster than anything else in the market. That speed meant more iterations, more time to work on a shot, and more time to perfect an edit.”
Having worked on previous Fincher projects, Mavromates comfortably assumed the role of managing the pipeline, helping determine the post-production goals, and guiding the visual effects work. With a plan in place, Baxter got started on the edit, working closely with Fincher and relying on Nelson and others on the editorial team to navigate the technicalities of working on such a cutting-edge pipeline.
“Working with the Adobe engineers was probably the best development experience I’ve ever had,” says Nelson. “Everybody was in tune with what was going on and we always had this amazingly collaborative environment. It wasn’t just about making our movie the best movie it could be, we wanted to make every movie cut on Premiere Pro in the future the best movie it could be.”
Fincher shot in 6K with multiple takes, giving the team plenty of material to work with. With a gift for bringing out the best in everyone on a project, it would be easy to assume that the film is comprised of only “perfect takes.” In fact, 80% of the shots were enhanced in some way, from reframing and stabilization to split-screening to remove an extra breath.
The result, after a lot of meticulous detail work, is a film where every shot seems flawless. As the Variety review says, “…editor Kirk Baxter cuts the picture to within an inch of its life while still allowing individual scenes and the overall structure to breathe…”
“On every film we face the challenge of reducing the screen time without losing content,” says Baxter. “If we don’t have to cut out lines, but instead remove time from a scene by making invisible edits, that’s a win. The way David overshoots the frame in his films allows me to edit within the shot, then I throw it to the guys to sew together in After Effects, make it spotless, and stabilize the shot. That way David can judge the shots by the performance and delivery, rather than making comments on the technical aspects.”
Much of the visual effects work was done in-house, which allowed the team to work iteratively, in parallel with the editing. For example, Baxter could edit in Premiere Pro while others worked on shots in After Effects. The saved compositions would automatically update in Baxter’s timeline thanks to Adobe Dynamic Link. This integrated and interactive workflow kept shots looking cleaner and eliminated distracting back-and-forth discussions so the entire team could focus on the story as it took shape in the edit bay. This streamlined workflow was one of the main advantages for “Team Fincher.”
“On Gone Girl we managed to do a huge number of effects shots, probably more than 200, in house thanks to the tight integration between Premiere Pro and After Effects,” says Mavromates. “I don’t think the average viewer will think of Gone Girl as a visual effects movie. However, when you look closely at David’s movies he is playing little visual tricks and we are doing brass polishing on a significant number of shots.”
This talented group of self-described perfectionists, supported by a gifted and driven post-production team, put the Adobe video workflow through its most rigorous use case to date with great success. Now, with the hard work behind them, they can sit back and watch their months of work unfold for theater audiences around the world.
Check the Adobe Premiere Pro blog next week for in-depth interviews with Kirk Baxter, Tyler Nelson, Peter Mavromates, and Jeff Brue about their work on Gone Girl.
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud.
Creative production agency Wellcom Worldwide accesses more applications and regular software updates with Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise.
Leading creative content creation
Wellcom Worldwide is a leading global production agency, servicing clients with quality creative and innovative technology that make meaningful connections between brands and their customers. The company’s services include graphic design and cross-media adaptations, 3D and 2D illustration, photography and creative retouching, online and digital services, TVC production, video and animation, pre-media, image and asset libraries, and online workflow processes.
The company has transformed from a relatively small private company with 12 employees in 2000 to a global entity supported by a talented team of approximately 430 staff in 2014 with offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Auckland, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Columbus, and New York. Wellcom strives to be a leader in the creation and distribution of content quickly and easily in any part of the world and uses Creative Cloud for enterprise to support its vision.
A simple transition for global workforce
The switch to Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise was a natural progression for Wellcom. The company has used Adobe products to create its content since the early days of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and has always paid attention when Adobe introduces new solutions. Today, Wellcom uses Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC for video production, produces all page content with Adobe InDesign CC, and uses Adobe Illustrator CC for packaging design. Adobe Photoshop CC remains the primary application for retouching, adjusting color, and image editing.
While the creative products have always worked well, to control costs the company typically limited the number of products it purchased. When Adobe Creative Cloud was introduced, the additional benefits and access to the full collection of applications was very appealing. Based on the ability to more easily manage licenses and receive regular updates to Adobe products, the company made the decision to transfer its existing enterprise licenses to Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise.
“Adobe Creative Cloud was really too good to ignore, and it was a seamless transition to switch our existing licenses to Creative Cloud for enterprise,” says Shaun Gray, information technology, product and customer support manager at Wellcom.
It was a simple transition, managed internally with minimal disruption to the business. Wellcom purchased 450 seats across its international offices and has access to many more applications that it hadn’t traditionally used, such as Adobe Edge Animate CC for creating animated banners and Adobe Muse CC for designing websites.
