Adobe Systems Incorporated

Beyond Technique or Medium

When Pawel Nolbert started sketching and drawing as a schoolboy in Wieruszow, Poland, his parents encouraged his creative passion by buying him a computer. Although he admits using it for video games at first, a friend soon introduced him to Adobe Photoshop. That was the spark that launched Nolbert toward becoming an internationally recognized designer and art director whose marquee clients include Nike, Sony, and Mercedes-Benz. Recently featured as one of Adobe’s New Creatives, we took the time to learn a bit more about his background and approach to design.

Adobe: What was your introduction to graphic design?
Nolbert: In the beginning, I was really interested in customizing operating systems, creating wallpapers, “skins,” and different looks—like the ways you can customize desktops in Windows. Then, around 2001, a friend showed me Photoshop; I didn’t really know it existed before then. I was playing with other software at the time, but when I saw the possibilities of Photoshop, I quickly forgot about the other software.

I mostly worked on personal, non-commercial projects and artwork. Clients started to approach me after I started publishing my work online on deviantART in 2002. My old artwork is still there, but I publish my new projects on Behance and my own website, Nolbert.com.

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Adobe: How did your career evolve from that point?
Nolbert: When I started publishing online, I got small assignments to create stickers, flyers, and so on. It quickly started growing into something bigger. I even began getting offers from agencies, but preferred to stay as a freelancer.

My style has evolved quite significantly, from an illustrative style to a mixed media style. I didn’t want to be limited by doing one strict style or type of work, or confining myself to any technique or medium. I wanted to be quite universal in that regard. So, I quickly expanded from classic illustration to incorporate more digital elements, very often including 3D graphics.

Adobe Photoshop CC is still the main tool I use every day to create. After that, I use Adobe Illustrator CC for simple vector graphics. When I was working on a lot of websites—from about 2005 to 2010—I also used Adobe Flash Professional for animation and even did some of coding, but I’m not doing as much of that anymore.

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Adobe: What types of commercial projects are you doing?
Nolbert: From the beginning, most of my work has been with advertising clients, mainly print and outdoor campaigns. Secondarily, I work on online projects. A lot of the campaigns extend to different media, so I have to blend different styles: I may paint some assets by hand and convert them to digital; or I may create 3D graphics or use scans or assets from different media to create the effects I want to achieve. Mostly, the end output comes from Photoshop.

Adobe: How exactly do you use Photoshop CC?
Nolbert: A good example is my self-portrait for Adobe’s I Am the New Creative site. It’s a mixture of photography and digital illustration. I used a photographic portrait and manipulated it to get the right proportions of head and face. Then I photographed my hands. Those were the base assets. From that point, I started to use Photoshop vector tools. I use them to maintain scalability and keep everything in control in terms of distortion.

For some reason, I prefer the simplified vectors in Photoshop to those in Illustrator. It doesn’t matter if I work on a web project or a print illustration; I often use vector tools to create different objects in my artwork. When I draw those vector compositions, I use all the textures to apply to vector elements. Then I add shading and different adjustment layers on top of that to create striking colors and compositions. That’s basically the process that I am using to create all my artwork.

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Adobe: Are you using any of the latest features in Photoshop CC?
Nolbert: I purchased Photoshop CC a few months back and one of new features that I really like is the Camera Raw filter that’s built into it. It was actually the feature that convinced me to switch from Adobe Creative Suite 6 to Creative Cloud, besides the cloud, of course, which is very convenient. What I love about Camera Raw is being able to master colors or do a basic retouch on photographs nondestructively.

Photoshop CC has a lot of features, small and big, that are really helpful. For example, the Crop tool now has a check button that lets you delete or keep the crop pixels. It’s important to have a good crop tool that lets you control your composition in simple photography and complex illustrations, and this one is much more convenient than in previous releases.

I love the new brushes; I use brushes a lot to achieve the right shading and the right finish for my compositions. The selection of brushes has been expanded in Photoshop CC and they have some new settings that let you control more of the brush parameters, which is especially versatile when using a graphics tablet.

I’m also really impressed with the optimization of the Liquify filter in Photoshop CC, too. It’s much faster and better. I use it a lot to apply distortions to photography or bitmap illustrations. When I work in a very high resolution, I like to use a huge brush size for the Liquify tool, but in CS5 and CS6 the brush size was limited. In Photoshop CC, the brush size has been increased greatly, and that is better for me when working with high-resolution imagery.

Sometimes I combine the Liquify and Warp tools. I use the Warp tool to do simple distortions, and in Photoshop CC it’s been improved in several ways. It produces smoother results than previous releases and you can now set interpolation algorithms like bicubic or bilinear for the Warp or Transform tools. That’s a really great feature—to control the output of tools in a more efficient way, especially for pixel-perfectionists.

Adobe: How else are you using, or would you like to use, Creative Cloud?
Nolbert: I really like that you can export settings with Creative Cloud applications, especially when you work across different computers. For example, I have a favorite set of brushes in Photoshop and it’s really helpful to be able to export those in a convenient way and use them on another computer.

I would also like to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to do more personal photography, like when I travel. I really got into photography through Instagram, mostly as a hobby. I think Lightroom can help me improve my photography by letting me manage and edit photos in the same interface. And I like the nondestructive editing capabilities.

I’ve also always wanted to use Adobe InDesign CC to work more on printed output media. I tried it a few years ago and liked it and now that it’s available in Creative Cloud I want to explore it more. I’m also excited about doing more with Adobe After Effects CC; I worked in After Effects on small projects years ago and I miss using it. Sometimes clients want to create animations, so I would love to explore applying After Effects to my projects on a bigger scale.

9:55 AM Comments (0) Permalink

Expert Filmmaker Builds Online Community

Pioneering filmmaker Ryan Connolly shares his passion for Adobe’s pro video software.

