Forget the Creative Suite. Adobe’s first major Creative Cloud update proves that going all-in on subscriptions was the right decision.
Today Adobe announced the launch of Creative Cloud 2014, an all-encompassing release featuring 14 updated Creative Cloud desktop apps; three new mobile apps — Photoshop Mix, Adobe Sketch, and Adobe Line; the company’s first foray into hardware; significant changes to Adobe’s syncing and storage offerings; and an impressively low $10 per month tier for photographers.
Although Adobe calls this update “the biggest” software release since Creative Suite version 6, we don’t agree. No single preexisting app or service in Adobe’s Creative Cloud will shock you with a dramatic redesign. Instead, as you’ll find below, Adobe focused on subtle refinements across the board, and — in some cases — great new functionality that won’t rattle the overall experience.
Following last year’s redesign and feature overhaul, Adobe’s updates to Photoshop CC 2014 target just a few things: Microsoft Windows, Typography, and Blur.
Adobe launched HiDPI (or Retina) support on Macs last year after sales of Apple’s Retina MacBook Pros drove demand. Now, as Windows machines catch up, Adobe aims to support high-resolution screens on every device.
As teased at Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 launch event, Adobe has also introduced new support in Photoshop for pinch and zoom on images. Adobe also claims that Surface Pro 3 users will be able to “create smoother strokes” and will notice a “more responsive experience.”
Photoshop CC 2014 additionally features in-document instant previews for typefaces. For designers, this is a huge change: Now users of the app can highlight text and browse different typeface options while simultaneously previewing the changes within a document. It’s kind of like a WYSIWYG editor.
Other noteworthy changes in Photoshop CC 2014 include new blur gallery filters, path blur filters, more easily updated layer comps, subtle changes to content-aware fill, and a new color panel.
Illustrator & InDesign
Although both Illustrator CC 2014 and InDesign CC 2014 pack numerous updates, the changes below aren’t nearly as noticeable as Adobe’s updates to Photoshop.
Adobe shares that “new capabilities in Illustrator CC include Live Shapes to quickly transform rectangles into complex shapes and then return to the original rectangle with just a few clicks, as well as faster rendering of vector graphics with GPU acceleration on Windows with an Adobe-certified NVIDIA graphics card.”
And in InDesign, Adobe now enables layout designers to “select table rows and columns and use EPUB Fixed Layout to easily create digital books.”
Web Design: Muse, Dreamweaver, Edge Animate, & Flash
Muse is one of three Web design tools built by Adobe, alongside Edge and Dreamweaver. For clarity, here’s an easy way to tell the three apart: Muse was built for designers, Edge was built for developers, and Dreamweaver was built for both.
Adobe shares that Muse CC “now includes 64-bit support, HiDPI display support for sharper-looking images, objects, and text, and the ability to preview and optimize desktop, smartphone, and tablet versions of your sites before going live.”
Dreamweaver includes minor updates, including improvements to the app’s CSS Designer feature. Edge Animate (part of the larger “Edge” Web design family) now enables users to import “HTML5-friendly” videos, and Flash now enables users to export Flash frames as SVG files.
Video Editing: After Effects, Premiere Pro, Audition, & SpeedGrade
Adobe shares that Premiere Pro CC 2014 now features enhanced graphics performance. After Effects now includes “precise new keying effects,” and SpeedGrade CC 2014 features “more flexible Direct Link color pipeline,” the company says.
Mobile Apps & Hardware
The future of software giant Adobe lies in extensive cloud integration, a new subscription pricing model, and … a stylus and digital ruler for the iPad.
Formerly known by their code names “Project Mighty” and “Napoleon,” Adobe’s new Ink and Slide iPad accessories ($200) are the company’s first-ever hardware products. And they’re yet another sign that Adobe is changing with the times.
Closer to the Cloud
When Adobe killed off its beloved Creative Suite last year for a subscription-based offering, the company did everything in its power to calm users on the edge of revolt. Like a game of Janga, one too many missteps could have toppled segments of Adobe’s creative empire. The death of Fireworks made the situation all the more dire.
But Creative Cloud held together, grew gradually, and is now far closer to becoming the service it was always meant to be. Before, Adobe’s cloud-based storage offering couldn’t compare to Dropbox, and some of the company’s most exciting features — like type syncing — took months to launch.
Now with 2.3 million Creative Cloud subscribers, a newly refined suite of mobile and desktop apps, and intriguing connected hardware offerings, Adobe can finally declare Creative Cloud a success.
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