Adobe unveils Creative Cloud updates, AR tool and Photoshop for iPad

Each year, Adobe launches a range of updates and showcases forthcoming products at its creative conference, Adobe MAX. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from this year’s event

Adobe XD’s voice prototyping feature lets users set voice commands and trigger speech playback to prototype voice interactions

Around 15,000 people attended MAX to get a glimpse of new and upcoming Creative Cloud tools and attend workshops with artists, Adobe experts and designers, including Jessica Hische, Natasha Jen and film director Ron Howard.

This year’s launches focused on streamlining existing apps, opening up Adobe’s tools to a wider audience and enabling users to work across multiple devices.

Photoshop for iPad

One of this year’s biggest announcements was the news that Photoshop will be available on iPads in 2019. The app has been redesigned for touch screen – a process that has taken around 18 months – and Adobe has promised that it won’t just be “just a watered down version of the desktop app”.

Users will be able to access Photoshop’s Layers tool and save PSD files to the cloud, allowing them to open and edit files on different devices in much the same way as Google Docs. Adobe has yet to confirm an exact release date for the app, but has promised it will be available at some point next year. 

Premiere Rush – a video editing app for mobile

Premiere Rush lets users edit videos and publish to their social platforms

Adobe is targeting YouTube creators and social influencers with its new “all-in-one” video editing app, Premiere Rush. The app allows users to create and edit videos on the go, adding text, colour, music and motion graphics, and upload their videos to multiple social channels. Users can also sync and save files to the cloud, allowing them to switch between editing on a desktop and a mobile. Adobe says the app offers an intuitive editing tool for online video creators, allowing them to create “professional quality” footage even if they’re not an expert in audio, video or colour.

The app is currently only available Windows and MacOS and iOS devices, but an Android version will be available next year. More info here.

Creative Cloud updates 

Adobe unveiled dozens of updates to its Creative Cloud suite – including several features that use artificial intelligence to automate time-consuming tasks.

A layout adjust feature in InDesign automatically resizes the elements in a page – including images and text – when the bleed, page margin or page size is changed in a document, removing the need to manually correct each layout, while a ‘Content-Aware Fit’ tool can automatically detect the content in an image and crop or fit it to a frame – again removing the need to crop and edit images manually.

Adobe Stock has partnered with GoPro to offer a library of content created by GoPro’s in-house studio: assets include aerial and underwater scenes as well as dramatic landscape images and POV action shots. Speaking to press at Adobe MAX, representatives from GoPro said the partnership reflects the changing nature of stock photography, with users now looking for more exciting alternatives to traditional stock images.

A minor but welcome update to Photoshop CC is the ability to use Ctrl+Z to make multiple undos – an addition that prompted some enthusiastic applause from MAX attendees. An improved ‘Content-Aware Fill’ tool aims to make it easier to replace or remove objects within an image and a frame tool allows users to create shape or text frames and drag and drop images into that frame. Photoshop also has a new home screen, which features in-app tutorials and a ‘What’s New’ section to help users make the most of Photoshop.

The new Adobe XD has a greater focus on voice: a new voice prototyping tool allows users to test voice interactions and experiences for Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other voice-activated devices. The tool lets users set voice triggers and responses and preview those interactions within the app.

Another feature, Auto-Animate, aims to make it easier to create animations between artboards in digital prototypes – for example to add carousels in response to a gesture such as dragging or swiping left (details here). 

Tad Carpenter font pack, one of 30 new packs being added to Adobe Fonts over the next month

Adobe’s Typekit subscription service has become Adobe Fonts and is now available to all Creative Cloud subscribers (even those with single-app subscriptions). Non-subscribers with an Adobe ID will get access to a basic font collection, and Adobe will be releasing new fonts each day for the next 30 days. Adobe has also streamlined its fonts service: all fonts are now available for web and desktop use (meaning no more ‘web only’ fonts) and Adobe has removed page view, domain and sync limits on all designs.

Project Aero: a new tool for creating AR experiences

Adobe has been developing a new tool for creating AR experiences. Project Aero is currently in private beta (users can sign up for early access here), but Adobe claims it will allow both companies and individuals to create AR content without having to learn how to code.

In a blog post on the project, the brand says: “While the creative community has been hearing about the potential of new immersive platforms, it’s been out of their reach. Each of these platforms require fundamentally different skillsets, with entirely new developer tools, programming languages and runtimes. For AR to truly go mainstream, there’s a need to solve both sides of the equation – authoring and delivery – within a consistent immersive design platform. And that’s exactly what we plan to do.” The project is part of a wider plan to make existing apps such as Photoshop ‘AR ready’ – Adobe announced earlier this year that it is working with Apple and Pixar to develop a new file format to allow users to create AR content within Photoshop.

Artwork created with Project Gemini, a painting and drawing app for touch screen devices

Alongside Project Aero, Adobe unveiled Project Gemini – a new painting and drawing app for touch screen devices. The tool has been developed by illustrator Kyle Webster – who joined Adobe after creating kylebrush.com (a suite of brushes for Creative Cloud which Adobe acquired in 2017). Webster has been working with a range of illustrators to create the app and Adobe is now inviting creatives to trial the service before its release on iOS devices (details here).

Neither Project Aero nor Gemini have a confirmed release date as yet but Creative Cloud updates and Premiere Rush are available to download now. You can see more updates from this year’s MAX conference on the Adobe blog