Adobe Cloud Silver Lining Playbook

May 7, 2013 2:13 am

Tags: Adobe, After Effects, Creative Cloud, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro


The passage of spring is never complete without an announcement from Adobe in regards to exciting software enhancements. With the spring of 2013, Adobe Cloud adds a silver lining to their usual upgrades/updates playbook, within their video, photography, design, and web family of product lines.

Last year's introduction of The Adobe Cloud, and the bundling of their most popular software into a subscription-based format, was the first step to Adobe's innovative way of streaming updates to their software. In a bold step to bring their customers a no-waiting-approach for new software content, Adobe has reinvented their way of doing things. Thus, it was inevitable that with this new format, Adobe would have to come up with a new name for their Adobe Cloud products … and that is one of the biggest changes to come about in 2013 … the introduction of Adobe CC.

I had the privilege to view the newest additions to Adobe's CC content up front and personal, in a recent Adobe press event, as well as talk one-on-one with the programs' innovators. Without a doubt, this is one of the best new versions of Adobe products. If you have ever considered stepping into Adobe's Cloud, their newest software innovations will make you eager to take that leap of faith.

Adobe's Video Path - Top New CC Features 

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 

Adobe Premiere Pro has always been the leader for professional videographers. Yet, the CC version takes Adobe Premiere Pro to whole new level. All the changes to this new version are geared toward ease of use and time efficiency. After all, Adobe understands that in this modern world of filmmaking, time really is money.

Within the useful timesaver new features is the refinement of the editing functions: the redesigned Timeline, intuitive track targeting, plus the addition of new shortcuts to make edits on the run fun instead of drudgery. Add to that the Dupe-detection Markers; eliminating the need to spend precious time searching your project for specific media information.

The Adobe Premiere Pro CC edit functions now also provide the ability to edit source sequences into other sequences, retaining all components of tracks and clips … without nesting! Paste Attributes, is another new tool that was developed to increase workflow, making it easier to copy effects from one video section to another.

Perfecting color can be a labor intensive task. With the new Lumetri Deep Color Engine you can now quickly incorporate SpeedGrade color grades, and add unique appearances within a scene, being assured that the results of your creative vision will appear on the final production as you envisioned it. Also, located in the Adobe Premiere Pro CC Effects panel is the new Lumetri Looks folder: within the folder are a variety of preset color effects.

Getting precise, crisp sound has never been easier, especially with the Audio Clip Mixer; allowing each clip to be adjusted independently, resulting in audio perfection. Also, in this global market the need for Closed Caption has increased for numerous reasons, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC now features the ability to not only support closed captioning … but also makes the creating, editing, embedding and exporting of closed caption an effortless endeavor.

Listening to the wants and needs of their customers, Adobe took into account that locating, linking, syncing, and sharing content was a frustrating time-drainer. Media management has never been easier, especially with Link & Locate. Finding moved, or even renamed, clips using this new feature brings order to disorder.

Moviemaking is a joint effort between creative minds; and creativity can come to its creator in a heartbeat. Being able to sync ideas on different workspaces, wherever and whenever the creative muse strikes, is essential.

Adobe Creative Cloud encourages creative interaction with the new Sync Settings function: allowing the creators to collaborate utilizing (and then removing) their personal software settings, either on the same workspace or working remotely. Under the same creative umbrella, is the new feature, Adobe Anywhere; like the name implies, it allows your team to work within the same project on a shared server. Note from Adobe: Adobe Anywhere for video requires a separate purchase and implementation. 

Adobe After Effects CC

Within Adobe After Effects CC, I was especially impressed with the new Refine Edge tool. This seemingly small feature is revolutionary as a timesaver. The Refine Edge tool eliminates the tedious job of frame-by-frame rotoscoping. Instead, it allows you to fluently separate nearly impossible foreground elements from complex backgrounds; including background scenes with less than perfect lighting.

The new Warp Stabilizer VFX is a must-have for those of you who utilize handheld shots. One of the great features of the Warp Stabilizer VFX, is the ability to apply the stabilizer to a whole scene, or only parts of an object within a scene, by selecting specific stabilization points. The points can then be moved, or even deleted, depending on the visionary outcome of your project.

To the other extreme, using the Pixel Motion Blur can create motion where none exists.

Inserting 3D objects into After Effects compositions is now easy thanks to the new Live 3D Pipeline with MAXON CINEMA 4D Lite (MAXON CINEMA 4D Lite is now included within Adobe After Effects CC and the Adobe Creative Cloud). The best part of this new software collaboration is that changes to your CINEMA 4D files are updated to your specific After Effects project … automatically.

