Adobe Capture CC

Magical design tool extracts colors, patterns, and more from images

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Price: Free
Platforms: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Pros: Access to granular photo elements; ability to create and share photo element libraries; fully compatible with Adobe CC apps.

Cons: The Vector Capture tool is a step down from the previous version; no in-app access to FAQs or other support.

Bottom Line: The rare combo of "wow" factor and utility, this tool help students recognize and use the designed world around them.

Use Adobe Capture CC to help students pick out (and use!) the subtle details and elements of design and art in everything from magazines to photos to everyday objects like wallpaper. Task students with using Capture to extract color values, shapes, patterns, textures, and even brush strokes from the world around them, whether through a mission-based activity (like going out to a museum) or just in their daily routines. Once they've assembled a library of assets (which they can put into a digital mood board and present to the class), have students unleash Capture's power by overlaying their curated visual assets onto other images to create mini-mashups. After that, have students export Capture's asset library to other Adobe apps (like Photoshop) to create finalized projects such as composite posters for school events, custom composite images for a class YouTube channel, or a Facebook banner.

For classes dedicated to providing career and technical training in visual media, consider Adobe's Creative Cloud for Education as a comprehensive resource for digital graphic design. Each Adobe design tool includes projects for beginning, intermediate, and advanced Adobe users. Lessons are also linked to Adobe Help and Adobe Education Exchange, and offer community forums to showcase projects.

Adobe Capture CC is a design app that lets students harvest and edit photographic elements (aka "assets") from the world around them or digital images. They can then store these assets in custom libraries, and make them available for other photo editing tools. Think of Capture as upgrading your mobile device with five special lenses that can grab shapes, patterns, colors, brushes, and looks from digital images. Once these assets are captured (e.g., a color palette from a landscape photo), they can be organized, shared as a library, and applied across other Adobe Creative Cloud mobile and desktop applications such as Photoshop, Mix, and InDesign. The Shapes, Patterns, Colors, Brushes, and Looks tools are displayed as tabs across the top of the screen for easy access; a switchable menu above houses different libraries for organizing assets.  

One great aspect of Capture is that assets are saved as scalable vector graphics (SVG), meaning the images are easy to modify and use. Students can apply shapes, patterns, color values, and brush strokes as well as resize, expand, interact, and animate the asset without incurring pixelation (basically, making the image fuzzy). Like other Adobe Creative Cloud apps, students will need a free Creative Cloud to sync captured data across apps and devices. Additional Creative Cloud storage space is available for a fee.

Adobe Capture CC is an excellent choice for sparking creativity and inspiring visual design with students. While Capture is more of a supplemental tool to other more in-depth image and photo editing software, it helps students take notice of -- and then use -- design elements all around them. This is both engaging and full of learning value; students can learn to see things they like, say, a font in a magazine ad, or the color palette of a building, and then take those things and make them their own.

Like other Adobe CC apps, the interface is friendly -- although it's much easier to use if you're familiar with Adobe products. Still, it doesn't take long to figure out and do something cool. Colors and Looks use the device's camera to select on-screen dots to extract color value information. Similarly, Shapes and Brushes use the device's camera to capture textures, outlines, or entire images, and converts them to scalable vector graphics (SVG). Once captured, assets can be tweaked. Capture CC saves assets to the device by default; a free Adobe Creative Cloud account is required to share asset libraries across other devices and with other Creative Cloud apps.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

A captivating tool that pulls design assets like fonts, shapes, colors, and patterns from the world around you, spurring creativity.


An accessible, useful tool for experimenting with and learning about design elements. Students can capture and export color palettes, textures, and scalable vector graphics to other Adobe apps with ease.


Great in-app tutorials with animated overlays that demo features, but no FAQs or access to Adobe Forums or online community. Easy library sharing and collaboration features.

Common Sense reviewer
Kim A.
Kim A. Educational Technology Specialist

Community Rating

Great new way to experience the Elements of Design!

Review of an EdTech Tool:
Adobe Capture CC

This app is a great tool! Students can experience the Elements of Design in the world around them as they capture the imagery they encounter. Students can use their phone camera to build their own creative library of shapes, patterns, color schemes, textures, and brushes. This library of images can then be used to create a new work of art by layering the imagery in Photoshop.

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