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After graduating from film school, Ryan Connolly started out in a fairly typical fashion: creating music videos and commercials for local clients. He then went on to run the video studio at PC game company Alienware. But rather than continue following the path of most aspiring filmmakers, Connolly came up with the idea to create Film Riot, an online show that would let him share how-to filmmaking tips, get feedback on his work, and ultimately build an audience and a community. His renegade style has earned him a loyal online following and his company Triune Films continues to produce weekly online video content as well as short films and other film projects.

Adobe: What makes you an industry rule breaker?
Connolly: My success with Film Riot lets me be my own boss and do less client work. Not that client work is bad, but at Triune Films we want to be a group of friends having fun, doing what we want to do. We’ve been fortunate enough to achieve that. We don’t have a typical day or week; it really depends on what we’re working on at the time. If things get too normal I get completely disinterested. That’s why Film Riot isn’t the same thing each time.

Adobe: Your name is associated with Triune Film and Film Riot. Can you tell us how they’re related?
Connolly: Triune Films is the parent company that produces Film Riot, along with our other programs and projects. Film Riot is an online training ground for how to make great effects, learn best practices for editing, and we also do video challenges and give out prizes to winners. For me, the big thing with Film Riot is that we’ve built an amazing community; it’s not mandatory, but it has become part of our DNA to be kind, helpful, and supportive of each other in our creative efforts—versus critical. We’ve also built a loyal following on social networks: Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

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Adobe: Are there other aspects to the business?
Connolly: Yes, we’ve built a brand that caters to indie filmmakers, who are a passionate bunch. We sell T-shirts, color preset packs for Adobe After Effects, sound effects packs—all kinds of things that our audience wants. We’ve also started a weekly YouTube show called Variant that focuses entirely on comics.

Adobe: Which software have you chosen to use over the years?
Connolly: After Effects has always been our go-to for visual effects. For editing, I started using Adobe Premiere Pro right off, and then switched to Final Cut Pro when I went to film school. When Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X that was the end of that.

I’m now back on Premiere Pro CC and its integration with all the Adobe software is amazing. It saves me hours every week because I’m not spending time rendering out sequences and trying to put them back in the timeline and fuss with them. The first time I saw Dynamic Link, I was amazed. If an edit to an effect is required, I just Dynamic Link the change from After Effects CC and have it flow to Premiere Pro CC automatically. The integration among all the Adobe software programs just seems to get better and better.

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Adobe: Now that you have Adobe Creative Cloud, which applications do you use most?
Connolly: My main four are Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Audition CC, and Photoshop CC. Every now and again I use SpeedGrade CC for color correction and I’ve also started using Story Plus CC for collaborative scriptwriting, which I first tried because it was available to me through Creative Cloud; it’s the best collaborative scriptwriting software on the market, in my opinion. My designers also use Illustrator CC for title designs and so forth. I have to say, once I got Creative Cloud, I downloaded all kinds of software and kept thinking, “Wow, I can have this, too?” The choices were exciting.

Adobe: How big is your team and what volumes of content do you produce?
Connolly: Today, we have four full-time and two part-time employees. Two of us are editors and we have one VFX expert. The others are focused more on logistics such as shipping, customer service, and social networking. I’m the only all-around filmmaker. I focus on writing, producing, and editing—tossing the heavier visual effects stuff to our VFX artist. In terms of volume, we produce a lot of content between our weekly shows and other projects. We’re doing about three online episodes per week in addition to short films and miniseries-type work. We recently created a short film called Proximity. There’s always a ton going on.

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Adobe: How can your team keep up?
Connolly: A lot of it has to do with Creative Cloud. It’s so important to have everyone on the same software versions and be able to bounce everything back and forth on Macs or PCs. There are fewer kinks and version control issues in the workflow and that makes it easier for our small team to stay incredibly productive.

Adobe: How has your audience grown?
Connolly: We’re always looking at our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube numbers. When the numbers get stagnant, we know we need to switch gears and amp things up. We experienced gradual growth for many years, but over the past year-and-a-half our growth has accelerated. During that time we doubled what initially took us three or four years to grow. We now have 441,000 YouTube subscribers and more than 66 million views of our Film Riot videos.

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Adobe: What’s next for you?
Connolly: We plan to get into more new media and online shows as well as publishing comic books. We’ll continue to create short films, but we really want to move into creating full-length feature films. For now, one of the things I find most exciting is to have the opportunity to be somewhat of an online presence. It has been exciting to build a community that is friendly, collaborative, and constructive for creative indie filmmakers.

Watch Adobe & The Frog, Ryan’s recent video produced in conjunction with Adobe.
Learn more about the video apps and services in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Download a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud.

8:28 AM Comments (0) Permalink

30 Inspiring Examples of 3D Printing

Since the first functional 3D printers were created 30 years ago they have been used to create car parts, smartphone cases, fashion accessories and even artificial organs. Not only is the technology impressive, so are the printable materials.

In this post I want to focus on 3D printing in the hands of creatives—especially since 3D printing is now possible with Adobe Photoshop CC. I’ve highlighted a couple of areas where artists and designers are doing amazing work in the hopes that it will inspire you to create. And, remember, you don’t need a 3D printer; just create/refine with Photoshop CC and send projects directly to Shapeways.com.)


Anatomica di Revolutis by Josh Harker.

Anatomica di Revolutis by Josh Harker.

Technically complex tangles
Josh Harker is considered a pioneer and visionary in 3D printed art and sculpture. He is credited as the first to break the “design & manufacturing possibility threshold” due to the level of detail in his work. Yet 3D printing has come a long way and now you can achieve this same level of detail using something like laser sintering. Don’t have the $250k laser sintering printer? Just send it to an online service like Shapeways.com; they’ll print it and mail it to your house. Or you can view (and purchase) Josh’s work on his website.


