Adobe MAX kicked off this week in San Diego and new capabilities were announced on day one to a room of 10,000 creative pros - the conference's biggest crowd yet. Among the updates, addressing new content formats, mobile workflows and collaboration demands took top billing.
Let's explore a few of those announcements as well as how they are meeting indusry demands and what they mean for brands using Adobe for design.
Adobe XD Beta
Adobe XD, announced at Max last year, added new cloud capabilities like the ability to co-edit and see team members working in shared documents and collaborate on designs in real-time. "Visual versioning" was also added to allow for easy findability and re-usability of digital assets. For better efficiency, designers can also store style guides (colors, font styles). In practice, designers can use drag-and-drop functionality to replace a shade of "blue," for example, throughout the whole design. XD is running on macOS, iOS and Android apps as a public beta available today with Windows coming later this year (hence the beta).
In the spirit of collaboration, a major update came to Adobe Stock as well with its new partnership with Reuters allowing access to Reuters editorial content (think newsworthy events like sports, award ceremonies or concerts and newsworthy people like politicians and celebrities) as well as 60 million royalty-free commercial photos, videos, illustrations, graphics, templates and 3-D assets within Adobe Stock. As designers may know, Adobe Stock affords the ability to edit, leverage and license content directly within Photoshop so visits to multiple platforms is not needed, particularly now as editorial content is available (where Getty or Shutterstock may have been needed to fill that void before).
Adobe Typekit Marketplace
Keeping work within Adobe will also be seamless with the launch of Adobe Typekit Marketplace to find and purchase (many more) fonts for marketing materials, websites and other projects. It's like an app store for fonts, as described on Wednesday, whereas the current Typekit included with Creative Cloud is like a Netflix where designers search for types and use them with no additional costs, but the supply was limited to what was available thre (although it's reportedly growing). Typekit Marketplace is available now and includes 6,500-plus fonts from more than 20 partners. It should be noted that Creative Cloud will automatically install the fonts purchased within the marketplace, are licensed to individual users, have a one-time fee and are available as long as the person has a Creative Cloud account.
While fonts are crucial to design, working with them is common place for designers - even though the process of locating them has been difficult - but learning new effects can be intimidating, like 3-D.
Adobe has announced Project Felix (public beta available at the end of this year) - a new design tool that enables graphic designers to create high-quality, photo-realistic images by combining 2-D and 3-D assets for products such as product shot comps, scene visualization and abstract design. To support these workflows, Adobe Stock introduced three new categories for 3-D: models, materials and lights. Real-time rendering allows users to preview work while editing and before exporting to Photoshop to complete their design. The magic wand within Photoshop is also available in Felix to select different pieces to change.
Projects created within Felix can then be opened within Photoshop to treat them like a photograph within the app even though the 3-D graphics were created from scratch within Felix. Working with 3-D can be very challenging, but Project Felix lowers the barrier to entry to adapt to this new and increasingly popular format without becoming a 3-D expert.
Adobe Spark (released in May 2016) is also helping designers adapt to new formatting demands as they are increasingly tasked with creating images for a variety of channels like Web pages, video and social media. The latter often requires different sizes for optimal display based on the specific network and Adobe Spark automatically provides the optimized formatting to make quicker work out of multi-channel design. It was unclear, however, what level of oversight, if any, a marketing manager has on the photos being uploaded to social media within Spark (other than looking over a designer's shoulder or getting approval another way), which could be problematic if that's not a capability particularly for regulated industries.
Sophisticated Software, Simple Message
Adobe believes the future of design is the ability to create great content (makes sense) and its updates help the people and the workflows that "surround those people creating that great content" wherever they are (mobile) and whoever they are working with (collaborative).
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