“We All Live in a 3D World:” Behind the Scenes With the Project Felix Team
Have a look at the last photo you pulled into a graphic design project. Pay close attention to the different forms of illumination: from the sun; from a neon sign; from a bedside lamp; from a shop window display; from the reflection of a flash in the mirror (selfie!). Now imagine you want to add a client’s product front and center of the pic, and make it look like it was there all along. You already think in 3D; the Project Felix team wants to give you accessible tools that help you design in it, too.
“When you add a 3D object to an image, it can be very difficult to figure out how it should be lit,” says Stefano Corazza. This dude knows what he’s talking about; for the past seven years, Stefano has been researching motion capture and machine learning. Now, as TK of Adobe’s Project Felix, he and his team have worked tirelessly to give graphic designers the ability to quickly make whoa-those-are-totally-realistic assets that would have otherwise required expensive in-real-life photo shoots or extensive rendering knowledge, and free them from the limitations of available stock photography. “Our goal was to make tools available to everyone that simplified the complicated process and generate top quality results.”
In other words: Project Felix is playing to your collective strengths as graphic designers, and the way you’re comfortable thinking about the creative process–letting the tech enable exploration, rather than weighing you down with unwieldy new steps in the workflow.
“3D is a different medium that can help designers communicate; it empowers them to go beyond the boundaries of 2D,” says Felix experience designer Bushra Mahmood. “We had an interesting challenge to introduce a skillset that was unfamiliar to lots of folks. In the end, we wanted to show everyone how helpful and useful a tool like this can be.”
One of the most important parts of that concept is understanding orbital space. Check out that pic on your phone again; everything looks flat in a 2D image, but each element has depth, and height, and width. You can go around everything. “Once you can comprehend 3D space, an entire world of potential applications will begin to make sense,” says Bushra.
Felix’s unique take on compositing will allow users to seamlessly blend those two dimensions and make them look and feel like they truly belong together.
Rather than add functionality onto an existing platform, the Felix team started from scratch. Their collaborative spirit buoyed the all-hands-on-deck attitude and work ethic, as they used the latest technology to build a standalone product that would also interact seamlessly with the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud ecosystem.
That customer and product team synergy extends to the future of Felix as well; you can sign up for news and updates here. “We want to develop this product alongside you and your needs,” product manager Chantel Benson says.
“We all live in a 3D world,” Stefano says. “It’s human nature to expect certain things from our environment. We feel like you can expect those same things from your graphic design work, too.”
Stay tuned for a look at the tech that makes rendering and compositing in Project Felix possible.