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Beautiful Disruptions
By Charles Purdy – French artist Arthur-Louis Ignoré, better known as Ali, arrived in the city of Rennes eight years ago to begin his art studies. Since then, his public murals and street art have become well known in the city—and beyond.

Ali’s first works developed in a circular fashion; he describes them as mandalas or kolams. In the early days, he always worked without making sketches or plans, or using tools beyond his painting or drawing implements.

He adds, “Since I wasn’t asking permission to paint in these spaces, I had to work fast. Once I’d chosen a place, I would define a center and then add elements one by one, enlarging the circle.”

As time has progressed, his works have become larger and more complex, so he likes to have an idea of the overall form he’s going to create before he starts working—though he still creates each piece’s patterns and ornamentation as he goes.

A recent example of Ali’s large-scale work is the more than 11,000-square-foot mural on the roof of the family welfare (CAF) building in Rennes, which he created for that city’s Maintenant festival.

“For this project, I first traced out the lines that form the basic structure. Then, as with my smaller works, I filled in the shapes and added motifs and ornamentation, organizing everything in a symmetrical manner.” more>

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By Serena Fox – Laura Zalenga has come full circle. Known for her hauntingly ethereal and hyper-composed conceptual self-portraits, the German art and fashion photographer made a radical departure last year at the start of her tenure as an Adobe Creative Resident. She spent months exploring an opposite direction: completely natural, documentary-style photographs and interviews of elderly subjects for a project called The Beauty of Age.

Now, as her residency ends, Zalenga is returning to self-portraiture but finds herself changed, incorporating insights from the time she spent listening and capturing the stories of 80- and 90-year-olds.

Even people in the stone age, who were painting with charcoal on the walls, were already documenting themselves and their daily life. Painters from centuries ago used the first versions of mirrors that existed to try and draw a self-portrait of themselves. So the need to document ourselves is a fundamental one—the urge of people to show who they are is incredibly old and very deep.

One thing I do in my workshops is explain how different a selfie is from a self-portrait. Especially in today’s world, where selfies are everywhere and often viewed negatively, I think it’s important to recognize that self-portraiture is an art form, and always has been. more>

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Bringing Language to Life
By Amy Papaelias – Isabel Lea didn’t expect to fall down the rabbit hole of variable font technology. But since the London-based graphic designer started the Adobe Creative Residency in May 2018, she’s repeatedly found herself at the intersection between technological experimentation and typographic innovation.

If you haven’t spent much time on that particular corner, you may not be familiar with the variable font format. It can reduce web font file sizes and give you loads of typographic variations. (Let’s say you’re unsuccessfully searching for a condensed but slightly bold version of a typeface for a web design. If you choose a variable font, you simply tweak the font’s values using CSS until you get exactly what you’re after.)

However, the possibilities go way beyond the typographically practical, into animation and other areas people are just beginning to explore.

Lea first learned about variable fonts at a two-week intensive type design course at the University of Reading’s Department of Typography. “We had a hands-on workshop where we were looking at variable fonts,” says Lea.

“I thought, ‘Great, you can make a font pulse. Can you make it pulse to something, like music?'” more>

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Updates from Adobe

Solving Problems with Smart Package Design

How does a Kansas City design agency get hired by an Indian food brand based in Trinidad and Tobago? For the Papadums Go-Go Gourmet project, that unlikely turn of events was simply par for the course.
By Terri Stone – Matt Wegerer is the founder of Whiskey Design. He’s not afraid of risk, so when the email came asking for a food-truck design for the Caribbean start-up, he didn’t blink an eye. “The client had some great recipes and he was doing some food-service stuff,” Wegerer says, “and before he went all in with brick and mortar, he wanted to build a fan base and work out the kinks through a food truck.

In Trinidad and Tobago, those don’t really exist.” And that’s how the geographically unlikely relationship came to be: The client searched the internet for “cool food truck design” and stumbled on the Rocket Pizza Truck in Whiskey Design’s portfolio.

Wegerer and Micah Barta, Whiskey’s art director and illustrator, jumped into the Papadums challenge. Because the client didn’t have a visual identity, the duo had to build the brand from scratch.

The brief for that was, um, brief. “They basically said, ‘You guys just do what you do,'” Wegerer recalls.

However, the lack of direction didn’t indicate a lack of vision. Wegerer says, “He told us to make it scalable—that they were starting with the food truck, but we should make something that works when they have 50 stores.”

Eventually, the project encompassed the logo, food truck, to-go bags, food packaging for markets, and more.

While a bare-bones brief may sound freeing, it has its own challenges. more>

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Updates from Adobe

The Joy of Making Things
By Jessie Young – Jenny Yu’s masterfully crafted illustrations feature solitary figures wrapped in blankets of light and color.

Yu gravitated toward art at a young age.

She earned a BFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach and was initially focused on traditional materials. She only started using digital tools during her junior year. “My friend gave me her old Bamboo tablet for free,” she says, “and that’s how it all started. I was really bad at it!”

References are important to Yu’s process. To imagine the essence of a scene, she must first understand its structure in the real world.  She’s inspired by the light and color she sees on walks around the city; her favorite photographers; and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

She chooses her subject matter according to her mood, in “slice of life-y contexts.” She’s drawn to quiet contemplation: sitting and having coffee, walking alone down the street, looking out the window. Her work often captures moments when the subject is lost in thought, unaware that anyone is paying attention. Instead of populating these spaces with crowds of bystanders, she fills the page with architectural details, angled lines of falling rain, and layered shapes created by late afternoon or early morning light.

