By Jacob Kersh
On October 18th, 2017, Adobe announced a substantial amount of updates to the various programs that make up its Creative Cloud bundle at the Adobe MAX Creativity Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also introduced many new programs and concepts that only fuel the notion that the company is taking the graphic design and filmatography industries by storm.
Three Adobe apps that have been available in a beta capacity are officially launching: Adobe XD CC for user interface design, Adobe Dimension CC for 2D to 3D compositing, and Adobe Character Animator CC for 2D character animations.
Adobe XD will be vital in the production of mobile phone apps and will likely revolutionize the app development industry, so be prepared for a slew of visually appealing, perfectly optimized applications to surface in your device’s app store during the coming months. Developers from Creative Bloq described it as “simplicity at its finest, with a stripped-back interface along with all the tools you need to design and prototype UIs.”
Adobe Dimension will serve as a huge asset to designers looking to utilize three-dimensional objects in their creations but also make their process more streamlined and compatible with primarily two-dimensional programs, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Test users from TechCrunch stated that Dimension is able to “keep things simple but is still powerful enough to allow designers to create photorealistic images for their packaging, product shots and branding needs.” In a world where the digital arts are dominated by flat and simple design choices it appears three-dimensional design is finally making a comeback!
Adobe Character Animator will essentially be a more complex, intuitive Animoji for up-and-coming graphic designers. Users from MacWorld who tested the program said that “using [their] own facial movements to bring a character [they] designed to life is a process that [they] have found to be extremely entertaining.” Additionally, Adobe envisions that Character Animator will primarily be used for live broadcasts (will be able to directly connect to Instagram live), student projects, and cartoons.
Adobe’s most renowned program, Photoshop CC, is also receiving a myriad of updates that give designers an entire new arsenal of creative tools and intuitive user interface suggestions. It appears as though Adobe has put an immense amount of thought into this new addition.
For example, Photoshop is gaining 1,400 new brush strokes from Adobe's acquisition of KyleBrush and has tremendously improved upon brush preset management tools and automatic brush stroke smoothing—features that users have been asking about for the better part of the past three years. These new features will directly assist concept artists that use Photoshop’s brushes to make their work appear as though it was painted by hand, and also allow the general user base to more easily paint over two-dimensional objects. Additionally, Adobe is introducing new tools and tutorials that are designed to make it easier for first-time Photoshop users to learn how to do basic tasks in the app, which are available in the new Learn Panel. This version of Photoshop will be much easier to learn for the millions of beginners who try it for the first time every year, and should help to prevent rising graphic designers from being discouraged by the complexity of the program. According to Glenelg Junior and aspiring visual communications director Hassan Malik, “ the tutorial-like function will be very helpful for me because it will make Photoshop much easier to work with; when I opened it for the first time a year ago it was a bit overwhelming.” A few other updates for Photoshop include a new Curvature Pen tool, a symmetry painting experience for creating mirrored brush strokes along a symmetric axis, and better integrated selection and masking tools.
One thing designers should note is that Adobe is planning to raise the price of its Creative Cloud plans in North America in the near future. Starting on March 1 (or when a contract is up for renewal), pricing across all plans will increase. The Adobe CC plan that provides access to all apps for individuals, for example, will be priced at $52.99 a month instead of $49.99 going forward. Although this is quite the yearly increase, the majority of the community has welcomed the increase wholeheartedly because of all the new features Adobe has implemented based solely upon user suggestions. Glenelg photographer Jordan Chizmadia says, “I don’t think this small increase will affect Adobe because they already have such a huge following who require Creative Cloud for their businesses. And I know we couldn’t live without it in Photo class.”
These are just a handful of the new features Adobe is introducing today, and more details on changes debuting across the entirety of Adobe's broad range of apps can be found on their official website. In all honesty, they have really outdone themselves this year in terms of making their programs more intuitive, user-friendly, and streamlined; the precedent they have set will continue to affect the digital arts community for years to come.