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Adobe Take 10 Challenge

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I recently took on the Adobe Take Ten Challenge (#TakeTenCompetition) on Behance. The rules were simple -  take 10 images from Adobe Stock (and only those images), create an artwork inspired by the theme “impulsive,” then submit it to be judged by posting it as a Behance project.

This was a really enjoyable project to work on, and challenging too. I’ve put this blog post together to give you an insight into my approach and how i tackled the brief.

Firstly, I knew I needed to do this quickly. I wasn’t going to commit days and days to this. I was only ever going to allow myself a maximum of two hours to turn around a proposal.

Secondly, I knew I was going to use my “threshold/illustrative” style for this project. This simplified things for me before I even looked at the images I had to use. I knew that all I would have to find is an interesting subject matter for the foreground and then everything else could be layered up in the background.

After scanning the images that I was given, I found two items that attracted my attention. On old tower/antennae mast in the background of one image and a second image of trees. I felt that I could combine these two elements to create a creepy, sci-fi looking object. I could then use all of the other images to build an environment around it.

Below is a very quick step by step of how I used each of the 10 images.

10 Steps 01 Lowrez


1): I took a super crop of the goldfish image, focusing on the scales, and dropped that in the background.


2): Next I cropped in on the hairline of the female model and layered this on top of the previous image. Using the Threshold tool I covered this to a single colour black graphic. I would also use this as a mask for other layers at a later stage.


3): The next image up was an architectural detail of glass with a lot of ironwork reflected in it. I reduced the opacity to add texture and  detail to the background.


4): The next three images were all masked inside the hairline cropped I mentioned above. These added texture and depth to that part of the background.


5) With my background complete I moved on to the mid-ground detail. An image of mountains worked perfectly for this.

6): I was then able to use an image off paddy fields to apply a colour cast to the mid-ground mountain range.

7): Then came my main subject matter, the War of the Worlds-esque Tower, using tree trunks as spindly alien legs.

8): To add the finishing touch I created the storm effect by going back to both the female and goldfish images and applying a severe threshold effect to both. I copied the white areas from these and added them to the foreground to create the “storm” effect.

9): And then finally, I added a gradient map to flatten everything and desaturate the colours slightly.


It occurred to me as I neared the end of the “illustration” that I hadn’t really considered the theme “impulsive” in my planning phase. Just diving into this project without any planning was impulsive enough, however, I still needed to bring something to the project that harkened back to the brief. So, as a finishing touch, I used highlights from both the female and goldfish images to create a stormy seas effect around the base of the tower. I also tilted the tower, adding the illusion of a storm.

After all, there’s very little more impulsive than the weather.

Take 10
Brian Hickey

Brian Hickey

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