Apply to be a 2017 Adobe Creative Resident


Creative Cloud

We are excited to announce the Adobe Creative Residency is building upon the success of its first two years and expanding in 2017. For the upcoming program year, we will have six residents from the United States, Germany and Canada. It will be the first year the Creative Residency is open to candidates outside of the United States and we plan to continue expanding it internationally in the future.

We will accept applications from January 23 through February 26. If you want to get a head start on your application, here is some information about the program for you to consider.

What is the Adobe Creative Residency program?

The Adobe Creative Residency program gives talented individuals a year to work on a personal creative project, while sharing their process with the community. Residents apply new ideas and tools to their work and inspire others to try new methods. Adobe provides residents with the best creative tools and resources, along with guidance from advisors and a complete compensation package.

Should you apply?

Creative Residents are passionate about creativity and sharing their creative process. They are interested in growing their creative skills and career, while sharing their process, successes, and failures with the community.

Ideal candidates are in the early stage of their career and prepared to make the Creative Residency their professional focus for one year.

For 2017, we have a focus on the following fields:

  • Photography
  • Graphic design (Digital and Print)
  • UI / UX design
  • Graphic Composition (leveraging 2D and 3D)
  • Video especially on YouTube or Vimeo
  • Illustration

The Creative Residency program aims to provide a diverse range of creative viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences so even if your area of interest is not in one of the fields above, we still encourage you to apply.

Preparing your application

If you are thinking of applying to the Adobe Creative Residency program, take time to gather your application materials including your proposal and work samples. The factors considered when selecting Residents include your project proposal, previous creative work, flexibility to try new things, past work experiences, and willingness to take on new challenges. Here are the kinds of questions you should be prepared to answer in the application.

  • Please describe your project, the goals and what you want to accomplish with it.
  • How does this project build off your previous work?
  • What tools will you use?
  • Describe your work flow for this project.
  • How do you plan to share your project with the creative community?
  • What do you want the community to learn from your project?

While preparing your answers, please select three past projects you’d like to share with us along with links to your online portfolio and/or Behance page. You can find good examples to use as a guide by checking out Behance projects from some of our residents like Christine Herrin and Syd Weiler.

Now you have what you need to begin preparing your Creative Residency application. If you’d like to be reminded when we open applications on January 23, you can sign up here. For questions that are not answered above, please check our FAQ page or send us an email.

Gabriel Topete from Vimeo on the Future of Video in UX Design


Creative Cloud

Video may have killed the radio star, but it’s done wonders for UX designers. We chat with Gabriel Topete, senior mobile and television product designer at Vimeo, to find out where he thinks video is going from here.

Adobe: What attracts you to working on a video platform?

Topete: Video is up and coming. It’s a very hands-on kind of technology and by hands-on I mean video is now attached to everything, not just your cellphone. It’s now on refrigerators and printers. Video devices are popping up everywhere – even my keyboard (I have a gaming keyboard) has a little video screen on it. The new iMac has a video screen touch bar. Video is becoming integrated pretty much into every device. I find that a neat challenge to design for.

Has this created any new opportunities for you in your UX career?

I’d say so. As a product designer, having video on multiple platforms is pretty interesting. I haven’t owned a TV in probably over 10 years, so for me to jump into design for TV, that’s really interesting because I find TV to be a very old technology. Even though there are plasma TVs, flat screen TVs, and the resolution keeps getting better and better, it’s still kind of an old technology. I find it interesting to design UIs for TV because even now the stuff that I design for it does work fairly well, but it still feels clunky. Designing for these things is kind of like an exaggerated DVD menu, which I used to design back in the day. It wasn’t a very fluid experience. I do like the challenge of designing for TV now. It is an emerging frontier. The technology is better, the code is better, and the applications are better. I can see it becoming more fluid.

Can you elaborate on that? What do you mean when you say you can see it becoming more fluid?

With better graphics cards, better hardware, better apps and better coding, the experience is more fluid. Back when this technology was first emerging, a lot of the TV and old school video applications did feel a bit clunky and not really there yet. You can see it with old ATM machines when they have video and you touch the interface and you interact with it; it feels a bit clunky. I see it becoming more fluid, because the technology is getting better so you are getting a better experience.

Do you think users are expecting these more fluid experiences as video becomes a more innate part of how we live our lives?

I think they’re expecting it, but they’re probably not consciously expecting it. They’re not sitting around saying, “I hope this TV app becomes better,” it’s just something we do subconsciously. When we buy a new TV we do expect that its experience will be better than the last experience.

The Vimeo app we launched for Android TV, one of the designers did what she called blooming.

On Android TV when you click on a video cell it expands and that’s it, but what she did is she made it a one-two-three approach so that when you highlight the row you get a bit of information, when you click into the row you get a second bit of information like the title, and when you click on the cell you get a third line of information. Android TV didn’t have that built in, but we built it and we launched it and the users were really impressed by that and thought it was a cool experience. We launched this app and it wasn’t something users were expecting, but when they see it they appreciated it.

I’ve read a couple articles that predict that video is going to become more of a background tool in a lot of applications and websites, so instead of having a static image it is going to become increasingly common for the background to have video and motion. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this?