Expanding skills with new tools
Since making the switch, Wellcom has enjoyed the additional benefits that Creative Cloud for enterprise offers. Using the Enterprise Dashboard, the company can more easily manage licenses, expand the number of seats as needed, and true-up on an annual basis.
“The significant difference with Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise is how much simpler it is to manage our licenses,” says Gray. “We’re always on the hunt for acquisitions, and with Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise we can easily add additional seats if and when we need them with a clear understanding of cost.”
The ability to pay an enterprise license fee for all of the applications in Creative Cloud gives Wellcom’s staff to access applications they have not traditionally used. By expanding their skills with new applications in Creative Cloud for enterprise and new technologies such as Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the company is winning business in areas it didn’t previously support.
“We’re encouraging creativity through the exploration of alternate ways of creating content,” explains Gray. “With Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise, staff can access the applications from a secondary computer at home to continue to build their skills, and then apply their new knowledge to professional projects.”
Wellcom is also taking advantage of the storage and file syncing capabilities in Creative Cloud. “Being able to store and sync files to Creative Cloud, combined with the large storage per seat, gives us a powerful tool that we didn’t have before.”
Increasing efficiency across devices
Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise will continue to be a critical part of Wellcom’s business operations. The company uses the built-in Creative Cloud storage to enable employees to share and access content, such as imagery and photography, from anywhere on mobile devices. Designers also use applications in Creative Cloud to adapt traditional print content for viewing on tablets and smartphones.
“The ease of accessing content across devices using Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise will be great for staff out of the office,” said Gray. “Adobe Creative Cloud is a critical part of our business and will continue to be the enabler of our creative content development.”
Read the Wellcom Worldwide case study.
When we asked painter/illustrator/textile designer Jenean Morrison to join us at Adobe MAX this year as a MAX Insider, we knew that she’d been using our mobile drawing apps to supplement her drawing/doodling/sketching habit. We had no idea, however, how often she used them nor how prolific she is.
It’s a love affair that began this year, in late spring, when Jenean, a long-time Adobe Illustrator CC user, picked up an iPad Air, a stylus, and started using Adobe Ideas to sketch wherever and whenever the mood struck. She was hooked. The artist, as she’s mentioned on her blog, likes to start her mornings making art: “If I’m in the middle of a painting, I like to jump right into it first thing with a cup or two of coffee. If I’m not working on a painting, then I usually sketch or make some patterns—or both.”
From Ideas to Illustrator CC:
By July, Jenean was “head over heels” about her newly adopted creative process and had added Adobe Line and Adobe Ink & Slide to her creative toolkit. She began experimenting more and more with the potential of the apps and has become particularly fond of Line. Although designed for precise drawing and drafting, Jenean appreciates “the organic results from loosely playing with shapes and color.”
Sketching on her iPad has become a daily occurrence that she attributes to being enamored with her new drawing tools. In a July 24 blog post she wrote, “It’s so interesting how sometimes new tools—be they apps, devices, or something as simple as a new paintbrush or pen—can inspire you to do new things with your art.”
Using Adobe Line along with Ink & Slide:
Jenean continues to use Line’s in-app tools to experiment with drawing techniques—erasing work she’s already done or putting a lighter color on top of a darker one—that she “could never do on paper.”
And, appreciating the freedom that comes with designing on a mobile device, she’s begun creating versions of images that before now she’d created using Illustrator CC. Experimenting with various combinations of freehand drawing, Ink & Slide, and the drafting templates in Line, she gets a pleasant mix of freeform lines and digital details.
Jenean’s new way of working gives her patterns, designs, and geometric prints new dimension and a new look:
Jenean wasn’t an early adopter of drawing digital on mobile; now it sounds as if she wishes she hadn’t waited so long… “I resisted buying an iPad for the longest time. I just didn’t see the need for it in my life. When I finally got one several months ago, I realized I’d been missing out on a whole new wonderful way of creating art! I had no idea how much I would enjoy this.”
See so much more of Jenean’s work on her Instagram along with occasional insights into her inspiration and her process:
This article was compiled from a series of posts on Jenean Morrison’s website and Instagram.
This creative technology studio designs high-impact displays and improves software management with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.
Investing in multidimensional experiences
Combining innovative technology with unique creative expression, Obscura Digital designs and develops immersive and interactive experiences for events worldwide. Unlike traditional digital agencies that focus on works for print or screen, Obscura specializes in interactive installations, engaging stage shows, and mapping video that turns nearly any surface—from an outdoor sculpture to an entire building—into a video screen.
“We focus on nontraditional mediums and work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds: musicians, artists, and technicians,” says Barry Threw, director of software at Obscura Digital.
For the grand re-opening of the San Francisco Exploratorium, a unique museum dedicated to science, art, and human perception, Obscura manufactured a series of miniature replicas of the building’s façade to capture unique video, including fluid dynamics, microorganisms, and living systems in high-definition, time-lapse video. At the opening, Obscura seamlessly mapped the video onto the front of the building.
“When we work with such large canvases, we need to start with ultra-high resolution images,” notes Threw. “Adobe creative software is not only an industry standard, it efficiently handles high-resolution outputs when other software can’t.”
Obscura used Adobe Premiere Pro to create and quickly edit proxy footage, and switched to Adobe After Effects for color correction, transitional moments, speed ramping, and master outputs. Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop were used for template creation and image cleanup, while Adobe Bridge assisted with overall file management and metadata annotation.
Obscura, part of the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) and an Adobe agency partner, recently purchased Creative Cloud for teams through Adobe.com. “We’ll often bring someone in on short notice to create or revise assets as client specifications shift,” says Threw. “With access to the full collection of creative apps, Adobe Creative Cloud for teams supports greater scalability and enables us to change creative direction or take work wherever it needs to go—something we couldn’t do as easily before and respond to client needs almost instantly, right in the field.”
Centralizing license management simplifies administration, making it easy for Obscura to redistribute licenses as they are needed for various projects. “With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, we can manage licenses very easily through the Admin Console,” says Vlad Spears, a technologist at Obscura Digital. “We always know who has what software, so we can adjust assignments as needed across project teams and contractors.”
Creative Cloud for teams also puts users in charge of software updates and installations, further reducing the workload for IT. Since teams often work in the field to help bring exhibit installations to life, this easy-to-manage self-service model enables users to add secondary installations of the Creative Cloud apps to home computers or laptops.
“If someone is working on the road and suddenly realizes that they need another application, they can use their existing Creative Cloud membership to install the applications themselves without IT scrambling to provide them additional installers or serial numbers,” says Spears. “The flexibility we have in managing licenses now with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is light years better than what we were doing before.” Obscura plans to expand use of Creative Cloud for teams with more licenses purchased through Adobe.com.
“Our purchase of Adobe Creative Cloud for teams via Adobe.com was extremely smooth,” says Spears. “And, by working with our annual membership on a monthly basis, our finance group has a much easier time forecasting costs and building budgets. We are thrilled to be on this new path with Adobe.”
Read the Obscura Digital case study.
Prestige Group, India’s leading real estate developer, delivers superior quality design content using Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.
One of the leading real estate developers in the southern states of India The Prestige Group (Prestige) works across the residential, commercial, retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors. Since its inception in 1986, Prestige has completed 177 projects which include apartment enclaves, shopping malls, and corporate structures.
A long-time Adobe customer, Prestige has used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for various stages of project execution; during the initial stages of idea creation and project conceptualization, the design team creates concept presentations: “It’s a collage of various photos and ideas to depict the overall project,” says Aditya Muley, business development and design manager at Morph Design Co., part of the Prestige Group. “In this stage, we use Photoshop extensively to edit multiple photos from the inventory and also from the Internet; Illustrator is useful when there is a requirement to create wallpaper and other designs of interior items,” says Muley.
Once the concept is approved, the property floor plan and the layout is developed using AutoCAD or 3ds Max software. At this stage of concept development, the Prestige design team would once again use Photoshop extensively. “We use Photoshop to import or edit photos, provide multiple textures to the layout, add special effects, and finally to design different views, such as a top view or side view,” says Muley.
Version consistency and license management
Although the firm has been using Adobe creative tools rigorously, there were multiple challenges in terms of using the latest versions of these tools and managing the licenses. “Our traditional approach was to install new versions one, two, or three seats at a time. As a result, we might have designers using one version and the architect team using another, which could cause IT administration issues associated with maintaining multiple software versions,” says Venkat Rao, general manager, IT, Prestige. “We wanted our employees to uniformly use the latest and leading-edge solutions.” The use of the latest versions of the creative tools was vital for Prestige also from a compliance point of view.
Prestige decided to adopt Adobe Create Cloud for teams. “For a rapidly growing firm like ours, the biggest challenge is giving everyone access to the latest software and then tracking application allocations,” says Rao. “That’s why we were excited when we heard about the automated administration in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.” Prestige also realized that the latest versions of Adobe’s creative tools offer incredible integration, more features, and a greatly advanced—yet familiar—user interface with which its designers can work with higher efficiency. “The incompatibility issue was automatically resolved,” says Rao.
A streamlined migration process
The migration to Creative Cloud for teams went smoothly; post-implementation, Adobe held multiple training sessions on using the tools in Creative Cloud.
Now with simplified access to all of the components in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams and no lag time between versions or upgrades, the designers are always updated. Adobe Creative Cloud for teams gives Prestige upgrades of the software upon release of new versions, plus exclusive features between releases, enabling them to stay up to date on the creative tools integral to their daily workflow.
Multiple new features of Adobe Creative Cloud tools are of great value to Prestige. Adobe Photoshop CC features include effects such as sun glare or artificial light, the ability to edit background and insert images, and ease of obtaining multiple views, which are extensively used by Prestige. “With Photoshop CC, one can directly edit and import textures into AutoCAD or 3ds Max,” says Muley. With Adobe Illustrator CC, Prestige can create new images from scratch, which can then be enlarged and sent out for printing. “We are thrilled with the newly added features of Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC,” says Muley. “In fact, with access to the latest versions of the software, we are empowered to experiment and invent new ideas in project design and execution.”
