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Building a Portfolio Site using WordPress

When I first started my career I was working hard to manage extravagent websites to showcase my work. These sites were hard to maintain if you’re not a programmer, which I’m not. Luckily my brother is a web developer and is always happy to lend a hand but as his career has grown he has had less and less time to help out. I needed to find a new solution. So a few years ago I switched my portfolio site to a WordPress powered portfolio site. Now the WordPress content management system manages all my portfolio images, blog posts and my contact page saving me (and him) a lot of time and money.

For the most part WordPress (WP) is often thought of as just a blogging platform, but it can be used as a content management system. A content management system or CMS is a application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. For me the WordPress CMS is easy to use, keep up to date and customize through themes.

Before we get to the WordPress side of things theres a few things we should go over to get your site up and running. First you’re going to need to get your self a domain name or URL. I recommend getting your own URL versus having a hosted site by say Blogspot. It looks a lot more professional and people notice if you don’t. For example my domain name is NormGrock.com. Having a domain name helps your customers remember where to find you on the Internet and gives your site a bit more credibility. You can grab yourself a custom URL at registrars like GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com. There are many others but these are the ones I have used. Before purchasing you should hunt around for promo codes to save a few bucks. These companies always seem to be running promotions.

Once you have your URL you will need a place for your files to live on the internet so you will need a host. Basically, a host is a company that has servers dedicated to sending your web files when someone visits your site. This is something you could do yourself, but it requires much more time and effort. I’ve used GoDaddy.com for hosting but as with registrars there are many to choose from. You will need to sign up for an account with a web host so that your website files have a home. If you choose to host your site and register your domain at the same company your domain should be linked to your host otherwise you will need to update your settings to make sure they are properly linked. Doing this varies depending on your host and registrar though they usually have directions somewhere on their site. To keep things simple I suggest buying both with the same company.

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Now that all of that is taken care of, you should install WordPress on to your site. Many web hosts now offer tools to automatically install WordPress for you. However, if you wish to install WordPress yourself, this guide will help. Once WP is on your site its now time to log in and choose a theme. To log in to the admin area of your new WordPress website place “wp-admin” after your domain name, for example http://example.com/wp-admin. Once you’re logged into the admin panel you can upload a theme you’ve downloaded or install a theme directly from WordPress to your blog by using the Add New Themes option in the Appearance sub-menu. In this menu you can manage your themes, new installs, preview your changes, delete themes, activate, and update themes. The current active theme always appears first in the upper left corner. When you first install WordPress the WordPress Twenty Fourteen theme is displayed as the active theme. If you roll over the image with your cursor, a “Theme Details” button appears. Click it to see, along with the name of the Theme, the Theme version, and the Theme author, there is a short description of the Theme. There are many themes out there to choose from. Some are free and others are for purchase. I personally decided to buy a pre made theme to save myself some time and programming heartaches. It may have cost a little bit more but it was worth it. The site I used to purchase my portfolio theme is called ThemeForest.com. Again, there are many sites out there where you can purchase themes from. A quick Internet search will reveal most of them to you and the same goes for free WordPress themes. Be sure to use the keywords “Portfolio” and “WordPress” in your search. This is a very important step so you’ll want to take the time and find a theme that fits your needs the best. This will be the foundation for your portfolio site.

Once you’ve selected the theme for your site this tutorial becomes a bit more difficult to continue because their are so many themes out there and all of them are different. The best way for this section to continue is for you to read the instructions that came with your chosen theme and follow them to a tee. Most themes will allow you to customize them like uploading a logo, changing the background color, and add additional pages. Be sure to include an about page, Portfolio page, Contact page and a blog if you so choose. Keep your information simple and only share your best pieces and you’re on your way to building a great portfolio site.
Now that you’re up and running with your WordPress Portfolio Site, what should you put in your portfolio? Well we have a post that’s ready to answer this question for you. Check out What to put in your Children’s Book Portfolio by Donald Wu.

If all of this sounds like too much work for you There are some other options you can choose from which are free. I personally enjoy the flexibility that WordPress gives you to customize your site but here are some additional options if you’re interested. Read Which Free Online Portfolio Websites is right for you? here.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Could Adobe have a new Challenger?

