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6 October 2014
At first glance today's release of Adobe Shape, a free iOS app, reminded us of a scanner app with a built-in tracing tool to make it easy to do the kinds of things you'd labor to do in Illustrator or any other vector-based drawing tool. But then we tried it out and remembered something. A scanner is just another kind of camera.
SHOOTING A BLOWER | Back to Contents
We grabbed our Giotto blower and laid it down on our light table to give the dark bulb a simple background with high contrast. Then we launched Adobe Shape.
Focused on the blower, it quickly showed us what it would trace using a green highlighted outline against a black and white image. It did jump around wildly (we pined for a tripod) but we were able to center the image before capturing it.
You do have some simple options before capture including a Contrast button and a slider to change how much of the image is outlined. And you can use either the front or back camera. We used both on an iPad 2, in fact.
After capture the image is traced. You can watch the lines being inked in over a grayed out tracing.
You can then refine the image a bit. As the Help bubble explains, you can tab on a line to remove it or tap the + to select lines you want to keep, whichever is less work.
You can also name it and save it to your library where, theoretically, it is available to other apps like the new Adobe Draw or desktop apps like Illustrator CC.
We didn't manage to make that connection but we had a few things going on at the time (the keynote and Creative Cloud updates, to name two), so the jury is out on that.
Our blower looked a lot like an instant logo, in fact. Drawn with a Japanese brush, perhaps.
Lighting makes a big difference, of course. It got the broken star on the Giotto bulb but not much of the name, which isn't on a flat field, just to make it harder to light.
But we liked the final result.
CAMERA APP? | Back to Contents
Which got us thinking.
Is Adobe Shape a camera app? To make high contrast ink drawings from real-world subjects?
During today's keynote, the Adobe Shape demo briefly turned the camera on one of the presenters. But the demo turned the camera away before trying the trace.
So we gave it a shot using the selfie camera. And given the importance of the day around here, we got into costume. After art directing an appropriate pose, which meant using the white ceiling as a background, we adjusted the slider to simplify the trace and took the shot (keeping our finger away from the lens).
The only problem we had was that the image was reversed, which the cap logo made obvious. So we just flipped the image in Photoshop and colored in the logo. We ended up with a bitmapped image, not a vector-based one, but that's where we were going for this short tutorial anyway.