Shape from a photo - logo.png


Traditionally, we've all created blocks or general CADs by eye and precision with a pencil. This then lead to photographing and scanning tin that old t-shirt you have at the bottom of the drawer and drawing the basic shape in illustrator before you work into it further to redesign it. 

Adobe Capture allows you to skip through the processes above with speed and turn a photo or scribble straight into a vector. 

This tool should always be used as a base in order to further design, it'll never capture enough detail and form to allow you to copy someone else's work - thank goodness, that's not what we are in the business of - but it will give you a starting point, and quickly. 

The things I have found this most useful for so far are garment block outlines, random ideas I've sketched, and prints. 

See below for the details..



1. Select the Shape tab then hit +

The Shape tab will show you all the shapes already in your library, these are synced between the Adobe software on your computers and whatever you add in this app. This + sign at the bottom is used for creating a new shape. 

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2. Point your phone at whatever you like

Contrast is key here. If you are tracing the outline of a garment, try to use a light colour on a black background or a dark colour on a light background. The area highlighted in green is what's being picked up by the app and will be translated into a vector for use in Illustrator.

*When using the Outline mode (via the top central icon) this will not result in a stroke in Illustrator, it will still be outlined like a shape.  

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Or hit the square in the bottom right corner and chose from a photo you have already taken.


Tap camera roll to get to the library of photos already on your phone. 

In my case, because I want the outline of my shape to be a Stroke in Illustrator later on, I've chosen to highlight a filled shape, so the whole thing appears in green.


3. Click the green circle to capture & edit

This next page allows you to refine and crop your shape. The image in black below shows what will be your vector when bought over to Illustrator, the white will not be. Get rid of any extra detail you don't want to be part of the shape at this point if you can - but you can always fix things in Illustrator later. 

When using the below tools, there is no way to change the size of the selector you are using, you can however zoom which can help you get to the details. Zoom in the regular way using finger and thumb on the screen. 

Deselect  =  What you do not include in the shape. When this option is highlighted, you can drag your finger over parts of the image you do not want created into a shape. 

Select  =  If you go wrong with the above, use this to select what parts that are currently deselected you now do want included as part of the shape.

Erase  = as it sounds, this deletes sections of the shape.

There's always the back arrow on the bottom right if you make an error and want to step backwards. 


4. Smooth your shape

This page now gives a simple option of whether you would like smoothing on or off. This can give you a cleaner look, but may lose detail - so have a play and see.


5. Name and save your shape


6. Hop on your computer and use this shape in Illustrator

The shapes you create, once synced, show up in the Libraries panel (Window > Libraries)

In Illustrator, drag the shape in the Libraries panel onto your artboard. 


It'll appear as a black filled shape with no stroke, but if you select your shape, then flip the fill and stroke colours, you'll bet left with just an outline!


There might be some odd details which need cleaning up, but in no time at all - you have your basic block ready to go!


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