Her favorite parts of the illustration process are to lock down the basic composition and structure and then experiment with value and color. more>

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Connecting with the Extreme
By Serena Fox – Renan Ozturk captures stories at the edge of the human condition. “I want to show humanity on the fringes,” says the photographer and documentary filmmaker. “Whether that’s high in the mountains or isolated on the edge of the earth, these cultures need their voices amplified in some way.”

A world-class climber, Ozturk is best known for his work as the director of photography and high-altitude director on the award-winning documentary Sherpa—which explores the Sherpa people’s cultural connection to Mount Everest—and for the Sundance Audience Award–winning Meru, which recounts the near-death accidents and transcendent beauty of Ozturk’s attempts, with climbers Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin, to climb the most-tried-and-failed peak in the Himalaya range.

In addition to being a prolific documentary filmmaker, Ozturk is a photojournalist for National Geographic and Sony, an expedition climber for The North Face, a co-owner of the production company Camp4 Collective, and a commercial director for clients including Apple, Nike, Yeti, ESPN, and NBC. On top of all that, he’s also a talented landscape painter.

Driven to show our connection to the natural world, the soft-spoken Ozturk faces extreme challenges: physical, cultural, and technological. He dangles thousands of feet in the air while shooting, hauls gear through the planet’s most extreme environments, flies ultra-light experimental aircraft to capture aerial shots, pilots drones during technical ascents of the earth’s most challenging peaks, and spends months slowly getting to know the people who live in the world’s most remote locations. more>

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Updates from Adobe

The Art of the Unnatural
By Brendan Seibel – When he was a kid, Jason DeMarte enjoyed visiting natural history museums to see the dioramas filled with taxidermy wildlife and carefully positioned plants.

As an adult, he determined that those scenes are intended more to capture the imagination than to document reality. And while the diorama designers’ motives may be pure, there is a darker side.

DeMarte saw a correlation between the museums’ “perfect, pristine snippets of nature” and product photography of the sort he’d done for Toys ’R’ Us to pay the bills while earning an MFA in photography. That experience of creating flawless images of merchandise exemplified photography’s role in cultivating consumer desire for false perfection through manipulation and good lighting.

“I started thinking about nature in a different way, as a commodity, as a way of packaging, promoting, and selling a commodifiable object,” DeMarte says.

The disconnect between manufactured perceptions of nature and the imperfect reality has been DeMarte’s artistic focus ever since. His work is a commentary on the artifice underpinning our concept of the world, as well as our constant desire for something “better.” more>

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Updates from Adobe

Kiwie Bubble Gum Collection
By Charles Purdy – In a recent post on Behance, Kiwie, whose graffiti artwork is well known on the streets of Riga, Latvia, where he makes his home, explained why and how he created the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection—a project that involved Adobe After Effects CC, Illustrator CC, and a fair bit of spray paint

The idea for the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection arose from Kiwie’s need to create new stickers. Wanting a fresh concept for the stickers, he remembered that the bubblegum brands of his youth used to come with collectible pictures folded inside the packaging—so what if he used that gum packaging shape as a way to deliver his stickers?

Then he realized that “Kiwie” and “Turbo” have the same number of letters. He says, “That was the point when the chain reaction started, where the first concept seed was created by simply connecting two dots: new Kiwie stickers and Turbo Bubble Gum. The same day I found on eBay, and ordered, five original Turbo Bubble Gums. I had to see them in my hands.” more>

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Updates from Adobe

Behind the Scenes of the Spider-Verse
By Terri Stone – Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s critically acclaimed Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t a movie about a comic book; it is a comic book.

Justin K. Thompson was a natural choice for the film’s production designer (the person responsible for translating the director’s vision into what the audience sees onscreen). “I learned to draw by looking at comic books and emulating them,” he says. “My first job was in a comic book store—not for money, because I was too young. They paid me in comics.”

As a life-long comics fan and an artist, Thompson can easily identify key elements of comics. “They have the screen tones and misprints and offsets, and they’re printed with CMYK. There is a texture to them. You really feel the artist’s hand. I thought, ‘We have to bring all of that into our animated film.’”

“We got rid of things like blur that are typical in an animated film and in film in general,” he adds. “Comic books don’t have any blur. You just flip a panel. We knew it would be a real challenge to make a film without blur—we had to figure out new ways to animate.”

Bob Persichetti was a director on the film. “We spent almost two years developing the look and the way our characters move,” he says. “It was a struggle to make it work because we broke the animation pipeline. In computer animation, there’s an image every single frame, and there are 24 frames in a second. We stripped out half of those images to make the movements feel crisper. And because we took out every idea of a motion blur, everything’s crunchy and sharp—it helps make the images pop off the screen.”

Once the core team members had developed a unique visual language, it took hundreds of artists to apply the language to every frame of the film. Custom brushes for Adobe Photoshop CC helped keep things cohesive. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Minimal Lines, Maximum Impact
By Terri Stone – Monika Kehrer, our design director and a brilliant illustrator herself, is the force that holds everything together in the studio while I (Adam Goldberg) go off and design animals, plants, and weird shit.

We debated putting this stuff out there because of the possible confusion it might cause for potential clients and the creative community. Does it take away from our branding focus? We don’t think so. At the end of the day, creativity and art are part of our branding DNA, so we decided to not to shy away from it.

Although the illustration rarely shows up in our branding work so far, look closely and you can see the geometric, minimalist, mid-century, pattern work and constructivist threads that run through most everything we design. We like to call it “Messy Modernism.” more>

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