For the past two years we’ve enabled our partners to improve and enhance their users’ mobile to desktop creative workflow with the Creative SDK. But what happens when a user sends their mobile creation to his or her desktop to be finished with our top notch creative tools? One of our partners, Sblended, answered that question by integrating the Creative SDK into their mobile app and also building an Sblended desktop panel add-on for Adobe Photoshop CC. Now, users can create in the Sblended app, send their work to the desktop and use the plugin to easily access their favorite Sblended filters right in Adobe Photoshop CC to complete their work.
We interviewed the founder of Sblended, Brian Mantuano, to hear more about what inspired him to create Sblended and partner with Adobe.
I’d love to get an overall idea of what Sblended’s mission is — why did you create Sblended?
Having been blessed to live in San Diego, I’ve had the chance to see some spectacular sunsets — everything from the quintessential red-orange display to these incredible pink green and purple skies that look utterly alien. Several years back, I tried to create what I had seen in Photoshop and failed miserably. Granted, I don’t consider myself an artist by any stretch, but it seemed like a relatively simple task and I was surprised that there wasn’t an existing tool that would let me get the effect I was looking for easily. I assumed that Adobe or one of the other developers would end up making this themselves at one point or another. After a few years had gone by with no sign of any movement and with a daughter showing a lot of interest in art, I decided it was time to make it.
Why did you choose to pursue that mission on mobile and with desktop plugins?
Sblended produces beautiful visuals on its own, but there is a multiplicative effect whenever you have a set of tools working in concert with each other and compounding on the individual capabilities of the other. With the Creative SDK and Adobe add-ons, Adobe has provided a great platform and ecosystem on which to build upon and complement each other’s strengths.
Could you give a brief overview of the mobile integration of the Creative SDK in Sblended?
The Sblended mobile app leverages the Creative SDK in a couple ways at the moment. First, thanks to the Send To Desktop API, mobile users can seamlessly transfer their work over to the desktop and incorporate it into their Adobe Illustrator CC or Adobe Photoshop CC projects. This really streamlines the workflow and is a key component of our mobile version. The first time I got it working, I was so blown away. It still feels like magic whenever I use it. The second way that our mobile app uses the Creative SDK is by employing the Color UI Component for picking colors. This allows our users to incorporate all of the the fantastic color schemes that the community has curated.
Could you give a brief overview of the Sblended plugin integration?
The Sblended add-on runs inside of Photoshop as a responsive panel that lets users create or load up their favorite Sblended effects. Then, whenever the add-on is active, users can apply those effects by drawing out a gradient just as they normally would with the Gradient Tool. A lot of things are happening under the hood to make that all work (picking up on events from the Gradient Tool, managing the History and so forth), but the end result is a really smooth experience that makes it feel like a built-in tool.
Why did you choose to work on mobile and plugins instead of one or the other?
I think the two complement each other pretty well. From an implementation standpoint, our mobile offering and add-on share a large amount of code, so we only incur a small amount of additional development and maintenance costs from doing both rather than one or the other. The sheer reach of mobile and its inherent sharing potential make it a compelling target for us. Meanwhile, for the professional artists and designers that are already using Photoshop on a daily basis, the add-on puts the power of Sblended right at their fingertips.
As creative workflows and processes improve and expand, where do you see Sblended fitting in?
I think of Sblended as the next-generation gradient tool. Building it into design programs like Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Illustrator CC makes a lot of sense and I hope to start working with software vendors on that front. In the end, it’s about unleashing people’s creativity and removing the barriers that stand between what they’ve envisioned and what they can produce with the tools available. I think Sblended goes a long way on that front and will become an integral part of the creative process moving forward.