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Adobe Creative Cloud 2015’s big update brings new tools, stock photo service, Android apps

Update on June 17, 2015: When we attempted to update Creative Cloud, we received a warning that CC 2015 requires Mac OS X 10.9 or higher. So, if you’re running Mountain Lion or older, like we are, you will need to upgrade the OS first. Windows users will need to run Windows 7 or higher.

Adobe is updating all 15 desktop apps in its Creative Cloud suite with new features and performance improvements, as well as updates to its mobile apps. If you’re a CC subscriber, it’s time to hit that software update button; if not, Adobe offers various monthly plans, starting at $10. Before you do, here’s a highlight of some of the features you’ll see, specifically in photography and mobile apps.

In addition, Adobe is bringing some of its mobile apps to Android smartphones, which should please the many Android users who’ve been asking for them. For iOS, Adobe is enhancing existing apps while introducing two new ones, Preview CC and Hue CC. And, Adobe is launching a new stock photo service that lets CC users search and purchase images within the applications.

The new features are geared mainly toward designers and developers, but photographers will benefit from improvements to Lightroom and Photoshop, while other consumers can utilize some of the new apps as well as the new stock service.

Related: Monitor and control your creative portfolio from Apple Watch with Adobe’s apps

Lightroom

In Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015.1, the big new feature is Dehaze, which lets you adjust the atmospheric haze in photos, using a slider. Removing haze helps restore color and contrast (like fog), but you can also introduce haze to create an artistic effect.

Adobe has added new sliders for controlling white and black levels, giving you more control in adjusting how bright or dark you want certain areas of the photos to be. The sliders are available in the graduated filter, radial filter, and adjustment brush.

If you’re moving from Photoshop Elements, the consumer-friendly version of Photoshop, Lightroom will make the transition easier by preserving all the information.

In the Lightroom Mobile app for iOS, you can now add adjustable vignettes, get precise control over color and black and white tools, adjust tone with the new Tone Curve tool, and add, play, and share videos you’ve recorded on an iPhone or iPad (which are also sync to Lightroom CC, so you can view on your desktop later).

Click here to read more about Lightroom updates.

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Lightroom’s Dehaze feature lets you remove haze or fog in an image. You can also insert haze for an artistic effect.

Photoshop

In Photoshop, users can now create more realistic blurs with mono or color noise, with reduced banding when viewing or printing (an anomaly caused by the algorithms).

Using the Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, and Patch tools is now a faster experience – as much as 120x faster than the CS6 version of Photoshop, Adobe says, thanks to its Mercury Graphics Engine. You can now see the effects happen in real-time.

With improvements to Content-Aware Move and Content-Aware Extend, you can better-adjust the scale and rotation of an object you’re moving or an area you’re extending, as well as scale and position a final object to match precisely the photo you’re dropping said object onto when using Transform or Drop. With Content-Aware Fill, you can have Photoshop automatically fill in the missing information in the edges of a stitched panorama.

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When stitching a panorama in Photoshop CC 2015, you can use the Content-Aware Fill tool to automatically fix the edges.

In Adobe’s RAW format (Adobe Camera Raw 9.1), you can add or remove atmospheric haze, and get more control over white and black levels – similar to the aforementioned feature in Lightroom.

Other new features include the ability to create and view multiple art boards on a single document, which you can copy and share content between them. It gives you an overview of all your designs at once, instead of switching between documents. Users can also get a glimpse of an upcoming tool called Design Space, which is a new Photoshop environment created for Web, UI, and app designers; Design Space is part of a new Adobe feature called Technology Preview, where users can try out upcoming tools in beta.

Click here to read more about Photoshop’s new features.

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You can place multiple Artboards on a single document in Photoshop CC, giving you an overview of all your designs. You can copy and paste assets easily between them.

Related: Adobe improves performance in new Lightroom CC, adds features to all versions

Photoshop Mix and other mobile apps on Android

Adobe is bringing more of its mobile apps, introduced in iOS, to Android. Following Lightroom Mobile, Android users can now download Photoshop Mix, Shape, Brush, and Color. The apps are available now on the Google Play store, and while they’re free to download, some features require an Adobe CC subscription.

