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Adobe today announced the private beta of Project Aero, an augmented reality authoring tool and content delivery platform for smartphones. Project Aero will allow creatives to make augmented reality artifacts without the need to learn how to use things like the Unity game engine.

Adobe Creative Cloud applications like Photoshop and Dimensions will be able to make AR artifacts from things like image, video, or PSD files become part of the physical world around you, so you can walk through the layers of a PSD file, for example.

Project Aero uses the USDZ file format for Apple’s ARKit that was adopted by a number of companies in June at Apple’s WWDC developer conference, where Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis made an appearance. The file format will also be available with solutions from Autodesk, Sketchfab, PTC, and Quixel.

ARKit content is now available for hundreds of millions of iOS devices.


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Whereas Facebook and Microsoft have been involved in AR for years, Adobe waited for adoption rates to grow before getting more involved in the field, Parasnis told VentureBeat in an interview.

“Our strategy is democratize creation of AR content without you ever having to learn deep coding, new platform, [or] new tools. If you know Photoshop, if you know Premiere, if you know Lightroom — any of these Creative Cloud tools — you know AR,” Parasnis said. “You never have to worry about design concepts like shadow or proximity, that when it walks close to something it should animate.”

Adobe partnered with Apple and others using the USDZ file format because starting from scratch would have been unrealistic.

“Expecting a new medium to take hold by expecting an ecosystem of millions of designers and creative professionals and developers to learn completely new tools and languages is never going to happen,” he said.

The news is being announced alongside improvements to other Adobe products and the suite of Sensei AI services onstage at the Max developer conference taking place today in Los Angeles.

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