A day in the life of… Senior Brand Designer Zoe Scott-Smith

A day in the life of… Senior Brand Designer Zoe Scott-Smith

We caught up with Zoe Scott-Smith, Senior Brand Designer at Threerooms Branding Agency in Nottingham, to find out about the kind of work she does, their projects, the technology they use, what keeps her inspired each day, and which industry trends they’ve got their eyes on…

Tell us about the kind of work you do at Threerooms? 

Threerooms is a digital-first branding agency, so as Senior Brand Designer, I get to work on lots of varied and exciting brand projects. The great thing about branding is that each project is completely bespoke and crafted to the individual client, so even though the creative process can be similar, no project or day is the same. I work closely with clients from the get-go, too – from initial brand workshops, through to rolling out bespoke and tailored brands. Brand workshops are a great chance to truly learn about the client, and understanding how a company or business began is one of my favourite questions. You can delve deep into their personality, ethos and find out what drives them.

What are some big projects you’ve been working on recently? 

I have been working on lots of really exciting top brands, covering everything from universities, the emergency services, charities, packaging for drinks, the beauty industry, and even a brand new aquatics brand. I absolutely love getting stuck into creating a new brand. Even now, I find the creative process such a rewarding journey.

Aside from brand jobs, I have been creating a range of illustrations and wall graphics for one of our clients. It’s a lot of fun working with so many different creative mediums.

zoe_sketch

What technology does your team rely on every day? 

There are lots of different tools that we rely on day to day. Adobe Creative Cloud (everything from InDesign and Photoshop to Illustrator and Lightroom), as well as 3D software such as Cinema 4D and web software like Sketch. Aside from design software, InVision is our go-to presentation software, as it lets us to upload and present our visuals while allowing for easy commenting and feedback.

When it comes to communication and collaboration, software such as Podio, which acts as our main central hub, is key. Other tools like Forecast help us map out different project schedules, while WorkflowMax lets us keep an eye on invoicing and time allocation management. Google for Business is especially handy for collaboration, and – of course – Spotify is my go-to for much needed tunes.

How does this compare to the technology you were using at the start of your career?

I am quite lucky – when I was starting my career, a lot of the other, lesser known design packages were being phased out and I jumped straight into Adobe CS4! Without making myself sound too old, the technology really has evolved so much. When I started in the industry ten years ago, it was a print-dominated world – web software like Sketch wasn’t around and terms like UX weren’t commonplace. The work felt more isolated, so collaborative tools have really paved the way for more unity and open-thinking between designers.

Regarding interaction with clients, back then it was a bit more of a “here’s a bit of paper with amends scribbled on it” approach. Collaboration tools are not just a way for designers to feed back, but are a huge part of client interactions, too. It is essential for this process to be as smooth as possible to avoid hiccups and allow designers more time to do what they do best. Internally, collaboration tools allow the team to quickly provide feedback from everyone’s perspective, and enable us to understand their comments more clearly. Ultimately, this makes for a better project outcome.

What technology has had the biggest impact on Threerooms? 

All the latest technology trends have had a huge impact on the studio. We pride ourselves in keeping up to date with the latest trends, advancements and tweaks as they all add up in their own way, and usually help to simplify and advance the creative process.

There are a few different things we’re excited about, the first being Dimension, the new 3D software by Adobe. We’re also looking forward to Adobe Spark and InVision Studio.

zoe_work2

How do your team stay productive during busy, stressful times?

We’re armed with our headphones! But in all seriousness, when it’s busy and time is of the essence, being able to pull the team together for input and feedback is ideal for discovering new creative routes and re-energising. Working in a close-knit team has some huge advantages, too. We all know what eachother are working on and can offer input, fresh ideas and collaborate between ourselves, which really helps to enhance each project.

What keeps you inspired everyday? 

The main sources of inspiration are obvious – Behance, Pinterest and Dribbble. However, when a challenge arises, team get-togethers provide the best source of inspiration. You find that with several design heads together, problems are quickly resolved.

I have to mention our beautiful surroundings! With our studio being based at Strelley Hall, it’s amazing how much of a difference having a tranquil setting can make to your creative thoughts. I once heard that the Pixar team often take a drive to ‘nowhere’, passing through serene landscapes to rattle through their creative problems – I think we could be on to something!

Of course, music is a huge source of inspiration for everyone. Nothing is better than throwing your headphones on or cranking up the studio speaker and blasting out your favourite tunes for tackling the tricky tasks at hand.

strelley_hall

Do you use any design tablets, and if so, how do you use them?

I used to dabble with Wacom’s a fair bit – I think they’re great to use. I guess I don’t particularly miss the interaction of holding a pen-like device though – whenever I am needed to create bespoke illustrations, I instinctively grab my brush pens and do them raw. Something about this tactile approach is rewarding and offers greater control.

I then use the Adobe Capture mobile app to snap my hand-crafted illustrations, which then sync instantly into my chosen Creative Cloud library as a vectorised illustration. I love how this app still retains even the slightest imperfections – the smallest splatters of ink or alterations in a line – which all add to the character of the overall look.

Are there any industry trends that your team are thinking about incorporating into your work in the near future?

I think it’s important to always look to the future, and to consider what we need to incorporate in order to keep Threerooms ahead. With logo animations being one of the dominant trends at the moment, we are looking to push animation in all of our work, from logos all the way through to websites. In addition, we’re looking to push modelling advances by using the latest Adobe software like Dimension, and we’re also thinking about the possibilities of VR and how we can shape new experiences in that environment.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work and how do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges for all designers is to ensure we are still generating creative ideas and staying ahead of the trends. I often find myself scrolling through the latest and greatest branding examples, questioning why certain things were done in certain ways, what they were looking to achieve, and most importantly, absorbing everything I see.

Outside of the creative process, the biggest challenge would have to be client deadlines, which we overcome by utilising our workflow tools to assist with timeframes. Budget constraints can also be a challenge, however we find our process of in-depth workshops helps us to achieve the end goal quicker by fully understanding the client’s needs from the outset.

