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An Adobe Inspire Webinar with Alejandro Chavetta

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

10:57 AM Comments (0) Permalink

The Streamlined Creative Process of 3B Scientific

The global marketing team of this manufacturer of medical education equipment and content is more efficient and productive thanks to the collaborative features in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

3B_1The international group of companies known as 3B Scientific specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of educational materials for the science and medical fields. Headquartered in Germany with affiliated companies in more than 100 countries, 3B Scientific produces product lines that include artificial skeletons, anatomical models, medical training simulators, acupuncture and therapy products, and a wide range of biology, chemistry, and physics equipment.


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Collaboration across borders

The marketing team at 3B Scientific uses Creative Cloud for teams to develop catalogs, brochures, logos, internal documents, websites, mobile design ads, direct mail pieces, and even T-shirt designs. Adobe Photoshop CC provides excellent image enhancement tools, while Adobe Illustrator CC is the go-to solution for logos and graphics, and Adobe InDesign CC supports creative layout for print pieces.

Although the marketing group previously used Final Cut Pro for video editing, the company is taking advantage of the wide range of software in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams by switching to Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC. “Working with Creative Cloud for teams means that we have all of the creative tools we need at our fingertips,” says Joseph Allen, senior graphic designer at 3B Scientific. “We can also experiment with new software at any time to expand our skills and creative offerings (our graphic designers, in particular, appreciate the chance to play around with it).”

3B_3 In addition to the benefits that come with standardizing software, 3B Scientific takes advantage of the cloud storage available with its Creative Cloud for teams membership to simplify sharing files. When downloading files to individual desktops and working with colleagues in different time zones, it can be difficult to keep track of which files are the most recent; cloud storage solves this problem, helping marketers around the world quickly locate the latest versions of projects and files. “Rather than emailing files back and forth, the cloud storage gives us a central area to store and sync files,” says Allen. “It streamlines our processes to make collaborating anywhere in the world incredibly simple.”

Creative Cloud for teams also syncs projects, settings, and even fonts for users who take work home. By creating seamless workflows and collaborative processes, it enables the global marketing team to be more efficient and productive. “Coordinating with colleagues in Europe and Asia can be a time-consuming process. There are many opportunities for our lines to get crossed, which can cause miscommunications and delays,” says Allen. “With Creative Cloud for teams, we’re improving our communication and collaboration, which ultimately enhances our ability to share valuable knowledge with customers worldwide.”

Read the 3B Scientific case study.

12:37 PM Comments (0) Permalink

Ito-ya—First Stop for Art Supplies in Tokyo

On a recent trip to Tokyo, we had the pleasure of visiting Ito-ya, the famed art supply store in Ginza.

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The store advertises its impressive collection of “fine writing instruments, leather goods, art supplies, custom frames, and globes” with deserved confidence. But they’re also aware of the special experience at play: “It’s like a ‘hideaway for adults'; you can relax and enjoy your shopping time.”


If every major city has a standout art supply store, Ito-ya is Tokyo’s.

Well-designed art supply stores like Ito-ya have playful, eye-catching exteriors that invite passersby to make detours, and stop in. But what draws people into Ito-ya’s six-story building isn’t just the large paperclip attached to the outside of the building, it’s the ground level’s industrial appearance and its immense floor-to-ceiling windows. Even from the outside it’s easy to see how Ito-ya borrows design elements from fine jewelry stores, presenting art and office supplies in an environment that provides them an elevated level of respect—implying that they are as valuable as the earth’s most precious jewels.

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Beautifully-curated congruity

While much more could be said about the architectural and interior design schema of Ito-ya, the products deserve equal attention. Wandering around the store our eyes were constantly drawn to the bright color spreads created by the pens, markers, pencils, pastels, and paints lined up across seemingly endless shelves.

Itoya_1 It was a treat to our senses to look down each aisle and catch the color gradients as they moved horizontally from foreground to background. Equally so, it was a delight to inspect the well-curated variety of brushes, canvases, paper, and pencils (an encounter with variety reminiscent of a visit to a vibrant farmers market when what you’re used to is a city grocery store).

