Back in the dark days when no one was online, creative professionals who wanted to catch the eye of potential clients had to spend money on agents, directory entries, or mailers.
Then came the web and its promise of global connection. But to create your own portfolio site you had to master ever-changing technologies and invest considerable time to update your site. And there was no guarantee that interested companies would ever find you in the growing mountain of URLs.
One modern alternative is Behance, a hub for creatives who want to promote their work and for clients who need to find talent. Creatives and clients can choose from more than 60 fields, including web design, illustration, film, and photography — even fashion styling and graffiti. And while this column will often focus on projects by creative professionals, the Behance community welcomes people at all experience levels.
Co-founders Scott Belsky and Matias Corea conceived of Behance as a real community, not just a marketplace. It's easy to "Appreciate" a member's work (akin to the Facebook Like button), follow members' portfolios, post public comments, and send private messages. And for a deep drink from the inspiration well, just browse Behance, especially the galleries curated by Oscar Ramos Orozco and others.
Browsing can get overwhelming since even the curated galleries have hundreds of entries. To exercise a little portion control, keep an eye on this column. In it, I and other Adobe Inspire Magazine editors share a few of our favorites from the recently curated pieces that show innovative uses of Adobe products. Along the way, I help you make full use of Behance and its ProSite service.
Note: Anyone can post work on Behance for free. However, paying members of Adobe Creative Cloud also get a customized website called ProSite with membership. If you don't have Creative Cloud, you can get ProSite for $99 a year. For more information, including examples, see ProSite.com.
Who: Lee Hasler
What: Illustrations for UKIP Media created using Adobe Photoshop and Personal Paint
Behance member since: 2009
In a world where six-month-old hardware is old news, it's refreshing to hear that illustrator Lee Hasler begins most of his sketches on an Amiga 1200, a personal computer that was cutting-edge in 1992. Today's Adobe apps won't run on Amigas, of course, so Lee uses the venerable Personal Paint application. As he explained to me, "When you're drawing a rough sketch, it's easier to start with the simplest tools. Some people use pens and pencils; I use an Amiga with a tiny monitor."
Once he's captured the rough drawing, Lee transfers the BMP file via an external floppy disk attached to his Mac, and then opens the image in Photoshop. He can enlarge it if necessary and draw on top of the sketch.
Lee describes his almost-isometric style as "clinical and crisp at first glance, but when you look closer, there's actually a human touch." He says that while clients may think it's a 3D render, the detailed shading and tones are all drawn in Photoshop. "If I cut corners, you'd see. I can't really do simplified versions."
Lee appreciates the social aspects of Behance. "Anyone around the world can stumble onto your work. Guys from Turkey and Thailand message me and chat. I'm designing some headphone skins for Velodyne, an American company, and we wouldn't have known about each other if it weren't for Behance."
What: Icons for a Toyota website created using Photoshop
Behance member since: 2011
Behance curator Oscar Ramos Orozco calls Ukrainian illustrator and designer Alex Wolf, known professionally as Kadasarva, "one of the most talented icon designers on Behance." Kadasarva's recent icon set for the Financial Tools area of Toyota's website is a fine example of the realism and impressive level of detail in his illustrations.
When Saatchi & Saatchi gave the illustrator the creative brief, the agency asked for icons that felt like "jewels on the page," according to creative director Dylan Schwartz. And the icons do shine — they make something as prosaic as a user manual look appealing. Kadasarva says he prefers Photoshop for icons like these because it's easy to add raster textures.
While he began working as a designer 12 years ago, he has been concentrating more on the illustration side of his career for the past five years. He uses the Behance ProSite service for his standalone portfolio site, kadasarva.com. Because his Behance account and ProSite portfolio sync automatically, when Kadasarva publishes new work on Behance, it also appears on his portfolio site.
Who: Valistika Barcelona
What: Interactive landing page built using Adobe Device Central, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and Photoshop, plus programming by Rafael Cano
Behance member since: 2008
Go to the front page of the website for Valistika Barcelona (also known as illustrator and designer Miguel Abio Ruiz) and click the Start button. The disparate objects on the page — brass knuckles, hair oil, sunglasses, a dollar sign — cascade down from a tidy grid to land in a bouncing heap on the bottom of the web browser window. Now click and drag your cursor and watch the objects respond. Depending on your actions, they'll either barely move or hurtle across the screen. Miguel calls this playful experiment the Gravity Index.
Behance curator Oscar Ramos Orozco highlighted the Gravity Index because of its fresh approach to the landing page. He also likes that the illustrations remind him of "early 20th-century illustrative techniques but represent contemporary pop motives and are done with digital tools."
At press time, the site isn't yet compatible with mobile devices or some browsers; it works best on Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 for Windows and on Google Chrome for Mac and Windows. However, Miguel told me it's "just the beginning of a collaborative project we are planning to create based on the same concept." To see what Miguel and his partners come up with next, follow Valistika on Behance.
Video demo of the Gravity Index experience (0:26)
Terri Stone is a writer, editor, and community manager for Adobe.