Bridging the creative gap between mobile and desktop — one designer’s journey

At infltr, we’ve been busy quietly growing a community of intrepid mobile photographers.

Our users love us because we give them the creative freedom to discover millions of new filters for their pictures simply by using touch. No pre-set filters or complicated settings — with infltr you simply swipe in any direction and see the filter instantly change. Check out this 30 second video which shows how it works.

Since we launched infltr in August, we’ve come to learn that many of our users actually work in the creative industries and use Adobe Creative Cloud tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom.

One common sticking point for professional creatives is their workflow between mobile and desktop environments. Just like the rest of us, creatives increasingly want to work from their mobile devices, but transferring high resolution images back and forth from mobile to desktop can be a real hassle.

That’s why with our latest update to the infltr app, we’ve incorporated Adobe’s Creative SDK — essentially a set of tools that let our users connect to their Adobe account and seamlessly work between infltr and the Creative Cloud tools on their desktop.

A couple of weeks ago, we gave the test version of the new updated app to Luna Margherita Cardilli — co-founder of creative agency Black Fish Tank. Earlier this week, I sat down with Luna and asked how the new infltr update has changed her creative workflow.

T. Hi Luna! Before we talk about infltr and how you’ve been using it, can you talk me through what it used to be like working between your mobile and your desktop as a creative?

L. Firstly, I love my iPhone 6S Plus — the camera is amazing so I hardly ever carry my DSLR with me anymore. I find inspiration can strike at any time so I use my phone to capture images on the fly to use in my work. Obviously, as a professional designer, I need to keep the images I capture in the highest possible resolution.

I don’t mind admitting that I haven’t had the greatest experience of moving files with Apple’s Airdrop — occasionally it works, but normally it doesn’t for me. So I use what’s probably a common hack where I send images from my phone to my desktop via email. I then download the images from email to my desktop and save them to Adobe’s Creative Cloud so I can use them in Photoshop or Illustrator later. It’s annoying — it takes time to upload / download files, my email is clogged with high res images, sometimes I have to sacrifice resolution to email the file and I end up with duplicate images across my mobile, desktop and the Cloud. It’s less than ideal but I definitely don’t think I am the only creative to work like this!

T. How did you use filters in your work before?

L. Before finding infltr, I didn’t really use filters for my images at all. I wasn’t happy with the limited choice of filters most camera apps offer so I would use Apple’s native camera to shoot and email the image to myself, edit it on my desktop, then share online or incorporate it into my work. Filtering images using infltr has changed that completely because when you swipe, you never know what’s going to be the next filter you discover. It’s possible to see hundreds — potentially even thousands of filters with just a few swipes. It’s always a surprise and I find myself choosing filters I know I would never find with another app or create on a desktop environment. Serendipity has a big part to play in creativity — some of my favourite images have been created using completely unexpected filters that infltr lets you discover.

T. So now you have the latest version of infltr installed on your phone, how has that changed the way you work?

L. infltr lets me share my images between my phone and desktop in a completely seamless way without losing any resolution at all. I connected the app to my Adobe account and with a single tap can save images from my phone directly to Creative Cloud and open them immediately on my desktop. No more emails to myself! Honestly I can say this is an experience I’ve never had with any other camera app — it’s really, really cool.

T. You’ve sent me an image that you created using this new infltr to Adobe workflow. Can you talk me though it?

L. I’m working on a project at the moment called ‘The Unbranding Manifesto’. At the heart of it is the idea that we need to challenge the old. To remain creative, we need to be less consistent with our past choices and start seeing in a new way. Embracing serendipity is the key to this creative freedom. If you speak to a photographer, most will probably tell you there are rules for photographing the sky. If shooting in colour, you work to enhance its blue tones, perhaps the whites of the clouds. But what if we “unbrand” the sky? What I mean by that is remove the rules and embrace the idea that the sky can be for example neon yellow? This unbranding of the everyday brings new meanings and connections to creative work.

I was thinking about what images to use to accompany this Unbranding Manifesto while scrolling through pictures I shot and filtered with infltr while in the Canary Islands. Unsurprisingly given the location, I took lots and lots of pictures of the sea and the sky. Some of the filters I discovered with infltr and used were unusual — they changed the “branded” qualities of the elements. One filter gave a picture of the sky the colour and texture of sand. Another image I shot of water had a metallic, blue grey filter that reminded me of the movement and energy that Van Gogh imbued his skies with. That’s how the idea of using composition techniques for the Unbranding Manifesto came to me.

I used infltr to save these filtered pictures in high res directly from my iPhone to my Adobe Creative Cloud, and then at my desktop, opened the pictures seamlessly in Photoshop with no change to the original resolution — and no need to upload and email myself individual shots! I used the image of the sand-coloured sky as the ground in the composition and the metallic image of the sea as the sky. I grabbed a photo I shot in Barcelona of the explorer Christopher Columbus — he actually set off from the Canary Islands on his voyage to the Americas in 1492. Before Columbus’s journey, some people still clung to the idea that the world was flat and that below the earth was more sky. Still in Photoshop, I cropped and layered the image of Columbus’ statue over the composite.

Composite image created using infltr and Photoshop

I like to think that the image — with water for sky and sky for earth — effectively unbrands the landscape, challenging our preconceived notions of what these immutable elements are in their essence. Discovering filters on infltr has for me all the qualities of exploration — stumbling across unexpected, beautiful looks for my pictures that challenge my existing thinking and unlock new ways of being creative. It’s something I’m very excited about bringing to Black Fish Tank’s client work and sharing with the world.

T. Thank you Luna for being our creative guinea pig and sharing your own personal user experience!

At infltr, we love to hear about how our intrepid explorers use the app and to see their creations on Instagram with the hashtag #infltr. If you don’t have an Adobe Creative Cloud account yet but want to explore it, you can get a free Adobe trial from inside the infltr app. If you want to get a closer look at the workflow between infltr and Adobe, check out the short video below.