Ito-ya is a reminder that analog tools and physical environments are extremely valuable to designers who work primarily in the digital realm, that there is something wonderful about getting our hands dirty with oil or chalk pastels, the need to sharpen pencils when the lead meets the wood, or to dip a brush in paint and water. With the potential for creativity abundant in each tool and medium they carry, Ito-ya harks back to a time when inspiration co-existed with messiness… and anyone who enters, even those who aren’t artistically inclined, leave with aspirations to incorporate more creativity into their lives.

 

This is the first post in a new series where we’ll be covering art supply stores all over the world. If you have suggestions for stores we should see, drop us a comment; we’re frequently on the road and love discovering new places.

11:07 AM Comments (0) Permalink

A Productive Pairing: Banner Engineering and Creative Cloud for Teams

Banner Engineering, a leader in industrial and process automation, brings marketing and technical literature in-house with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

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Founded almost 50 years ago as a small electronics engineering firm, Banner Engineering has grown into a global leader in process and industrial automation. The company provides customers worldwide with industry-leading photo eyes, sensors, machine safety equipment, and lighting devices that increase efficiency, monitor quality, and safeguard employees.

Small team big output

The company currently offers thousands of innovative products and develops hundreds of new solutions every year. Despite its impressive product line-up, the company operates with a small marketing team that handles almost all marketing and technical documentation, including product and company brochures, tradeshow displays, success stories, product packaging, technical illustrations, videos, software GUI graphics, and a comprehensive printed product catalog with more than 1,000 pages.

Banner Catalogs“We have a lean marketing team for a company of our size, producing the output of teams two or three times larger,” says Delaine Suess, senior graphic designer for corporate branding in the marketing department. “We need to work as efficiently as possible.”

Banner has been using Adobe creative software as its standard for graphics and documents for the past eighteen years, but in a budget-conscious environment, didn’t always have the funds for every software upgrade. Now, with Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, Banner has access to the latest versions of all creative software.

The right tools for the job(s)

Marketers use Adobe InDesign CC for documents, including Banner’s comprehensive, 1,000-page catalog. Adobe InCopy CC enables copywriters to proof and make quick changes to InDesign files even when working simultaneously with designers, making the proofing process faster and more consistent. For diagrams and icons, Adobe Illustrator CC is the standard used by Banner and its vendors, while Adobe Photoshop CC is used to edit a wide range of images.

Banner_3Products such as LED lights are difficult to photograph accurately, so Banner adds simulated lighting effects in Photoshop CC to give customers a better idea of products. Marketers also use it to composite images to show a product in use or to add effects, such as lighting, to rendered Autodesk 3ds Max files.

Banner relies on Adobe Acrobat XI for its proofing needs. Team members can review, edit, and comment easily within the PDF so all involved can easily track their changes during the proofing process. “We use shared reviews so our engineers and sales people can annotate PDFs consistently with familiar tools. And our marketing team can track progress and consolidate comments,” said Suess.

For a company with a small team, that creates almost all of its marketing and technical literature in-house, productivity is key. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams gives us the exact tools that we need to get projects done as quickly as possible,” says Suess.

Read the Banner Engineering case study.

10:19 AM Comments (1) Permalink

Sundance Filmmaker Antonio Ribeiro Brings His Creativity Online

For those who were following the Sundance Film Festival this year, Antonio Ribeiro may be a familiar name. Ribeiro is the editor and producer of Things of the Aimless Wanderer, a film by Kivu Ruhorahoza.

Since his debut feature film Grey Matter, which premiered at Tribeca in 2011, scooping the Juri Special Mention and Best Actors award, Antonio has been collaborating with Kivu Ruhorahoza, creating Moon Road Films, a production company whose main mission is to find original new ways to tell stories. Their latest film is one of only half dozen or so selected feature films screened in the New Frontier category at the renowned festival.

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As if that’s not impressive enough, Antonio Riberio is also the man behind the film’s accompanying website. Although he doesn’t see himself as a web designer, that’s exactly the role he found himself in, as time was running out prior to the World Premiere of Things of the Aimless Wanderer.

When you have a film on your hands that you know is going places, you need an online destination for fans, critics and other stakeholders. You need a site that can support embedded video, have social media sharing capabilities, incorporate a tagging structure and host a blog. Oh, and of course it needs to look good and be easy to navigate, interactive, and intuitive.

In comes the Creative Cloud.

Ribeiro, who used Adobe Premiere Pro CC to cut Things of the Aimless Wanderer and Adobe After Effects CC to deal with some needed matting and mask work, is a Creative Cloud subscriber. He turned his attention from purple to green.

