February 03, 2014

Artist as a giant human plotter

Heather Hansen covered her hands and feet on charcoal, transferring her body moves directly onto paper:

Emptied Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing. In this series I am exploring ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another.


[YouTube] [Via]

7:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 29, 2014

How Illustrator’s new Live Corners came to be

The AI team has posted an interview with product owner, Yogesh Sharma, in which he discussed his background & shares some insight into how the latest features came to be.

What was the biggest challenge for you and the team?

Our approach to creating corners and keeping them “live” revolves around several core algorithms. We generate the corners and grow them back to their original shape using math rather than remembering each corner’s radius and original form. One of the algorithms was turning out to be extremely hard to crack. In the next review meeting with Illustrator management, the team was given two weeks to figure out if the feature could be delivered in time.

Despite being under so much pressure, the team refused to give up. Two of the Illustrator’s seasoned engineers, Amit Kumar and Varun Nair, were asked to pitch in and help with the problems: that really turned the tables for us. Over the next couple of weeks, the team burned the midnight oil and cracked all the algorithms.

The team plans to post a whole series of interviews with team members, so you might want to subscribe to the blog.

1:53 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Amazing: Classical paintings put in motion

Rino Stefano Tagliafierro & team have done an amazing job animating classical paintings. “It’s as though these images which the history of art has consigned to us as frozen movement can today come back to life thanks to the fire of digital invention.”

[Vimeo] [Via]

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 27, 2014

Realtime retouching as social commentary

“Dubious Photoshop has never sounded so good,” writes the Verge of musician Boggie performing “Nouveau Parfum,” a commentary on how far we’ll go to change our appearances—maybe even who we are. It’s well worth a look:


I just wish we got a peek at the actual app & process used to make this imaginary one. Here are the Google-translated lyrics. [Vimeo]

7:48 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 23, 2014

Canvas & DrawQuest bite the dust

Maybe it’s good that I never talked Adobe into building a “Photoshop Tennis” app—one centered on enabling iterative, back-and-forth image compositing & remixing among friends & strangers. That’s the vision with which I started the app that became Photoshop Touch, and I was enthusiastic about Mixel (“social collaging for everyone”).

This week the creators of Canvas pulled the plug on it, just like the Mixel creators before them. If people want to mash up images together, no one’s yet found the magic recipe. (I’ve grown similarly skeptical about collaborative drawing and filmmaking. I want to be proven heinously, laughably wrong… but we’ll see.)

Meanwhile the Canvas creators also announced the demise of DrawQuest, a social, gameified drawing tool. DrawQuest actually got more active use than I would have guessed: “Launched a year ago to inspire people to take on daily bouts of creativity through drawing challenges, it reached 1.4 million downloads, 550,000 registered users, 400,000 monthly users, 25,000 daily users, and 8 million drawings.” Pretty impressive for an iPad-only creation app!

It’s hard to make a living here, though. As TechCrunch points out, the creators “found that selling paint brushes in a drawing app is a lot harder than selling extra lives in Candy Crush.” That sucks.

Appin’ ain’t easy, and I salute these guys for taking some swings & at least discerning a pocket of interest. As always I’m eager to hear your thoughts on these developments.

7:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 12, 2014

Dreamworks tablet for kids teaches animation

I would have gone so friggin’ bananas for this as a kid*—bananas, I tell you. Via Fast Company:

In a feature called “Be An Artist,” DreamWorks animators lead a video tutorial, teaching kids how to draw characters from its movies and shows. The lesson can play in a small window as the child sketches, or on a larger separate display screen. […]

Celebrity chefs share their recipes, chart-topping musicians their chord progressions. Here, some of Hollywood’s top animators teach kids how to draw their creations–Shrek, Po, the star of Kung Fu Panda, various animals from Madagascar–using the same pressure-sensitive tablet stylus that the professionals use on the job. […]

The project resonated with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the studio’s CEO and co-founder. “He sees it as an opportunity to teach kids how to tell stories and how to draw,” says Mitchell. “It’s not what they all get in school.”

*I slummed with an Etch-A-Sketch Animator and drove myself insane making too-ambitious flipbook animations with index cards.

7:47 AM | Permalink | No Comments

January 08, 2014

Notegraphy: Visual styling for your texts

Hmm—I’m not sure it’s a problem that needs solving, but Notegraphy offers a slick way to type a note, apply a graphic design template, and then share the results. Check it out:

[YouTube] [Via John Stevenson]

4:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 06, 2014

Strange Geometries

Amberlight is a Mac & Windows app helps you create beautiful abstract artwork by manipulating particle fields:


Meanwhile Deco Sketch promises “Mobile artistry for the geometrically obsessed”:

[Via John Stevenson]

[YouTube] [Vimeo]

10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 30, 2013

An illustrated tribute to the Etch A Sketch creator

Charming work from Christoph Niemann:

[Via] [YouTube]

6:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 26, 2013

Lovely, impressive animation: The Bear & the Hare

Festive & fun:

But what’s really interesting is the ‘making of’ piece:

Elliot and Yves took the two most traditional and time-honored animation processes – stop-motion and traditional hand-drawn 2D animation – and combined them to create something innovative and unique. Their aim was to do almost everything in camera, using real lighting, lens and film craft to build a world where the audience can see and feel the painstaking work behind it. The 2D animation’s physical interaction with the set and the human imperfections inherent in the process create a hand-crafted piece full of heart and integrity.

The animation process involved constant shifts between 2D and 3D worlds. In order to achieve this complicated combination the whole film was first created in Blinkink Studios as a 3D previsualisation animatic with all the sets and characters built to scale. This allowed everything to be developed and planned alongside the modelmakers and animators, thus integrating the different disciplines and processes before the set was built or the characters were printed.

Aaron Blaise (Brother Bear, The Lion King, Mulan) and his team of veteran Disney animators at Premise Entertainment in Orlando, Florida, designed and animated the characters. The 2D-animation frames were printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser. Each frame (nearly 4,000 in total) was then individually hand-labelled before going on set. Feature-film stop-frame animators then spent 6 weeks bringing the world to life.

[Vimeo 1, 2] [Via Steve Guilhamet]

10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 23, 2013

Sketchable: A new painting tool from Photoshop kids

The sons of Mac painting pioneer & Photoshop GPU/brushes maven Jerry Harris have released Sketchable, a fast new painting tool for Windows 8:

Digital painting trailblazer John Derry (one of the original authors of Painter) writes,

Silicon Benders is the brother team of Miles & Ryan Harris. Painting apps appear to run in the brothers’ genes: their dad is Jerry Harris, co-author (with Keith McGregor) of early Mac paint app PixelPaint Pro, the first full-color paint application for the Macintosh. Jerry is now a Principal Computer Scientist on the Adobe Photoshop team.

Sketchable is designed to be easy to pick up and start using with a minimal learning curve. It is a particularly pressure-sensitive savvy app offering a wide range of expressibility in concert with its tools. Sketchable has a simple interface with plenty of room for expansion. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this app grow over time. Highly Recommended!

The icons are courtesy of painter Don Seegmiller.


10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 18, 2013

Incredibly detailed illustrations to fight globalization

Whether or not you agree with their politics, it’s hard not to be impressed by the nine years’ worth of work that went into Beehive Collective’s story-graphic, Mesoamérica Resiste:

Over the past thirteen years we’ve researched, drawn, and re-drawn the story of corporate-driven globalization in the Americas… Our intensive grassroots research and collaborative design process continued for several years. After the pencil work was complete, inking the final drawings took several more years, with rotating teams of illustrators and studios in multiple locations.


7:49 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 17, 2013

Dilbert does Photoshop

Scott Adams shows how he draws in PS using the new Cintiq Companion tablet:

[YouTube] [Via Jerry Harris]

11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

A fun animation captured via Google Glass

Charming stop-motion work from Tu Uthaisri, even if it did get a little Cthulhu-y there for a sec:

[YouTube] [Via Jamie Gjerde]

8:05 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 11, 2013

Eerie pumpitude

What are they feeding these kids—besides the Pucker & Bloat tools?

Belgian photographer Kurt Stallaert has created this photo series, entitled Bodybuilder’s World, in which he digitally altered people’s bodies to explore what it would be like if everyone was serious about working out, including children.


6:46 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 08, 2013

Animation: “Super Tropic Tramp”

It’s pretty arbitrary, but there are far uglier ways to spend the next three minutes:

Done in After Effects, natch. [Vimeo] [Via Thibault Imbert]

8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 07, 2013

Illustration: The Tattoo Coloring Book

There’s no way I should get Ollie Munden‘s Tattoo Coloring Book for my young lads—but some part of me (the part that grew up collecting Jim Phillips & Powell-Peralta skate art) still wants to.


8:04 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 04, 2013

Illustration: In dust we trust

Design Taxi writes,

Parking attendant Rafael Veyisov makes good use of his time while on the job by “painting” scenes on dusty cars. […]

Soon, word about Veyisov’s impressive works of art spread, with many drivers dropping off their cars with him, waiting to see what he will come up with next.

[Update: Dang—the video has gone away. (This is what I get for queueing up posts over the weekend. You can check out more photos on Design Taxi.]



8:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 03, 2013

Eye-poppingly photorealistic portraiture on iPad

Kyle Lambert is an immoderately talented, iPad-wielding illustration beast. Check out his extremely high fidelity portrait of Morgan Freeman:

See also his earlier work using Adobe Ideas:

[YouTube] [Via Phil Scarsbrook]

7:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [22]

December 01, 2013

Vector war machines

Check out Orlando Arocena’s beautiful, Metropolis-style vector renderings of Iron Man characters. (“No gradient meshes, no plug-ins, no custom brushes, no tracing,” he notes.)



8:24 AM | Permalink | No Comments

“Classical music—like Madonna”

I love Christian Robinson’s animated take on how kids understand music:


Reminds me the Super Bowl halftime show where Madonna performed, prompting me to explain to our 3-year-old that “she’s kind of an old Lady Gaga.”

[Vimeo] [Via]

8:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 30, 2013

Profile: Artist James White

I’ve long admired the highly graphical work of James White (e.g. his poster for No Country for Old Men), and now he’s featured in a new piece from Lynda.com:

Designer James White spent a decade working for other agencies before he founded Signalnoise, a one-man design studio in Nova Scotia. He was determined to explore his own aesthetic: “Fascination, wonder, and imagination made visual.”

The move was creatively productive and financially lucrative. But when he decided to dedicate a year to his passion project—taking his own bright, pop approach to iconic movie posters like Jaws and Indiana Jones—he ran into licensing roadblocks.

In this Creative Spark, James explains how he dealt with the setbacks and found new opportunities for Signalnoise.


8:28 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 29, 2013

A couple of inspired illustration mash-ups

  • Bill Clave applies classic race car liveries (paint/sponsor schemes) to classic aircraft (e.g. a Messerschmidt in Gulf Porsche blue/orange; a Fiat wearing Ferrari red).
  • Football as Football “is a design exploration of American football logos redesigned as European football (soccer) badges.” [Via Kottke]
8:09 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 22, 2013

Profile: Erik Natzke, Generative Artist

Erik kinda makes me sick—with jealousy. He’s that exceedingly rare combination of a great artist & great technologist. His work has inspired me for more than a decade (I still keep a folder of his ancient SWF “toys”), and I’m so happy he’s now creating some groundbreaking touch tools at Adobe.


“What if?” Erik Natzke, generative artist and principle designer at Adobe, uses this question to constantly test what is possible at the intersection of art and technology.

In this lynda.com Creative Spark, Erik explains his quest to build tools that improve people’s ability to be creative—and to make them forget they’re using a tool to begin with.

By combining interactivity, remote collaboration, touch input, and gestures with the real-world behavior of paper, ink, and brushes, he hopes to build applications that lead to a more organic, playful, and inspiring creative experience.


8:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 19, 2013

Pencil, a new stylus from the makers of Paper

Looks lovely:

Per TechCrunch:

Pencil unlocks new features and enables new types of creation. When connected, the app rejects palm movements against the tablet, allowing users to draw smoothly — just as they would if they were holding a pencil, pen, or paintbrush. They can also blend colors directly on the page using their fingers, or fix mistakes with Pencil’s eraser.


8:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

A charming animated exploration of the microbiome

It’s an anthropomorphic party in your guts!

I have no idea how my young boys will respond to this (enlightened? terrified?). One way to find out…


8:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 16, 2013

An Illustrator artboard trick I didn’t know

My colleague Rick Borstein asked,

One thing I like about Photoshop is that I can create a new document at the dimensions of the item on the clipboard.

It would be great to have this feature in Illustrator. I am often extracting logos and want to create a new AI file with an artboard of the same dimensions as the clipboard item.

It turns out you can paste an image into Illustrator, then double-click the pasted image using the Artboard Tool. That’ll automatically create the art board at that size. Alternately, you can make an action: Select All > Object menu > Artboards > Fit to Selected Art

[Thanks to Rufus Deuchler & Ton Frederiks]

10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

November 09, 2013

Illustration drawn with… a vacuum cleaner?

I was tempted to say that this Electrolux ad sucks, when in reality it blows:

The ad, conceived by Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand, features the artist packing a compounded mound of dust into the cleaner, which he then releases onto the floor as powdered dust. Using the vacuum cleaner’s various settings, he meticulously creates an intricate mandala from the colored dust. 


8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 03, 2013

“An iOS 7 App Icon Template for Obsessive Designers”

Courtney Starr of Savvy Apps writes,

The iOS 7 OCD app icon template is different than others in the fact that each app icon is its own independent smart object. This allows you to design your app icons at the exact sizes that they’ll be used. Another huge difference in our template is that the grid is uniquely crafted for each app icon. Thus, yielding pixel perfect values at every size.

You can grab the template from GitHub.

10:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 30, 2013

A Lexus that draws you as you drive

So vain that being seen in a normal luxury car makes you itch? Why not have your car lovingly draw & redraw your face in front of you as you drive? Check it out:

The IS 300h hybrid vehicle has a screen that uses special software developed for the Art is Motion project that measures the driver’s driving style, such as the ratio of hybrid and fuel use, and speed and acceleration styles, and converts that data into digital brush strokes to generate portraits. 

Maybe soon the car will self-drive you to a restaurant where they’ve got glass tables so you can watch yourself while you are eating.


8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 26, 2013

Animation: Smart thoughts on leadership

How do you turn the worst-performing ship with the lowest morale in the US Navy into a truly great crew? I really enjoyed Captain David Marquet’s talk on greatness & think it’s well worth 9 minutes of your time:

[YouTube] [Via]

8:13 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

October 18, 2013

Title animation: “Da Vinci’s Demons”

Paul McDonnel just won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design for his work on the title design of Da Vinci’s Demons. The team at Behance has posted an interview about how he used After Effects & Photoshop to complete the job.

Check out the stills as well as an animatic test if you have a minute.

[Vimeo] [Via Todd Kopriva]

8:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 13, 2013

Escheresque “Hand Fingers”

Can’t unsee!!

[YouTube][Via Christa Mrgan]

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

October 11, 2013

The Brooklyn Bridge, lovingly rendered in type

Cameron Moll’s beautiful “Colosseo” print hangs in my office. Now he’s back with a three-year labor of love, “Brooklyn Bridge”:

Check out the Kickstarter page for more details. Here’s a better peek at him process of building the artwork in Illustrator:

8:35 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 08, 2013

Amazing animations created in Photoshop

Look what Olivia Huynh did using the AnimDessin extension for Photoshop:

[Vimeo] For more on the panel, check out this demo from its creator, Adobe’s Stéphane Baril.

This brings to mind Three Legged Legs’ similarly amazing “We’re All In This Together”:

[Vimeo] Go behind the scenes here.

10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 06, 2013

Book covers, re-imagined in 3D paper

Check out how Kelli Anderson made 40 big paper books for the NY Public Library, via the quick vid below & her more detailed blog post.


8:16 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 03, 2013

World War II From Space

“A stunning 90-minute documentary visualizing key events from World War II from the vantage point of space,” World War II From Space just won an Emmy for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction. Featuring 300 animations and 79 VFX shots, it made heavy use of an Adobe workflow (script writing in Adobe Story, 3D integration with After Effects & Cinema 4D, editing in Premiere Pro). Check out an in-depth interview on how the team made it happen.



I can’t wait for the sequel, World War II In Space. [Vimeo]

10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

September 30, 2013

Animation: “Four rules to make Star Wars great again”

Totally fun, concise work from Sincerely, Truman:

[YouTube] [Via]

3:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 26, 2013

An artist-geologist uses Photoshop to render the history of the Earth

Ronald Blakey, illustrator of Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau, creates some interesting visualizations:

I actually forget when I first started with Photoshop — probably in the mid-1990s. When I found that, I just thought, wow: the power of this is incredible. I quickly learned how to use the cloning tool, so that I could clone modern topography onto ancient maps, and that made things even simpler yet.

Check out the whole piece on The Atlantic.


7:48 AM | Permalink | No Comments

September 24, 2013

Adobe Ideas adds Wacom pressure-sensitive stylus support

According to the team blog,

Finger drawing is fast, but when artists want precision, they reach for pressure-sensitive styluses. It’s why the Adobe Ideas team was so excited to announce Pogo Connect Bluetooth Pen support back in July. And it’s why today we’re thrilled to announce support for the new Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus.

Now, when drawing in Adobe Ideas, there are two great stylus options.

You can grab Adobe Ideas here, for free.

1:52 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

iOS7 Rounded Rect Script for Photoshop

Developer Mike Swanson has created a new utility for icon creators:

Early on, I noticed that the rounded rectangles I was making in Photoshop didn’t match the screenshots of my app running on iOS 7. Further investigation revealed that the underlying functions that create rounded rectangles in iOS 7 were all-of-the-sudden creating these new, smoother corners. […]

The script includes presets for common iOS icon sizes, but all values and options can be modified.


2:17 AM | Permalink | No Comments

September 20, 2013

Adobe’s drawing hardware due next year; hints at new touch apps

Design VP Michael Gough writes,

Adobe is moving our cloud pen, Project Mighty and our digital ruler, Project Napoleon, from a technology exploration to a planned product. We are teaming up with Adonit… to manufacture and ship Mighty and Napoleon in the first half of 2014.

 He also hints at forthcoming drawing apps:

Today we are unveiling two sneak peaks in this realm that we think really move the combined hardware and software experience forward: Project Parallel, a drafting iPad app designed and developed from scratch for the Project Napoleon hardware. The second, Project Contour, is essentially Kuler for shapes – take a photo of a favorite object or shape on an iPhone and access it with Napoleon on the iPad to simplify architectural line sketching, drawing and ideation. [See brief Instagram video.]

In case you missed it the first time around, here’s a quick demo of Napoleon & Mighty:

8:13 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

September 12, 2013

Lego “Thriller”

Annette Jung is an absolute madwoman:


[Vimeo] [Via]

7:23 AM | Permalink | No Comments

September 05, 2013

Animate storyboards with “Boardo” for AE

Stu Maschwitz has created Boardo, “A set of animation presets that streamline the process of creating an animated storyboard, or board-o-matic, in Adobe After Effects CS6 and greater.”

I love that the built-in camera shake settings include “Mounted Inside Speeding Car” and “Mounted To Saturn V Rocket.”


7:59 AM | Permalink | No Comments

August 28, 2013

How After Effects was used on Oblivion

Emmy-winning animator Navarro Parker talks about how he used AE & Illustrator to build the interface work on Oblivion:

Check out more details in this interview on Pro Video Coalition.

8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 27, 2013

How After Effects was used on Iron Man 3

Cool: Stephen Lawes and Venti Hristova from Cantina Creative talk about how AE CC’s new integration Cinema 4D helped create motion graphics and visual effects in Iron Man 3.

Check out more details in this interview on Pro Video Coalition.

8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 23, 2013

Illustration Kickstart: “The Altered States of America”

Klaatu barada nikto! Our friends at Chopping Block are Kickstarting a cool “illustrated map of America populated with the legendary events and characters from popular science-fiction, horror and fantasy.” Check out the fun video:

7:59 AM | Permalink | No Comments

August 21, 2013

Illustration: “Melbhattan”

Hmm—this is kind of interesting:

Melbhattan is part homage, part pastiche of the opening sequence of Woody Allen’s seminal 1979 film Manhattan.

Drawn and animated by Melbourne-based cartoonist and illustrator Oslo Davis, Melbhattan features more than sixty black and white tableaux of Melbourne each composed to mimic images in Allen’s film.


9:03 PM | Permalink | No Comments

August 19, 2013

Black Ink, a new generative-art tool

The new drawing app Black Ink features a node-based visual editor for creating brushes, letting you “Tweak, combine, create new tools and discover the power of generative art!”

“Custom brushes can then be shared with the community,” the creators write, “giving everyone a wide choice of tools.” The Windows-only (yeah, I know) app can be downloaded in tryout mode or purchased for €35.

Generative-art tools are as old as the hills (e.g. on my hard drive I just stumbled across a screenshot of Nowhouse Propeller—from 12 years ago), and they always seem to hang out on the periphery. Hmm—is now the time for one to become more popular?

[Via Jerry Harris]

3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Interesting illustrations: Legos & Lyons

7:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 12, 2013

Google doodles Schrödinger & his cat

Heh—today’s Google Doodle honors Erwin Schrödinger (who would have turned 126 years old today) and the notional cat of his hypothetical experiment:


11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

August 11, 2013

Air Brony: Air Force design gets ironic

This is weirdly great:

“During a slideshow presentation while previewing the different patch options, the student presenter threw the ‘My Little Pilot’ patch design into the mix as an ironic joke,” Barger said. “That patch made it all the way through the approval process and is even more ironic since the class never really wanted it in the first place.”

My little pony badge

8:22 AM | Permalink | No Comments

August 03, 2013

Interesting art made from unusual materials

  • “Be water, my friend.” Okay, Bruce Lee—and you be milk. French artist Vivi Mac uses milk, chewing gum, honey, and all sorts of odd media to create interesting portraits. (Reminds me of the time in college I drew a letter to my girlfriend using tiny Camemberts handed out in flight. By the time she received it I think the “art” had been reduced to grease stains. In retrospect I’m surprised we didn’t break up sooner).
  • Samantha Lee makes her kids meals that are too cute to eat. I kind of have to hate her. (More ripped-up cheese & bread, Micronaxx? Works for me.)
  • Sarah Rosado has created “Dirty Little Secrets,” drawing using dirt gathered in NY parks. “There is no cropping, or digital enhancements before or after. It’s all real.” Love those ants!

Ice Cube

8:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 31, 2013

Adobe Ideas adds pressure-sensitive stylus support, more

Improvements in the newly released version of Adobe’s vector-drawing app include:

  • Stylus Support – Ideas now includes pressure-sensitive stylus support for Ten One Design’s Pogo Connect Bluetooth Pen, which enables users to be more expressive with their drawing strokes and achieve creative effects more naturally. It also allows for palm rejection so that users can draw while resting their palm on the iPad without interference. In addition, users cancontrol their brushes, colors, opacity and size by simply tapping the button on the pen. Pogo Connect works with the iPad 3, 4 and iPad Mini.
  • Stroke Smoothing – Based on community feedback, designers can now choose their preference on what line smoothing method works best for them. Users can choose to smooth the drawing stroke while drawing for increased accuracy, or after to achieve smoother curves.
  • Share to other applications – Users can also share designs to other applications such as Behance and Photoshop Touch.
9:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

July 30, 2013

Animated infographics: “Stranger Than Fiction”

I just (re)stumbled across the great work that MK12 for Stranger Than Fiction a few years ago & thought them worth a re-look:

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

July 26, 2013

Illustration that can save you from shark attack?

That’s what Australian company Shark Attack Mitigation Systems claims with their new wetsuits. Seems like dazzle camouflage for humans—though hopefully more effective. Design Taxi writes,

Sharks rely on their vision when going in for the kill, so the two new designs work to confuse and counter a shark’s dependence on its vision.

The first design, the ‘Cryptic Pattern’, is meant for divers and swimmers. Researchers say that “sharks have trouble seeing this pattern because of its disruptive coloration blends into the background”.

The ‘Warning Pattern’, designed for surfers, warns the shark against the wearer by imitating the warning patterns of fish that send out a “stay away” message.

[YouTube] [Via]

1:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 25, 2013

Beautiful art from a 97yo using MSFT Paint. I am not kidding.

“I came here to pimp Adobe products & chew bubblegum—and I’m all out of Adobe products…” Well no, but I like being reminded that tools are just tools, and artists can make beauty from the simplest of media. As Colossal explains,

Meet Hal Lasko, mostly known as Grandpa, a 97-year-old man who uses Microsoft Paint from Windows ’95 to create artwork that has been described as “a collision of pointillism and 8-Bit art.” Lasko, who is legally blind, served in WWII drafting directional and weather maps for bombing raids and later worked as a typographer (back when everything is done by hand) for clients such as General Tire, Goodyear and The Cleveland Browns before retiring in the 1970s. Decades after his retirement his family introduced him to Microsoft Paint and he never looked back. 

[Vimeo] [Via]

7:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

July 24, 2013

Interview: Erik Johansson

Remember that “live Photoshop” bus stop prank that went viral a couple of months ago?

The Photoshop team has posted an interview with the Swedish artist who was working the controls, Erik Johansson, talking about his life & work creating surreal imagery.


For a video & more about Erik, see previous.

1:34 PM | Permalink | No Comments

July 23, 2013

Classical illustrations gone wild

Christian Borstlap & “Part Of A Bigger Plan” created this piece for the new Rijksmuseum project Rijksstudio. According to Looks Like Good Design, “The film includes 211 artworks from the museum’s online collection.

Isn’t it weird that shape morphing now feels about as dated as the illustration styles shown here?

7:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

July 13, 2013

Animation: The Red Heels

I like the style of this cute, 1-minute student film from Olesya Shchukina:


10:05 AM | Permalink | No Comments

July 12, 2013

Symmetrical drawing in Photoshop

Alex Dukal shows a clever hack using Smart Objects to enable symmetrical, if not quite real-time drawing & painting in Photoshop. Check it out, including the how-to part that starts around the 2-minute mark. I followed his steps to create a simple PSD that’s set up as described.

[Via reader Marcel]

9:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

July 10, 2013

“He ate it”

Maurice Sendak: a man who could take a compliment. Check it:



11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Animation: LSD ABCs

Yep—it’s nice & weird. From Laura Sicouri & Kadavre Exquis.

[Vimeo] [Via Wayne White]

7:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 08, 2013

Love—or at least animation—is in the air

Projecting animation onto human breath? That I hadn’t seen, at least until Matt Robinson and Tom Wrigglesworth of Wriggles & Robins created Love Is In The Air. Check it out:

[YouTube] [Via]

9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 04, 2013

Animation: “Countdown”

It seems fitting to feature rockets & Americana on the Fourth of July, so enjoy this great work from Desrumaux Celine (done using After Effects & Photoshop, I’m told):

[Vimeo] [Via]

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 28, 2013

Sketching in 3D space

Evan Roth’s Graffiti Analysis project features a playback engine that reproduces artists’ strokes in 3D space:

[Via Lee Thomason]

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

June 27, 2013

Adobe Sneak Peek: Painting with Smart Brushes

Holger Winnemoeller shows off new tech for producing painterly strokes. What do you think? (Besides about the lame Rainn Wilson banter, I mean. Yes yes, noted, moving on…)

7:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [12]

June 24, 2013

Google’s hat tip to Saul Bass

I meant to share this back in May when Google posted it for Saul Bass‘s birthday. Things got, uh, a touch busy around then, so here it is now:

9:08 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 23, 2013

Coke’s interesting take on collaborative animation

Of Coca-Cola’s “Wearable Movie,” Design Taxi writes,

[E]ach of the animation’s frames was printed on a T-shirt, and sent to people all over the world to participate in making the movie. Those who received a shirt had to wear the shirt and take a photo with it. The photos of the shirt were then stitched together to put together the short film of a pair of friends and a dog, trying to get a pair of lips to smile.


7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 09, 2013

New Adobe drawing hardware (yes, hardware)

Did you know that Adobe started out as a hardware company? As founders John Warnock & Chuck Geschke tell it, their whole plan was to sell printers, workstations—the whole enchilada. It was only after getting hit over the head repeatedly by customers saying, “Hmm, I really just want this PostScript thing…” that they switched gears and focused entirely on software.

30-odd years later, here’s VP Michael Gough showing off “Mighty” (a pen) and “Napoleon” (a short ruler; BYO rimshot).

Of course, being incredibly juvenile, I can’t hear about this project without thinking of the SNL version of Sean Connery talking about “The Pen Is Mightier…”


Engadget has a hands-on review with the product team.

8:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [15]

June 07, 2013

Pranking people on the street with live Photoshopping

Brilliant, and well worth the two minutes:

[Via Dave Helmly]

2:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

June 06, 2013

A new drawing/painting app, Mischief

The new app Mischief promises “the richness of pixel-based brushes AND the scalability of vectors” in a GPU-accelerated drawing environment. What do you think?

9:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [22]

May 31, 2013

Animation: “Chicago – Five Great Buildings”

Diggable work from Al Boardman, though I’m inclined to agree with The Fox Is Black calling Trump Tower “a giant, glazed turd.” (Where’s Big Stan? The Water Tower? Lake Point Tower? But I digress.)

Chicago – Five Great Buildings from Al Boardman on Vimeo.

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

May 27, 2013

Iron Man retold in 60 8-bit seconds



8:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

May 26, 2013

A retro-modern drawing tool: NeoLucida

Check out this interesting project on Kickstarter:

The what?
The camera lucida.
It’s a prism on a stick! For making realistic drawings!
It used to be everywhere.
A portable version hasn’t been manufactured in generations.
And we’re bringing it back.
Really inexpensively.
For artists and art students everywhere.

12:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

May 14, 2013

Impressive parchment animation

The crew at Second Home Studios animated Su Blackwell‘s paper sculpture for Pilsner Urquell:

It’s all the more impressive when you look the scenes:


7:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 13, 2013

Illustrator adds CSS export, more

CreativePro.com features an overview of forthcoming Illustrator CC features. Of particular interest to Web & interface designers:

Another major addition to Illustrator CC will help you create layouts for websites and mobile devices. The new CSS Properties panel can generate the CSS code automatically for named objects and styles that correspond to your HTML or for unnamed objects, although the feature works better with named objects and styles. Use the Export Options dialog to define how Illustrator treats the objects for the CSS, including whether or not the CSS includes vendor prefixes for working with the very latest CSS features.


7:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

May 05, 2013

Animation: “Life on Mars”

Lovely work (great shapes, palettes) from Lukas Vojir:

Bonus: I dig the lovingly rendered physicality of the widgets on display here, too:

8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 04, 2013

Retro homage: “Drive” for Sega Genesis

Heh. The creator writes,

9-bit colour, divvied up into 4 palettes of 15+alpha colours each, just like momma used to make. the song was made with an emulator for the Yamaha YM2612, the chip used to create the sound in the sega genesis.

Note: It’s just the intro graphics plus three minutes of song, and sadly not a deeper re-enactment of the movie in this style—though wouldn’t that be amazing?


8:14 AM | Permalink | No Comments

April 28, 2013

Illustration: Stop-motion life drawing

The phrase “nekkid A-Ha” comes to my juvenile mind. 

“Every easel in a life drawing class captures a different angle of the model. We created the film by editing each drawing with the next, moving around the circle of easels.”


6:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

April 27, 2013

The impossible photos of Erik Johansson

Adobe’s Inspire magazine features Photoshop hoss Erik Johansson, his process & his work:

Johansson: I wanted to do something with paper — something more physical, not just a retouch project. Although I obviously use Photoshop quite a bit, I try to do as much as possible in-camera, which makes the illusion look more realistic and makes things easier during post-production.

3:46 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

April 22, 2013

Win a beautiful typographic poster courtesy of Illustrator

Check it: 

Illustrator’s Facebook page is giving away this beautiful Venus poster created by Dylan Roscover to 1,000 people! Head to their page for your chance to win now. 


2:20 PM | Permalink | No Comments

April 20, 2013

Real Beauty

Dove smartly uses a forensic sketch artist to show women how their own self images compare to what others see:

And here’s the inevitable parody featuring a bunch of dudes:


8:11 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

April 19, 2013

The UIs of “Oblivion”

Great work from Gmunk & team:

The Vimeo page features some making-of details. [Via]

1:33 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

April 18, 2013

A beautifully animated video on the basics of DNA

Check out this neat little piece from BBC Knowledge and Learning. Director Will Samuel of Territory Studio says,

We wanted to create nostalgia; taking the audience back to the days of textbook diagrams and old science documentaries, such as Carl Sagan’s COSMOS and IBM’s POWER OF TEN (1977). Using the double helix circular theme as a core design we focused on form, movement and colour to create a consistent flow to the animation, drawing on references from nature, illustrating how DNA is the core to everything around us. 


6:05 AM | Permalink | No Comments

April 15, 2013

The Daily ‘Shop

“I don’t even think that’s Photoshop,” says Jon Stewart of North Korea’s recent efforts. “That s*** looks like MS Paint!” Skip to about 3:30 in the first clip, then jump to the last 20s in the second.

“Now that is some MF’ing Photoshop!”

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

April 12, 2013

Dylan Roscover’s typographical “calligrams”

The Adobe Design Center features an interesting profile of Dylan Roscover, creator of beautiful typographic illustrations called calligrams:

All of Roscover’s calligrams are driven by pure passion, and each takes 40 to 60 hours of painstaking craftsmanship to render. “These days, it is easy to make things quickly and get them out the door,” he says. “But with this type of work, every image is special and a labor of love.


7:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

April 11, 2013

iPads + Macs -> Giant collaborative art

Check out Adrià Navarro’s Processing-powered Inkscapes project. The Verge writes,

“Inkscapes” is a sprawling installation that turns tablet doodling into something more profound. Created by Adrià Navarro and DI Shin, the system streams live iPad drawings across a giant, 120-foot-long display, located inside New York’s InterActive Corps building. The result is a hypnotic, undulating mural that’s equal parts painting and performance.

[Previously: Collaborative drawing: Is there a “there” there?]

If Inkscapes is up your alley, see also Fluidic. Colossal writes,

The interactive light sculpture is made from 12,000 suspended spheres that act as three dimensional pixels, or voxels. Surrounded by 3D cameras the piece can sense viewer’s motions which are then translated into light patterns, but amazingly the light supplied to the individual voxels is fully external. An array of high-speed lasers project into the cloud to create the dynamic visuals in real-time.

8:01 AM | Permalink | No Comments

April 04, 2013

Map Illustrator artwork to 3D via LiveSurface Context

You might already know LiveSurface, a stock-image library that featured preset grids optimized to work with Photoshop’s Vanishing Point feature. Now the crew behind it has announced the beta of LiveSurface Context, a unique 2.5D app with a built-in artwork store.

Founder Joshua Distler writes,

The app makes design exploration & visualization (for both designer and client) much faster and more fluid by acting as a kind of next-generation WYSIWYG tool. Designers can work naturally inside Illustrator and visualize their concepts rendered photographically with a click. With it you can:

  • Work inside Illustrator and preview ideas rendered in photographic realism with just a click.
  • Simulate a variety of inks and materials (such as foil, emboss, fluorescent) by simply choosing swatches in Illustrator.
  • Download surfaces by drag and drop; surfaces are automatically re-rendered at hi-res when the download completes.
  • Resize and/or rotate Plus Surfaces with a few clicks.
  • Output very hi-res renderings in the background, without interruption to workflow.

The app drew a nice write-up in Fast Company. Here’s a quick demo of browsing for photographic templates, then applying artwork:

More info is in 9to5Mac’s write-up.

9:12 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 31, 2013

CGI: The evolution of the human face

Kottke writes, “Here’s a video that shows how scientists believe the human face has changed over the past 7 million years:”

8:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

March 26, 2013

Illustration: Re-imagined movies, Tarantino books

I don’t know who re-imagined modern movies using classic styles & actors, but I love it.


[Via Bill Hensler]

And if that’s up your alley:

4:29 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Animation: “Motorville”

In this fun, bizarre, and inevitably sad animation by Patrick Jean, “The map of an American city goes on a quest across the world to find oil in order to feed its body, made of streets, highways and freeways.”

11:00 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 22, 2013

Drawscript turns Illustrator shapes into code

Of his free new utility Drawscript, Adobe developer Tom Krcha writes, “It closes the gap between designer and developer in Creative Cloud (e.g. Illustrator -> Edge Code+PhoneGap) and adds value to Illustrator. Typical use cases are UI skinning on iOS, vector assets creation for games and apps, teaching/learning of vector graphics programming.”


Update: Renaun Erickson has posted a quick demo:

9:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

March 16, 2013

Lovely illustrations from David Smith

Folks seemed to really enjoy the video I posted a couple of weeks ago about master illustrator David Smith creating an album cover for John Mayer. Now David has posted a gallery of illustrations & photos from the project on his site.

8:08 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 15, 2013

Check out ColliderScribe for Illustrator

Another cool-as-hell plug-in from Astute Graphics, this time geared towards significantly one-upping Illustrator’s venerable Smart Guides feature:

7:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

March 14, 2013

The Feltron Annual Report arrives

Fast Company has a great gallery & write-up covering Nicholas Felton’s 2012 Feltron Annual Report. It’s an interesting history of the project & how he’s now using an app to capture life status.

Tangential: The Layer Tennis match between Nicholas & Khoi Vinh that I narrated.

9:57 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 13, 2013

An animated 3D chalk art snake

Chris Carlson is a madman.


6:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

March 12, 2013

Participate in a new collaborative art project

More than 5,000 artists have already registered for the Adobe-Red Bull Collective Art project, and more than 60% of the time slots have already been reserved. As the site explains,

It is an evolution of the concept of “Cadavre Exquis” in which each collaborator adds to the Collective Art through being allowed to see the end of what the previous artist contributed. Participants are free to choose if they want to paint, draw or scribble their work or just to create it digitally with design software.

As the Adobe site says,

Sign up here to create an original piece of art to contribute as part of a global collective art installation. Then join Adobe® Creative Cloud™ to download Adobe creative tools you’ll need, such as Adobe Photoshop® and Illustrator®, to create your masterpiece.

Here’s footage of the event happening in Greece:

8:20 AM | Permalink | No Comments

Minimalist Harlem Shake

You are most welcome. :-)

[Via Margot Nack]

8:05 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 08, 2013

Illustration: “Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant”

This one time, at math camp…

[Via Marc Pawliger]

Theoretically related: “a fully-articulated, 3D-printed gown with nearly 3,000 joints” that “follows the Fibonacci Sequence in the way it curves around a woman’s body, in order to maximize its theoretical beauty.”


8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

February 28, 2013

Watch a master illustrator at work

Check out Danny Cooke’s portrait of master sign maker David A. Smith exquisitely crafting an album cover & related artwork. And—gasp—does this mean I don’t hate John Mayer?

11:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

February 24, 2013

Oscar nominees as pictograms

Check out Matteo Civaschi’s set of clever pictogram movie posters that encapsulate this year’s nominees in pictogram form. For example, there’s the Life of Pi:


11:11 PM | Permalink | No Comments

February 22, 2013

Animation: “Gray Keys”

Constraint can be a beautiful thing, and I like being reminded of how expressive the interplay of simple geometries can be. Behold the work of painter/mograph artist Carlo Vega:


8:01 AM | Permalink | No Comments

February 21, 2013

Michael Jackson in flat stop-motion Lego

You go, Annette Jung:

One hopes MJ fell in love with a girl—perhaps one named Billie Jean. [Via]

2:56 PM | Permalink | No Comments

The entire Gangnam Style video as a hand-drawn flipbook

Oh dear lord—someone actually did this. Timothius Martin actually did this.


8:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 08, 2013

Buildings in Motion: Giant canvases for animated GIFs

Adobe writer (and, tangentially, Survivor survivor) Lex van den Berghe interviews street artist INSA, talking about the crazy dedication needed to turn buildings into “GIF-iti.” Check it out.


11:18 AM | Permalink | No Comments

Make your own Samuel Jackson puppet

Say “what” again, CrazyTalk app.

[Via Troy Church]

8:04 AM | Permalink | No Comments

February 05, 2013

“Paperman,” a lovely short film from Disney

Gorgeous in every way. The Fox Is Black writes,

“This adorable story of finding love is told with a new in-house technology called Meander which combines the best of 3D modeling and traditional animation.”

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

February 04, 2013

Angry Birds All Levels

I find Evan Roth‘s work endlessly intriguing:

Evan Roth’s Angry Birds All Levels uses black ink on tracing paper to show the gestures required to complete each level of the popular bird-flinging game. Roth placed the paper over his iPhone to capture each swipe and tap, and the result is a work that aims to “contrast the excitement that happens in the gaming environment with the monotony that actually takes places in the physical world.”

[Via Mark Coleran]

8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 01, 2013

Check out WidthScribe for Illustrator

A rough transcript of me watching this demo: “Uh-huh… sure, sure… Whoa!

Using pressure to essentially “paint on” width, plus the Width Gradient tool? Very cool indeed.

WidthScribe comes from the same Astute Graphics folks who make the powerful VectorScribe for Illustrator.

8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

January 23, 2013

Designing one new superhero every day for a year

I love the 365 Supers project from Pixar animator Everett Downing. According to a well illustrated interview in Wired,

“I got into a rut, I wasn’t drawing enough and a friend told me I was over-thinking things,” says Downing. “I just needed to do something I was really into that wouldn’t require too much thinking. I started thinking about designing superheroes and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. I threw the gauntlet down and decided to draw a super every day.”

Everett does more than draw, too, dreaming up backstories for the characters. I’m partial to the teams like married couple “Ball & Chain.”

Another unlikely favorite is “Dober-Man and Pincer,” a silly looking duo with a hilarious history “Altruistic exotic veterinarian Voss Brown was bitten by a genetically altered rabid doberman and given its approximate powers. He can run as fast as a pinscher and wields a dog-like fury! Together with his pet, Pincher (the now toothless dog that gave him his abilities) they pursue crime with a dogged determination!”

[Via NPR]

9:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 21, 2013

Photoshop customer profile: Illustrator Brian Haberlin

Photoshop.com profiles comics illustrator & storyteller Brian Haberlin, talking about his mix of digital & traditional media:

It’s really Faustian, meaning I will do anything it takes to get me to the final image. For example, I use both analog and digital techniques and go back and forth. I may print out my work, spray it with water, throw paint on it, scan it back in, or collage it with the original digital painting. I use anything from painting on a wet printout to using coffee as a paint source – whatever it takes to get there at the end of the day.

Brian shows his work & talks about key Photoshop features (Puppet Tool, Warp), favorite CS6 features (Background Save, Oil Paint), and more. (Note that a good chunk of the interview is inexplicably buried under a “More” link.)

[Via Daniel Presedo]

2:27 PM | Permalink | No Comments

January 18, 2013

Napkin: Fast & clever image annotation

Longtime Adobe veteran Chris Parrish and the crew at Aged & Distilled have created Napkin, “the ultimate tool for concise visual communication,” designed to “painlessly annotate images or create diagrams and share the results quickly.” It looks rather slick:

Check out more details from Rene Ritchie.


9:13 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

January 15, 2013

Interesting animation: “Malaria”

It is, Edson Oda writes, “the story of Fabiano, a young Mercenary who is hired to kill Death. This short film combines Origami, Kirigami, Time lapse, nankin illustration, Comic Books and Western Cinema.”

10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 13, 2013

Animation: “That Will Be The Day”

In first grade or so, I was blown away to see green contour lines on a black Apple II screen (not unlike this). Seeing this work from Matthew DiVito (maker of some great animated GIFs) would have melted my face clean off:


10:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 11, 2013

Hundreds: Clever visual game design

If Roger Black (or maybe Jack White) designed a game in After Effects, it might look a lot like Hundreds:

Don’t miss the lovely, spare design work & clever HTML/CSS effects on the game’s site.

8:08 AM | Permalink | No Comments

January 05, 2013

A psychedelic animation made with ink, white-out and coffee

Bizarre intricacy:

Boston-based animator Jake Fried just released his latest psychedelic animation, The Deep End, which was drawn entirely with ink, coffee, and white-out. The animation is continually layered on top of itself as forms morph, bend and transform across the screen.


8:40 AM | Permalink | No Comments

January 03, 2013

A new spoof ad from Pixar

I loved being caught totally off guard by this ad, appearing as it did during a college football game amidst a bunch of predictable school self-promos.

9:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 30, 2012

Short film: Old Norse

Filmmaker Andrew Telling followed street artist Conor Harrington around Vardo, “a half-abandoned fishing village” off the coast of Norway, “one of the most Northerly and isolated parts of Europe.” I dig the minimal, meditative results.

Old Norse from on Vimeo.


7:47 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 23, 2012

Celebrating Illustrator through an iPad pub

Remember when Adobe was a hardware company, making software only to sell printers & peripherals? Okay, that imagined future never came to be (despite being the founders’ original business plan), but the company was, for its first five years, all about PostScript. Illustrator marked a big departure—into the creation of application software (crazy talk!).

To celebrate Illustrator’s 25th (!) birthday, Adobe’s Ton Frederiks & his brother Hans have put together a free iPad app that tells the story of AI’s early years. They write,

Adobe Illustrator shipped on March 19, 1987. It was Adobe’s first software application based on Adobe PostScript, the technology that changed the entire publishing industry. Illustrator not only altered Adobe’s course dramatically, it changed drawing and line art forever.

For a lot of the current users of Illustrator it’s hard to imagine the impact that Illustrator made in a world where designs and illustrations were done manually.

With the app ‘Adobe Illustrator, the early years’ we want to give some insight into the early years of Illustrator and celebrate the creative freedom that Illustrator brought to designers and illustrators.

Related: Here’s the video demonstration that co-founder/CEO John Warnock shot & included on VHS with every copy of the product.

8:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 21, 2012

Neat Kickstarter idea: A printable, pop-up dollhouse

“Doll houses are space hogs, dust magnets and insanely expensive to boot,” writes Katherine Belsey. “That is why I designed this pop-up paper house. Knock it down and fold it up for storage or travel, and if you’re willing to put in a little sweat equity it can be yours for under $15.”


8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 20, 2012

One seriously dedicated animator

Artist INSA “creates elaborately painted walls that are photographed in sequence to create amazing, psychedelic animated GIFs.” Check out the gallery.


8:28 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 18, 2012

New Photoshop brushes from John Derry

Digital painting pioneer is offering a new way to lay down “Virtual Thick Paint” in Photoshop CS5/6:

John’s Impasto! for Adobe Photoshop CS5 & CS6 is a set of expressive brushes and layer styles providing an interactive three-dimensional surface appearance to your brush strokes. John’s Impasto! provides both paint and clear varnish styles.

John’s Impasto! tool presets are divided into depth-applying brushes and depth-removing erasers. Using one of the erasers on an Impasto! layer is like inscribing into wet gesso. A wide variety of surface appearances can be created using a combination of additive and subtractive strokes. And, any Photoshop brush can be used on an Impasto! layer.

The package comes with a set of 12 Impasto and 12 Varnish Layer Styles. Create art from scratch or apply virtual varnish to existing art. Each set has 4 surface styles: Matte, Satin, Gloss, and Smooth and is further sub-divided into Light, Medium, and Heavy. Impasto! layers can be interactively changed with a single mouse-click.

Here’s a video demo. Impasto is $20 from John’s site.

8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

December 16, 2012

Foldify: 3D printing you might actually do

This app looks incredibly charming:

[Via Mark Kawano]

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 13, 2012

Demo: New features in Adobe Ideas v2.5

As I noted last month, Adobe’s vector-based drawing app for iPhone & iPad recently added speed-sensitive line thickness, a paint bucket, layer merging/flipping/duplications, and an eyedropper tool. Here PM Takashi Morifusa shows off the new tools:

8:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

December 11, 2012

Animation: “The real purpose of your life”

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” And if so, by whom? It’s hard not to relate to some of this short, rather charming video.


8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 10, 2012

Decorating for Christmas the Photoshop way

“I thought myself too lazy to decorate the house this year,” writes Corey Barker of NAPP, “so I just did it in Photoshop.” Enjoy.

1:57 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 09, 2012

Amazing Anamorphic Illusions

Ready for your brain to hurt? PetaPixel writes,

YouTube illusion and science channel Brusspup recently did an anamorphic illusion project in which he photographed a few random objects resting on a piece of paper (e.g. a Rubik’s cube, a roll of tape, and a shoe), skewed them, printed them out as high-resolution prints, and then photographed them at an angle to make the prints look just like the original objects.

8:29 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 08, 2012

Animation: “It’s A Bad Brains Christmas, Charlie Brown”

Enjoy it now, before the copyright cops kill the joy!

[Via Bruce Bullis]

8:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 07, 2012

MoGraph: Musselman’s Pop-Up Book

I like the straightforward charm of these animated illustrations. This kind of thing wins my heart over the disposably trendy every time.

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 06, 2012

Help me help a good cause

Remember AJ Brockman, the Photoshop artist who got to meet President Obama after painting a portrait of the First Family using just a couple of fingers? Now he & his production company, No White Flags, would like to make a documentary about his life and work, and they’re asking for support via Indiegogo. I’ve contributed mine:

Courage & enthusiasm are contagious, and I’m honored to say that AJ & team have asked me to sit on the board of No White Flags. I’m really looking forward to helping them tell interesting, inspiring stories about creators & their art.

4:36 PM | Permalink | No Comments

December 04, 2012

Cute animations I probably shouldn’t show the kids

First up is Malcolm Sutherland‘s Umbra, drawn using paper, pastels, and Toon Boom Studio, then assembled in After Effects. Lovely, perplexing, mind-bending?


And then there’s one (or more) to grown on. Behold, the ever so winsome Dumb Ways To Die:

[Via Christine Kerby Fitts]

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 01, 2012

Animation: “The Leaf Woman & the Centaur”

I can’t claim to quite grok the story Jordan Bruner is telling, but it’s full of lovely visuals:

8:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 30, 2012

Illustration: 126 wacky gadgets of ACME Corp.

“Tornado seeds! Giant magnets! Dynamite! Rocket-powered roller skates!” writes illustrator Rob Loukotka. “I spent over 100 hours illustrating, designing, and researching this one poster.”

The fictional ACME Corporation appeared in nearly all 43 Coyote & Road Runner cartoons from 1949-1994. They make any product you can imagine. I’ve loved The ACME Corporation since I was a kid because they’re a true dream factory.

How amazing would it be if The ACME Corporation were real? That’s why I made this poster; to make our world a little crazier.

8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 27, 2012

Adobe Ideas gains speed-sensitive drawing, paint bucket, more

With version 2.5 Adobe’s vector-based drawing app for iPad & iPhone has just taken some big steps forward. The points below understate the impact, but in early reviews customers seem to be really enjoying the changes.

  • Three new drawing tools with unique stroke characteristics.
  • Ability to quickly fill areas with color.
  • Duplicate, merge and flip layers horizontally or vertically.
  • Enhanced eyedropper tool lets you easily compare and match colors in different parts of your artwork.
10:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

November 26, 2012

Demo: Creating beautiful swirly strokes in Illustrator

“Drawing a perfect curly, swirly Stroke with varying widths,” points out Jeff Witchel, “used to be a tedious task requiring a steady hand and a tremendous amount of ability using the the Pen tool.” In this tutorial he shows off how variable-width strokes in Illustrator make tricky looks much easier to pull off.

10:18 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 24, 2012

Creatorverse: Remixable physics-based drawing

The folks at Linden Lab have whipped up Creatorverse, what looks to be a super simple way to create drawing imbued with physics. Here, I’ll let them explain:

9:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 12, 2012

Illustration: Fingerprints come to life

This fun little bit from Marion Deuchars reminds me of the great old Compaq birds animation.



5:59 PM | Permalink | No Comments

November 10, 2012

Color mixing comes to Paper

The amazing thing isn’t that the folks at FiftyThree poured a year’s worth of work into “just” color mixing in their iPad app Paper. The amazing thing is that they had the guts to ship a drawing app without as basic & obvious a feature as color picking—and that by all accounts the app was a big hit without it.

9:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

November 09, 2012

Photoshop Troll

Is there any reason I should get such a large kick out of the punking of unsuspecting people who want free Photoshop work? No. Is that going to stop me? No. (Here’s my favorite I’ve seen so far.)

1:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

November 08, 2012

Illustration: Crazy dubstep animation

This certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and you’d do well to skip right ahead to 1:20 or so, but at that point it showcases some great illustrations: “The animation section was created by taking illustrations by Adam Relf, prepping them in Photoshop then animating and compositing in After Effects. I did the final compile in Adobe Premiere.”

8:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 07, 2012

Illustration: Re-creating John Lennon’s poster

Beatles fan Peter Dean enlisted woodcarver Andy English in re-creating a Victorian circus poster that inspired John Lennon to write the song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, which appeared on The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:

Lennon bought the poster in an antiques shop and hung it in his music room. While writing for Sgt. Pepper one day, he drew inspiration from the quirky, old-fashioned language and set the words to music… It is printed in a limited edition of 1,967.

Make Productions nicely tells the story:



8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 06, 2012

Artist Liu Bolin erases cars from photos, no software required

 “Waldo was a chump at hiding compared to Liu Bolin.” The artist sort of Content-Aware Fills himself out of photographs, disappearing into background via elaborate make-up. Now Ford has cleverly commissioned him to highlight its competitors’ blandness, making them melt into their backgrounds. Check it out:

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [9]

November 02, 2012

Summly, a polished new newsreader

I just came across Summly, a free, pretty app for reading news on iPhone. It makes extensive use of swiping (left/right to navigate among articles, up/down to drill in deeper or to go up a level), and it’s full of carefully executed little details (parallax, subtle animation, etc.). Check it out:

8:00 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 26, 2012

The story behind the cover of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures”

 Peter Saville talks about the iconic cover design (based on a computer-generated signal from the first pulsar ever discovered) that’s gone on to spread through our culture (showing up as tattoos, sneaker treads, & much more).


7:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 17, 2012

Cassanet: A typography homage in flesh & blood

What a fun idea from Spanish studio Atipo: “To promote our new typeface Cassannet [a free download], based on the style of lettering seen on Cassandre posters, we’ve recreated on flesh and blood the famous triptych “Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet”.


8:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

October 11, 2012

Tutorial: Gradients Galore in Illustrator

Looks like a deep & interesting tour from Adrian Taylor. Says Smashing Magazine,

This extended video tutorial covers a wide variety of topics including basic gradient tools (0:30), the appearance pannel and multiple gradient fill layers (2:30), creating gradients with the blending tool (3:45), gradient strokes (6:30), gradient mesh (7:45), using gradients with type (14:00), wrapping gradients with envelope distort (16:30), and using opacity masks.

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 10, 2012

Maily: Visual email for kids

Being the dad of young boys, and being really eager to encourage their drawing-skill development, I’m intrigued by Maily:

Especially designed for kids from 4 years old, Maily allows your kids to send quirky, personalized emails to mom and dad, their grandparents or close friends easily, rapidly, and securely.

Your kids can now create and send their own emails, using elements like digital pencils, brushes, photos, personalized backgrounds, stickers, and their most commonly used expressions.


8:08 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 07, 2012

Painting a McLaren with lasers

They kinda had me at “Marshmallow Laser Feast,” but boy this is beautiful:

Working with McLaren we were able to process their wind tunnel airflow data and score out paths for individual trails of light. Each frame was then sliced into 650 frames that represent depths of 3D space and a plasma screen, mounted on a motion control rig, was used as a 3D light printer to play back the 650 slices as it moved through the space. We then repeated the move a thousand times for each frame of the animation and with each frame the camera, mounted on another motion control rig, moved a few millimeters so that over the course of the shoot we were able to create the effect of a moving camera.

[Via Adam Pratt & Gizmodo]

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

October 06, 2012

Video: Artists illustrate the mysteries of science

Check out this lovely trailer for The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science:


10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 01, 2012

USA Today’s (crazy?-)bold new logo

USA Today has rebranded with what’s almost the most minimal logo one can imagine: a pure blue circle. The press release states, “USA TODAY’s logo was redesigned to be as dynamic as the news itself. The logo will be a live infographic that can change with the news.” Armin Vit provides lots of details & perspective at Under Consideration. Here’s a taste of how the logo evolves:

I also enjoyed Stephen Colbert’s somewhat less appreciative take:

8:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 14, 2012

Car logos, good & bad

8:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 13, 2012

NKS5 Natural Media Toolkit for Photoshop

I haven’t gotten to try it out, but the NKS5 Natural Media Toolkit for Photoshop CS5/CS6 looks interesting:

NKS5 is a custom toolkit for Adobe Photoshop CS5, CS5.5 and CS6. It provides a wide range of natural media, texturing, and production tools in an attractive, easy-to-use palette with a minimal footprint.

Here’s a demo:

8:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

September 11, 2012

Demo: Creating a Watercolor Painting with Adobe Photoshop Touch

We snuck this feature into a recent update of PS Touch. Russell Brown shows how to combine features like layers & blending modes to create a beautiful effect:

10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 07, 2012

She’s a Rainbow

  • Gorgeous: “American artist Tauba Auerbach presents the 8 x 8 x 8-inch hard-back cubes illustrating the RGB color scheme in a page-by-page medium. a digital offset print on paper with airbrushed cloth cover and book edges create a colorful reference volume of all the colors in existence.” [Via Chris Peppel]

  • 99 Shades of Grey: As CreativePro writes, “For pledges ranging from $1 to $99, backers can get the book in soft-cover, hard-cover, or ebook formats, t-shirts, posters, and the privilege of naming a particular shade of grey.”



Or as someone just quipped about the Illustrator 1.0 video I uploaded a while back, “ANY SHADE OF GREY I WANT! <3”



8:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

September 04, 2012

Nissan’s crazy-long flipbook animation

Heh—this takes me back to my painfully ambitious childhood attempts at flipbook animation: the Nissan Note site tells a story as you scroll (and scroll, and scroll) down the page. In all my years online I can’t say I remember seeing this done before—and that’s saying something. [Via]

8:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

August 30, 2012

Beautiful animation for BBC Olympics coverage

Props to Pete Candeland & Passion Pictures.


6:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

August 28, 2012

Make a Monty Python animation, win Adobe apps

 Adobe’s sponsoring an Animate Chapman contest, open ’til October 22. As CreativePro explains

The contest is being run to celebrate and promote the upcoming 3D animated film A Liar’s Autobiography – The True Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.

Ten winners will be chosen and in addition to the software prize, will receive the honor of having their animation included in the DVD box set of the film and on the Python’s YouTube channel.

2:12 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

August 26, 2012

Animation backlash

I came to Adobe specifically to democratize animation, to tear down barriers that crippled Flash back then. There can be a fine line, though, between “democratizing” and “cheapening the coin,” as this funny, profane little piece from Harry Partridge illustrates:

[Via David Simons]

1:43 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

August 24, 2012

Video: Speed-shading in Illustrator CS6

French artist Jérôme Bareille is a gradient-mesh ninja:

[Via Stéphane Baril]

8:11 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

August 23, 2012

John From Cincinnati titles

Apropos of nothing, I’ve always loved the titles for HBO’s late & un-lamented John From Cincinnati. What a great evocation of time, place, and flavor. RIP Joe Strummer.

10:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

August 16, 2012

Demos: Using Adobe Ideas & Illustrator together

If you like to sketch out ideas while on the go & then refine them further, Adobe Ideas + Illustrator is a great one-two punch. Here’s a short series of quick demos that show the process & offer some best-practice guidance.

1. Starting a sketch in Adobe Ideas
In this video, we’ll go through a brief tour of the features of Adobe Ideas, before creating a sketch and prepping the workspace for our final illustration.

2. Creating a finished illustration in Adobe Ideas
Next, we’ll take our sketch and turn it into a multi-layered colored illustration. We’ll also cover some techniques to facilitate a smooth transition into Illustrator, allowing for maximized editing ability.

3. Modifying an Ideas file in Illustrator
Finally, we’ll use Creative Cloud to bring our Ideas file into Illustrator CS6. From there, we’ll learn some techniques on how to clean up and edit our artwork.

8:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 12, 2012

The Olympics via TRON

The Chemical Brothers teamed up with Crystal CG to create this piece. It’s slow to start, but hang in there a bit. “Played in the Velodrome before every session,” the creators say, “the video shows the Velodrome as never before, literally pulsating with excitement. ‘We’ve created sweeping contours and sleek surfaces as the backdrop for an intense, futuristic cycling ‘duel’ as two animated riders power round the track,’ said Darren Groucutt, creative director at Crystal. ‘It truly brings the Velodrome to life.’”


8:38 AM | Permalink | No Comments

August 07, 2012

The Olympics, rendered Lego by Lego

Brilliant: the Guardian’s Brick-by-Brick feature uses uses Legos + real audio from the games to re-enact the triumphs of Usain Bolt, the agonies of a South Korean fencer (sporting a stormtrooper helmet), and more. And how about Phelps putting away those turkey legs? [Via A. Jeremy P. Lawrence]

9:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

August 03, 2012

(rt) Recent infographic goodness

9:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 28, 2012

A creepy look at the future of augmented reality

You know this is coming. You know it’ll be almost impossible to resist.

“The more we use knowledge found on the Internet (and not in our own minds) the less capacity we have to actually hold that knowledge internally.” Seems about right. [Via]

10:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

July 27, 2012

Video: Wind & water

Neat animation, using algorithms related to what powers the new Oil Paint filter in Photoshop CS6:


9:25 AM | Permalink | No Comments

July 21, 2012

Things made notable by their absence

A pair of interesting little Photoshop-powered projects:

11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 19, 2012

Michael Jackson as a stick figure

How much character of movement can be conveyed just by moving dots. Apparent crazy person Colin Rozee set out to find out, saying “I manually keyframed 19 mask paths in AE. There’s over 20,000 keyframes in the piece, but it needed to be that detailed to achieve the fluidity of movement….” He used the Plexus particle-system plug-in in the project. [Via David Simons]

8:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

July 17, 2012

Animation: “Cascade”

I’m guessing that Timothy LaPointe, like me, sees these things when he’s falling asleep. The difference is, he can show you:

8:10 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 28, 2012

The Sydney Opera House, Animated

Check out URBANSCREEN’s giant projection work, “Lighting of the Sails”:


8:36 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

June 24, 2012

Can 6/7 year olds draw Mona Lisa’s smile?

Marion Deuchars puts a bunch of kids (and a few grown-ups) to the test:

[Warning: Content may include brief glimpses of Bart Simpson, Uncle Sam, and boobs.]

8:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 22, 2012

Monkeygram & Jittergram: Animation in your pocket

I’m a fan of the joyful iPad app Toontastic, saying last year:

The other day I said that creation on tablets would be more about fun, about speed, and about the unbridled pleasure of creation than what we know today. Toontastic is the sort of thing I have in mind.

Now its creators have created Monkeygram, a way to create animations (featuring your face, if you’d like) from your phone. It’s “Toontastic for the rest of us”:

Will “the kids” now start sending each other animations instead of texts? I don’t know, but I dig that these guys are trying.

Elsewhere, Jittergram helps you “make a 3D sterogram or a long stop motion animation… Jittergram makes it easy by showing your previous frame on top of the current camera view so you can line everything up perfectly. It then automatically creates a GIF and makes it super easy to share.”

As soon as my lads are old enough to start creating the stop-motion Lego videos they so enjoy, I think we’ll be all over this one.

8:25 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 21, 2012

Hand lettering

I dig Pablo Delkan’s hand-drawn lettering portfolio:


12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 19, 2012

Video: Blade Runner as watercolor

“This animation is made of 3285 aquarelle paintings,” writes Anders Ramsell, “and form the very beginning of my paraphrase on the motion picture Blade Runner.” Nothing the god of watery pigments wouldn’t let you into heaven for.


8:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 16, 2012

Creating the Iron Man HUD for The Avengers

The VFX team at Cantina Creative sat down with Adobe to discuss the incredible attention to detail they put into creating on-screen graphics for Marvel’s The Avengers. From consulting with an A-10 pilot about his “ultimate HUD” to animating thousands of Illustrator elements in After Effects, their process makes for a really interesting read. The move to 3D demanded even tighter craftsmanship:

We focused a lot of time on how widgets and graphics would actually function because everything was clearly readable. Everything in the HUD, even down to the tiny micro-text, relates precisely to the current story-point.

9:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

June 11, 2012

Video: A brief history of video games

Here’s “an abridged history of video games in under three minutes. Made using only sounds, music and video from the video games themselves.”

Showing my age, I find the first half or so much more compelling than the latter. Hadouken!!

12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 08, 2012

(rt) Illustration: Honest movie posters, intricate skulls, & more

Having recently been chided for not posting enough non-Adobe links (funny, I used to get nailed for just the opposite), I respectfully submit the following.

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

May 27, 2012

Whatever happened to all my design links? (Hint: Pinterest.)

You might remember that I often used to featured bulleted lists of links about photography, illustration, typography, etc.  I still share links when possible via Twitter, but I just haven’t had time in recent months to amass collections as I once did. (Could I now be working for a living? Perish the thought!) I still pine for an automated solution that apparently doesn’t exist.

A silver lining, though: Now I find that my Pinterest boards absorb what would otherwise have been tweets. I can’t add quite the same context/commentary there, but the site offers a beautifully visual presentation, and you might want to follow me there.

7:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 18, 2012

What do you think of the CS6 icons & splash screens?

In 6 years of daily blogging, I’ve never gotten deluged more than I did when revealing the CS3 icons.  After 500+ comments, I even got turned into icons myself. Suffice it to say, people have strong opinions.

These designs don’t happen by accident–quite the opposite.  Adobe XD (Experience Design) manager Shawn Cheris has posted a thorough tour of how CS6 branding evolved & the thinking that went into it.  He talks about how they started with color, moved into shapes, and ultimately created thousands of individual graphics across the entire Suite.

2:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [40]

How Pixar almost deleted Toy Story 2

As the world probably doesn’t need more nail-biting anxiety, I almost hesitate to share this one–but all’s well that ends well:

[Via Dan Mall]

8:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

May 16, 2012

A 5-year-old sketches logos

Charming: Adam Ladd showed his 5-year-old daughter logos for 5 seconds apiece, then asked her to draw what she remembered:

[Via Carolina de Bartolo]

12:14 PM | Permalink | No Comments

May 13, 2012

Animation: Acid Drops

This is “The second in a series of hand-painted studies,” writes Matt Box, “that aim to psychedelically capture the individual styles of influential skateboarders.”


8:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 12, 2012

Recursive drawing

What do you think of this cleverness?


Could people wrap their heads around the idea enough to use it productively? In my experience many people still struggle with things like symbols & Smart Objects–if they even use them at all. [Via Mausoom Sarkar]

8:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [11]

May 08, 2012

Mordy shows Illustrator CS6

Our old friend (and former Illustrator PM) Mordy Golding tours what’s new in CS6

An overview of everything that’s new in Illustrator CS6, including 64bit support, a new user interface and underlying framework, pattern creation, image trace, gradient on stroke, and more!

On the Real World Illustrator blog, Mordy talks about details of the new UI, what 64-bit means to you, and more.

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

May 07, 2012

Photoshop, Pirates, & The Force

Hmm… What would make for a good list of dark-to-light descriptions?

As he was working on Photoshop CS6’s new dark UI feature, engineer Joe Ault put in bread-based placeholders for the brightness values: Pumpernickel, Dark Rye, Whole Wheat, Sourdough–then solicited suggestions from the team.  Steve Guilhamet from QE explains.

The base ground rules were 4 names that reflected the tonal range of the 4 UI options, with consideration for cultural variance and localization (e.g. Pumpernickel in Scandinavia is not thought of as a dark bread). There was a food theme to start but it opened up a bit. We had beer, coffee, tequila, macaroons, rice, cakes, etc. There were moon phases, seasons, rocks.

Steve suggested clouds (Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus, Nimbus– “Because you can’t see ‘Cloud’ used enough these days”), pirate flags (Henry Every, Richard Worley, Stede Bonnet, and John Rackam), and more.  My favorite, though, is one he mocked up:


Eventually things died down & the UI ended up with just unnamed color swatches–the right move, I’m sure, but a bit less fun.  (Hard to say, though, what would happen if one held down modifier keys while clicking them in the Prefs dialog…)


8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

May 05, 2012

A Pixelated History of Cameras

Short & charming.

[Via PetaPixel]

8:24 AM | Permalink | No Comments

May 04, 2012

The art of the start

Eminent motion graphics pros discuss recent work (e.g. Zombieland) and some classics (Saul Bass & more).

9:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

May 02, 2012

Vintage MoGraph: Wang 1980

Tell me you don’t want to see Panic make an homage in this style.

8:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

April 27, 2012

Interesting recent collages

8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

April 24, 2012

Illustrator CS6 is now a 64-bit Cocoa app

You can now use all the RAM on your system–great if you’re working with big, complex files. Other highlights include:

Gaussian blur received special attention and has been specifically optimized in CS6. As a result, other effects with operations that depend on Gaussian blur have also been enhanced, so you’ll see performance improvements in both drop shadows and inner glows. […]

You’ll notice a nimble, lively touch when you work with multiple artboards and threaded text. Creative tools such as the Bristle Brush have been optimized for both speed and efficiency so you can work fluidly, even when you generate immensely complex designs composed of hundreds of overlapping transparent paths.

And it’s not just Adobe saying it. Here’s Jean-Claude Tremblay writing for CreativePro.com:

It feels as if Illustrator has been re-energized… Modifying these effects in Preview mode is almost in real time. This speed increase and better reliability might not be the sexiest features, but at the end of a day, I’ll be glad I can do more and faster.

The reworked UI also offers efficiency tweaks, including inline editing of layer names (yeah!) and keyboard navigation of font lists.

2:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

April 18, 2012

Demo: Speed drawing with realistic pencils in Photoshop CS6

Groovy. I can’t wait to check out John Derry‘s complete set of CS6 painting & drawing vids, due soon. (For details on how the new erodible tips work, see previous.)

8:52 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

April 17, 2012

Sneak Peek: Gradient strokes in Illustrator CS6

From the simple (e.g. adding a sheen to the edge of an iOS button) to the ambitious (check out that motorcycle!), gradients in paths can be amazingly useful:

I’ve been (im)patiently awaiting this one for years. Combining transparency with gradients, plus reshaping strokes via the Width tool (introduced in CS5) and Pencil is incredibly powerful. You can create some amazingly subtle shaded regions using just vectors.

I think gradient strokes will go a long way to democratizing the power that’s lingered in AI’s potent but often inscrutable Gradient Mesh tool, and I can’t wait to see & show more.

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

April 14, 2012

*Real* airbrushes & pencils, in Photoshop?

What if your airbrush sprayed a real 3D cone of paint, so that tilting your stylus affected the shape you laid down? And what if pencils could actually wear down as you drew, producing interesting effects?

Oh, wait: in the CS6 beta, now they can. Deke McClelland shows how:

8:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

March 31, 2012

Animation: Alternate Mad Men titles

[Contains some profanity & a few risqué bits, so please move on if that offends you]

[Via Chris Peppel]

9:43 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 21, 2012

Adobe Ideas gets new features on iOS, Android

Adobe Ideas 1.6 for iOS is now live in the App Store. New features:

  • Easily pick up colors using the new Eyedropper tool
  • Choose colors using new HSB and RGB color pickers
  • Drag and drop to save your own color themes
  • Name your ideas to distinguish them on your device and for easier sharing
  • Use up to 10 drawing layers for each sketch at no extra cost


Ideas 1.5.1 for Android is live in Google Play. This version will also be bundled with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. New features:

  • Bug fixes, including a fix for a problem with sign-in to the Creative Cloud on Android 4.0 (ICS)
  • Support for Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 S-Pen


12:44 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

March 16, 2012

Motion graphics: A Hunter S. Thompson homage… for a bookstore?

“It is not very often that we have the opportunity to create a graphic equivalent of a drug-fueled rant bringing all of our collective skills to bear,” writes the team at Buck. “And it is almost unfathomable that we could actually do something like this and benefit a good cause.”

The project promotes Good Books, an online bookseller that passes all its profits through to Oxfam. [Via Russell Williams]

8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 11, 2012

Illustration: Toy Shining

I’ve previously mentioned artist Kyle Lambert & his amazing work done in Adobe Ideas. Now he’s created a rather incredible homage to The Shining, all painted using the Brushes app:

9:09 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 09, 2012

The story of Keep Calm and Carry On

“Did you know,” asks Kottke, “that this British WWII poster was never distributed to the public and was discovered only recently in an English book shop?” It’s adorned my Mac for years, but I had no idea. Three interesting minutes:

I kind of like this variation, and this one.

9:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

March 04, 2012

Design: Truthful posters, Saul meets Spider-Man, & more

12:54 PM | Permalink | No Comments

March 02, 2012

Collaborative drawing: Is there a “there” there?

The $4 Sketchshare enables realtime collaborative drawing, complete with voice chat among participants. Here’s a quick demo:

Do people actually do collaborative, realtime document editing–and if so, under what circumstances? Painter tried it in the 90’s with NetPainter (which only I & John Derry, who worked at Fractal back then, seem to remember), and I’ve seen tons of tools come & go over the years. Drawing is, for most people, difficult; we feel weird being watched; and we don’t like to watch others draw badly (or maybe even draw well in realtime).

And yet, and yet… I remain kind of fascinated by Layer Tennis, Mixel, and other collaboration efforts. Are there specific, real-world cases where you’d use tools like these–e.g. when brainstorming/moodboarding with teammates? And if so, do you use such tools (and if not, why not?).

In a slightly related vein, Draw Something makes collaborative drawing into a game (sort of mobile Pictionary), and apparently 2 million people are using it every day (!!).

10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

February 13, 2012

Animated lunacy: My Little Pony meets Skrillex

I get an absurdly large kick out of this. (Here’s the backstory.) Stick with it til 1:15 or so–if you can.

8:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

February 11, 2012

Time & Tide

Canada’s Bay of Fundy features a high tide that can be 50+ feet higher than low tide. Check out this time lapse:

In an old, obscure corner of my career, I was a Navy Midshipman who spent a month on the USS Zephyr. (Would you have guessed?) I sat on a dock in Alaska, sketching the aft 25mm cannon (below), which I’d just unsuccessfully shot at some seagulls (thankfully I missed). I tend to draw each part methodically, and I kept kicking myself as I failed to get the perspective right among the various pieces. Finally I realized that the tide was lowering the ship so fast that the lines were rapidly changing. Not a great place to draw in pen!


9:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

February 10, 2012

Making iOS vector icons using Photoshop

Matt Gemmell shares his tips on creating extremely small PDF graphics using a combo of Photoshop and Panic’s utility ShrinkIt (reducing the size of his test file by 85%).

10:29 AM | Permalink | No Comments

February 05, 2012

A 5-year-old responds to company logos

I’ve gotta try something like this with our little dudes.


1:52 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

January 23, 2012

Design tools: Gesty & UI Toolkit

Of potential interest to Web/screen designers:

  • Gesty is a set of vector gesture icons useful for UI/UX designers, manuals publishers and many other creators.” $4.99 [Via]
  • The $8 UI Toolkit offers “20 Photoshop Styles, 94 Vector Glyphs, 40 Background Patterns, Shadow Creator Action, 130 Custom Shapes, 10 Ring Indicators, 10 High-Res Photo Textures, 34 Common UI Symbols.” [Via Jason Santa Maria]
8:56 AM | Permalink | No Comments

January 21, 2012

Five people playing a single guitar

No, I don’t really know what it has to do with this blog, either. Pretty great, though, right?

The original version makes interesting use of stop-motion painting (ah, there’s the tangential connection):

9:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

January 11, 2012

The Icon Handbook

Designer Jon Hicks (famous for things like creating the Firefox icon via Fireworks) has written The Icon Handbook:

I’ve set out to create the manual, reference guide and coffee table book that I always desired… Along the way, I talk to icon designers such as Susan Kare, David Lanham and Gedeon Maheux of the Iconfactory and many more about their process behind well known icons.

The book promises to get into technical details, too, as in this excerpt about using fonts in lieu of bitmaps to present icons. I can’t wait to get a copy.

8:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 03, 2012

Epic stop-motion with jellybeans

22 months, 1,357 hours, 30 people, 288,000 jelly beans–and no CGI or green screen (!). The video itself is interesting enough…

…but the making-of is truly fascinating. A bean-encrusted full-body cast is just part of the epic dedication.


8:49 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 02, 2012

Funky cartoon mash-ups

9:54 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 28, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Film history, politician abuse, & more

9:46 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 26, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Outstanding movie poster remixes & more

9:39 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 22, 2011

The journey is the reward?? A fun holiday card done in Photoshop

From the folks at Viewpoint Creative:

[Via Ben Zibble]

10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

December 18, 2011

Stop-motion paper fun: Protéigon

Steven Briand spent two months creating this ambitious little piece:


11:51 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 17, 2011

Video: Vintage Russian animation

We’re awakened every day by young boys charging in & requesting “Truck videos!”–shorthand for watching random stuff on YouTube. Somehow we unearthed this weird old gem, a Russian production from the 60’s. Fair warning: It contains one an epic ear worms so catchy that it might be a mind-control plot.

Bonus kid-hypnotizer: The guys delight in this simple old Flash 3D piece. “Toss the monster truck out the top!!”

8:51 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 07, 2011

Stop-motion goodness: Mario in the Real World

I just saw eighth grade flash before my eyes:

[Via Devlin Donnelly, from whose blog I ganked the “Address is Approximate” video, and from whom I anticipate lifting plenty of good stuff in the future]

8:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 03, 2011

Video: Terry Gilliam on animation

“The whole point of animation, to me, is to tell a story, make a joke, express an idea,” says a young Terry Gilliam. “The technique itself doesn’t really matter. Whatever works, is the thing to use.” Here’s 15 minutes with a master:


9:01 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 02, 2011

“Drive”: An animated trailer

I dig the style & atmosphere of Tom Haugomat & Bruno Mangyoku’s animated trailer for the movie Drive (which I’ve yet to see, dammit). Warning: it’s violent.


7:23 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 23, 2011

Photo-realistic painting in Adobe Ideas

Want to annoy a photographer? Just say, “Great image! What camera did you use?” (“Telling a photographer that his camera takes great pictures is like telling a chef that his oven makes great meals,” notes Terry White.) We do well to focus more on artists than their media.

Kyle Lambert shows how far one can take even very simple tools. Kyle is a fine artist based in the UK and was formally trained as an oil painter. He currently freelances and specializes in painting, illustration and animation. He’s becoming well known for his striking character portraits and was the first artist to create photo-realistic work using Adobe Ideas. Check it out:

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 13, 2011

A beautifully animated ode to spaceflight

Check out this gem from Celine Desrumaux (fullscreen, of course):


11:46 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 11, 2011

Happy Nigel Tufnel Day


[Via Adam Jerugim]

4:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

November 09, 2011

Check out Mixel: Social collaging for everyone

I’m delighted to see that Khoi Vinh & Scott Ostler have launched Mixel, a free & intriguing iPad app for creating, sharing, and remixing artwork. Check it:

I had the pleasure of color-commenting a Layer Tennis match in which Khoi parried with Nicholas Felton last year. Afterwards we chatted a bit about whether & how the fun of “Photoshop tennis” could be brought to a radically wider audience. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new project, and I got to kick the tires while swinging through New York a few weeks back.

Two bits of interesting sauce:

  • Like Instagram, Mixel lets one follow & be followed, and it can import your existing connections.
  • The app keeps all pieces separate, making it easy to find artwork, see what’s trending, etc.

Khoi’s shown remarkable restraint in crafting the editing environment. Forget about things like complex layer blending: there’s no adding text* or even simple brush strokes. That’s by design: You’re meant to communicate visually rather than verbally, and drawing skills can’t be a prerequisite. Anyone should be able to jump in & participate immediately. It’s 180 degrees from most Adobe apps (which trade simplicity for power), and I find that refreshing.

It’ll be fascinating to see who tries the app, who sticks with it, what they make, and why. Will the rough aesthetic have legs, or will the app be drawn towards refinement & complexity? How might it grow to serve particular audiences (e.g. designers wanting to brainstorm/moodboard together in small groups)? We shall see.

In any case, congrats to these guys on the launch. What do you think of Mixel?

[See also: Khoi’s philosophy on the app’s mission is well worth reading.]

* One can add images that include text, but you can’t whip out a text tool and start laying down captions. No lolcats for you!

11:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 03, 2011

Brian Yap on Adobe Ideas

Boxing Clever‘s Brian Yap creates amazing artwork using Adobe Ideas (for example, this portrait of Talib Kweli). Here he talks about what the app means to him:

10:09 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 02, 2011

Dave Malouf on Adobe Collage

I had to pleasure of meeting Dave Malouf, design professor at Savannah College of Art & Design, at Adobe MAX and moderating an interesting panel discussion with him. In this brief clip he talks about using Adobe Collage to express & share ideas quickly:

11:58 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 18, 2011

A beautifully simple iPad app for kids

The Micronaxx (ages 3.5 & 2) spent the weekend transfixed by Harold & the Purple Crayon, a narrated version of the classic children’s book. I’ve previously shied away from elaborate, high-concept kids book-apps, figuring they distract instead of encouraging imagination. In this case, though, simplicity is key, and the lovely hidden little treats (e.g. a little crab that pops out of the sand, or–yes–a burping porcupine) are delightful.


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October 12, 2011

Friday demo/Q&A: Perspective drawing in Illustrator CS5

My neighbor is an industrial designer & can’t stop raving about perspective drawing in Illustrator CS5. If that’s up your 3-point alley, check out this session Friday at noon Pacific:

Whether you are drawing street scenes, architecture, product concepts, packaging, or even infographics, being able to craft art in perspective consistently, and accurately, is a must-have skill. In this session we’ll learn how Illustrator CS5 makes this possible with the new Perspective Drawing tools. Learn how to map 2D vector art to existing perspectives, draw in perspective, and get the skinny on some tricks to help you work.

8:12 AM | Permalink | No Comments

September 22, 2011

“Mac n’ Cheese”: Painterly animation, nothing to do with food

Why the name? You’d have to ask the four Dutch students who made it. I love the painterly textures the team achieved. It’s just 2 minutes long, and full-screen is a must:

(“We can not be held accountable for the blowing of your mind, the bleeding of your eyes or epileptic seizures,” they note.) [Via]

8:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 20, 2011

Video: Green graffiti

What if cleaning, rather than painting, created images? Marc Cameron and Moose Curtis use stencils & a pressure washer to blast away layers of filth, creating their own “reverse graffiti”:


7:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

September 14, 2011

Pixels in Plywood & Cork

Artist Scott Gundersen creates giant portraits using wine corks. [Via Tara Sturtevant] Meanwhile, Finnish artist Tomi uses a “MDF-based CNC router*” to drill halftone patterns into stained plywood:

*No I don’t really know what that means, but I feel kinda nerd-macho repeating it. [Via]

9:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 01, 2011

Video: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Looks like this game features some really slick art direction:

Here’s more info on the project.

2:14 PM | Permalink | No Comments

August 30, 2011

Check out the new Wacom Inkling

“Wouldn’t it be great if your ideas could start as sketches with a ‘real’ pen on paper & immediately become electronic vector graphics?” Er–yes, please:

So, why not just sketch with regular pen & paper, then snap a photo of the results? A few things come to mind:

  • Layer creation while drawing
  • Fidelity (vs. a photo) and pressure sensitivity
  • Sequence: “As Inkling records your drawing,” the site says, “you can play it back to see how your drawing was made, stroke-by-stroke. You can use the ‘scrubber’ feature to isolate parts of your drawing to separate into individual layers.”

I haven’t tried the device, but it looks exciting. Props to Wacom for thinking in some interesting new ways.

1:49 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

August 29, 2011

(rt) Recent poster goodness

8:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

August 20, 2011

Fun motion graphics for BBC Knowledge

From weareseventeen & Mauro Rader:

And here’s another fun one for the same client, this time from Sean Pecknold:


9:02 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 15, 2011

(rt) Illustrated miscellany

10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

August 04, 2011

Press-on nails as stop-motion animation

900 press-on nails, 1,200 bottles of nail polish, and a month of work = this animation. The process seems incredibly punishing/tedious, but then again, it did just get me to watch an ad for Kia hatchbacks!


7:58 AM | Permalink | No Comments

August 02, 2011

Video: Illustration time lapse

Jelle Gijsberts gives a high-speed tour through the creation of one of his richly detailed illustrations made using Illustrator + Photoshop:


9:28 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

July 27, 2011

Video: A History Of The Title Sequence

How meta: “Designed as a possible title sequence for a fictitious documentary,” writes film student Jurjen Versteeg, “this film shows a history of the title sequence in a nutshell.” Fullscreen viewing recommended.

The sequence includes all the names of title designers who had a revolutionary impact on the history and evolution of the title sequence. The names of the title designers all refer to specific characteristics of the revolutionary titles that they designed. This film refers to elements such as the cut and shifted characters of Saul Bass’ Psycho title, the colored circles of Maurice Binder’s design for Dr. No and the contemporary designs of Kyle Cooper and Danny Yount.


9:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

July 25, 2011

(rt) Illustration: New posters & infographics

11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

July 24, 2011

Video: The Saga of Bjorn

I found this beautifully animated piece from The Animation Workshop wittier & more engaging than I’d expected:


10:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

July 11, 2011

Bert Monroy speaking this Thursday in SF, plus seminars

Master digital illustrator Bert Monroy will be speaking this Thursday at the San Francisco Photoshop User Group (presentation starting at 7pm). He’ll be enlightening us with great photo editing, compositing and painting tips he picked up while working on his colossal, 750,000-layer Times Square project (see previous).  Please see the meeting page for directions, RSVP info, etc.

Bert has also announced a series of one-day seminars, “The Making of Times Square: Live,” taking place this fall. He plans to cover the creation & use of brushes, use of Photoshop’s 3D tools, creating realistic hair, and more. I’ve really enjoyed Bert’s presentations at Photoshop World and elsewhere, so I’m sure these will be great sessions as well.

1:23 PM | Permalink | No Comments

July 09, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Groening does Apple, Fairey does Carpenter, & more

8:32 AM | Permalink | No Comments

July 07, 2011

(rt) Good recent infographics

8:24 AM | Permalink | No Comments

July 04, 2011

Video: “Is Tropical: The Greeks”

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to post this one. Even cartoon violence, when paired with children, can be very disturbing. On the other hand, having passed countless childhood hours with friends pretend-shooting each other, I think there’s something interesting in this video’s take on how kids make sense of the images they encounter. I leave the decision of whether to watch up to you.

