Posts in Category "Shape"

Tut: Use Adobe Shape CC to Create Screen Print Art from Your Photos

Shape CC is one of my favourite mobile apps to demo and play with. When I’m showing the capture apps—the small family of apps that includes Color CC, Brush CC, Shape CC and now Hue CC—it’s the one I leave for last like the main act in an evening’s entertainment. Actually, it’s easier to say that Shape CC is my favourite capture app to demo—that way I can now say that Comp CC is my favourite ideation app to demo, so I’m not forcing myself to choose!

Anyhooooo… back to the tutorial. We can use the output from Shape to make some screen print style graphics—all we need to do is create a range of “exposures” and blend them together in Illustrator.

Start in Shape

If you don’t have Shape yet, it’s available on the App Store and for a good few weeks now on Google Play (Min. Android 4.3 required).

Get Started

Once you’ve launched the app—if it’s the first time you’ve used it you’ll need to sign in with your Adobe ID (it also asks for this every now and then, too)—and Shape will engage the device camera (you only need to allow this once as the device remembers your choice).

Create a Library

We’re going to set up a Library first so we need to back out of the capture screen; tap the X next to the slider and you’ll be taken back to the library screen. At the top of the screen is a drop-down that says “My Library” by default—we’ll set up a new library for our tut—so click on the drop-down and choose the Create New Library option and give it a meaningful name.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 19.35.40Processed

Check Settings

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 19.36.28ProcessedNow we have the library, we just need to make sure that Shape will also add anything we capture to the device camera roll, as we’ll need to use the same image a few times. Tap the Shape logo icon at the top of the screen to access your settings options—make sure that Save Images to Shape Album is enabled so that an album will be added to your camera roll. Tap < Back at the top of the screen to return to the library.

Capture or Choose Your Image

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 19.36.45ProcessedTap the + at the bottom of the screen to select an input for your shape—you’ll see that you can use the camera, your camera roll or even your Creative Cloud files. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to use, go ahead and capture it, you can tune the “threshold” using the slider in the capture screen and at any time tap on the image to see a shape preview.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 20.21.59ProcessedOnce done, hit the big, green button and you’ll be taken to the refinement screen:Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 20.22.23ProcessedHere you can brush away stuff you don’t need. If you make a mistake, just hit the add/subtract toggle at the bottom-right and brush it back in. Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 20.26.44ProcessedHit the tick at the bottom when you’re ready to make the shape.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 20.24.19ProcessedDepending on the complexity of your shape you can wait anything from a few seconds to nearly a minute (or more) for Shape to create the vectors. When it’s done, you’ll be prompted to name the shape and then save it to the library.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 20.24.38ProcessedNow repeat a few more times—how many is up to you—and use different levels of threshold, as well as using the dark/light background toggle at the bottom-right of the capture screen. I’ve gone for four different versions:Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 20.31.59Processed

Composite in Illustrator

In Illustrator, make sure that you can see the Libraries Panel and from the drop-down in the panel, select your shape library (although it’s quite likely that it’ll already be selected).Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 21.00.18All you need to do now is drag the shapes to your document (or right-click on each version in turn and choose Place Copy) then apply different colours, opacities and blending modes to each one, then stack them together. Don’t be too precise—the misprint effect will only add more charm!


  • You can also use the Eraser Tool and Blob Brush Tool to make extra refinements
  • Use the layers panel to quickly target your individual shaoes when they are stacked Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 21.13.21

Have fun!