My first session with Adobe Shape CC

First impressions

I first saw Adobe Shape while venturing around the new and noteworthy apps in the App Store. To my surprise, I'd never heard of it, so I figured I'd check it out. Within the first few seconds on their product screen, I was sold. Their screenshots made it look effortless to import your doodles or concept art into Photoshop or Illustrator shapes! Could it really be this simple? Let's hit the download button and find out.

On my first run, I was sitting back getting ready to watch the classic Disney movie "Aladdin". When Adobe Shape loaded, I noticed my iPhone started to instantly trace the merchant from Aladdin! I was shocked at how accurate it was tracing the movie, so I hit the save button and was then prompted to refine the artwork. The refining process is pretty lackluster, and doesn't allow you to use a paint brush [or similar tools] to add to or erase lines; it just allows you to select and deselect which lines to be used.

Adobe Shape CC Refine Vector Paths

The good

It did a great job of scanning a character out of an animated cartoon movie, and removing the background. Unfortunately, that's about all I can really say good for Adobe Shape. After the initial "wow", the experience goes downhill fast.

The bad

Immediately after capturing a vector character, I wanted to share my capture with my friend (to show off the nice app). There were surprisingly no export features at all. This was very disappointing and forced me to just capture a screenshot of the app to share.

The poorly thought out

Looking past the exporting features, I began to concentrate on what it's made to do, capture shapes for Photoshop and Illustrator! So I fired up Adobe Photoshop CC, and loaded my vector from my Creative Cloud Library. To my surprise, the vector surprisingly becomes a raster image when loaded into the canvas. This is extremely disappointing, as it's saved as an SVG. I suppose this is because of Photoshop's lack of SVG support, but I found this more than a little poorly thought out.

Is there a way around it?

Fortunately, the path from selection tool in Photoshop CC seemed to do a fine job at tracing the vector, especially when imported in at an ample resolution. The higher the resolution is, the smoother the curves will be due to the fact that Photoshop is a raster based graphics app. Here is a before and after shot of the auto-trace tool.

Adobe Shape CC Result Auto Path Comparison

Not bad for a raster app, eh? Now it's fully scaleable and can be turned into a custom shape! Although as expected, the paths are going to be a little too chaotic to manually edit it.

In the end...

Looking past it's flaws, it's a great app for quickly getting concept art and little doodles into your digital library. It's not very usable for final vectors, but it's very usable for traceable reference images.

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