[Via Steve Guilhamet]

8:38 AM | Permalink | Comments [10]

July 03, 2011

Terminator 2 turns 20 today

All I know is, “This video is a tribute to the best movie in the world: Terminator 2, which turns 20 on July 3.” That, and I still wish I were made of liquid metal.


8:18 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 30, 2011

Video: “Looks That Kill”

Dig this exuberant throwback animation from illustrator Kevin Dart & animator Stephane Coedel. It’s the little didn’t-have-to-do-that touches (reflections, rippling heat behind a jet exhaust, etc.) that nail it for me. Fullscreen viewing recommended.


1:55 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 24, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Retro “Cars” & more

9:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

June 23, 2011

Illustration: Music vid hand-animated via iPad

Animator Shawn Harris painstakingly drew some 7,000 strokes using the iPad app Brushes, then combined them into a full-length music video. Check out the making-of:


1:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

June 20, 2011

Tape as art

Chris Hosmer makes amazing illustrations, including murals, using humble electrical tape. Check out his site, and if nothing else, this short clip of him in action:

7:56 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 14, 2011

Dutch stamps add augmented reality

Popping 3D architectural data out of a postage stamp? Crafty, to say the least:

Check out the project site for more info. [Via]

7:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 10, 2011

Bizarre cartoon mashups: Peanutweeter & more

Having a real love of both the absurd & illustration, this stuff is right up my alley:

  • @Peanutweeter combines Peanuts cartoons with tweets. [Via]
  • The Nietzsche Family Circus “pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote.” (I used to inject little Nietzsche bits into my designs–e.g. a non-sequitur pull quote in my résumé’s cover letter. I figured it would turn off most employers but help me find My People. And it did.) [Via]
  • TechCrunch Comments as New Yorker Cartoons is, well, what you’d think–and funny.
12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 09, 2011

Infographics: Losing your time (here included) & more

8:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 05, 2011

Illustration: Beautiful birds, clever signs, & more

4:15 PM | Permalink | No Comments

May 31, 2011

A record-player wedding invite

How incredibly cool:

The resulting booklet is comprised of a cover, two inner pages, a letterpressed band (with instructions and a tear-off RSVP postcard), and a flexdisc on a screwpost. The recipient bends the second page of the booklet back to create a tented “arm.” With the needle placed, they then carefully spin the flexidisc at 45 RPM (ish) to hear the song. The sewing needle travels the length of the song and produces the sound.

Check out the designers’ blog for more info & photos. [Via]

8:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

May 26, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Silhouettes, CSS, & Mr. Peanut

8:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 18, 2011

Gradients & meshes in Illustrator, this Friday

This session (noon Pacific on Friday) with illustrator Russell Viers might be up your alley. The point I’ve bolded sounds particularly interesting:

  • Adding light perception and depth with a basic gradient
  • Bringing your art alive with Gradient Mesh
  • The value of Gradient Swatches
  • A nifty hidden feature in CS5 that lets you finally add a gradient to live text
  • Understanding that crazy Gradient Tool
  • How the Gradient Panel can help
  • Non-uniform gradients with Gradient Mesh
4:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 16, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Hidden images, Saul Bass, 3D lights, & more

May 07, 2011

Animation: Tim Minchin’s “Storm” rant

This funny, profane beat poetry eats like a meal, and it was beautifully animated by Dan C. Turner using After Effects, Flash, Photoshop, and a Wacom Cintiq.

See the project site for more info. [Via David Simons]

9:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

May 06, 2011

VectorScribe adds powerful tools to Illustrator

The “Vector Paparazzi” app I blogged on Sunday drew an extremely strong response, and now it’s arrived for real: VectorScribe is available in two flavors, Designer (£39+VAT (roughly $65/€45)) which features path manipulation & measurement tools, and Studio (£69+VAT ($119/€79)) which adds smart shapes & dynamic corners. Here’s a slightly updated version of the earlier video:

The site features a large number of training videos, and VectorTuts has posted a detailed tutorial on creating a vector motorcycle using the VectorScribe tools.

I’ve only just started playing with the tools, but I think that the dynamic corners features alone will be a godsend. If you give it a try, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

1:48 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

May 02, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Buscemi eyes, Ali, & more

7:20 AM | Permalink | No Comments

May 01, 2011

Vector Paparazzi adds smart shapes to Illustrator

I know very little about it (nothing beyond what this video shows, in fact), but the Vector Paparazzi plug-in promises to give Illustrator a number of features I’ve wanted for years–most notably smart shapes (e.g. live rounded rectangles with on-screen control handles):

9:29 AM | Permalink | Comments [24]

April 28, 2011

Illustrator Appearance demo/Q&A tomorrow

We’re all creatures of habit, and too few people use the powerful, efficient Appearance panel in Illustrator. If you don’t use it, or haven’t looked at it since CS4 (when it went from “meh” to really fulfilling its promise), check out tomorrow’s “Ask a Pro” session with Rufus Deuchler (12-1pm Pacific time):

Learn about what Rufus defines the “coolest feature” in Adobe Illustrator: the Appearance panel. The Appearance panel gives you full control over the appearance of paths, objects, texts, and much more, and lets you easily repurpose appearances you create by saving Graphic Styles.

Here’s the Adobe Connect room address, and you can RSVP here.

1:48 PM | Permalink | No Comments

April 27, 2011

Haunting animation for World Water Day

Beautiful, affecting work from Clément Beauvais:


8:33 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

April 24, 2011

Virgin ad drawn, animated (!) all in Photoshop

Every so often I think, well, we pretty much know the limits of what people can do in Photoshop. And then something like this happens:

Check out the making-of story from the team at Three Legged Legs. Amazing work, guys! [Via Stéphane Baril]

To defuse a possible criticism: I can imagine someone saying, “Whoa, see, Photoshop is trying to be everything to everyone, and now it’s a poor man’s After Effects.” That’s not the case & was never our intention. Rather, video layers & onion skinning enable using Photoshop’s unique paint tools frame by frame. PS complements, rather than competes with, AE’s motion graphics chops.

3:51 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

April 20, 2011

Animation: My Favourite Animal

As children talked about their favorite creatures, Songeun Lara Lee drew their descriptions frame by frame. It’s totally charming, and now I want to rip off the idea with our kids.


4:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

April 15, 2011

Watercolor effects in Adobe Eazel for iPad

Here’s a quick look at Adobe’s forthcoming Eazel painting app for iPad, including a peek at its integration with Photoshop CS5:

8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

April 14, 2011

A look at Color Lava for Photoshop CS5

Last year engineer (and DJ) Christoph Moskalonek & I were talking about what viscerally pleasing creation experiences one could bring to tablets. Having just shipped some great paint-mixing technology in Photoshop CS5, we hit on the idea of mixing colors with multitouch input, then sending the results to Photoshop. In this video clip, Christoph shows the outcome of that investigation:

3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [10]

April 12, 2011

Astronomical distances

Happy 50th anniversary of human space flight!. Healing Brush creator Todor Georgiev, noting that April 12 is World Cosmonautics Day, somewhat ruefully observes:

If 50 years ago we had a state-of-the-art spaceship, and if we launched a flight to the nearest star (at the same time as Gagarin’s flight), where would we be now? Already there and back, right? No. Or maybe halfway there? No! The answer is: We would have travelled 0.03% of the way. I just did the math. It would take us 150,000 years to get there. And I am not counting the costs.

Lest that get you down, here’s NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and Jethro Tull founder Ian Anderson in an earth/space flute duet playing homage to Yuri Gagarin. (Also, you might like Chopping Block’s Above Earth t-shirt, commemorating 23 historic flights. The little chimp & dog silhouettes make it for me.)

4:41 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

April 11, 2011

Demo: Painting with Adobe Eazel for iPad

Adobe evangelist Mike McHugh shows off the unique interface, watercolor-style drawing chops, and Photoshop CS5 integration in Adobe’s forthcoming Eazel app:

5:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

April 08, 2011

(rt) Illustrations: Tommy guns, switchblade combs, & more

  • Interesting infographic: The History of Web Browsers, though to borrow from AJ Soprano, “What, no friggin’ Mosaic?” [Via]
  • “A Neverending Volley of American Justice!!” In “I Always Wondered,” Jarrett Green answers and beautifully illustrates his own most pressing questions.
  • The designers at Fubiz take a swing at making minimalist packaging. (“How about we add a feature to dial out extraneous BS in one’s designs?” asks my colleague Bruce Bullis.)
  • Switchblade combs! What a throwback. Check out the fun “Mediumcore” illustration & others from Leon Ryan.
7:54 AM | Permalink | No Comments

April 06, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Movie posters, fractal meat, & more

7:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

April 03, 2011

(rt) Illustrations: Famous logos evolved & more

6:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

April 01, 2011

Video Game Deaths

The incongruously cheery, blooping version of “Mad World” takes it somewhere special.


8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

March 31, 2011

(rt) Illustrations about, and for, Japan

9:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

March 24, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Clever logos, disturbing art, & more

8:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 23, 2011

(rt) Particle Men

  • Is he an illustrator or a sculptor? Andrew Myers makes amazing portraits made using pegboards & screws. “He starts with a base, plywood panel, and then places pages of a phone book on top. (Cool fact: He’ll use pages from his subjects’ local area.) He then draws out a face and pre-drills 8,000 to 10,000 holes, by hand.” [Via]
  • ⁃Ben Heine creates celebrity portraits made from thousands of circles. Of the technique he says, “I first made a photomontage using several references, then a digital painting and I finally applied my ‘digital circlist’ technique (I placed each circle one by one, there is no automatic process).” [Via] The work makes me think of mosaics by Charis Tsevis, including one of me.
11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

March 22, 2011

(rt) Infographics: Nuclear meltdown & rockin’ hair

11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 20, 2011

Mobile graffiti machine

Adam Nilsson’s spray-cans-plus-bike contraption draws rainbows 20 feet wide. Shine on, you crazy diamond.


11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

March 19, 2011

Video: A Brief History of Title Design

Just like it says on the tin.

Seeing it takes me back to a lecture from Kyle Cooper when I was just starting out in New York, back in ’98 or so, featuring the classic work of Saul Bass & others. Great to see so much classic design again.


9:45 AM | Permalink | No Comments

March 14, 2011

Video: “Inception” as a 1-minute Victorian woodcut

Deeply nested mayhem from illustrator Wolfgang Matzl:

Our 3-year-old Finn found the video oddly captivating, asking to watch it again & again. (What dreams might he now have?) [Via]

4:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

(rt) Illustration: Monster-pimping cheap art, Disney at war, & more

9:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 12, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Giant maps, Sugar skulls, & more

2:47 PM | Permalink | No Comments

March 11, 2011

Animation: “The Tadpole”

I can’t really tell you what’s going on here, but who cares when the animation is so nicely textured?


8:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 09, 2011

Media Lab’s clever algorithmically produced logo

MIT Media Lab’s new visual identity, writes Creativity Online,

is based on an algorithm that produces a unique logo for each person, including faculty, staff and students. Each person can claim and own an individual shape, based on the three geometric shapes in the design used, and can use it on their business card and personal website. They can also create animations for any video content the Lab produces, using custom software.


3:57 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Beautiful game illustrations in “Tiny Wings”

I love craftsmanship like this:

The game is available on the App Store for $0.99. [Via]

10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

March 05, 2011

Illustration: Retro styles, infographics made real, & more

4:03 PM | Permalink | No Comments

March 03, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Sheenian Dadaism, gorgeous posters, & more

8:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

February 22, 2011

The Layers feature in Adobe Ideas is on sale

Good news for the many users of Adobe Ideas: the Layers feature (which now brings with it scaling, movement, and rotation; see recent) is on sale for $1.99 (regularly $4.99) for a limited time. The feature is an in-app purchase: tap the layers icon (lower left), then hit the plus button next to “Buy Layers.”

12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

February 21, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Star Wars as icons, poisonous treats, & more

3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 18, 2011

New features in Adobe Ideas 1.2

Check out scaling, rotation, a swappable toolbar, VGA output, and more in this quick demo from PM David Macy:

Adobe Ideas remains a free download (with in-app purchase of layers) for iOS devices.

11:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [13]

February 15, 2011

Video: A few moments with Eric Carle

Given the tremendous amount of time we spend reading Eric Carle books to our lads, it’s funny that I’ve known very little about him until now. His life story is compelling, and I enjoyed this short interview:

[Via Mordy Golding]

7:52 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

February 14, 2011

(rt) Illustrations: Beautiful posters, Escher riffs, & more

9:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 09, 2011

Video: “Cliché!”

Check out the fun details in this animation from Cedric Villain:

His site features a short making-of presentation showing different steps done in Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, and Photoshop. [Via]

8:11 AM | Permalink | No Comments

February 08, 2011

Kim Jong Phil

“I’ve concluded that to be effective–to be functional–I must guzzle an eye-popping cocktail of delusion and narcissism.

It occurred to me that being an artist* is a great deal like being a dictator.

Just like a dictator, I must live in a closed loop of self-delusion…”

This is now easily one of my favorite things ever. [Via]

* For “artist” also swap in “great product manager” (says the guy with 3D-printed busts of himself) ;-)). And no, I don’t *really* believe this, though sometimes you’ve gotta fight for your vision, and “all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

8:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 06, 2011

(rt) Illustrations: 1.21 Jiggawatts, The Four Icon Challenge, & more

10:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 02, 2011

Video: Friday Afternoon in the Universe

Jack Kerouac + DJ Shadow wrapped in beautiful 3D (but not 3D-y) animation from Sean McClintock? Yeah, that’ll work:

Friday Afternoon in the Universe from Sean McClintock on Vimeo.


8:20 AM | Permalink | No Comments

January 31, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Loose Tweets, great posters, & more

7:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 28, 2011

An epic 750,000-layer PSD is done

Bert Monroy eats your wimpy little 50-layer files for breakfast!

After four years and more than three quarters of a million Photoshop layers (spread across several docs), his monster Times Square file is online & zoomable. According to his site,

  • The image size is 60 inches by 300 inches.
  • The flattened file weighs in at 6.52 Gigabytes.
  • It took four years to create.
  • The painting is comprised of almost three thousand individual Photoshop and Illustrator files.

Faces in the crowd include the Knoll brothers, numerous Photoshop experts & authors, and even, somewhere in the lower-rigth quadrant, me. Amazing work, Bert; congrats!

8:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [15]

January 27, 2011

Awesome app o’ the day: Toontastic

The other day I said that creation on tablets would be more about fun, about speed, and about the unbridled pleasure of creation than what we know today. Toontastic is the sort of thing I have in mind:

I just spent half an hour creating cartoons with our 2- and 1-year-old sons, quitting only when I had to go to work. We had a pirate-loaded ball.

I’m reminded of my own childhood, when I tried animation with flipbooks and even an Etch-a-Sketch Animator. Apple IIgs apps were similarly promising but frustrating. It wasn’t ’til college that I found Director & Flash, but of course those are complex pro tools. I love seeing the creation experience taken to the next level.

Thanks to reader Hendrik for pointing out the app.

11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Video: “Why Can’t We Walk Straight?”

Here’s a neat little animation from Benjamin Arthur on an interesting subject; worth watching despite Robert Krulwich’s characteristically twee & cloying narrative style.


7:46 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

January 23, 2011

Illustrations: Fun logos, social commentary, & more

7:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

January 21, 2011

(rt) Interesting Miscellany: Riffing on Starbucks, Android goggles, & more

8:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

January 15, 2011

Painting with lasers & Photoshop (seriously!)

Honest to God, I kind of live for seeing inventive people like Russell Brown combine the tools we make in really novel, unintended ways. Here Russell uses Pixel Bender CS5, a laser etching machine, a printer, and some old-school artistic media to create digital paintings with real depth:

Russell’s also giving away ten copies of his book on the subject, From Reality to Renaissance; see more info if you’re interested.


2:58 PM | Permalink | Comments [15]

January 09, 2011

(rt) Illustrations: Strangelove, disfigured Muppets, & more

3:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 06, 2011

Video: The Tale of How

To quote Towlie, “I have no idea what’s goin’ on right now…,” but it’s rather beautifully animated:

Update: Here’s the making-of video. I’d skip past the first three minutes or so.

[Via Maria Brenny]

8:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 01, 2011

A New Year’s Photoshop resolution (no DPI required)

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve been unsuccessful in tracking down the origin of this great little image, but I hope the creator won’t mind my sharing it here. Props to Tymn Armstrong for the image. [Via Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie & Jeff Almasol]

8:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 28, 2010

(rt) Illustrations: Best of 2010, Gatsby letterpress, & more

8:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 22, 2010

(rt) Great recent posters: Star Wars, games, & more

10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 20, 2010

A tiny tip on Illustrator anti-aliasing

A reader today wrote, “Can anyone tell me if it’s possible to drag a one-pixel-width diagonal line in Illustrator without it forcing anti-aliasing?”

My suggestion: Try choosing Effect->Rasterize, then choosing 72PPI and no anti-aliasing.  If you often need this technique, you can create a graphical style & then easily apply the look to multiple paths.  You can also get some funky lo-fi pixel-art looks by cranking the PPI setting way down.

Fortunately it’s largely unnecessary to think about this stuff now that Illustrator CS5 has excellent pixel chops (at last).

5:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 10, 2010

Infographic video: 200 countries over 200 years

In “The Joy of Stats,” Hans Rosling “tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers… plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810.” Cool.

7:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 09, 2010

(rt) Illustration: Cool vans, Weezer raveled, & more

  • “Would it be cooler as a van?” What a fantastic illustration concept: Famous movie cars made “Cooler as a Van.” (Resident car guy Hughes wants to give famous vans the opposite treatment: “What wouldn’t be cooler not being a van?” Mystery Gremlin, maybe?) [Via]
  • Check out Tom Whalen’s dynamite Art Deco-styled Batman poster. [Via]
  • Li’l Elvis and his Bad Hair” concerns “a young boy and his bad, but *well intentioned*, talking hair.” (For ten years I have been, you would have no way of knowing, tinyElvis@adobe.com. You’re welcome, spam bots.)
  • Weezer Dry Cleaning: “We Won’t Destroy Your Sweater.”
9:29 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 05, 2010

(rt) Brilliant NatGeo photos, painterly fashion photos, & more

7:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 03, 2010

Illustrator iPad Sketch Elements

The guys at Teehan+Lax, the creators of the popular iPad GUI PSD, have created a complementary set of vector-based iPad Sketch Elements.  The widgets are deliberately visually rougher, meant to facilitate faster & looser comping.  Cool; thanks, guys.

7:26 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 23, 2010

Video: An optical illusion for public safety

“You’re probably not expecting kids to run out on the road.” Nor, presumably, are you expecting that event to be simulated via large street art. Is this effort helpful, alarming, desensitizing? I don’t know, but it’s certainly interesting.


12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 19, 2010

(rt) Illustration: Pixel art, beautiful cards, & more

11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 13, 2010

Video: OKGO + Geoff McFetridge = Animated toast (really)


7:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 10, 2010

Microsoft enables Illustrator->HTML5 Canvas

How cool: Microsoft’s Mike Swanson has enabled Illustrator (CS3-CS5, Mac & Win) to export vector graphics as HTML5 Canvas elements. As former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding puts it,

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could generate great-looking and useful HTML5 content (with interactivity, motion, interaction, etc) DIRECTLY from Illustrator? Now you can — with a new FREE plugin for Illustrator.

Here’s a great 90-second demo (no embedding option I can discover, unfortunately). Now Illustrator can create SVG, CSS, and Canvas content, thanks to this plug-in plus the recently released Illustrator CS5 HTML5 pack. Way to go, Mike & Microsoft.

[Semi-pointless historical footnote: the plug-in brings back memories of Macromedia’s ancient Flash Writer plug-in for Illustrator (the system requirements for which still list Windows NT!). Here, I’ll make that same part of your brain twinge again: “DeBabelizer!”]

11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

November 08, 2010

Adobe Ideas adds iOS4 support, layers, more

I’m really pleased to say that the Adobe Ideas team has released version 1.1, offering a range of free enhancements plus the app’s first optional paid feature.

Free features:

  • Support for iPhone 4 retina display
  • Support for iOS4 Multi-tasking
  • Support for Redo
  • Available in French, German and Japanese
  • Sketches save much faster, avoiding loss of data when you close the app or you need to answer a phone call.
  • Save drawing to “saved photos” album on iPad and iPhone (no longer a need to create a screenshot)

In-app purchase (optional):

  • Layers: Available for in-app purchase. Create up to 10 drawing layers plus a photo layer for each sketch; control order and opacity for each layer.

Here’s a quick (sub-2-minute) demo:

You might also be interested in the Ideas Facebook pageFlickr Gallery, and team blog.  Congrats, guys!

1:35 PM | Permalink | Comments [17]

(rt) Illustration: Black Swans, fun with Carbonite, & more

12:34 PM | Permalink | No Comments

November 03, 2010

Video: Star Wars via paper animation

Heh–a great tune, too:


7:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 23, 2010

Subaru gets A-Ha-ish

To be honest, when compared to Mike Patterson’s Take On Me & previous work, this piece comes up short, but it’s worth a look just for the little trick revealed towards the end.

Viva zoetropes. [Via]

Tangential but fun: Subaru is running a tongue-in-cheek campaign for The 2011 Mediocrity.

12:07 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 22, 2010

President Obama uses Adobe Ideas

Well, for a moment, anyway: he used it to sign an iPad.  Tablet owner Sylvester Cann even put up a little mini site to capture the moment.  Cool! [Via Ideas engineer Paul George]

8:33 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 17, 2010

(rt) Illustration: Beautiful Fireworks, duck fear, & more

10:43 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 16, 2010

Photoshop CS5 paintings from Jack Davis

Author Jack Davis has been producing some really nice work in CS5:

6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 12, 2010

New Dry Media brushes for CS5

Building on the success of his Artists’ Brushes for Photoshop CS5, digital painter John Derry has released John’s Dry Media for Photoshop CS5, a $19.95 set of brushes for Photoshop CS5. Here he demonstrates creating a painting from scratch:

And here’s turning a photo into a pastel painting:

Related: John’s Lynda.com tutorial, Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush.

12:20 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 11, 2010

The short film that gave birth to A-Ha’s “Take On Me”

This 1981 gem from animator Mike Patterson paved the way to his now-classic animation for A-Ha:

The BBC has the back story on how the song & video came to be.

9:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

October 10, 2010

Banksy does the Simpsons

Street artist Banksy has overseen what must qualify as the darkest Simpsons opening ever:

Update: The NYT has a Q&A with Simpsons producer Al Jean about how the piece came to be. [Via]

11:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Video: A Paul Rand retrospective

Great work from Jeremy Cox:

For Paul Rand’s posthumous induction into The One Club Hall of Fame, Imaginary Forces created this short film, combining original animation with a videotaped interview of Rand himself, that encapsulated his unique and timeless contribution to the design community.

After I’d proposed to Margot, I sent her this graphic in an email simply titled “You.” She deciphered (and loved) the meaning, which is why she’s The One. :-)

It’d be nice for Mad Men to give Rand a little shout-out, she notes. [Via]

7:13 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 06, 2010

Video: “Mars”

Cute n’ depressing, just like I like it:

MARS! from Joe Bichard and Jack Cunningham on Vimeo.


7:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 03, 2010

(rt) Illustration: Van Gogh, Chewbacca, and more

12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

September 27, 2010

Illustration: Soviets, Star Wars, & facial hair

8:50 AM | Permalink | No Comments

September 26, 2010

(rt) Illustration: Great shirts, Bill Murray, & more

6:33 AM | Permalink | No Comments

September 15, 2010

New PSDs for iPhone 4, Android UIs

9:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

September 14, 2010

Feedback, please: Potential Web/drawing features in Photoshop

Photoshop’s vector shapes & layer effects (strokes, gradients, etc.) are mainstays of Web & mobile design work, but they haven’t gotten updated in a while.  If the Photoshop team were to improve this area of the app, what improvements would you find the most important?

The following list isn’t exhaustive, but it includes popular requests we’ve heard.  It would be great to get your feedback via this quick survey.  We can’t do everything (certainly all at once, anyway), so please let us know what matters most.


  1. Enable “real” vector shapes (stroke & fill directly editable, without reliance on layer effects or a dialog box)
  2. Support dashed- and dotted-line strokes
  3. Enable smart shapes:
    1. Preserve corner roundness when scaling rounded rectangles
    2. Support other parameterized shapes (e.g. stars with an adjustable number of points; lines with arrowheads)
    • Make various layer effects enhancements:
      1. Apply effects at the layer group level
      2. Re-order effects
      3. Duplicate effects (e.g. apply multiple strokes per layer)
      4. Enable panel-based editing of effects (instead of relying on a dialog box)
      5. Add/edit effects on multiple selected layers at once
      6. Make graphical styles “live” (i.e. if edit the style definition, all styled objects update)
      • Enable layer search (i.e. type to filter by layer name or attributes)
      • Improve snap-to-pixel behavior
      • Improve text rendering
      • Export text & graphical styles as CSS
      • Support guide sets (e.g. for grid layouts)
      • Support linked files (i.e. edit one file to update buttons, icons, etc. across multiple PSDs)



      • We want to know what’s more important than other things, so please bear that in mind when assigning relative ratings.  (That is, don’t make everything “extremely important” or “not important.”)
      • Please don’t tell me that Photoshop should never be improved vis-à-vis Web & mobile design, and that everyone should use Fireworks (or Illustrator or whatever).  You may be completely right about those apps, but it’s just not relevant to this survey.
      • Inevitably there’s some amount of overlap among these items (e.g. applying effects at the layer group level would offer an alternative to applying multiple copies of one effect on a layer; for example, you could stroke a layer, then add another stroke on a group containing that layer).


      Many thanks in advance,

      2:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [109]

      Video: “Cache Rules Everything Around Me”

      The always interesting Evan Roth (see previous) has assembled all his animated GIFs into one trippy 10-minute video:


      6:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      September 12, 2010

      Illustrator CS5 gains HTML5 chops

      Double rainbow ‘cross the sky, oh my God, so intense... Wait, that’s something else–but this is pretty great, too: the Illustrator team has just released the Illustrator CS5 HTML5 Pack, downloadable from Adobe Labs.  Highlights include the ability to:

      • Export named character styles as CSS
      • Export artwork appearances as CSS
      • Include selected Graphic Styles as CSS in SVG
      • Create parameterized SVG (vector graphics tagged with variables)
      • Create multi-screen SVG (leveraging media queries to serve up design variations)

      See the download page or Mordy Golding’s nice summary for more details. You can ask questions & provide feedback on the Labs user forum.

      I’m curious to see whether this news makes it onto the Mac sites that’ve beaten Adobe up for a perceived lack of enthusiasm about HTML5 (tough, as it just doesn’t fit that sterile, stupid narrative).  The funny thing is that these changes build on the SVG support that Illustrator has been shipping for ten years.  Sometimes it just takes a while for the world to catch up.

      Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch wasn’t kidding when he said, “We’re going to make the best tools in the world for HTML5.” These Illustrator developments have been in the works for a while; Dreamweaver has just made its HTML5 Pack for CS5 official; and you’ll see more from Adobe going forward.

      Update: Here’s a demo from evangelist Greg Rewis:

      11:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [27]

      September 11, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: AT-AT as Eeyore & more

      6:54 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      September 10, 2010

      Video: “TELEPHONEME”

      Damned if I know what’s going on here, but I like it:

      TELEPHONEME | MK12 from MK12 on Vimeo.


      6:52 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      September 09, 2010

      Animation: “Germans in the Woods”

      A sad, touching remembrance from a veteran:

      7:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      September 08, 2010

      (rt) Offbeat illustrations: Bears, bikers, & more

      11:44 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      September 07, 2010

      Illustration: Fun with playground mishaps

      I began a solo week of Mr. Mom duty in the park yesterday, trying so hard not to be this guy:

      In six work days at Adobe, Margot has logged more miles than I have in a year; madness. Go get ’em, champ.

      6:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      September 05, 2010

      Illustration: Art cars & great book covers

      4:18 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      September 04, 2010

      Video: Making Van Gogh-style paintings in CS5

      Liquify + Pixel Bender: Nifty.


      8:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      August 30, 2010

      Big money (literally)

      • What’s the name for those fine, moiré-looking swirls often found on banknotes?  Guillochés, it turns out.  Aegir Hallmundur features a nice set of them, plus info on how they were created.  See also his Future of Money designs. [Via]
      • The folks at the GigaPan project provide close-ups of guillochés, pennies, and much more with their new giant close-ups. Here they demonstrate photographing a circuit board:

      12:41 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 27, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Amazing 3D street paintings, Apple 1910, & more

      7:17 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 25, 2010

      (rt) Photography: History in color, plus Iggy

      9:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      August 24, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Bad Dudes a go-go

      7:05 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 18, 2010

      Video: “Little Red Riding Hood” told through infographics

      A calorie readout on grandma paired with a droning Eurotrash beat? That’s good eating.

