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Brian Yap: From Shape to Illustration

When we saw Brian Yap’s Vector Drawing on The Go post on INSPIRE, about his Adobe Shape CC to Adobe Illustrator CC work process, we had a few questions about how using Shape to capture the flicker of an idea eventually translates into a full-blown illustration or design concept. Since he’s now an associate creative director on Adobe’s Studio Team, we caught up with him about his process, his technique, and how he feels about the tools.

What Brian had to say about mobile apps and productivity, his obsession with layers, and the value of being truly satisfied with each step in the creative process:

A quick loose portrait of Cullen O'Donnel of the Logos began with a photo.

A quick loose portrait of Cullen O’Donnel of the Logos began with a photo.

What’s the value of capturing a vector outline in Shape (as opposed to drawing it yourself)? Shape is perfect for when you want a quick and loose outline of an image, even if you end up heavily drawing over it, it saves tons of time and creates some cool effects (it reminds me what we used to get from double and triple xeroxing images.)

Alternatively, when you do sketch on paper, how nice is it to be able to capture one of your own sketches in Shape without having to trace it in Illustrator CC? As the app gets better and better I fully expect to be able to capture sketches straight to vector that will need very little clean up. I’m excited to see where that workflow leads.

How much refinement do you usually do once you have an image in Shape? Do you prefer to start with as many details as possible? Or just a basic outline? So far, I’ve been pushing the detail all the way up to capture as much as possible, but there’s so much more you can play with by lowering that or reversing the capture.

We know you use Adobe Illustrator Draw for a lot of away-from-your-desk drawing. How much easier is it to transfer your work between the three applications now that there’s Creative Cloud Libraries? I honestly can’t emphasize enough how important it is to me that all the Adobe apps are connected through Creative Cloud Libraries. It makes the pure act of working and creating seamless. Ease of use and accessibility to all of my files is huge to me.

From photo to Adobe Shape capture.

From photo to Adobe Shape capture.

You sound really organized. How do you feel about using CC Libraries to organize your content from the time you capture it until the time you complete it? Without a doubt, CC Libraries has made moving from mobile to desktop incredibly simple. The mobile apps, especially the ones that allow you to capture things out in the world, really need that connection and accessibility to be useful. I don’t ever have to think about where my captures are.

How has your drawing process changed since you started incorporating mobile apps into it? Working digitally, and with drawing apps on a tablet, I’ve become insanely more productive. I used to be scared to “waste time” trying different things; now I don’t ever stop at just the first pass at doing something. I used to draw on sketch pads, and when deadlines were limiting, moved on to the next step as soon as something looked successful, then I’d lament later that it could be better.

I know every artist says that, but there’s value in getting to that point of true satisfaction. What you learn in those last steps ALWAYS comes through in the final piece. Working with mobile apps and ingesting them into my process has opened all those possibilities back up to me. Recently I’ve been experimenting more—letting my drawing style loosen up, starting with photographic reference and captures in Shape, and playing more and more with different tools.

You described your layer management system by saying, “I usually select each color and merge all shapes of each color to keep things tidy.” Does your layers management begin in Draw or do you not worry about it until you get the art into Illustrator CC? Okay, I’m a little bit obsessive, so I start right away getting to know layers in whatever application they’re in. When you think about it, layers are the greatest and purist advantage to working digitally.

I mostly split colors into different layers. As the piece gets more and more complex, this really helps when I want to edit something. Then when I take something into Illustrator CC, the organization transfers over. (I take it one step further and merge all objects of the same color to make it easy to edit color.) And, since my style tends toward flat poster color style work, I often restrict myself to three or four colors, with an eye towards screen printing.

From Adobe Shape capture to finished illustration.

From Adobe Shape capture to finished illustration.

What’s the distinction between how you use Adobe Draw and how you use Illustrator CC to fine-tune your work? I almost always do my loose drawing in Draw. I like the feel of the tablet in my hand (akin to a sketchbook) and being able to do a ton of my drawing on the couch or on my commute. There was always a threshold point though where I would move it into Illustrator CC to finish the job. But, in truth, that point is becoming a grey area. With the Touch Slide tools in Draw, Shape and Color, I can do a lot more just on my iPad. But I’ve even started drawing more in Illustrator CC with the Surface Pro 3, so it’s turning into a decision I make based on the project.

Out of curiosity, how many image traces do you have in your Shape libraries? Ha, you might be scared… I would guess, that in 4 or 5 different libraries, maybe 50–75. I’m working on another experiment and that particular library is getting out of control (and, as the app grows I expect that to get a lot bigger).

If it’s not a secret, what are you working on now/next? I have a few things going right now, one of them purely for fun and experimentation, that I’m really excited about. I captured a ton of Shape graphics on a recent trek to Muir woods and want to develop a portrait of John Muir using those as textures. They’re so complex that just trying to use the photos I took and draw over them would be monumentally time consuming. But I found the place so inspiring that I think having the image be built from those captures will imbue the illustration in a way that simply drawing his portrait could never match.

