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Vault49's Making of the Inspire Magazine Cover

By Terri Stone

From the start, Vault49 wanted their Inspire Magazine cover to mirror how the agency works. [Adobe Inspire Magazine was renamed Adobe Create Magazine in the fall of 2015.]

“There’s a randomness to our process,” says senior designer Luke Choice, “rather than a predetermined path. Because of the combination of artists in the studio, each with their own strengths, you get unexpected results when we collaborate. ‘Surreal chemical reaction’ best describes how the studio operates.”

So that’s what Vault49 created: a chemistry set on acid.

Even in the initial Adobe Illustrator CC sketch, there’s an intriguing mix of pipes, valves, beakers, and other equipment. The connections don’t make sense, but they don’t need to—inspiration comes from multiple directions.

Luke and Vault49 art director David McLeod worked together on the next phase, a 3D model. They divided the tasks, with one person focused on lights and rendering, and the other on materials and 3D structures.

They finessed the image in Adobe Photoshop CC. “Nothing ever passes out of the studio without going through Photoshop,” Luke says. “Material colors, mood lighting, smoke, depth of field—all of that comes in at the end in Photoshop. It takes too long in 3D apps.”

And finally, they created this:

To see more of Vault49’s work, visit the agency’s Behance profile