It’s definitely a popular trend among designers and I know on our side we experimented with those kinds of videos. It goes back to how technology is evolving. The internet gets faster, the hardware gets better. Designers and people working on websites and applications have realized it is actually adding a lot more features. The background video is a nice experience. Instead of having a photo, a video can provide a more immersive, visceral experience. You are in charge of the narrative. For example, you can have a large, beautiful image of flowers on a website. That’s pretty and everything, and you can take that photo as you will. Or maybe there’s a video of a woman sitting at home and someone knocks on the door and she gets flowers and she smiles, maybe these micro videos are only like 10 seconds long or tell a seven second story. When that’s the background image on the website you’re already picking up an emotional response with the user. You accomplish more with those videos than with just one still image. I do see that trend popping up more and more.

In addition to that, what kind of trends do you see for video and user experience design going forward?

I see video becoming more immersed in everyday life. We’ve already started seeing that like in a taxicab they have a video touch screen so I can sit there, look at the weather and get channels. It’s becoming more immersive. I’ve seen cutting boards that are literally just screens so you can technically watch a cooking video and cut on the cutting board at the same time. Video will be an immersive tool. Everything is becoming electronic and everything that is electronic typically has a screen on it. If it has a screen on it, it can pretty much use video.

What do you think this means for UX designers?

I think it’s going to open up the floodgates. If you’re a UX designer right now it’s mainly like “design this website or this app”, so this is going to open up the floodgates beyond the two realms of web and mobile. Look at subway maps. You have these big screens and it shows the whole subway map and it’s interactive. You can click on it and watch a video or see your location. That in itself is a whole new UX experience. It’s a whole new dimension. You have touch action. What happens when a user clicks on this, what happens when they click on Central Park, can they watch a video on it, does it have captions? Each little device that has a screen needs a designer behind it.

What do you recommend UX designers do to get an edge on this emerging field?

For me, to work in house was incredibly difficult. I started doing freelance work at agencies that focused on applications like Android or iOs. In addition to that, I would also update my portfolio with exploratory design and I would actually go and redesign an app and do what I do for web: create some sketches, create my wireframes, and show my flow chart and final design. That’s how I started to transition and people started to take me a bit more seriously. It wasn’t just me going into an app position and only showing web work. I had to show at least some application work and the thought process behind how to build an application.

Finally, what do you have to say to UX designers out there who maybe aren’t sold on how valuable or big video is going to be in 2017?

Take a moment and really look around at all the emerging technologies and see how many of them utilize screens and video. People love videos. You see it with Snapchat. Snapchat has a huge evaluation and all it is, is you take little clips of your friends and what you’re doing and that’s a video experience that’s made 20 billion dollars. Instagram started off with just still photos, but that wasn’t good enough, so now Instagram has to do the same thing Snapchat is doing so they implemented videos and that’s actually booming. Facebook did the same thing and started implementing live video. You’re seeing all these apps add video functionality and it’s for a reason. It’s because people really love video.

What are your thoughts on video’s role in the future of user experience design? Tell us in the comments below.

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How to Create Your 2017-Ready Web and App Design Portfolio


Creative Cloud

They say that a good portfolio is a designer’s best friend.

So much so that building a portfolio is usually somewhere at the top of the to do list for most new designers. And it’s hard to disagree with this idea. I mean, as a designer, what other better tool can you use to aid you in convincing new clients that you’re the best person to work with?

But there’s also a problem here, and it’s this:

Not all forms of portfolios are equally effective. And, even worse, some of them can backfire and cost you a job instead of giving you one.

The devil is in the details – as they say. So let’s look into that today – let’s figure out how you can build your 2017-proof web design portfolio that will impress your clients and make you look like a pro as soon as you walk in the door.

Starting with:

The main goal of a web design portfolio

There are two, actually:

  • present what you have that others don’t – the thing that makes you unique,
  • present a good proof that you can deliver results.

The first goal should be fairly obvious. With so many other designers in the market, standing out is a valuable skill. If you stand out, you can build a brand for yourself. You become known for something. If you blend in, you’re just like thousands of other designers competing in the same marketplace.

Now, the second goal – proof that you can deliver – is actually way more tricky than it sounds.

The need to be able to deliver results is something that beginner designers don’t usually ponder too much about. The non-obvious thing here is that those are not “design results” we’re talking about. It’s business results.

At the end of the day, a client doesn’t want a “pretty site,” even though it might appear so. What a client really wants is a website that will achieve certain business goals, and hence put the business in a better position than it would otherwise be without the website.

This is huge because it goes way above the visual attractiveness of the final website, and puts a focus on an entirely different aspect – the website’s ability to make money (more or less). And that’s especially true in 2017. With more and more e-commerce websites and other commercial website projects, earning potentials are among the key characteristics of well-executed website designs.

Therefore, how do we build a portfolio that takes all of that into account, and really convinces the client that YOU can deliver?

Be original

There are no set-in-stone rules that you need to follow from a technical point of view when building a portfolio website. You can do whatever. Be original. Make yourself unique.

At the end of the day, the more your portfolio site stands out, the more effective it will be.

Essentially, there are no portfolio-unfriendly layouts, design types, graphic concepts, or website structures. Anything and everything goes as long as it manages to showcase your portfolio effectively, present your services effectively, and convince your clients that you’re the person for the job.

