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The Community Winners of the Take 10: Weightless Challenge

By Terri Stone

“Take 10” is a quarterly contest in which we challenge you to create an artwork that represents a theme using 10 images from Adobe Stock (and no additional images). In the most recent contest, which ran from May 27 through June 8, 2016, the theme was “weightless”. 

When Take 10 contest judge Joshua Davis described the image that won top honors in the “weightless” challenge, he said it felt like paint being torn apart. He didn’t know that Victor Murillo, the winning artist, had a similar take on what Joshua created using those same 10 Adobe Stock images. “When I saw that Joshua had transformed the pictures into tissues, fluids, and paint,” Murillo says, “all in motion to the music, I suffered a brain shock of instant pleasure.” Murillo was inspired to give his piece a comparable vibe.

The Spanish artist began in Maxon Cinema 4D, software for creating 3D imagery. “I created from scratch some abstract shapes with a cloth and fluid look, and I created textures for them from the Adobe Stock pictures,” he says. “I didn’t have in mind a specific appearance and composition, but I wanted the image to have light and heavy elements. I worked with the textures randomly, aiming to get an eye-catching result by modifying the width and the height. I tried not to distort them in order to preserve the photographic quality.”

Murillo then took his piece into Adobe Photoshop CC. “In Photoshop,” he says, “I did some color corrections and added to Cinema’s final render all the remaining images from the contest. To do this, I used Photoshop’s selection tools and masks. To integrate all the elements together and get that crispy look, I matte-painted them.”

As the best-in-class winner, Murillo will receive an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and (like the other nine winners) a year’s subscription to the Creative Cloud and Adobe Stock.

Hanene Bouachour goes by the moniker H2B2 on Behance. The French graphic designer used Photoshop for her artwork. To begin, she studied the 10 Adobe Stock images. “Generally, each image imparts an emotion through its color, its shape, and its ‘consistency,’” she explains. “I begin with an image that will be the story’s point of departure. It’s from there that I proceed to tell a story.” Instinct guided her as she built up the composition. “I primarily used Photoshop’s layer masks and different layer modes. I wanted to melt all the images to create just one. I wanted to create the feeling of weightlessness outside of the water by adding molecular elements hanging in the air, in contrast to the solid and the geometric shapes underwater.” 

Juan de Dios Leon Iturbe is an art director in Mexico. Joshua Davis says that this entry’s “feeling of weightless, with the iceberg suspended out of the water, is really well done. If this doesn’t become somebody’s album cover, then I don’t know what.” The winner used Photoshop for his composition; watch the making-of video for a peek into the process.

Jo Hucek’s approach was unique among the winning entries, a quality that Davis appreciated. “His piece feels like glass orbs,” Davis says. “Some of them have weight, others are more delicate. Isolating each piece of stock imagery so it’s by itself, suspended in space, is an inventive way to interpret the challenge. It’s 180 degrees from what I did.” Hucek lives in Austria and has worked as a cameraman on several short films. 

Guillaume Moi’s delightful entry has the look of cut paper, which he achieved in Photoshop. “It was pretty simple to realize,” Moi says. “I drew each form with the Pen tool and incorporated assets from the contest using clipping masks. Then I added several curves layers to create shadows and adjusted colors to give the impression of depth to each element. I finished the piece with adjustment layers, including one asset in overlay mode and low opacity to give this paper look.” The graphic designer and retoucher is based in France.

“This piece gives me the chills,” says Davis of Birgit Palma’s winning entry. She too used Photoshop. The strength of this entry relies not so much on software pyrotechnics, but on the concept: Beneath the water, the iceberg is actually a sailing ship, constructed out of the Adobe Stock images. Palma says she’s always been interested in the way something floating in water can look different above the water than it does below, and so she “decided to create an optical illusion of a sailing ship, head first in water.” See her Behance page for in-process sketches. Palma runs an illustration and type design studio in Spain.

This geometric entry looks like it could have been carved out of stone, but Alejandro Pérez balanced those hard edges with a soft palette. “I started placing basic shapes in Photoshop,” explains Perez, who is studying digital animation in Mexico. “I like to go from general to particular elements. Then I added the textures to the shapes using clipping masks. After that, I added elements that give it a plus, like the white frame and little circles on top and bottom. For the final touch, I really like giving my artwork a color correction, which I think defines my style.”

Alex Plesovskich of Germany used Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator CC for his winning entry. His concept depicts opposing elements: Those with weight are dark, hard-edged, and separate, while weightless elements are bright, fluid, and mostly a cohesive unit. He composed the image so that it works even when turned 180 degrees. Watch him build up the artwork in a 1:42-second video.

Davis was drawn to the “1980s geometric vibe” of Loren Seel’s winning entry. “I’m an’80s guy," he explains. "We used to have these Trapper Keeper things you put your homework in, and this would have been my Trapper Keeper first pick. That’s a compliment.” At press time, I haven’t been able to confirm Seel’s identity, but I’m relatively certain that she’s a young college student in the United States. If so, I want to know where she learned to channel the ‘80s!

Aaron Winneroski of the United States is still a university student. A big Photoshop fan, he also used the app for his Take 10 piece. “I wanted it to feel as if I placed the ten stock images in a blender, added a rainbow or two, and poured it out on a canvas,” Winneroski says. “I added layer after layer to the piece. I think I ended up with 300 layers in Photoshop. I used a lot of overlays and masks. I would overlay multiple layers, combine them, and then use that new creation as a mask.” Adds Davis, “Sometimes more is more. This has a tremendous amount of energy.”

Congratulations to the ten winners of the “weightless” challenge. Head to Behance to see scores of additional entries. And check Create Magazine next quarter for another Adobe Stock contest.