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How important is collaboration for your team, and how has technology helped with this?

Collaboration is massively important, and enables us to get the best out of our projects. We never underestimate the value of getting a fresh pair of eyes on our work, and are always doing internal reviews to enhance collaboration on all of our projects. With everyone’s eyes on each project, it allows us to continually push the boundaries in what we create and feedback on each other’s work. Not only does it lead to great results for Threerooms and our team, but also for our clients.

Threerooms are a leading brand and creative agency in Nottingham. They help marketing teams and business owners add value to their brands through impeccable design and effective brand strategy.

threerooms.com

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative kit mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

Our first look at Adobe Character Animator CC

Our first look at Adobe Character Animator CC

Last month, we took a look at the latest Adobe Photoshop CC features following MAX 2017. This time round, we’re delving into Adobe Character Animator – Adobe’s new live motion capture and multi-track recording app for controlling layered 2D puppets drawn in Photoshop or Illustrator. 

Character Animator allows users to create 2D animations and bring them to life with incredible accuracy. The app actually copies your facial movements, so characters act and react realistically in real time. Once again, I caught up with Xenia – our Senior Designer – to find out all about her first thoughts on Character Animator, what she managed to create while experimenting, and how she’s planning on using the software going forward.

What were your first impressions of Adobe Character Animator?

“The first thing I realised was just how easy it was to go from not knowing anything about animation to suddenly being able to animate easily in a few simple steps – and it looks good! When you first start with Character Animator, there are pre-built options that take you through basic face animation so you can get to grips with it. There are preset characters too, so you don’t have to create your own from scratch in Photoshop or Illustrator first – you can just get started right away. When you click on a preset, it opens up in Photoshop as well as in Character Animator so you can customise it and replace elements.

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I think it would take a long time to create a character that’s really beautiful in Photoshop, as they’re built in individual layers. As far as I can tell, that’s how Character Animator knows how to target different body parts for animation, whether it’s eyebrows, eyes, nose, arms or whichever. And if I edit a preset animation in Photoshop, it’ll automatically update in Character Animator.

Character Animator screenshot 1

The app uses the webcam footage and audio from your computer to animate various points on your face. First, I had to set a rest pose by looking at the monitor with a neutral face, which helps the animation respond better to any facial expressions.”

What did you create during your first try of the app?

“Well, when you open an initial template, one of them is a blank face. When it loaded up in Photoshop, I experimented with customising the background and eyebrows. I left the mouth and eyes as they were – they require a bit more work and I’d need to capture lots of different facial expressions for Open, Close, Left, Right and more, and as it was my first time, I didn’t want to get too much into them just yet. Once I’d saved my creation in Photoshop, it loaded up in Character Animator and I started animating it with my own facial movements and voice.

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I noticed that it isn’t quite as intuitive or responsive as I expected it to be – there appears to be a slight delay and the character missed my mouth when it opened a couple of times. However, having looked a bit more into settings and options, it appears that you can tinker with things to make animations much more responsive and accurate. To be honest, I was genuinely surprised by how quickly I picked it up. All I did was watch a few official Adobe tutorials online and follow the instructions in the app. The best thing is that Character Animator does exactly what it says on the tin, and works exactly how Adobe say it will – I’m very impressed overall. It means that people who aren’t very experienced with animation and apps like After Effects can achieve a good standard with minimal skill, knowledge and time.”

Character Animator screenshot 2

What are you excited to do with Character Animator in the future?

“Personally, I’m looking forward to making my own story and animating it! Thinking about future work though, I think it will be fun to bring a dull project to life with animation without adding too much to my workload. I noticed that Adobe have additional preset characters available for download, so I’ll definitely be experimenting with those when I can. And the app lets you add animated characters into live streams that respond to your facial movements in real time. That could be great for a future social media live stream or something like that.”

If you’d like to find out more about the latest Adobe Creative Cloud updates, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A day in the life of… artist, illustrator and lecturer Jo Berry

A day in the life of… artist, illustrator and lecturer Jo Berry

We sat down with freelance illustrator, artist and lecturer Jo Berry to find out about her work in the field of scientific imaging, what she’s working on right now, and the technology she uses to bring her creations to life…

What have you been working on recently?

I’ve been working with scientists a lot over the past few years. And I’m working on some different case study projects right now with five different research institutions. One of them is Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg. I went over there last September to work with them in their laboratory, as I’m really interested in microscopy and advanced imaging. So what I’ve been doing is going into different labs, observing research scientists in action and participating in scientific experiments over a range of different subjects.

A couple of years ago, I went down to the Natural History Museum and I worked with their electron microscopes to examine natural objects such as butterfly wings and radiolarian – lots of things that were really, really tiny and you could only see through an electron microscope. I’ve been doing quite a lot of work with the images and data that I obtained there.

I’m also working with the University of Nottingham. I’ve been working with the med school there for a number of years, collaborating with their cell signalling and pharmacology department. They also have a top of the range SLIM (School of Life Sciences Imaging) department, where they image all sorts of biological cell samples to find out how they operate. They’ve been working to find out more about the heart, diabetes and obesity. So I’ve been taking film and static images of scientists at work and collecting a range of data to create new interpretations of science and art-data visualisations.

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How do you use creative technology like Mac or Adobe Creative Cloud?

The scientific department at the University of Nottingham has PCs, so I don’t use Macs there. However, at home I have two Macs – including a brand new one – and an Apple laptop, and I used Macs while I was working in Sweden. For me, working on Mac feels more natural and it’s just something that I’ve gotten used to. The only thing I’d like is a bit more flexibility for the programs that I use to be able to move across PC and Mac.

At the university, I take the information and data I’ve gathered and load it into the scientific software they use on their PCs, and then I export it so it can be used in Adobe software. I mainly use Photoshop to crop and to layer, and I spend a lot of time doing digital drawing in Illustrator. I do my drawing very specifically as I do a lot of laser cutting – so it’s done for the purpose of being laser cut or exported into another 3D program. However, I love the simplicity of these drawings and see them as artworks in their own right.

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What aspect of digital design and drawing are you interested in?

I’m really interested in the pixilation that is part of the imagery that comes out of these scientific computations. Of course, they look like really slick, beautiful images but they’re actually made up of hundreds of thousands of pixels. So I’m interested in simplifying the pattern that you get with the different colours and layers of these images. In Adobe Illustrator, I’ve been using squares and rectangles a lot recently, and I match them together with Pathfinder. I do this to create intricate drawings that are sourced and created digitally, and then can be moved into another program to be reprocessed as laser cut images at a later date. I take a long time drawing, and I aim to be able to show real depth and intricacy in the images. I’m also interested in making things that combine science and design, and creating something that is another interpretation of science.

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You mentioned your work with film earlier. What does that involve?

I capture moving images of cells, then export them into Quicktime and use them to make stills. But I make movies, too. I’m doing a lot of work with Premiere Pro at the moment, and I’m looking to doing even more of those sorts of projects going forward. I’m currently studying part-time for a PhD, so I’ve been documenting what I’ve been doing while I’ve been going into these labs with a handheld Panasonic camera. So, I’m getting all of this data from these experiments – still images and film – and I’m trying to put them together so I’ve got footage of scientists actually working. Then I’ve been combining this footage with these beautiful, moving scientific images to create a sort of montage documenting exactly what I’ve been doing and observing.

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What has your experience with Premiere Pro been like?

It’s quite simple and I find it a bit like putting together a collage of sorts. But of course, even after you’ve sorted out your timeline, you’ve still got to do the audio to go with the images. I think it just takes time to sit and do it, and learn it all properly. To be honest, everything I’ve ever learned on a computer I’ve done by just getting hands-on. I also like to learn software based on how I think I can work with it.

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Could you tell me about your work as a lecturer? 

I lecture in illustration at Birmingham City University in the department of visual communication. I teach illustration to first and final year students and I also train them in Adobe Illustrator. Obviously, I really like working in a cross-disciplinary manner as I’m interested in both drawing and technology, and there are opportunities within the department to do that. I enjoy finding out how you can use a computer and digital programs to create things such as drawings, movies and whatever else. Jo_Berry_Image11

What technology has had the biggest impact on your work as an illustrator?

Adobe. Working in Illustrator has had a profound effect. About ten or fifteen years ago when I first started working in Adobe Illustrator, that completely changed the nature of my work. At the time, I was doing an advanced research fellowship at Loughborough University, and I was trying to make light drawings in unusual ways. I was making light boxes where I was drilling holes into perspex and lighting them. But then as soon as I started working in Illustrator and I could laser cut, everything became so much more sophisticated. It moved away from craft, and became design. I really liked the purity of Illustrator, because you can work in a very linear way with shapes and Pathfinder, and include the computational source material.

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What creative and design trends are you thinking about as we head into 2018?

I don’t follow trends – I’m not really bothered about them. I mean, I read and follow a lot of different things, and I’ll go to exhibitions and people will say “are you thinking about doing this” or “have you read this or that”, but I think you’ve got to find your own individual voice. Of course, this involves research and a design process, but it’s important to really think about what you want your work to be about. And that’s what I encourage my students to do. I tell them to come up with their own ideas and concepts, and not to copy anybody else or be too heavily influenced. I suppose we’re all a bit like sponges – we soak everything in, but it really is essential to find your own voice while grounding it in knowledge.

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Exhibiting regularly and widely throughout the country and internationally, Jo’s work is highly regarded, with pieces in the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Arts Council England (ACE) East Midland Collections, Nottingham University Medical School and Zeiss, Munich. Residencies include the Florence Trust Studios, London, the Natural History Museum, London and Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham University.

joberry.co.uk 

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative technology mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

A day in the life of… Stuart Tolley from Transmission

A day in the life of… Stuart Tolley from Transmission

We caught up with typographical designer, art director and author Stuart Tolley to find out what he gets up to while plying his trade at Transmission, his Brighton-based studio. He’s got years of experience working on magazines, a passion for minimalism (he even wrote a book about it!) and prefers to do things the old fashioned way. So we asked him all about how he’s adapted to changes in the creative industry since beginning his career, his work, the technology he uses, what keeps him inspired, and his predictions for the future of design.

What have you been working on today?

Today I’ve been working on typographical experiments for the covers of a forthcoming book series. I’ve been picking apart the headline type using Adobe apps to typographically represent complex theories about psychology, sociology, economics and creativity. I mainly use InDesign, which I combine with Photoshop and Illustrator for other parts of the work.

You’ve authored some books of your own; what were they about?

The first one was called Collectors Edition: Innovative Packaging and Graphics, which is about the renaissance of vinyl records and limited edition publications. My second book, MIN: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design, is about the rebirth of minimalism in graphic design.

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Could you tell us a bit more about your work on minimalism?

Well, MIN has been out for about a year and is published by Thames & Hudson. There have previously been books about the history of minimalism, but no one has published an up to date book about it, particularly in the last 5 years.

We’ve become accustomed to the stripped back designs of contemporary technology and this is really important to me, as I didn’t want the book to be a historical look at the style. I think people are really aware of minimalism now, particularly with the stripped back user experience and product design of Apple devices – this is all part of a decluttered lifestyle, which is something I wanted to tap into. The reductive nature of the book has informed a lot of my studio projects too, because I like working with quite abstract concepts and then stripping them down to their barest form.

What are the biggest challenges you face in keeping the studio up and running?

The main challenge is balancing all the [on-going] design projects we have coming through the studio. We’re a small studio and I take care of all the creative work – I like to do everything myself as well, which I suppose is a bit controlling.

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What technology were you using back in the 90s, at the start of your career? 

