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Tutorial: How I use real paper in digital illustration

Liam Spradlin

Over the past few weeks, I've been sharing some "material" experiments - illustrations using real paper textures, inspired by the work Carl Kleiner did for Google.

I've had lots of requests for downloadable versions of the illustrations I've shared, so I thought I'd provide that here on Dada, but add a bonus: a tutorial explaining how I actually made them.

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Shrinking Today Calendar with vector assets: (re)designing for purpose

Liam Spradlin

Recently, Today Calendar gained a new batch of event illustrations and dropped 4MB from its APK size.

For those not familiar, Today Calendar has "daily decor," a growing set of custom illustrations that are triggered based on what kind of events a user has scheduled. If, for example, you schedule a "team meeting," Today will bring up an image relevant to meetings or business. This is a feature the redesign launched with in September 2014, with a collection of around 200 keywords so far.

To achieve the drastic size drop, Jack and I transitioned all existing illustrations to vector assets, which are now supported in Android. Thankfully, this isn't a Lollipop-only feature. It's possible to back-port support for vector assets (SVG files converted to XML).

The effect was great, but the process came with its own challenges. Specifically, working with SVG files in mind (and file size as a primary goal as we continue to add images) required a different design approach. 

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