“Although I am not a web developer or designer, I started to explore the use of  Dreamweaver CC, as it provided an interface between language and design,” said Ribeiro. “Initially I was not familiar with HTML or CSS, but after using Dreamweaver CC and reading a few tutorials I was able to make sense of what I was doing.”

He did have some help. Ribeiro opted to purchase a website template in order to get a professional looking site off the ground without significant costs, time constraints or the technical demands of also learning how to be a full-fledged web designer. He loaded the template into Dreamweaver CC and began to explore, learning along the way.

“Dreamweaver has given me an understanding of what HTML and CSS do. Using the Live tab I can understand behavior through the ability to Extract Assets from Photoshop CC comps,” said Ribeiro.

“I feel it’s strange for me to say this, as I always feel slightly self-conscious that I am no expert, but I now have the confidence to look at a template and understand how it breaks down into its different components.”

Ingenuity is often born from circumstance, and Ribeiro certainly had a need to fill and a limited budget to make it so.

“After all, I am a filmmaker but if I can make and customize good looking sites for my different projects, then it’s a win-win situation,” said Ribeiro. “In this business, good presentation counts.”

In the end, from film to website, Creative Cloud touched each step of Ribeiro’s workflow. In many ways, he represents the kind of new creative who runs a small shop, wears many hats and learns to tackle new aspects of a growing business on the fly.

“The best thing I could have done, was to embrace the Cloud, where I can have access to all the programs I need for one single monthly fee,” said Ribeiro.

Learn more about Things of the Aimless Wanderer in this video:

Download a free trial of Adobe Dreamweaver CC today to start pushing your creative boundaries.

10:24 AM Comments (1) Permalink

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

Fantac: Creative, Branded Vehicle Marking

Since 1960, EXING Co. Ltd. has become known throughout Japan as a leader in the distribution and transportation of hazardous materials. Since then, the company has expanded into a wide range of services, including boom lift rentals, vehicle marking, and even a catalog of local gifts from around Japan.

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Started in 1985, EXING’s Fantac vehicle marking service has grown to become its second largest business. Not only is the high-quality Fantac service used by companies across Japan to brand their trucks and tractor-trailers, but it is also used by organizations ranging from police agencies to public transportation organizations. Six Fantac service centers located throughout Japan provide full service solutions to customers, handling everything from planning and design to cutting and applying the film.

EXING_4 “In the past, we used specialized design terminals to create the diagrams, and then we cut each piece of film by hand,” says Hiromasa Yamabe, CEO and president of EXING. “Now we use computers and cutting plotters, which helps us provide faster service at a lower cost. The vehicle marking industry is very competitive. To stay ahead of the competition, we must streamline processes as much as possible while investing in our IT infrastructure to deliver new, exciting businesses.”

The newest products; the latest technology

Several years ago, EXING standardized the design environments at its Fantac service centers on Adobe Illustrator. The software not only features high usability, but also many members of the design staff were familiar with Adobe software, having learned Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop while in school. EXING_3

In addition to providing all designers with access to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, EXING also complied with a request from the sales manager to provide all salespeople with copies of the software. “Because salespeople work in the same, standard Adobe environment, they can make small changes to the design if needed, which helps everyone work more efficiently,” says Shinichi Tanaka, manager of the systems administration group at EXING.

EXING previously purchased Adobe Creative Suite licenses for every employee, but when the company upgraded its IT hardware, it switched to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. “To create the newest products, we need access to the very latest technologies,” says Tanaka. “We upgraded to Creative Cloud for teams so that we would always have access to the latest versions of software.”

Excerpted from “EXING, leading the pack through new technologies.” Read the EXING case study.

 

10:03 AM Permalink

Broadway Malyan, A Return on Design

A distinguished architecture firm applies experience, skills, and cutting-edge Adobe Creative Cloud applications to exceed client expectations.

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Distinguished by its global reach with 16 studios across world centers, unrivaled diversity with over 500 design experts, and distinctive client focus with more than 75% of its income from repeat business, Broadway Malyan creates world-class, fully integrated cities, places, and buildings to unlock lasting value and deliver “return on design.”

