Thoughts From Adobe MAX 2015

The annual Adobe MAX conference is always a designer’s dream with Adobe revealing new features in its flagship applications that we all use every day and the 2015 conference didn’t disappoint. It’s very clear that Adobe is investing a lot of resources to make their applications better and to enhance the functionality of the Creative Cloud. Here’s a round-up of what I learned at the show.

Increasing Emphasis on Creative Sync

At Adobe MAX 2015, Creative Sync was a common theme in many of the demos. Creative Sync is the technology that synchronizes assets saved to your Creative Cloud account, across many of the Adobe applications. Using the Libraries panel, you can drag assets such as colors, objects, images, character styles, and paragraph styles to the Libraries panel and via Creative Sync, have all of those assets appear in the Libraries panel of other Adobe Applications within seconds. You’ll find the Libraries panel in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premier Pro, and After Effects. Creative Sync also works with the Adobe Mobile applications as well.

One of the new additions to Creative Sync is Adobe Stock. When Adobe acquired Fotolia earlier this year, it was apparent that we’d somehow see the emergence of stock photography in Adobe’s offerings. This emergence has come in the form of Adobe Stock. Adobe Stock is a repository of more than 40 million images, graphics, and videos that can be browsed via a web browser. When you find an image that you want to use, you can download a low-resolution version of the image to the Creative Cloud Library of your choice and then place it in a document. When you’re ready to purchase the image, it’s as simple as choosing License Image within the Creative Cloud library.

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More Mobile Apps

2015 may very well become the year of the mobile app for Adobe. One app that was revealed was Adobe Capture, which essentially combines four of the existing mobile apps (Shape, Color, Brush, and Hue) into one. It was also announced that a new feature (soon to be released) will be added to the Capture app that allows users to create patterns from shapes captured with the camera on a phone or tablet.

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Enhanced Desktop Apps

MAX 2015 was about more than just mobile. It was about integration of the desktop applications as well (and of course, new features). Adobe has put a lot of effort into making the desktop applications run better. This was very apparent when Michael Ninness demonstrated Adobe Illustrator. The Illustrator team has enabled Illustrator to take advantage of the GPU found on many modern graphics cards. The end result is that panning and zooming on even the most complex Illustrator files yields smooth navigation within the Illustrator file. Add to that the ability to zoom in on Illustrator artwork up to 64,000% and you’ve got a whole new experience when using Illustrator.

New Features Revealed

Adobe also announced that all of their desktop applications are now touch enabled. This includes Illustrator and InDesign as well. So if you’re using a touch enabled device such as a Surface Pro by Microsoft or a Wacom tablet, you’ll be able to work in the desktop applications using the touch screen on your computer.

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To show this, Adobe demonstrated a new Illustrator tool called the Shaper tool. Similar to the Shape Builder tool, the Shaper tool provides an intuitive way to merge shapes and remove shapes by simply dragging with a finger or stylus over the shapes in a document.

InDesign received some typographic love at MAX 2015. In the latest release of InDesign, you can hover over a selected character, and InDesign will display any available alternate glyphs for the selection. No longer is it necessary to sift through the glyphs panel for the alternative glyph for a certain character.

Adobe also revealed enhancements to the Publish Online feature in InDesign. To make an interactive Publish Online document, you begin by using the Animation panel, the Object States panel, along with placement of audio and video. Then, using the Publish Online feature you can publish your interactive document so it can be viewed in a web browser or on a mobile device with all interactivity intact. Adobe generates a unique URL for the project that then allows you to share the project on social media or even embed the project in an existing web site. For more details on what was revealed about the upcoming version of InDesign, check out Steve Werner’s post at InDesignSecrets.

Photoshop as you might expect, also received plenty of updates. One important update worth mentioning is the addition of multiple artboards in a single Photoshop file, similar to how artboards work in Illustrator. Now a designer can create several comps or even several screens of a UX design within one Photoshop file. As you might expect, when the number of artboards grows in a document, so does the Layers panel. To make it easy to work with more complex documents like this, Adobe has provided a convenient way to filter the content for an artboard within the Layers panel. In addition, Photoshop now has a command that lets you add all of the artwork from a document into a CC Library with the click of a button. Any artwork elements that can be added to a library can be included in one operation.

One of the biggest announcements that received grand applause from the MAX audience was that Adobe Muse can now generate responsive websites. Holding true to Muse’s ability to create websites without having to know a single piece of code, responsive websites are generated entirely based on user input and the design built within the Muse file. Designers can’t wait to get their hands on this release.

Signs of Things to Come

Adobe has made it clear that they feel mobile applications will play a key role the workflow of designers now and into the future. But they’ve also made it clear that it’s going to be a collaborative workflow where desktop applications continue to play a key role. Expect to see a lot more integration between desktop and mobile applications, as well as enhanced use of Creative Sync technology to give users that integration. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Adobe MAX 2016!

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Posted on: October 12, 2015

Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius is a Trainer/Author/Consultant/Speaker on Adobe software and the Editor-in-Chief of incopysecrets.com. You can learn more about Chad and his company at cheliusgraphicservices.com and you can follow him on twitter at @chadchelius.

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