I graduated from university in 1999. There were a small amount of computers within the university, but at the time I was using the photographic dark rooms to enlarge my negatives and creating a lot of photographic work. We were on really basic versions of editing software back then – I think I might have used Photoshop a handful of times.

The thing is, I was right on that cusp. Magazines were produced using a cut and paste layout system, with lots of rulers and measuring grids. Of course, I missed all of that and started work when Quark was the main publishing tool. Before I left university, I was using the photocopier all the time to print stuff, cutting and pasting, using lots of tape to stick it all down – really hands-on work. Then as soon as I started work people were like “Right, now you need to use QuarkXpress”.

What technology has had the biggest impact on your studio?

I use a lot of Adobe programs. I really am a slave to Apple and Adobe at the minute. A big change was when InDesign overtook Quark, which was the industry standard. I think the biggest change for me personally is how social media and marketing have developed. The internet is now the mainstream form for viewing information, especially since the explosion of smartphones.

There was a period, maybe a decade ago, where I was working on print and magazine projects, but nobody was interested in print at all. Just a constant stream of “nos”; people were demanding apps and stuff for tablets instead. But magazine apps haven’t really taken over as much as people predicted, and instead we’re witnessing a golden era of independent magazine production that’s targeted at very specific audiences.

How did you adapt to the latest trends, whether it was online, video or animation? 

I didn’t. The rise of digital design and user experience has exploded really in the last four or five years, all while I was making my books. I was kind of blissfully unaware and then popped out the other side of it. That’s when I realised the design industry had changed quite a bit. But, for me, it’s quite important to just stick to your guns and say, “You know what, this is what I love to do and they’ll be an audience for it.” I think once I realised that, that’s when I decided I didn’t need to be making loads of apps or websites just to keep up, because there are so many people that are doing that anyway.

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When did you get your first Mac?

My first Mac was a big old [Power Mac] G4 desktop, which had a great big screen. It was all that was available at the time and I got it almost as soon as I left university and had enough money. I was working at Sleazenation magazine at the time and used it to create freelance work on the side. I now have an iMac with a Retina screen, the highest spec I could get, which I use as my main computer.

So how would you say the G4 you were using compares to the top-spec iMac you have now?

The new iMacs are much more streamlined. What you’ve got now is a screen on a stand, whereas before you’d have your [tower], hard drives and a massive monitor with a deep back to it, wires everywhere. Now it’s all part of the decluttering, minimalistic process. You know, the wireless keyboard and mouse, stuff like that – I just embraced it, it was fantastic. 

Do you use any design tablets, like Wacoms?

Some of my friends swear by [Wacoms] but it’s just not something that I’ve ever tried or embraced.

How do your friends use them?

One of them has a huge one; it’s basically just a screen that he draws into. It’s an incredible bit of kit – but as they’re illustrators, they need the ability to draw and work freehand. Whereas I would say my work is more typographical, which I can handle on a mouse.

What Adobe apps do you use the most? 

I use InDesign the most, but I do vector-based work in Illustrator too. I use Photoshop for colour correcting, retouching and things like that. I also use Bridge quite a bit for manipulating images in raw mode, but InDesign is definitely the one I use the most – all day, everyday basically.

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What upcoming trends are you thinking about for the future?

I’ve just created a book about minimalism, so I’m quite interested in the opposite of that. The whole point of the book was that there have been these very ornate designs around for a long time, then minimalism comes along and it refreshes everything. But there will always be a reaction against a current design trends and you’ll probably see a reaction against minimalism in the next few years.

So what will the reaction to minimalism be then?

I think there will be a point where everyone gets bored of things looking really clean, and minimalism just won’t be doing its job anymore, because everything just looks the same. You see it within the independent magazine industry, which are all currently being produced in a minimalist design style. They’ve all got a little logo, top centre, and they all look exactly the same. There are magazines coming out that are totally different, really energetic, and they’ll stand out because they don’t look like everything else. That will be the biggest change; a style will come along that’s more playful and experimental.

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How do you stay productive during busy, stressful times?

I go and sit on the beach. I’ll just take a sketchbook and go and make notes, draw and come up with ideas. It always works. Guaranteed.

What keeps you inspired everyday?

I often change career path and that keeps me inspired. I still work within editorial design, but I’ve shifted quite a lot. I think that’s something that I would like to continue doing, mixing formats and styles. I’ve just been commissioned to work on an exhibition in Brighton this September, so I’m already thinking of ideas for that in the back of my mind. It’s just about doing lots of side projects and changing direction every so often. It’s frightening, but it’s important to do it.

Transmission is a graphic design studio and editorial consultancy, working with clients in the cultural, commercial and charitable industries.

www.transmission.design

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative kit mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

 

A spotter’s guide to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps

A spotter’s guide to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps

Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps are the gold standard in professional software for creatives of all stripes. But whether you’re a graphic designer who uses Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator day-in, day-out, or a videographer who knows Premiere Pro and After Effects like the back of your hand, there’s a wealth of apps you have access to under a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription that, while you may not be that familiar with, could be a very welcome addition to your creative workflow.

So here we’ve put together a quick spotter’s guide to all Adobe’s fantastic desktop apps, and where to find them. How many have you tried?

Design tools

Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop CC is your common or garden digital imaging app, the number one choice the world over for photographers and designers. It lets you enhance, retouch, and manipulate photographs and images in any way you can imagine, with clever content aware technology and powerful design tools like editable shapes and vector layers. (Also available as a Single App.)

Lightroom. Often spotted in the same habitat as Photoshop, Lightroom lets you organise, edit and share your all photos from anywhere, whether that’s on your computer, on the web, or on your iPad, iPhone or Android devices.

Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator CC is the industry-standard vector graphics software. Create compelling vector art and illustrations using advanced, precise drawing and typography tools, and work quickly and intuitively on everything from brand identities and marketing materials to graphics for the web, video, and film. (Also available as a Single App.)

