Creativity for Sale Podcast - Episode S1 E23

Shaping the future of creative tools - Rufus Deuchler (Adobe)

Mon, 22 Apr 2024

Send us a Text Message."It's always about intention. There needs to be a goal and we have the tools now to reach those goals quickly, but patience is a must."Rufus Deuchler, an Adobe evangelist, shares his journey and insights into the creative industry. He discusses the importance of taking initiative and creating opportunities, as well as the impact of AI on creativity and skill sets. Rufus introduces Adobe Firefly and its applications in generative AI.



Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

"It's always about intention. There needs to be a goal and we have the tools now to reach those goals quickly, but patience is a must."

Rufus Deuchler, an Adobe evangelist, shares his journey and insights into the creative industry. He discusses the importance of taking initiative and creating opportunities, as well as the impact of AI on creativity and skill sets. Rufus introduces Adobe Firefly and its applications in generative AI. ~

He emphasizes the need to look back and learn from history in order to create the future. Rufus also highlights the role of evangelists in engaging with the creative community and gathering feedback. 

He discusses the importance of simplifying the entry point and onboarding process for new users and the evolution of creativity with accessible tools. In this conversation, Radim and Rufus discuss the evolution of creative tools and workflows, the future of creativity and tools, balancing digital and analog creativity, the importance of community and collaboration, embracing change and finding your creative path, the power of patience and persistence, the future of creative tools, capturing conversations and inspiring others, and the importance of accessibility and support.

Key Takeaways :

  • Taking initiative and creating opportunities can lead to unexpected career paths.
  • AI can enhance creativity by simplifying tasks and providing new possibilities.
  • Looking back at history and learning from the past is essential for creating the future.
  • Engaging with the creative community and gathering feedback is crucial for product development.
  • Simplifying the entry point and onboarding process can help new users navigate creative tools more effectively.
  • Accessible tools and features in creative software can enhance productivity and creativity. The evolution of creative tools and workflows has made it easier and faster to create, saving time and energy.
  • The future of creativity and tools will involve increasingly easy-to-use and capable tools that can understand and help realize ideas.
  • Balancing digital and analog creativity can keep creative juices flowing and allow for the exchange of ideas between different mediums.
  • Community and collaboration are essential for growth and learning in the creative industry.
  • Embracing change and finding your creative path requires patience, persistence, and a focus on intention.
  • The future of creative tools may involve a combination of specialized tools and all-in-one applications.
  • Capturing conversations and sharing experiences can inspire others and spark creativity.
  • Accessibility and support are crucial for creatives to thrive and reach their goals.


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Rufus Deuchler:

I'm talking to literally hundreds, if not thousands of people every year, creatives and exchanging ideas and listening to their stories and, and helping and learning from them. And I think this is what community is all about. We should be sharing, we should be, exchanging ideas and, to move the ball ahead and, to grow together and software we'll become increasingly easy to use, we've seen tremendous changes in the past 20 years, from the capabilities of Photoshop to now, it's incredible, like there's things in Photoshop now that we wouldn't even have imagined a year ago.

Radim:

Hello and welcome to Creativity for Sale podcast, a show to help you start and grow your life changing creative career and business. My name is Radim Malinich and creativity changed my life. You see, I believe creativity can change your life too. I even wrote a book about it and it inspired this podcast. I've set out to interview the world's most brilliant creatives, designers, writers, musicians, makers and marketeers about their life changing experiences with creativity. If you ever wanted to know how people go from their humble beginnings to the pinnacle of their success, our conversation should provide you with an intimate look into triumphs, challenges and untold stories behind their creative endeavours. We also discuss the highs and lows of creative careers and creative life. So Thank you for joining me on this exploration of passion, creativity, innovation, and the boundless potential within us all. Let creativity change your life. Are you ready?

Radim Malinic:

My guest today has affinity for creative technology. He is the director of worldwide creative cloud evangelism and community advocacy at Adobe. And if you're a creative cloud user, you have most likely seen him on stage presenting new products and features at Adobe events worldwide. He has over 25 years of hands on experience using Adobe products and as a creative community team member, he actively supports the creative community worldwide. And as a creative, he has over 25 years of hands on experience using Adobe products. And as a creative cloud community team member, he actively supports the creative community worldwide. It's my pleasure to introduce Rufus Deuschler.

Radim:

hi, Rufus. Welcome to the show.

Rufus Deuchler:

Hey Radim, I'm so happy to be here today and thank you for inviting me.

Radim:

It's my pleasure to have you because I've known you for a while because I always say for the record on the show, I've so far been interviewing friends and people I admire and people like yourself that, you know, I see On kind of bi yearly basis, I see you at events and I see you at, uh, no, but pretty much events mainly, you know, that's, sometimes live broadcast that you do with, Adobe, but for people that don't know you, how would you describe who you are and what you do?