Unlike most firms, Broadway Malyan’s myriad of projects often extend beyond traditional architecture. In addition to its architectural focus, the firm’s designers visualize and shape many different aspects of their design with a holistic approach resulting in a level of detail that can extend to branding and equipment design. Both architects and designers at Broadway Malyan depend on Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise and Adobe Acrobat Pro, purchased through an Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA), to delight clients with their imaginative, useful, and beautiful creations, tailored to meet customer needs.

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Broadway Malyan’s priority is to excel for the benefit of clients through a focus on quality, collaboration, and delivery. To achieve superb results, employees rely daily on a variety of Adobe applications; Adobe Illustrator CC, Photoshop CC, and InDesign CC are mainstays for designing buildings, collateral materials, and finessing client proposals and presentations. Acrobat Pro is essential to both designers and architects for combining multiple file types and sharing them as universally accessible PDF files with clients, as well as internally among staff collaborating on projects across the company’s global offices.

Enabling business expansion and flexibility

Equipping its 550 users worldwide with the most up-to-date versions of Adobe software was an ongoing challenge for the IT department. The sheer number of users, geographic diversity, and varying needs and skill sets within the firm made software provisioning complicated and time consuming.

The firm often combines teams with the most relevant talents from around the globe to work together on projects. Whether they’re located in Shanghai or Warsaw, people need the right software. In the past, the firm provided some applications on designated resource computers at each location. Users had to leave their desks to access applications like Acrobat Pro, which impacted their productivity.

To furnish all employees with what they need to do their best work, right at their fingertips, the team purchased Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise, a solution that accommodates rapid growth while reducing IT complexity through an ETLA with Adobe. “The Adobe enterprise term license agreement is fantastic—it’s the way I like to work,” says Alexandre Vasconcelos, head of IT for Broadway Malyan. “We use a number of different types of software in the company, and I would rate Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise in the top three in terms of the way the licensing works.”

BroadwayM_3 Through the enterprise agreement, the firm can juggle the fluctuations of a project-based business. Employees can obtain and install Adobe software regardless of their location. As the company expands and morphs, it has the flexibility to add software licenses or move them to the other side of the globe as needed, without cumbersome, far-flung license deactivation and reactivation.

Simplified, fast IT

Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise has dramatically streamlined tasks for IT. The software installation process is fast and intuitive, and Creative Cloud for enterprise provides full visibility into what software each user has, simplifying license management.

To implement Creative Cloud for enterprise applications, Broadway Malyan used Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM); it made it easier and faster to distribute the new software worldwide via remote control.

The IT team set up company-wide Adobe software installation for Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, and Photoshop CC, which took only 15 minutes to install simultaneously on each computer—a process that previously required an hour and a half. “Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise has made a major positive change in the way we deploy software,” says Vasconcelos. “Employees can simply request specifi applications that they need and have them installed quickly and easily.”

Distribution of Acrobat Pro using SCCM was similarly fast and straightforward. “Using Microsoft SCCM, we installed Acrobat Pro in three offices a day and it took only five minutes per office, so there was no negative impact on productivity,” says Vasconcelos. “All of our offices were up and running with the software in just five days.”

Productivity on the rise

With Creative Cloud for enterprise, Broadway Malyan is bolstering productivity among employees. Architects and designers no longer have to find a computer with the proper software installed; instead, they can download and install precisely the right software applications to meet the most pressing needs for the project at hand.

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With a global team, the use of different software versions previously caused file incompatibility issues that could bring projects to a temporary halt. If one studio started on a file and sent it to another to finish off overnight, any issues with interoperability could cause difficulty in completing the project on time. With Creative Cloud, all studios are always on the most up-to-date software versions, eliminating interoperability issues or the need for time-consuming , manual file conversions.

In addition to creative applications, everyone now has the same version of Acrobat Pro. They can open files, combine multiple file types, convert PDFs to Microsoft Office applications if needed, and print and share them among clients and coworkers. “Now, everyone can take advantage of the file conversion and consumption benefits Adobe Acrobat offers without having to go to a dedicated computer to accomplish their work,” says Vasconcelos.

Agile and flexible

License forecasting and management are straightforward, and consume far less IT time. Budgeting is no longer a required exercise; instead, Broadway Malyan pays a fixed cost each year and adjusts it accordingly as the company grows. The number of software licenses can grow and be moved from location to location on an as-needed basis, without business disruption. As the business evolves, every machine in the firm can be adapted to the most current business requirements.

Next, Broadway Malyan plans to use the Enterprise Dashboard in Creative Cloud for enterprise to allow administrators to more easily manage user accounts. The firm is also tapping Adobe Expert Services to help users with quick installation or deployment questions and technical troubleshooting of individual products.

“Adobe is our go-to for creative software, and Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise has made us extremely agile and flexible company wide,” says Vasconcelos. “Our enterprise agreement with Adobe saves time and improves productivity.”

Read the Broadway Malyan case study.

11:27 AM Permalink

An Adobe Inspire Webinar with Designer Maria Grønlund

Designer Maria Grønlund will demonstrate her I speak fluid colors technique on January 14 during the inaugural session of Adobe Inspire’s new webinar series Inspire: Creatives at Work.

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With its new series, “Inspire: Creativess at Work,” the Adobe Inspire team wanted to provide something a bit different from a typical online tutorial. We envisioned events that would not only give participants new skills and teach them new techniques, but also spark their creativity and inspire them to try new things. We wanted to provide an over-the-shoulder look at an artists’ creative processes, as well as a peek at their inspirations.

So we were thrilled when Danish graphic designer Maria Grønlund agreed to join us for our first event. We’re big fans of Maria’s beautiful abstract creations—she is well known for her work’s vibrant colors and for her innovative methods.

During the one-hour event on Wednesday, January 14 (at 10:00am PST/6:00pm GMT), Maria will be demonstrating and discussing (in a conversation with Adobe worldwide design evangelist Rufus Deuchler) the Adobe Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC  techniques she employed to create her I speak fluid colors series.

An image from Maria Grønlund's I speak fluid color series was used as the visual identity for Adobe MAX 2014.

An image from Maria Grønlund’s I speak fluid color series was used as the visual identity for Adobe MAX 2014.

“I fell in love with Maria’s red, orange, and blue version of I speak fluid colors,” says Adobe creative director Kashka Pregowska-Czerw. “Very imaginative, great composition, and so visually appealing. I thought it was a perfect fit for Adobe MAX. The idea that it was digitally created from scratch was a nice bonus. I think our attendees agreed.”

Maria bases her images on organic shapes such as flowers, smoke, and ink suspended in water. She says, “These are digital drawings developed primarily for aesthetics. It’s a study in colors and Illustrator CC techniques…in principle, there’s no right or wrong way to interpret the drawings. It’s a bit like watching the clouds and finding rabbits and sheep in the shapes—though [they are] created with the intention of evoking a positive and light feel.”

The process by which Maria creates these images begins with an outline in Illustrator CC (based on a shape found in nature or even a simple doodle); she then employs blend shapes, gradients, and other Illustrator tools. The results are surprising forms with a 3D look.

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Formerly a classical musician, Maria made the switch to graphic design when she was in her mid-30s and describes herself as a self-taught designer. She has a unique approach to learning new software and has said that she simply sets herself the task of learning one tool each day. In that way, she wrote in a recent blog post, she “has no expectations as to what the outcome might be or what the tools are supposed to produce. The work method is pretty much driven by curiosity.”

Terri Stone, Adobe Inspire’s content director, explains, “Illustrator CC is a complex, powerful application, and that can be a little intimidating. But if we approach it like Maria—with a sense of curiosity, not fear—we’ll get unique results and a deeper understanding of the possibilities.”

We hope anyone with an interest in Illustrator CC will join Maria and Rufus for this inspiring hour. Register now for the free January 14 webinar.
 
Don’t worry if you can’t join us live on January 14; we’ll be posting a recording of the event on inspire.adobe.com (sign up for our free newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events).

12:22 PM Permalink

The 4K Production Workflow of Nippon Television Network

Japanese broadcaster, Nippon Television Network, implements a cost-effective solution based on Adobe Creative Cloud to create a dynamic and efficient workflow for ultra-high definition 4K broadcasts.

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When the first 4K channel in Japan, Channel 4K, began test broadcasts, it started by airing live musical performances, travelogues, and sports broadcasts provided for free by members of the Next Generation Television & Broadcasting Promotion Forum. Since then, broadcasters have started to produce their own 4K programming , but the equipment remains costly. In addition, transcoding and outputting programs takes a great deal of time.

Originally a format developed for feature-length films, 4K was not intended for television programming where high volume production is valued. To begin introducing original 4K content in the broadcast space, Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) developed a 4K programming production workflow using Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise.