For example, do a quick research going through popular user profiles on Behance. Follow the links to their websites and see how different many of them are.

Two nice examples:

Think case studies … not visuals

Clients need solutions, not works of art.

You can’t just show off the looks of the websites that you built and not provide any commentary whatsoever. Real-world clients simply won’t care.

Each project in your portfolio needs to have a good description that explains the goals behind that project and talks about the process of actually going through it from start to finish.

So yes, this means doing some writing, unfortunately. But it’s the kind of writing that holds a really good return on investment.

With good project descriptions, you’re helping potential clients understand what the goal behind each thing in the portfolio was. It’s basically allowing them to look beyond the initial appearances and understand why you made specific choices with those projects.

This not only presents your expertise but also lets the client know that you will be able to figure things out along the way, instead of simply being the hand holding the brush.

Here’s what Robert Mening of WebsiteSetup.org says about evaluating candidates for a web design job:

Looking through someone’s previous work is key. And this is not just about screenshots or quick demos, but more about seeing if the designer can solve specific problems and deliver solutions. If I can see an indication of that in their portfolio then it’s a great sign. So rather than looking just at the visuals, I try to look for some explanation as to why certain choices were made vs the other possibilities.

The workflow of the designer is key as well. There’s always a lot of back and forth when working on a complex design project, so I need the person to be able to get back to me quickly and work on the improvements that were suggested. When looking through a portfolio, I try to search for things where it’s clearly visible that a given design decision was made because of a business reason that warranted it. In other words, I need designers that can work towards a business goal, not just someone who can “move the brush nicely.”

In the end, I’m usually looking for someone who is interested in full-time work, so I need to be sure that we can work together as a team where both theirs and my vision make up the final product.

Again, think case studies, not project snapshots. Use as many visuals as you need to present a project case study effectively, but don’t make those visuals the be-all end-all of the portfolio.

Here’s a great example of a case-study-based portfolio by Creative Monarchy:

This brings me to:

Present each individual project separately

Since we are thinking about this in terms of case studies vs single project snapshots, each of your portfolio projects should get its own sub-page that’s linked from the main portfolio listing.

If we were to just make the whole portfolio a single blob of content that’s all put together on one page then we wouldn’t be able to get into any detail for individual projects too effectively.

For example, see this portfolio by Andrea Pedrina:

The main portfolio is just a set of titled boxes. But when you click on any of them, you’ll see a separate page that goes into detail – transitions to case-study mode. There, Andrea takes more time to explain the ideas and challenges of the project.

As a bonus, this sort of structure also allows you to share specific case studies with specific clients. So for instance, if you have a client interested in an X type of project, then you can share specific portfolio links with them that lead to something similar. This should make them much more willing to work with you, seeing you have experience.

Talk about actual results

When you’re describing each of your portfolio projects, you need to focus more on the facts and the parameters of each project, rather than on their visual aspects.

In other words, think and talk results, not visual flair.

Here’s what’s actually important to a client looking through projects in your portfolio:

  • What your previous clients got as a result of working with you. This involves business goals, achievements, and other important outcomes from a business point of view.
  • Is there any data presented alongside the project. This involves raw numbers regarding the results that the website brought, the sales it generated, the conversions it got vs the old website, and etc. Basically, everything that makes a website an effective marketing or sales tool.
  • Is there any mention of UX, conversion optimization, split testing and other website performance metrics that are key for a website’s long-term success.

Here’s what Catalin Zorzini of ecomm.design shared about this:

The designers I work with need to have a strong focus on functionality and UX, instead of relying too much on pure aesthetics. In the long run, aesthetics can go outdated, but the UX needs to stay there no matter what.

Essentially, I’m looking for patience in a web designer. Working on good UX takes time, and it’s not something you can just do perfectly at the first try. If a designer puts a lot of care into explaining the ins and outs of various UX and usability-related aspects of the projects in their portfolio, then it makes me pay attention.

  • If there are any testimonials. This involves your actual clients talking about their experience working with you. Testimonials really go a long way in a portfolio. Although they don’t make a sale on their own (i.e. you need other elements in your portfolio as well), they can be an effective final nudge for a new client to make up their mind.

The previously mentioned Creative Monarchy has an effective testimonial presentation:

Please notice the structure of the testimonial:

  • there’s a picture – proving it’s a real person,
  • name and position of the person giving the testimonial,
  • the text is factual, focusing on specific aspects of working with them (instead of being general, like, “So and So is a great designer.”)

Don’t show everything

Not everything you’ve ever done needs to go into your portfolio.

Choose just the best stuff, or the most interesting stuff.

The best stuff you can probably identify pretty easily. Those are the projects that changed your clients’ businesses or even lives. The ones that took a business off the ground, or improved someone’s sales many-fold.

Talk about those projects extensively. Explain everything that led them to that success. Say it in a way that’s easy to understand and also convinces the reader – your prospective client – that they can expect similar results.

The other kind of projects that should appear in your portfolio – the most interesting projects – are a bit more tricky to identify. Those aren’t necessarily the projects that have ended in the hugest of successes, or that were appreciated the most, etc. These are the ones that have something about them that any new client can resonate with easily on a personal level.

For example, talk about projects that were meant to help a client save a failing business that perhaps couldn’t get off the ground at all. Talk about how you helped them pivot to a new strategy (just an example, if you have an experience like that under your belt). The focus here isn’t as much on the final website that you built, but on the process itself.