Eric van Straaten’s 3D-printed sculptures.

Eric van Straaten’s 3D-printed sculptures.

Full-color sculptures
“There is no technique that is capable of achieving such a great degree of hyper(sur)realism as 3D-modeling. At the same time, 3D printing is the only technique with which virtual models can be made actually physically touchable,” says artist Eric Van Straaten. Eric creates and prints 3D objects using full-color sandstone. More of Eric’s work.

Do it yourself: 1) Use the 3D app of your choice to create an object. 2) Import it into Photoshop CC. 3) Paint directly on the object. 4) Send to Shapeways.com from Photoshop CC for printing.


Gilles Azzaro’s Regards d’Eclat de Voix.

Gilles Azzaro’s Regards d’Eclat de Voix.

Interactive 3D voiceprint
I had the privilege of meeting artist Gilles Azzaro at 3D Printshow in NYC where he revealed an incredibly creative printed sculpture featuring a speech made by Barrack Obama explaining the Next Industrial Revolution, a creative use of multiple technologies, made possible (of course) by 3D printing. See the video of it in action.


Sebastian Errazuriz’s 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers.

Sebastian Errazuriz’s 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers.

Fashion
There are many fashion designers using 3D printing (see below) but I personally like Sebastian Errazuriz as he uses 3D printing to tell stories of love through memories of previous relationships. The shoes are just fantastic—especially accompanied by his equally enchanting stories.


3D-printed alphabet
Johnson Banks created Arkitype, an “alphabet of alphabets.” They developed a typographic 3D print of the alphabet, based on popular typefaces; it’s a must for anyone interested in typography who can handle being envious of this creative and beautiful idea. Check it out.


Infinite Sisu iPad stand.

Infinite Sisu iPad stand.

Functional & personalized items
There is hardly a designer out there who doesn’t have a unique iPhone case or laptop sticker. It’s in our blood to create and customize. This sets up 3D printing for a number of uses, like this iPad stand, or my iPhone case. This is one of the many items, on Shapeways.com, created by designers. Or you can make your own using Photoshop CC like I did.


Below are some additional 3D printed works to inspire you and show the different uses of 3D printing in the hands of creatives. You will see that designers and artists are using 3D printing in fascinating ways. But the question is, in this relatively new field: What will you create?

Scott Summit’s 3D-printed acoustic guitar.

Scott Summit’s 3D-printed acoustic guitar.

Nervous System generative art.

Nervous System generative art.

Ashley Zelinskie's code and art.

Ashley Zelinskie’s code and art.

Cokreeate’s comic book cover.

Cokreeate’s comic book cover.

Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea” 3D-printed book cover.

Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea” 3D-printed book cover.

Dann Chetrit sculpture.

Dann Chetrit sculpture.

Michaella Janse van Vuuren functional sculpture.

Michaella Janse van Vuuren functional sculpture.

Venerie Design’s Nuke Lamp.

Venerie Design’s Nuke Lamp.

Cosmo Wenman's 3D print of Venus de Milo.

Cosmo Wenman’s 3D print of Venus de Milo.

Francois Veraart’s Robot Scarecrow (created entirely in Photoshop CC).

Francois Veraart’s Robot Scarecrow (created entirely in Photoshop CC).

David Munson’s WTC triptych.

David Munson’s WTC triptych.

Louis Pratt manipulating scanned data.

Louis Pratt manipulating scanned data.

Cobb’s totem from Inception.

Cobb’s totem from Inception.

10:00 AM Permalink

Interactive Video Invention

Powster creates a striking user-interactive music video for Bombay Bicycle Club with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Powster is nothing if not innovative. The interactive and motion graphics company provides “over-the-top” content, concepts, and apps for the entertainment industry. Powster’s inspiring work has earned the firm multiple accolades, including Webby and FWA awards, and a designation as one of the few Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers. One of Powster’s latest endeavors is an interactive music video for the band Bombay Bicycle Club and their song “Carry Me.” Ste Thompson, founder and creative director of Powster, shares how the groundbreaking interactive music video came together.

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Adobe: Tell us more about Powster.
Thompson: We create entertaining content, marketing concepts, and applications/games. Our biggest strengths are video and interactive. We’re among the first creative studios making interactive music videos like the one for Bombay Bicycle Club. The project was exciting because it was one of our most creative and innovative projects. Our team is half video and half interactive led, so the “Carry Me” project was a perfect fit.

In addition, we write quite a bit of custom software to pull off some of our more unique projects. We created Orbital Video, a technology that allows us to have multiple cameras in a circle with a performer—break dancer, musician—in the middle. Once the video is complete and published, viewers can switch between camera feeds or pause the motion. Our Orbital Video technology sparked our interest in creating the interactive music video for Bombay Bicycle Club.

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Adobe: What makes the “Carry Me” music video unique?
Thompson: The video is an online experience that engages with audiences on a completely different level. It’s fun for users because they can manipulate the band members like stop-motion puppets. Users can control them and move their bodies while the band members continue drumming or lip-synching. The interactive experience with the music video is something very unusual, because it puts control in the hands of the viewer. As a side note, we created both the interactive version and a linear version that can be viewed more like a traditional music video.

Adobe: How did the idea for the video come about?
Thompson: Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer from the late 1800s who studied motion and motion-picture projection, inspired the album theme, and the video. A lot of people know him from his studies of horses running; his work centers on taking multiple stills and weaving them together to create motion. It was Muybridge’s concepts and studies that established 24 frames per second as the standard for moving pictures. We created this project on the concept of a Zoetrope, a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures.

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Adobe: Tell us more about the creative process behind the video.
Thompson: The whole idea was to be the first to make a linear piece of video footage interactive by allowing the user to switch between feeds, yet keep them in sync. We filmed 9 different camera feeds at 1080p resolution, animated them, and edited them together in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. We had 9 post-production processes on screen at once. Combined they were 5,000 pixels wide, so what we were trying to manage and edit was immense. We actually had to trick our graphics accelerator card and Adobe Premiere Pro CC so we could scale down every piece of footage and then scale each one back up in nested sequences, and retain quality. It was the opposite of most other workflows, where everyone wants to work with media at maximum resolution.

Adobe: How did you shoot the project?
Thompson: The shoot was fairly taxing. For us. And for the band. For example, we did nine different takes of the lead singer lip-synching and all the drummers drumming in different positions. It required a lot of patience and precise alignment, so we could play each frame after the other without it appearing jerky as viewers interacted with the footage.

Powster 3Adobe: Why did you choose Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Thompson: The flexibility of Adobe Premiere Pro CC is unprecedented. We’re standardized on Adobe Creative Cloud for its integration and versatility. For editing and post-production on most of our projects, we often have to do some unusual processes. For this project, we were able to push the Adobe software successfully and use it in different ways.

Adobe: How did you use Adobe After Effects CC?
Thompson: After Effects CC was as crucial as Premiere Pro CC. Nine animators worked to add frames. We used Expressions in After Effects to replicate how users would interact with the footage in the HTML5 version, as if someone on a desktop machine or other device with a browser would engage with the footage in real-time. In this way, we were able to view and alter how each user would interact with the video to create the best experiences.

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Adobe: What other tools are you working with in Adobe Creative Cloud?
Thompson: Our main applications are Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC, as well as Photoshop CC. We use Audition CC for sound editing, though we didn’t use it on this project specifically. We also do a lot of work destined for the web, so we are looking at Edge Inspect CC to obtain a snapshot of how projects will look on any device. Creative Cloud allows us to explore new creative possibilities and helps ensure that projects look and sound great on any device.

Adobe: If you had to sum up why you use Adobe Premiere Pro CC, what would you say?
Thompson: The reasons we use Premiere Pro CC are the same with the elements of Creative Cloud as a whole. We are not trying to make normal videos and films, so we need solutions that are flexible and allow us to experiment, innovate, and dream up new user interaction mechanisms. Creative Cloud and Premiere Pro CC are so versatile. They free us to create epic, interesting things.

Watch the making-of video.
Watch the interactive music video.
Follow Powster on Twitter.

Learn more about the video apps and services in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Download a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud.

9:00 AM Permalink

Adobe Creative Cloud: A Creative Advantage

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams standardizes a studio’s design workflow.

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AppStudioz is an innovative web and mobile application development company that specializes in developing applications for various platforms and devices including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, and Facebook. In just three years, the company has developed apps for diverse industry segments including healthcare, consumer and retail, gaming, augmented reality, and wearable computing.

Although the dynamics of such a nascent industry keep evolving, core app design remains at the heart of what AppStudioz does to deliver its services across the world. The company needed a platform that would enhance the creative ability of its design team and one that was easily scalable and agile. A cloud-based solution emerged as a default answer.

“When we started our cloud discussions, we did a lot of research and held extensive sessions with designers,” says Preeti Singh, vice president of technology at AppStudioz. “After careful deliberations, top management, designers, and the IT team collectively and unanimously decided to adopt Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.”

For AppStudioz, adopting Adobe solutions was a natural choice primarily because the platform is an industry standard and the firm was already using Adobe tools extensively—specifically Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Additionally, a majority of its clients based in the United States and the United Kingdom had already adopted Adobe Creative Cloud; using Adobe Creative Cloud for teams helps standardize the process for the company and its clients.

Broadening designer expertise
The migration to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams took two weeks and was completed without any work disruption. The Adobe team helped AppStudioz train designers and programmers on Creative Cloud tools. “The ease of use of all the components of Adobe Creative Cloud for teams allowed us to quickly train our team on these tools to deliver great results for clients,” says Singh.

AppStudioz works extensively in the area of scalable graphics and Adobe Creative Cloud tools, specifically Adobe Photoshop CC, come in very handy. Photoshop CC makes it easy for AppStudioz’s designers to customize vectors at any point in the design stage. For instance, previously, if there was a figure with four sharp edges and designers wanted to make those edges rounded, they had to remake the entire figure. With Photoshop CC, designers can bring in alterations at any stage. “Such innovative features have given our designers the power to create newer designs with ease and efficiency,” says Singh.

The design team at AppStudioz is a mix of graphic designers, illustrators, and user interface designers, all using different Creative Cloud tools. “Adobe Creative Cloud tools integrate flawlessly with each other, which lets our designers concentrate on the creative challenges before them and not get bogged down in the technology,” says Singh.

With Creative Cloud, AppStudioz designers can start creating images in Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC and later open them in Adobe Dreamweaver CC or Flash Professional CC. Further, the team can switch back-and-forth between the tools and experiment with designs to get different results. “The integration among the tools in Creative Cloud has gone a long way in making our workflows smoother,” says Singh.

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams enables the AppStudioz design teams to work and collaborate from anywhere in the world. Additionally, it has helped the firm’s designers to explore new approaches for designing and developing content delivered across various channels and devices. Migrating to Adobe Creative Cloud gives the creative team the flexibility to work effectively at any location and experiment with the latest tools to deliver content across platforms and devices with ease.

Raising productivity while lowering total cost of ownership
The streamlined administration in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams has greatly helped AppStudioz to eliminate time-consuming manual processes such as installing packaged software and maintaining version consistency. It has also helped raise productivity across the company by simplifying software administration with license management, automated tracking, and version upgrades.