Rufus Deuchler:

first of all, I'm a graphic designer, and, this is what I graduated in, at the Art Center College of Design in 1992. that's awesome. eons ago. and then I, I worked for the school as an in house graphic designer. Then I, quit the job and I thought, I hate computers. I wanted to go to Italy and learn painting. So I moved to Florence and then after a while, of course, painting, doesn't pay the bills, especially when you begin. so I went back to graphic design. I opened an agency and, I did most of the big clients here in Florence. And then, one day in 2007, Adobe calls me and says, Hey Rufuss, would you be interested in doing something completely different? And I said, yeah, what's that? And they said, oh, actually Rufuss, is there an airport in Florence? And I said, yes. Oh, okay, so we can print talking. and that's when my. My career at Adobe started, as an evangelist and, yeah, I sold the company here in Florence. and I took on that completely new thing, which made me travel around the world. it was crazy. with my colleagues, we say that we, yeah, we traveled almost 270 days a year. and thankfully that's not the case anymore. thankfully, and it was all rock and roll and fun and, waking up in hotels, not knowing where you are, things like that, but it was a great experience.

Radim:

Wow. I've already got quite so many questions on what you've just said. Going back to Florence, obviously I always wanted to know why do you live in Florence and now we know because that was your art career, the try that you wanted to do. And how long have you lived in Florence now?

Rufus Deuchler:

Now over 30 years now. I can, I consider myself Florentine. I speak Italian like the Italians, you know, or like the Tuscan people, let's put it that way with a slight accent.

Radim:

Get it right. They're all Italians. They'll be after you. so this is fantastic because I wanna know everything's about opportunities. Like sometimes we make opportunities happen and sometimes they come our way. So what do you reckon that you did that actually got Adobe to be in touch? Because the pre two tens, pre 2010s and mid two thousands, we went just about being connected. you know, I, I moved to the I, I moved to the UK when the internet was working, but the reason why I moved here,'cause I moved to be closer to things, whereas to be discovered, I guess. 2005, six, seven was maybe the first sort of wave of actually getting proper web traffic. So do you know what you did that Adobe decided to call you and say, because there must be a criteria for being an evangelist.

Rufus Deuchler:

like I always say, opportunities are a mix of luck and hard work. and I, did put in the hard work. Um, you know, one day, I got really excited when InDesign 2 came out, that was, I think, in 2002, yeah, 2002, I think, yeah, InDesign 2 came out, and that was a, an incredible, alternative to Quark Express, which was the leader at the time, And I was really, really excited about that, and then, I also read a white paper that came out about, it was called, networking creativity or something like that, that Adobe was, no, Network Publishing, that's what it was called, and basically the concept behind that white paper was that in the future everything will be connected. The apps will be connected, the creatives will be connected with their clients and everything will work inside of a workflow. which wasn't the case at the time because everything was very separated, right? You did some things in Photoshop, some things in Freehand or Illustrator, some things in Quark or InDesign and, you know, nothing worked together. And I really love that vision, the vision of, of what we have today, really, that's, the creative cloud concept, but 20 years before almost. and that got me really excited. So very intentionally, I said, I want to work for Adobe, and I, and then I started being very active, and being active, you're right, there was no, in big internet communities and things like that, but I created the first InDesign user group in Italy, and we had meetings, we had, opportunities to share, and I also, I know at the time there was also a thing called Second Life. I don't know if you, let that was like a 3D virtual world where you could build houses and things like that. I created an InDesign user group in there. And one day, David Blattner from the InDesign conference, actually, he was poking around for speakers in Europe. And he called Adobe Italy and he says, who's that Rufus guy? Is that, is he good? It's what does he do? I mean, he's very active and they said, oh yeah, yeah, Rufus is a good guy. and then he invited me to the InDesign conference in Amsterdam and that was my first speaking opportunity and I nailed it. And, I was so happy. with the interactions I had with the audience and, the things that I was able to teach them and the exchanges we had. And I remember I gave myself a pat on the back and, at the airport in Amsterdam, I bought myself a, one of the first iPods, you know, the one with the circle on it. and I remember the first. The first record I downloaded and it was a Pearl Jam record and that's when it started. Yeah.

Radim:

which one? Which album was that?

Rufus Deuchler:

I don't remember the name now. It was, I don't know. I have so many.

Radim:

Yeah. any Pearl Jam album is a good album to have.

Rufus Deuchler:

so just to say, to create opportunities are created and of course they come and, to finish this story in the audience in Amsterdam, there was, a guy from Adobe, Tim Cole, who was the InDesign evangelist at the time for Adobe. And he, and then he came back to the US and he was really pushing. We need this guy. We need this guy in the team. And that's when my first manager, Greg Ruiz, actually gave me that call. And he said, would you be interested? And, and I said, hell yeah, let's do it. and that's how it all started. So I thank Tim Cole for, for pushing, Greg Ruiz to give me that call and interestingly enough, that's how I hire all my new people now, I just give them cold calls and I said, Hey, I'm Rufus from Adobe. So the first thing they freak out, they Google, who's that stalker? And this, Oh, he, this dude actually exists. He does stuff. that's how I find my best employees really is, is simply by calling them and them

