Adobe Creative Cloud – 10 Key New Features

Adobe has just announced major upgrades to all the apps in their Creative Cloud suite. Taking a look at all the new features I found a few which I’m sure will change the way I work.

Live Font Preview – As part of the Typekit integration, Adobe is really pushing fonts in this update and being able to preview changes to fonts live, in your project is a great new feature.

Camera Raw 8 Perspective Distortion – Purists might scoff at this, but I’m loving the ability the ability to make small, but telling changes to the perspective of buildings and landmarks, especially those images when we simply didn’t have the right lens in the bag.

Better Content Aware Healing – Any improvement in content-aware fill and healing is exciting to me. In fact this is one of those “resurrection” features that can make previously troubled images more useable and I love that with every iteration, content-aware fill works in more subtle ways.

Focus Mask – I’m really excited by the prospect of being able to quickly use the in-focus areas of an image to create a mask. This has so many natural applications for portrait photography, especially for dramatic composite-style images. It also looks like the mask refinement tools have improved as well.

Fixed Layout EPUB – InDesign is not offering a small, but really important improvement in the kinds of eBooks it can make. With so much creative focus going into eBooks these days, many of us are brushing up on those old Desk-Top Publishing Skills and this feature feels new and familiar at the same time.

Line – There are plenty of good drawing apps for iOS and Adobe has introduced a new one as well, called Sketch. But, most really struggle with doing technical line drawings. Line is made specifically for the task and looks perfect for creating perspective, architectural and industrial sketches. The way Line sets up two point perspective and vanishing points is simple phenomenal.

Lightroom Mobile on iPhone - Lightroom comes to the iPhone and with it the ability to connect to your catalogue and collections on the go. In particular, I like the ability to do catalogue management, like creating collections and adding ratings while away from the studio.

Ink and Slide – I was hesitant to add these two hardware devices, a digital pen and ruler, since the price point (U$199) feels a little outrageous. But, like many people, I have found drawing on an iPad a bit of a frustrating experience, not as awesome as it should be. If Ink and Slide (which do look very Apple compatible) work anywhere near as well as advertised, drawing clean straight lines, responding well and especially picking up colours from exiting palettes & even other devices, they might justify their price.

Photoshop Mix – This looks kind of like Photoshop Lite for iPad users, but a couple of things intrigue me. First, work you do with Mix, can then be opened within Photoshop as a full PSD file. So if you start an idea in MIX and it grows into something promising you can finish the job in Photoshop. Second, Mix actually sends resource-hungry features, like content aware fill, into the cloud to be processed. While this might prove, in practice, to be agonisingly slow for anyone without a super fast WiFi connection, it does make an important step in digital design work and image editing and a hint at what the future has in store.

Cloud Sharing – The whole web-based Creative Cloud interface has been massively revamped not just with better features for individual users, but richer collaborative features, allowing one to easily share folders and assets (and great to see one of my favourite apps, Kuler right in there). Photography teachers in particular could make great use of these features.

Conclusions

Is all this enough to silence the Creative Cloud skeptics, especially those long term Adobe users who are hesitant to upgrade? I’m not sure. It feels like there is some deeply entrenched resistance to paying a subscription model for some creative folk.

But, I do believe this new release will be enough to encourage existing Creative Cloud subscribers to renew and maybe to migrate more of their workflow to Adobe products, especially with iOS devices. This is especially telling for photographers, many of whom will (if they haven’t already) move to using an iPad as part of their work.

And, the new developments, from Ink and Slide, through to the improvements in Lightroom Mobile will leave many of us wondering and hoping for a larger screened iPad to emerge sooner rather than later.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the review on this Fernando. I get the occasional email from Adobe trying to bring me over to the Creative Cloud. It is tempting, but I primarily use Photoshop and Illustrator for art and design projects and seldom stray into other Adobe software. Though I do want to say thanks in particular for the heads up on both Line and Sketch. I’ve had Adobe Ideas app for a long time, but I wasn’t aware of these newer apps. I’ve downloaded both of them and plan to lay with them later. Creative Cloud is tempting when compared to individual program packages, but even with the educational discount, it is still a big chunk of change for allot of software that I’d likely not use, especially after a year once the ‘real’ price kicks in. So for now, I am sticking to my old CS4 versions.

    I’ve found doing art on the iPad less intuitive than I had hoped. Early this year I shelled out for Wacom’s Intuos Stylus for the iPad and have been using it with the Sketchbook Pro app. But even with an iPad Air, I find issues of lag and stylus misreads make the creative experience frustrating at best. Of course my skill with the handling of the device is still in it’s infancy, but it is nowhere near as responsive as a pen, pencil or brush. Arguably I am stuck with years of traditional art skills built in to my reflexes and I need to break free of these and start from scratch. But I do keep wondering if Apple plans to branch out into more haptic control technology in future versions of the iPad.

  2. says

    Paul – I have really mixed emotions about screen control. Certainly in the music realm, I miss turning knobs and dials when working with software.

    As for Creative Cloud – I believe it’s a good package now, but the price is really only justifiable on a professional level.

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