Throughout the computer revolution, Adobe has successfully thrived to be on the cutting-edge of artistic software advancement. In 2013, Adobe took a ground-breaking, giant leap-of-faith, offering its most popular programs exclusively through monthly/yearly Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions.
In the summer of 2014, Adobe posted major updates to its Creative Cloud. The desktop programs featured within CC 2014 for Designers are: Illustrator CC 2014, InDesign CC 2014, Muse CC 2014, and Photoshop CC 2014. The following is a preview of the top new features and enhancements in the four major desktop programs for designers.
Illustrator: Top New Features and Enhancements
The newest features of Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 are created with ease-of-use in mind, allowing artists to draw quicker, easier, and with superior precision.
The new Live Shapes function allows the user to easily select and drag points to recreate an object’s corners, while working within the art object. If precise corners are needed, simply enter the numbers within the Transform Panel. Live Shapes also allows the user to change the corner radius to a multitude of selected objects at one time.
The new Pen Tool Preview is an important enhancement to the familiar Pen Tool. This enhanced feature allows users to visualize the Pen Tool’s path before committing to it, resulting in an efficient work environment, lessening the need for post-creation editing.
The new Anchor Point Enhancements is another timesaver. The user can now create paired, but unequal curves. Also new is the ability to repair broken anchor point handles without affecting the original curve, as well as more control closing paths, and easily being able to reposition the final closing point. Although Anchor Point snapping can be enabled, another new “reduction in frustration” factor, is the new non-snapping Anchor Point Handles.
InDesign: Top New Features and Enhancements
The New Simplified Tables is a “how did I ever live without it” InDesign enhancement. This seemingly small feature allows the designer to quickly select, drag, and drop horizontal and vertical sections within a table.
The new Color Groups is also a must-have for designers. All artists know that every color has multiple ranges of hues, tones, and values. InDesign’s new Color Grouping allows designers to effortlessly organize color combinations. This allows artists to locate color swatches to specific projects without losing valuable time searching through random folders.
With the new Color Groups feature, color groups created in Adobe Illustrator can be directly imported into InDesign. InDesign’s Color Groups also play nicely with Adobe Kuler, making it easy to import and create specific Adobe Kuler themes within InDesign.
The new EPUB3 Fixed Layout is one of my favorite new features. As an avid reader of online books, formatting (or the lack of) is one of my pet-peeves. EPUB formatting is not new to InDesign, however, the concept of a Fixed EPUB Layout format is. Easily converting a multifunctional book (with numerous images, formal layouts, including audio and/or video) into a stable-formatted eBook layout has been nearly impossible. That is until now. Thanks to this exciting new Adobe feature, online-publishers can design an eBook with the assurance that the design will remain consistent on a variety of mobile devices.
Muse: Top New Features and Enhancements
Adobe Muse has gone through a complete transformation. It is now a powerful 64-bit application, compatible with the newer operating systems, and supporting HiDPI enabling. Although I am a coder webmaster at heart, I have been a huge supporter of Adobe Muse since its 2012 official public debut. From its conception, Muse has strived to be user-friendly. It was, and remains to be, the answer to a non-coding graphic designer’s ability to build a professional website.
This little program packs a ton of new features that rival its big sister, Adobe Dreamweaver, for complex website design. The new User-Interface resembles that of other Adobe Design programs, with the ability to change the tonality of the workspace.
The new version allows the designer to view mobile and desktop webpages side-by-side, making it easier to change and/or synchronize design adjustments. With the side-by-side viewing, content can also be copied and pasted from one format to another, providing instant design gratification.
The old Adobe Muse Exchange has morphed into Adobe Add-ons. Not just for Muse, Adobe Add-ons is an all-inclusive online marketplace, providing both free and low-cost: widgets, templates, and themes.
Muse’s new Enhanced Browser Editing is an invaluable feature for webmasters working with clients that require frequent minor changes (weekly events, change of menu items, etc.). In past versions of Adobe Muse, “in-browser editing” could only be made if the website was hosted by Adobe. The new and improved Muse allows clients to make minor changes … even if the website is hosted on a non-Adobe provider. To safeguard the website design’s integrity, the webmaster has the option to approve or decline all client changes with a mere click. This can come in handy, especially for client-based typos.