Or, talk about some projects that you did for non-profits geared at raising awareness about Cause X. Talk about meeting with Y, figuring out what’s the message that needs to be shared about Cause X. Etc.

In a normal businessy scenario, there’s not much to brag about with projects like that … they don’t bring you richness, nor flare, but putting them in your portfolio simply makes you more human and makes people want to get to know your work better.

Make it current

A portfolio is only as good as it is current. In other words, the projects you worked on five years ago hardly count.

Just like in sports, it’s your latest performance that matters. Nobody cares about your last season home runs.

Therefore, always keep your portfolio up-to-date, and always try adding new and interesting projects.

Also, showcase the dates of the projects near the top of the project description. Your clients need to know that you’re an active professional and that you’re constantly looking for what’s new and interesting.

Make it accessible and easy to digest

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. And really, this is crucial.

Whatever method you choose to build your portfolio with, you need to make sure that the final product is accessible and easy to digest. On all devices. On all screens. On all browsers.

I know this sounds basic at first … like something I shouldn’t even have to talk about, but I really want to address this since it’s a serious deal-breaker if you get it wrong.

Just like a shoemaker can’t roam the streets in messed up shoes, a web designer can’t have a website that’s faulty in any way. In short, if any potential client sees something funny-looking on your portfolio site, you’re done. The credibility is gone.

So always make sure to use only the best tools that allow you to build a truly friendly portfolio site.

If you already have those tools lined up, that’s cool, go ahead and use them. If you don’t, check out our favorite – Adobe Portfolio. It lets you build a portfolio quickly, with no coding required, so you’re not risking any server incompatibilities with your source code or anything. It just works. Plus, it doesn’t limit you in terms of the layouts or looks that you can use.

Also, speaking of making the portfolio easy to digest, we can’t forget about the language you’re using in the portfolio itself.

Don’t try sounding professional and smart. Instead, try resonating with people on a more personal and natural level. You want them to feel good about reading / looking at your portfolio and getting to know you through it. Don’t build up a barrier around you by sounding too formal. You’re not on Wall Street to be talking like that.

In the end, treating whoever is browsing through your portfolio as a friend will pay off. Making people feel comfortable with the way you’re talking about your work is a great start, and makes it easier for a potential client to reach out to you.

Making the Unreal Look Real: V-Ray’s Incredible Rendering Engine and Project Felix


Creative Cloud

Previously we caught up with the Project Felix product team to hear more about how the project began and where it’s going. In addition to the incredible human power behind the software, one key technical component proved essential to streamline the complex process of rendering, and let users like you pick up the skills immediately.

Say hello to Academy Award winner, Chaos Group. Their incredible V-Ray core technology has been a staple of the cinematic visual effects and architecture industries for over a decade, and now, graphic design.

Let’s start with rendering. What exactly does that term mean for graphic designers?

David Tracy, Chaos Group communications director: It’s actually always a challenge to explain what rendering is, and what it does. Rendering is what makes an object or image look real. Whether it’s the car in the Audi commercial, or the huge battles and settings in Game of Thrones. Rendering recreates the lighting, the look of the material, and even the depth of field from the camera. V-Ray takes into account the actual physical qualities of light, and how surfaces look in different settings. We pride ourselves on the visual effects that people don’t notice, the effects so realistic that your brain doesn’t question it.

The Chaos Group’s annual V-Ray showreel offers highlights from the year’s most impressive VFX–in movies, TV shows, games, architecture, automotive, and more made all around the globe–all powered by the V-Ray core technology.

How does V-Ray fit in and address those ?

David: The V-Ray core is the rendering technology, or code base, that makes up the foundation of all V-Ray products. Every flavor of V-Ray starts there, including the V-Ray engine inside of Felix. Our idea from the very beginning was to make integration into different products as easy as possible, in order to help creatives experiment with and communicate their ideas more quickly and more efficiently.

How has V-Ray enabled Felix to do something different than other 3D applications out there?

Charles Piña, Project Felix lead engineer: A lot of programs are like Swiss Army Knives. They do a lot of different jobs, but mastering each is very involved and complex, so you might only be trained in a very particular workflow; you know what to do when you only press certain buttons in a specific way, basically. It’s crazy hard. Project Felix, on the other hand, is like a spoon. We’ve simplified things such that it’s obvious how you use it. We’re trying to empower users of the spoon to do what the spoon does best.

What do you feel is the coolest thing about this collaboration between V-Ray and Adobe?

Slavka Stankova, Chaos Group project marketing manager, integration technologies: We have a technology that is high end for visual effects, architecture and design. With Project Felix, our technology will reach more artists  with broader creative  backgrounds and perspectives .

David: One of our main motivations was to have the opportunity to give everyone a chance to use this technology, for any purpose they could think of. It can be a benefit for so many people—in this case, specifically  graphic designers. There’s nothing more exciting than providing someone a creative tool, a new means to create, and then seeing what they do with it.

We’ve got more Project Felix insights coming your way next week, with a look at how designer Allison House makes 3D magic.