Adobe Audition CC

As a filmmaker, sound can make or break your project. Ironically, one of the Adobe Audition CC asked-for features is the new Sound Remover. It is only a matter of a few steps to delete unwanted background noise, as well as repair and/or restore dialogue.

Audio editing is a breeze when utilizing the Adobe Audition CC new Preview Editor, along with enhanced Multitrack Editing. The Preview Editor offers new split viewing screens, allowing you to compare sound changes from one scene to another. The enhanced Multitrack Editing features have a multitude of interactive tools to significantly reduce the time and effort that generally goes into audio editing.  

Adobe Prelude CC

The new features within Adobe Prelude CC include Hover Scrubbing thumbnails in the Project panel. This new timesaving feature allows you to hover over a specific clip, which in turn opens the clip, so you can both view and hear the material within just that clip. No more searching through an entire project to locate a specific scene to review. You can also export unfinished cuts directly through Adobe Media Encoder, allowing the clip to be viewed on a variety of devices.

Adobe SpeedGrade CC

Adobe SpeedGrade CC takes color control to a new level. The powerhouse of the Lumetri Deep Color Engine shines brightly. It pushes the limits, especially when working with High Dynamic Range content: creating true-rich blacks, as well as enhancing highlights that may have been lost, even in previous versions of Adobe SpeedGrade.

Adobe Story Plus

Adobe Story is an often overlooked product, yet it is an essential element in the filmmaking process. The biggest improvement in the enhanced Adobe Story Plus is the inclusion of Camera Shots to your script, allowing you to coordinate detailed Camera Shots directly into your screenwriting.

Adobe's Design Path - Top New CC Features

Adobe Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator CC has an abundance of new features, almost too many to showcase within a review of all the new Design Path products. One of the most useful functions of Adobe Illustrator CC is its fast and functional integration with mobile devices. The new Touch Type converts type into objects, not just as a string of type, but you can manipulate individual letters within a string of type. On the subject of type, I was impressed with the new Font Search feature, and found it a huge timesaver (yes, there's that word again).

One function that had the WOW factor for me was the new CSS Extraction feature. This amazing little addition creates CSS code within Adobe Illustrator CC. You can then easily copy and paste the code directly into your preferred web editor. Another exciting feature is the new Auto Corners for pattern brushes; creating corners with precise uniformity.

"Can I Sync or not?" is a seldom asked question in regards to Adobe Illustrator CC. However, there are several new Sync features. Sync Setting, with the help of Adobe's Creative Cloud, works with your files on any computer platform, using the setting that you prefer. Sync Colors that have been captured on the Adobe Kuler iPhone app. Sync Fonts (again with the help of Adobe's Creative Cloud), lets you pull from Adobe's growing library of Typekit fonts.

Adobe InDesign CC

One of the most timesaving features in Adobe InDesign CC is the improvement of speed, with its native 64-bit support. The User Interface also has a new look to keep it consistent with the UI in other Adobe products, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

A printed document is a design project driven by font styles, and font improvements are another large part of the new featues to Adobe InDesign CC: from Sync Fonts, Font Search, and Font Favorites, to the Instant Font Preview. All the new font changes and enhancements were created to boost designer creativity.

QR codes have become an integral part of a consumer's life. Because the QR Coder in Adobe InDesign CC is created using vector codes, the code information is never compromised when resized. Plus, the code is editable within Adobe InDesign CC.

Collaboration is another huge part of any printed design project. Sharing your ideas, and working with your design team (or client), is only a click away with the Adobe InDesign CC direct link to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe Muse CC

Adobe Muse is a designer's answer to creating websites that are design-based (with little coding knowledge needed). I love this little program with its click-and-go design concept … that still allows for simplistic creation of complex websites. Some of the new features in Adobe Muse CC are: the ability to maneuver images (and elements) that can be rotated in different directions and at a variety of scrolling speeds. Clients can also add content through a browser to the site that you created for them, with no destruction to your web's design elements.

Adobe Kuler 

Although Adobe Kuler is primarily known as a mobile app, it plays nicely within the Adobe Creative Cloud, providing exciting color options that can be used within Adobe CC programs, such as Adobe Illustrator CC.

Adobe's Web Path - Top New CC Features 

Adobe Dreamweaver CC 

Although I like all of Adobe's products, the two programs that I use on a daily basis are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Dreamweaver. When I saw the new features in both programs I was wide-eyed with wonder (more about Adobe Photoshop CC later).

Adobe Dreamweaver's biggest changes have been those that created the perfect blend of coding and design when it comes to website creations. This new version has a cleaner User Interface that brings the fun back into Dreamweaver.

New support for jQuery UI widgets is just one of the many enhancements. The PhoneGap Build Support makes building, as well as packaging, apps for both Android and iOS devices a snap. The enhanced Fluid Grid Layouts interface makes it easier than ever to design for a multitude of desktop and mobile devices.