Radim:

what an amazing story. And I thank you for actually itemizing everything that you've done all the way to that point, because we see from the creative side, we see people like this as a little breaking through and like, how did that happen? What did you do? What you've quite beautifully explained, like you've had your own initiative to actually make things happen with the, you, you've planted your seeds and you saw them grow. And even if Adobe never got in touch, it was still potentially be running the InDesign group today, because you can tell that people start reading because. And I'm being careful about the word, but because they're passionate about it, because actually, cause you are eternally curious, okay, this is a new tool. Yes. It was so much easier to use than QuarkXPress. And I'm a sort of case study user too. Like Quark because it just felt odd. It was just weird, but. You never felt like, Oh, let's be super creative. Whereas when we switched to Adobe, when we switched to InDesign and at a company where I used to work for, it was like, okay, I know all the shortcuts. I was always that geek. It was like, I want to know what can I press? How can I get there quicker? So we see, Software as, an instrument. You know, like a good musician doesn't look down the neck of the guitar, they know where they are. they know what note they're playing. And I think this is the thing, like when I was coming through the ranks, like the more noise you made on your keyboard when you were working, pressing all the shortcuts and stuff, that was the sign of a good designer. Like no one hand in the pocket didn't wash, it was the old It was the old school sort of, upbringing through design. So it's amazing because you've definitely described like how you make opportunities happen. Yeah, because the luck is that you get to be seen and be visible. And I must have seen one of your presentation, one of the earlier presentations, because I used to go to Adobe Live around 2006, 2007. And what I want to say with this sort of real long segue is that At that time, it felt like the world was obviously easy and simpler because we didn't have the overload of tools because we, I remember people talking about basic sort of software sort of features, like we got a new feature on this, or there was a retouching, or I remember being at the Lightroom being announced, this is our new tool, we've got Lightroom. I was like, This is really exciting, this is really interesting, but how do you think the world has changed and the software has changed, where are we going with this?

Rufus Deuchler:

of course, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign are all applications for creative professionals. And I always make that point. when you choose the creative profession as a designer, these are the tools that you can use. These are available. These are, mostly industry standards and these, Once you know these tools, and you mentioned, it's like playing a music instrument, you have to know where the keys are, how to make the music with the, with that instrument and with that software for that matter. And, I also think that, with time, with each new feature, there is also, we make. Working easier with the, with the software, you know, things that took a long time in the past now, can be done with the click of a mouse and I think this is really the future and of course there's a whole portion of, the world, wants to be creative who maybe don't have the bandwidth or the time or the will. to do it. to learn the applications, like Photoshop or Illustrator or InDesign and that's why we also have, opportunities like Adobe Express for people to create, visually pleasing, designs without necessarily having the knowledge. But I'm a big believer in deep knowledge of, first of all, of the history of graphic design, the history of art. we need to know the past in order to create the future. And I'm always, saying also that no good idea, comes, from a night's sleep, for example. It all comes from a compilation of your experiences, of the things you've seen, the things you've heard, the things you've experienced. And all of these things together make up your creative ideas. And then we create the tools to enable you to actually do these things. and that's what we do at Adobe.

Radim:

you mentioned history of design and history of art. It's almost like you can think about when we're making a parallel between music and other disciplines, creative disciplines, when you're a novice. You're most likely to be looking forward because you live in the present moment, what I see, what I hear, what I smell, what I taste, that's my current experience and my sensory experiences. So to be looking back, I really need to make myself to think to look back because I want to know what I can do going forward so I can potentially absorb now. And it's only when you get deeper when you get interested in the history and kind of, okay, oh, maybe I should be more interested. How would you say we should do that? Because like, how do you How do we get the time and how do we inspire people to actually? How would you say we should do that?

Rufus Deuchler:

looking back, maybe you don't have to even look back that far. when you, when somebody wants to create something, they have an idea in mind, right? And that idea is, like I said, it's a compilation of things seen, heard, experienced, and that can be a billboard they've just seen, or a design that they've seen in a store or a painting that they've seen, whatever, or a music that they've heard and that inspires them to create their work and their, to bring their idea to life. So I'm not saying that you have to know what everything that happened in the 1800s, 1900s, and the 2000s. it's good if you do, because, you can see that there's cycles, that there's ups and downs that people freak out over time, like in the 1800s, when. when photography started, whole generation of portrait painters were completely freaking out because they said, Oh, we're going to lose our job. and then when you think about it, what really happened is that we got things like futurism, cubism, impressionism, all of those things that, that a camera couldn't do. So basically creativity moved. out of necessity, into new forms. and then of course, in the nineties, like the early nineties, I suffered from that too. I studied graphic design really hard. and when I got out of school in 1992, everyone with a Mac called themselves a designer. And it completely depreciated. My value, I mean, to the customer, not to myself, but, my cousin can do that. He's got a Mac, and then you have to find ways. Okay. So how can I make myself valuable with my Mac? so that people continue to work with me at my higher prices. and then of course it happened with digital photography, digital video, all of these things moving forward, moving creativity forward. and, you know, of course, the latest things are, of course, all around artificial intelligence and how that, that comes into play in any creative workflow. hmm.

Radim:

mean, what a beautiful segue, because yeah, there were portrait painters worried about their jobs, which is what we kind of do on a cyclical basis, because everything new comes in and be like, Oh, it's changes everything. But. It's only when you've got the wealth of experience and knowledge what happened in the past that you say, you know what, we'll adapt like we've always adapted. In fact, this is a tool for creativity and for actually for a change to actually push ourselves because it's beyond a constant treadmill of evolution. let's talk about AI and let's, get there now and see where it takes us. tell us, how Adobe Firefly came, through and actually how it was maybe evolvement from Adobe Sensei, because I've seen that tool in the past. Tell us about AI.