Brian’s Shape to Draw to Illustrator CC process on INSPIRE.
Adobe Shape CC and Adobe Illustrator Draw in the iTunes App Store.
Haven’t tried Creative Cloud? Take it for a free trial run.

3:50 PM Permalink

What’s Your Creative Jam?

We know what ours is… celebrating creative community.

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It’s why in late in 2013 Adobe evangelist Michael Chaize hosted an event that was part gathering, part challenge and part presentation and called it Creative Jam.

Held in Adobe’s Paris office, the event was a four-hour-long combination of tournament and showcase and get-together during which fifteen teams of designers took on a creative challenge while, in an adjacent room, local designers shared stories and insights about projects and process.

Next stop North America

In January, we held our first North American Creative Jam in San Francisco. Moderated by evangelist Paul Trani, it consisted of six pairs of designers challenged by a single theme; presentations by designers Brian Yap and Joshua Davis, and illustrator Aggie Tsz Yan Cheung; and lots and lots of food, chatter and creative camaraderie.

Take a look at how it went down:

Now we’re headed to Atlanta

Adobe evangelists Terry White and Paul Trani will be taking center stage at Strongbox WEST on Thursday February 26 for Creative Jam Atlanta. Along with showcases highlighting the work and talent of four local creative types—including illustrator Caleb Morris, and designers Jonathan Lawrence of Matchstic and Amanda Sweeney—ten pairs of designers will be competing in a three-hour-long design charrette showdown.

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Projects from Creative Jam San Francisco based on the quote by Pablo Picasso, “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.”

What to expect from a Creative Jam Tournament

As part of a unique, two-part (creation and presentation) design event, ten teams of two compete against each other to execute a visual or motion design concept based on a theme revealed at the event. After three hours and no rules, the teams present their work to an audience/jury who chooses a winning team. The prizes? A trophy, a free year of Creative Cloud and, of course, bragging rights.

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From Aggie Tsz Yan Cheung’s Fashion of The Day project, presented at Creative Jam San Francisco.

And a Creative Jam Showcase

Presenters have 15 minutes to share the creative arc of personal portfolio project to an audience of about 100 creative professionals. From the sparks of inception, to the prides and the pains of creative output, we’re looking for insight into how creative professionals from different perspectives, with varying skills, and diverse backgrounds meet the creative challenges that come their way.
Want to be a presenter? Want to take part in a tournament? Want to come by and hang out with us? Or just know what city we’re headed to next? Whatever the question, the information is on Adobe Creative Jam.

Follow us on Behance, and on Twitter with #CreativeJam.

11:58 AM Permalink

Adobe Ideas: A New Name, A New Look, A New App

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Recently, Adobe Ideas, our popular vector drawing app for iPad and iPhone, that’s been downloaded over 2.2 million times since May 2013, grew up and got better. Adobe Illustrator Draw is a transformation that means a newer, more modern version of the full-featured drawing app that people have come to rely on.

 

Not just an update; a complete reinterpretation

Instead of settling for just another update, we’ve created an entirely new version of Adobe Ideas. Based on Adobe’s new Creative SDK, the redesigned version of Ideas (Adobe Draw) matches the look and the connection to creative assets and community found in Adobe Photoshop Sketch and Adobe Illustrator Line. But it’s not just creating consistency across our mobile apps that has us so excited, it’s also the new features… which include new, completely rewritten, robust file syncing, and the ability to effortlessly bring files into Adobe Illustrator CC.

Still free. And with the features designers and illustrators love

For everyone who loves Adobe Ideas, don’t worry: Not only have we kept the core drawing elements and everyone’s favorite controls and preferences, but the app is still free.

What we’ve added is Adobe Ink & Slide support, as well as a software version of Slide (called Touch Slide) for drawing straight-lines, geometric shapes and French curves—without hardware. (No longer will it be necessary to create workarounds for drawing perfect circles.) We’ve also added Behance integration, including the ability to post works in progress to Behance and receive in-app feedback; the ability to view a gallery of content inside the app; and effortless Creative Cloud back-up and file syncing.

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Sign-up, sign-in and sync

What can you do to get going with Adobe Draw? Take the time to create an Adobe ID, sign in with it, and sync your Adobe Ideas files to Creative Cloud… because our new drawing app is here. And now that it is, existing Ideas files that are synced to Creative Cloud will be automatically migrated to Adobe Draw. (Files synced to Creative Cloud can be grouped together in folders that will be imported as projects in Draw.)

Brian Yap talked about Adobe Illustrator Draw at Adobe MAX in a session titled What’s New in Adobe Ideas. Give it a watch. Then go get Adobe Draw for iPad in the iTunes App Store. Sync those Adobe Ideas files. Then keep an ongoing listen to Adobe Drawing’s Facebook and Twitter.