      10:23 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      August 14, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Outstanding movie posters

      7:33 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      August 12, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Egress with beer, Sonic Youth, & more

      7:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      August 11, 2010

      Video: A bizarre psychedelic love letter to cartoons

      I’d show this video to our kids, but I’m not sure they’re ready to trip their faces off:


      9:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      August 09, 2010

      Illustrator CS5 updated

      The AI 15.0.1 update (Mac, Win) fixes a number of problems, including the following:

      • Out-of-memory problems specific to Macs with RAM exceeding 4GB, including failure of shortcut keys, rulers, or file open.
      • Glyph Panel issues.
      • Several crashes occurring at launch or quit.
      • A crash when traversing a variable data set containing linked images.
      • An issue with white lines appearing on rasterized gradient mesh objects.
      10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [15]

      August 08, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Infinite Keanu & other jokes

      7:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 03, 2010

      Video: Between Bears

      With just a few gradients & glows, Eran Hilleli brings amazing atmosphere to a highly geometrical world; fullscreen viewing is a must:

      6:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      July 30, 2010

      Painting in Photoshop? Check this out.

      Digital painting pioneer John Derry has just released a Lynda.com title, Photoshop CS5: Painting with the Mixer Brush, going into depth on how to wring the most out of this new tool.  And building on the success of his Artists’ Brushes set for CS5, he’s previewing a set of Dry Media Brushes.  Should be some powerful, interesting stuff.  For more on John’s work and his take on CS5, check out this interview.


      12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      July 29, 2010

      GUI elements library for Illustrator

      If you do interface design work in Illustrator, check out this User Interface Design Framework, including 290 free vector icons. [Via]

      As I’ve mentioned previously, pixel rendering in Illustrator CS5 is much, much improved, so I highly recommend it to Web & screen designers (and not as an Adobe employee, but rather as someone who sweated over such details & who regularly cursed Illustrator’s old behavior).


      9:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 27, 2010

      Zooming in Adobe Ideas = Interesting note-taking

      Kevin Burg has posted an interesting article on How To Take Notes Like a Champ using the free Adobe Ideas iPad app.  In a nutshell,

      Adobe Ideas allows fractalesque zooming. You are able to use vast scale differences to communicate importance as well as benefit from a very flexible canvas, so you almost never run out of space taking notes.

      Via David Macy, Ideas PM. For David’s perspective on what Ideas is all about, see previous.

      9:19 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      July 23, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Mad Men, devils, and Tom Selleck

      9:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 15, 2010

      Talking to illustrators in LA

      On the off chance you’re at the ICON Conference in Los Angeles and feel like talking about tablet apps, Photoshop, digital publishing, etc., drop me a line.  I’m headed out at the crack of dawn tomorrow and will be on hand through Saturday. I hope to talk to illustrators about their needs and ideas in light of new mobile drawing hardware.

      4:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 13, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Dennis Hopper, Piet Mondrian, & more

      12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      July 11, 2010

      Illustration: Surreal creatures, optical illusions, & more

      10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 10, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Space, beautiful & laughable

      7:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      July 08, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Infographics, disappearing rugs, & more

      1:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 06, 2010

      (rt) Photos & Illustration: Tetris everywhere, the Hand of God, & more

      6:46 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 01, 2010

      Demo: Pressure-sensitive sketching on iPad

      The folks at Ten One Design have prototyped a pressure-sensitive stylus for use with iPads:

      It’s encouraging to see this progress, but according to the developers’ notes, it sounds like Apple may disallow the inclusion of the needed library. Let’s hope the bottlenecks get removed sooner rather than later. [Via]

      8:06 PM | Permalink | Comments [11]

      June 28, 2010

      Illustration: Hairy bikers, chemical coffee, & more

      10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 26, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Goals, gorgeous cars, & more

      11:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 24, 2010

      Illustrator-friendly iPhone UI elements

      I find myself mocking up iPad interfaces in Illustrator (<-trendy tongue twister?) this morning, so I’m finding this collection of iPhone UI vector elements from Rusty Mitchell & the folks at Mercury Intermedia quite handy. Thanks, guys! [Update: See also Mordy Golding’s vector iPhone and components.

      [Previously: iOS elements for Photoshop.]

      10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      June 23, 2010

      Modern tech rendered as 70’s kitsch

      “What would you do if you could travel back in time? Assassinate Marilyn Monroe? Go on a date with Hitler? Obviously…”
      So much brown, so much wood grain… Alex Varanese has created one of my favorite things in a long time. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

      8:33 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 19, 2010

      Crafty maps

      • Bing Maps offers some really cool looking napkin-sketch-style map renderings. (Unfortunately, even after downloading a Silverlight update and restarting my browser, I still can’t get it to work.)
      • Heh: “Fears of Dust Bowl Déjà Vu Spur Oklahoma Expansion.” Michael Crawford makes (mostly) witty map art for the New Yorker. (Deep linking is being flaky, so click through for the Oklahoma bit.) [Via]
      • Locals vs. Tourists shows where people take photos in various cities around the world. [Via]
      7:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 18, 2010

      New iOS 4-ready PSD templates available

      • Designer Sebastiaan de With has updated his iPhone/iPad icon PSD file, adding support for iOS 4 and 114x114px icons.
      • Neven Mrgan leverages that file and offers lots of comments and tips for making clear icons using Photoshop and Illustrator.
      • The designers at Teehan+Lax have revved their own iOS4 PSD, saying “Fully redesigned Photoshop template. Now accurate, still free.” [Via] (Not using these templates in production, I’m not in a position to evaluate their relative strengths.)
      9:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 14, 2010

      Beautiful HTML5 slides on Web design

      My friend Matthew Richmond from Chopping Block has posted a beautifully designed slide deck on “Web Design Concepts for Non-Web Designers.”*

      In this case the medium is much of the message: the slides demonstrate what can be done with the (relatively) rich typography, positioning, and transitions supported in modern browsers. It’s great to see custom fonts, rotated type, and more getting used for real, but I want to see Adobe tools enable much easier, higher fidelity support for these standards. The print designers who approached Matthew after his talk reinforced this point: We know how to design, they said, and we like our tools–but how do we transition those designs to clean Web output?

      There are plenty of interesting challenges here. Translating between formats and rendering models is tricky, and much more so when the destination format is human readable/editable. Almost no one would look inside, say, an EPS file and harrumph, “Well, that’s not how I’d write PostScript”–but they absolutely do that with HTML. Even if apps generate the code well, it’s hard to know how to blend it with the coding styles of each user. But hey, no one ever said progress was gonna be easy.

      * “There’s nothing more magical than a robot riding a unicorn.” — Quote o’ the week

      4:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [12]

      June 13, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Vintage computer art, vector vehicles, & more

      June 12, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Peeling faces, physical Photoshops, and more

      10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      May 17, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: The UIs of Iron Man, vintage ads, & more

      6:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      May 12, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Posters, old-school Mac art, & more

      6:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      May 07, 2010

      Vector painting hotness in Illustrator CS5

      I’ve posted some demos showing off Photoshop CS5’s new physics-simulating brush engine–but did you know that the same engine is part of Illustrator CS5 as well?
      Check out this painting
      and behind-the-scenes info from Greg Geisler, one of the artists behind A Scanner Darkly (see previous). Greg makes amazing use of the new Bristle Brush engine. I’m also digging this illustration by Joel Cocks, done using the same tools.

      Side note: When I met Greg in Austin a couple of years ago, he talked about how useful he’d find the ability to tell Illustrator to put subsequent strokes/shapes behind the current one, rather than on top of it. Apparently the Rotoshop artists use this technique extensively when tracing over imagery. I’m pleased to say that Illustrator CS5 implements the new Draw Behind mode. Here’s a brief (2-minute) demo of that feature, along with the related Draw Inside mode.

      10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

      May 06, 2010

      (rt) Infographics & the like

      10:21 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      May 04, 2010

      Illustrator CS5 has excellent pixel chops (at last)

      When I started working at Adobe nearly 10 years ago, I got up in the Illustrator PM’s face. AI9 had just implemented Pixel Preview mode for Web and screen designers, but the feature was maddeningly incomplete. I made my point forcefully, and over the years Illustrator has made improvements (e.g. enabling inside/outside/center placement of strokes), but the job just wasn’t done.

      Until now.

      You can now set up a document so that all art automatically snaps to pixel boundaries, meaning that, for example, 1-pixel black strokes will remain 1 pixel in width instead of looking like blurry 2-pixel gray strokes. You can also snap objects selectively to the grid, and you can choose among anti-aliasing options on text. See the Illustrator help docs for more info, or better yet, watch this three-minute video:

      But don’t take my (or Mordy’s) word for it. Recently the noted Web designer Jon Hicks (creator of the Firefox logo, among other things) was unhappy with Illustrator for Web work. What a difference a month & a version make:

      • March 22: “Illustrator [CS4] in particular irritated the hell out of me with it’s pixel preview artefacts.”
      • April 30: After trying Illustrator CS5, “I’m rather smitten with it… Having pixels work properly in Illustrator is fantastic.”
      11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [14]

      April 22, 2010

      Video: Painting in Photoshop CS5

      Digital painter John Derry has been pushing the boundaries of computers & painting for 25 years, and he’s now created a great tour of his favorite painting features in Photoshop CS5. I love seeing how a real artist puts the tools to work.

      (Full-screen viewing recommended, naturally.)

      10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

      April 14, 2010

      Behind the scenes on the CS5 icons & branding

      Ever wonder what goes into the creation of Creative Suite product icons, splash screens, and other branding? Designer Veerle Pieters chats with Adobe design lead Shawn Cheris about project goals, the great designers who inspired their work, and more.
      I’m always kind of amazed at how much passionate commentary these designs tend to elicit. To this day no post of mine has drawn remotely as many comments as the one where I revealed the CS3 icons.
      For what it’s worth–my own subjective opinion–I think the CS5 designs are a great improvement over the CS4 ones, which I disliked relative to CS3. (I used to joke that we could “upgrade” various bits of CS3-branded swag–T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.–simply by mailing people a Sharpie & telling them to blot out the white text.)
      Oh, and as with the past several releases, Photoshop remains the one team that insists on listing team members’ names on the splash screen. In the spirit of the original Macintosh team signing the computer case, we believe that artists sign their work. (Plus, when you have access to a name like Seetharaman Narayanan, you don’t hide that light under a basket!)

      11:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [16]

      April 07, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Literature as cigarettes, Krakens, & more

      6:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      April 06, 2010

      Sneak peek: Painting in Photoshop CS5

      Digital painter John Derry writes,

      I’ve put together a quick video that simultaneously demonstrates Photoshop CS5’s painting capabilities as both a “from scratch” tool and photo interpretation tool. Which one is faster? Watch to find out!

      [Previously: Sneak peek of new Photoshop technologies, including painting.]

      2:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [10]

      (rt) Photography: Gorgeous insects, Star Wars, & more

      7:34 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      April 05, 2010

      How Adobe Ideas came to be (and where it’s headed)

      David Macy, artist & product manager for Adobe Illustrator and the new Adobe Ideas for iPad, shares his thoughts on the goals of the new project. –J.

      Its pretty darn hard to beat pencil and paper for jotting visual ideas down quickly. That’s why this great combination travels with many artists everywhere they go.

      Adobe has explored, and even prototyped a variety of thoughts related to digital sketching for some time, but we could never believe that they would compete with a pencil and a nice sketchbook. Aside from the precision and tactile feel of a pencil, there was always the problem of needing a computer. Even if we built the most elegant sketching application one could imagine, would our creative customers be convinced to pull out a laptop to sketch on in the park or in a café? OK, sure some would, but I think most would find it just too cumbersome.

      And, oh yeah – there’s that issue of using a trackpad or mouse to draw with. I love my Wacom tablet too, but by the time I fish through my bag for the tablet and USB cable and wake my laptop, I could have already done some nice doodling on the nearest napkin.

      I love it when technology changes in unexpected ways. When we saw what the latest smart phones could do, and heard the super-un-secret rumors of this year’s crop of tablet devices, we new that something very important had changed. Portable, high resolution, multi-touch devices are destined to be a close companion of many digitally savvy creatives. This simple realization was the birth of Adobe® Ideas.

      Simply stated, Adobe Ideas is a digital sketchbook, meant to help you with exploring and realizing your creative ideas.

      OK, sounds great, but can it compete with pencil and paper? Nah – at least not for the basics of drawing. A capacitive touch-screen without pressure sensitivity and without a fine-point stylus* isn’t going to win if you just talk about plain and simple drawing.

      But if you add a resizable pencil tip, color mixing, transparency, zooming, the ability to drop in photos, automatic color extraction from photos, 50 steps of undo, and a vector file format compatible with Illustrator and Photoshop, then you’re talking about a great start on the concept of a digital sketchbook.

      And, yes this is just the start. The small team that’s behind Adobe Ideas is having too much fun now, so we plan on revving the app frequently and adding other functions that relate to creative ideation, probably some of them as “premium” features. What ideas come to your mind?

      *Check out the Pogo stylus for one that’ll be better than your fingertip.

      10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [49]

      April 04, 2010

      Draw & share with Adobe Ideas for iPad

      ipad_example2.jpgAdobe Ideas, the company’s first iPad app, is now live on the Apple App Store. Here’s a set of full-res screenshots.

      This free app helps you sketch out ideas, annotate photographs, extract color themes from photographs, and more. Sketches created in Adobe Ideas can be emailed as a PDF for editing in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop or viewing with any PDF viewer.

      Key features:

      • Simple vector-based drawing tools
      • Zoom control without jaggies or big pixels
      • Variable-size brushes using multitouch control (i.e. you can resize the brush tip on the fly while painting, approximating pressure sensitivity)
      • Vector eraser
      • Huge virtual canvas
      • Automatic creation of harmonized color themes from your photos or images
      • Ability to email ideas as PDF files for editing in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop or for viewing with any PDF viewer
      • Gallery-style organizer to quickly scroll through your ideas and color themes
      • Separate drawing and photo layers
      • Easy creation of multiple versions of design concepts
      • 50-level undo

      We’re eager to hear your feedback. It’ll be interesting to rethink what an app should be, especially as Adobe tools are known for being big and feature-rich as opposed to light & tightly focused. Where should the Ideas team take the app from here? What else would you like to see Adobe bring to tablets?

      9:44 AM | Permalink | Comments [120]

      March 31, 2010

      A couple of good iPad wallpaper resources

      [Update: Check out the comments for links to more good resources, as well as this collection from Veer.]

      10:14 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

      March 26, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Destroyed money, cassette tape illustrations, & more

      7:19 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      March 22, 2010

      (rt) Infographics: Space, violence, & more

      6:49 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      March 21, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Bond posters, Homer Simpson’s car, & more

      6:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      March 15, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Danger, Dismemberment, & Adobe Tips

      7:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      March 11, 2010

      Illustration: Fun with Google Maps

      [Previously: See Niemann’s great Lego NYC illustrations.]

      9:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      March 10, 2010

      Colosseo: A letterpress rendering of the Roman Coliseum

      You don’t need to be a type nerd to enjoy Cameron Moll’s new Colosseo letterpress project, a year-long labor of love:

      The video starts a bit slowly, so if you’re pressed for time you can jump to the 4-minute mark where Cameron starts describing the project. Around the 6-minute mark you can see a time lapse of Illustrator being used to create some of the intricate textures on the building’s facade. Amazing stuff.

      1:43 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      March 07, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Terrific posters, race cars as graphic art, & more

      12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      March 06, 2010

      (rt) Infographics: Hot Pockets, transmogrifiers, & more

      10:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      February 28, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Ingenious negative space, beautiful patterns, & more

      6:22 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      February 21, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: “Defeat the World!,” great logos, & more

      1:31 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      February 12, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Planets, pushpins, & more

      12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      February 06, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Bananas, evil, & more

      11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      February 05, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Fake UIs in movies, solid caricatures, and more

      11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      January 22, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: “Crayola’s Law,” Photoshop, & the Beatles


    • CUTUP-MX showcases the unintentional art of cut-up Mexican billboards (apparently mashed up by billboard owners during lulls between paying advertisers).
    • Penney Design imagines recent movie posters as Atari 2600 cartridges. (Tangentially related: I was mentioning Panic’s awesome homage to Atari art to Adobe’s Russell Brown, and he mentioned that he’d worked at Atari in 1984. “I created in store displays to attract young 14 year olds into buying PacMan and Centipede games,” he says. You owe me some quarters, Cochese…)
    • Jonny Wan creates funky gun illustrations & more.
    • Infographics:

      [Update: Speaking of Atari, welcome the newborn & excellently named Leo Atari Pitaru, son of the very talented Amit Pitaru.]

      9:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]
    • January 16, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Best & Worst Logos of ’09, more

      12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      January 14, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Classic letterheads, the retro future, & more

      9:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      January 09, 2010

      (rt) Illustration: Killer posters, plus Nic Cage everywhere

      8:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      January 07, 2010

      “Gee, I wish I were a man…”: Vintage ads & posters

      7:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      December 27, 2009

      (rt) Infographics: Cereal selection, nukes, & killer jellyfish

      8:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      December 26, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Negative space, minimalism, & more

      7:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      December 16, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Top 10 Book Covers, Man-hunger, & more

      10:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      December 13, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Accidental geography, Expressionist video games, & more

      9:57 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      December 07, 2009

      (rt) Infographics: Megafonzies, mind mapping, & more

      9:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      December 05, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Great business card designs, laser-etched Macs, & more

      8:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      November 29, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Edgy ads, clean vectors, and more

      10:02 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      November 25, 2009

      Animation: Visualizing the fall of empires

      Here’s a rather fascinating animated infographic from Pedro M. Cruz. Stick around for those late-20th-century fireworks:

      Here’s some behind-the-scenes info on the project. [Via]

      11:45 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      November 18, 2009

      Fascinating slow motion water drops


      Coincidentally, here’s a cool tutorial on milk-drop typography using Photoshop.

      1:49 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      November 16, 2009

      (rt) Infographics: Violent death, Hey Jude, & more

      11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      November 09, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Amazing concept art, Vintage VDubs, & more

      7:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      November 01, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Japanese monsters, skulls, beer, and more

      12:51 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      October 30, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Friday Infographics

      3:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      October 27, 2009

      How goes the war?

      9:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      October 23, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Martians, killers, and more

      1:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      October 18, 2009

      Video: The creation of the CBS Eye logo

      Being ever curious about logo design, I found this brief history of the creation of the CBS Eye logo interesting:

      Funny to think that the work was expected to be just a one-season item. [Via]

      12:29 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      October 15, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Mickey D’s to Decapitated KFC’s

      6:28 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      October 10, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Bold type, controversial covers, & more

      7:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      October 09, 2009

      Sneak peek: Illustrator + Flash + Dreamweaver -> CANVAS

      Check out this demo of Illustrator handing vector art to Dreamweaver, and DW binding the artwork to data so that it can be displayed via the HTML5 CANVAS tag:

      Mordy Golding summarizes the demo as follows:

      [The engineer] starts by taking art drawn in Illustrator and copies it to the clipboard. Then he goes into Dreamweaver, selects a DIV and chooses a function called Smart Paste. Dreamweaver then pastes an FXG conversion of the Illustrator art directly into the page. If you aren’t familiar with FXG, it’s basically a better SVG* (you can get more information on the open source FXG spec here). In other words, you draw in Illustrator, copy and paste into Dreamweaver (which converts it to code), and the art displays as vector art in a web browser. What’s more, the engineer proceeded to actually bind XML data to the chart.

      After that, the presenter copies an animation in Flash Professional as XML, then pastes it in DW as a CANVAS animation.

      It’s kind of funny to see this demo now, as Illustrator could export XML vector graphics (SVG) to the Web some 10 years ago. Later people made various efforts to display & manipulate SVG using Flash. This new demo uses different tools & a different display engine to do similar things.

      I think this is a key point: Adobe makes money selling tools, not distributing viewing software. Those tools must address customer needs. If Flash Player is the right choice for some projects & HTML/CANVAS for others, no problem: we get paid to help you solve problems, not to force one implementation vs. another.

      * I have no idea whether FXG is “better” than SVG overall & don’t want to get into a debate on that subject. FXG is based on SVG but maps more closely to the Flash drawing model.

      12:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [14]

      October 04, 2009

      A little Adobe-flavored bloodletting

      Longtime InDesign PM Will Eisley has decorated his inner forearms with some bold type (larger image). Replying to my sharp-eyed wife, he says, “Yes, the marks are color and grayscale bars which are part of InDesign’s printing marks.” Hard core.

      Next up, he says is “a series of 3’s in ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy. One of the best 3’s in all of typography, IMO.” Will also recommends checking out Body Type, dedicated to tattoo typography.


      [Photo courtesy of John Cornicello]

      1:38 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

      September 28, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Charlie Parker, Busted coffee, & more

      7:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      September 22, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Escher, Che-on-Che, & more

      1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      September 21, 2009

      Monday Illustrations: Retro-modern Coke heads

      6:34 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      September 07, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Filter Heroes, puke-inducing logos, & more

      [Quick reminder: The “(rt)” in the post headline signifies that I’ve previously posted these links on my Twitter account.]

      12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      September 02, 2009

      Wednesday Illustrations: Mosaics of waste, Pantone rainbows, & more

      9:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      August 29, 2009

      Saturday Infographics: Delicious-nasty coffee & more

      12:43 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      August 22, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: CS4 cupcakes, Orc pee, & more

      11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      August 18, 2009

      Vector graphics software… from 1963

      JFK was in office, and yet the app Sketchpad (from then-25-year-old Ivan Sutherland) offered multitouch input, auto-correction of vector strokes, and even reusable symbols (a la Flash, Illustrator, etc.). Very cool:

      Apparently Dr. Sutherland once employed–you guessed it–John Warnock, seen here introducing Adobe Illustrator in 1987. [Via]

      7:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

      August 16, 2009

      Sunday Illustrations: Creepy ads, Fruit cannibalism, & more

      10:59 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 10, 2009

      Neat 3D sketching tools

      • According to Gizmodo, “By using a ubiquitous interface metaphor (the Etch-A-Sketch), Sketch-3D allows anyone to participate in generating stereoscopic imagery in a way that is simple and engaging.” Very cool, though what’s nerdier than an adult playing with an Etch-a-Sketch? An adult playing with an Etch-a-Sketch while wearing those glasses. [Via]
      • The always intriguing Amit Pitaru created Rhonda, a 3D sketching tool that’s best understood through the short video on the site. Apparently they’re looking for beta testers as they move forward.
      • I could swear I’ve blogged previously about the even more ambitious ILoveSketch, but I guess not. Developer Seok-Hyung Bae has visited Adobe to demo the app & discuss ideas for the future.
      3:57 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      August 06, 2009

      Thursday Infographics: Maps as fashion & more

      1:49 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      August 04, 2009

      Tuesday Illustrations: Pimp my warp drive & more

      7:12 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 29, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: AT-ATs, optical illusions, & more

      6:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      July 23, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Amazing light paintings & more

      7:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      July 19, 2009

      Quick Illustrator tips: Create a ribbon; batch convert

      A few Adobe technical folks bounced around some ideas last week, responding to a question about how one would create a pink ribbon-style illustration. Stéphane Baril made some great suggestions in this very brief, five-step tutorial (PDF). (Live Paint is your friend!)

      Elsewhere, developer Richard Bates has created a free utility & notes on Batch SWF Conversion with AIR and Illustrator CS4. [Via David Macy]

      7:26 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 18, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: Paper madness, Grassfitti, & more

      7:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 14, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: Man vs. tank, Pixar vs. Dreamworks, & more

      7:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 13, 2009

      Illustrations: Creepshows

      10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      July 12, 2009

      (rt) Illustration: PS Playboy, World War III, and more

      7:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 08, 2009

      Wednesday Illustrations: Geekery, skating, & more

      7:33 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 07, 2009

      Tuesday Infographics

      7:52 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 06, 2009

      Monday Illustrations: Snacks + Chroma

      9:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 04, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: From subways to space

      6:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      June 25, 2009

      Infographics in motion

      • Hot Rocks: The NYT presents an interesting 2:30 overview on the dangers of drilling deep to tap geothermal power.
      • Realtime 3D Airtraffic Network Simulation: Lufthansa’s Brand Academy features “a 14-meter-wide, 180-degree projection [that] lets the visitors dive into the fully navigable, realtime 3D visualization of 16,000 daily Lufthansa and Star Alliance flights.” Check out the video. [Via]
        Update: Looks like the links have been pulled, at least for the moment. Check out alternate links (courtesy of Ken Beegle) in comments.
      7:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 24, 2009

      Assorted Pixar Awesomeness

      8:44 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      June 22, 2009

      Monday Illustrations: All tutes, all the time

      9:59 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      June 18, 2009

      Thursday Infographics: From Rambo to D&D

      10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 11, 2009

      Cool recent infographics

      10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 08, 2009

      Monday Illustrations: Monsters, luchadores, and more

      June 04, 2009

      Logos a-Go-Go

      12:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 03, 2009

      Wednesday Illustrations: Lines, holes, & more

      • Line Art:
        • Air Lines is “an art project showing worldwide airliner routes. Every single scheduled flight on any given day is reresented by a fine line from its point of origin to its port of destination, thereby forming a net of thousands of lines.” [Via]
        • Simplicity rules these ads for the Ikea Assembly Service. (I wonder if they have a service for gluing all that shattered MDF back together again.)
      • On the street
      7:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      May 30, 2009

      Illusions & explorations

      • Richard Russell created “The Illusion of Sex” by using only image contrast to affect our perceptions of masculinity & femininity in a face. [Via Nicolas Chaunu]
      • WebExhibits uses a simple Flash viewer to demonstrate some of the magic behind Monet’s Impression: Sunrise. [Via Todor Georgiev]
      • Mark Frauenfelder points out some optical illusions you can explore using by Photoshop to check real color values.
      7:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      May 29, 2009

      Friday Illustrations: iPhone art, Mao, & mo’

      12:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      May 28, 2009

      Keepin’ it real… hostile

      6:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [12]

      May 25, 2009

      Video game art, 8 bits at a time

      7:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      May 23, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: DIY Terminator, useful AI scripts, and more

      10:45 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      May 20, 2009

      Wednesday Illustrations: Swine flu, Gang bangers, & more

      2:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      May 18, 2009

      Monday motion goodness: Waves in HD, bearded hippies, and more

      • Lucinda Schreiber and Yanni Kronenberg used chalkboard drawings to produce the Autumn Story music video for Firekites. [Via]
      • Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational early-70’s Scanimate demo. Some part of me kind of wishes that Adobe tools involved more retro levers, switches, cable splicing, etc.–and of course that their use was accompanied by funky 70’s horn sections.
      • Infographics:
        • Melih Bilgil’s The History of the Internet tells, well, you know, using minimal lines but loads of attention to detail. (The fly-over of Cuba is terrific.) Adobe designer Ethan Eismann writes, “My new personal mission in life is to bring this level or higher of engaging instruction to an Adobe welcome screen near you.”
        • Slagsmålsklubben would be cool just for its name.
      7:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      May 13, 2009

      Infographic comedy jams

      7:26 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      May 12, 2009

      Tuesday Illustrations: Terminators, Punx, & more

      11:11 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      May 05, 2009

      Tuesday Illustrations: Paper, pantslessness, & more

      7:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      May 01, 2009

      Illustrator 1.0 – The complete video

      Last year I uploaded the first ten or so minutes of the instructional video that accompanied Illustrator 1.0, hosted by Adobe co-founder/Illustrator developer John Warnock. I received some requests for the full recording, and now Adobe evangelist Rufus Deuchler has tuned up the audio & posted the entire video, split into five segments.

      Seeing the video, and remembering that Dr. Warnock was (as I recall) one of just four names on the Illustrator splash screen, I can’t help but think of videos posted now by the developers/founders/executives/chief bottle-washers of various Twitter-related startups. (Here’s a good one for Birdhouse.) 20 years from now, will we be passing around one of these links, remembering when so-and-so got her start?

      1:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      April 29, 2009

      Wednesday Logos

      10:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      April 27, 2009

      Monday illustration tips, tutorials

      • Scott Hansen has created a tutorial (with source files) demoing the techniques used to create a Dylan poster homage.
      • Heh–I had no idea that it’s possible to designate a “key object” in Illustrator & align objects to it. Check out Terry Hemphill’s quick tip to learn more.
      • The Chopping Block does symmetry with these Illustrator reflection templates. (Illustrator’s combo of live effects + the ability to target anything from individual paths to groups to layers is enormously powerful–and woefully underused. The Appearance panel in CS4 makes things much easier, but I find that many artists just won’t make the cognitive leaps necessary to harness this power.)
      • PSDTUTS shows how to create insectoid 3D text using Photoshop + Cinema 4D.
      7:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      April 26, 2009

      Business card excellence (and horror)

      9:46 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      April 25, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: Lucky teens, giant walkers, & more

      10:21 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      April 17, 2009

      Friday Science: All space, all the time

      9:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      March 31, 2009

      Tuesday Illustrations: Creeps, guns, & more

      11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      March 28, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: All autos, all the time

      Cue the Gary Newman…

      3:28 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      March 27, 2009

      Friday Illustrations

      11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      March 22, 2009

      Sunday Logos

      10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      March 21, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: Fast cars, skiing toilets, & more

      10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      March 11, 2009

      New Illustrator team blog launches

      I’m happy to see that the Illustrator team has launched Infinite Resolution, their new blog. On it they’re looking forward to “sharing knowledge about Illustrator and vector graphics in general as well as linking to and discussing some of the things we see going on in the world of vectors.” I’m expecting some good give-and-take between passionate customers & app-builders.

