Learning Paths

What Do The Creative Cloud Updates Have To Offer?

Head in the Clouds

So Adobe have today revealed their plans for future application development and deployment at Max, and everything is now on Creative Cloud, which itself is now a desktop app. Not only are they rebranding fifteen apps as CC apps (“it’s like having an App store in which you own everything”) – so there will be no CS7 but Adobe are giving backwards compatibility back to CS6 just in case you need to work in that (maybe you have a client that still uses that version for example). CC is also providing much smoother install and update processes, and also allowing settings for your apps to be synched via the cloud. The license terms have also changed that low you to run two installations concurrently – this could be a real boost in the wallets of small businesses and home industries – especially if you’ve just bought CS6 as it’ll only be $19.99 (US prices are all I have at the moment) a month for the first year.

So, How about those apps? Well here are three for now…

Photoshop CC – adds Camera RAW as a filter (!!!) with new perspective/lens distortion capabilities. I’m a huge fan of ACR and often get delegates to use it to process JPEG and TIFF files as well as actual RAW files. A new radial filter you can ‘burn in’ and adjustment within a radial ‘vignette’ and the Adjustment Brush is now freed from its circular constraints. About a year back the Sneak Peek at last year’s MAX showed some incredible research work into de-blurring technology – I have dozens of images that have been waiting for the new Shake Reduction feature and the time has come for me to start getting a collection together in Bridge, in readiness. If you’re a digital designer you’re going to LOVE what Photoshop now has to offer in responsive design workflows and how it integrates with the rapidly growing Edge family of tools – more time for design and now literally moments in final preparation.

Illustrator CC –  now you can turn bitmaps into brushes! This is an extension of a feature that was kind of introduced in CS6 but it’s now mature. Individually manipulating characters by dragging on your Wacom tablet or Cintiq display previews just a couple of the new features expected in Illustrator this time around.

After Effects – now the number one in video editing software, After Effects now boats Maxxon Cinema 4D Lite direct in the product so you can work in 3D in your files, and add tracking points to put the objects into the camera view. This is going to boost the 3D app render/composite/render again/composite workflows to warp speed. Refine Edge from Photoshop has also made its way across to AECC – the rotobrush tool has Kryptonian powers as it takes something awesome from Photoshop and applies it effortlessly across frames. The demo shows Adobe’s super-enthusiastic video-evangelist isolating himself from a dull-blue background compete with flowing wispy hair. Hilarious if it wasn’t so super cool!

Pretty Darn Kuler!

Kuler has had a huge reworking (and it’s about time – there’s so much potential in this community) and finally a Kuler app is ready for the iPhone, which is actually pretty awesome allowing you to get colour themes literally just by pointing the camera (eliminating the possibly redundant intermediary step of actually taking a photo).

What the F… F… Font?

Typekit will hopefully do for your desktop what it has done for webfonts – your Creative Cloud membership now gives you access to 700 fonts – trumping Google’s SkyFonts offering of last week by 76 fonts. I don’t know if you’ve tried the TypeKit selection interface but it is pretty slick.

Versions of a Social Network

Creative Cloud for desktop has real potential and Adobe are really committing tho the social networking and collaborative possibilites . New visual representations of iterations of a file as you work on it – if you want to return to an earlier version it’s just a click away. Nice that you can also browse the cloud now from your iPhone too. There’s also some new collaborative possibilities presented by the integration with Behance with creative communities directly from Photoshop. This takes the aborted Share My Screen feature (for prolonging your pain with clients) to something incredibly useful where you can gain insights and critique from your global peer network. It’s also great for the increasing number of us freed up to work in our home environment (say I, from my dining table) as I can collaborate in real-time with my colleagues. For the freelancer, SME and start-up communities I have one word: crowdsourcing  and three bits of punctuation: !!!

New Projects

Project Mighty

This awesome little piece of kit has to be seen to be believed. Michael Gough demoed this at MAX and this pressure sensitive digital-mark-making tool with onboard memory works on your tablet and your tablet device is capable of distinguishing between it and your digit. The Mighty knows it’s you that’s using it and the preferences for it are stored on the cloud – what that means is that you could move between devices without having to set them up each time. The menu system appears to be based on that from the experimental Lava project/app and there is even a stored clipboard.

Project Napoleon

Adobe are now recommending that we tuck one of our hands inside our jacket – ok, that was weak but this simple looking device is a geometry tool cunningly disguised as a ruler – although it can be used to draw arcs and angles.

Digital Publishing and another project: Project Context

Project Context is another step nearer to the real-world equivalent of printing out all of your magazine spreads and tacking them to the wall to view all of the spreads You can rearrange assets by swiping, add markup just as you would with a marker pen and preview print layouts and digital layouts side-by-side – it’s like Minority Report for layout artists (provided of course you have the hardware to use it). There’s even the potential to flick things from your iPad directly onto the layouts, just as simply as using the Mover app on your iOS device.

What Does It Mean Now…

The purchasing model is going to change for a lot of individuals and companies. I don’t think we’re going to see large numbers of people abandoning Photoshop to learn Gimp, or ditch Illustrator for InkScape but there will be those who try to hold on to their old versions for as long as possible. I think there were a lot of scribes who were like this when the printing press became viable and to that I’d say “How many scribes do you know”? I’m not a scribe – I started in this business as a print worker about five hundred years after the invention of the printing press; in my opinion, the future is bright, because the sun is shining through the [Creative] Cloud and as any photographer would tell you bright light through cloud makes for great pictures.