Rufus Deuchler:

So, writing like, artificial intelligence is, it's not new to Adobe. we've been working with AI for, over a decade and we've introduced, features in Photoshop and Illustrator and any of the applications really that are based on, on artificial intelligence and that makes things easier, like content aware fill or, matching colors or things like that, all of these things that people don't necessarily think about. AI when they use it. The thing that changed is generative AI. So AI that can actually create things. and there we took a very careful step, right? Because, I've seen the first chat GPTs, the first Dal, Dali and all of these things. And I was really interested like to see where is this going? and then of course, there were all of these. controversies about, where do these AIs get their, source material from? Where, how does that work and how does it impact you know, artists? So we took a long time and this is why we came out slightly later than everybody else with our own AI called Firefly because we really wanted to put Thought into it and to do the right thing and so this is why we chose to use a certain data set mostly based on, Adobe stock, on images that we have licensed to in order to create a system that puts no one in danger. for example, if you use one of the other solutions. There is a risk that you as a customer can have, there might be a copyright infringement, or maybe it's an image that looks too much like something that, that already exists. with Firefly, if I ask Firefly to create Mickey Mouse in a cornfield, Firefly will not know what Mickey Mouse is and we'll probably create a mouse in a cornfield, but not Mickey Mouse. So this is how we reduce the risk on that side. And then of course we launched Firefly, after also. A long period of, well, long in terms of AI, a few months of talking with the community of involving the community of asking them, what do you think? Do you think we're going to the right direction and all of that? And once we were sure that, we had all the. right things in place and that we were doing the right thing. that's when we launched Firefly, you know, just under a year ago. Like I remember, yeah, just under a year ago. and since then things have moved incredibly fast. of course there's the Firefly website where anyone can create, images using the technology we've introduced Firefly into, into Photoshop With generative expand and generative fill, we've introduced, and, an illustrator, with automatic recoloring. I can take an illustrator illustration and say, I want to use, the colors of a sunset. Typing that and it'll change the colors of my illustration. Making it much, much faster and easier for a creative professional to create iterations of their own work, and this is something that. You know, in the past, you would always say you have to give the client three choices, Right. to create those three choices would probably be very time consuming in the past and you would do it and yes, of course now. to have various options is really much, much faster, but it's, still based on your creativity, on your work and, on the output of your idea. and then of course we've introduced Firefly and things like Adobe Express. we're peppering it in, into many different areas of creativity. now we're working on things for video for all over the spectrum and making it so that people can create faster with more confidence and for people who are just starting to enter the creative world with more confidence because results are better, quicker. And it's important, you know, like I remember very well trying to learn, I don't know, after effects. So I would wake up in the morning and I say, Oh, I want to learn about after effects. So I look at the tutorials or read the book or whatever, and I made the ball bounce and I was super happy about that. And I said, okay, now what? and that's usually when I stopped learning about After Effects because, then it became very complicated and I had to have ideas. Now, animation can be done in Photoshop. Animation can be done in, in Adobe Express, much, much quicker. And then if you want to use the tools like a pro, of course, you go to After Effects, to Premiere, to Photoshop, to Illustrator, to InDesign, et cetera.

Radim:

Amazing points. What I want to go to is what you said just a second ago about iterations. The iterations are getting much easier because normally before it would take time to do. I think with the modern creativity, I think we, we get more likely to get paid on the strategic thinking rather than the skill, if that makes sense, because I remember going to retouching sessions where people were like, I'm going to show you how I can make grass as a snow. And it was like, wow, dude, this is like the most amazing thing because to do these things you can do now with AI was, was a professional skill. Like I've personally, I've, taken the most from as a graphic designer, from like photographers and retouchers doing their thing, because it was like, Oh, that's how you use Photoshop. Because as a designer, you're like, there's my type, there's my picture. What can I do? And it's just, I think that path of curiosity can naturally led you in the past, like it can have different careers because you can use the same tool in about 25 different ways. You know, you can just do so many things differently with it. Whereas. I now appreciate being more short on time that, for example, if I need to use a content aware fill, it works really well, you know, if I need to do like some of the stuff we go in our press photos for the latest books, we use, Firefly just to tweak things, which I would normally have to find a photo, match it, retouch blur it, which in a way is a craft because you have to learn and you have to appreciate it. When you talked about like, we learned the step by step process, but. I haven't spoken to people like Mattia Schulte before in the past. It was like Photoshop is an old castle with different Tourette's kind of added to it. It was like, it's being used now for different purposes to what it was invented for more or less. However, using, for example, the video feature in Photoshop is my lifesaver because I was like, let's do web balance for the website. Oh, I can't use it after. Like, let's do it. So I think the amalgamation of different inputs and different uses and different outputs, I think made, I think kind of served a purpose for where we go in next, because I can see with the new tools in Adobe stable, it's the interface is changing, you know, the interface is more, it's more streamlined, it's more intuitive, but it's, I can see that flow, but I think may come from the iPads. tools, and then he got merged into the new application, which is fantastic because it's moving in, in line with how we perceive tools, how they should be, do you feel that with the ability to do so much so quickly, are we likely to diminish the level of skillset or is it just like a really powerful calculator? Like do you use Firefly for like generative ideas and then like, okay, let's shoot it. let's do this. Like, how do you see is meant to be used?

Rufus Deuchler:

you're spot on. It is a creative tool, right? It should be a spark. It should be the spark that initiates something. So I was always a big, believer in that generative, creating generative images. going into Firefly and typing something, I want to see a castle on a mountain with a lake and blue skies. Right? And then it creates an image. I think this is not the end game, right? Because yes, it makes it easier to have that specific image, but I love how these technologies. are ported into Photoshop, into Illustrator, and Adobe Express to make some very specific things. for example, styling text or, adding something to an image. For example, or removing a shadow. these are things that were terribly difficult in the past. Or, like taking a vertical picture and making it horizontal. I'm interested. in it. In the content of that vertical picture, perhaps a portrait, and, but I need that in horizontal, right? So, in the past, I would have probably had to cut out the portrait and put it on a bigger image. Now, I can just extend the edges, and I don't really care whether the left and the right of the image is, horizontal. real or not, right? I'm still interested in the focus of the image, which is the portrait. I just made my life much easier because I created a horizontal image using that technology. So I'm always, pushing this, notion of AI helping you do things that were in the past much more difficult. And that is not only image creation, right? or, like image creation in the sense of, typing something in and having that image and using that image. It should be part of the workflow, and I think that's where the magic is.

Radim:

So with your title, so you were an evangelist and now you are head of Creative Cloud or where do you find yourself in the ecosystem?

Rufus Deuchler:

okay, so basically, we were Just a handful of evangelists, for a very long time and that's why we traveled so much, around the globe, to present what was new with Adobe and, in the past, our presentations would always, start with something like, Oh, let me show you the 10 new features in Adobe Photoshop, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, et cetera. And this has changed over time because, we were really pushing the notion of workflow and we had a tour, we had a presentation that lasted for about six hours and people would come to movie theaters or, places with a big screen and actually watch us go through a workflow for six hours and that included design, video, illustration and anything. now I'm really, focusing on, making people understand how all of these new features, because there are many, many new features all the time. And, you can't expect somebody to go and read the what's new page, every time they hit the update button. But it's very useful to actually show people, that with these new tools, they actually can make things quicker or faster or better. and that's in the context of a workflow. And very recently, I was able to hire a whole bunch of people. So I hired, many new, evangelists in the U S, to cover a very various, aspects of creative cloud, including video designers, and, also, Adobe express, specialists. And, last year I was also able to hire six new people in Europe, two in France, two in the UK, two in Germany, to help, with that notion of let's show people how to, maximize their workflow. And the evangelists really do three things. the first one is we are very present in the online communities, whether it's, X or Twitter, Facebook. Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, we're everywhere and we're here to help, we're here to help anyone, begin their creative career or those who are already in their creative career, to make their creative careers better And we also, create a lot of content around that, of course, we create videos, we create posts, we create, things that show people how to do things better. and the third thing, and this is something that people in Europe, will see a lot more of, and we are already doing that in the U. S. a lot, is, a whole bunch of events. in cities outside of the big cities. not necessarily always London. we have an event in Cardiff very soon, and then maybe Manchester, and then maybe Leeds. and basically these events are really, been created to get the creative communities from those areas together. In a room, Yes, we're going to show them a little bit of what's new with Adobe, but we're going to be talking about creativity. We're going to be, showcasing creatives from those places and creating a whole bunch of opportunities for exchange and, and collaboration maybe with, people in those cities. So the events part is, very key to what evangelism does these days as well.

Radim:

I I love that. I know that one of your recent recruits in the UK is Claudia Vegini, if I'm going to say her name right. And I was lucky to be on her Creative Connect, Instagram, program, let's call it, or event. and I've paid her compliments because she said like, how'd you build your career? And I said, you know it because you're eternally curious, What do you have, what do you have done for yourself, Rufus, and what she's done for herself? You guys live and breathe the tool. You absolutely live and breathe it. And this is why the word evangelist is so, fitting.

Rufus Deuchler:

yeah, and, Clady is a very good example. Clady reached out to me maybe five years ago and she said, I want to be an evangelist. I want to be on your team. I gave her, few ideas. We discussed a little bit. And I said, you're not quite ready, but I'm sure that one day you will be. and that day came, and I gave her that call on last summer. And I you know, Clady, I think now is the time. Do you still want to do it? And she jumped on the opportunity and now she's part of this wonderful team of evangelists. And, and yes, I couldn't be happier to have Clady with me in the UK and also Lucy Street from Cardiff. She's focusing, she's a brand, designer in Cardiff. she's also got an interesting story. She started with architecture and then, created a website to showcase her architecture work. And then she found a passion with, designing those, with those websites and then to branding and this and that. And then she became very she has a huge following on TikTok and Instagram, which of course to me is super interesting. And Lucy is also someone that I gave a call and I said, Hey Lucy, would you want to do that? and she jumped on the opportunity as well. So yes, that's how I build my team.

Radim:

let's stick with the community for a minute, because, I know from, I think it was Scott Belsky who said that Photoshop is the one of the most downloaded application that is then. Half deleted that people don't know where to start. It's just like, what do I do with this? And I think obviously I can see, this is a statement from maybe 10 years ago, I believe, because when you open the Photoshop, when you open any of the creative application, it says, what do you want to do? Here's your tutorials. You can have a look at this. You can have a look at that because it makes the sense. Because sometimes you feel like for a novice, you're like, should we have a decision tree? Are you making a poster? Do you need a type? Do you need an image? Do you need this? Like, I think we can make this because. I think we can make it simpler for for the entry point, almost like like a design education for the application. Because I think people have always scared scared of like, are we making the entry point too easy? especially in generative AI, anyone can do anything, but it also frees up designers to not be doing jobs for day. Grandparents or the family members, can you do me an invite or whatever, or can we do me a business guide, you know?

Rufus Deuchler:

Oh, work for family members and friends. these are the things that, that are always hard. Yeah.

Radim:

We can all do without yeah, so with the community like how much input do we get not from the parents and their grandparents and The posters, but how much community input, like for, especially for evangelists and for like a data capture, how much input or requests come from community to Adobe and how do you deal with them? And what are they and how do you deal with them?

Rufus Deuchler:

most of the applications have, systems to gather feedback, to gather ideas around, new feature requests or things like that. And they can be upvoted, downvoted. and then of course we look at everything, but. you mentioned the community and the community is really the heartbeat of, how we make decisions, because it's super important that these days, there was a lot of time in the past when it was up to the engineers to say, this is super interesting, people will love it, but how do they know that people will love it? maybe they just, talk to a few people, talking to a much larger community actually helps us understand how people work with the applications, what their aspirations are, how they want to interact with these applications. and all of that feedback, of course, comes back to us and we feed that back to the marketing teams, to the product teams, and it's always really a two way conversation. we have a whole bunch of, new initiatives, with, customer advisory boards, with, beta testing with all of those things where we really gather feedback about how people are using the tools and what, What they need to do with them, but coming back to your, to your point about beginning in an application, I think it's super important Or when you start a new project, like, for example, I was referring to, after effects before and making a. Ball bounce. And the reason I probably stopped after that is because I didn't have a project, right? So you mentioned Photoshop. Yes, Photoshop is hard, and nobody expects you to know everything that is possible with Photoshop. But I think the important part is when you start learning about Photoshop is to say, Okay, I want to do this. Okay, and how am I going to achieve that? And so to have like a project that you can follow through and learn the few tools that will be necessary to do just that, forget about everything else. Everything else will become relevant for another project perhaps. But it's really important not to be overwhelmed by the amount of tools, the amount of possibilities. And to condense everything down to exactly what you need at any given time.

Radim:

I think for a novice to start with the creative cloud suite. can feel a bit intimidating because, as you just said, having the right reason to use the tool helps you to click the right button, helps you to at least find out what buttons, do I need to click? What do I need to do? Because from personal experience, I remember getting a demo copy of Photoshop Syncs or something. It was like, it was nice to sort of put some clouds in stuff and whatever. But it was only when My entry point as a, as an experience, was that Illustrator was my first tool. And then it's I wanted to create images that are a bit more varied. And it was the role of magazines and at that point, like my computer arts doing tutorials and advanced Photoshop. And you're like, Oh my God. Okay. I can do all of this stuff. Because during our sort of generation, we didn't really know we can do the stuff at the top, right? I was thinking like, I will always be a regional designer doing flyers or whatever, business cards, whatever. And then you, yeah, you think like, somebody else does that. Maybe, people are in the capital cities or whatever. there's like a different layer of society who does that. Only to find out that when you put. time in your self education and your curiosity and you really want to know how things are done and actually learn from others and actually inhale the information that is available, especially now. I mean, you type in anything into YouTube and you can be a professional retoucher in like a month, not even two weeks. Like it's just a willingness to actually go after, because we've got so much out there. But for me, It's that decision, like where do you start first? Because when you go banding, music producers, you can make drum and bass, house music, you can make trip hop, you can make whatever, you brook, a drill. I don't know. I'm not that trendy anymore. I don't know the styles, but it's like, how do you find a thing that resonates with what you can do? Because on top of your tools, you've got Behance, which is how many members you have got now with Behance? Five, Five, million at least.

Rufus Deuchler:

Um, Aliens, I don't have the number right now in my head, but yeah.

Radim:

four, it was 4 million a while ago, but I would imagine it's five now. But imagine like the spectrum of what we can do is incredible. like you can be anything anyhow, but how do you find that way of potentially inspiring community to help them with the beginning steps? Because if I want to be a designer and I don't know what to click or what to get first, is there a decision tree? Is there like, Hey, what do you want to make? it's almost like a, like an onboarding, What do you want to do with this? is there something like this? I

Rufus Deuchler:

there's a whole, series of new things in Photoshop. For example, when you first opened Photoshop, there's a little video that comes up when you hover over a tool that says, okay, this tool is to do this or that. Or, do you want to learn about, removing a background? because, that's the number one thing people want to do when they click the subscribe button for Photoshop. They want to remove a background and put something onto something else, right? So we need to make sure that these things are easy to do, right? Right off the bat. and that's why we are creating tools. to remove the background or, to make it super easy. And that's also using artificial intelligence, like automatically recognizing the subject. There's a subject selection tool in Photoshop now where I can simply drag a, square around, around a round shape that I want to. Select and it'll understand. Oh, the user probably wants to select this and it selects it perfectly and then I can remove the background. I can put it onto something else and then, with the use of neural filters, I can very quickly, adapt colors of various layers inside of my Photoshop document and all of these things. it's really based on why do people come to Creative Cloud? They always come with an intention. They want to do something. and I think that's where the community, that's where evangelism comes in. We're always there in the community. The community can always reach out to us. and basically, we're also here to help, people in their first steps, you know, like, I'm really having a really hard time removing the background. let me quickly show you, and I think, Once you give that confidence to people that they can actually do things with these, and I repeat, professional tools, it makes it much easier for them to then. Continue to be curious, continue to want to learn more and to do increasingly complicated things with the software. or, if you just need, a quick layout or a quick, banner or, YouTube banner or, placeholder or, I don't know, create an Instagram post. Adobe Express is great for that because using AI, we also suggest, maybe your type would look better that way. Or maybe, the color scheme should be this, and then people can very quickly arrive to a solution that is visually pleasing. And I always think that these tools are great. Because instead of using, I don't know, Microsoft Paint to do the poster for your, musical event, at the church, for example, you can do something that is visually pleasing that, maybe more people will see, more people will be interested in, and, make your creative idea quicker and more beautiful. And

Radim:

thinking about it from slightly more philosophical way, what's happened in the last few years is like evolution of the man, the reason why we've evolved as a species, because we no longer work that, how need to, no longer wake up. and go, what's for food? Let's go and hunt ourselves a dinner. we don't have to hunt for food anymore. You know, we've, created these sort of technological advances that everything we can do is actually going forward, if that makes sense. So giving people tools that you can, okay, the basics that weren't before. reserved to professionals like to remember watching tutorials on how to, do complicated hair removal, like, you you know, how to do background with hair, that was always a pain in the ass. It was like, how do we do this? And

Rufus Deuchler:

with AI, that's, it. that's just a matter of selecting something and filling it with AI.

Radim:

yeah, exactly. And I remember like, retouch is doing like a real whole, like an hour show on this. and I think this is the evolution of creativity because people ask, I'm like, Oh, we've got this, so many new features and like, is it making it more accessible to people? But. I have absolutely embraced the tools, especially within Photoshop because I know how to do it mechanically, but to have content aware feel like we're done. We can focus on something else. And especially now with, slightly older age now, I'm not 20 years old anymore. Like having all the time in a day. So the minutes matter. Sometimes the minutes matter because you want to actually test something. You want to do it quicker. And, it saves time. It saves the energy. And I remember as an illustrator, digital illustrator, like, especially in mid 2000s, It was pain in the ass to get imagery, then I would spend like an hour just pen tooling and everything. I kind of enjoyed it. It was quite meditative and I was really good at it. And my right hand has always been Wacom, you know, since 2002. So it was just, that's what I'm used to. Like my workflow was always fast because it had to be. Whereas now I don't have time to sit for four hours looking for images or doing pen tool or doing like, I just need things to happen quickly because we need to get to that decision. So things have changed and sometimes. it's not disheartening, but it's a bit unnecessary to see people going, back in the day, it was better. when you accept change will happen and change is always going to happen because we're internet made, internet will break, you know, everything that goes up has to go down. So I think everything's from where we see things, that it's in the right track because we've actually created that, that low hanging fruit. Even lower, like it's even so much easier and actually gives chance for people to be inspired to do things much easier because you know, you can actually focus on where you're going next. And that brings me on a question of where do you see your personal passion for creativity? Like. Where do you see yourself in a few years time and what sort of tools, if there's anything that you wish could exist and how would you do it? Or is there a single application for everything we do in the future? do we smash it all together and have different workspaces for all of it? that's just an eternal question, but where is your personal drive? Where do you see, your expression of creativity projected in these tools?

Rufus Deuchler:

So my, projection, is that, of course the tools will be, will become increasingly easy to use. They will become increasingly, capable of understanding an idea and helping you realize that idea. But on the other hand, I also focus on manual things like, I go to an artisan shop here in Florence and learn about gold leafing and things like that. so that's how I create my, this is how I keep my creative juices flowing, right? doing things with my hands and doing things that are completely, not, digital. and then, you know, bring back maybe some of the ideas that I have from that. analog world into the digital world and vice versa. And this is really how I cater to my own creative needs. and the other very important thing is, and this is the one great part of my job is. that I'm talking to literally hundreds, if not thousands of people every year, creatives and exchanging ideas and listening to their stories and, and helping and learning from them. And I think this is what community is all about. We should be sharing, we should be, exchanging ideas and, to move the ball ahead and, to grow together and software will. play we'll become increasingly easy to use, we've seen tremendous changes in the past 20 years, from the capabilities of Photoshop to, to, to now, it's incredible, like things we would, there's things in Photoshop now that we wouldn't even have imagined a year ago.

Radim:

I think what you described quite beautifully is that. It's the things outside of digital sphere, because I think as we grow older, we get more patience, we get more endurance, we are stronger in the younger age, we jump faster, we run faster, but we don't always have the patience to actually stick with it. So I think. Having sort of dynamic tools for up and coming generations be like we had time in the past because we didn't know how fast the world was moving outside our door because now you know that what I call the highway of life of creativity, you you know, you open the hands, you go like, Oh my freaking hell. That's just, everything's amazing. Everything. Everyone's doing really well. You open Instagram. Like it just seems like the good seems to be really amplified. And if you bump knife, you on a hard shoulder and you're a little seductive. hypothetical fiesta going at 20 miles an hour thinking, am I missing out? am I, and I should I really be this fast? Not this, that, because that can easily trigger like insecurities and impatience being like, I need to, like, some people think like, when am I going to be famous? Like, when is my next breakthrough, which are the healthy. emotions. I can totally, contest to those. Like, was like, when will the first big brand will be working with me? Because I wanted to do that. I wanted to put myself in that position, but it was no different to your InDesign group. It was like, I am passionate about what I do and I want to bring it to an audience. Like, what can I, how can I learn from others? And collaborating with people for the last 20 odd years was one of the most amazing things because you find your niche, you find your skills, you find your expression and you're like, How can we do this in conversation with others? And how can you sort of cherish input of others? it's something that sometimes being creative and we are in our early age, like very hunger for credit. You know, you're like, I've done everything. I want this, this is mine. this is my original idea. And it goes back to, you know, when you talked about it, sort of the design education, it's It's all been done before. No, you watch still like an artist told by Austin Cleo, like it's been done in 1500, these ideas are not new. We are just evolving. We are reshaping them. And I think this is when I was thinking like the reason why I wrote one of my other books called Mindful Creative is like, how do you make people comfortable with who they are and where they are and what they should be doing? Because you can be pressing every single button in every single application and not getting anywhere, you know? And it's just when you do something really rudimentary, just for people to sort of connect with it. That's where the magic happens. I know there's miracles can happen on any size wave.

Rufus Deuchler:

It's always about intention. It's always, it always has to be intentional. there needs to be a goal and we have all the tools, all the means now in 2024 to actually, reach those goals very quickly. But patience is definitely a must. Like you mentioned, Radim, never give up. it's like creativity. I, son is always also pursuing the musician's life. And I said, you have to be patient. You going to be a long road. if you're lucky, it can be a shorter road, but, a lot of work, a lot of practice, a lot of, putting yourself into it and never giving up. And, this is my mantra for life is everything is possible. and I always say, I'm not an optimist. I'm a possible Everything is possible.

Radim:

I love it. possibilities is one of the best things I've ever heard. It's just like possibilities because yeah, at least you don't think about the negatives. It's always wait, where can I go forward? I love that. So I kind of hinted in that little question. Do you reckon? There'll be one thing suits all application in the future. Or is that, is there a key in sub branding everything? because of course you can't smash all of the features of After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, everything in one. But if things like Fresco, for example, you go back to capability with the paintbrushes, watercolor kind of stuff. I'm sure obviously it would be great. I'm sure obviously it might not be the best idea, but do you think that's what people would look for?

Rufus Deuchler:

look at Adobe Express. Adobe Express lets you work with video. Adobe Express lets you work with drawing. Adobe Express lets you put images together. It makes you layouts. It does everything in one app, right? what you're just describing is really Adobe Express. and Adobe Express can only, grow better and bigger. and, give more possibilities. I'm still a big believer in, really, precise tools like, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, and the rest. Because, some jobs, still need that special kind of, Professional care. but as an entry point, Adobe Express is really great because it lets you dabble with many different things. And now that, you can work together in Adobe Express with Photoshop files, with Illustrator files, I know, people get the opportunity to maybe, jump to Photoshop quickly, do something, come back to Express or, Illustrator and vice versa. But the one fits all that you've just described is really Adobe Express.

Radim:

Fantastic. as you said, it actually leads you into finding a little bit about Photoshop or a little bit about Illustrator. And I think that as an entry point, that could be really good. Rufus. Thank you very much for your time. always treasure our conversations. Normally they are just before you go on stage and I'm always speaking to the very unhelpful time or afterwards when it's all busy and loud. the reason why I wanted to start this podcast is to capture these conversations on, on, on record. And just, I feel it's the first one of many, just to have, because. This is where the magic happens, where people get to hear about the things that normally are just, in the corner of the room. So thank you for making the time today. Thank you for doing what you're doing and thank you for the opportunities that you've actually sent my way and where you, the position that you put me in, because it was very pivotal time in my life and my career. So I'm very thankful for that. And, yeah, just keep doing what you're doing. And hopefully this conversation might inspire some new evangelists to start their own groups, you know, and just, do the thing because. Unless you spark your own fire, no one will see the smoke. No one will see it. And that's my opinion. And I'm glad that's how your story was too. See

Rufus Deuchler:

definitely. And thank you, Radim, for having me today. And, one thing that is super important for me as well is that if anybody has any questions for Adobe or wants to reach out to me, never hesitate to do that. It is literally my job to be here for you. never hesitate if you have any questions or want to exchange ideas or, spitball stuff, but I'm here for that. So, thank you for this opportunity, Radim, and, see you soon.

Radim:

you soon. Thank you so much.

Radim Malinic:

Thank you for listening to this episode of Creativity for Sale podcast. The show was produced and presented by me, Radim Malinic. Editing and audio production was masterfully done by Neil mackay,. from 7 million Bikes Podcasts, Theme music was written and produced by Robert Summerfield. If you enjoyed this episode and would like to support the podcast, please subscribe and leave a rating or review. To get your own action plan on how to start and grow a life changing creative business. You can get a copy of the Creativity for Sale book via the links in show notes. burning, and until next time, I'm Radim Malinich, your guide through this exploration of passion, creativity, innovation, and the boundless potential within us all.






Radim Malinic

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