11:28 AM Permalink

Firewater’s A Little Revolution Music Video – The Making Of with Brian Yap

There’s no denying the fact that Brian Yap is one talented Adobe Touch Apps user. We’ve seen his Touch Apps projectssuch as the Grovemade iPhone/iPad Cases, his demo videos on Adobe TV , and we’re excited to bring you more of his great designs. This time around, Brian has lent his talents to the self-described “world punk” band Firewater for their recent music video titled “A Little Revolution.”

We chatted with Brian to learn how he utilized his favorite app, Adobe Ideas,  CS6 tools, and Creative Cloud in making of the music video. Check out our interview below and pick up some useful tips along the way.

Adobe: How did this opportunity to work on the Firewater music video project come about?
Brian Yap: Paul Griswold contacted me about working together for no reason other than seeing and liking my illustrations on an Adobe TV video – where I was using Adobe Ideas and talking about how it fit my style. We connected and talked a bit about wanting to collaborate on a fun project. Then, earlier this year, a friend of Paul’s and musical hero of mine, Todd A., contacted him in the hopes that he could get help creating a music video on a tight budget. The band was Firewater and the video was created for the first single off their new album.

Live footage was shot in Turkey and was mixed with animation built from illustrations I did on the tablet with Adobe Ideas and then fine-tuned in Illustrator. The pieces were then animated with After Effects, as well as other programs outside of Adobe.  Being able to work remotely made it possible for me to connect with these amazingly talented guys and get in on this project, without ever actually meeting them in person.

Talk us through your creative process. How did you approach this project?
I started by working with the team to come up with a bunch of visual concepts to illustrate. I began collecting references and sketching things out. The process was cool because I would feed Paul Griswold sheets of designs and pieces, and then when the test animations started, it lead to other ideas and concepts.

Usually, whenever someone tells you to just draw cool stuff, the first thing that happens is white paper freeze, but Firewater’s music and the tracks from the new album are so filled with energy and ideas that it was easy to get things flowing and get into it.

Tell us why Adobe Touch Apps, specifically Adobe Ideas, was an ideal tool to use for this task?
I was able to work while traveling with Ideas and the Creative Cloud and keep all the many pieces and designs organized. Being able to draw while traveling for another project, or get out of the office or studio and work on this project really kept me inspired. The vector-based quality of Ideas meant that the process of cleaning up a sketch to make it finished and the way I wanted was super fast and easy so I could explore a lot more pieces quickly and feel okay about not sending everything.

What was the inspiration behind the images you created?
All the inspiration for the work I contributed to the piece was from the song. The tone of the music, the energetic and upbeat sound, and the themes in the lyrics, all helped to lead everything from color to what I was drawing. The video footage shot in Turkey had a “dance number” skew/protest march. It helped inspire me to keep the illustrations meaningful but usable in a way that matched the tone of the song.

Speaking of music, how critical does music play in your creative process? What genre or music gets you in a creative mode?
I’m definitely an aging music nerd. Everything I do is inspired by the music I listen to and when possible, like this project, actually part of the work. Todd A and Firewater’s sound and big catalog were on constant repeat during this project, and I think I made some new fans for them around me because of it. A lot of time it’s hip hop, like Ghostface Killah. When I need to slow it down, like when I’m sketching or playing with concepts, I get into bands with a more songwriting, musical exploration type feel. Lately groups like Manouk, Manchester Orchestra, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and instrumental outfits, like Red Sparowes, are as important to me working as the tools I use to draw.

What tips/suggestions do you have for creative individuals thinking about getting into Adobe Ideas?
The pinch and zoom allows you to work with an almost infinite sized canvas. Drawing on a tablet with a photo layer is an unbelievable way to keep a reference file, sketchbook and finished canvases all in the same place. I always say, just play around with it. Get used to the features and what it does and then make the tool work the way you work.

For veteran users like yourself, what tips and/or techniques can you offer?
I was using Ideas for a year before bothering to play much with opacity. It led me to a whole new way of drawing with Ideas that look like pencil by using a super low opacity and black or grey and just layering strokes. Always keep playing with the app. I think the simplicity makes it easy to use for everyone, but there are some smart guys behind this application and the ways we as artists use it is only fenced in by our imagination and willingness to adapt to a new artistic tool.

For more on the making of the music video, check out the project on Behance.

11:16 AM Permalink

Creative Spotlight: Brian Yap on Designing Grovemade iPhone/iPad Cases with Adobe Touch Apps, Creative Cloud

When we found out that Grovemade – a mobile device product design company based out of Portland, Oregon – tapped designer, illustrator and all-around creative, Brian Yap (@BrianKYap) to create a design for their iPad and iPhone cases, we knew everyone would be in for a treat. We caught up with Brian to get the inside scoop on his approach to designing the cases, and how Adobe Touch Apps, Creative Cloud and various Creative Suite 6 products simplified his creative workflow and more. Check out our Q&A below to see how these stunning cases came to be.

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8:21 AM Permalink