The Making Of Santa Fe

Olivia Schafer is an artist living in Brooklyn, NY. She’s also a member of Aviary’s Product Team and the creative mastermind behind our new sticker pack Santa Fe, which (you guessed it) is inspired by its namesake. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Olivia designed this collection of desert-themed stickers. 


The idea for Santa Fe came from my childhood growing up in a small town outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Even though I moved away 10 years ago to pursue my BFA in San Francisco, the desert resonated with me so profoundly that it continues to inspire my work.

Saying that New Mexico is inspiring simply because it is beautiful doesn't do it justice. It’s inspiring because the ground undulates when the sun beats down in the summer. The smell of sagebrush and drying chilies perfume autumn skies. Adobe houses sit quietly in the dead of winter like cozy refuges, smoke rising from their chimneys. You can see the passing of seasons in the dying tumbleweed that started its life as an unassuming young plant. There’s beauty in the everyday, like the texture of saddle blankets, kiva ladders and pottery, and the understated green of a cactus. And when you stare out into the expansive night, it makes you feel so very, very small.

Those quintessentially New Mexican scenes stir up a weighty feeling of nostalgia for me. I wanted to share a piece of those idiosyncrasies in the stickers. Here’s how I created the Santa Fe pack with that in mind:


My first step before starting any project is to collect references. These can come from anywhere and everywhere - photos I’ve taken myself, the internet, history books and even encyclopedias.

I tried to capture the earthy tones of the desert soil and use dynamic cacti textures to create embellishments that would complement a wide variety of photos.


Every sticker in the Santa Fe pack started as a hand drawing. I made rough pencil sketches, which I then drew over with a thin micron pen. The final step was using Adobe’s Shape app to convert my sketch into a vector, making it really easy to pull into Photoshop.


I applied the same technique I use for oil paintings when adding color to these stickers: adding layers upon layers of brushstrokes. I began by applying layers of shadows and midtones, then added areas of light, and finally finished up with highlights and accent strokes. I tried to focus on creating beautiful colors and textures, keeping everything loose, and embracing imperfections.

Voilà, that’s my Santa Fe pack and you can download it now in Aviary! I hope you have as much fun using these stickers on your photos as I did making them. 

Photographing The Desert Sky

Alessandro Crugnola is Aviary's lead Android developer and a long time photography aficionado. He recently traveled to Utah to attend a night photography workshop and returned with a series of spectacular images. He shares his experience under the Utahn sky.

My passion for photography started out as just a hobby. It wasn't until I moved to New York that my interest became serious and I started to get into night photography.  But what I really wanted to shoot it was impossible to find in the city: the Milky Way. 

Utah, unlike New York, has no light pollution and it is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, like the Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley. They are not only breathtaking in daylight but also perfect for astrophotography because the scenery becomes the perfect foreground. 

When I discovered that one of my favorite photographers, Mike Taylor, was hosting a workshop in Moab, Utah, it was the perfect hook. I’ve never taken photography classes before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Mike was an amazing instructor! He covered all the aspects of night photography from planning to camera settings, post production and even SEO tips.

Here are the results of the workshop. The stars give me a sense of peace and emptiness. It's hard to describe in words, so I wanted to capture these moments and feelings in photographs.

One of the greatest advantages of a group workshop is that you get so many points of view. Even though we were all in the same location, each of us chose different positions, angles and foreground objects and created entirely unique photos. It helped to open my mind and my eyes. 

The biggest lesson I learned from this trip is that you should be prepared to anything. One day I decided to drive to the North Window to photograph the sunset. But once I got there, a thunderstorm hit and I decided to shoot lightning instead. I quickly switched out my lens, mounted the camera on a tripod and took almost 400 pictures (at 3” exposure) using the intervalometer. 

The whole experience in Utah was simply amazing. I learned so much from Mike and the group and I'm happy to have finally captured the Milky Way. I will definitely return next year!

You can see more of Ale's photos on his Instagram.

Celebrate Mother's Day with Aviary

We love moms and we couldn't be more thankful for all they do. So we're celebrating the strong, loving, hard-working mothers in our lives in the best way we know how: with handcrafted photos! We've got all the tools you need to create the perfect, personalized card that will make mom smile. 