      2:12 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      Wednesday Illustrations: Super Mario, free textures, & more

      • I love this crafty little Super Mario riff from NYC.
      • Omid Sadri made himself some awesome multi-functional businesscards: “There are three different cards within the set. One which suggests to use portion a of the card as a dental floss, one for cleaning under nails, and one for chewing gum.”
      • I’m digging Paul Lee’s crazy characters & punchy palettes.
      • Speaking of punchy, check out the colors & images in Jimmy Roberts and Brian Christopher’s collaborative project Exquisite Corpse. [Via]
      • Free resources:
        • There’s a big free texture archive on Flickr. [Via]
        • Sketchory hosts more than a quarter million Creative Commons-licensed sketches. (You largely get what you pay for, of course.) [Via]
      12:05 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      March 03, 2009

      Tuesday Illustrations: Crayons as pixels, tutorials, & more

      10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      February 28, 2009

      Covers, best & worst

      The CD Cover Meme is pretty terrific, challenging you to combine randomly selected Wikipedia topics, quotations, and images from Flickr into album covers. Check out some of the results. (Here’s my personal fave of the moment.) [Via Kent Christiansen]

      Elsewhere in cover-land:

      10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      February 27, 2009

      Friday Illin’: Edgiest quilts ever & more

      • Quiltsrÿche promises to let you “bark at the moon in the coziness of a hard-rocking, handcrafted heirloom.”
      • MoMA’s The Printed Picture is “an exhibition of physical specimens made using all the different ways that type and image can be printed on paper, metal, glass, etc, with a special emphasis on dozens of photography techniques, from albumen prints to dagguereotypes to color photography.” [Via]
      • I like the ghostly simplicity of Levi van Veluw’s ‘Light’ Portraits. (To spare you any suspense, nothing really happens in the videos.)
      • You can view now extremely high-res presentations of famous artwork, courtesy of Google Earth.
      • These brand-name ripoffs seem like dyslexic Photoshop jobs, but they’re apparently real. [Via]
      8:30 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      February 18, 2009

      Wednesday Illustrations: Excellent Photoshoppery, scary logos, & more

      8:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      February 13, 2009

      Friday Illin’

      10:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      February 06, 2009

      Friday Illustrations: Painting as a game & more

      1:23 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      February 05, 2009

      Recent infographics

      12:02 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      February 03, 2009

      Lego NYC

      Christoph Niemann’s Lego renderings of NYC ephemera are so totally great that they deserve a post all of their own.  (The rest of his portfolio is well worth a look, too.)

      7:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      Drawing from sound

      • "Want to try something hard?" asks Ze Frank.  His sound-powered drawing toy produces some wacky results.  Low volume produces counterclockwise curves, medium volume goes straight, and high volume curves clockwise.  I’d love to see videos of people trying to use this thing.  (I’m letting it run in a team meeting, but voices are too faint to do much interesting.) [Via]
      • Johannes Kreidler fed Microsoft Songsmith with charts based on plunging stocks, deaths in Iraq, and other dismaying stats.  The results are kind of depressingly awesome. [Via]
      4:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      January 31, 2009

      Logos n’ details

      10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      January 27, 2009

      Tuesday Illustrations: Killer movie posters, RUN-DC, & more

      6:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      January 18, 2009

      Interesting Inaugural bits from the NYT

      • The New York Times features an interactive photography portfolio called Obama’s People, offering portraits of key staffers. The audio commentary (via the link below the photos) is worth a listen, describing the subjects’ choices in what to bring to the shoot (e.g. a chocolate chip cookie for David Axelrod).  The separate making-of piece features Kathy Ryan talking about how shooting digitally has enhanced the collaborative aspects–and maybe the time pressures–of portraiture.  [Update: Ellis Vener points out a hilarious “Real Behind-the-Scenes” take on the shoot, followed by some good discussion in the comments.  “Blue Steel…”]


      • The paper (that term seems more than a little outmoded, doesn’t it?) also features an excellent overview of the Inauguration Day goings-on via a 3D-rendered map and timeline.



      I’d love to be in DC in person, but that map triggers a memory of having gotten stuck on the Metro under the Potomac on a sweltering July 4 years ago.  With Tuesday temperatures due to hover around freezing, maybe I’m okay with TV after all.

      9:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      January 17, 2009

      Saturday Illustrations: Stalactites, stained glass, & more

      10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      January 14, 2009

      Wednesday Illustrations: Presidencies to video games

      11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      January 13, 2009

      Photoshop Subvertising

      Artist-vandals in Berlin have rather brilliantly hacked a set of subway posters, overlaying them with stickers showing the Photoshop UI. [Via Mark Stern, Serge Jespers, Jeff Lietz, and others]


      I have a soft spot for the trippy impromptu public art projects that subway posters often become–everything from Van Dycks & puke lines to political commentary.  I got an unreasonably big kick out of a Bourne Identity poster in the NY subway that featured three images of Matt Damon on which someone had scrawled, respectively, “Loner… gun owner… stern taskmaster.” (Told you it was unreasonable.)


      [Update: Kottke links to more photos on Flickr.  Apparently the project is called "Don’t Forget…" [Via]]


      [Previously: Real-world Photoshop.]

      9:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      January 09, 2009

      Kuler adds Community Pulse

      The team behind Kuler, Adobe’s color harmony creation & sharing site, has introduced a neat new feature:


      Explore the Kuler global community with Community Pulse, a big picture view of color usage. This is a beta feature, using data visualization (screenshot) to show the relative popularity of colors across a sampling of countries, time periods, and tags.


      To check it out,


      • Sign in with your Adobe ID to play around with it
      • Mouse over the histogram to see the hues on the color wheel
      • Try the granularity slider to see more/less color detail
      • Use the comparison icon (two circles) to compare/contrast


      If you have questions, check out Kuler Help.  And don’t forget to check out the Kuler panel in Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and InDesign CS4 (see Window->Extensions->Kuler).  Here’s a couple of screenshots, plus a video demo. [Via]

      9:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      January 01, 2009

      Pen Zen for 2009

      Mordy Golding offers 10 Illustrator Resolutions for 2009–ten great suggestions for getting more out of this amazingly powerful app.  My notes:


      • If you do nothing else, try double clicking your artwork to enter “isolation mode.”  It’s just like editing a symbol in place in FlashStop doing the whole lock/unlock, group/ungroup dance.  Isolation mode is your friend, particularly in CS4.


      • Mordy is right on about the power of the Appearance panel.  In CS4 the panel is at last just what I’d hoped it could be–namely, a killer one-stop shop for adding and editing object effects and parameters.


      • My personal addition to the list?  Envelope distortions.  Create some artwork, then choose Object->Envelope Distort, then either Make With Warp or Make With Mesh.  I like choosing the latter, then selecting the Free Transform Tool (E), clicking and dragging on one corner, and then while still moused down holding Cmd/Ctrl to do a perspective transform.  Bam, instant re-editable Star Wars text.



      If you really want to brush up on your fundamentals & really wrap your head around the Pen tool, I recommend a couple of great resources:




      And oh yeah, Happy New Year!  We’ll see whether my blogging can hold up under not one but two bambinos.  Bring him/her on! ;-)

      2:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      December 19, 2008

      Friday Illustrations: Vader, fractals, & more

      7:01 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      December 08, 2008

      Monday Illustrations: Fast cars & dirty fingers

      4:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      December 01, 2008

      Illustrator CS4: Faster launches, new scripts, & more

      As I’ve noted a few times, I really like the way the Illustrator team focused on the fundamentals in CS4. Among these, they’ve made some great headway in bringing down the application’s launch time. Brenda Sutherland from Illustrator QE passed along a few benchmarks:


      Win XP CS3 CS4
      Cold Launch on Benchmark Machine* 21.7s 12.8s
      Cold Launch on User Machine** 36.4s 19.5s
      iMac (Leopard)    
      Cold Launch 25.5s 16.4s


      * Benchmark machine is the optimized setup machine for taking consistent launch performance numbers. It has no virus scanner and a totally defragmented hard disk.

      ** User machine is the one similar to user environment, having a virus scanner, fragmented hard disk with a few common applications installed.

      My own unscientific tests (using Watch It on a 2.33GHz MacBook Pro) produce similar findings, knocking about 35% off the cold launch time & cutting the time for a warm launch roughly in half relative to CS3. Thanks, guys!

      In other AI-related news:

      8:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [10]

      November 22, 2008

      New Illustrations: Mad Men to Hot Rocks

      Dept. of Mad Chops:

      Illustrated misfortune:


      • The pixel masters at eBoy featured yours truly among a field of ‘Dobe peeps. Thanks, guys! (Incidentally, this illustration plays ridiculously well with content-aware scaling in PSCS4.)
      • At the recent party to celebrate shipping CS4, Photoshop engineer Geoff Scott took a cool shot of me that I turned into a quasi-Hot Rocks-style illustration via the new PS Pixel Bender plug-in. (I used subblue’s Droste Effect filter kernel–a free download.)
      6:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      November 15, 2008

      Illustrated Miscellany: Obama, the Joker, & molten wax

      History & politics:

      Packaging & Objects:

      • Veerle showcases some beautiful packaging.
      • Go Media sells PSD templates that can help you drop artwork onto various wrinkly shirts.
      • Virgil O. Stamps will print on just about any crazy material–duct tape, shredded targets, National Geographic pages, etc. [Via]

      Cool Devices:

      • The notional Virtuo virtual palette “uses sensors and light to mix digital colour and apply it to a screen.” [Via Jerry Harris]
      • Man, I can’t wait for our son to get old enough to rock out with the Crayola Glow Station. (My mom used to let me paint with crayons using paper on a hot plate. Ah, the ’70s: a simpler, less safety-conscious time. ;-))
      9:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      November 06, 2008

      Real-world Photoshop

      Straight-up awesome. :-) [Via Lori Grunin & Adam Jerugim]

      Update: By popular demand, here’s a higher-res version, plus the making-of photo set. [Via Rob Christensen]
      Update 2: According to Laughing Squid, ad agency Bates 141 created the project for Software Asli. [Via Keith Johnson]

      11:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [24]

      November 05, 2008

      Post-election bits

      I’m finding it hard to get back into the blogging game after such a* historic election.  Doesn’t blogging about megapixels and keyboard shortcuts just seem kind of… trite?


      In an effort to spool back up, here are some interesting visual bits I’ve encountered:


      • Oh yeah!: "The Final Endgame Go Time Alpha Action Lift-off Decide-icidal Hungry Man’s Extreme Raw Power Ultimate Voteslam Smackdown ’08 No Mercy: Judgement Day ’08.That’s what I’m talkin’ about.  Peep The Daily Show’s ode to/mockery of over-the-top motion graphics.
      • Jason Kottke has aggregated a huge list of election maps from around the world, from whiteboards to the Onion.  I love the way various maps, including the one on the NY Times site, let you zoom into states to see a county-by-county patchwork of voting.  Also check out the way the NYT map features "county bubbles" and a voting trend comparison slider.
      • Mark Newman’s maps offer insight into voting patterns by geography and population. [Via]
      • The Guardian features a gallery of newspaper front pages from around the world. [Via]
      • In The Living Room Candidate, the Museum of the Moving Image features TV ads from US presidential races, 1952-2008.
      • Typography:
        • Channeling campaign fatigue into type, This [Farging] Election aggregates many of the year’s memorable phrases into a single column.
        • Obama + dingbats = ObamaBats, courtesy of Jeff Domke. [Via]


      * Not "an".  Hah; I knew it.  We’re not Cockney, for crying out loud.

      11:01 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      October 31, 2008

      A handful of Halloween art

      4:31 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      October 24, 2008

      Recent political illustrations, animations, & fruit

      The US presidential election is motivating all kinds of creativity, from posters to pumpkins. (And before anyone flips out, let me say that A) I’m trying to be evenhanded in the distribution of links below, and B) I picked things to share based not on political affiliation, but based on creative/graphical interestingness.)


      11:50 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      October 20, 2008

      Monday Illustrations

      A slightly random sampling for a Monday morning:


      8:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      October 06, 2008

      Monday Illustrations: Current events to optical illusions

      11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [13]

      October 01, 2008

      “Dear InDesign, Illustrator…”

      Continuing a bit of a theme:


      • InDesign Sr. PM Michael Ninness has responded to nearly all the top 25 beefs reported on DearAdobe.com.  He’s also provided another 15 responses to other gripes that they plan to address in a future blog entry.  (Regarding the gripe about the lack of a color picker, although it’s not exactly what’s being requested, I’d point out that InDesign, Illustrator, Flash, and Photoshop CS4 all feature the same Kuler panel (screenshot) for color selection.  We’re sharing more code, but it’s not an overnight thing.)
      • Meanwhile former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding has surveyed the remarks about Illustrator, and he’s posted responses to the top 25 comments along with good points about what does–and doesn’t–constitute useful, actionable feedback.
      7:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [10]

      September 25, 2008

      Illustrator CS4 goodness

      Among the comments on my list of details polished in Photoshop CS4, a number of people wished for a similar list for Illustrator & suggested that the Illustrator team start a blog.  As it happens, my friend & former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding runs the great Real World Illustrator blog, and he’s posted some illuminating resources:



      In the past I’ve said "I swear because I care," and caring a lot about Illustrator, I’ve directed some well-intentioned swearing in their direction over the years.  I distinctly remember sitting at my desk at Agency.com some nine years ago and hearing a (long since departed) Illustrator PM dismiss my request by saying, "Oh, customers don’t want multiple pages."  (At that point I started wondering, "Now, is it still murder if it wasn’t premeditated, and can I claim temporary insanity…?")  That’s why I’m delighted that they’ve both addressed some eternal requests (yay, multiple pages–er, artboards!) and have polished lots of existing functionality.  As Mordy writes,


      In the past, Illustrator had a reputation of adding new features, but never really going back to refine them in subsequent versions (i.e.,gradient mesh, 3D, brushes, graphs). With an improved Appearance panel, more capable graphic styles, a revamped gradient feature, better clipping mask behavior, isolation mode, and Smart Guides in CS4, it’s refreshing to see the team adding much needed polish to some of these "older" features.


      The more I’ve played with the new Illustrator, the more I’ve found the "little" changes to have a big impact.  I think you will, too.

      12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

      September 19, 2008

      Friday P-shoppery

      • What would happen if you applied every single filter in Photoshop to an image?  Well, someone had to try. [Via]
      • If you ask people on forums to edit your images, you never know what you’ll get (possibly NSFW). [Via Michael Ninness]
      7:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      September 17, 2008

      Political illustrations

      12:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      September 14, 2008

      Vintage Sunday

      3:20 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      September 06, 2008

      New infographics: Hockey Moms to Wu-Tang Clan

      7:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      September 05, 2008

      P-shopped Chrome

      Heh–good for a Friday laugh: Google’s Chrome browser comic gets mauled by a bunch of wiseasses.  (Mocking goateed hipsters will always, always sort me out.) [Via Fergus Hammond]


      Other random graffiti-ish bits:


      10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      September 02, 2008

      Spraygun Mona Lisa, hipster anatomy, & more

      Recent illustration finds:



      9:21 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      September 01, 2008

      Chinese political illustration, then & now

      2:23 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      August 29, 2008

      Friday Illustrations: Beer, bathrooms, & The Shining

      2:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

      August 28, 2008

      On-demand skate decks & more

      I’m always intrigued by technologies that enable on-the-fly creation of media (print, Web, video)–what Adobe dubbed "network publishing."  Recent examples I’ve found interesting:


      • "MagCloud enables you to publish your own magazines. All you have to do is upload a PDF and we’ll take care of the rest: printing, mailing, subscription management, and more."  (Kind of a step up from my 8th-grade experiences publishing a skate ‘zine with a friend’s Mac & my dad’s office Xerox.)
      • On another skating note, Zazzle now enables creation of customized skateboard decks. [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes]
      • Faber Finds publishes out-of-print titles, generating a unique cover for each on the fly. [Via]
      4:57 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 27, 2008

      Recent infographic goodness

      • Stefanie Posavec creates beautiful, sometimes abstract images from data in her “On the Map” project.
      • The NYT renders Olympic medal counts by country, also enabling the user to navigate through time.  (Tossing it around too freely, I managed to blow up Safari.)
      • UFO sighting convincibility” is on the rise, thanks to Photoshop. [Via Rob Corell]
      • xach.com offers a cool way to visualize 2008 box office results. [Via]
      • I think I should chart my mood on a line stretching from “Earnest” to “Scurrilous*,” as Vanity Fair does with the content of their Blogopticon. [Via Tom Hogarty]  It’s similar to New York Mag’s Approval Matrix.


      *Defined as “grossly or obscenely abusive… characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive.”  Hells yeah.

      1:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      August 25, 2008

      iPhone GUI bits

      • The guys at teehan+lax have created a slick, well organized iPhone GUI PSD file.  Geoff Teehan writes, "We created our own Photoshop file that has a fairly comprehensive library of assets – all fully editable."  Nicely done! [Via Joel Eby]
      • Felix Sockwell offers a detailed walk-through of how he developed icons for the NY Times’ iPhone app.
      • Vaunted info-design expert Edward Tufte critiques iPhone interfaces in terms of their info-to-overhead ratio. [Via]


      Marginally related at best, but too good not to share: the highly unique unboxing video for the Samsung Omnia. [Via Russell Williams]

      12:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      August 23, 2008

      Saturday drawerings, from Tron to rayguns

      1:08 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 12, 2008

      Tuesday Illustration: Iron Man, lasers, and more

      • Semi-political
        • Politicians often serve as pincushions, but it’s rare that they’re actually made of pins, as in this Thumbtack Obama. [Via]
        • Gene Tempest’s long but interesting essay covers the Posters of Paris ’68, talking (among other things) about how the French artists played on memories of Nazi collaboration.
        • "Did United Artists doctor a photo of anti-Hitler plotter Claus von Stauffenberg to make him look more like the Top Gun actor?" asks the Guardian. [Via]  (Even weirder: My wife just glanced at the image and said, "I thought that was you for a second.")
      • Designer Marian Bantjes
        has been producing great stuff lately:
        • Her Design Ignites Change is a limited-edition, laser-cut poster that dramatically changes appearance under different conditions.  Proceeds benefit kids orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Kenya. [Via]
        • In Love Stories she creates a riot of great type–some of it edible!

      6:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      July 27, 2008

      Killer animations o’ the day

      • Despite finding it some time ago, I’ve been avoiding blog The Art of the Title Sequence, knowing that it would likely take over my life.  Sure enough, it’s loaded with good stuff.  Check out the beautiful titles for El Don, whipped up by Santiago artists Smog.  I saw motion graphics pioneer Kyle Cooper (SE7EN, etc.) speak years ago and remember him saying that every frame should hold up on its own as graphic design.  This piece aces that test.  (For unrelated goodness, see Smog’s “monkey-headed dancing guy” (or whatever “un mono bailarín” is).)
      • Motion artist PES creates incredible stop-motion films using found objects.  KaBoom and Western Spaghetti are particularly great (c’mon, Candy Corn as flames?).  Check out his work before People for the Ethical Treatment of Upholstery shut him down. [Via John Peterson & Maria Brenny, “Because (re: KaBoom) I know what you do in the desert”]
      • My Drive Thru is a new stop-motion video for Converse, produced by the team at Psyop.  Behind the scenes, Pharrell Williams talks about rescuing Chuck Taylors from the taint of Punky Brewster, and Glossy interviews the Psyop crew while posting some high-res stills. [Via]
      • Superfad has kicked out a trio of stylish ads for Sprint.  The Hurricane Katrina spot is particularly worth a look.  
      12:17 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 22, 2008

      *Real* Real-World Photoshop, Vitruvian Wookies, and more

      • In his Tell a Lie project, Henry Hadlow "uses a camera to mimic common Photoshop effects."  Killer! [Via Paul McJones]
      • Vader Crossing the Delaware: On Worth1000, P-shoppers mash up Star Wars with fine art.  Surveying a couple of the pieces, Bryan Hughes remarked, "Man, that is some seriously disturbing stuff. Sort of like Joe Satriani for the eyes …which is to say that, yeah, I know there’s crazy talent there… but what a way to misuse it!" [Via Dave Dobish]
      • Green Patriot Posters bring kick-ass poster art to the fight against climate change.  Nick Snyder writes, "Contributions from other designers will be featured in the coming months. In September, Green Patriot Posters will launch an online competition where participants may submit Green Patriot Poster designs, view other posters and vote on designs."
      8:20 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      July 20, 2008

      Walruses, Wolverine Monkeys, & mo’

      • Animation:
        • In 1969, 14-year-old Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview.  38 years later, I Met The Walrus is the Oscar-nominated short film that resulted–5 minutes of fluid, often surreal images morphing into one another over the recording.  YouTube hosts the full piece in high quality.
        • I’m not sure what to say about the coffee-stirrer-based (?) Endless Not stick animation, but I can dig it. [Via]
      • I love the crazy little characters made by Matthew Porter.  (His Dr. Wagner portrait is staring down at me now.).  Next time you need to commission a Wolverine monkey, you’ll know where to turn. [Via Margot]
      • Coca-Cola’s very cool WE8 site brings together illustrators, musicians, and other artists from West & East in the spirt of friendship (well, that and of selling tasty sugar water).  The site features interactive 3D Flash versions of the packaging they’ve created, downloadable desktop images and more. [Via Terri Stone]
      • Peep the charming skulls of Kristina Collantes desktop wallpapers.
      • Public service:
        • Speed bump: $1500.  Drawing of a speed bump: $80.  Effectiveness: pretty comparable–at least until people catch on. [Via]
        • What do the "Safetymen" on signage do all day?  Signs of Life aims to shed light.

      10:01 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 18, 2008

      The Ocelot, in ink

      Wow–now this you don’t see every day: John Pischke, an Image Capture Manager at Quad/Graphics in Minneapolis, has used the “Ocelot Rampant” image from this blog in a tattoo on his arm. I furnished him with the original Illustrator file last year, and on Tuesday it was turned into ink. “You’ll be happy to know it was completely designed in Photoshop,” writes John P. Nice!
      Tangentially related surreality:

      10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

      July 17, 2008

      Great #$!@!’in Type

      • What the %@^! does one call those "random non-alphabet characters to indicate cursing?"  Answer: Grawlix.  (Bonus cutting aside: "Is that the sound of a designer waiting for Adobe Updater to complete?"  Oh, from the top rope!) [Via]
      • On Flickr, user "el estratografico" collects "retronomatopeya"–classic sound effects in cartoons.
      • Batman may have gone all modern & hardcore, but "Las onomatopeyas o Batsigns" showcases the sound-effect renderings of his classic, corny past. [Via Rob Corell]
      12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 16, 2008

      Wednesday Illustration: Cash money & Mo’

      7:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 09, 2008

      Wednesday Illustrations: Smoke, fire, and floods

      8:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      June 25, 2008

      Wednesday Illustrations

      6:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      June 19, 2008

      Infographic stylings: From bacon to Ludacris

      11:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 18, 2008

      The Color & the Shape, in PS & AI

      9:22 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      June 14, 2008

      Random Saturday brilliance

      Gold-plated vertically integrated batter-dipped Photoshop-rendered AJAX-flavored Flash/Flex 3D RIA workflow mash-ups: Impressive.


      Also impressive: A Sharpie, a stove, and something to say.  (I wonder whether any dead people read my blog.) [Via]


      Elsewhere: Willie Nelson in Kiss make-up (hey, why not?).


      Off to eat BBQ,


      4:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      June 11, 2008

      Dolla Dolla Bill, Mickey D’s, and more


      • "Change We Can Believe In": the typography.com guys compare the new
        currency designs
        of the UK & US.  (Honestly, the giant purple Helvetica "5" is a prank… right?) [Via]


      *or "David Car-five-n," as an art director of mine used to call him due to his once-unorthodox method of substituting characters, e.g. "5" for "s"

      8:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      June 10, 2008

      Infographic goodness

      The NYT has been kicking out the good infographic jams lately:





      11:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 09, 2008

      Monday Illustrations: In Cars

      10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      June 01, 2008

      Sunday Illustration

      • Jacqueline Pytyck produces some seriously foxy work with a nice sense of depth.  I especially like her self portrait. [Via]
      • PingMag covers Steven Wilson’s cool Psychedelia, made using Illustrator & Photoshop.
      • Right ’round like a record:
      • Politcally themed:
        • "God Is a Graphic Designer?"  Chip Kidd plumbs the meaning of a curiously torn newspaper.  (This reminds me of when I returned to my laptop once and found the "Y" key missing from the keyboard.  I was convinced that my legitimately crazy and dangerous roommate was trying to send me a message.  Turned out to be the work of my cat, though… I think.)
        • Somewhere I stumbled upon a cool Obama illustration.
      • Veerle Pieters
        has been featuring some great illustrators:
        • She interviews Alberto Seveso, creator of a really distinctive photo-illustration style.  (For a number of links to his work, see previous.)
        • Elsewhere she chats with the wonderfully talented Oksana Grivina.
      10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      May 24, 2008

      Miscellaneous interestingness

      New fatherhood -> sleep deprivation (yeah, still) -> abandoning any pretense of categorization.  That said, here are a few interesting bits I’ve seen lately:


      6:36 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      May 21, 2008

      Viva frilly bits

      Who doesn’t like the occasional dingbat & swash?


      11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      May 18, 2008

      Illustration in motion

      11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      May 12, 2008

      I say “Adobe” you say…

      …what, exactly?  That’s what Noah Brier’s fun Brand Tags project asks, and here’s what people have said so far.  It’s kind of fun to read the small print, too: "arcane awesome bastards… stucco structure… techy teepee telefónica terrorists…"  (Too bad Adobe doesn’t make people think "hot cyclone action," like Dyson does.)  You can play your own word association game on the main page, and you can go backwards, playing name that brand based on what people say. [Via Mark Baltzegar & John Dowdell]

      PS–Speaking of things affecting the Adobe brand, there’s always Adobe Updater, now the subject of its own music video. [Via Zalman Stern]

      7:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

      May 10, 2008

      Calef Brown rocks

      Having a wee man in the house certainly cuts into the time I’d otherwise put into scouring the Web for good bits to share; hence the dearth of illustration, photography, and type links lately.  On the other hand, it exposes me to books and illustrations I’d never otherwise see (not, y’know, being in the typical Pat the Bunny demographic).


      My wife Margot turned me on to the works of the wonderful Calef Brown, poet & illustrator extraordinare.  Both the text and the art are hilariously loopy.  Check out some samples from Polkabats and Octopus Slacks to see what I mean.


      Of course, it’s fun to revisit the classics as well–Goodnight Moon especially.  Each night as I read it aloud, I try to amuse Margot by sneaking in some new reference to illustrator Clement Hurd’s smoking habit–a penchant now hidden through Photoshop.  A little Googling reveals that other Photoshoppers couldn’t leave that news alone, staging a "What Is Clement Holding?" contest.  (Keep kids off the Soloflex!)

      Next up, I need to prevail on my folks to send us my old & very well-loved set of Mercer Mayer’s A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog books–totally wonderful.

      4:46 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      April 18, 2008

      Strange Photochops

      12:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      April 15, 2008

      Lasers, Orwell, and Mad Magazine

      New illustrated biz:

      2:39 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      April 12, 2008

      Adventures in album artwork

      Back when vinyl was giving way to tapes & CDs, I heard purists bemoan the loss of a large-format way to distribute album artwork. Now with the prevalance of downloads, do you know offhand what artwork is attached to most of your music?  iTunes tries to help, but it’s an uphill battle. Anyway…

      • Nikolay Saveliev’s rad Pop Matters project consists of “Vinyl record sleeves with 2-sided insert featuring
        faux-academic material on pop music and the state of the
        record industry…
        Snuck onto used& new record store shelves.”  Personal fave: “Nickelback: The Recursiveness of Professional Mediocrity.”
      • Pitchfork picks The Worst Album Covers of 2007.
      • Listropolis has translated the artwork for Rolling Stone’s Top 20 Albums into color palettes. [Via]
      • Should classic album covers be redesigned every few years?  Ben Wardle makes that case, with examples. [Via]
      11:36 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      March 22, 2008

      Logo trends, past and future

      8:33 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      March 18, 2008

      New Illustrated Hotness

      4:03 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      March 10, 2008

      From D&D to decapitations, in infographics & maps

      12:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      March 01, 2008

      Now showing: The original Photoshop icons

      With Photoshop recently having celebrated a birthday, it’s fun to stumble across the original Photoshop icons.  Make that "PhotoShop," as the big S was present when the application was briefly bundled by BarneyScan, before it became an Adobe product*.  The original product icon, designed by Photoshop co-creator John Knoll, was replaced by the eye that served from 1990-2003.  John added his perspective in the blog post’s comments. [Via]

      If this is up your alley, you might also enjoy:

      *Until recently, however, the spellchecker in MS Office insisted on inserting the capital S–completely annoying.  I filed a bug with Microsoft, but I don’t know whether the change made it into Office ’07.

      8:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      February 26, 2008

      Fun with physics-based drawing

      The great thing about computer-based drawing and painting tools is that they do exactly what you expect, over and over [reliability => productivity.]. That’s also what kind of sucks about them, though: happy accidents can be hard to come by.

      Taking a different spin on things, Umeå University’s Phun is “an educational, entertaining and somewhat addictive piece of software for designing and exploring 2D multi-physics simulations in a cartoony fashion.”  Although it’s not a drawing tool per se, Phun mixes literalness with a measure of unpredictability.  Check out this video of it in action. [Via Jerry Harris & Jim Geduldick]

      If that’s up your alley, take a look at Nelson Chu’s amazing MoXi watercolor simulation (details).  Computer power (GPU power in particular) is starting to enable sophisticated simulations on every desktop.  Look at the way an app like Little Big Planet leverages a great physics engine and redefines the process of computer-based creation (in this case using a PlayStation, but so what?).

      It seems like every other day I read about some app or other using the Flash platform to partially emulate old versions of Photoshop.  That’s all fine, but I’m much more excited about harnessing the platform to build much richer, more immersive, and (optionally) less predictable creation experiences.  We can have the best of both worlds, and that’s what keeps me amped & in the game.

      10:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      February 25, 2008

      Poster Flava: eBoy on AIR & more

      8:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      February 24, 2008

      Naked saunas, 3D Flash globes, and other infographic goodness

      • My wife and I are nervously quizzing each other on these expert (and very funny) baby care instructions (boosted wholesale, it would seem, from David Sopp’s Safe Baby Handling Tips). [Via]
      • Wable is “a coffee table that displays a user’s web activity via physical bar graphing.”  Yes, I remember pining for such a thing not ever. (Are Venn-diagram kiddie pools next?)
      • Maps:
      • Signage:
      • Blogging software has made self-publishing seem simple, but beneath the covers, a whole lot’s going on.  Wired has a Flash-based diagram showing what all happens when one hits “Publish.” [Via]
      10:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      February 19, 2008

      A history of logos, great desktops, and more

      7:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      February 18, 2008

      Meet Adobe Illustrator (1987)

      As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’ve uploaded a copy of the VHS tape that shipped in the box with Illustrator 1.0, hosted by company co-founder/president/Illustrator developer John Warnock:

      Many thanks to Andrew Keith Strauss for digitizing the tape. Of the video Dr. Warnock writes, “That video demo tape was shot live, with no editing. We didn’t have video production tools at that time, and we didn’t want to pay for a professional to do it, so I did the demonstration.” It’s fun to contrast this tape with the Illustrator 88 video made just a year later.

      4:44 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

      February 15, 2008

      Fun & clever recent infographics

      I’m endlessly fascinated with how people display information visually.  Here are some cool recent examples:

      • JamPhat features a hilarious (and huge!) collection of hip hop-inspired infographics.  Images are helpfully linked to YouTube vids of the related songs. It was a good day…
      • Fun with Venn diagrams: I love the simplicity of this clever music elitism t-shirt. (Compare to Wu-Tang Clan.) [Via]
      • What if we regarded flags as info visualizations?  That’s what Brazilian designer Icaro Doria did for the magazine Grande Reportagem.  [Via]
      • Call it "Most Inscrutable. Karaoke Interface. Ever."  Or just call it pretty.  Robert from Flight404 (see previous) has used Processing to create the lovely video Solar, incorporating lyrics from Goldfrapp. [Via]
      • HistoryShots sells prints of really cool infographics
      • ArmsFlow presents global arms transactions, visualized in an interactive map.  Clicking individual countries shows their import/export flow for a given year.  Interesting concept, but the lines overlap so densely that it’s hard to see what’s happening.  I’d love to see the whole thing taken further.  [Via]
      • Knowing things Biblically:
      • Virtual China features a Chinese diagram on how to cook chicken with beer.  [Via]
      12:26 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      February 07, 2008

      Shat Shat Revolution, car cutaways, and more

      “Some creators love a great sunset; some have in mind my bloodshot eyes…”  So says William Shatner of The Shatner Show, a gallery presentation and now book of artwork inspired by the man, rendered in every conceivable medium (including Lego).  B to the zzare.  The project reminds me a bit of Naoki Mitsuse’s Elvis Paintings.  (I have a particular soft spot for Tiny Elvis.)

      In other illustration news:

      9:43 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      January 30, 2008

      Recent illustrated goodness

      11:57 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      January 28, 2008

      Back to the Future with Illustrator 88

      Pass the banana clips and fire up Less Than Zero: It’s time to visit the late 80’s with the promotional video for Adobe Illustrator 88.  It’s fun to see all that was possible even then, and to hear that the marketing message of “do more, and more easily, so you can focus on being creative” is eternal.  Now I shudder at visions of a besweatered James Spader dropping the French curves and grabbing a mouse.  [Via]

      The timing is kind of spooky: for nearly a year I’ve been meaning to upload a copy of the John Warnock-hosted VHS tape that shipped in the Illustrator 1.0 box, and just last week I got serious about doing so.  Of the work Dr. Warnock says, “That video demo tape was shot live, with no editing. We didn’t have video production
      tools at that time, and we didn’t want to pay for a professional to do it, so I did the
      demonstration.”  Pretty cool that the company co-founder and CEO was not only one of four names on the product splash screen, but also the main demo man.  (“Everyone sweeps the floor around here,” said Chuck Geschke of that time.)

      This posting lights a fire under me, so look for the Warnock video soon. [Interim bonus retro fun: the 1987 Apple Knowledge Navigator video. Everything old is new again, and self-serious yuppies will always be with us.]

      8:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      January 23, 2008

      Logos a Go-Go & mo’

      7:11 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      January 20, 2008

      Sunday Illustrations: From snowboards to Wonderbras

      5:43 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      January 11, 2008

      It’s not the size of your brush…

      Cue “It’s In The Way That You Use It” (and good luck getting that out of your head):  Illustrator Bob Stakke uses Photoshop 3.0 (no, not CS3–the one from ’94) to create some great-looking characters.  In a tech-saturated, next-next-next-oriented world, it’s nice to be reminded that creativity comes from people, not from machines and other tools.

      Shakespeare could have rocked out in WordStar, and heck, you can draw Scarlett Johansson using MS Paint if you’d like.  That’s not to say that new tools don’t enable tons of new things, of course, and hopefully let creativity flow more freely.  It’s just a reminder that a car is nothing without its driver.  [Via Doug Nelson]

      Speaking of Photoshop demos, “You Suck At Photoshop” returns with volume 2 of its depresso-funny PS stylings.  No “shaggin’ wagon” this time, but there is some territory-marking. [Via Clare McLean]

      10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      January 07, 2008

      War and rebirth, in photos & illustration

      • When not driving between continents & documenting the experience, German-born, Brooklyn-dwelling photographer Christoph Bangert produces gripping photojournalism in Iraq, Darfur, and elsewhere.  You can find his Iraq effort reviewed here, and on the NYT site Christoph narrates over a selection of his photos.
      • Offering a different take on Iraq, Shooting War is a graphic novel written by Anthony Lappe & illustrated by Dan Goldman.  You can find background & a review on MotherJones.com.  According to that site, "To layer drawings and shading on top of photos, Goldman drew everything directly onto a 21-inch touch screen using an electronic, wireless pen, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. Everything combined, this is a slick-looking book."
      • On a rather brighter note, the NYT features a slideshow on kite flying in Kabul–a colorful pastime banned under the Taliban.  See related article, with video.
      11:37 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      December 27, 2007

      Zeppelin inspires art

      Given all the iconic images that Led Zeppelin has inspired over the years, a chance to add to that legacy sounds like a dream commission:

      • A few weeks back I saw Led Zeppelin’s complete works being advertised on iTunes, and the graphic up top struck me as in the vein of Obey Giant auteur Shepard Fairey.  Sure enough–he was asked to do the work.
      • UK-based illustrator/animator Steve Scott got the nod to create an animation that would accompany the band’s recent reunion concert.  "So after four weeks of hard work there I was watching Led Zeppelin play Kashmir live in front of the world’s largest monitor–a 28 x 12 meter giant–and 20,000 screaming fans."  Here’s the result (B.Y.O. contact high); screenshots are on the main page of his site.  See also The Society of Victorian Mutants & other solid illustrations on his site. [Via]
      3:02 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      December 21, 2007

      I got yer brains, *right here*…

      The ol’ noggin provides endless inspiration for artists:

      In other skullduggery:

      • Brawndo "will make you wonder why you haven’t ever crushed a human skull with your bare hands!!"  Delicious!!  (I need to order a case of this stuff for the Photoshop team.)
      • The Skull-a-Day blog provides just that. [Via]
      • For next Halloween (or, just to be weird, maybe Valentine’s, or Arbor Day), you might hang onto these pumpkin skull templates. [Via]  I still think they’d have a time beating my wife’s Dia De Los Muertos-inspired doppel-pumpkin.
      • If this stuff is up your alley, see previous for lots more.

      12:27 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      December 20, 2007

      Old-school Star Wars, Lego graffiti, & more

      Mo’ betta illustration:

      • Star Wars goes old old school Euro in Baroque Wars. (Dig that crazy Death Star.)  [Via]  Coincidentally I just stumbled across this Wikipedia-hosted rendering of similar-looking Landsknechte mercenaries.
      • If, like me, you’re a no-good, non-gift-buying slacker, you can try to compensate by banging out festive imagery for loved ones.  These Photoshop brushes could help. [Via]   (I’m doing a mid-day mall sprint after publishing this; hopefully my boss isn’t keeping up on the blog. ;-P)
      • Street art :
        • A graffiti artist has found Jesus in the urban landscape. [Via]
        • Legos visit the Summer of Sam era with some stop-motion train-tagging.  (In light of recent world history, I wouldn’t be tossing around the phrase “train bombing” myself.)
      • Tyskie Beer commissioned some crafty flag renderings using its packaging as raw materials.
      • Kavel Rafferty offers “A reference for vinyl geeks and graphic artists” in Record Envelope–a whole blog devoted to record sleeve art.  I like the big-mouthed Knäppupp in particular. [Via]
      • The opening of Mark Ovenden’s Transit Maps of the World features a groovy subway map of the world.  (I take a weird pleasure in San José appearing (with accent!) on the map, but SF getting shut out.) [Via]
      • Hire An Illustrator will help you… um… bury people in Grant’s Tomb?  (Maybe it’ll just help you hire an illustrator.)
      • Edward Hann’s Internally Displaced People ’06 attempts “to demonstrate the scale of humanitarian crisis in Western Darfur and Eastern Chad,” and a quarter of the profits from its sale go to Amnesty International. [Via]  It’s too bad that the Web presentation makes it hard to see the work in detail, as I can’t really assess how it’s tackling the problem.
      12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      December 14, 2007

      Friday Illustrations: Japanese cuteness, Grand Theft Auto, and more

      3:46 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      December 09, 2007

      Gandhi as potato, Spam as art, and more

      • George Carlin points out that when considering life via license plate slogans, "Somewhere between ‘Live Free Or Die’ and ‘Famous Potatoes,’ the truth lies… I’m guessing it’s closer to ‘Famous Potatoes.’"  The Pfanni company might agree, and they cheerfully offer "Only good potatoes."
      • Guilherme Marconi‘s illustrations explode with color and detail. [Via]
      • Christopher Lee makes super fun, retro-fab creations.  Roll over the little hearts under the pieces in his illustration setup to see details & concept sketches.
      • Linzie Hunter beautifully subverts junk mail with her Spam one-liners illustrations.  [Via]
      • "My line paintings are painted using one continuous line with a beginning, and an ending," says Geoff Slater of his line paintings.  "Although it changes colour, the line never touches, or crosses itself. [Via]
      • MIT’s John Maeda talks about his process for creating an illustration for the NYT.
      • Creator & creation: There’s something in the water reminds me of Animator vs. Animation.
      • Veer offers a rad collection of vintage sci-fi imagery.  (I think I once had this guy as a gym teacher.)
      10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      December 01, 2007

      Best Vector Graphics Ever, and more

      12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      November 02, 2007

      Illustrations with bite

      I’ve been running across examples of illustration designed to shake things up & reflect on the world, for better & for worse:

      • [Note: Not for those offended by profanity]  Paul Krassner’s 1963 “F Communism” bumper sticker is a an incredibly efficient little satire of politics and obscenity.  Check out Kurt Vonnegut’s commentary on the work for historical context.
      • On war & walls:
        • The NYT features a piece on Baghdad muralists hired to beautify, or at least adorn, the city’s grim anti-suicide-bomber blast walls. “With few opportunities for work, [the artists] are delighted with the money, but are also uncomfortably aware that all they can do is paint the symptoms of a conflict that has mired their city in death squads…”
        • Elsewhere in the region, elusive British street artist Banksy has decorated Israeli’s security wall.
        • Back in this part of the world, online company Brickfish kicked off a contest to “Design your own border fence” for the US-Mexico frontier.
      • The San José Museum of Quilts & Textiles (we have a museum of quilts & textiles?) just concluded a show cataloging the ways war is represented in traditional folk art. I was struck by the Afghan war rugs, featuring enormous craftsmanship: “Weaponry images are rendered in extreme, accurate detail, so much so that one can distinguish between a Hind Mi-24 attack helicopter and a Hip Mi-8 troop-carrying helicopter.”
      • Worth1000 members have fun subverting propaganda posters.  Yes, giant bloody kaiser space gorillas scare the hell out of me, too.
      • In response to the Boston PD flipping out earlier this year about Lite-Brite depictions of cartoon characters, deviantART member Kalapusa has worked in the same medium with an eye towards really getting their goats. [Via]
      • Ethan Persoff has dug up a creepy segregationist comic from 1962. [Via]
      • Jessica Hagy offers concise political commentary by way of a Venn diagram. [Via]
      9:49 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      October 29, 2007

      Hipsters, gangstas, & unacceptable haircuts

      Chart! And! Graphs!

      • Maps
      • Graphs
        • Artist Andrew Kuo spent the summer hitting as many NY concerts as possible, and he “obsessively charted the entire experience, from reviewing the bands to counting the number of porta-potties.” Check out the results.  See also the brief accompanying article.  Many more infographics live on his blog.
        • Protec’ ya neck: Chris Sims lets us peer into the rigorous science of gangsta rap. [Via]
        • This Australian dating ad uses infographics to make its pitch.  (Only 11% of suitors have “unacceptable haircuts”?  They must not be counting the vast number of Aussie dudes with fauxhawks.)
      6:57 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      October 22, 2007

      Using Illustrator to print money; more

      Illustrator mensch Mordy Golding reports an interesting interaction at a recent show:

      After my tutorial this week, one of the attendees approached me, telling me how much he enjoyed the session. Then he told me he’d like to present me with a gift — a quarter. No, he wasn’t trying to bribe me to lobby the Illustrator team for multiple pages. But it was a special quarter indeed, because he designed it.

      Check out Mordy’s post for more info & images.

      In other illustration news (no real thematic connection here, but that’s what I get for more airport blogging; the audio system has a real Harrison Bergeron effect):

      6:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 28, 2007

      Tracking graffiti with help from Flash, Google

      The Graffiti Archaelogy project uses a Flash interface to let visitors navigate to different heavily tagged spots (links at left), then see the work at various stages (links at bottom).  Using the M & N keys to cruise back and forth in time, I’m reminded of watching time lapses of plant life exploding on a surface, dying, and being reborn.  Yesterday Adobe hosted a visit from project founder Cassidy Curtis, but I had to bail in order to avoid guys driving by the building at 180mph.  Fortunately Archaeology.org has the whole backstory on the crew & project. [Via]

      Elsewhere you can find a Google-powered map that tracks Seattle-area graffiti tagging.  The NYT talks about the way that mapping services are enabling people to plot all kinds of info, from hydrofoils around the world to yarn stores in Illinois.  (No progress yet in getting yarn graffiti pioneers Knitta Please to my hometown, I see.)

      9:37 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 27, 2007

      Grade-A Illustration

      Linework in the key of A:


      • Celebrating the family’s big screen premiere, Harper’s Bazaar feautres a great spread of Simpsons Couture.  “Marge lets down her hair for Versace. Lisa gives up her pearls for Alber Elbaz. Homer dresses as Karl Lagerfeld. Selma & Patty in Viktor & Rolf.” [Via]
      • Illustrator Techniques demonstrates how to use the app to imitate A Scanner Darkly.  They also interview lead animator Sterling Allen. [Via Thorsten Wulff]



      • For the Audi A5, UK-based designers GT have created A Rhythm of Lines–a site that lets you create abstract car-related artwork (kinda; I find it a little obscure). [Via]
      • Car Design News is hosting a series of tutorials on car rendering, heavily using Photoshop. [Via]



      • Yukio Miyamoto is a master Illustrator artist, producing insanely detailed, photorealistic artwork.  Fellow artist Kevin Hulsey (himself a total badass) hosts a number of Yukio’s pieces.
      • Elsewhere in Japan, farmers make huge rice paddy renderings of famous artwork.  Arigato! [Via]
      2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      July 21, 2007

      Cool new infographics

      • The Internets, it’s well known, are a series of tubes. That reality is now depicted in this info graphic from Information Architects Japan, mashing up online players with a map of the Tokyo subway system.  Nice to see Adobe occupying what seems to be some sunny downtown space (“They continue to move towards the center of gravity without being too loud about it”).  More info on the project is here. [Via]
      • Edward Tufte celebrates the NYT infographics of Megan Jagerman in a detailed profile on his site. [Via]  Speaking of work done in the paper, this week they posted a cool Flash-based map of The Wealthiest Americans Ever, efficiently plotting net worth, rank, and life span.
      • CraigStatsSF combines data from Craigslist with Google Maps in order to produce heat maps that depict housing cost and density by region.  (Disclaimer: “We only identify with hotpockets which are tasty and lethal.”) [Via]
      • I don’t know whether it’s an infographic per se, and it’s hardly new, but Henrich Bunting’s 16th-century depiction of the world as a cloverleaf (joined at Jerusalem) is interesting enough to deserve mention. [Via]
      • Free Press features a visual representation of how AT&T has been reconstituted, T2-style, after being broken up in 1984. Somehow I keep hearing Johnny Rotten saying, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” [Via]
      • Update: Greg Dizzia has posted a chart that graphically depicts the details of every relationship he’s ever had. (Note: The chart is work-safe, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.) [Via]
      3:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      July 18, 2007

      Pagans, Spinners, and Mentos, oh my

      • "HWJR": How Would Jesus Roll? One man’s sacrilege is another’s act of devotion, as displayed through these illustrated Jesus rims. [Via]
      • File under "How [Not] to Win Friends and Influence Pagans": folks in England are displeased by the giant chalk Homer illustration. [Via]
      • The I Am Bored blog has amassed a great collection of CD hole art.  (I wonder whether CD art will someday be a collector’s item, as album art has become.) [Via] On a related note, a certain pharmaceutical has gotten a similar notion. (I suppose the pagans would approve.)
      • Mentos pioneers gumvertising, creating images out of the iconic little freshmakers. They have a site for creating your own images by drawing with gum, but it seems to be down at the moment.
      • The "Zebra memorial crossing" is meant to memorialize pedestrians who’ve been struck by cars, thereby making the streets safer.  Seemingly obvious irony: it appears to distract pedestrians at exactly the moment they’re in harm’s way.
      • I enjoy the work of Russian illustrator Gordei.  Not speaking Russian makes things that much more mysterious & intriguing. [Via]
      • Washroom iconography: Useful. Washroom iconography + wiseass labels: way better. [Via]
      2:37 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      July 16, 2007

      Great Star Wars-related art

      Something about the Star Wars franchise continues to inspire all kinds of creativity:

      11:06 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      July 04, 2007

      Blowin’ up real good

      While getting frozen yogurt the other night, I observed a posse* of little boys–maybe 5 or 6 years old–swarming around a small pink "Little Mermaid"-themed chair.  They were goading one of their little buddies to body slam himself into the chair, chanting "Dooo it, dooo it… Destroy IT, destroy IT!!"  Ah, the complete purity of that human impulse to see some stuff smashed all to hell.

      In honor of today’s American holiday devoted, in some part, to that impulse:

      • Gene Gable features some cool vintage Fourth of July artwork on CreativePro.com.
      • Similar goodness comes from American U.  Go heavy or go home, right?
      • The NYT hosts a slideshow from explosives summer camp in Missouri. Adios, watermelon. (Here’s the accompanying article).
      • In the spirit of fire-breathing, wheel-popping patriotism, check out these shots from a Wisconsin tractor pull (recalling a little slice of my youth).  Not pictured: Sierra Club reps.
      • Not tied to the Fourth, but in the vein of vintage artwork, check out these fruit crate designs. [Via]  (See also previous.)
      • Update: For more bombs bursting in air, see Firework-Art.com. Man, all this really makes me miss summer car trips as a kid, where we could buy legally questionable goodies from web-footed Southerners by the roadside. [Via]

      Happy (and grudgingly safe) Fourth,

      *What would the correct term (a la "pride of lions") be? Gaggle of boys? Hootenany? Fisticuff?

      10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      July 01, 2007

      Of Dilbert, Hipsters, & Samurai Hamsters

      • Dilbert creator Scott Adams has posted descriptions & photos of how he draws Dilbert in Photoshop via a Cintiq monitor. [Via]
      • Oogmerk Opticians show how overconceptualized eye furniture can make anyone look like a hipster.  (Too bad one of the "after" images isn’t labeled "Adobe UI Designer." ;-))
      • Through Christopher Koelle’s blog I found Justin Gerard, who has created a heck of a portfolio featuring Samurai Hamsters and more.
      • In Holland a coke-addled driver created some impromptu land art (illustration of a sort) while trying to evade police. [Via Reen Bodo]  Elsewhere fruit flies make their own weird illustrations when exposed to cocaine. [Via]
      • I love the illustrations on these White Stripes limited-edition USB thumb drives, featuring Jack, Meg, or both. [Via]
      • The Strange Maps blog features and interesting map of the US, with states labeled according to countries with similar gross domestic products. [Via]  And on a related note–and back on the Lego tip–kids are creating a massive Lego map of the US.
      • Iconfactory offers a beautiful set of Dia de lost Muertos icons. [Via]
      11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 28, 2007

      War, illustrated

      • "Machine gunner turned author" Colby Buzzell has recorded his Iraq war experiences on his blog and elsewhere.  He’s now teamed up with illustrator Christopher Koelle and animators The Law of the Few to produce Men in Black–four and a half gripping minutes of storytelling. [Via]
      • Christopher shares his thoughts & the Photoshop techniques behind the work on his blog.
      • In a related vein, Canadian trooper Richard Johnson’s Kandahar Journal offers an illustrated, soldier’s-eye-view from Afghanistan. [Via]

      Side note: I type this from the Denver airport, where I find myself holed up (thanks, lightning).  After showing a CNN ad saying "Get the Facts. Not Fear," CNN Headline News just featured a segment titled–I kid you not–"Watch for underwater terrorists."  I shall, uh, get right on that.  (Apparently Atlanta is where irony goes to die.)

      8:04 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 15, 2007

      Friday Design: Booze, kids, and cutlery

      5:56 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      May 21, 2007

      Tasty Flash bits: Milk, missives, and grins

      I’ve encountered some savory Flash business around the Web recently:

      • Get the Glass features gorgeous illustration & great game play–all in the name of milk. [Via Veronique Brossier]
      • I’m not sure whether Blank Missives has a point, or whether having a point is the point, or… anyway, it sure does look nice.  Dig that typography, too. [Via]
      • The reflective "wet floor effect" comes to the excellent SlideShowPro.  More info is at developer Todd Dominey’s site. [Via]
      • Neave.com features what Bridge engineer Rob Corell calls a "grin-inducing Flash effect."  This kind of thing makes me really want to capture the life and imagination of Flash apps & infuse it into desktop tools.
      • Buzzword is a terrific name for what promises to be a cool product: Flash-based online word processing. Here’s more press on it.

      And finally, on a note near and dear to my heart, ZDNet’s Ryan Stewart lists his Top Five Features in Flash CS3.  #1?  Photoshop integration!  [Via]

      9:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      May 18, 2007

      Friday Illustration

      From the Dept. of the Brilliantly Simple:

      And elsewhere:

      Finally, it’s a little tangential, but I spotted a nice shout-out for CS3 on illustration blog Drawn: "You’ve probably already heard all the buzz about it being the biggest upgrade ever, bla bla bla. Well, this time the buzz is true… I predict our industry (I mean anything graphically creative) is about to undergo a huge jump in look, feel, efficiency, and impact because of this." Thanks, guys! [Via Joe Ault]

      9:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      May 16, 2007

      FreeHand no longer updated; moving to Illustrator

      After a long and storied career, Adobe (neé Altsys, Aldus, and Macromedia) FreeHand has reached the end of its development road. The application has not been revised since Macromedia released MX nearly four years ago, after which the company removed FreeHand from the Studio product line.  Adobe has created an FAQ (PDF) that explains the details of the decision not to rev FreeHand, talks about Illustrator CS3 features added to make FreeHand users more comfortable, and more.  [Note: The official product pages aren’t all updated yet; hence my posting this info on the blog.] Here are the highlights:

      Adobe and FreeHand
      Adobe does not plan to develop and deliver any new feature-based releases of FreeHand, or to deliver patches or updates for new operating systems or hardware. Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX, and will offer technical and customer support according to our support policies.

      FreeHand Upgrade Path
      A special upgrade to Illustrator CS3 is available to all registered owners of FreeHand for $199 U.S. This upgrade is available worldwide through the Adobe Store and through the Channel. There is no direct FreeHand to Creative Suite 3 upgrade, but FreeHand owners who also own Adobe or Macromedia products that are eligible for upgrade to the Suite can use that path to move to the Suite.

      Support for Customers Making the Move
      A number of materials are available at no cost to help customers make the move from FreeHand to Illustrator. All of these materials can be found on the Switch to Illustrator pages on Adobe.com and on the Illustrator Design Center.

      FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guideavailable as a PDF and in printed form.
      Targeted to designers and illustrators, this four-color manual provides a graphical comparison of the FreeHand and Illustrator workspaces, along with differences in terminology, features, and functions between the two applications.

      Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator: A technical resourcePDF format
      Designed for production managers, IT managers and designers, this technical resource provides the best ways to move legacy FreeHand content into Illustrator, handle different file formats, outputting files, and other information.

      Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator with Mordy Golding—(video training)
      Video training produced by lynda.com. The CS3 update to this series is completed and will be available shortly.

      7:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [237]

      May 14, 2007

      Scoble, the Phillustrator, & me

      A couple of weeks ago, Robert Scoble (former Microsoft blogfatha) visited the Adobe San Jose office.  We spent just under an hour talking about Photoshop, and you can catch the broadcast here (also available fullscreen).  Our chat touches on engineer/pilot Thomas Knoll’s frugal Midwestern ways; HDR imaging; Eyes Wide Shut incantations; raw Smart Objects; the redemption of Brightness/Contrast; and more*.

      Robert also spoke recently with lots of other Adobe folks, including Phil "the Phillustrator" Guindi**, talking about what’s new in AICS3.  Here’s a full rundown of recent sessions:

      Adobe Premiere CS3 49 minutes.

      Adobe Flash/Flex architecture overview 30 minutes.
      Adobe Flex goes open source 25 minutes.
      Adobe Flash CS3 overview 55 minutes.
      Adobe Apollo overview 43 minutes.
      Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 34 minutes.
      Adobe Connect overview 29 minutes.
      Adobe Acrobat 8.0 19 minutes.

      *And it includes, of course, my weird lip-smacking mannerisms; yeesh.  Yeah, and you thought it was hard just to listen to oneself recorded…
      **Naming credit goes to our friend Bryan Hughes. I persist in calling Phil’s new little son “Phillustrator Elements.”