For years Adobe hasn’t had much competition in the photo editing, vector drawing and desktop publishing application space. Adobe software has been the pinnacle of desktop publishing software for as long as I can remember. A few years ago they switched their software model to subscription-based which upset a lot of their core customers. Now a company named Serif has come out with a new product called Affinity Designer to try to change all that. Serif Ltd. is an independent developer founded in 1990 and a publisher of design software. Serif was founded with the aim to develop low-cost alternatives to high-end desktop publishing and graphic design packages for the PC. Despite developing exclusively for PC and Windows for over 25 years, their new product, Affinity Designer, is turning that all on its head. Built for the Mac, Affinity Designer is the first of a new line of products by Serif aimed at anyone who’s not a fan of Adobe subscription model. Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher will be coming out over the next 12 months to complete the new suite of design applications. Affinity Designer is available now in beta and you can grab your copy for Mac at https://affinity.serif.com/.

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Affinity Designer’s site says that “Affinity Designer is the fastest, smoothest, most precise vector graphic design software available.” Whether you’re working on graphics for marketing materials, websites, icons, UI design or just like creating cool concept art, Affinity Designer will revolutionize how you work.” and “Working in Affinity Designer is always live – pan and zoom at 60fps, transform objects in correct z-order, make adjustments or apply effects in realtime and always see live previews of brushes or tools. Whether it’s a 100 megapixel image or the most complex vector drawing with thousands of curves, it’s still the same and never runs out of memory.” When Affinity Designer is out of beta it will be available exclusively on the Mac App store for $49.99.

We are still a long ways from seeing if Serif can knock off Adobe’s crown but it’s nice to see that some alternatives are starting to pop up. If you’ve tried Serif’s new vector drawing application, please let us know what you think about it in the comments. I will be trying it out soon myself and giving a report on OUaS.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

3 YouTube Drawing Channels You Should Check Out

The Internet has changed education so much since I was in school. It provides so many great resources for people to learn from.  Anything from home improvement to learning how to play the guitar can be learned. Almost anything is on the web. It can also help you become a better artist. One of the best places I have found to help me better my art skills is YouTube. There are so many channels out there dedicated to art it’s hard to find a good place to start. So here’s just a few of the YouTube channels I frequent to help better my art skills.

Proko TV – https://www.youtube.com/user/ProkoTV
We have talked about Proko on the site before but this content bears mentioning again. The site offers high-quality production and the amazing insight given by Stan Prokopenko, not to mention he takes art subjects and makes them pretty entertaining. Proko TV has instructional How to Draw videos. The drawing lessons are approachable enough for beginners and detailed enough for advanced artists.

CGMasterAcademy CGMA – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJKxFIEmsfDEs-B5F6IGoIg
CG Master Academy (CGMA) is an online community dedicated to helping artists develop and cultivate their creative talents. Filled with some of the best tutorials on YouTube, their online demonstrations will help aspiring artists in their goals of becoming industry artists.

FZD School – https://www.youtube.com/user/FZDSCHOOL
And finally, I enjoy the FZD School channel.  This channel is made by the instructors at FZD School of Design which provides an education in entertainment design. Even though this is partially an advertisement for their school it is a great resource for learning tips and tricks for creating production artwork. They talk about how to be a professional, what to put in your portfolio and many many other topics in these almost hour long videos. It’s a good source of inspiration for me.

These are just a few of my favorite YouTube channels. If you have any that you think should be added to this list please leave them in the comments and we can continue to add to this Post.

PSA – Facebook Messenger App has Scary Terms of Service

Okay I know this subject doesn’t really concern becoming or being an artist but nevertheless Facebook has become integral in to being an artist these days. From communicating with potential clients to just talking with other artists I find myself on it almost every day. It’s actually one of the ways our team at Once Upon a Sketch stays in contact. We have a Group discussion where we keep everyone up-to-date and when we are just communicating person-to-person we use Facebook messaging. Which brings me to why I’m writing this post. Like most of you I probably use Facebook mostly on my phone and just a little while ago the Facebook app required me to install a additional app called Facebook Messenger if I wanted to continue messaging. Some people might say well Facebook just spent $19 billion to buy a company called What’s App. Facebook must just want to get their moneys worth. This statement may be true but there seems to be a lot more going on if you dig into the terms of service accompanying this application. You may have already read about this somewhere else on the Internet but it needs to be reiterated since Facebook has now made this application required to use their messaging service. Here are a few of the permissions you will be giving up if you use the new Facebook messaging app. These are word for word from the Facebook messaging app terms of service.

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“Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.”
 
“Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.”
 
“Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.”
 
“Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.”
 
“Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.”
 
“Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.”
 