Unlike other Adobe Design software, Muse was born in the Adobe Creative Cloud, and has never been a non-Cloud program. Perhaps that is why it is still an enigma to the majority of webmasters. However, with Adobe’s decision to provide their most popular programs exclusively via monthly/yearly subscription, more webmasters (even the diehard coders) will discover the wonders of the amazing Adobe Muse!
Photoshop: Top New Features and Enhancements
Managing fonts in Adobe Photoshop may seem like a minor new feature. However, Photoshop is no longer a mere photo editing tool. Over the years, Adobe’s most recognized program has developed into an empowering instrument for designers; and text is an imperative function of a designer’s world. Once again, Adobe has anticipated the needs of its users by improving the functionality of how Photoshop manages fonts. The new Resolve Missing Fonts feature is especially vital when sharing images in a collaborative workplace.
Enhanced Smart Guides is a huge improvement, as well as a timesaver, providing precise alignment to even the most complicated design layouts.
Path Blur and Spin Blur are the newest filters in the Photoshop CC 2014 Blur Gallery. These new additions allow the designer to create and/or enhance realistic motion within specific items in an image. As the name implies, Path Blur creates motion along a straight or curved predestinated path. Spin Blur gives the illusion of motion to non-moving entities.In each new Photoshop version there’s at least one new feature where magic happens. In Photoshop CC 2014 there are two … the new Focus Mask, and the improved color adaptation in Content-Aware. Focus Mask is a pre-mask step that instinctively selects the in-focus sections of an image. Using the improved Content-Aware color adaptation creates flawless blending when restoring damaged photographs.
The Mobile Side
Although there are an abundance of new and enhanced features in the Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 for Desktop Designers … CC 2014 for Designers is also on the move. The newest updates include original mobile apps for smartphones and tablets (many are both IOS and Android-based).New Mobile Apps include: Adobe Sketch, Adobe Line, Adobe Voice, Adobe Photoshop Mix, and Adobe Lightroom Mobile. Also new (integrating with Adobe Sketch, Adobe Line) are the tablet-based hardware drawing tools: the Adobe Ink pen (using AdonitPixelpoint technology) and Adobe Slide ruler (both require iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Mini or iPad Mini with Retina display). These powerful hardware drawing tools bring the feel of realistic precision to artists, allowing creativity to soar!
Special Note: Even if you are currently an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, you will still have to download the latest versions of each of the Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 programs. This is slightly confusing, as Adobe has insisted that the “sunny-side” of a Creative Cloud yearly membership, included streaming updates.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point-of-view) when you download a new program version, the previous program version remains on your computer. If you are committed to eternally subscribing to the Adobe Creative Cloud … you will either have to remove the previous version after installing the newest program version … or your hard drive will over-flow with yearly new versions.
The downside of course, is if you allow your Adobe Creative Cloud membership to expire, all of your Creative Cloud programs will also become inactive. The upside, once you re-subscribe you can activate and update the programs.
Is Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 For Designers For You?
If you are a designer, the Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 for Designers is a must have. Each of the four basic design programs are available through individual subscriptions. However, it is more economical to go for the yearly Creative Cloud Subscription, as it also gives you access to an array of Adobe’s most popular non-design programs.
To quote Leonard Louis Levinson, “A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all … he’s walking on them.” With the recent release of the Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 for Designers, the innovators at Adobe have taken the optimistic road in its regards to a graphic designer’s needs.
Currently Adobe offers numerous subscription plans, and payment levels, within each of the following: individual users, businesses, universities and colleges, and students (click on the link below for a complete price list). The majority of the plans require a yearly subscription (which is your best buy), while some plans also provide a month-to-month subscription. If you are unsure if you want to make a long-term commitment, Adobe offers free 30-day trials on the majority of their most popular programs.
For in-depth information on the Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 for Designers (and all of Adobe’s available products) explore the following Adobe Creative Cloud links:
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