To thank her for everything she does: 

1. Fade Effects
2. Dotty Frames
3. Gratitude Overlays



For capturing your favorite memories:

1. Spring Effects
2. Vignette Tool
3. Whimsy Frames




mothers day compile 4.jpg


For sending a light-hearted love note:

1. Subtle Effects
2. Love Stickers
3. Alphabet Stickers





Happy Mother's Day to all the moms around the world!

Spring Aviary Challenge Winner

A big thank you to everyone who submitted photos to our Spring Photo Contest! We received over 700 beautiful photographs and each and every one made us excited and appreciative of spring. 

Picking just one winner from all the great photos was no easy task! Here's the winning photo we chose by Ben Palmer, a 15 year old photographer based in Philadelphia:

We chose Ben's submission because we loved the feeling it evoked - the sun shining through the leaves giving a sense beginning and ending of seasons, and the renewal that the spring brings.

We can't wait to do another Aviary Challenge soon! 

Aviary Spring Photo Challenge

Spring is in full bloom and we're celebrating with a seasonal #AviaryChallenge. Share your favorite spring snaps for a chance to win the ultimate photo kit! 

Here's how:

  1. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter

  2. Snap a spring-inspired photo

  3. Edit with Aviary

  4. Share your masterpiece and tag #aviarychallenge on Twitter or Instagram

We'll feature out favorite spring pics throughout the week and announce the winner on Monday, May 4th, 2015. Our curated prize pack includes everything you need to up your phoneography game!

Check out our spring-centric Overlays, Frames, Stickers and Effects in the Supply Shop: 

We can't wait to see what you create! Good luck and happy editing!

Introducing the New Photo Editor by Aviary, Redesigned for Android Material Design

We’re thrilled to announce Photo Editor by Aviary for Android, v4.0! We completely reimagined Aviary under Google’s Material Design standards and gave the app a brand new look. This release features updated iconography, a tangible surface interface, and a dynamic color palette for an immersive photo editing experience. Here are a few highlights:

  • App Icon - Our old icon was bulky, over styled, and relied heavily on gradients. True to Material Design, our new icon has soft shadows and stacked elements to create dimension. The colors have been updated using the Material palette for a much cleaner and vibrant look.

  • Tool Icons - We’ve also simplified the icons in the Tool bar. Gone are the strokes and drop shadows - we've replaced them with clean shapes and bold symbols. 

  • Tangible Surfaces - Every surface in the editor has been converted to a paper-like layer that creates depth and reacts to your touch with visual feedback. For example, tapping on a tool creates a ripple motion that mimics a drop of ink falling on a page, so you can see exactly where the interaction is happening.
Tangible surfaces
  • Print like Design - Material is heavily influenced by the foundations of print design, using imagery and color to create bold and simple layouts. In the new Aviary, accent colors are seamlessly integrated into your editing experience. Draw and Text tools pull color options dynamically from your photo, thanks to the Material Palette support library.
  • Improved Supply Shop - We’ve added stunning transitions throughout the editor and incorporated cards to better organize our content. The Supply Shop now shows full bleed images for a simpler and more sophisticated browsing experience.
Supply Shop

Like the Draw and Text tools, the Supply Shop dynamically selects vibrant colors from the Material Palette library to complement the pack. 

    Detail Screen
    • Adaptive Design - Optimization across devices has always been a priority of ours. In this release, we've optimized the Supply Shop and detail pages so every aspect of the design remains consistent no matter what size device you’re using. We’ve also improved the performance of our app to provide faster and more efficient tools and image processing. 

    Visit the Google Play Store and download Aviary now!

    This is just the beginning of a better Aviary. Over the next few months, we’ll be adding even more UI improvements, animations, and new features. If you have suggestions, feedback, feature requests, or just want to say hi, Tweet at us! And if you want an exclusive preview of future releases, join our beta group and help us make your favorite photo editor even better!

    New Features on IOS: Tray reorganization, Favorites, and Pack Management

    You asked for a better way to organize your downloads, and we heard you.  

    Now you can tap the pack image to expand, see all the supplies inside, then tap again to collapse.











    Gain easy access to your favorites with the new "Recent" folder. Any time you apply an Effect, Sticker, Frame or Overlay, they'll automatically be saved here.













    Swipe to the end of the tray and you'll find the "Manage" button. Tap it to drag and rearrange the order of your packs. You can even disable packs by tapping the "Edit" button. Changed your mind? Tap "Edit" again and the "+" button, or just simply drag the pack back into the "Active Packs" list.  