Adobe at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival


Creative Cloud

For all stripes of visual storytellers – from those making content for YouTube, independent films and Hollywood blockbusters to students and aspiring filmmakers – we know how much effort goes into creating each and every frame. Adobe applauds those selected for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, which boasts a broad range of exceptional projects. We are proud to be a Leadership Sponsor of the event as well sponsoring the festival’s NEXT category, which showcases filmmakers who are pairing innovative digital technology with forward-thinking storytelling.

Celebrating 25 years of video content creation, Premiere Pro is the official editing tool of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Use of Premiere Pro continues to rise rapidly among films in the festival, marking a 90% increase from 2016. Hollywood editors and independent filmmakers alike are turning to the seamless integration and editing capabilities in Creative Cloud to efficiently deliver stunning content.

Filmmakers behind 81 films and virtual reality projects in this year’s line-up trusted Premiere Pro as their primary digital editing software, including some of the festival’s biggest headliners such as the sequel to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and David Lowery’s A Ghost Story. A staggering 81% of surveyed films utilized one or more Creative Cloud tools, often incorporating After Effects, Photoshop, and Media Encoder into their workflows.

“I knew I wanted to use Adobe Creative Cloud from the start, because I love the idea of everything working under one roof. It’s also very intuitive and easy to learn. I didn’t go to film school, so I’ve always just learned things on my own,” said David Lowery, director, editor and writer of A Ghost Story, which is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. “Creative Cloud made the big studio process less intimidating from a technical standpoint, more like one of my indie projects, and conversely it made making this indie film feel as big as a studio movie.”

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality continues to be one of the industry’s fastest growing trends, and the powerful VR workflows in Premiere Pro CC are helping filmmakers develop immersive 360-degree video experiences. New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival showcases hybrid projects and transmedia storytelling, including virtual reality.  More than half of the films in the Virtual Reality category at Sundance used Premiere Pro in the creative process, including the VR experience for Jeff Orlowski’s Chasing Coral.

 

Project 1324 and Sundance IGNITE Short Film Challenge

Project 1324 supports, connects, and amplifies a global community of emerging artists who are using creativity as a force for positive impact. Learn more here.

Adobe Project 1324 & Sundance Institute teamed up for a short film challenge to find bold new voices in the next generation of filmmakers. Fifteen winners, who are shaping the future of the film industry, were named Sundance Ignite Fellows and received a trip to the festival along with year-long mentorships.

 

Filmmaker Panel 

On January 20th, Adobe will host “Lights, Camera, Edit: Directing with an Editorial Eye” with panelists David Lowery, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, and Jennifer Phang sharing their insights on the importance of understanding—or even mastering—more than one filmmaking discipline and how diverse perspectives influence success in independent, big budget, and serial content.

The panel will take place Friday, January 20, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m Mountain Time at 500 Main Street. For those unable to attend in person, register now to watch the live stream from Park City – or catch the replay whenever you have time.

 

Art of Editing Lunch

Celebrating editors as artists, Adobe is the official sponsor of the Art of Editing event at Sundance 2017. The event, which honors the all of this year’s Sundance Film Festival editors, features a keynote presentation from documentary editor Lewis Erskine, known for the Primetime Emmy-winning “Freedom Riders”, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” and “Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple.”

Throughout the festival, get to know the filmmakers, their stories and favorite film experiences in the “Make it an Experience” interview series, which will be livestreamed on Adobe’s Facebook Live.

 

Watch the full video playlist, including interviews, the filmmaker panel, and highlights from key moments around the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud video and audio tools.

Download a free trial of Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

 

HFF Makes Every Property Look its Best


Creative Cloud

When buying property, they say only three things matter: location, location, location. But the perfect location can be different for every business. A hip coffee shop may want a bustling, quirky neighborhood with lots of foot traffic, whereas a startup company may prefer to be in a centrally located office building with room to grow.

Few companies understand business’ unique property need quite like HFF. HFF is one of the largest and most successful commercial real estate intermediaries in the United States, handling real estate transactions for all types of properties. With 23 offices across the country, HFF lists and sells clients’ properties, finding the perfect buyer for every location. Key to HFF’s success is the effort it puts into properly marketing each property to build buyer confidence and drive sales.

HFF uses Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise to create effective marketing materials and improve collaboration, no matter where team members are located. Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries helps team members share assets and create consistent marketing content that draws in buyers. Creative Cloud allows designers to not only produce fliers and brochures, but also video and web pages in-house, keeping control of costs while expanding deliverables.

Many content pieces feature original photography, while others may include stock imagery. “The best thing about Adobe Stock for enterprise is that it makes managing stock photos very easy,” says Grenga. “Designers can access Adobe Stock without leaving apps like Adobe Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC. A mark clearly shows if we’ve already licensed an image, and we can add stock photos to a library for use by everyone on a project.”

After redesigning its website, HFF adopted Adobe Marketing Cloud, including the Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Analytics solutions, to help designers maintain consistency across web and mobile channels and gain insight into clients’ online behavior.

Click here to learn more about how HFF uses Adobe solutions.

“We All Live in a 3D World:” Behind the Scenes With the Project Felix Team


Creative Cloud

Have a look at the last photo you pulled into a graphic design project. Pay close attention to the different forms of illumination: from the sun; from a neon sign; from a bedside lamp; from a shop window display; from the reflection of a flash in the mirror (selfie!). Now imagine you want to add a client’s product front and center of the pic, and make it look like it was there all along. You already think in 3D; the Project Felix team wants to give you accessible tools that help you design in it, too.

