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Adobe shows glimpse of future at MAX conference, and it’s in A.I.

Artificial intelligence inside Adobe Creative Cloud could soon help creatives, well, spend more time being creative. At Adobe’s 2016 MAX Conference, which starts on November 2, the company announced a new framework for Creative Cloud using artificial intelligence, called Adobe Sensei. Along with the new AI additions, Adobe unveiled several new programs and updates that show where the design software giant is headed in the next several months. Highlights of the company’s first-day announcements include enhanced virtual reality tools inside Adobe Premiere Pro, design tools for merging 2D and 3D design, expansion of the Adobe Stock platform, and several other Creative Cloud updates from Adobe Experience Design to Photoshop.

Adobe Sensei is expected to take the artificial intelligence that Adobe is already using – like facial recognition and the content-aware tools inside Photoshop, for example – and leverage additional machine learning techniques to automate the more mundane tasks inside the Creative Cloud, Adobe Document Cloud, and Adobe Marketing Cloud.

A.I. and machine learning

Adobe Sensei is will add several features to multiple Creative Cloud applications. Photoshop will gain a font matching tool that recommends similar fonts both installed on the computer and available for purchase, giving graphic designers working with flattened files a boost in maintaining consistency across several designs. Photoshop’s face-aware liquify tool is also a recent AI-powered feature.

While Adobe has previous worked with machine learning technology, with Sensei, the company is welcoming partners and developers to join Adobe’s developer platform to use the technology and to continue to advance the programs.

“Adobe Sensei is uniquely focused on solving today’s complex experience challenges in the design, document and marketing fields, where only Adobe has decades of expertise and market leadership,” said Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen, in a statement. “Leveraging our machine learning and AI capabilities, as well as trillions of content and data assets, Adobe Sensei will be one of our biggest strategic investments. We’re excited to open it up to our broader ecosystem of partners, ISVs and developers to enable even more innovation.”

Adobe Sensei will also help give Adobe Stock a boost as it prepares to leave the beta phase. New AI tools give users the ability to easily search for stock photos with a new visual search tool that allows users to upload an image to search for similar shots.

Machine learning is also behind Adobe Premiere’s new Auto-Aware VR. Adobe says the tool detects the type of virtual reality content and automates VR settings. Video editors will also gain access to 3D effects that are up to 20 times faster within After Effects. Still in beta, Adobe is also testing out video features for faster animation inside Character Animation; a social publishing option inside Premiere Pro; and co-editing in Premiere Pro, After Effects and Prelude for video teams.

After the beta version was announced in September, the full Adobe Stock site is also being released at Adobe MAX this week. The new service allows CC users to both purchase and sell stock graphics without leaving the platform, though some tools like the auto keywording feature are still in beta testing. During the conference, Adobe also announced that both editorial photos and videos from the news organization Reuters would also be joining the stock image database. Templates for CC users are also new to the stock database.

Adobe is taking a similar stance on fonts, with a new Adobe Typekit marketplace allowing users to more easily find fonts for purchase along with those already available with the Typekit benefit of a CC subscription.

Working in 2D and 3D

A new Adobe app will also enter beta testing later this year – Project Felix is a platform designed to make 3D design accessible without a wide background in 3D. The program helps users create realistic images by merging 2D and 3D graphics. AI shows up here too with auto lighting, auto horizon, and other simplified tools to streamline the process. Project Felix is also expected to include a free library of assets to use and real-time rendering.

While the new AI tools, Adobe Stock’s official debut and Project Felix stole the show, Adobe also announced several improvements to their well-established programs and previously announced programs that haven’t yet left beta testing.

Updates, updates, and more updates

While still in beta, Adobe’s app and web designer, Experience Design CC, will gain the layer tools long-loved by Photoshop users. The web and app design tool will also see new symbol support for UX designers, while Adobe also introduces new collaboration tools that allow teams to co-edit projects.

Adobe’s social media design tool Spark isn’t a new addition, but will see a pretty significant update – Creative Cloud subscribers will now be able to remove the Adobe branding from all the projects. The app will remain free to use with that Adobe branding in the corner of every image for non-CC users.

Photoshop is expected to gain a universal search bar in the next update, which could help less-experienced users find options hidden in the program’s array of menus, panels and tools. The search bar also works for Adobe Stock as well as help content and tutorials.

Adobe Dreamweaver CC also gets a boost with an enhanced interface for faster, flexible coding.

Several Adobe mobile apps will also be making their way to Android soon, including Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC and Photoshop Fix.

Adobe’s annual MAX conference comes with a plethora of new programs and new features on old favorites, giving users an idea of where the software giant is headed over the next year. Additional details are expected both as the conference continues and as the launch date for each program nears.

The Creative Cloud updates are expected to roll out to existing users before the end of the year, Adobe says, while several other programs, including Project Felix and Experience Design CC, are expected to enter public beta testing. Project Felix will enter beta testing to Creative Cloud users in 2016 while Project Felix isn’t slated for testing until early 2017.

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