    Download the latest version of Aviary on iOS now and let us know what you think! 

    Introducing Aviary Essentials

    We've crafted the perfect starter pack with our most popular Effects, Stickers, Frames and Overlays. Whether it's adding a warm glow to your selfie or embellishing your food pics, we've got you covered with Aviary Essentials. And the best part? It's totally free with your Adobe ID!

    Sign in through the pop-up promo, or if you missed it, visit the Supply Shop.

    Aviary Essentials includes:

    Get the latest version of Aviary to unlock Aviary Essentials!

    Create Beautiful Valentines With Aviary

    Valentine's Day is just around the corner and we have everything you need to turn your pics into delightful, sharable cards for everyone you love. 

    If you're on iOS, you can download the Valentine's bundle to get all of our love-themed packs in one go. If you're on Android, look for: Heart and Adore Overlays, Love Stickers, Flourish Frames and Romance Effects. Mix and match to create the perfect Valentine. 

    Remember you can get all of this (and everything else in the Aviary store) for free when you log in with your Adobe ID! 

    Now that you have everything you need, here's how you can make a sweet digital Valentine for your special someone in 3 easy steps: 

    1. Romance Effects
    2. Heart Overlays
    3. Love Stickers





    Don't forget to send love to your family! Take any baby picture and turn it into a Valentine's card for your fam. 

    1. Vignette Tool
    2. Flourish Frames
    3. Love Stickers




    Valentine's Day isn't just for romance. Craft a card and send it to your Palentine:  

    1. Romance Effects
    2. Heart Overlays
    3. Love Stickers 






    Looking for something a little more classic? Add custom greetings with the Text Tool.

    1. Brightness & Saturation
    2. Romance Effects
    3. Text Tool






    We can't wait to see what you'll create! Tag your pics with #aviary and we'll share our favorites. 

    The Aviary SDK is now part of the Adobe Creative SDK!

    The Aviary SDK is now the Image Editing component of the Creative SDK. Today, you’ll find a new and improved version of the Aviary SDK on the Aviary site. You’ll also find the brand new Aviary SDK integrated as the Image Editing component of the Creative SDK to give you easy access to the rest of Adobe’s incredible creative technology. Come 2015, all updates we release will go directly to Check out the Creative SDK now and read the Migration Guide here when you're ready to integrate.

    For any future updates, follow us @CreativeSDK. If you prefer your updates through email, subscribe HERE for updates in the future.

    What is the Creative SDK?

    Adobe provides the world’s favorite creative technology. From editing to storage to professionally-designed assets, the most powerful creative services live in the Adobe Creative Cloud. Through the Creative SDK, we’re enabling developers to seamlessly integrate Adobe technology into their own apps and websites to quickly and easily offer the best creative experience to their users.

    The Image Editing component of the Creative SDK functions just like the Aviary SDK and we’ve included a bunch of new features for your users in this release:

    • Overlays - Users can now make unique and creative images with our stencils, perfect for sharing on social media.

    • Vignettes - Aviary’s vignette tool makes it super simple to place a dark or light vignette over your photo, with support for custom size, shape, and intensity.

    • Highlights, Shadows, Tint, and Fade - These new adjustments allow your users to have more creative freedom when it comes to manipulating their photos.

    • Draw Brush - On iOS, our user-favorite Draw tool now comes with re-built brush technology that makes drawing on photos feel more natural and lifelike.

    In addition to your favorite image editing capabilities, the Creative SDK also enables you to give your users an expansive creative experience with these additional features:

    • Unrestricted Access to Content: Creativity isn’t restricted to the desktop, so creative assets shouldn’t be either. Your users can browse, import and save files directly to the Creative Cloud, directly from within your app.

    • File Compatibility & Desktop Workflow: Enable your users to seamlessly send and save Photoshop files between devices and even access individual layers and groups directly from those files.

    • Creative Cloud Market: Empower your users and their imagination with access to a curated library of thousands of icons, fonts, textures, vector shapes and UI toolkits from our world-class creative community.

    • Connected Hardware: Enable third-party device compatibility, like Adobe Ink’s next-generation Pixel Perfect tip, to redefine accuracy in your app and provide custom UI controls for Creative Cloud services.

    • Publish: Connect your users to the Behance network, the world’s largest professional creative community, where they can give and receive feedback on completed projects and works in progress.

    To see how our current partners use the Creative SDK, check out our Featured Apps!