“When you add a 3D object to an image, it can be very difficult to figure out how it should be lit,” says Stefano Corazza. This dude knows what he’s talking about; for the past seven years, Stefano has been researching motion capture and machine learning. Now, as TK of Adobe’s Project Felix, he and his team have worked tirelessly to give graphic designers the ability to quickly make whoa-those-are-totally-realistic assets that would have otherwise required expensive in-real-life photo shoots or extensive rendering knowledge, and free them from the limitations of available stock photography. “Our goal was to make tools available to everyone that simplified the complicated process and generate top quality results.”

In other words: Project Felix is playing to your collective strengths as graphic designers, and the way you’re comfortable thinking about the creative process–letting the tech enable exploration, rather than weighing you down with unwieldy new steps in the workflow.

Made in Project Felix

“3D is a different medium that can help designers communicate; it empowers them to go beyond the boundaries of 2D,” says Felix experience designer Bushra Mahmood. “We had an interesting challenge to introduce a skillset that was unfamiliar to lots of folks. In the end, we wanted to show everyone how helpful and useful a tool like this can be.”

One of the most important parts of that concept is understanding orbital space. Check out that pic on your phone again; everything looks flat in a 2D image, but each element has depth, and height, and width. You can go around everything. “Once you can comprehend 3D space, an entire world of potential applications will begin to make sense,” says Bushra.

Felix’s unique take on compositing will allow users to seamlessly blend those two dimensions and make them look and feel like they truly belong together. 

Made in Project Felix

Rather than add functionality onto an existing platform, the Felix team started from scratch. Their collaborative spirit buoyed the all-hands-on-deck attitude and work ethic, as they used the latest technology to build a standalone product that would also interact seamlessly with the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud ecosystem.

That customer and product team synergy extends to the future of Felix as well; you can sign up for news and updates here. “We want to develop this product alongside you and your needs,” product manager Chantel Benson says.

“We all live in a 3D world,” Stefano says. “It’s human nature to expect certain things from our environment. We feel like you can expect those same things from your graphic design work, too.”

Stay tuned for a look at the tech that makes rendering and compositing in Project Felix possible.

 

The Evolution of UX Education


Creative Cloud

User experience is a relatively young discipline, that has its roots in human factors and ergonomics. Understanding how humans interact with machines, environments and products became increasingly important throughout the industrial revolution and has continued to today. In the 1980s and 90s the growing ubiquity of computers meant that human computer interaction (HCI) became a consideration for those exploring and designing digital systems. Donald Norman coined the term ‘user experience’ in the 90s. In his own words: “I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual. Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to lose it’s meaning…”

User experience professionals come from a range of backgrounds, including industrial and graphic design, computer science and psychology. A Nielsen Norman study showed that 90% of UX designers have a degree, but in most cases the degree was not directly related to UX.

As the field of user experience and interaction design evolves, so too does the educational paths and options within it. The conversation about how UX professionals get educated and how junior people enter the field is ongoing, with increased attention in this area. For example, the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) now runs an annual design education summit.

So what are some of the trends in UX education today?

Industry and Practitioner Driven Education

Higher education is not meeting the workforce skills gap, and studies show that hiring managers and students have radically different beliefs about post-college workforce readiness. This is particularly true in rapidly emerging and shifting fields driven by technology – so UX design is a prime example.

In response to this, several practitioner driven, vocational schools have emerged. In many cases, these are not accredited or affiliated to a formal educational institution or private school, but have specific mandates.

The Austin Centre for Design, for example, is not-for-profit corporation founded by Jon Kolko. It offers a one year program in interaction design and social entrepreneurship. AC4D aims to “transform society through design and design education. This transformation occurs through the development of design knowledge directed towards all forms of social and humanitarian problems.”

Center Centre is Jared Spool and Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman’s vocational program that aims to create industry ready grads. As Jared Spool mentioned in an interview, one of the key challenges for getting students ready for industry is making sure they have experience working on real world projects:

“In order to make students ready to sit down and do the job the day they get there, they have to have a lot of experience. So we built an experience-based program that students work on real-life projects. Projects that are assigned. Projects that come from real-life companies, and community-based projects. They last 3-5 months, and students work on them as a team.”

The Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design is another example of a practitioner driven course in interaction design. These programs rely on the reputation of their faculty and graduates, and in many cases have become popular options in user experience and interaction design education.

Formalization: A Growing Space in UX Education

The list of formal undergraduate and graduate degrees in UX related topics at universities is growing. There is still quite a diversity in the naming and perspectives of these degrees – some are Bachelors of Art, some Bachelors of Science and some Bachelors of Design. This speaks to the range of angles user experience design can be approached from – a technical, engineering perspective, or an artistic one, or a design hybrid. ‘Interaction design’ is a fairly common degree title, however ‘interactive design’, ‘digital media’ and ‘human centred design’ all make appearances.

The number of graduate degrees in the space is also growing, with many one and two year programs popping up. Again we see a diversity of degrees, from Master of Arts to Master of Fine Arts to Master of Science and Master of Design. Several schools are well-known in the UX and interaction design space, for example the California of the Arts, Parsons New School, Umeå Institute of Design, and the Royal College of Art.