For AppStudioz, Creative Cloud for teams membership 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 Adobe Creative Cloud tools. “The predictable, easily managed membership model in Creative Cloud for teams eliminates having to deal with lump-sum software purchases,” says Singh. In addition, Adobe Creative Cloud helps support AppStudioz’s rapid growth and streamlines management of creative tools for designers.

“Our firm is continually growing and changing,” says Singh. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is helping us manage this growth and scale up rapidly by giving ready access to the latest creative tools to our designers.”

Read the AppStudioz case study.

7:10 AM Permalink

Devin Super Tramp Achieves Extreme YouTube Success

A brilliant emerging filmmaker uses Adobe Creative Cloud to edit weekly videos for the popular online channel

Extreme sports videos are a hit on YouTube, but few think about the behind the scenes work that it takes to capture these daring events on film and share them with the world. Devin Graham, aka Devin Super Tramp on YouTube, knows firsthand. To stay one step ahead of extreme sports enthusiasts, he has paddled for hours through waves with camera gear in a dry bag, hiked through jungles, and braved extreme temperatures to capture shots that may last only a few seconds. The result? Millions of viewers, 1.8 million subscribers and plenty of high-profile endorsements. For Graham, living on the edge is an everyday part of life, one he tackles with joy, enthusiasm, and the video tools in Adobe Creative Cloud.

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Adobe: Tell us more about your background.
Graham: Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to make movies. I created LEGO movies, music videos with siblings, and snowboarding videos with friends. I bought cheap cameras and ultimately broke them. Making movies always made sense to me. I started editing with Pinnacle Studio software in high school, but quickly switched to Premiere Pro.

After high school I went to Brigham Young University (BYU) for filmmaking and learned Final Cut Pro and Avid. I thought that I wanted to do big Hollywood productions for the entire world to see. During my time at BYU I had the opportunity to go to Hawaii to work on a couple of projects. That’s when I learned about YouTube and realized I could have a bigger voice online, creating content that I wanted to create without a producer or studio dictating what I could and couldn’t do. I started making YouTube videos and right away they went viral. Recognizing the opportunity that was in front of me, I dropped out of film school to pursue a YouTube career.

Adobe: How do you explain the success of your YouTube channel?
Graham: A lot of people think I just go out and have fun, and I do, but it’s also a lot of hard work. I made a video, Fighting for your passion—Inside look at what I do for a living because I’m asked about it so often. As I say in the video, I want to get the shots that no one else will get, and there’s usually a crazy story that goes along with each one.

As soon as my videos started going viral, advertisers contacted me and wanted to get involved. I’ve recently done work with Ford and Mountain Dew—which has been really fun and I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to work on these projects. A few months ago Universal Studios invited me to fly out and use their backlot for a shoot. Again, I know it sounds glamorous, but there are a lot of other shoots where we’re sleeping in tents, getting up before dawn, and hiking for miles to try to capture a four-second shot.

It’s all worth it, though. I love knowing that when I post a video it goes out to hundreds of thousands of fans. Those are ultimately the people who determine my success.

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Adobe: Why do you call yourself Devin Super Tramp?
Graham: Super Tramp comes from the book and movie Into the Wild, about Christopher McCandless. He abandons his possessions, gives his entire savings to charity, hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness, and changes his name to Alexander Super Tramp. It’s a story about how he went out and pursued his dreams, much like I’m doing. In the end, he realizes he should have shared his joy and adventures with the world. I’m taking that next step, learning from his mistakes, and sharing my experiences. It’s been awesome because I’ve gotten email from fans around the world telling me how I’ve touched their lives, which is incredibly meaningful.

Adobe: How do you come up with the ideas for your videos?
Graham: I want to create content that people want to see and I want to do projects that interest me. People love the extreme sports videos, but I’ve also tried to branch out and build my audience in other ways by looking at what’s popular and trendy. For instance, I created the video Assassin’s Creed Meets Parkour in Real Life and timed it with the release of the Assassin’s Creed video game. Because it focused on a popular, timely topic it got more than 30 million views. I also look at Facebook and Instagram to see what people like. A friend’s picture on Facebook, of a puppy in a package at Christmas, had an amazing number of likes. I decided to do a video called Puppy Christmas that was very successful; it was even showcased on Good Morning America.

Adobe: Tell us more about your workflow and your transition from Final Cut to Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Graham: I had been using Final Cut Pro for years, because that was the editing software taught at BYU. I knew all the shortcuts and was familiar with Final Cut, but the workflow was painful. I spent so much time converting file formats before I could even start editing, and the multiple resulting files consumed tons of storage. I knew I needed to move back to Premiere Pro, but honestly, I was dreading the switch. When I opened Premiere Pro I realized I could use the same keyboard shortcuts that I did in Final Cut Pro. It took one or two days to get familiar with the software again, and it’s been great ever since.

I shoot on a Canon 5D Mark III and Mark II, Canon Cinema 1DC, as well as a GoPro Hero3, iPhone, Epic, and Phantom cameras. When I finish shooting I put everything on a hard drive, label it, open Premiere Pro, and start editing on my laptop—it’s that simple. I often edit when I’m on airplanes, in airports, or in hotel rooms and Creative Cloud gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere. I keep my editing process as simple as possible, using Warp Stabilizer to smooth out shots and the Lumetri Deep Color Engine to apply SpeedGrade looks from within Premiere Pro, then Premiere Pro allows me to easily optimize and export files for YouTube.

Adobe: Did you transition to new hardware as well?
Graham: For years, I’ve been an Apple user however I was open to new hardware that could perform faster. Recently, I stepped into an HP Z820 system and found it performs faster than my current MacBook Pro Retina. Additionally, it handles my 4K files without issue which allows me to work with my files in real time, so my workflow is certainly faster. And I need that.

Adobe: What does your use of Adobe Creative Cloud mean to you from a professional standpoint?
Graham: I put out a video every week, and I usually try to stay ten to fifteen videos ahead of schedule. I typically have a lot of footage already shot that is ready to edit. Premiere Pro helps me work a lot more efficiently than I could before. I use Photoshop CC to tune up still photos and upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for promotional purposes. I also use After Effects CC on occasion for creating VFX, and Illustrator CC for vector graphics.

Adobe: What do your film school friends think of your success?
Graham: When I decided to go this route my film friends didn’t really think anything would come of it. Since then, about half of them have started their own YouTube channels. BYU also brought me back to teach a semester on social media and how to launch a film career. The biggest lesson I tried to impart was that it’s not easy, that you have to go the extra mile to capture that special shot. For me, that will always be what’s next: I was born to be a filmmaker who gets the shots others won’t have the ambition or drive to get.

Rope Swing Zipline—NFL Stadium
Zipline Rope Swing Behind the Scenes
Wheelchair Freestyle—Wheelz—Gnarly!
Watch more on YouTube

Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud
Download a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud

7:44 AM Permalink

Contemplating The Universe… in A Browser

Pictures in books, planetarium models, even telescopes are pretty misleading when it comes to judging just how big the universe is. Are we doing ourselves a disservice by ignoring all the emptiness? I thought I would see if a computer screen could help make a map of a solar system that’s a bit more accurate.” —Josh Worth

Last week, we stumbled across “If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel: A tediously accurate scale model of the Solar System.” Also known as Josh Worth’s explanation of the universe, it was a project inspired by his five-year-old daughter. When he mentioned that he’d used Creative Cloud to design and build it, we jumped at the chance to hear more:

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So, Josh, it’s the Solar System… How did you decide where to start? The sun, of course! Even though the moon was the main point of reference for the scale, the big bright thing in the middle seemed to be the best place to start. Solar system maps often seem to show the Sun at the left so I wanted to build off a conceptual model that most people are familiar with.

And, when you were designing it, did you imagine an audience, in addition to your daughter? My daughter actually turned out to be more the inspiration, rather than the intended audience. I wanted it to be for curious people in general—more casual and approachable than something you might encounter at a science center.

Which Creative Cloud apps did you use? And which features proved most useful? I used Dreamweaver and Illustrator and a little bit of Photoshop.

I based the initial calculation of the size of the map on a moon diameter of 1 pixel, which came out to a width of about 1.7 million pixels. I wasn’t even sure a browser could handle content that wide so I started by defining a single div using Dreamweaver and it seemed to work. I also tried it as a single .gif in Photoshop—which would have technically worked, since the black space compresses down to a relatively small file size—but that would’ve made it a little more difficult to make quick edits to the text. And it seemed like cheating.

I used Illustrator CC for the typography that appears at the beginning. I wanted it to scale, and look crisp in the browser so I exported it as a .svg. I had to experiment with various settings in the SVG dialog and try it in various browsers before I eventually settled on a purely outlined version with no embedded fonts, since variations in font rendering kept messing with my character alignments. I doubt anyone would’ve noticed, but I’m careful about such things (and a bit fearful that typophiles will laugh at me).

Once the vector graphics were created, the rest of the work was done in Dreamweaver CC. The CSS Designer tool came in very handy when I couldn’t remember how to define a particular attribute. Code-hinting and instant syntax checking were also invaluable for someone like me who often puts brackets and semicolons in the wrong places. What really surprised me was that I could compose the copy right in Dreamweaver. Usually I need some kind of stripped-down text editor for writing, but toggling between code view and live view allowed me to see the sentences floating on a single line out there in space. It allowed me to get into a nice zone where I could contemplate the subject matter.

Tell us about some of your design decisions: We like that you chose a less, well, “scholarly” approach for your copy; why did you choose that style? For starters, I’m in no way an expert on astronomy, so I wanted to avoid any pretext of authority. Scientists are in the business of standardization and objectivity, which is great when you’re communicating straight data but I was more concerned with the emotional impact of all the emptiness in space, which seemed to call for a more personal interpretation of the data. I thought people might better relate if the information was coming from just another puny human contemplating his place in the universe.  Plus, the copy is more or less my usual writing style; I enjoy making light of heavy ideas and finding hidden depth in frivolous subjects.

How did you decide where to put the comments? The positive and negative space of the Solar System has an inherent emotional quality that I thought would be fun to try and match:  I started off  light where the territory is more familiar then used the bigger expanses of space for more expansive ideas; the thoughts got deeper as the distance became greater.

How did you decide on the color of space and the planets? I just went with the most obvious color associations, or at least the color that I felt was most indicative of each planet—Mars is red-orange, Neptune is blue-green and, of course, space is #000000.

Tell us about the design of the planet icons. I figured there needed to be some kind of shortcut in case the scrolling became unbearable. The astrological symbols seemed like a subtle way to incorporate that, since text links would have been too inviting. I found examples, through Wikipedia and a Google image search, to use as reference, then re-drew them in Illustrator to give them a uniform stroke width. I’m happy that the functionality is also decorative.

Why the distance counter? With just ruler ticks, movement (through space) wasn’t obvious enough and it got boring. I added the distance counter to help convey a sense of progress and motion; to make it work, I got some help from Kyle Murray (Krilnon), a member of the scripting forum on Kirupa.com. I eventually hope to make a mechanism that enables people to switch between different units of measurement

You said you learned a bit about Javascript, SVGs and viewports along the way? Anything else? I got a better sense of how the DOM (Document Object Model) works and gained a deep respect for front-end developers who have to deal with device and browser incompatibilities on a daily basis. (By any chance is Adobe working on a universal browser emulator that lets you preview your work in every possible browser on every platform without having to switch to a virtual machine? The world would be forever in your debt.)

What’s been the response? Are people finding it useful? Will there be a v2.0? And, most importantly, how did your daughter respond to it? I just think the coolest thing about being alive today is that so many people are in the business of designing and sharing mind-blowing ideas and work. I was just happy I could find a way to be a part of that. According to Google Analytics, I’ve had over one million visits since Colin Devroe of Spacebits.co first posted a link on Hacker News on March 4.

I’ve gotten tons of thoughtful feedback from Twitter users and website visitors. Astronomers, physicists, UX developers, and general users have chimed in with some great suggestions. A number of science teachers showed it to their students, a lot of parents said they liked sharing it with their kids, and a museum in the Netherlands has asked to use it in an exhibit (a number of lovely people have volunteered to translate the text). Multi-language support will be the main feature of the next version, along with a few other ideas that people suggested.

As for my daughter… She seemed to get it, though she got pretty antsy between Jupiter and Saturn. I think kids are actually better than adults at handling big ideas. For them, it’s all imagination anyway, and their brains are still elastic, so it’s fun to see just how far they can stretch them.

What’s your favorite bit of it? Prior to building the site I hadn’t spent much time thinking about the emptiness inside of atoms in the midst of the Solar System.

And, because we always want to know… How do you like working in Creative Cloud? I love Creative Cloud! I move between a Mac Pro desktop system and a MacBook Pro laptop at least once a day, so it’s great to know I have access to the latest versions of so many great apps wherever I go. The paradigm shift from individually licensed applications to a single, cloud-based, all-access account completely renovated the way I think about my workflow. Web designers can no longer get away with just doing static mockups in Photoshop and handing them off to coders, so I really like how Adobe keeps creating tools to help designers bridge that knowledge gap.

 

7:14 AM Permalink

Filmmakers Shine at SXSW 2014

The SXSW Film Conference & Festival is an opportunity for creative professionals to experience the latest and greatest of what up-and-coming filmmakers have to offer. Many of the films featured at this year’s festival were touched in some way by Adobe creative software; for editing, visual effects, title treatments, and even posters, it plays a critical role in helping filmmakers realize their visions. Six films that SXSW attendees can experience during their time in Austin, Texas:

Evaporating Borders, directed by Iva Radivojevic

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Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2013, Iva Radivojevic’s first documentary feature premieres at SXSW 2014 on Tuesday, March 11. Radivojevic was born in Yugoslavia and moved to Cyprus with her family to escape the war. When she was eighteen, she came to the United States and has resided in New York City for the past fifteen years. She returned to Cyprus to film her first feature-length film, Evaporating Borders, a five-part visual essay/feature film that explores topics of migration, tolerance, identity, and belonging. The film first premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January and is now poised to impress at SXSW in the “Visions” category.

The Immortalists, directed by Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado

Co-directors Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado met in Stanford University’s Documentary Film and Video program. They worked on a few projects together and soon realized that they shared an interest in science and technology. After graduating with MFAs, they collaborated to make the documentary film The Immortalists about two scientists working to discover a cure for aging. Initially edited with Final Cut Pro, the team switched to Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Premiere Pro CC mid-production. The Immortalists premiered on Saturday, March 8.

DamNation, directed by Travis Rummel and Ben Knight

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Directors Travis Rummel and Ben Knight have been making films together for ten years. After starting out as still photographers with no real working knowledge of how to make films, they were inspired to try filmmaking after attending Telluride’s Mountain Film Festival. Their first short film about fly fishing and water rights focused on the Black Canyon of Colorado’s Gunnison River and was accepted into the festival. Since then, the duo has made several films together, the most recent of which premiered at SXSW 2014 on Monday, March 10. Edited with an all-Adobe workflow, DamNation is a documentary about dam removal in the United States.

Buzzard, directed by Joel Potrykus

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Premiering at SXSW 2014, Joel Potrykus’s film Buzzard intentionally doesn’t fit a particular genre. A follow-up to his first film, Ape, the movie tracks a deadbeat check scammer through Detroit and is chock full of 1980s references—chugging Mountain Dew, Nintendo jokes, and heavy metal music. Brandon Bowman joined the production by chance, and shares his first experience working on a feature film and editing with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Buzzard premiered at SXSW 2015 on Saturday, March 8.

OUR VINYL WEIGHS A TON, directed by Jeff Broadway

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Since 2009, Rob Bralver and Jeff Broadway of Gatling Pictures have worked together on documentary films that tell stories of social importance. Their latest project, OUR VINYL WEIGHS A TON (THIS IS STONES THROW RECORDS), explores the history of Stones Throw Records, a record label committed to independence and artistic freedom. The film—featuring interviews with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Common, Questlove, Talib Kweli, Mike D (The Beastie Boys), and Tyler the Creator—premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2013 and screened at SXSW 2014 on March 7.

No No: A Dockumentary, directed by Jeffrey Radice

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Jeffrey Radice got into filmmaking in a non-traditional way. He was working in IT and making a decent income when friends asked him to fund their moviemaking efforts. After producing two consecutive short films at the Sundance Film Festival, he decided to jump in and try his hand at directing. Ten years later, Radice found himself back at Sundance for his directorial debut with the feature film No No: A Dockumentary. On Saturday, March 8 the film opened at SXSW 2014 in the “Festival Favorites” category and as part of the inaugural “SXsports.”

6:29 AM Permalink

Swiss Radio and Television Produces Stunning Sochi Opener

Broadcaster uses Adobe Creative Cloud workflow to create opener promoting the winter games

The Winter Games are a chance for us to witness magic moments of incredible artistry and athleticism performed by the amazing athletes competing there. But in order for us to do so, broadcasters around the world spent months preparing for that short period of intense coverage. For Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), a publicly funded broadcaster serving the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the preparations included creating a stunning opener that builds excitement for audiences tuning-in to the games. Patrick Arnecke, head of design and promotion, leads the creative team responsible for design and production of the on air campaign.