The list continues but this is just a handful of the choice quotes from the terms of service floating around the Internet these days. It’s worth pointing out that while these terms sound awful a lot of the permissions wording is taken straight from Android’s terms. FaceBook maybe just following the Android wording, just a bit of speculation to give Facebook some credit. Also, Apple iOS only asks for these permissions when a user tries to access one of these functions such as microphone access only being requested when a video/voice call happens. It still sounds like pretty scary permissions to give any app or company in my opinion. Especially a company who makes their money by learning everything they can about their users.

I had a friend over for dinner just the other day and she had unknowingly downloaded this app when her regular Facebook app prompted her to. I’m sure she blindly agreed to the terms of service like everyone does and didn’t even think about what she had agreed to. It so easy to do. It feels like you can’t do anything on the Internet these days without agreeing to something. So if your one of the one billion people who have downloaded this app please be careful. It may be nice to use a free application that lets you stay in contact with your friends but please remember the things you’re giving up by using it.

Source – Huffington Post

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Modbook Pro X on Kickstarter

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On July 30th, 2014 Axiotron, the company that will convert your Apple MacBook into a pen-based Mac Drawing tablet launched a KickStarter campaign to fund their new Apple tablet conversion project called the Modbook X. The Modbook X KickStarter is exactly what you might think Axiotron would be offering with their campaign. They are taking the latest retina display MacBooks and converting them into a pen-based tablet. Helping to fund this campaign will allow you to send in your own MacBook machines to Modbook for conversion at the starting price of $1999 or just buy a brand-new one from Modbook for $3999. Of course there are tons of other ways you can customize your Modbook using this campaign but that’s just two base prices. For this campaign to be funded Axiotron is looking for $150,000 to get this campaign off the ground. On the KickStarter page they say “Unleash your creativity with the most innovative and powerful pen tablet ever, the Mac-based 15.4-inch Retina display Modbook Pro X.” These new ModBooks will use the latest retina MacBook Pros released just a day before this KickStarter campaign. It’s almost like Axiotron knew that new retina MacBooks would be launching, Which they probably did. Axiotron has been granted permission by Apple to offer their parts & services since 2007.

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Other additions to the new Modbook model are; integrated Keybars on the rear of the device which gives you easy access to keyboard shortcuts. They’ve also added  2,048 pressure levels, pen tilt and rotate to their screens with the digitizer pen. A Keyboard Stand that acts as an easel and also acts as a cover for the tablet. So if you’ve been looking for a portable larger digital drawing solution you might want to give this KickStarter campaign look. But if you’re not entirely sure about converting your old MacBook or buying a $4000 drawing tablet you might want to give a look to the Wacom Cintiq companion. Read my review on this product here.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

More Life with Subsurface Scattering

Subsurface scattering (SSS) is the phenomenon when light enters a translucent material and upon entering it the light scatters inside the material before either being absorbed or leaving the material at a different location. I know this sounds like a hard idea to grasp but it’s a good concept to keep in the back of your mind when painting skin or other translucent materials.

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Subsurface scattering is mostly used in 3D applications, but I apply it when illustrating organic characters such as people. Adding a red tint to parts of the character such as the fingertips, nostrils, and ears really brings a character to life. SSS occurs most often when three conditions are met: translucent flesh, thin forms, and backlighting. Any organic surface where the light doesn’t have to travel very far to emerge out the other side is where this phenomenon occurs. Why do you add this additional color to these areas? Because of SSS many organic and inorganic materials are not totally opaque at the surface, so light does not just bounce off the top of there surfaces like it would in say a material like metal. Opaque materials allow light to enter the surface and once inside the light scatters around. As the light scatters around it takes on the color of whatever is inside the material. Finally, the light emerges out at a different location, but it projects a hint of the color of what is on the inside. For example, human skin is opaque. Blood is trapped within the skin. The light enters the skin. Then the light enters the blood and emerges out the other side with a reddish tint. A great example of SSS, hold up your hand in a dark room and using a flashlight shine the light back through your hand and watch how the light travels through your skin and gets scattered, taking on a reddish color.