InDesign. InDesign CC is professional page layout software for print and digital publishing. Use it to design, preflight, and publish a broad range of content in print, online, and for tablet apps. You can create simple or complex layouts quickly and efficiently with precise control over typography, built-in creative tools, and an intuitive design environment. (Also available as a Single App.)

Experience Design (beta). Still a fledgling at the moment, the Experience Design app is designed to improve teamwork among workgroups who are prototyping apps and mobile content, and allows you to build and share prototypes, then collaborate and feed back on them in realtime.

InCopy. Adobe InCopy CC makes it easy to collaborate in demanding editorial workflows. With InCopy CC, writers, editors, and designers can work simultaneously on a single document without overwriting each other’s contributions. (Also available as a Single App.)

Video tools

Premiere Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a powerful, customisable, nonlinear video editor that lets you import and freely combine virtually any type of media, from video shot on a phone to raw 5K and higher resolution footage, and then edit in its native format without wasting time transcoding. (Also available as a Single App.)

After Effects. The industry-leading animation and creative compositing software used by a wide variety of motion graphics and visual effects artists, After Effects CC gives you powerful timesaving features like a Live 3D Pipeline with Maxon Cinema4D software and Mask Tracker, which lets you apply a mask and effect that travels frame by frame throughout your composite. (Also available as a Single App.)

Audition. Adobe Audition CC is a cross-platform audio editor that speeds up production for video, radio, music, games, and more, thanks to uncompromising sound quality and intuitive workflows. (Also available as a Single App.)

Media Encoder. Ingest, transcode, create proxies, and output any format – this powerful media management tool allows users to work with media in a unified way across applications, tightly integrating with Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC and other apps for a seamless media processing workflow.

SpeedGrade. SpeedGrade is a colour grading application that delivers layer-based colour correction and look design tools to ensure that digital video projects are visually consistent and aesthetically compelling.

Prelude. Rapidly tag and transcode video footage and quickly create a rough cut with Prelude – a video logging and ingest tool designed for intuitive, efficient media organisation and metadata entry.

Story Plus. This service combines collaborative screenwriting, reporting, and scheduling tools with script metadata logging to help you edit video in Premiere Pro. (Also available as a Single App.)

Character Animator (beta). Create 2D characters in Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC and bring them to life in Character Animator. Act out movements and record your voice using your webcam and microphone, with realtime facial expression and motion tracking.

Fuse (preview). The new 3D modelling app lets you quickly create unique human characters for your Adobe Photoshop CC images, designs, prototypes and more.

Web tools

Dreamweaver. Build sites and apps with Adobe Dreamweaver CC – the all-in-one, industry-leading web design tool. Dreamweaver CC provides a robust and integrated solution to design, develop, and publish projects for any screen size. (Also available as a Single App.)

Muse. Adobe Muse CC lets you design and publish HTML websites for desktop and mobile devices without writing code. Design freely using familiar tools and shortcuts, easily add engaging effects and interactivity, and even integrate third party functionality like blogs and shopping carts. (Also available as a Single App.)

Animate. Design interactive animations with cutting-edge drawing tools and publish them to multiple platforms – including Flash/Adobe AIR, HTML5 canvas, WebGL, or even custom platforms – and reach viewers on broadcast TV or virtually any desktop or mobile device. (Also available as a Single App.)

Flash Builder. A development environment for building games and applications using the ActionScript language and the open source Flex framework. Flash Builder Premium includes professional testing tools such as profilers, network monitoring, and unit testing support.

Scout. Adobe Scout is a lightweight but comprehensive SWF profiling tool designed for Adobe Flash game developers. Any SWF file, regardless of whether it runs on mobile devices or in browsers, can be quickly profiled with no change to the code — and Adobe Scout quickly and efficiently detects problems that could affect performance.

PhoneGap Build. Take the pain out of developing mobile apps by simply uploading your HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript assets to the Adobe PhoneGap Build cloud service, and Adobe will do all the work of compiling for you while you put your feet up.

Spark. Are you a social butterfly? Create social graphics, web stories and animated videos with real punch, using Spark’s free graphic design app.

Workflow tools

Acrobat Pro DC. Keep a sharp eye out for the all-new Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud, designed to change the way you work with important business documents. Do away with ink signatures and overnight envelopes, protect your important documents, work anywhere and edit anything.

Bridge. Bridge CC gives you centralised access to all the files and assets you need for your creative projects. Organise personal and team assets, batch edit with ease, add watermarks, set centralised colour preferences, and even upload your photos to Adobe Stock.

Creative Cloud. Where it all begins. The Creative Cloud for desktop app is where you can quickly launch and update your desktop apps, manage and share your assets, download fonts and assets, and showcase and discover creative work on Behance, all while staying conveniently out of sight.

To find out more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 251 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or like us on Facebook

A guide to Wacom: Choosing the best graphics tablet

A guide to Wacom: Choosing the best graphics tablet

Wacom’s graphics tablet lineup includes solutions for all kinds of creative work, needs and budgets. Here, we present our guide to all things Wacom, including MobileStudio Pro, the Cintiq range and Intuos Pro. 

So which Wacom is for you? All will be revealed in our rundown below…

Our bestselling graphics tablet: Wacom Intuos Pro

Go for this if… you frequently work in creative applications such as InDesign and Photoshop. It’s the ideal tool for precision work on layouts and imagery, offering great resolution and sensitivity, as well as tilt recognition and ExpressKeys.

new_wacom_intuos_pro

With the old Intuos range of tablets now being completely discontinued, Wacom’s entry level option is now the more recent Intuos Pro. The price tag may be a little more than its predecessor, but for the increased outlay, the Intuos Pro does come packed with a rich feature set that makes it ideal for more professional creative work.

The Intuos Pro comes in both medium and large sizes, complete with the Pro Pen 2, a stylus that’s four times more accurate than the previous generation of Pro Pen and boasts 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity – more than any other stylus/tablet combo on the market. This results in a more natural and responsive drawing experience with virtually no lag and natural tilt support. Handily, it doesn’t need batteries or charging, running instead on Wacom’s own peculiar brand of sand magic (resonant inductive coupling, apparently).

The tablets themselves are now just 8mm thick, managing to be slimmer and more compact than their predecessors while maintaining the same size active area. As usual, both models come with a Touch Ring, eight customisable ExpressKeys and on-pen slider switches so that you can have your favourite shortcuts right at your fingertips. The active area features support multitouch gestures (don’t worry, the palm rejection is still excellent).

Options:

Buy the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (2017) here – £274 ex VAT (£328.80 inc VAT).

Buy the Wacom Intuos Pro Large (2017) here – £374 ex VAT (£448.80 inc VAT).

 

Intuos Pro Paper Edition

Go for this if… If you prefer to start work on good old fashioned paper.

intuos_paper

The Intuos Paper Edition combines an Intuos Pro tablet with a Paper Clip, which affixes to the top of your tablet and tracks pen strokes made with your Wacom Finetip Pen (don’t worry, this is included).

As you draw with your Finetip Pen, the Clip saves each stroke as an editable file which you can subsequently open in your creative software of choice. If you want the digital version of your drawing to be made up of Photoshop-friendly layers, all you need to do is tap a button on your tablet to start a new layer as you’re drawing.

The Intuos Paper Edition can hold up to 200 multi-layered drawings before you need to transfer them to your computer, which can be a Mac or PC. Once you’ve transferred the sketches to your computer, just remove the Clip, pick up a Wacom Pro Pen and edit them as you would any other digital drawing.

Buy the medium Wacom Intuos Paper Edition here – £316 ex VAT (£379.20 inc VAT).

Buy the large Wacom Intuos Paper Edition here – £416 ex VAT (£499.20 inc VAT).  

 

The complete mobile solution: Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Go for this if… you want to combine your graphics tablet and laptop into a single piece of kit.

Wacom_Mobile_Studio_Pro 13

This Intel Powered, tablet computer provides a complete mobile solution for creatives on the go, running full versions of your favourite creative software. With up to 4K resolution and 96% RGB colour performance, as well as the Wacom Pro Pen 2 (which is 4x more pressure-sensitive and 4x more accurate than the previous version), this is a game-changing bit of design kit.

wacom_mobile_studio_pro_16

MobileStudio Pro comes in two versions – 13 and 16. MobileStudio Pro 13 packs a 13.3” screen, designed for maximum mobility, and features 2560×1440 resolution, 96% Adobe RGB colour performance, six ExpressKeys, and three different configurations to choose from. The MobileStudio Pro 16 provides a larger workspace, offering up a 15.6” 3840×2160 resolution display with 94% Adobe RGB colour performance. It also boasts a more substantial eight ExpressKeys and comes in two different configurations. Both models run on full versions of Windows 10.

Options:

Buy Mobile Studio 13, Intel Core i5, 128GB, 8GB, Intel Iris Graphics 550 here – £1374 (£1648.80 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 13, Intel Core i7, 256GB, 8GB, Intel Iris Graphics 550 here – £1499 (£1798.80 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 13, Intel Core i7, 512GB, 16GB, Intel Iris Graphics 550 here – £1916 (£2299.20 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 16, Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8GB, NVIDIA Quadro M600M with 2GB GDDr5 VRAM here – £1833 (£2199.60 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 16, Intel Core i7, 512GB, 16GB, NVIDIA Quadro M1000M with 4GB GDDr5 VRAM here – £2291 (£2749.20 inc VAT)

 

The quality pen display: Wacom Cintiq display

Go for this if… you work with illustrations, 3D design or any field where you’re more likely to deal with texturing, fine art or brush work.

Wacom Cintiq 27QHD display tablet

Wacom Cintiq brings together pen and touch input with a high res display to create a piece of technology that is, quite simply, unbeatable for digital artists. Rather than having to interpret your on-screen movements on a tablet, you get to paint directly onto the screen, allowing you to achieve incredible accuracy. It’s also completely customisable to your way of working – each stand allows you to position the screen in a way that is comfortable for you, and the ExpressKeys and TouchRings can be tailored to your needs.

There are a number of sizes available – the Cintiq 22HD is a desktop version with a 21.5″ full HD display, while the Cintiq 13HD is a far more portable option. The Cintiq 27QHD, is right at the top end, with improved hi-def resolution in its 2560×1440 pixel active workable area, a distinctly slimmer and lighter form factor, and a new customisable ExpressKey Remote Control which can be placed on your tablet or on your desk for more flexible working.

Options:

Buy Wacom Cintiq 13HD here – £575 (£690 inc VAT)

Buy Wacom Cintiq 22HD Pen-only display here – £1224 (£1468.80 inc VAT)

Buy Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Pen-only display here – £1455 (£1746 inc VAT)

Buy Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Pen & Touch display here – £1832 (£2198.40 inc VAT)

 

The high-end pen display: Wacom Cintiq Pro

Go for this if… You want the most sensitive creative pen display around.

wacom_cintiq_pro

The Wacom Cintiq Pro comes in two sizes: the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13, which has a 13.3″ display, and the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16, which very logically has a 15.6″ one. Both are compatible with Mac and PC computers, and can connect via USB-C, or via Mini DisplayPort and USB using an adaptor (which Wacom kindly include with the tablet so you don’t have to fork out twice).

The display is a sleek edge-to-edge etched glass surface, which leads to a slimmer, swisher design and a more realistic ‘pen on paper’ feel. The 13″ model has an HD screen while the 16″ has a 4K resolution one, and they’re colour accurate for 87% and 94% of Adobe RGB respectively.

Like the Intuos Pro and Intuos Paper Edition, the Cintiq Pro ships with the ridiculously sensitive Wacom Pro Pen 2, which boasts 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt support and virtually no lag.

The Cintiq Pro has a built-in kick stand, and an optional Wacom Stand with three levels of elevation is available for anyone who wants more flexibility. There are no on-tablet ExpressKeys, but anyone who prefers physical buttons to the Cintiq’s touchscreen controls can invest in a Wacom ExpressKey Remote.

Options:

Buy the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 here – £699 ex VAT (£838.80 inc VAT)

Buy the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 here – £1166 ex VAT (£1399.20 inc VAT)

 

Got a question? Call us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com to find out more about the different models from Wacom available or the best graphics tablet for your creative workflow. For everything else, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Adobe Creative Cloud 2016: What’s new?

Adobe Creative Cloud 2016: What’s new?

It’s hard to believe that a year’s passed since Adobe unveiled Stock, Artboards and a whole load of cool new features in their desktop and mobile apps. Now, they’re at it again, with the 2016 update to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. This comes replete with a whole arsenal of new creative tools and improvements across Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects and more, as well as always-welcome performance improvements.

Our pick of the new features

With dozens of new features available for desktop apps as well as mobile and Adobe Stock, we’d be here all day talking about every one, so we’ll concentrate on the main apps that our creative team use day-in, day-out (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro and After Effects, mainly), and some of the tools and workflow improvements they’re most excited about.

Photoshop. With every new iteration of Photoshop, there are always one or two big crowdpleasers, and this time round is no different. The Content-Aware tools were a real game-changer when they were originally released, and the new Content-Aware Crop, which fills in the gaps when you rotate an image or expand your canvas, looks very handy indeed.

The one that we’ve had the most fun with so far, though, is Face Aware Liquify, a very clever tool for detecting and magically making adjustments to facial features in images. Graphic designer Liana had a play with an unsuspecting subject’s face below, and had this to say: “On first play, it’s really good, detecting faces straight away and very accurately. You can use the sliders or grab the various facial features, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting there to be so many options, eg eye tilt or distance. Obviously these examples are the extremes, but I think this would be very useful in making subtle changes.” Cheers, Li…

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.10.49

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.09.23

Another new Photoshop feature of interest is Match Font, which identifies Latin fonts in images. “It’s recommended to get a straight-on image, so I did a quick Perspective Warp because the photo was at an angle,” Liana said. “It did seem a bit hit and miss (just nudging the box along could make it come up with different results even though the text was still in the box). But even though it didn’t find the font that we’ve used here, it did come up with similar suggestions. I love the fact that it searches Typekit too, which is obviously really handy. I think this is a good tool to get a similar style font and various options, but maybe not if you really need ‘that exact font’.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.42.37

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.42.25

Illustrator. No silly faces in this one, unfortunately, just cold hard workflow improvements. The latest update for Illustrator features Fast Export of assets and artboards. When you need an icon scaled for multiple screen sizes, instead of exporting each size configuration individually, now you can export the icon across all the required size configurations at the same time with just one click, which is going to make life a lot easier for our design team.

Premiere Pro and After Effects. Earlier this year at NAB 2016, Adobe made a big announcement about upcoming updates to their core Creative Cloud for teams (CCT) video apps. They promised VR video capabilities and faster than ever media ingest and editing workflows in Premiere Pro CC, as well as a more responsive After Effects (as well as the usual performance and stability enhancements across all the Adobe video and audio applications). And with this update, they’ve made good on their word.

New Virtual Reality features have been added to Premiere Pro, including a ‘field of view’ mode which makes it easy for editors and filmmakers to preview media and see what the viewer will see. Then there’s the new Character Animator in After Effects, which makes it easy to match an animated character to a real-life actor’s speech and movements in real time. If you’re a Simpsons fan, you’ll be interested to know that this latest update was recently tested by The Simpsons’ animation team when they used it for Homer Simpson’s live Q&A session in the 15th May episode.

Creative Cloud Libraries. Creative Cloud Libraries was a big hit with our design team when it first came out, meaning easier access to key tools, colours, fonts and more. And now it’s even better, with read-only library collaboration, followable Libraries with a Send Link, an updated Libraries panel for Photoshop CC, Dreamweaver CC (Beta), Adobe Muse CC and Animate CC, and new asset type support for InDesign CC, including gradients, colours, styles, tints and swatches.

When can I get them?

As always, if you’re a current Creative Cloud for teams subscriber, you get all new updates immediately for free. A notification should have pinged up in your Creative Cloud app. If you don’t currently hold an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription though, you can of course get in touch with us, as the UK’s leading Adobe reseller, to get it all sorted.

– Want to get the most out of Adobe Creative Cloud? For tutorials, tips and other resources, check out our Adobe Creative Cloud Hub

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 251, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Adobe drop new 2015 Creative Cloud features and updates

Adobe drop new 2015 Creative Cloud features and updates

In what’s become a bit of a yearly tradition, Adobe have unveiled major new 2015 updates for all Creative Cloud desktop apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and more.

Creative Cloud 2015 also brings new updates to mobile apps, including the brand new Adobe Hue for iOS, as well as new improved libraries and the new Adobe Stock asset marketplace. Of course, if you’ve got an ongoing Creative Cloud membership, all the new stuff comes at no extra cost too. We’ve picked out our top new updates and features below.

 

Desktop apps get a sprinkling of magic

All 15 Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps get updates in the 2015 release, with Adobe adding what they call their ‘Adobe Magic’. Just some of the new features to look out for include:

Photoshop CC. 2015 sees the introduction of Artboards, an easy way to create and preview multiple layouts of different sizes in one Photoshop document, and Device Preview, so you can check how they’ll look on different devices. An interesting workflow addition is the new Photoshop Design Space interface which lets users create their own tool layouts based on just the tools they need to do their work. Performance-wise, the Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush and Patch tools have been boosted with Mercury Graphics Engine enhancements, so you get results up to a massive 120 times faster than in CS6.