Maintaining design integrity with Adobe Acrobat CC
During various stages of the project; from conceptualization and design to execution, multiple project designs are required to be shared with internal and external groups of users for review and acceptance. Ensuring the security and integrity of these designs is vital. Also, sharing AutoCAD or 3ds Max design files with a wide group of users created issues. “We wanted the final output to be secured and optimized in its size in order to share it with the internal or external users,” says Muley. Prestige effectively addressed these challenges by standardizing on Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Prestige collaborates on projects across teams and with clients more easily. “We have never faced compatibility issues and the overall workflow has greatly improved with Acrobat,” says Muley.
Simplified management, big savings
The streamlined deployment and administration in Creative Cloud for teams has greatly helped the IT team at Prestige to eliminate many time-consuming manual processes, such as installing packaged software or maintaining version consistency. “We no longer need to perform updates one-by-one on machines as we now have the flexibility to install software onto computers on demand and activate new subscriptions as needed,” says Rao. Creative Cloud for teams has helped Prestige raise the productivity of the IT team by simplifying software administration with license management, automatic tracking, and version upgrades.
Creative Cloud for teams eliminates the need to manage software upgrades. Every employee has automatic access to the latest versions of Adobe products, which not only supports compatibility between workers but enables the company to take advantage of new features without worrying about the cost of upgrades.
For Prestige, Creative Cloud for teams has significantly reduced the total cost of ownership for Adobe solutions by creating a standardized model for purchasing and deploying the most current versions of Creative Cloud tools. “We like paying annually for Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. It’s a much more effective approach to budgeting as it eliminates lump-sum software purchases,” says Rao.
Scalable for future expansion
With better control and higher visibility on license utilization Creative Cloud for teams is a scalable solution. “As our design and architect teams expand, Creative Cloud for teams readily supports us as licenses can be added on-the-fly without major cost implications,” says Rao.
It supports the company’s rapid growth and its ability to efficiently manage the workflow of large and complex real estate projects. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams helps us become more productive by simplifying software administration with license management and automatic tracking,” says Rao. “The predictable, easily managed model in Creative Cloud for teams allows us to budget for software purchases accordingly and grow as our team grows.”
Read the Prestige Group case study.
Branding, design, and interactive firm Oestreicher+Wagner develops and delivers high-impact content using Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.
Oestreicher+Wagner (OE+W) has been an icon in the design, prepress, and production industries in Germany for more than 80 years. With approximately 100 employees, OE+W is a renowned media powerhouse serving long-time customers worldwide in industries ranging from automotive to food and fashion.
Several years ago the firm expanded beyond its expertise in prepress and published print pieces to offer clients more interactive services. The goal was to enable OE+W clients to engage their customers through multimedia experiences delivered via traditional websites, mobile sites, and other channels.
Today, the company’s services span the breadth of media production, with three photo studios, professional retouching and composition, desktop publishing and layout, and digital printing. In addition, the firm’s interactive division handles all things interactive; collaborating closely with clients to design and develop websites and mobile apps. Custom content management solutions and e-commerce applications round out OE+W’s interactive portfolio offerings.
Commitment to compelling, high-quality, content
OE+W has always been on the cutting-edge of design and technology, embracing the tools that enable them to provide clients with impactful content, and targeted audiences with memorable experiences. Integral to OE+W’s work over the years has been the use of Adobe creative software. “We began using Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe creative tools years ago,” says Roland Fellner, head of IT and systems at OE+W. “Even now much of our work relies on photo retouching and publishing, so Adobe software has always been vital to our success.”
As a long-time Adobe customer, OE+W’s IT and creative teams were instantly intrigued when they heard about Adobe Creative Cloud, especially after learning more about how membership would give staff faster access to full versions of popular Adobe applications.
Easy management, accelerated access
The firm originally joined Adobe Creative Cloud, and explored the tools, through individual memberships. But, with the help and advice from reseller Syspro, they quickly took advantage of Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. The centralized Admin Console in Creative Cloud for teams reduces IT overhead for OE+W and accelerates the deployment of software by providing a single view into license management. Equally important, Creative Cloud for teams helps the company’s finance managers more easily predict spending. “For our team, upgrading to an Creative Cloud for teams allowed us to scale as needed. We can add or change user licenses easily, versus having individual memberships, which helped support our business,” says Fellner.
Creative Cloud for teams enables OE+W to quickly address changing client and team requirements with the flexibility to easily reassign licenses without having to deactivate a license at an individual workstation. “Our move to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is helping us realize time savings of up to 40% on software deployment and license management,” explains Fellner. “With built-in tools like Creative Cloud Packager, we can instantly distribute software based on users’ needs, whether prepress, photo retouching, or other design uses.”
An expanded toolset at the click of a button
OE+W has expanded the number of seats of Creative Cloud for teams, and now has the flexibility to equip and scale its computer-generated imagery (CGI) unit with the video and effects software needed to manage CGI, post-production, video, and other activities.
For many at OE+W, rapid success with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams wasn’t surprising given previous positive experiences with Adobe. “Adobe software is woven into the fabric of our company,” Fellner says. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams gives us the assurance that all our departments can collaborate easily using the latest versions of Adobe software and take advantage of the newest features to experiment creatively.”
Multiple departments within the company use Adobe creative software to accomplish their daily tasks. For example, OE+W needs the latest version of Adobe Photoshop CC to support 64-bit performance enhancements that enable teams to better manage large files, from 500MB to 6GB. For the firm’s retouching professionals who work with many layers to create new photos the results are noteworthy; OE+W clients appreciate the photos that present their products in the best light.
Other groups at OE+W rely regularly on Adobe InDesign CC to design brochures and catalogs for clients. The high-resolution materials can be converted quickly to PDF for streamlined delivery. At the same time, Adobe Illustrator CC is used by creative teams to create icons and symbols that precisely convey the nuances of each client’s brand.
OE+W has adopted Adobe Edge Reflow CC to mock-up initial screens of websites for client review and have started experimenting with Adobe Edge Animate CC. The company has also begun creating short films for websites and is exploring the possibility of integrating video into interactive brochures for clients. “With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, we’re finding new uses for Adobe software,” says Fellner. “Access to more software is encouraging us to explore options for expanding services, with teams looking closely at tools such as Adobe After Effects CC and Adobe Premiere Pro CC for video production.”
Additionally, the company has started using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Enterprise Edition to transform traditional layouts into interactive media, that include video and other elements, for greater reach and impact.
“Adobe Creative Cloud for teams gives us the ability to grow creatively across departments and expand our business,” says Thomas Eusterholz, managing director at OE+W. “We benefit from having access to the latest features in software we’ve used for years, as well as having the flexibility to explore applications to take our business in new directions.”
Read the Oestreicher+Wagner case study.
Mobile application marketing firm Hiiir Inc. adopts Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.
Founded in 2008, Hiiir Inc. is the first marketing company in Taiwan to provide integrated social media, Internet, and mobile marketing. Its marketing tool, Timely, is enjoyed by more than 3.8 million members and generates 15 million page views daily. Over the past few years, Hiiir has become Taiwan’s largest professional mobile application marketing company, serving clients like Coca-Cola, Sushi Express, and convenience store chain Family Mart.
Based on evolving market trends and user behaviors, Hiiir began to strategize and look for the next potential product with significant profit. With that, General Manager John Yeh invested marketing and technical resources to help enterprise clients emphasize emerging mobile tools and cloud development. The company also released a mobile business app, as well as a cuisine and travel app featuring a location-based service. These products have attracted attention from international enterprises and garnered an additional US$3.33 million investment from FetNet, one of the top three telecom companies in Taiwan.
Integrated applications help bring design to the extreme
Recently, Hiiir adopted Adobe Creative Cloud for teams to give employees anytime, anywhere access to the latest design tools, while also allowing them more time for the creativity and brainstorming that result in products that exceed customer expectations. Adobe Creative Cloud for teams saves Hiiir on software purchasing costs and simplifies the deployment process significantly and innovations in Adobe Creative Cloud software have inspired Hiiir to offer better cloud services for their customers in the future. According to a 2013 survey announced by Taiwan Network Information Center, 77.09% of the Taiwan population use the Internet, which translates to opportunities for many web design companies.
Hiiir had been a loyal user of Adobe Creative Suite software for years. “At Hiiir, Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Edge Animate, and Illustrator are widely used for web and mobile app design. Multiple applications are required when designing artwork, which influences the end results, and Adobe Creative Cloud for teams significantly improves integration among the applications and maximizes their effectiveness,” said Neil Lee, chief technology officer, Hiiir.
Creative Cloud for teams integrates various desktop applications, including Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and Dreamweaver CC. Users can synchronize files, share design concepts with customers and colleagues, and securely access files anywhere from cloud storage via mobile devices. Additionally, Creative Cloud for teams enables web design teams to establish and publish websites, create mobile applications, design iPad publications, and produce responsive content.
Streamlining IT management and increasing efficiency
Hiiir’s design, product, and marketing departments, as well as its front-end engineers, all use Adobe creative software and tools. In the past, information technicians had to spend more than 1 hour per user to complete desktop application installations for up to 70 employees; even with 3 or 4 dedicated technicians, the efforts sometimes required overtime to finish setting-upapplications. This increased operational costs and impacted team efficiency.
“With business growth, Hiiir headcount has grown significantly, adding to 250 employees and creating heavy burdens for information technicians. Adobe Creative Cloud for teams saves human resources and time,” said Lee. “With the centralized procurement and management platform, information technicians can focus on Creative Cloud for teams application deployment and finish each installation in less than ten minutes. The installation for 8 to 10 staff can be done in under 40 minutes. With the increased efficiency, we need just one information technician to meet the demands of the whole company.”
Adobe Creative Cloud for teams integrates desktop applications and the latest updates providing all the required business features and services for collaboration. The Adobe Creative Cloud Packager centralizes and streamlines the software management and deployment process and helps information technicians select specific applications for groups or individuals—all easily done through an intuitive interface.
The most noteworthy advantage of adopting Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is the boost to work efficiency. “After creating accounts online, staff can install the latest version of applications themselves after login,” says Lee. “This significantly reduces installation time and effectively increases work efficiency; we keep improving the quality of our apps for customers by showcasing our unlimited creativity and best interface designs to the users.”
Maximizing innovation and creativity
Hiiir has transformed from an Internet to a mobile application company. With its design requirements, Hiiir relies heavily on Adobe creative software. “Adobe applications are mainly used for web design, mobile app interface design, and interactive Flash websites,” Lee said, “and as the company scales up, we expect our reliance on Adobe software to increase.”
“Hiiir is an innovative company, and we definitely want to choose the latest and best tools,” said Yeh. “With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, we don’t need to worry about application updates. By using it, we’ve simplified the working process and made procurement planning and budget management easier as we grow. When all departments fully use the latest creative and design solutions from Adobe, it generates more profits for Hiiir.”
Adobe Creative Cloud for teams enables creativity and collaboration. Each staff member at Hiir is assigned 100GB of cloud storage. Team members can be more efficient in editing, collecting feedback, and collaborating in the cloud. Design teams at Hiiir can develop and create for various devices without limitations. Adobe Creative Cloud for teams not only reduces operational costs, but also greatly increases work efficiency for high-quality product design.
Read the Hiiir Inc. case study.
Filmmaker embarks on a journey documenting creativity around the world—through motion graphics and art.
When we last spoke with Graham Elliott he was just starting work on his next film, World In Motion, which he describes as, “a documentary film series that explores the dynamic connection between location and expression.” Since that time, Elliott has taken two trips to Brazil, the first stop on his global journey. In addition to interviewing creative professionals, he spent a significant amount of time capturing B-roll that will add texture and reference to the film. Now, he’s back in the United States and will spend the next few months working in Adobe Premiere Pro CC editing his content before his next trip, to Japan, in November.
Adobe: Tell us about your time in Brazil.
Elliott: I first went to Brazil in October for three weeks, then went back again this past January. With preparations going on for the World Cup and then the Olympics, there was an incredible buzz of activity. Brazil is all about rhythm and color. It takes a lot of influences from Africa, Europe and North America and makes them its own.
Adobe: How is this project different than your last film, New York in Motion?
Elliott: When we made New York in Motion we had three months to shoot, student help, multiple cameras, and the luxury of an open timetable. With World In Motion we needed to do a lot more advance planning. I traveled to Brazil four or five days before my partner, Roswitha Rodrigues, came to conduct the interviews. I spent time shooting B-roll to give the interviews context. Because of security concerns in Brazil, I had to rethink my camera package to be more mobile and inconspicuous. I did most of my shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II and GoPros.
Adobe: What type of footage did you capture?
Elliott: Before I set out to shoot, I worked out a way of organizing the shots I wanted to capture. There is so much you can do and see and when you’re on location it can be a little overwhelming. So, I created an index card system with a storyboard of the shot I wanted and all of the necessary logistics: time of day, equipment, security, etc. One example of content I captured was the view from the cable cars that go over the favelas. Shooting from this perspective let us show the expanse of humanity in these poorer areas.
Adobe: How much time did you spend interviewing?
Elliott: When Rosie came in we did seven days of interviews in São Paulo and seven days in Rio. We wanted to go in without any scripted questions, or preconceived notions of the creative essence of Brazil, so we could have more of a conversation. We asked interviewees to describe their work, and from there each person took a different path.
We started with LOBO, a company that has been a major inspiration, working with American and European clients, doing incredible motion graphics. The team there is incredible, and the founder, Mateus de Paula Santos, recommended other people for us to interview. We also connected with SuperUber, the company that recently did a huge texture-mapping project at the assembly hall in the United Nations building, projecting visuals onto the different surfaces. The team there gave us more recommendations of who we should see in Rio.
Adobe: What is different about the way work is created in Brazil?
Elliott: The school system in Brazil lacks proper funding and doesn’t have rooms full of computers, so students do a lot of tactile work. They have to make do with less, but that makes them push the boundaries of creativity in different ways. We saw a lot of handmade art that was then scanned into computers, giving the end creations a more tactile feel.
The work that artists create is also different depending on the city. Both Rio and São Paulo are interesting hubs of creativity. Rio is very green, has beautiful beaches, people are outgoing, and the artwork seems to reflect that with a lot of natural, organic elements. Conversely, Sao Paulo is a concrete jungle and people seem more introverted, which ultimately affects the way designers work and what they create. It will be interesting to look back after we’ve visited different locations and compare the references—how people create, what tools they use, where they start, and how much is influenced by culture, religion, tradition, and history.
Adobe: What type of tools are creative companies you interviewed using?
Elliott: Many of the established motion graphics agencies are using Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Rather than starting everything on the computer they do a lot of organic work, including models, paintings, and collages. After Effects is very popular for working with content after it is captured; it is the quintessential motion graphics tool. Designers we interviewed in Brazil are excited about Adobe Creative Cloud and keeping everything within the same workflow.
Adobe: What do you like about working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Elliott: I really like the workflow in Premiere Pro. I shot a lot of timelapse content with the 5D Mark II, and it’s so easy to bring the stills into After Effects CC, apply some moves, and then open them in Premiere Pro. Rendering is so much easier in Premiere Pro than it was in Final Cut Pro and there is also a lot more flexibility with color correction.
Adobe: Where else do you want to go on your World In Motion journey?
Elliott: In November I’ll be traveling to Japan and we also hope to go to South Africa, India and Europe, especially London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna. The film is about creativity and the field of motion graphics serves as the backbone. But we’re not just interviewing motion graphics artists, we’re also interviewing people in other art fields. Motion graphics is so much about rhythm, music, dance, photography, and design so we’re going out and talking to dancers, designers and musicians, which is really invigorating. It will be a long journey but I’m already excited about the story we’re going to be able to tell.
Part tutorial. Part infographic. And part animated GIF. Animagraffs. It’s the name Jacob O’Neal assigned to the animated infographics he began working on in 2012. When he told us that he used Creative Cloud, we wanted to know more so we caught up with him to ask about his concept, his tools, and his process.
Jacob talked to us about his toughest critics, making (some) decisions based on art rather than function, how creativity is fueled by excitement and wonder, and, of course, the beauty of Creative Cloud.
You’re a designer, so designing information probably comes naturally to you, but where did this idea originate? Was it an offshoot of another project? I’ve always been fascinated by animation. I used to draw entire flip-book scenes in the margins of old paperbacks or on sticky note pads. I’ve also always loved optical illusions and visual tricks that appear simple yet manage to boggle the mind.
A couple of years ago I began to see entire movie clips, in animated GIF format, being shared all over the web. While I had seen very simple usage of animated infographics in the wild, I hadn’t seen anything on the scale of Animagraffs.
It seemed like a fitting challenge: Could I make a meaningful infographic within a limited image format as the endlessly looping animated GIF? I had a lull in projects for month or so when I decided to make the first Animagraff. As a freelancer I try to keep a nice savings cushion since things can fluctuate, but even so, when there’s a lull I get antsy. There was a strong temptation to seek out the same old easily-procured but passionless work that “pays the bills.” But creativity is fueled by excitement and wonder and mechanically “paying the bills” is neither of those. I remember distinctly the moment I chose to act based on courage and create a passion project, not knowing what the result would be, or if I’d ever see money from it.
Quite frankly, I have no idea why I was an “early adopter” of the animated GIF infographic; the technology’s been there all along, and there are many, many brilliant designers out there who could pull it off. Stroke of good luck maybe?
What was your first topic? How has your process evolved since that first piece? The first animated graphic I did was Cheetah: Nature’s Speed Machine I just wanted to test out the limits of what could be done, and I was still a little intimidated by learning 3D software, so I made a flat graphic (non 3D). I sketched the main cheetah illustration in Illustrator and the animated graphs and lines in Flash. My process is still very similar, but now I have a better idea of what kind of illustrations fit the GIF format best. Some things just look gimmicky in an endlessly looping image and other elements really shine.
Who was your first Animagraff client? The first glimmer of a “result” I saw was an offer to work on a Super Bowl commercial project for Skechers. Their agency saw my Cheetah graphic and called me directly, offering a tidy sum to work on a project I would never have dreamed about before. Getting the motivation to make Animagraffs became a lot easier after that!
GIFs are for fun. Infographics are (mostly) for dispelling information. Beyond being cool viewing, Animagraffs have to strike that fine balance between entertainment and information. How much time do you spend getting that balance right? With my Animagraffs, the education IS the entertainment. That’s the whole point. I “came up” in the marketing world where the cart is perpetually before the horse—where everyone fearfully worries about “the results” and focuses all energy on hype instead of caring for the heart and soul of the project itself (hypnotizing entertainment without substance).
I decided to do everything the opposite of what I experienced working for marketing agencies. The product should “sell” itself through its quality. All I have to do is focus inward, and the outward results follow. Not the other way around. Animagraffs entertain to the exact degree of sincerity, hard work, and the quality of research I put into them. There’s no room for any kind of trickery, hype or fine print.
Infographics are compressed information distilled into easy-to-read bits. How many “pages” of content does each Animagraff contain? I go until the subject has been covered. I try to avoid disputable elements that might be distracting while still going deep enough to educate. The time involved varies but in general Animagraffs take anywhere from 20- to 80-hours of solid research, writing and design.
At what point do design decisions (type, color, layout) factor in? Animagraffs, especially my 3D projects, have a propensity to be manual-like. It’s actually difficult at times to make things original and fresh while maintaining a comfortably readable graphic. I’m an artist at heart, not an engineer, so I try to stay abreast of current design trends, and I make some decisions based more on art than function (though that line is hair thin). Decisions support the subject matter as far as possible. For the How A Car Engine Works graphic, for example, I used a typeface for the main titles that has strong automotive ties.
With animated infographics, you’re basically designing in layers. How does that make you job easier or harder? One-second decisions at the beginning of a project become two-day fixes at the end. The more intricate the assembly, the more critical it is to get things as right as possible from the start. By the time an Animagraff is compressed into its final GIF form, it’s traveled through two or three different software applications. At that point, fixing a misplaced apostrophe could take ten minutes as opposed to a mere keystroke while the script was in a text editor. I suppose it makes the job harder to have to design things in layers, but then, the difficulty of producing Animgraffs means I’ll have a little less competition in the field—I can’t complain about that.
Do you have a “test audience”? A person or people who try to learn something from your content? I’m passionate about my interests and hobbies and I assume others are as well. It’s unfortunate when an entity misrepresents something you know and care about. Since the public at large is unaware of inaccuracies on most subjects, it’s tempting to disregard small groups of highly devoted fans. But there’s incredible power in gaining the loyalty of those who won’t be fooled, who don’t click on every trifling bit of online clickbait, who seek out the highest quality information. When they share your work it’s often to their esteemed colleagues, and then you find yourself getting the kind of front-row attention money can’t buy. My Car Engine graphic was featured as a blog post on the New York Times Autoblog and Jalopnik.
So, my test audience is the toughest of critics—when researching a graphic I tend to post it to forums or other specific places where the most educated disciples of any given subject are prone to congregate.
How a Handgun Works: 1911 .45 is a good example: I’ve been continually flattered by the many messages of thanks from gun enthusiasts, law enforcement personnel, gun instructors, and other professionals. These people are far more conversant with guns than I, and they’re actually using this graphic as an educational asset. However, I’ve also received harsh feedback about its inaccuracies. I have to take it all in stride because, even though I consider it my duty to try, there would be no end in attempting to satisfy the core disciples.
You mentioned that you use Creative Cloud apps almost start to finish. Briefly walk us through your process. I begin in a simple text editor, pasting research from all over the Internet with links to sources. With that file open, I create a new document by its side to write the script. The script condenses all the fragmented information into a compelling story in which every sentence is as efficient as possible with no wasted words.
If the project uses a 3D model, I begin modeling at this point, with research imagery and text all prepared. I use Blender 3D (which I’ve really enjoyed learning) to craft my own models; I’ve been temped at times to download ready-made assets, but that would hobble progress the day I want to do a subject for which I can’t find suitable models. Also, for education it’s best to have simple models without all the indents, holes and pipes, of actual mechanical objects. So I craft everything from scratch myself.
With the script written and 3D model created (if needed), I begin laying out blocks of text in Illustrator CC. This is generally when I start to see what visuals I need and what will fit where. It’s a giant puzzle board. You might think I start with grandiose sketches of intricate objects but it’s really with blocks of content scattered around the page that I start to see where the big visuals will go.
I use Flash (since that’s the animation timeline software I know best) to assemble the animated assets over the top of the Illustrator CC-made layout (After Effects CC and Photoshop CC both have timeline elements that I imagine could be used for this, but I haven’t experimented with either). If it’s vector illustration I might draw the frames directly in Flash Professional CC (the Cheetah frames were drawn in Illustrator CC since there are better brush and line quality options).
I export the finished project from Flash CC into Photoshop CC (which has the best compression ability when it comes to the animated GIF format). In Photoshop CC I try to get the file as small as possible, often limiting colors to do so. The cheetah graphic has dimensions of 1400 x 1890 with 18 total frames and rings in at a nimble 500KB. That’s much smaller than many static graphics of the same pixel dimensions; I purposely kept the project to a two-color scheme; as I progress with these projects, I’m getting more adventurous with more colors and weightier file sizes.
You mentioned After Effects. Do you see yourself trying it out down the road? I haven’t actually tried After Effects with these animated infographics so I have no idea what to expect. Also, it looks like Flash is starting to incorporate some HTML5 stuff so I’ll probably stay in Flash since it’s more web-centric and that’s my playing field.
Since you use a range of CC products to make Animagraffs, we have to ask, how are you liking Creative Cloud? I’m loving it—synced settings, seamless upgrades—it’s the kind of functionality I’ve always wanted!
What’s your next topic? I JUST finished Inside a Jet Engine. I hope it’s as well-received as my other projects have been.