Adobe Flash Professional CC

Adobe Flash Professional CC has been rebuilt, much like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Its new 64-bit architecture adds to its power and stability. With improved High-definition Exporting, dropping of frames, especially when sending large complex files, is no longer an anticipated fear. The enhanced Toolkit for CreateJS lets you create new ways of interacting with buttons, hit areas, and motion curves.

Adobe Edge Animate CC

When I recently saw a demonstration of Adobe Edge Animate CC, my first words were, "Wow, I forgot how much fun that program is." Adobe Edge Animate CC is another one of those amazing Adobe products that is often overlooked … but it definitely should not be. My favorite Adobe Edge Animate CC feature is the Motion Paths, which allow you to quickly animate elements along specific points along the lines of your choosing. If you do not like the animated path, it's only a matter of changing line points to redo your animation.

Adobe's Photoshop Path - Top New CC Features

I doubt if it is surprising to anyone that Adobe Photoshop CC has its own section when it comes to new CC features. After all, it is the first program that comes to mind when Adobe is mentioned.

Adobe Photoshop has always been my workhorse program for all aspects of photo editing, as well as CG drawing. I have been devoted for nearly twenty years, yet I was blown-away when I viewed Adobe Photoshop CC for the first time. Without doubt, it is one of the best versions since Adobe first created Photoshop in 1990.

One of my favorite new features is Camera Shake Reduction. Without doubt it exceeds the myth of "Photoshop Magic." With a simple click, a blurry photo destined to be stored in the trashcan, magically morphs into framed wall art. Camera Shake Reduction is one of the many new Adobe Photoshop CC features that falls under the "have to see it to believe it" category.

You can now use Camera Raw 8 as a filter. Lens Correction is another magical new feature that could easily take the tilt out of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Use Camera Raw's Radio Filter like a flashlight to bring clarity to otherwise hidden objects in underexposed images. Also new is the ability to use the Camera Raw Adjustment brush as a non-circular tool.

The Expanded Smart Object support allows you to selectively apply Blur Gallery and Liquify effects to specific items in an image … the best part … even after your image has been saved, you can edit or remove the effects. OK, I have to say it, "How cool is that?"

Now comes the real wizardry … the new Editable Rounded Rectangles feature lets you precisely edit corners to an image. If you are creating that image to use on a webpage, Adobe Photoshop CC now adds CSS coding to your newly created image, which you can easily export the CSS data into your favorite web editor.

New Adobe Creative Cloud Collaborator

Adobe Creative Cloud is now integrated with Behance for real-time inspiration and a seamless way to share your work, as well as gain inspiration. Behance is one of the largest, and most active, online sites, where artists and designers: showcase, share, review, and sell their artwork and design projects.  

The Bottom Line

Adobe is riding the cloud with no intention of falling back to earth. Avid Adobe users may have noticed Adobe's Suite name change from CS to CC. Those who own non-cloud-based versions of any of the Adobe CS6 programs, be sure to backup your copies. On Monday, May 6th, the announcement was made … with the release date of the new Adobe CC Suite programs (on June 17, 2013), all future versions of the Adobe Suite programs will be Creative Cloud based content … only!

It is a big jump from owning software, to leasing software on a yearly or monthly basis. Adobe's users are a loyal bunch, and I have no doubt that they will continue to support Adobe's Creative Cloud Only decision. After all, as one Adobe user recently reminded me, "It is the way of the future … you either ride the cloud or you fall through it."

In retrospect, the leasing of software is a bargain when you consider all that is included in your subscription: an overabundance of Adobe programs. No waiting months for new versions, as updates with exciting new content are constantly streamed to your Adobe Creative Cloud account as soon as they are available. Currently, your yearly subscription also includes 20GB of storage space. Plus, your Adobe Creative Cloud account is the main gateway for sharing and collaborating, especially with Adobe's  recent partnership with Behance, and a growing closet filled with fonts from Adobe Typekit. Adobe will also include extensive software training with each new product release.

Pricing for the new Adobe CC Experience

$19.99 a month (for the first year) for CS6 new customers

$29.99 a month (for the first year) for CS3-CS5 new customers

$49.99 a month for new customers and previous Adobe Creative Cloud users (after the first year) 

Adobe CC Suite Release Date: June 17, 2013

To discover the full, wonderful world of the Adobe Creative Cloud, we invite you to visit the official Adobe Creative Cloud site.

Get to know industry leaders and professionals
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Contributing Columnist, Dee-Marie,
Author of "Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy"

Visit Dee-Marie on Twitter: Dee_Marie_SOA

May 6, 2013

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