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Subsurface scattering not only occurs with skin but other surfaces like the skin of fruits, leafs, marble, milk and gels. Without knowledge of SSS photo-realism really cannot be achieved so next time you’re drawing keep in mind the principles of subsurface scattering and watch how your characters are brought to life.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

What to put in your Children’s Book Portfolio

Every now and again, I get asked the question, “What should I put in my portfolio?”.  So, I wanted to take a moment and share some tips and suggestions you might consider when putting together an illustration portfolio. Specifically, a portfolio of illustrations catering to children’s publishing; although websites and social media play an ever-increasing role in promoting your work, having a physical portfolio will still come in handy the next time you attend a nearby illustration conference or if you find yourself lucky enough to be given some face time with an art director. So let’s get started… First off, let’s get the basics out of the way; a typical portfolio should contain anywhere from 12 to 15 images, bound in a nice, clean, and simple, 8″ x 11″ portfolio. The thing to remember is this: showcase work and talent, so the portfolio itself should NOT distract or compete with the artwork. So rule of thumb …keep it simple! Be sure to include pocket at the back of the portfolio with postcards and/or business card for someone to take. Now for the most important parts of any portfolio, the ARTWORK! Here are a few key points to remember:

  • Order & Pacing: Typically, a portfolio should open with a sample of your best work! The point of this is pretty obvious, you want to WOW your viewer and grab their attention right from the start. Once you have it, it’s a matter of sustaining that interest throughout the entire portfolio. To achieve this, you want to space your artwork out evenly and build a rhythm between some of your good/solid pieces and some great/better pieces. And to end it on a high note, you’ll want to include another one of your best illustrations. Ideally, this will leave them with a lasting impression of your work, or even better still, leave them wanting more!Below is a quick diagram to better illustrate this. One thing you will notice is that depending on the quality and the number of pieces in your portfolio, as well as the fact that you will be constantly update your portfolio, we will have some variations, but the basic structure should still be followed.
  • Consistency of Quality: Your portfolio is only as good as it’s weakest piece. So if you have an illustration that you are not sure about, it’s best to leave it out. To a potential client, a weak piece will also have the potential of leaving a lasting impression, but for all the wrong reasons. Your portfolio should only contain your best work, so in some cases, less is more. So remember, even if it means a thinner portfolio, only include work that you are actually proud to show off.
  • Consistency of Style: Along with demonstrating a consistent quality of work, you also want to define a consistent style in your art as well. A big mistake you can make is filling your portfolio with work in several different styles and techniques. Below are several scenarios someone might decide to do this with their portfolio. In each case, first, I’ll give the rationale behind these choices followed by reasons why you shouldn’t.
    1. By showing a wide range of styles, there is a belief that you are showing the art directors that you are versatile and capable of handling multiple mediums and styles. Instead, what ends up happening is that you’ll leave them thinking, “What kind of art will I expect if I hire you?” And this is not what is desired.   
    2. By including a portfolio with different styles, you are hoping this will help you land more jobs because you are in essence casting a wider net. Unfortunately, the downside of this is that you are also diluting your portfolio in the process. So instead of having a full portfolio of 12 solid pieces highlighting your individual style, you are only able to show potential clients 4 or 5 pieces. This will make it more difficult for them to accurately assess your skills and make them reluctant to hire you.
    3. Let’s face it, sometimes you just need a filler. You might run into a case of simply not having the number of illustrations to fill up your portfolio. So you decide to round out the 12 pieces with an illustration that’s different just to bulk up your numbers. The thing to remember is that any capable art director will see right through this as well, which will lead to them to question your experience. And just as bad, this misplaced illustration will stick out like a sore thumb and disrupt the flow to the rest of your portfolio.

    At the end of the day, the person looking at your art needs to be able to associate your name with your work. So the clearer and simpler you make it for them and yourself, the better.

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Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2014 Update Part 2 – Software

Last year Adobe did away with their popular Creative Suite traditional software sales model and change there model to a subscription service. Well it’s been about a year and now Adobe is updating their Creative Cloud offerings for 2014. When Creative Cloud was first released Adobe promised a trickle of releases to their software throughout the year. Well on June 18 2014 Adobe open the floodgates and dropped a ton of new releases on the creative community. On Monday (July 14 2014) we discussed all of Adobe’s new mobile offerings. Well, today we are going to be taking a look at their updates to their Desktop software for 2014. We are only going to focus on software that relates to illustrators, so sorry all of you After Effects, Dreamweaver, and Muse fans. Let’s get into it.

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The first update is to their naming structure. Instead of just calling the entire service Creative Cloud they are now adding a year to each update. This year’s update is Adobe Creative Cloud 2014. While we’re talking about small incremental additions to the CC service Adobe has also announced the Creative Cloud Market. Think stock image library. On the Creative Cloud blog they called it “a collection of high-quality, curated assets for creatives by creatives. Now you can access a remarkable selection of vector graphics, icons, patterns, UI Kits, for-placement images, and more from your Creative Cloud Desktop app—all part of your subscription to Creative Cloud.” In my opinion it’s an interesting idea but we’ll have to see how the library grows with time but if you’re already paying for the CC service it can’t hurt to check it out.