      8:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      April 27, 2007

      Adventures in Infographics

      I’m intrigued by work that strives to make sense of large, complicated sets of data (see previous).  Along those lines:

      • This London-style NYC subway map is generating a lot of conversation, both online & inside Adobe.  Weird, I remember discussing this exact topic when I first started at an NY Web shop–nine years ago!  Bridge engineering manager Arno Gourdol points out Mr. Beck’s Underground Map, a thorough account of the Tube map design.  And from there I found this page, brimming with more resources on the subject. [Via]
      • PingMag chats with Andrew Vande Moere, creator of the Infosthetics blog, about the beauty of data visualization.  Both links are chock full of loveliness.  (Bonus: No Edward Tufte w/young white-gloved flunkies.)
      • The Strange Maps blog depicts right- vs. left-hand driving around the globe, while providing the interesting back story of how these conventions came to be. [Via]
      • Covering 5000 years in 90 seconds, Maps of War shows the tides of conquest that have swept through the Middle East. [Via]
      • The US government gets into the game, using census data to drive home the aging of the populace.
      • I dig illustrator Christoph Niemann’s witty little visual comparison of some pieces of music.  (I’m a Jaws-level pianist at best.)
      • Pentagram designer Paula Scher created this anatomy of a blog conversation for the NYT. Ahh, the descent into ennui… [Via]
      • At FITC last weekend I really enjoyed meeting Evan Roth, the dude behind the SkyMall demographic visualization, laser graffiti, and much more. Though I’m coming up short on links to it, he’s created a method of visualizing one’s daily clicks: wiring up two USB cables from a single mouse, plugging one into a main work computer, and plugging the other into a machine running Photoshop or other graphics app.  As you click around email, the Web, etc., you produce a drawing (of sorts) on the other machine, with paint blobs mapped to the same coordinates as your clicks.  (It sounds like AttenTV might be doing vaguely similar, for profit.)  Oh, and bringing this post full circle, Evan’s crew at Eyebeam has created an interactive NYC subway map.
      8:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      April 18, 2007

      Illustration bits: Dust My Ride, Creep My Clown, & more

      • It’s tax time in the US, and illustrator Christoph Niemann created an elegant commentary for the cover of the New Yorker.  Elsewhere, his "Empires of Evil" flags (lighter-hearted than the name would suggest) are inspired, and he certainly has a new take on, er, dental hygiene. [Via]
      • Dust artist (yes, dust) Scott Wade has produced some amazing images for Mitsubishi’s new ad campaign. (For more dustiness, see previous.)
      • I can dig illustrator Tara McPherson’s muted palettes. [Via Geoff Scott]
      • On the other end of the chromatic spectrum, Nathan Fox punches up retro-fueled imagery.
      • Our pals at the Chopping Block have launched Chop Shop, a spot to sell all manner of groovy swag (gotta love the 10-Year Plan).  I delight in the great spit and polish (try rolling over the little characters in the header, for instance)–excellent A2Detail.
      • Everyone’s favorite alcoholic raven/alt newspaper survivor, Drinky Crow, is getting his own show. [Via]
      • And lastly, Digital Newsflash offers an interesting moniker for a certain CS3 branding image: "Creep-o the Clown." Heh–yeah, that does induce a little coulrophobia, no?
      10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      April 09, 2007

      Poster art, giant chickens, & more

      //na// Illustrated bits worth sharing:

      11:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      April 08, 2007

      A great video tour of Illustrator CS3

      "Oh my–it’s like Illustrator and Flash have run off and gotten married," says Mordy Golding in the latest episode of his Real World Illustrator video podcast.  Mordy, formerly a PM on the Illustrator team, hits not only the big-ticket items, but also the little things that sometimes matter most.  I only wish Mordy had spent more time on the rad Live Color feature in AICS3–but he promises to delve deeper into it in a future episode.  (It’s one of those features that makes Photoshop and the other apps jealous, so we’ll have to try to steal it in the future. ;-))

      From the podcast I learned a little detail that I think is quite cool: the new Flash Text panel (screenshot) lets you designate text to be used in Flash as static or dynamic.  You can even designate the URL from which the text is fed.  And, as I’ve mentioned previously, Illustrator now lets you name & edit symbols just as you do in Flash, and symbols, instance names, gradients, etc. are preserved when you copy and paste from Illustrator to Flash.  Niiice.

      3:07 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      January 05, 2007

      Photorealistic painting; Make your own "Cars"; more

      • Artist Cali Rezo creates some beautiful, photorealistic paintings in Photoshop, as well as more stylized pieces.  She shares some behind-the-scenes snapshots, as well as a step-by-step animation of a piece coming together. [Via]
      • I Met The Walrus is an Jerry Levitan’s story of how, as a 14-year-old in 1969, he snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room & recorded an interview.  The trailer (or is it the whole film?) features some great illustrated animation.  (More on the story is here.) [Via]
      • Make your car resemble those in "Cars" by following this tutorial.  Appropriately, a Pontiac Aztek gets a goofy, gap-toothed grin & actually looks better as a result. [Via]
      • Weirdly, I encountered the same topic on Autoblog just the next day.  They’ve posted some great examples, and now their collection of images is growing.

      For more automotive rendering bits, see previous.

      10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      December 18, 2006

      Terrific whiteboard stop-motion video

      Created by Kristofer Strom of Ljudbilden & Piloten, the video for Swedish band Minilogue’s "Hitchhiker’s Choice" is the antithesis of high-tech, CGI-laden graphics we’re accustomed to seeing–and I love it. [Via].  The work reminds me of Mario Cavalli’s marvellous Compaq "Bird" ad from several years back.  (Working on the Compaq site at the time, I always scratched my head that the company’s UK office could be so adventurous while the folks in Texas always sought to play it safe.)  Kristofer has also created Pen on Paper, a free-flowing montage drawn on one long, continuous strip of paper (as seen in this video).

      9:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      December 04, 2006

      Excellent Worth1000 Photoshoppery

      • As kid I loved Wacky Packages, the little 70’s-era goofs on popular brands of the times.  Now the crew at Worth1000.com grabs that baton, mashing up classics with commerce in these Fine Art Ads. [Via]
      • Along somewhat similar lines, Kasper Hauser’s Sky Maul is a pretty darn funny compendium of "Happy Crap You Can Buy from a Plane." [Via]
      • I love this take on Escher as a child–hilarious and kind of heartbreaking all at once.  ("Don’t let the bastards grind you down…")
      • Elsewhere the site features good critter-hacking: Evolution Gone Wild, and some rather excellent Cybernetic Animals.
      • It’s deeply, deeply nasty–to the point where I didn’t scroll too far–but the "That’s Not Turkey!" gallery may make you grateful for what you didn’t eat on Thanksgiving.
      • Oh, and if that’s not quite disturbing enough, how about a meat chess board, or meat body suit? Rare is the new black, I’m told.
      6:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      November 30, 2006

      Kicking the Tires: Photoshop rendering tutorials

      My fellow Photoshop PM Ashley Still interacts with customers using Photoshop in vertical markets (engineering, healthcare, etc.) and has turned up some good resources on using the app in automotive, industrial, and clothing design:

      On a slightly related note, Michael Halbert is one talented motherscratcher, offering a wealth of tutorials (including good videos) on achieving a traditional scratchboard look. [Via].  He’s also featured in the Adobe.com Print Gallery.

      3:48 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      Zombies, Communism, & other illustrated goodness

      • I’m a fan of both Constructivism & retro-ironic propaganda (think Chinese military ballet), so I dig seeing this collection of Soviet Photomontages 1917-1953.  See also Soviet carpet propaganda. (Doesn’t it seem a little weird to encourage walking all over your icons?). [Via]
      • Think your colleagues are zombies?  ZombiePortraits.com will illustrate your point for just $85. [Via]
      • Talk about mudflaps, my rickshaw’s got ’em…  Okay, I have no truck, much less a rickshaw, but if I did I’d be tempted to pimp it with beautifully illustrated Bollywood mudflaps. [Via]
      • Flags of our Clients shows what happens when you’re too attentive to feedback on your illustrations–in this case, flags of the world.
      • Computer Arts discusses the digital illustration revolution. Memorable quote (from 1992): "John Warwicker, Creative Director of design collective Tomato, said without even a trace of irony: ‘I can envisage a time when we’ll all need our own individual Macs.’" [Via]
      • Illustration Friday has an interview with illustrator Anita Kunz, showing some of her great images.
      • Alberto Cerriteño does straight-up gorgeous work. [Via]
      • Creating optical illusions in a room is one thing, but can you make your room look like a cartoon? [Via]
      • I haven’t tried Akvis Sketch, but the new version of this Photoshop plug-in promises to convert your images to sketches quickly and easily. [Via]
      • Gene Gable has posted a collection of lovely vintage map art in his CreativePro.com column.  (Sadly, nowhere be monsters.)

      11:59 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      November 24, 2006

      Animals photographed in the womb, & more

      • Using a combination of three-dimensional ultrasound scans, computer graphics and tiny cameras, a team of filmmakers has been able to show the entire process of animal gestation from conception to birth.  Here’s the article and amazing photo gallery.  [Via]
      • Created in After Effects & Lightwave by XVIVO for Harvard biology students, The Inner Life of a Cell depicts mighty mitochondria and the like doing their thing; check it out in high- or low-res Flash video. [Via]
      • Among the more unusual images I’ve seen, here’s the sun shot through the Earth, displaying neutrinos that pass through the planet’s mass.
      • Speaking of celestial imagery, this month’s National Geographic features stupendously gorgeous images of Saturn–just a hint of which can be found on their site.  [See also previous]
      • Rick Lieder must have the patience of Job, and it pays off in his insect macrophotography at BeeDreams.com [Via]
      • BibliOdyssey has posted The Concept of Mammals, a collection of antique critter renderings. "As was the fashion of the time," they write, "the animals were placed in contrived settings and often given human facial qualities, which only serves to heighten the sense of bizarre. And thankful we are too." [Via]  The site is jammed with other good bits, including claws, shells, whales, and more. (And if stuff trips your trigger, check out Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.)
      7:15 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      November 15, 2006

      Of skulls & skaters

      Okay, I know that 11-year-old mallrats & their feckless Hot Topic enablers have all but stomped the life out of skull imagery, but dammit, there are some good bits left:

      [See also previous skullduggery]

      12:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

      November 12, 2006

      Pantone tats, Evil timesheets, & more

      A fistful of illustration goodness:

      11:54 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      October 21, 2006

      Hidden Illustrator<->Photoshop integration

      Illustrator and Photoshop have been quietly growing tighter, and you may have discovered that it’s possible to export a very editable PSD file from Illustrator (preserving nested layers, masks, editable text along a path, etc.).  But what about going the other way–turning a layered PSD into a layered Illustrator composition?  It’s easy to do, though not at first glance.

      Background: The compositing model (i.e. the layer blending modes & options) used by Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat is different than the one used by Photoshop. Therefore some blending options in Photoshop (for example, complex "Blend If" settings) can’t be replicated in Illustrator. As a result, when you place a PSD file into Illustrator, the blending is isolated.  That is, the PSD is treated as things a little world unto itself, and the blending modes within it don’t interact with anything else in the Illustrator document.  Objects like drop shadows (set to Multiply mode) only multiply against other things inside the PSD.

      But here’s the trick: if you place the PSD and embed it in your Illustrator file (by unchecking the Link option in the import dialog), you can tell Illustrator to convert each layer into a separate Illustrator object. In that case the blending options should come through largely intact. Even things like text & vector layers (including text on a path & text in a shape) will be converted to the native Illustrator versions.

      This is quite powerful but, ah, shall we say, non-obvious.  I don’t have a perfect solution in mind for making this capability more discoverable, but we’ll give it some thought.

      10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [9]

      October 02, 2006

      Bert Monroy video talks FX painting in Photoshop

      Master digital painter Bert Monroy (he of 15,000-layer PSD fame) is featured in the inaugural episode of Pixel Perfect, a new show on Revision3. Bert shows how to create “lightning, sparkles, and a mystical vortex the same way professional effects and movie matte artists do.” [Via]

      2:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      September 30, 2006

      I {Heart} Pixel Art

      David Pogue in the NY Times recently posted links to a number of great examples of pixel art:

      • I Love Pixel has created an enormous seafront community.
      • Supertotto says “Make Pixels Not War” and blows up some Photoshop 1.0 icons to (mini-)museum size.
      • Pixel Joint is a community site for pixel artists & hosts a wealth of links to tutorials, artists, and more.
      • And, as always, there’s the excellent crew at eboy, who’ve recently created portraits of the Google guys.

      Elsewhere, DSicons.com is devoted to pimping Mario Karts on Nintendo DS’s & will design artwork on commission. [Via] And meanwhile citizens of Taiwan are protesting their government through this virtual sit-in.
      Slightly related: I love the line art in Röyksopp’s “Remind Me” video, and though it’s not pixel art, I like Adam Simpson’s bleak little isometric city. And posted previously, here’s how to draw a pixel portrait tutorial.

      5:06 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      September 21, 2006

      Iconfactory talks, Illustrator listens

      In case you don’t know ’em, the guys at Iconfactory have been making some top-notch pixel art for more than 10 years. (I seem to remember using their stuff back in the System 7 days to get that ultra-mod “Copland” look.) Anyway, they’ve been migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator & posted their Top 5 Adobe Illustrator CS Pet Peeves, plus the provocatively titled follow-on “Et tu, Adobe?”. It’s all good feedback, if a little frustrating (only because we’re always needling one another about these things already).

      So, a bit of good news: Illustrator PM Phil Guindi dropped these guys a note to let them know of some welcome changes coming down the pike, prompting Gedeon Maheux to write, “Phil, all we can say is…wow! We had our finger’s crossed that someone at Adobe would see our post so your email has made our day, and probably our year. :-)” Nice! It sounds like we’ve kicked off what should be a very fruitful dialog with these talented artists.

      The other key point here, I think, is that what Gedeon & co. want isn’t more features per se; it’s functionality that simply works better. This is true across the board: no one says, “Oh, Photoshop? Yeah, I’d buy that, but there just isn’t enough stuff in there…” Rather, people mainly want things to work more smoothly, to just flow. I’m happy to report that the Illustrator team has a whole bunch of spit & polish tasks on their list, and I’m keeping a list of “Brain-dead things we fixed in Photoshop CS3”–now somewhere around 20 items. And that’s the goal: saving the world, one non-slapped forehead at a time. ;-)

      12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

      September 10, 2006

      Illustrator Techniques newsletter launches

      The folks behind Photoshop World & Layers magazine have just launched Illustrator Techniques, a newsletter & Web site aimed at Illustrator users of all stripes. The site is sharing some sample tutorials (here’s one on 3D in Illustrator) and hosts a user forum as well as a gallery of user work (nice ‘Vettes). The team, which includes editor/author of Illustrator CS2 Killer Tips Dave Cross & his co-author Matt Kloskowski, plans to publish 8 times annually. Much success, guys!

      4:50 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      August 29, 2006

      Mojizu: Social networking through character design

      Like Japanese-style character design? You’ll be among kindred spirits at Mojizu, a site devoted to creating, sharing, and discussing little creations (“Mojis”). Members send their Mojis into battle, and the most popular ones make their way into merchandise & are up for various prizes. (Oh, and Illustrator being involved, there are of course more pinups involved.) [Via Phil “The Phillustrator” Guindi, Illustrator PM]

      9:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      Pimp My Wildlife, Photoshop-style

      Heh–no real attributions to the artist(s) are provided, but these animal mash-ups are quite well done. Sadly enough, no one created a liger (which apparently does exist) or a manticore. Gosh!
      [Update: Jeff Tranberry points out the weirdo “carcass art” of MART: the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists. Much unwholesome madness is in their gallery. If someday I want to get my beloved cat posthumously placed onto a hang glider, or into a Kung Fu pose, etc. I’ll know where to turn.
      MART in turn links to Beast Blender, a Flash-based tool for banging out custom critters. (Hey, I think I did a portrait of one of my high school teachers.)]

      9:49 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

      August 26, 2006

      Vector Vixens, Belgian Béziers

      • What is it with Illustrator artists and scantily clad pinups? Paul Bush creates amazingly realistic portraits of women. To give others guidance, he goes into some depth in his gradient mesh tutorial. Pretty cool to see that the work really is all vector. Wayne Forrest works a similar vein, as does Halim Ghodbane. And at Deviant Art you can see Ussa Methawittayakul’s portrait come together step by step. [Via]
        Of course, maybe all these vector women in Illustrator shouldn’t come as a surprise: as this history of Illustrator demonstrates, Venus is the OVB: Original Vector Babe. [Via]
      • Belgian illustrator Geert De Clercq does terrific technical renderings in vectors, as well as organic images using more traditional materials. Veerle Pieters offers a brief interview and samples of Geert’s work on her site.
      1:19 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      August 24, 2006

      Photochoppin’ (cars, not broc-co-lee)

      Auto enthusiast/Photoshop hoss Peter Smith has gone photochopping-crazy, pimping more than 200 cars on his Digimods site. In addition to the creations (e.g. a lowrider ice cream truck), he offers a a wealth of simple, effective tutorials (complete with charming Brit-speak about modding your car’s boot, bonnet, windscreen, etc.). [Via]
      [Note: No broccoli was chopped in the posting of this entry.]

      11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

      August 15, 2006

      Destroy your property value, the Photoshop way!

      Now, here’s the flipside to the relentless pursuit of aesthetic perfection: take one pristine Victorian home, apply generous dodging & burning, and you’ll get something fit for Norman Bates’ mom. Sébastien Gaucher offers a nice little set of tutorials on his site, along with other examples of his work. (The sad thing for Bay Area residents is to realize that even the mauled “after” versions of each house would still set you back a few million bucks around here…)

      11:25 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      August 11, 2006

      Groovy Photoshop brushes & rendering techniques

    • Designer Jason Gaylor has created a handy, stylish set of Fresh Foliage Brushes (Vol. II) for Photoshop. If those are up your alley, see also Vol. I of the same set, as well as Jason’s graffiti brushes and worn brushes (Volumes I, II, and III). [Via] (For more on worn brushes & distressing images, see previous entry.)
    • Putting brushes into action, automotive designer Jonathan Tatum shares some of his moves. Seeing details pop into existence from step to step suggests a big equation with “And then a miracle occurs” hidden among the steps. (For more on automobile rendering, see also Kevin Hulsey’s techniques.)
      4:55 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]
    • August 08, 2006

      My New Clip Art Technique Is Unstoppable

      HDR, 3D, plenoptic cameras… who needs all that high-fi chaos when there’s the simplicity of le cinema de clip art? [Via] Of course, I still think it’s got nothing on the (incredibly) profane genius of My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable* (speaking of giant pixels…).
      See? Clip art is your pal! Now, fire up some fatty drop shadows & bevels, and get busy mixing 384 typefaces per page; you’ll be a pro in no time! Related: Woman Has Perfect Clip Art For Party Invitation.
      * [Note: Chock full of bad words. Really. Just in case that’s not your bag.]

      5:27 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 19, 2006

      Etchin’ & Scratchin’

      If pimping your ride is passé, how about pimping your PowerBook? Cognitive scientist Dan Kurtz laser-etched a Magritte painting onto his machine. Wicked. (Here’s another image of it, plus the original Magritte.) If you’re feeling adventurous (and laser-equipped), see the how-to overview. (You could also go after your machine with a metal drill bit.)
      Bringing this a tad closer to home, Adobe’s resident creative whirlwind Russell Brown had a ball laser-etching wood at the recent ADIM Conference (check out these examples). In fact, he’ll be doing an etching class here on Monday and will have his laser in tow. Hmm, I’ve got 17″ of aluminum just itching for etching, and I’m partial to flames…
      On a similar etch-stuff-on-weird-surfaces, CBS is promoting its fall lineup by scrawling ads on millions of eggs [Via NPR]. Evidently Chicago-area company EggFusion (“Promoting freshness with every impression!!”) is doing the honors. Every bite a delight, no doubt.
      And lastly, illustrator George Vlosich is a terror on the Etch-a-Sketch, lavishing dozens of hours on each creation. [Via]

      2:52 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      July 17, 2006

      Great lettering & happy accidents, inside Illustrator & out

      Not long ago I came across the excellent hand lettering of Fiodor Sumkin. I love the intricacy with which he fits characters and shading to various shapes. [Via]
      In particular, his drawing of these hands got me thinking about the enveloping functions in Illustrator. Click this image for a quick overview of how to fit type to shapes:
      Text warping tutorial
      Using these techniques, I set out to emulate Sumkin’s work. First I traced the outline of one of his hands in Illustrator, then blocked out a number of regions. The Pencil tool works well for this, as does a Wacom tablet. The result was a skeleton for the next steps:
      Then, needing to turn each region into a solid object, I copied and pasted all the paths into Flash, broke things apart, and then used the paint bucket to block them in. I probably could have used the Illustrator Pathfinder tools and/or the new Live Paint features, but old habits die hard, and I knew I could get what I needed from Flash:
      Colored in Flash

      At that point I copied and pasted everything back into Illustrator, then picked a font that seemed likely to fill the shapes nicely–in this case Adobe’s 60’s-style Mojo. Using the text “Word Hypnotize” and the enveloping technique described above, I got… this (click for a larger version):
      Hmmph–it’s nothing like Sumkin’s lettering, and were I to try harder to emulate it, I think I’d fit each chunk of text to an envelope mesh, then use the various mesh, path, and warp tools to deform it as necessary. But you know, I kind of like the sinuous, abstract quality that resulted–a bit as if Slim Goodbody dipped his hand in an inkwell.
      So, there’s my little happy accident o’ the day. Software generally makes it pretty easy to repeat the same steps over and over, so I’m glad to experience a little serendipity & creative destruction now and then.
      By the way, Sumkin’s lettering reminds me a touch of Marta Monteiro’s, and for more cool lettering, you might check out Rodney White (overview/gallery). Oh, and tangentially related (at best): the look of the hand I made slightly reminds me of WWI-era Cubist ship camouflage. [Via]

      8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      July 01, 2006

      Illustration sensations, vol. II

      • TechVector.com shows off the work of Reggie Gilbert. “All vector work is created 100% in Adobe Illustrator,” he writes. “No Photoshop ‘touch-ups,’ no 3D rendering software.” Outstanding. [Via]
      • Veerle Pieters highlights the work of Paul Rogers, whose illustrations nail the look of classic poster art. Love, love, love the Incredibles and Dos Equis pieces, to name just two. (His Strange Cargo design could have worked well for Photoshop 5.0–a.k.a. Strange Cargo.)
      • Chris Rhoadhouse points out Real Trace, the work of Takashi Morisaki. What Takashi pulls off with the gradient mesh is completely out of hand. (The actual cat on my lap looks comparatively crude.)
      5:10 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

      June 29, 2006

      In Dust we Trust

      Sometimes you just know you’re among your people. A few years ago, when I was new to Adobe San Jose, someone parked & more or less abandoned a car in the West Tower parking garage. After a few months the car’s windows had grown almost totally opaque, coated by the unending flow of construction-related dust. And so, in classic Photoshop style, someone had drawn in the dust a little tabbed palette with a slider marked, “Opacity: 80%.” Yeeeah, thass’ my geeks

      I thought of this when seeing the work of “dust artist” Scott Wade. Scott makes his filthy Mini into a canvas for reproducing everything from da Vinci to dogs playing poker; check out a gallery of his work. [Via] Maybe now I can convince my wife that I’ve been prepping my once-blue Jetta to be an artistic medium, not just letting it go to seed…

      [For more on impermanent works, see previous entries on artists working in packing tape and chalk.]

      8:38 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      June 19, 2006

      Illustration sensations

    • Yukio Miyamoto creates gorgeous, photorealistic renderings using Illustrator. Click each image for a larger view, then roll over it to see a wireframe of the vectors underneath (as in this crazy Harley). [Via]
    • At lifeinvector Brooke Nuñez shows off similarly mad chops, and on her downloads page she offers a tutorial on using Illustrator’s gradient mesh to create a realistic red bell pepper. As on Yukio’s site, you can roll over illustrations to see how they’re structured. [Via]
    • Dropping jaws in an entirely different way, autistic savant Stephen Wiltshire–“the Human Camera”–has a superhuman ability to remember and reproduce visual details. In this amazing 5-minute film , Stephen draws a 5-yard panorama of Rome from the air, after seeing it just once from a helicopter. More on his life & a gallery of his work can be found on his site. [Via]
      11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]
    • June 14, 2006

      Photoshop Illustrators Gone Wild: Frodo & Mo’

      • On The Photoshop Experiment, illustrator Cory Godbey walks step by step through his creations in Photoshop. (More of Cory’s work is here.) I love seeing the pieces move from the simplest of sketches to richly toned paintings. [Via]
      • Vishal Pawar checks in from India with a terrifically detailed portrait of Frodo Baggins. [Via Mike Downey]
      • Fantasy vehicles & creatures come to life in the work of German artist Daniel Simon. Daniel starts traditionally with pen and marker, then applies digital airbrushing. [Via]
      • My old Agency.com colleague PJ Loughran brings a great sense of color and texture to his illustrations, combining brush and ink with Photoshop composites. His work appears in print, on the Web, and even on Burton snowboards.
      7:52 PM | Permalink | No Comments

      May 04, 2006

      Manga Zoomlines for Illustrator

      Plug-in maker GraphicXtras has released Zoomlines, an Illustrator utility for making the focus/zoom lines often seen in manga and other comics. The interface is a bit inscrutable, but for $12 a lot can be forgiven. Just don’t stare too long a the vibrating centers of your creations, lest they induce a seizure. [Via]
      I dig this kind of little single-purpose tool: quick, affordable, and built to solve a particular problem. We do need to make it easier to modify Adobe authoring tools to encourage this kind of development, and we’re working on that.
      The images created by Zoomlines reminds me of some fun I’ve been having in Illustrator lately, trying out ideas for this blog. I was kind of taken with the album art for Volante, so I experimented with techniques to make something similar. In case it’s useful, I’ve illustrated the steps taken to create the basic artwork that became the background for this page. I think it’s got kind of a Soundgarden/Rollins Band thing going on.

      8:14 AM | Permalink | No Comments

      April 03, 2006

      15,000-layer Photoshop file

      ‘Tis the season of gigantic PSDs: Digital painter Bert Monroy sees Kevin Hulsey’s work and raises him a couple of gigs. Bert, a former matte painter at ILM and elsewhere, has been pushing Photoshop since v1.0, and at Photoshop World he unveiled his latest creation: a monster painting that’s 1.7GB (when flat!), comprised of some 15,000 layers, 500 alpha channels, and 250,000 paths. Man… what a testament to Bert’s artistry & commitment to his craft. [Via]
      Photoshop handles tasks from creating sub-1KB Web graphics to wrangling files of basically unlimited size, and that makes it tricky for us to ship the app with settings that address all scenarios optimally. The Support team publishes some tips on optimizing performance (Mac/Win), and we’re looking at ways to make it easier to tune the app.
      [Update: Tobias Hollerich points out that the site has been “dugg,” making it slow to load. The Digg.com entry lists some mirror sites & links to videos of Bert in action.]

      8:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

      March 24, 2006

      720 hours in Illustrator; Painting with light

    • Think you’ve got patience and attention to detail? You’d need it to match the work of illustrator Kevin Hulsey. His site features a variety of tutorials that demonstrate techniques for building up artwork in Photoshop and Illustrator. Creating “Radiance of the Seas” took some 720 hours, and it’s fascinating to watch a fully rendered ship develop from line work in Illustrator into color in Photoshop, rendered in lavish high resolution. Kevin’s ghosting technique produces some lovely translucent results, too. [Via]
    • Playing with blending modes in Photoshop can enable some very cool painting with light (a la Picasso, not this dude). Computer Arts features a rather neat tutorial on the subject.
    • On a related note, this month’s Surface Magazine features a piece on Swedish collective Front, who use motion capture technology to sketch with light pens, then render the results as functional furniture. Check out images as they move from conception to finished pieces. Kind of reminds me of Moholy-Nagy’s Leda and the Swan. [Via]
      6:08 PM | Permalink | No Comments
    • February 26, 2006

      Mind-blowing design portfolio

      Oh my God… Who is this Dave Werner guy and what kind of government lab built him? Simply put, this is the most effective portfolio site I have seen in years. Dave makes outstanding use of Flash video to tell the story behind each of his featured projects, ranging from print to Web to furniture design, filmmaking, writing, and game creation–sometimes all at once. As I browsed from the scrolling treasure map (see Illustrations) to “Ninja birds with Katana blades” (in “Cadence”), I felt my eyes re-open to the possibilities of technology & storytelling, much like they did when encountering From Alice To Ocean back in ’93. Damn. I just hope he doesn’t take a shine to product management… [Via Core77]

      5:35 PM | Permalink | Comments [35]

      December 21, 2005

      Math rock in Illustrator, Josh Davis-style

      Adobe.com features a new profile on Joshua Davis and his work that brings together Illustrator with scripting to create generative art. The work combines known building blocks (sketches scanned & vectorized in Illustrator) with algorithms that introduce chance and chaos. Josh presented a great lecture on this work at the Adobe Ideas Conference earlier this year–a bracing, whirling blur of charisma, tats, code, and f-bombs that lit up an otherwise sedate gathering.
      I’ve been thinking for quite a while about ways to make our tools freer, to tap into what my friend Matthew calls the “math rock kids”–the sort who make and use experimental apps like Auto-Illustrator (no relation). People can build beautiful, freeform interactive drawing pieces in Flash, so why can’t we use them in Photoshop or Illustrator? Why not make it easier to create offbeat interfaces that leverage these deep imaging engines in new ways? And could we combine that power with the linear animation chops of After Effects? Let’s be less predictable, more playful, more absurd.
      [Adobe.com link via Branden Hall]
      [More from Joshua here and here.
      He’s also contributed a chapter to John Maeda’s Creative Code: Aesthetics + Computation.]

      11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]
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