Real Graphic Design Solutions: Adobe Creative Cloud at Work in Pete’s Dragon

I love movies.  Plain and simple.  Something I am also a big fan of are smart reinventions of movies that I loved from my childhood.

I was beyond thrilled when I found out that Disney was remaking Pete’s Dragon!  I loved this movie when I was a kid (even though this movie was technically a little before my time) and it just brings back great memories from growing up.

What makes me most excited about this remake is knowing how much technology has changed since the ’70’s.  What is even cooler is that Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps had quite a bit to do with the process of creating the giant green star of the movie, Elliott.  In a recent interview with Adobe, one of the supervisors involved in the creative process told how the team used Photoshop CC and After Effects CC a lot during the visualization of Elliott.

Since one of the fun aspects of Elliott is his disappearing trick, the team had to get creative   with finding ways to make him disappear (and reappear!)  They were able to use Photoshop render layers to create multiple looks, and then they were able to finalize them in After Effects.  Illustrator was then used to create visual diagrams that the team actually used while on set.  These diagrams main purpose was to show where the camera was in relation to the actors, including how high it is and where it moved.  All this came together to make sure that the vision the creative team had makes sense and lines up with what the actors are able to re-create in real life.

This, I’m sure is only scratching the surface on how the creative team for Pete’s Dragon was able to use some of the Creative Cloud apps to their advantage.  Each day I learn more and more about how the apps are able to be used other than their obvious ways for design.  I love reading about these real-life applications of graphic design!


Graphic Designers: Thinking Like Illustrators

Working as a freelance illustrator is daunting work (so I’ve heard). While I am not one of the brave souls that is putting my work out into the world and landing illustration jobs, I am able to learn from the successes of the illustrators out there making a living doing what they do best.

One of the things that I have been able to learn from (and put to good use) from illustrators is their ever so useful sketchbook.  The sketchbook is and can be a designer’s best friend.  Not only is it to be used for sketching and drawing, the sketchbook should be with the designer at all times. The sketchbook should be used to record important notes, place images of inspiration as well as any sort of inspirational material.  It is a good practice to make sure your sketchbook can easily fit into your pocket or the bag you carry.  This way, you are never without the item that documents design inspiration, whenever it may strike.

Another meaningful leaf that can be taken out of na illustrator’s book is the art of brainstorming.  To many graphic designers, brainstorming can be a tedious task that just stands in the way of creating a design solution for a client.  I believe that this train of thought could not be farther from the truth!

Simply speaking, brainstorming allows the designer to bring together their research, notes, sketchbook scribbles, and plentiful thoughts together to create a solution for their client.  All of these items combined might not create a definite design solution immediately, but they certainly can (and will) play their part to creating what the client needs.

In the brainstorming process, even when the ideas coming through the designers head might seem ludicrous or outright ridiculous; the ideas need to be jotted down.  All ideas need to be documented because there is no telling when the designer will need to recall that thought or idea to create a design solution from that abstract thought.  There is no telling when design solutions will strike.