Update on October 6, 2014: We included new information from todays keynote at MAX 2014, as well as an executive Q&A with the press.
Adobe officially announced the new products and services at its MAX 2014 keynote, which you can watch by clicking here. We will update this page with additional info.
At Adobe’s MAX conference in Los Angeles, the company announced big updates to its Creative Cloud software, including new features, tools, and Windows 8 and Surface Pro 3 touch support for Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. Adobe is also releasing several new mobile apps for iOS that have a tighter connection with desktop software, allowing users to continue their workflow from desktop to mobile, and back again. All these apps and services are provided free to all Creative Cloud subscribers.
At the heart of the software is a new user profile for Creative Cloud. The Creative Profile is the central area that lets users access their files, photos, brushes, shapes, fonts, text styles, graphics, and other assets from any software tied to CC, including third-party apps that are using the Adobe SDK (software development kit). “The new Creative Profile moves with creatives from app-to-app, and device-to-device, so assets automatically appear when they need them, in the right context,” Adobe says.
New family of mobile apps, tied to their desktop counterparts
On the mobile front, there are several new and updated apps tied to Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, and Premiere Pro. As mentioned, these apps are designed to give users the tools they need to finish their work while in a mobile situation, and bring that work back to the desktop when they are at the office or work. Adobe says it’s no longer treating desktop and mobile apps as siloed products, but ones that work with one another, regardless of the platform. Mobile has become an important focus. “What we’ve done with these mobile apps…the number of people using Adobe products is bigger than it’s ever been,”said David Wadhani, Adobe’s senior vice president and general manager of Digital Media.
The new apps, as described by Adobe, include:
- In the Photoshop family, Photoshop Sketch lets creatives draw with new built-in expressive brushes and enables an integrated workflow with Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. Updates to Photoshop Mix extend precise mobile compositing capabilities and now includes enhanced integration with Photoshop CC, as well as a new iPhone version. A new Lightroom Mobile app builds on integrated desktop and mobile workflows and includes features to allow clients, friends or family to select favorites and leave comments for photos shared online; and GPS information from iPhone photos now syncs with Lightroom desktop.”
- “In the Illustrator family, Illustrator Draw (formerly Adobe Ideas) gives users access to their favorite vector drawing tools and features in a modern, streamlined interface, high-fidelity integration with Illustrator CC and enhanced support for Adobe Ink and Slide. Illustrator Line, a precision drawing app, gives creatives new features for perfectly distributing shapes as they draw, plus the ability to send sketches to Illustrator CC, where they have full access to their original vector paths for editing.”
- “In the Premiere family, the brand new Adobe Premiere Clip app easily transforms the video shot on iPhone or iPad into edited videos that are simple to share. Aspiring videographers can then send their compositions to Adobe Premiere Pro CC for advanced editing and finishing.
There are also three new apps that Adobe calls “capture apps,” which let users create unique tools and content for their workflow, such as turning a graphic into a brush, creating vector illustrations out of photos, and saving color info using your mobile camera. These include:
- Adobe Brush CC lets designers craft unique brushes, on iPad or iPhone, to use in Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC or Adobe Illustrator Sketch. Any photograph can be made into a brush, so creatives can quickly and playfully design beautiful, high-quality brushes that can range from photorealistic, to organic, painterly or graphic.
- Adobe Shape CC is a simple, unique and fun way to capture and create shapes on iPhone or iPad, wherever inspiration strikes. A high-contrast photo of anything – a chair, a pet, or a hand-drawn font – is converted into vector art that can be used immediately in Illustrator CC and Adobe Illustrator Line via Creative Cloud Libraries.
- Adobe Color CC (formerly Adobe Kuler) allows creatives to capture colors and save them as themes that are immediately available in other Adobe applications, including Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC.
Adobe, Microsoft, and Touch Technology
Adobe is also enhancing Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC for a better experience when using the software on touch-capable Windows 8 machines and the Surface Pro 3 tablet. Keyboard shortcuts, for example, now have an equivalent designed for a touch-based platform. With a keyboard attached, CC apps function in their full Windows version; when detached, it changes into a tablet-friendly UI that utilizes the pressure-sensitive stylus, yet it’s still the full version. At the keynote, Adobe, alongside Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, demonstrated how using a touch-based platform allows users to be more efficient in doing the same thing as with a keyboard and mouse. “The thing when we created Surface Pro 3 was to get this touch and keyboard and mouse to be seamless and natural as a way to enhance productivity,” Nadella said. Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen added, with the Surface Pro 3, “We can actually now create numerous user experiences on top of Photoshop because it’s used for so many different things, it’s far more intuitive and and far more natural.”
It’s interesting Adobe decided to partner with Microsoft on the hardware, considering most of Adobe’s mobile apps are made for iOS and Apple’s products seem to be the hardware of choice for creative users, but Adobe says it’s taking advantage of all the technology that’s available and it sees touch, particularly in the Surface Pro 3, playing a major role in shaping how creatives will use tablet computers in the future.
Adobe also demonstrated new applications based on Microsoft’s research into Xbox and the Kinect system. Using the Surface Pro 3’s camera and microphone, Adobe showed a beta app it’s developing, codenamed Animal, and how it use touch, camera, and speech analytics to create character animations that correspond to a user’s actions and voice. Adobe also demoed more about Project Context (which it showed at MAX 2013) and how the company is using Microsoft’s Perspective Pixel (PPI) technology and large-screen displays in a designer’s creative workflow. Citing a long collaborative relationship, Adobe sees Microsoft as an important hardware and technology partner in developing its own software. Perhaps so confident of the Surface Pro 3’s abilities (or the need to move units; in our review, we found some issues with resolution scaling and lackluster performance), Microsoft gave every MAX attendee a Surface Pro 3 to take home.
For desktop users, there are several new or enhanced tools – most of them catering to creative users such as designers and video producers, so they won’t be applicable to casual users (most consumers would use something like Adobe’s new version of Photoshop and Premiere Elements). These include, “New 3D print features and enhanced Mercury Graphics Engine performance for Photoshop CC; a new Curvature tool in Illustrator CC; interactive EPUB support in InDesign CC; SVG and Synchronized Text support in Muse CC; GPU-optimized playback for viewing high resolution 4K and UltraHD footage in Premiere Pro CC; and HiDPI and new 3D support in After Effects CC.”
To support these products, there are new service elements, as well. These include:
- Creative Cloud Market: A collection of high-quality, curated content that’s freely accessible to Creative Cloud members. Access and use thousands of professionally crafted files, including user interfaces, patterns, icons, brushes and vector shapes, to speed through desktop and mobile projects.
- Creative Cloud Libraries: A powerful asset management service that lets creatives easily access and create with colors, brushes, text styles, and vector images through Creative Cloud desktop, mobile apps and services. Creative Cloud Libraries connects desktop tools like Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC to each other – and to companion mobile apps.
- Creative Cloud Extract: A cloud-based service that reinvents the Photoshop CC comp-to-code workflow for web designers and developers, letting them share and unlock vital design information from a PSD file (such as colors, fonts and CSS) to use when coding mobile and desktop designs.
For its Behance creative portfolio unit, Adobe is also launching a service that connects creatives with hiring managers. Called creative Talent Search, HR recruiters or anybody looking to hire design talent can search the database for candidates that have the skill required, whether it’s a freelance job, full-time, or part-time. “Custom algorithms recommend candidates for roles and get smarter the more a recruiter uses the system. Also, public postings will advertise job opportunities to the millions of creatives on Behance.” Adobe says this would be a great tool for students who may be looking to get hired after graduating.
“Think of it as a LinkedIn for creatives,” said Wadhani.