One of the challenges that this landscape poses for aspiring UXers is understanding the differences between degrees and programs, and deciding what angle to study UX from. Many of the discussion threads on the IxDA’s Education topic are people asking for advice on how to choose between programs. As one commenter put it: “…am looking for a decent IXD/UX grad program, but they’re all so new it’s hard to tell which schools are good.”

Private Courses: Part-Time, Boot Camp and Online Options

There has been an explosion in the options available to people wanting to dive into UX without going to a formal institution. Many privately run education companies are offering courses in UX, interaction and user interface design. The range of online, part time, in person and remote courses is astounding and seems to be still growing.

Online options for UX education include Lynda.com or udemy courses and tutorials, as well as more intensive courses such as CareerFoundry or General Assembly’s online options. Courses range from entirely self taught to structured sessions with assignments, interactions with mentors and other students. Online UX education is of course a niche that has it’s own challenges, and is a very particular learning style.

Studying UX part time in a classroom setting is a core offering of many education companies, including companies like Hyper Island, General Assembly, BrainStation and NNGroup. Some of these include certification and exams, such as the Nielsen Norman UX Certification program. The approach, content and duration of this type of course varies drastically, and is not regulated or standardized. There are also many more local equivalents in larger cities, for example HackerYou in Toronto.

Many of these schools also offer full time ‘bootcamp’ style courses, which aim to rapidly ramp students up on core UX skills. These intensives are often about 10 weeks full time, and emphasize project work and portfolio development.

One of the critiques of the current state of UX education is that a lot of these courses are taking advantage of a relatively young and unregulated industry, and setting unfair expectations for their students. UX as a profession is diverse and exciting, with a range of skills needed, and there is no silver bullet to becoming a UX designer. Industry and project experience is crucial.

As UX designer Sophie Freiermuth notes in an article by Dan Maccarone and Sarah Doody, designers trained in this way “will likely project their genuine confidence and smartly highlight their strengths while being completely unaware of how junior they actually are. They do get the job, then struggle immediately, without knowing when they are well outside their realm of competence.”

Looking to the Future

User experience design will likely continue as a fairly open field with relatively low barrier to entry while it continues to evolve and mature. With technology continuing to play a strong role in our lives and in business models, the demand for UX professionals and thus education in the space will likely continue.

For people wondering how to assess the options available, the best way to make a decision to really research the program by talking to past grads. It’s also important to think about the end goal – all programs do something well, but finding the one that fits your goals is crucial.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that many of these programs are for profit endeavors, so before committing thousands of dollars, you want to make sure it’s the right fit by dipping your toes into UX. Attend local IxDA meetups or do some reading and self learning. If you are interested in getting started with some basics, we’ve pulled together a round up some great options for learning UX fundamentals.

Never forget to clean HTML code and double check your content before publishing an article!

The Right Tools Will Speed Your Content Production


Creative Cloud

Every minute of the day, YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video. That’s a lot of content for any brand to compete with. But the truth is, creating new content is essential in today’s market. People are looking for DIY tips, product tutorials, add-ons, best practices, and ever-more-engaging entertainment. Content is not negotiable.

Like everyone, you have limits on your budget, headcount, and work hours. Sometimes it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to compete with 72 hours of new video per minute — and that’s just one content type on one platform.

However, with the right tools and processes in place, you can maximize your ability to produce creative assets. Collaborative tools can save you time in a host of ways and you’ll be able to more effectively produce the content you need with the resources you have, and stay competitive in a content-rich world. Here are a few ways the right tools can help save you time:

Reduce Steps

56 percent of businesses say version control is a major factor in slowing the content creation process. If your creative and marketing teams are not working from the same set of core assets in a single system, they’re likely wasting a lot of time hunting down files on servers, wikis, or even a colleague’s personal desktop. FOX Sports uses a central library to streamline their creative process and meet deadlines. The style guide with logos, color palettes, typography, and more for every sports team they cover is shared in this library along with templates for scoreboards and other designs. As a team in one office makes changes to set of assets, all other teams across the country receive the updates in real time. The work that used to take them 4 days is now done in 2 hours.

Eliminate Redundancies

Businesses that rate themselves with a 10 in customer experience also report spending twice as much time organizing their creative assets as other companies. Most large businesses waste time recreating content when instead they could repurpose existing assets. Considering the number of teams — creative, web, digital, PR, events, and more — it takes to roll out a new integrated campaign and you can see how easy it is to lose track of what exists. Invest in a system to manage your digital assets across the enterprise to save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

Automate Processes

Finding and licensing images is just one process that can quickly slow down any creative project. Ryk Benadé, art director at Spree, a Media24 publication, claims that using the Preview feature in Adobe Stock saves them two days. According to Ryk, the ability to select excellent-quality images for project drafts and then update the final selections with a single click is phenomenal. “The downside of that is the marketer goes, ‘Ok, well if you can do it that quickly, then here is another campaign!’ That’s the nature of the business — we’re expected to keep delivering so fast,” says Ryk.

Go Mobile

Using mobile devices can be another great way to collaborate more efficiently — especially when clients can review, give feedback, and approve projects on their phone or tablet. Using tools that support a mobile interface allows for seamless on-the-go collaboration and eliminates precious time spent waiting until someone is available for review at their desktop.

