Adobe has been rolling out some major changes and updates to Creative Cloud. While the new subscription-only model and individual product updates have gotten most of the attention, the new social and networking aspects built directly into CC have the potential to be hugely important to the creative community.
When Adobe purchased Behance a few months ago, there was a lot of speculation that it would somehow be added to Creative Cloud. But no one really seemed to know how that might happen.
Now we do. Behance is being added directly to the desktop software. This is a bold move, and adds a lot of value to the "cloud" portion of Creative Cloud.
Connect with other creatives
Behance is a great place for networking with other creative pros across a variety of disciplines. Whether you want to just check out the work of others or you want to find collaborators (or subcontractors), you're likely to find them on Behance.
There are currently over 3.2 million public projects on Behance, and in the past 30 days, there were over 45 million project views and more than 18 million monthly visitors. In other words, the Behance network is huge.
Regardless of what creative field you're in, it's probably represented on Behance (there are 128 fields currently represented on the network).
Share with your entire network
While obviously posting your work to Behance helps you connect with the Behance network, that's not the limit of your reach. You can share your work across your social networks, on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Behance will also track who follows you and appreciates your work. They give you a single place to keep track of what the creatives you follow are up to, too.
Share directly from Creative Cloud
One of the biggest improvements in the new Behance integration is the ability to share your work directly from Photoshop, Illustrator, or other Creative Cloud desktop software. This makes what used to be an annoying process of saving your work in a format you could upload, uploading from your browser, and then handling version history manually, has been completely streamlined.
Upload your projects as you work on them from within the software itself, and even upload new versions to show your progress. This gives other creatives and potential employers a glimpse at your process, rather than just the final product.
It also gives you an easy way to get feedback from your peers as you work on things. This is an invaluable part of the overall community that is Behance.
A culture of meritocracy
One of the biggest draws of the Behance community is the ability for members to "Appreciate" the work of their peers. Just click the "Appreciate This" button on any portfolio piece to positively influence its visibility on the site.
This gives each and every creative on the site the opportunity to have their work found by the creative community, the media, and potential employers. There is no single gatekeeper that they must impress in order to get noticed. Instead, their work is more likely to stand on merit within the community as a whole. And whether someone has been designing or creating for years, or is still a student, if they create great work, they have the chance to be appreciated for it.
Behance is aiming to create a "credible mass" of creatives based on meritocracy. This will help to eliminate the idea of crowdsourcing among companies in search of creative work, and benefit the community as a whole. If companies looking to hire a creative pro or team for a project can easily peruse dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of portfolios, this gives them more opportunity to find a great freelancer or agency to work with without resorting to crowdsourcing.
Share the credit
One of the biggest improvements in the Behance network is the ability to share credit with multiple other users for a project. After all, you might have done the illustration for a project, but maybe someone else acted as art director, another person did the typography, someone else did the layout, and yet another person did the copywriting. Now you can all be attributed on a single project rather than having to maintain separate ones.
And any project you're attributed on will show up in your portfolio if you so choose.
Of course this can lead to more work for you, as many employers want to hire entire teams who have already worked together rather than individuals who may or may not work well together.
Another new feature integrated into Behance is the new "Inspiration Is…" gallery from Adobe. This gallery will be featuring projects from Behance that include the story behind the work. It's a curated collection, meaning that only great work is going to be featured, and only work that includes some back story will be considered.
Create your portfolio
Behance has offered ProSite portfolios for creatives for a while now. ProSite portfolio sites would run you $100/year, though. While not terribly expensive, they weren't exactly cheap either.
Creative Cloud subscribers now get a ProSite portfolio included in their subscription. ProSite takes your public Behance portfolio and publishes it to your fully customized portfolio site, complete with your own URL.
Building your ProSite is simple, with a drag-and-drop design editor that gives you infinite design possibilities without the need to code. ProSites also work with full resolution images, offer Tumblr and WordPress synchronization, Typekit fonts, unlimited bandwidth, and much more.
The benefits of social
This integration with Behance and Creative Cloud is a huge step in the creative world. Most creative professions are fairly isolated. We have teams we might work with, but even then there's often distance between team members. And plenty of creatives work solo.
The Behance community changes all of that. And while it's been around for awhile, this new integration directly with CC makes it much easier to use on a regular basis.
The Behance community is only going to keep growing and becoming more vibrant. Since Adobe Creative Cloud products are only going to be available by subscription going forward, and every CC subscriber will get a free Behance pro account, the community is bound to keep getting larger.
This will open up some great new opportunities for creatives from all disciplines, in terms of networking, gathering feedback, improving their skills, and finding more work.
In all, the combined forces of Adobe and Behance is a game-changer in the creative world, making it a much smaller place to do business while also giving the professionals who work within that world a much more powerful toolset for connecting with each other and promoting their work.
Do you already use Behance? Are you excited for the new integration with Creative Cloud? Let us know in the comments.