Now on to the design software. All of the revisions to Adobe software lineup have added improvements to the design work flow and a performance boosts. All the new updates to Adobe Creative Cloud are available to existing CC subscribers for free and individual Creative Cloud memberships start at $49.99 per month for new customers, $29.99 per month if you own a previous version of the Adobe creative suite CS3 or higher (for the first year), and $19.99 for students. Your subscription profile has also been improved with better syncing between desktop apps and mobile apps as well as including stored files, photos, fonts, and preferences allowing your files to be seamlessly shared between applications. Adobe says of these new features “The new CC desktop apps, mobile apps, and hardware are tightly integrated through Creative Cloud services. This integration helps liberate the creative process by enabling users to access and manage everything that makes up their creative profile — their files, photos, fonts, colors, community and more — from wherever they work.” So what updates have been made to the software?

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Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 – This new version of Photoshop seems to be more of an incremental update as opposed to the big release of last year. Photoshop is now on it’s 15th iteration so it’s more feature polish less innovation but altogether it seems like a welcome update. Whats new for 2014? Most of these additions will help out photographers not as much illustrators but let’s go through them anyway because some of them are pretty cool.

The stand out to me is a new feature called Focus Mask. Photoshop will now help you start a mask by automatically selecting the in-focus areas of your image. Focus Mask works great with portraits and other images that have shallow depth of field. Next Adobe adds to their filters with 2 new Blur motion effects. Use Path Blur to add blur along any path and Spin Blur to create circular or elliptical blurs that will help add a sense of motion to your images. Photoshop has also added improvements to content aware fill. They’ve also added a feature to Photoshop that InDesign has had for a while called Smart Guides. Smart Guides is a handy tool that shows you the positioning between elements in relationship to each other.

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Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 – What does Illustrator CC 2014 have to offer for your monthly subscription Fee? Like Photoshop the additions to the new illustrator seem to be just more refinement. Adobe has cleaned up how the Pen Tool works so now as you draw your a line it will give you a preview of how the final shape will look before you commit. Another welcome addition is how Typekit helps your workflow with missing fonts. Now when you open a file that doesn’t have a font installed Illustrator will reach out to Typekit, download the font and install it on your computer making it available for all other applications. Lastly and maybe most importantly, they’ve added Live Shapes to Illustrator. You can now quickly modify rectangle corners, with independent control over each corner’s radius. You can scale and rotate rectangles, and Illustrator remembers your work— so you can quickly return to your original shape.

Adobe InDesign CC 2014 – What’s new? Honestly it doesn’t seem like very much over its predecessor but what they have done is improved the EPUB export features and honestly this one might be the most exciting for children’s book illustrators. Adobe’s site says about this new feature “Make interactive EPUB books with live text—such as children’s books, cookbooks, travel books, and textbooks—that are rich with illustrations, photos, audio, or animations. Layout and design remain fixed no matter the screen size.” They’ve added a few other minor additions like better tabs, and color groups but the EPUB of enhancements are, by far, the standout for me.

There you have it all the new additions to Creative Cloud 2014. If you didn’t read our first article about their new mobile offerings you can check it out here. If there’s anything you saw from Adobe that you thought stood out and we didn’t cover it please let us know about it in the comments.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2014 Update Part 1 – Mobile

In 2013 Adobe released their Creative Cloud service switching from a traditional software sales model to a subscription based service. This switch did away with the much beloved Creative Suite software bundle which included Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, and many more applications.  At first consumers were unsure of this change to their favorite creative products but Adobe has stuck to their guns and on June 18th 2014 released a large update to their software-as-a-service offerings as well as a few surprises. On Wednesday (July 16, 2014) we will be going over the desktop software revisions but today we have a quick rundown of all the Mobile software updates Adobe has released.

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First off and most interestingly Adobe has released hardware. The company that’s most known for their software has just released a new line of products to help your creative endeavors. Adobe Ink is a new digital pen that connects to Creative Cloud. Adobe’s fine-tipped, pressure sensitive pen is a three-sided hydro-formed aluminum stylus for iPad version 4+ or better running iOS 7. They described it as “lightweight and balanced for a comfortable grip.” The second piece of hardware is a digital ruler that works in tandem with Ink. Adobe Slide was created to enable precision sketches and lines. Again to use Slide you’ll need an iPad version 4+ that’s running the latest version of Apples mobile software, iOS7. Slide works by setting the digital ruler down on the iPad then the ruler marks will appear on screen. As you draw with Ink your digital lines will snap to guides giving you a perfect line. Ink and Slide come as a pair for $199.99. It’s seems like a steep price for something that is not integral to the creative process at this point but Michael Gough, Adobe’s experience design lead, disagrees saying “Sooner or later, the mouse and keyboard aren’t going to be enough,” and ”We’re trying to prepare ourselves.” It seems like with these new products Adobe is making a future play for when artists no longer use laptops and desktop computers and only do their work on tablets. Only time will tell. What makes this pair better then other styluses? It pairs with Creative Cloud so all your settings will be saved allowing you to start working on one iPad and switch to another and continue seamlessly between the two. The nice part is you don’t need to pay for a creative cloud subscription to use the pairing options. As of now Adobe Ink and slide only work with two Adobe iPad apps (Adobe Sketch and Adobe Line) but I’m sure more support is coming. If you’d like to read someone’s thoughts that have had hands on with these products check out this article from The Verge.

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Speaking of software that these products work with, lets switch gears to the five new mobile applications. On a blog post on Adobe site they say “These are incredibly powerful apps that start to bring the functionality you get from desktop apps, to mobile.” How is Adobe going to accomplish this? Well, these new apps will have the ability to upload some of the more processor intensive functions to Adobe servers and do the hard work there. Let’s take a look at these five new free apps from Adobe (these descriptions all come directly from Apple’s app store.)

Adobe Sketch – Adobe Sketch brings inspiration, drawing, and your creative community together in one place. Capture your ideas as sketches and share them on Behance for instant feedback. Sketch gives you the freedom to find inspiration, explore ideas, and get feedback from trusted peers—wherever you are.
Grab Adobe Sketch from the app store here

Adobe Line – A modern approach to drawing and drafting, Line lets you draw straight lines, geometric shapes, perspective views, and more. Adobe Line reimagines traditional drawing tools like rulers, T-squares and shape templates for the mobile world.
Grab Adobe Line from the app store here

Adobe Photoshop Mix – Combine the power of Adobe Photoshop software with the convenience of mobile for a creative, easy-to-use photo editing experience on your iPad (see recommended devices below). Non-destructive photo enhancements, selections, the ability to cut out and mix images, and more; plus a Creative Cloud connected workflow for even more creative possibilities.
Grab Adobe Photoshop Mix from the app store here

Adobe Creative Cloud – Adobe Creative Cloud for iPhone and iPad: Your work, your inspiration, your creativity, with you wherever you go. Part of your free membership, this app connects your mobile devices to the Creative Cloud and unlocks new tools in your favorite apps. It also allows you to browse and preview your PSD, AI and other design files stored in the cloud.
Grab Adobe Creative Cloud from the app store here

Adobe Kuler – Adobe Kuler is a fun and simple way to capture inspiring color combinations wherever you see them. Simply point the iPhone camera at something colorful and Kuler will instantly extract a series of colors.You can share your themes with friends through Facebook, Twitter or email. You can also share the image that inspired the theme. And Adobe Creative Cloud members will find their Kuler themes instantly available in the Kuler panel in Adobe Illustrator CC or Adobe Ideas. You can also sync your color themes to the Kuler website where you can download the swatches for use in other Adobe products.
Grab Adobe Kuler from the app store here

There you have it, the rundown of Adobes 2014 products and mobile offerings. Check back for part 2 on Wednesday (July 16, 2014) where we look at the updates to their desktop software.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

What is Adobe Configurator?

Did you know Adobe makes a program that lets you make your own custom panels/palettes for Photoshop and in design? Well not many people do, so lets talk a little bit about Adobe Configurator. Adobe Labs offers the free utility for Mac or PC and give it a try, but if you’d like to learn more continue reading.

AdobeConfigurator001

If you want to make a panel with all your favorite drawing tools like the brush tool, gradient tool, smudge tool, eyedropper tool and, a few of your favorite actions you totally can with absolutely no knowledge of coding. The above image was created in about five minutes and has all the Photoshop tools and commands I frequently use. It was super easy to create a custom panel and export to Photoshop CS6 or Creative Cloud (InDesign only supports CS6). Configurator made it easy to drag and drop tools, menu items, scripts, actions and other objects you might want quick access to in your own panel design.

How do you make your own panels/palettes? Honestly I’m still learning the software myself so I thought I would share a YouTube video from people with a bit more knowledge then I. The video below is from the previous version of Configurator but I think the fundamentals are the same.

 

Source: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/configurator/

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

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