Being an Artist, Design Tutorials

Easily Turn Life into Illustration with the Adobe Capture CC App

May 29th, 2017

Turn life into illustration

The Adobe Capture CC phone app allows you to easily turn hand-drawn sketches, photos, or real life into vector illustrations. You can also create colour schemes, brushes, patterns, and looks.

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As a digital artist, I absolutely love this app! It’s allowed me to speed up some of my design processes’. For example, I create hand-drawn typography and with the app I can easily and quickly transform it into a usable illustration.

The live view feature reminds me of the music video by Ah Ha called Take on me, where the lady in the diner is looking into a newspaper and she can see the band members in cartoon form come to life. Then when you see an illustration you like, snap the capture button and it’s an instant illustration.

Easily create illustrations

If you have always dreamed of being able to make your own illustrations but don’t have the experience, then this app makes it possible for you to do so very easily. For experienced illustrators, this can massively speed up your process.

The results are a little crude, which I like for the most part with turning typography into vectors because I like the way it simplifies the shapes. Below is a direct comparison between scanning an image with a scanner and converting it to an illustration in Adobe Illustrator (on the left) compared with using the Adobe Capture CC App (on the right).

A scanned image turned vector in illustrator compared to Adobe Capture CC App

So if you want a much higher quality illustration then you can either use the Adobe Capture CC app and then clean up the results in Adobe Illustrator. Or you can follow my process for using Adobe Illustrator to turn a hand drawn sketch into an illustration.


The app is free. You need an Adobe Creative Cloud account, which is also free, but the catch is you also need Adobe CC software. Without CC you can still use the app and capture everything just fine, but you can’t access the vector files.

If you don’t have Adobe CC, then you can try the software for free. To sign up and purchase Creative Cloud it’s $10 a month for the Photography set (Lightroom & Photoshop CC), $20 a month for a single app from the creative suite, or $50 a month you get the whole Adobe CC suite.


With each of the following, you can capture from live view, your photos, or Adobe Stock images.
You can create:
Vector Illustrations
Color Palates

Below I have created a examples of creating illustrations from hand-drawn artwork, and from the live view camera capture.

Turn a hand-drawn sketch to a vector

Turn hand-drawn sketch into digital vector file

The app is fantastic for taking a sketch and turning it into vector art. Above is a hand-drawn sketch I drew with a Sharpie.

Turn hand-drawn sketch into digital vector file

To capture, you hold your phone over the sketch and then using the slider you can adjust the threshold of the black selected, then when you’re happy with it press the camera icon to capture. Next, you have the option to erase any areas you want to remove. Then you have the option to smooth the illustration or keep it as it is. Lastly, you save it into your Creative Cloud account.

Turn real life into an illustration

Adobe Capture CC app steps

Adobe Capture CC app steps

You can turn life around you into illustrations, very easily!

Watch the Adobe Video Walkthrough

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Easily Turn Life into Illustration with the Adobe Capture CC App

written by Tamsin
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