Create the Content You Want

According to the 2016 Mass Producing Deliciousness report, many brands would like to expand the types of content they offer — like mobile apps (76%), maturity models (58%), and product demos (54%). But the fact is most enterprises never get to the content they want to create because of limited resources. Improving efficiency by implementing time-saving tools and processes to support your content strategy will help you create more of the content you want to, with the same resources.

To learn more about how to improve content creation at your enterprise business, view full Mass Producing Deliciousness report.

Camera Kit Basics

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Creative Cloud

We all know the phrase “All the gear and no idea’. Photography is nearly 200 years old, and in all that time, companies have been making cameras, lenses and accessories designed to make the process easier. There is now an enormous amount of choice from a wide range of brands, and every photographer you look to for inspiration uses a different set up.

It can feel very difficult to know what we need to buy to get ourselves started in our photographic career. It is natural to believe that we have to spend a fortune getting top class camera bodies and a range of expensive lenses, flashguns and assorted bits and bobs to go with them, but fortunately, successful photographs can be made with quite a simple selection.

If you intend to specialize in athletics or wildlife then the likelihood is that you will need some specialized equipment, but for most types of photography we need surprisingly little. A camera with a standard lens is enough to cover most things and certainly enough to get the budding photographer started.

1. The Camera

Some photographers make a successful career shooting on film, but to make your life easier, you are better off starting out with a digital camera. You don’t need a DSLR as most modern compact system cameras will be just as good for most subjects. More pixels are generally a good thing, but it is impossible to buy a new interchangeable-lens digital camera that doesn’t have enough resolution to make a salable picture. If you can, aim for new compact system cameras with 16 million pixels and DSLRs with 18 million – or more.

RAWPIXEL.COM / ADOBE STOCK

RAWPIXEL.COM / ADOBE STOCK

Both DSLRs and CSCs are good for almost every type of photography, but in general DSLRs are better for fast moving action – like football – and the size of CSCs makes them great to use for photographing people. The weight of compact system cameras also makes it easy to carrying one all day.

2. The Lens

For a very long time, photographers used just two or three focal lengths – a wide, a standard and something a little longer. Now we have a massive range of lenses to choose from, but that doesn’t mean that we need them all. If you heave just one fixed focal length standard lens, you would be able to shoot a huge range of subject matter from the perspective of someone standing right where it was all happening.

The standard lens for your camera depends on the size of the sensor, but for full frame cameras it is 50mm, for APS-C sensors it is about 30mm, and for micro four thirds cameras it is 25mm. This is the foundation lens for any format, and with it you can shoot portraits, landscapes, social documentary, street photography, architecture, sport and almost anything else. The lens delivers a view that matches what we can concentrate on with our eyes, so pictures taken with it feel realistic and viewers will feel as though they are present in the scene themselves.

EUGENIO MARONGIU / ADOBE STOCK

EUGENIO MARONGIU / ADOBE STOCK

Many photographers prefer a zoom to a fixed focal length lens as they can cover more styles of shooting without changing lens. For full frame workers a 24-70mm zoom is considered a ‘work horse’ as it works well for everything from wide views to close-to portraits. For APS-C cameras the 18-55mm lens does the same, and micro four thirds cameras need a 12-35mm. If you intend to get one of these lenses spend as much as you can and get one that has a constant maximum aperture – such as f/2.8 or f/4. If the constant aperture models are out of your price range then don’t worry, those with f/3.5-5.6 maximum apertures are good too, but not quite as flexible. It is amazing how many different subjects you can shoot with a lens like this.

PEANGDAO / ADOBE STOCK

PEANGDAO / ADOBE STOCK

3. The Flash

Not all photographers need a flash unit, but the need is more common that you’d imagine. You don’t need a powerful gun to start with, but one with TTL control will make your life easier. Each of the camera brands makes its own range of flash guns that are obviously fully compatible with their cameras, but there are a number of independent brands that make very good guns that sell for lower prices. Some sort of wireless control is useful for triggering the flash gun off the camera to create more interesting light, and radio controlled systems are more effective than traditional optical communications.

If you are short of funds, any flash will do, so long as it provides the means to control its output. Guns with aperture priority control are more convenient than those that are fully manual and tend to work pretty well, but aim for a guide number of about 30m/100ft at ISO 100.

JACOB LUND / ADOBE STOCK

JACOB LUND / ADOBE STOCK

It might sound simplistic to say that one camera, one lens and one flash unit is all you need to get yourself started in photography, but it is true. Obviously other lenses exist for a reason, but there is no need to buy anything until you come up against a problem that a new lens will solve.

If you can’t fit the subject in the frame and you can’t move further away then you need a wider lens, or if you can’t get close enough to fill the frame you need a longer lens – but sometimes finding another composition or vantage point and thinking differently about how you present your subject can get around these problems.

If you are learning, it is better to use a more limited selection of equipment and to work hard to get the most out of it rather than feel deprived and sorry for yourself about what you don’t have. Getting into the habit of thinking creatively with limited kit will make you a better photographer when you have more equipment. Remember, the best pictures are made in your head. The camera is just a spanner that helps to get the job done. In time you can grow your collection of equipment, but learning to use what you have is always a more pressing issue.