Vectors at iStock

The company says it is bringing the apps to Android due to high demand from users. However, the apps are for Android smartphones (version 4.3 or higher) only. Adobe says they aren’t seeing the same demand from Android tablet users.

With Photoshop Mix, you get a slimmed-down version of Photoshop with the essential tools for on-the-go, non-destructive editing. You can combine images or cut out objects, apply effects with Content-Aware Fill or Camera Shake Reduction tools, control opacity, crop, share, etc. If you’re a CC subscriber, all the edits are synced to the cloud, so you can pick up your editing workflow in Lightroom or Photoshop on the desktop, where you’ll have more tools at your disposal.

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The shake reduction tool in Photoshop Mix for Android helps you remove blur caused by unsteady hands. It’s not perfect, but it creates an improved image.

The other apps heading to Android are Shape, Brush, and Color. Shape is an app that easily captures photos (or using ones from your camera roll) and turns them into vectors, which you can synced to Photoshop or Illustrator to work on them. Brush is an app for creating custom brush tools from photos (whether it’s a color or pattern), which you can export and use in other Adobe apps like Illustrator, Photoshop, and Sketch. The Color app, as you might have guessed, is used for creating custom colors, themes, color combinations from photos, simply by touching various areas on the screen.

Click here to see all the mobile apps for Android, as well as iOS.

Adobe Stock

With Adobe’s acquisition of stock photo agency Fotolia last December, Adobe is launching a new service, simply called Adobe Stock. Building off Fotolia (that service isn’t going away), Adobe found that Adobe customers are the top users and creators of stock photography, as well as illustrations and graphics.

With Adobe Stock, users can search for images directly within the desktop apps, and place a watermarked sample in the layout. Once the image is purchased, the watermarked image is automatically replaced with a high-res version. Adobe says, through Fotolia’s portfolio, users have more than 40 million images to choose from, which Adobe intends on growing.

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Adobe Stock, powered through Fotolia.

Adobe Stock is available to all users, not just CC subscribers, although it is integrated into Creative Cloud. Each image costs $10. You can also subscribe at $50 for 10 images per month or $200 for 750 per month (annual commitment); unused allocations get rolled over to the next month. CC subscribers can get a discounted rate of $30 for 10 images per month.

New iOS apps, other announcements

For iOS devices, you can preview your mobile app and mobile Web designs created in Photoshop using the new Preview CC app. The app caters to designers and developers who are using Photoshop to build apps and Web pages for mobile devices, showing them how a final product might look and feel. It works either through USB or same-network Wi-Fi.

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Adobe Preview CC for iOS.

Another new iOS app is Hue CC, which is designed to work with Premiere CC video workflows. “Hue CC provides an easy way to capture and share production-quality lighting and color schemes – for video, film and broadcast – by using an iPhone camera and then applying these light and color moods into a Premiere Pro CC or After Effects CC project,” Adobe says.

Adobe Comp CC, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw, Brush CC, Shape CC, and Color CC will also get updates for iPhone and iPad (check the App Store for specifics).

Creative Cloud was designed to sync content, assets, and tools between your devices – letting you access them from wherever, and whatever machine you’re using. This concept is not new, but Adobe is giving this a new name: Adobe CreativeSync.

Adobe had added lots of new, cool enhancements and features to Premiere Pro CC (color correction sliders; auto-removal and smoothing of video interviews with jump cuts, called Morph Cut), After Effects CC (easily animate a 2D object by using a webcam to track facial movements and record audio, called Adobe Character Animation; resizing and adjusting settings while in preview), Illustrator CC (it’s 10x faster, thanks to the Mercury Performance Engine), InDesign CC (performance boost for faster zooming, scrolling, and paging; one-click publishing and distribution), Dreamweaver CC (responsive design for faster web-page building that adapts to various screen sizes), and Muse (premium fonts from Typekit).

There’s a lot more, but, as we said, a lot of these new features are only relevant to designers and developers, as well as enterprise users. Even so, there are some cool features to watch out for, such as Adobe Character Animation and Morph Cut (both were introduced last year at the Adobe MAX conference as previews, as well as NAB 2015), which we hope Adobe will bring to a consumer-friendly desktop or mobile app soon.

Related: Adobe previews new 3D printing mesh, color, and bump map features coming to Photoshop