Lightroom CC. Lightroom, as well as Photoshop, gets a new Dehaze feature which eliminates fog and haze from photos, including underwater shots, for startlingly clear images. Haze can also be added to a photo for artistic effect.

Illustrator CC. Illustrator has also had a speed boost – it’s now ten times faster and ten times more precise than CS6. Thanks to a new Mercury Performance System boost, you can pan, zoom and scroll faster and more smoothly, and zoom into your artwork to create and edit with incredible precision (magnification can now reach up to 64,000% instead of 6400%). A new Chart tool lets users create custom charts and graphics.

InDesign CC. Mercury performance has also come to InDesign, meaning you can now zoom, scroll and page through complex documents twice as fast. Other new enhancements let you place images directly into cells of tables, add colour or shading to paragraphs, and publish and distribute documents with a single click.

Premiere Pro CC. Video users get spoiled with some big new improvements in the 2015 release. The new Lumetri Colour panel simplifies colour workflows with better colour correction tools and intuitive sliders. For editing interviews, the new Morph Cut feature smooths out jump cuts and sound bytes in talking-head shots to create a cohesive, polished sequence.

After Effects CC. New tracking features give you exceptional accuracy by managing the level of detail you track, and simple mask tracking lets you quickly apply effects only to a face, such as selective colour correction or blurring. You can easily animate 2D characters from Illustrator or Photoshop with Character Animator, which tracks your facial movements, records a voiceover and even triggers bodily movement with simple keyboard actions and automated features. Newcomers will also benefit from the new Simplified Preview mode which helps users get to grips with motion graphics and visual effects.

Dreamweaver CC. It’s now easier than ever to create mobile websites in Dreamweaver, with support for responsive design to create production-ready websites that dynamically adapt to various screen sizes. You also have the ability to preview and test websites on multiple devices in realtime. Quickly turn Photoshop comps into code-based designs with Extract, and work more efficiently with Code Editor tools like code completion, built-in validation and site management.

Muse CC. With instant access to premium fonts in Typekit from the Adobe Muse font menu, and the ability to integrate blogs, shopping carts, radio buttons and more using new widgets downloaded from the Library panel, it’s now much faster to create dynamic, engaging web designs.

 

Libraries get Linked Assets

Creative Cloud Libraries has always been a favourite feature of our team, giving easier access to key tools, brushes, colours, fonts and more, in Photoshop and InDesign. Now in the 2015 release, that functionality is extended to more apps, with support for Premiere Pro and After Effects. Adobe have also added support for Linked Assets, which lets you make an amend to an asset and then have that change automatically incorporated within every document or project.

 

Adobe stock up on assets

Adobe Stock is Adobe’s new asset marketplace, home to some 40 million quality images and graphics. It conveniently integrates into CC desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more, letting you save images to your Creative Cloud Libraries and then access them directly from inside your apps. You can work with watermarked images directly in comps, then when you’re ready to purchase, any edits you made to the watermarked image are magically applied to the purchased full-resolution image via CreativeSync.

You can buy Adobe Stock with new Creative Cloud for teams purchases or simply add it to your existing membership, and we’ll have full pricing and availability soon.

 

New and improved mobile CC apps

The Creative Cloud mobile app lineup keeps getting stronger, with updates to Adobe Comp CC, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw, Brush CC, Shape CC and Color CC for iPad and iPhone (Shape, Color and Photoshop Mix are also now available for Android).

Adobe have also released new mobile apps Adobe Hue, Preview and Comp which are designed to make it even easier to capture inspiration and create from anywhere. Hue lets you capture colour palettes from photographs to create ‘Looks’ that can be uploaded to your Creative Cloud Library. You can then use these as creative references and to improve video footage in apps like Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Premiere Clip for iOS devices. Adobe Preview CC gives Photoshop CC designers precise, realtime previews of their mobile designs, while you can use Comp CC to draft your layouts using natural drawing gestures.

 

– The 2015 updates to CC desktop and mobile apps are available to download immediately for all Creative Cloud members as part of their membership at no additional cost. If you want to know more about Creative Cloud subscriptions, get in touch on the details below.

Adobe Creative Cloud hub on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator

Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator

Want to make your Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator workflow that little bit more efficient? Learning these little keyboard shortcuts will soon have you jumping between cropping, lassoing and zooming tools like a pro. Just click on the images to see the larger keyboard…

Photoshop CC
Adobe Photoshop keyboard (click to enlarge)InDesign CC
Adobe InDesign keyboard shortcuts (click to enlarge)Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator keyboard shortcuts (click to enlarge)

– Working in web? Check out our Adobe Flash keyboard shortcuts here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Adobe Illustrator CC gets GPU-acceleration for the first time

Adobe Illustrator CC gets GPU-acceleration for the first time

For creatives relying on the magic of Illustrator CC’s vector graphics, you’re about to find the creative workflow a far smoother experience. Thanks to graphics processing giants NVIDIA, Illustrator is able to take advantage of GPU-acceleration for the first time. The technology to applaud for getting your GPU out of it’s armchair is NV Path.

NV Path is an extension of OpenGL, and the result of work between NVIDIA and Adobe. NV Path offloads path rendering onto the GPU, leading to increased fluidity when zooming and panning around your resolution-independent creations.

Previously, Illustrator performance was served up entirely by the CPU, often leading to stuttering, spluttering and an interrupted creative process. Unlike their 3D cousins, 2D artists haven’t had access to the GPU until now. When Illustrator CC is able to perform 10 times faster, you’ll wonder how you got by.

While all this sounds like a technical marvel (and it is!), Illustrator CC’s central mission is to get your imagination onto the screen and beyond with the least resistance. News of this stutter-killing advancement will delight 2D artists, whose creative impulses won’t be held back by an overworked CPU.

For users with the winning combination of Creative Cloud and an NVIDIA GPU, NV Path enabled Illustrator CC is available now.

For more information, call 03332 409 306 or email on at adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook