Boost Your Flow: A liquid chroma-key experiment with Adobe Creative Cloud

Will liquid paint work as a green screen? What if paint could be anything? Well, there was only one way to find out…

We briefed agency Abby Priest to create a video launching our Idea to Done theme, which shines a light on the creative process and ultimately explores how creatives can express their ideas in an efficient and lasting way. To bring the new theme to life, they decided it was time to embark on a liquid chroma-key experiment.

Starting with a simple pencil drawing, they let their creativity run wild by throwing paint against a white backdrop – it was not the time for neatness here! Armed with Adobe Creative Cloud, they were able to breathe new life into the paint splatters and create mesmerising digital art in its own right. The result was incredible, and it’s safe to say we now know that paint creates an unforgettable green screen!

We caught up with Abby Priest’s Creative Director, Oskar Hellqvist, to hear more about the inspiration and challenges presented in the video – and most importantly, how it transformed from idea to done.

But first, watch the result here:

What was your reaction when you were contacted by Adobe and got the briefing?

When we got the brief our first reaction was the extremely tight deadline. We had to come up with a concept and create a video in a total of two weeks. But this tight deadline actually emerged into the concept and idea for the video. With Adobe CC all the tools you need are gathered in one seamless eco system which makes it possible to turn your ideas into reality fast. So in the end, the tight deadline helped us realise that a core benefit with Adobe CC is that it makes it possible to go from idea to done faster. And that is exactly what the liquid chroma-key experiment symbolizes.

How did you find inspiration?

Growing up in Sweden meant seeing the cartoon movie ”Santa’s Workshop” every Christmas. Santa’s little whistling helpers were manufacturing toys for the children who had been behaving well that year. In one particular segment, one of the pixies created checkerboards with one single swipe, using a brush dipped in a bucket of “checkered paint”. I was totally blown away by that.

So what if paint could be anything? What if whatever comes to mind could be thrown out on the canvas? Our liquid chroma-key concept was born out of that childhood memory.

In a way, that is what the Adobe Creative Cloud is all about; a collection of tools gathered in one place; integrated together they help you to turn your ideas into reality. You simply just throw them out on the canvas. And what an excellent way to showcase the potential of CC.

How did you make this project go from idea to done from a technical perspective?

The initial tests were carried out using simple office supplies and Adobe After Effects at our office. We then moved into a testing phase, using real paint before shooting it in a studio together with the talented motion and retouch wizards at Bsmart. Although working to meet a tight deadline, we still were able to maintain our preferred process of experimenting, while ensuring the quality throughout the entire process.

When we carried out experiments we used the Chroma key effect in After Effects on the paint splashes. This effect takes away the original color and made it possible for us to replace it with images/artwork. When that was done we used displacement maps of the original paint splashes which we applied to the images/artwork to get a less static and more realistic liquid look. On top of that we really had to try our way back and forth with finding the right levels in order to bring back the right amount of shadows and highlights from the original splash.

What advice would you give to other creatives facing the challenge of having to go from idea to done faster?

To Boost your Flow! Now is the time to become the perfect ally for your clients who have to deliver content and engage with their audience in a more fast and impactful way than ever before.

Here are my 4 fundamental tips to succeed as a creative in this new landscape:

  1. Get the latest tools.
  2. Develop a multi-disciplinary mindset.
  3. Focus on getting things done.
  4. Have new experiences: As the creative industry of today is a cut-throat business, you can never be afraid to experiment, nor should you avoid getting your hands dirty.

For us, being a creative agency, we live in the most exciting times in history. We don’t spend much time looking back. We are constantly on the quest for creating ideas we haven’t seen before and producing content that is both relevant and exciting. You can check more projects from our agency on our Behance.

You can watch the ‘making of’ video for our campaign here:

You can see more details about the cool things that happened behind the scenes as well in our Behance Project.

We will explore the Idea to Done theme throughout March, April and May with masterclasses, community events and more. Be sure to follow us along the way and check it all out here: