Adobe release major Creative Cloud update

Today, Adobe have both announced and shipped, new versions of its flagship Creative Cloud applications. In this update you’ll find dozens of new features.

Last year thousands of designers dropped Creative Suite/Cloud in search of cheaper, more targetted tools, and many have found real gems amongst the various app stores — Bohemian coding’s Sketch is well thought of, and there is a lot of industry anticipation for Macaw. However the low entry cost of these products is also their achille’s heel; dropping $25 on an app does not commit you to it in the long term, and smaller software houses traditionally struggle to retain a loyal userbase.

Adobe by comparison are continuing to innovate within their established product range, and as a result professionals are continuing to take up Creative Cloud subscriptions; there are currently more than 1.4 million CC members.

Adobe lay claim to 50 separate feature updates in 2013 and today’s is the fourth major update to Creative Cloud since the switch from the Creative Suite licensing model. Skeptics should note that Adobe have kept their word by continually driving innovation in the products, as well as the frequent bug fixes and performance enhancements that arrive more regularly for subscribers.

In addition to application evolution Adobe continue to develop services: last year there were 180 billion pages views for Typekit, and that’s set to increase in 2014; today’s update includes tying Illustrator and InDesign into Typekit, allowing you to add Typekit fonts to print projects and PDFs — a significant boon for companies trying to maintain consistent branding over multiple media formats.

By far the biggest news relates to the central application in Adobe’s armoury, Photoshop. Photoshop is one of the most widely recognized — or at least, named-checked — applications in the world. Despite the many inroads made by budget alternatives, and superb browser-based applications like Typecast, the majority of websites still start life in a PSD.

linked_objects

There are three large Photoshop innovations that are being introduced with this CC update. The first, and arguably the most important for web designers are the new linked Smart Objects. Essentially, linked Smart Objects are assets created in other Creative Cloud applications, that are linked in your files — design a logo in Illustrator, link it to your site design in Photoshop, then anytime you make a change in Illustrator the change is immediately reflected in Photoshop. It’s not an essential piece of kit, but it sure is nice, and I can see it becoming one of those little techniques that we quickly come to rely on.

Additionally, Photoshop CC now has a Perspective Warp tool. This staggering piece of technology allows you to completely change the perspective of elements in an image by simply drawing a 3D box around an object and changing the perspective of the box. The bit in Blade Runner, when Deckard uses a computer to zoom into a photo, panning around corners and zooming into a part of the image that the camera seemingly couldn’t have captured; he was probably using Photoshop’s Perspective Warp.

perspective_warp

The big news — certainly as far as Adobe are concerned — is that Photoshop CC now allows you to print in 3D. Using the existing 3D features in Photoshop you can now create 3D designs and print straight to a 3D printer, alternately if you don’t have one, send them to shapeways.com for printing. Adobe are pitching this feature as a finishing tool for 3D models, and it’s not designed to compete with full-blown 3D modelling tools like Maya. The expectation is that 3D modellers will work in their traditional tools, then import into Photoshop to clean up their meshes. It seems like an exciting development for industrial designers, but I can’t see too many screen designers taking much interest.

3d_printing

Given Photoshop’s size, it seems questionable to pack yet another primary use into the tool. 3D print finishing is substantial enough a job to warrant a separate application, especially as CC subscriptions would provide free access to the new application. When quizzed on this, Andy Lauta from Adobe explained that because so many creatives use Photoshop already, it was the natural home for the new functionality — which I took to mean Adobe were concerned that an entirely new application would have limited take-up.

One lesser feature, but one certain to be welcomed by everyone, is that Photoshop is now powered by the next generation Mercury Graphics Engine, giving substantially more performance whether you’re printing in 3D, or cropping a bitmap.

Adobe have also reset the 30 day trials for Creative Cloud, so if you’re tempted to try these features out, you can download the applications and start playing today.

Are you a Creative Cloud subscriber? Are you excited by Photoshop’s new 3D printing feature? Let us know in the comments.

  • Phil Middlemass

    Adobe’s priorities for Photoshop seem a little misplaced right now, they are concentrating on implementing the wrong features in part.

    For me getting core features that appeal to the masses are more important than 3D printing tools to support a fledgling industry still to find it’s position.

    Things like..

    Photoshop UI support for HiDPI screens on it’s Windows version would be much more useful than 3D printing tools, I still as yet don’t know anyone with a 3D printer in the industry.

    And replacement or innovative new tools in Photoshop to make up for ditching Fireworks would be good too, a new layout/workflow engine to enable web designers to create better responsive web design layouts in a single PSD using shared layer assets that have different breakpoint states for position, scale, deformation and vector shapes would be fantastic.

    • Tim

      Yes. Need better graphic styles and 9-slice scaling symbol support. Smart Objects do not replace symbols. Page support with master pages instead of layer comps, which are cumbersome.

    • Steven Sanders

      I agree, the lack of HiDPI support in Windows is insanely frustrating.

    • bgbs

      What Adobe needs is a new Graphic Application for web designers. It is amazing what Adobe did to Fireworks. Packing Photoshop with too many cumbersome tools, will still not make it a perfect webdesign application. The new web design application needs real vector support as well as many of the fireworks features.

      • askehansen

        you should take a look a Sketch.. Its a much better tool for the job

        http://www.bohemiancoding.com/sketch/

      • Dave

        Looks great, but shame Sketch isn’t out for Windows… would love to try it out as an alternative for UI design.

  • http://www.creativebeacon.com/ James George

    Wow! Thanks for the update! I’ll have to let my readers know all about the new features in the CC software. I especially like the perspective warp tool. That sounds like it will come in handy down the road.

  • David™

    Adobe is deviating from the ORIGINAL PHOTOSHOP concept.

  • Toby

    Finally, linked assets to external files in Photoshop… i don’t know how long I’ve been banging on at Adobe about this long overdue feature. Thankyou Adobe, better late than never i guess. Better be rock solid is all i can say.

    Hoping it’s as good as Fireworks was with multiple levels of nested smart objects, inside smart objects and all were linked.

    The 3D printing feature and perspective correction I’m not so interested in, kinda scratching my head over these two new features really. It’s a bit like the video editing and colour correction capability… why.

  • http://www.sarahevansdesign.co.uk/ Sarah Evans

    Photoshop seems to be trying to do it all but it will end up doing nothing well.

    I have now moved my UI design work to Sketch App after using Photoshop for 12 yrs. l use it for photo editing only now.

  • Saman Zahid

    Thanks for the updates about adobe photoshop, It’s great but togethering too many tools does not make the adobe perfect. Adobe must make new web designing applications as well as the fireworks features.

  • Jeff Hops

    Adobe can do what they like really.

    You’re unlikely to stop paying for Photoshop.

    A very clever racket.

  • Life Sentence

    I’ve stopped using all Adobe products. I realised that if ever wanted to stop paying for their subscription, I’d essentially lose all my work. Sure, I can keep the files, but the files are not much use if I can’t open them any more. I have old work which I created on a Commodore 64 over 25 years ago, which I can still open today, because once I bought the software, I owned that copy of the software. In 25 years time, if you have stopped paying Adobe’s fees, in most cases you will not be able to open your data any more. CS6 is the end of my Adobe life.

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/ Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

      That’s simply not the case at all.

      Photoshop has a ‘maximize compatibility’ setting, which is on by default. Which means anything you save can be opened by other applications. If you’re genuinely worried by that, save as an eps or a tiff.

  • MegaGorgo

    Creative Cloud can be a real cluster. I spend hours with tech support trying to get it to work on my PC, an Asus sabertooth running Win7. Would constantly sign me out. Had to create another admin acct and install CC on that in order for the other to work. Now when I try to update, it tells me it cannot complete because it sees another instance. So I will have to uninstall the whole damn thing now so that I can update. That and the pricing and the fact that some of us really like owning the software we buy makes this just a horrid choice and woe to the newbies who do not have a 6.5 DVD set to fall back on in emergency. Sorry you are so screwed.