Adobe: Tell us about the Swiss Radio and Television.

Arnecke: The SRF is a publicly funded broadcaster that serves the German-speaking part of Switzerland. We maintain two full-blown 24/7 TV channels, a TV repeat channel for news programs, seven radio channels, and an extensive online portal.

Adobe: What teams do you work with at the SRF and what do they produce?

Arnecke: I’m the head of the design and promotion team. The design team consists of 25 designers who do all corporate design, motion graphics and interaction design for SRF. Creatively they are responsible for channel branding, campaigns, image clips and labels as well as show packaging. We also do all of the 2D and 3D animation used for our TV magazines and news shows. The promotion team has eleven editors and promo producers who work on traditional on-air trailers as well as cross media campaigns.

Adobe: Tell us about the work you’ve done for the Winter Games?

Arnecke: Last year during the summer we started to rethink our overall sports design. We have various sports programs on air and wanted to repackage the whole set of shows for SRF zwei, our main entertainment and sports channel. We regularly cover huge events like the Winter Games for the Swiss audience, and we needed to come up with a solution for those events as well, and tie that into the overall design.

We decided to center our redesign around the core idea of the “magic moment”—those rare moments when extraordinary athletic performance seems almost supernatural. We then spent five days shooting all the necessary plates using RED Epic and Phantom Flex cameras, special camera rigs with a high speed camera carousel, and a huge 15m x 9m x 7.5m green screen area. Among other things, we staged ice hockey, alpine skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, ski jumping, and cross country skiing. Everything was conceptualized, directed, and pre- and post-produced by four in-house designers. From that footage we produced a 28-second opener for our Sochi coverage along with the show packaging, and the promo teasers that we used to ramp up the campaign in January.

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Adobe: What products are you using to produce your content?

Arnecke: Right now we have a mix of Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6 software. On the design team we use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Our main tool for 2D animation is After Effects, and we rely on Cinema 4D as our main 3D package. The closer relationship between Adobe and Maxon and the strong connection between Cinema 4D and After Effects comes in very handy for our pipeline.

At the beginning of 2013 we started using Edge Animate to create small, interactive HTML5 elements to give our online news articles more depth and interactivity. For our video content, we started to work with SpeedGrade to give content from different sources a uniform look. During the last months we switched to Premiere Pro as our main editing tool, which replaces Final Cut Pro.

Adobe: What was the workflow for creating the Sochi opener?

Arnecke: In pre-production the responsible designers Martin Bernhard (director) and Simon Renfer (co-director) used Photoshop, with Wacom tablets and screens, to create the storyboards. On set and after the shoot was completed, we used SpeedGrade to convert the Phantom material and then edited the content in Premiere Pro. Lead 3D Artists Jürg Dummermuth and Simone Nucci did all of the 3D CGI with Cinema 4D. In addition to using After Effects for previsualization and animatics, it was also used for 2D animation, keying, rotoscoping, retouching, compositing, and grading. We’ve done a lot of smaller projects such as show openers and image trailers using Premiere Pro, but the Sochi opener is one of the biggest projects we’ve done to date with the new workflow.

Adobe: Why did you make the switch to Premiere Pro?

Arnecke: After Apple didn’t continue Final Cut Pro, we were looking for alternatives. The pipeline efficiencies that let us easily switch between Premiere Pro and After Effects are important to us. Premiere Pro is especially useful if we shoot on RED cameras because thanks to the Mercury Playback Engine we don’t have to convert and we can edit right away. We usually like to edit on set to see if what we’ve shot is exactly what we need.

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Adobe: Tell us how you’re using Adobe Edge Animate CC?

Arnecke: We have a small team of designers who work on infographics for our daily news shows. We use graphical content created for on-air programming, add interactivity and repackage that content for our news articles online. For example, for the election of Pope Franziskus or the 50th anniversary of the President Kennedy assassination we created interactive explanatory pieces with Edge Animate. These interactives give more depth to our news articles online and typically take us one to three days to produce—last year we did more than 150 of these.

See examples of the infographics here

Adobe: What’s next for your team?

Arnecke: We’re planning a seven day shoot that will take place in March for our summer sports. With the success of the winter sports workflow, we’ll be using a similar setup.

Read more about the use of Maxon Cinema 4D

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Download a free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud

12:52 PM Permalink

I AM THE NEW CREATIVE

Art directors are becoming animators. Print designers are becoming web designers. Illustrators are also photographers and editors who also shoot film. They are the New Creatives, and we are celebrating their work.

With the Creative Cloud our product teams have removed the barriers to creative expression: Designers can build parallax HTML5 experiences. Illustrators are making EPUBs. Photographers are using their cameras and Adobe technology to become filmmakers. And coders have the tools to make beautiful design.

It’s an amazing and interesting time in our industry; people have the ability to self-express, in any discipline, without boundaries. I Am The New Creative promotes the amazing work our community is producing and marks this moment in time as a movement and a celebration of creativity.

One of the most incredible aspects of this program has been watching creative professionals merge their mediums and their portraits to produce “New Creatives” versions of themselves.

There’s something magical about the compositions. As a designer there’s always a part of me in my work, but to personalize my work in this way, to make my work more representative of me, presents an alternative perspective. All of the artists we’re working with are enjoying this experience and are appreciative of our desire to promote their amazing creative output.

Our new site highlights the New Creatives, their disciplines, their work, and their stories.

Visitors to the site can join us and become New Creatives (submissions are made through Behance and curated by our team); we’ll be choosing a number of artists and celebrating them and their work throughout our social properties and on Adobe.com during the coming year.

 

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Be sure to check out the work of the New Creatives, get inspired, and join us.

AJ

Graphic Designer / Executive Creative Director / Maker of things

 

 

 

4:00 PM Permalink