The hundreds of thousands of projects posted by members of online destination Behance are rich sources of creative ideas and inspiration. While there are many ways to explore the projects on your own, sometimes it's nice to have someone else do the sifting for you.
In this month's column, I highlight exceptional work from three members. They're geographically diverse — ranging from Poland to the United Kingdom to Germany — with even more disparate media and styles. With the help of head Behance curator Oscar Ramos Orozco, I selected these particular projects because they all make a strong initial impact and then invite you in to experience more detail.
Who: Jonathan Ball / pokedstudio
What: Personal illustrations created using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop
Behance member since: 2007
The title of this Behance project reflects freelance illustrator Jonathan Ball's lively sense of humor: "Family snaps." And you thought your family was odd.
All of these quirky characters began as personal projects, although some have since been used by clients. Fans of Jonathan's funny "family" include MTV, Microsoft, and this magazine — one of his illustrations graces the masthead of this issue.
Jonathan turns to a variety of applications for his rich imagery. "I initially create some in 3D software, such as Maxon's Cinema 4D and Blender, and then I go into Photoshop for post-production work," he explains. "I typically do a lot of alterations to my 3D work in Photoshop, and I often make the textures for the 3D models in Illustrator and Photoshop."
While Jonathan drew a couple of the characters almost fully in Illustrator (it was a learning experience for him to get a softer look), he more often combines Photoshop and Illustrator on a single image:
"I like Illustrator for anything geometric in origin, as I use the drawing tools extensively. I use Photoshop more for color and composition. I'll shift elements around and layer them, often hundreds of layers. Compositing my images is probably my favorite part, and it can make a massive difference to the finished result. I can spend days adding small details and quirks."
Jonathan recommends Behance as a way to share what you've been working on and get feedback. Plus, he told me, you can quickly update your portfolio. "I've had some great projects due to clients seeing my work on Behance."
Who: Studio Pigeon
What: Identity rebranding assets created with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects
Behance member since: 2013
The Kraków, Poland–based Studio Pigeon creates animations and explainer videos (short pieces that describe a product or service) for all sorts of clients, but what brought the agency to my attention was the company's rebranding of its own identity. That encompassed the logotype, website, and even a "brand hero," which is, of course, a pigeon.
What: Short film created with Adobe After Effects and Red Giant's Trapcode Suite and Knoll Light Factory, both for After Effects
Behance member since: 2010
Barbecue is a Frankfurt, Germany, studio that specializes in motion graphics, visual effects, and post-production. Managing Director Rüdiger Chmielus told me that the idea for the studio's tranquil film "Bloom" was planted when he stumbled across some "wonderful fractal renderings" that were created with Apophysis, an open-source fractal flame editor and renderer. He and his colleagues wondered if they could create something similar in After Effects.
Three of them developed the first proof of concept. "It became a very personal project for me, and I worked on it in the late evening hours for two months," says Rüdiger.
The Barbecue team relied on Trapcode Suite, a set of After Effects plug-ins. They built the flowers and petals with Form, and the stems and seeds with Particular. They also used the Shine and Lux plug-ins. They added the flares you'll see in the movie with Knoll Light Factory. In After Effects proper, they used fractal noise and the 3D camera with depth of field.
Rüdiger says that Barbecue enjoys being part of the Behance community because of the "incredible amount of creativity at a really high level."