The benefits of enterprise licenses

Since 1953, when Nippon TV became the first commercial television broadcaster in Japan, Nippon TV has entertained audiences with excellent programming, from professional sports to scripted dramas. Nippon TV first deployed Adobe Creative Cloud for 4K productions in the technical operations department of the engineering & technology division. This department handles a wide variety of operations, including CG, data broadcasts, media conversion, and remote subsystems. The department’s office space is filled with computers—some loaded with Autodesk Softimage to create CG infographics, while others are used to develop other graphics displayed within programs.

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When deciding between teams or enterprise licensing, the technical operations department chose to work with Creative Cloud for enterprise. “For security reasons, our work computers are not connected to the Internet so the enterprise license was a better fit for us,” says Ayato Fujii, CG designer for the technical operations department, engineering & technology division. “Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise includes all of the design tools we need: Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and After Effects CC.”

“We have always used Adobe creative software, and now Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise offers us a cost- effective way to provide everyone with the applications they need,” adds Toru Fujihara, associate managing director of the technical operations department, engineering & technology division. Yasuo Tsutsumi, CG designer in the graphic design department at the Nippon Television Art Media Design Center adds, “With Adobe Creative Cloud, we can install a full range of creative software onto all of our designers’ computers, which has everyone very excited.”

Developing high-quality 4K content

The technical operations department deployed Creative Cloud for enterprise on the workstations of all designers. The Creative Cloud implementation provided an opportunity to also switch from EDIUS editing systems to Adobe Premiere Pro CC to reduce costs, add integration with After Effects CC, and support the Grass Valley HQ/HQX codecs. “We do a great deal of CG work for our TV broadcasts,” says Fujii. “By using the Grass Valley HQ codec with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, we can attach 4K monitors to our work computers to create true 4K machines that leverage Adobe’s support for cutting-edge hardware and standards.”

Designing a new environment

One of the first 4K programs Fujihara worked to develop for Nippon TV using Creative Cloud was a video art exhibit across three 4k screens recreating the famous stone garden at Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. The video was displayed in the “Kyoto from Inside and Outside: Scenes on Panels and Folding Screens” special exhibit at Tokyo National Museum. Nippon TV designers used Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop CC to pull the footage together and give visitors a taste of Ryoanji Temple across four seasons.

Four Seasons of the Ryoanji Temple Rock Garden in 4K, from the special exhibition, “Kyoto from Inside and Outside: Scenes on Panels and Folding Screens."

Four Seasons of the Ryoanji Temple Rock Garden in 4K, from the special exhibition, “Kyoto from Inside and Outside: Scenes on Panels and Folding Screens.”

Shooting at Ryoanji Temple started one year before the exhibition. At the time, Nippon TV did not have an environment that could view 4K footage so the team decided to implement a turnkey system that supported 4K in native resolution. One of the deciding factors for the system was that it also needed to support 60 frames per second.

“We produced the Ryoanji Temple footage in 30p, so there was no need for 60p support for that project,” says Fujihara. “However, we knew that we would need 60p support for future broadcasts that may involve fast motion, such as sports programming. By deploying Creative Cloud on Windows workstations loaded with Epoch 4K Supernova cards from BlueFish, we achieved a system similar to turnkey systems.”

Pitching live baseball broadcasts

Another project driven by Nippon TV was a broadcast of the October 2013 professional baseball match between the Yomiuri Giants and the Yakult Swallows in Tokyo Dome recorded using four 4K cameras and one high-speed camera. Unlike other types of content, baseball broadcasts fill a very long slot in the schedule.

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First, Nippon TV shot the action in Tokyo Dome using five cameras, four of which recorded in SR-Lite mode on Sony’s Simple Studio Profile (SStP) codec. Next, the team edited the 4K footage on the Premiere Pro CC timeline and exported the final program in XAVC format. “When we started on our programs, Premiere Pro CC was one of the only applications that could output in XAVC format,” says Fujihara. “We knew we wanted to use XAVC output from the start, but being able to use Premiere Pro CC through final delivery really helped our workflow. We could not have produced the two 4K videos without Premiere Pro CC.”

Fujii concludes, “From a creator’s point of view, it’s a chance we couldn’t pass up. We’re glad to have Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise to help us continue to push the creativity limits of our production broadcasts.”

Read the Nippon Television Network case study.

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