Adobe MAX 2018 Preview: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Adobe's "creativity conference" begins October 15. Here's what we hope to see

adobe 2016 sneaks jordan peele  kim chambers
Comedian Jordan Peele, right, co-creator and co-star of Comedy Central’s Key and Peele, and Adobe’s Kim Chambers open Sneaks at Adobe MAX, The Creativity Conference, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in San Diego. (Denis Poroy/AP Images for Adobe)

Next week, October 15 through 17, creatives from around the world will flock to the Los Angeles Convention Center in California for the annual Adobe MAX conference. For anyone working in a creative industry, it’s kind of a big deal — this year’s speakers include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard; musician and 5-time Grammy winner Questlove; actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish; photographer Albert Watson; designer John Maeda; and designer and illustrator Jessica Hische. (You can also sign up to watch it live online.)

Billed as “the creativity conference,” Adobe MAX hosts more than 300 educational sessions across various creative disciplines — but it also provides a stage for Adobe to announce and demonstrate the latest updates for its ever-growing suite of applications.

If you’re at all invested in the Adobe ecosystem, MAX is where you’ll get a glimpse into the future technologies the company has been working on. It provides a first look at the changes coming to the software that drives your creative workflow, whether that’s new features or entirely new apps.

Adobe Max 2017
Like a micro CES, the Adobe MAX show floor invites creative tech companies to showcase their latest products. Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Adobe oversees a huge portfolio of software, with updates rolling out all throughout the year, but the best reveals are always kept for MAX. In 2017, over 12,000 people were in attendance when Adobe made one of its biggest announcements in recent history, launching a cloud-based version of Lightroom.

We don’t know what’s coming, but Adobe has left some clues. In September, it shared a sneak peek of its new and improved Content-Aware Fill feature said to be coming to Photoshop CC. Based on what Adobe shared so far, the tool is about to get a whole lot smarter and capable thanks to Adobe Sensei, the artificial intelligence that resides in the Creative Cloud.

Sensei took center stage at MAX 2017, and we expect to hear a lot more about it this year beyond Content-Aware Fill.

adobe project rush introduced all in one cross device

Likely all the major apps, from Photoshop to After Effects, will be addressed, but we’re particularly hopeful to learn more about Project Rush, an all-new mobile video editor with an emphasis on cloud storage, social integration, and cross-device compatibility. Rush shares some similarities with Premiere Pro, but slices down the complexity to focus on editing for social media. One of the key features is an exporting option that automatically formats everything for sharing across multiple social networks. Adobe first teased the program at VidCon, and while the company hasn’t shared a launch date yet, they did say it would be coming sometime this year. With the calendar running out of months, further details during MAX wouldn’t be too surprising.

Beyond that, it’s a mystery, but we don’t have to wait much longer.

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