Adobe’s Creative Cloud Libraries

Adobe recently rolled out Creative Cloud Libraries as part of the late-2014 Creative Cloud release. This cleverly integrated workflow component will allow you to work across applications, platforms, and projects seamlessly by giving you access to your creative assets. A core part of their new family of mobile apps and added to Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC for the desktop, CC Libraries let you store, organize, and retrieve brushes, colors, text styles, images, and vector artwork no matter where you are working.

At the core of this integrated system is your Creative Profile—which is associated with your Adobe ID—your hub for individual libraries of assets based on project, client, content, or any other criteria you set as part of your workflow. Accessing the libraries is easy: Choose from a panel in the desktop apps, or from the specific menu option in mobile apps like Draw and Sketch.

Creative Cloud Libraries are smart. In the desktop apps, assets are organized by type, so that you can easily see what types of assets you have to use. The mobile apps give you access to just the items that can be used by the app. Placing an item from a library into Photoshop or Illustrator, or from a document into a library, is a simple drag-and-drop operation. Items created in the capture mobile apps, like Brush CC, Shapes CC, and Colors CC, are added to the chosen library as you create and modify them.

What makes Adobe libraries so remarkable is that they are constantly being synced for your use, no matter where you are in the creative workflow. Create an awesome brush in Brush CC on your iPhone? Whoosh! It’s there almost instantly in your Photoshop Library panel! That beautifully-crafted photo of Hawaii at sunset with just the perfect lighting adjustments can be added to a library and used right away in Illustrator or another Photoshop file. Even type styling created in Photoshop can be easily saved as a type style in a library and used in Illustrator. All of the items in a library are stored locally on your computer, meaning you can use library items even when you’re offline. You’ll still need internet access to sync items for use on other devices.

The library panel in Photoshop or Illustrator makes it super easy to see which assets are available for use. You can choose to view by thumbnail, which makes browsing and finding assets a snap. If you choose to view by list, you’ll have access to more information, such as what type was used in a type style, and whether a graphic was created in Photoshop or Illustrator. You can even double-click on an asset, make any necessary changes, then save that asset back into the library.

With all of the information that can be stored in a library, and all the new apps for capturing, sharing, and creating that Adobe has released with Creative Cloud, it can get a little overwhelming. To help with that, here’s list of where to create assets, and also where those assets can be used.

Mobile Capture Apps

Adobe Brush CC – Create custom brushes on your mobile device that can be used in Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as the mobile app Adobe Sketch.

Adobe Shape CC – Create vector shapes from captured or stored images for use in Photoshop, Illustrator, as well as the mobile app Adobe Draw.

Adobe Color CC – Create color themes from captured images, or from your iPhone’s camera roll or an image from Creative Cloud. Themes created in Color CC can be adjusted, named, and managed in the app and on the Adobe Color website where the themes can even be downloaded as .ase files. On the desktop, those themes are available to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, and Flash. On mobile devices, those colors are available in Sketch, Line, and Draw.

Desktop Apps

Photoshop and Illustrator – Create artwork in these programs and save out to a library. Using library items in these apps will be the same as placing them. For instance, an item created in Illustrator and placed into Photoshop from a library will become a Smart Object.

InDesign – Sadly, InDesign doesn’t have access to Creative Cloud libraries. You can, however, use the color themes from Color CC and can even create color themes—and save them to your Adobe Color repository—from your InDesign files using the new Color Theme tool.

Mobile Creativity Apps

Adobe Draw – Bring in assets from Shape CC and access all of your color themes to create vector artwork that can then be sent to Illustrator or Photoshop—via the Creative Cloud desktop app—for more refined adjustments.

Adobe Line – Use color themes from your Creative Cloud color libraries and create vector artwork, which you can send out to Photoshop or Illustrator.

Adobe Sketch – Use any of the colors from your theme libraries, as well as any custom Sketch brushes you created in Brush CC. Your finished artwork can then be sent out to Illustrator or Photoshop.

In addition to the individual apps, you can view, delete, and rename your assets with the Adobe Assets browser.


Posted on: October 16, 2014

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for an unbelievable 30 years! She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She is a regular presence at CreativePro Week’s PePcon and InDesign Conferences, and has spoken at ebookcraft in Canada and Making Design in Norway. You can find Erica’s online tutorials at CreativeLive and through her YouTube channel. When she isn’t at her computer, she can be found exploring her new homebase of Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.

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