The release of Adobe Touch Apps on iPad and Android tablets extends your artistic capabilities beyond the limits of desktop software. Adobe Touch Apps include a wide variety of apps that enable you to express your creative talent on-the-go by creating artwork directly on your tablet device and transferring it to your Adobe desktop applications later.
Adobe Ideas is a simple, yet amazing application that enables you to create vector graphics on your iOS or Android tablet. If you are a designer who prefers to draft your artwork with paper and pencil, Adobe Ideas provides a great advantage because it enables you to draw your artwork in a digital format from the start, so you don't have to scan your paper sketch and redraw it digitally later. You can also choose to use a stylus pen that gives you more accurate lines and efficient drawing results. Adobe Ideas files integrate with Adobe Illustrator CS6 so you can further refine your artwork.
In this tutorial, I introduce you to Adobe Ideas and help you create some artwork. I also show you how to transfer that artwork to Illustrator CS6 where you can then edit its layers and convert it to a pattern using the new pattern creation features.
For this tutorial, I use Adobe Ideas on an iPad, but you can use an Android device as well.
You can get Adobe Ideas for iOS and Android by searching for it in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. You can also read more about it and get a direct link to the purchase page by visiting the Adobe Ideas page.
When you open Adobe Ideas, you see the file gallery, which enables you to open an existing file or create a new one. Simply tap an existing file to open it. You can also select a file by tapping and holding it. On the top right side of the gallery window are four icons (see Figure 1):
At the bottom of the file gallery are two icons: The Plus icon on the left lets you create a new document. The Photo icon on the right lets you create a new document based on an image from your camera or camera roll.
The artboard is incredibly easy to use. Your canvas is in the middle, and the Tools panel is on the left. The icons in the application's title bar (see Figure 2) enable you to perform the following tasks:
The Tools panel (see Figure 2) gives you access to everything you need to create your artwork:
To get started, you first need to visit the Apple App Store or Google Play and install Adobe Ideas on your iOS or Android device.
Follow these steps to create a new Adobe Ideas document and start drawing:
You can use layers in Adobe Ideas to add more complexity and control to your artwork. Follow these steps to set up and work with layers:
When you are finished with your artwork in Adobe Ideas, you can save it to Adobe Creative Cloud so you can refine it in Illustrator CS6. (You must have a membership to sync files to Creative Cloud.) In the file gallery, tap the Creative Cloud icon on the top right side of the screen to sync your files to Creative Cloud (see Figure 4). If you transfer the artwork using your Creative Cloud storage account, your artwork will be saved in .idea format, which you can open in Illustrator CS6.
If you're using Illustrator CS5 or CS5.5, you'll need to download the Touch Apps Plugins, available on the Creative Cloud Apps and Services page, to open a .idea file. (You must log into Creative Cloud to access the Download link for the Touch Apps Plugins.)
You can also e-mail your artwork as a PDF file that preserves the drawing in vector format by tapping the Share icon in the top right corner of the artboard.
When you open Adobe Ideas artwork in Illustrator CS6, you will notice that it contains several overlapping paths and many anchor points. Each line you draw in Adobe Ideas creates a new separate path in a sublayer of the main layer that you created in the Adobe Ideas Layers panel. You need to optimize the paths first to reduce the unwanted anchor points that may cause a large file size or unnecessary CPU processing.
Use the following steps to optimize the artwork in Illustrator CS6:
You can also optimize the paths with other techniques, such as combining or merging paths and shapes using the Pathfinder panel or the Shape Builder tool.
Before the release of Illustrator CS6, creating and editing seamless patterns was a painful process that required a lot of tedious work.
The new pattern tools in Illustrator CS6 enable you to create patterns quickly and easily. Figure 6 shows the Pattern Options panel, which helps you modify patterns.
The Pattern Options panel includes the following options:
Use the following steps to craft a seamless, repeating pattern from your artwork:
You will see a new pattern swatch with your artwork, and the Pattern Options panel will appear so you can customize the pattern. You will also see an alert message that tells you a new pattern has been created and added to the Swatches panel. Click OK to enter pattern editing mode (see Figure 7).
In this tutorial, I have shown you how to create artwork with Adobe Ideas and then use that artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS6 to create a seamless pattern. To learn more about Illustrator CS6, read my recent book, Illustrator Foundations: The Art of Vector Graphics, Design and Illustration in Illustrator.
The sample archive (ZIP, 460 KB) accompanying this article includes the Illustrator files that show the final artwork and the seamless pattern created in the tutorial. Feel free to compare your work to the sample.
Adobe Touch Apps turn your tablet device into an essential part of your production process, and you can practice different ways to integrate Touch Apps with your CS6 desktop products. Learn more about Adobe Ideas and other Adobe Touch Apps on Adobe.com. Finally, get inspired by the Illustrator how-to guides in the Illustrator CS6 showcase.
Rafiq Elmansy runs his own design company, Pixel Consultations, and has been a creative designer for 10 years. He is an Adobe Community Professional, Adobe Certified Expert, and the founder and manager of the Adobe User Group in Egypt (AUGE), the first Adobe user group in the Middle East. He is also an Icograda Friend (the International Council of Graphic Design Association). Rafiq has written for Adobe Design Center, Adobe Developer Connection, Community MX, and his design blog, graphicmania.net. His latest book, Photoshop 3D for Animators, is available on Amazon. Rafiq is a semifinal judging member in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards and a jury member in the Annual Design Awards.