Adobe Shape CC: iPad To Vectors With The Touch of A Finger

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Adobe Shape CC
The Shape Splash Screen.

I have to admit the more I use the collection of Touch Apps released by Adobe in October the more I see an emerging workflow that is pretty cool.  Last month we looked at how Photoshop Mix CC lets you create composites or manipulate images on your iPad or iPhone. This is just the tip of the workflow. In this exercise the workflow  starts in Mix CC, shifts over to Adobe ShapeCC and the result is opened in Illustator CC for further refinement.

What is Adobe Shape CC? Essentially, it is a free tracing app. Open an image on your iPad , iPhone 5 or shoot one with the iPhone or iPad’s camera and, within a couple of minutes, the object photographed is a vector outline ready for Illustrator.

Let’s see how all of this works.

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Planning The Project

Image in Photoshop
Image in Photoshop CC.

 The plan is to vectorize the Maple Leaf in this image. This tells us we need to clean out the background clutter to isolate the leaf. This could be done in Photoshop but we are sitting in a coffee shop having just photographed the red leaf on the way over. The obvious choice is Photoshop Mix.

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Over To Photoshop Mix CC

The background is removed in Photoshop Mix CC.

 The image is opened in Mix and using the Cut Out feature the background was removed and the image saved to my CreativeCloud account. The neat thing about this is the image could be opened in Photoshop for further refinement of the mask and then saved back to the CreativeCloud

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Over to Adobe Shape CC

You can trace what your camera sees.

Adobe Shape CC is launched with a tap on my iPad and I head over to my CreativeCloud account to get the Maple Leaf. When the app opens your camera also opens and you can actually trace item an item like this coffee cup on my desk in Shape.  

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Adding A CreativeCloud Asset

Obtaining the leaf masked in Photoshop Mix CC.

 In this case I want the Leaf. To do that,I tap the X and select CreativeCloud from the New Shape menu. I locate my leaf and open it in Shape. 

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Touring The Adobe Shape CC Interface

The Shape CC interface is rather simple.

When the image opens there are four controls at the bottom. The X lets you grab a different image from the Camera, your Camera Roll or CreativeCloud account. The slider is a Tolerance tool, As you move it right or left the detail is reduced or increased. The Big Green Button starts the trace and the button on the right increases or decreases the amount of detail to be drawn. The green outline is the tracing path.

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Create the Drawing

The drawing is created in the CreativeCloud.

 When you are satisfied with your outline, tap the Check Mark and Shape starts drawing the vectors. When it finishes the keyboard pops up and you can name the drawing.  You can then chose to either refine the drawing or save it to your CreativeCloud account

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Over To Illustrator CC

Finding your CreativeCloud Library in Illustrator CC.

 One of the great features about working with these Touch Apps is how easily they integrate with the Desktop applications in the CreativeCloud. In this case I want to open the drawing in Illustrator. To accomplish this I open a new Illustrator document and select Window>Libraries and, when the Libraries panel opens I open my Creative Cloud Library and all of the Shape drawings in my CreativeCloud library appear in the panel.

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Editing in Illustrator CC

The Adobe Shape image is a series of vector lines ready for editing in Illustrator.

 Getting the Leaf into Illustrator is dead simple. Select the Library item you want and drag the selection from the Library onto the Illustrator artboard. It arrives as a vector drawing and from there you can work your Illustrator magic.