Adobe Comp CC in Review

April 15, 2015 11:58 pm

Tags: Adobe, Comp CC, Ipad mobile app, print media, web design

With the creation of the Adobe Comp CC iPad mobile app, once again the Adobe team has developed a solution to a universal designer dilemma: how to effortlessly turn an idea that was first conceived on paper, to a polished design for either web or print media.

This newest addition to Adobe’s mobile app family works exclusively on an iPad (at this writing). It also integrates perfectly with both PC and Mac formats in three major non-mobile Adobe Creative Cloud programs: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Comp CC is a mobile app created to assist a designer in the early stages of layout for either a printed page or a website. Before Comp CC, this seemly simple task was previously done with paper and pen. Working ideas out on paper limited designers in creativity in regards to retrieving color palettes; specific images … even font styles. This little mobile app offers a huge variety of design tools, allowing the user to work anywhere, and whenever creativity strikes.

Start by selecting the final layout format

You start by setting the format that your final design will be placed. There are currently 14 format settings: 3 distinct phone formats, 2 iPad formats, 5 printed formats (including business cards), 3 web sizes, and an option to create a specific format to meet your unique design needs.

With Adobe Comp CC, designers also have access to a plethora of resources. The best part … the app has a nearly flat learning curve. For example, the Comp CC gives you the options to either chose from a large selection of pre-designed vector shapes; or draw a shape with your finger (or stylus), and like magic, squiggly lines become perfect shapes. You can even freehand horizontal lines (adding a dot to the end) to create placement text.

Self-drawn lines form into perfect shapes and/or placement text

Once shapes are created, you can change their size, add boarders, change colors, insert images (either your own or from an easy to access image library), and move the shapes around to pre-compose a design. As to text … you can change its size, color, and add different font styles from the Adobe Typekit font library.

Always keep in mind that Adobe Comp CC, like its name implies, is for pre-composition of a layout, allowing designers to have fun and go crazy with innovative ideas. Your design can be a rough draft, or as detailed as your imagination and time allows. The best part, the true magic, comes when you wirelessly upload your creation from your iPad to your computer (Mac or PC), no hardware connection needed. The serious design work begins after your creation is “sent to” any of three specific Adobe cloud-based computer software programs (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator), which are all integrated with Adobe Comp CC. Where they appear in a multitude of editable layer files.

Easily upload wirelessly from iPad to Laptop

I was rather skeptical at first as to the merits of creating such a seemingly simple mobile app. However, after viewing the pile of papers created from my recent website design, I thought I might as well give Comp CC a try. I was instantly hooked when inspiration struck me at 3am. Instead of turning on all the lights and rummaging for pen and paper, I just grabbed my iPad off the nightstand, opened Adobe Comp CC, and began creating. Within moments, I was able to mock-up a webpage that was previously giving me problems.

Originally created in Adobe Comp CC, set to full version of Adobe Illustrator CC 2014

In the morning, I refined the design in my iPad, turned on my laptop, clicked on the send to Illustrator link within Adobe Comp CC. Much to my surprise, Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 automatically opened on my laptop. My layout design instantly appeared, with a layer for each element that I had created in Adobe Comp CC.

With Adobe Illustrator CC 2014, I was able to refine my design, which I then saved. Next I opened the saved file into Adobe Muse (my preferred website builder). Although Adobe Muse does not (at this time) support Comp CC, I was able to place my saved Comp CC design directly into my webpage within Muse. From there I used the layout to further refine my final web design.

My finished webpage does not have the exact appearance as it does on the Comp CC layout, however it took me less than an hour of actual design time to “sketch-out” the outline for the final design.

Final web page created in Adobe Muse, based on the design created in Adobe Comp CC

As of this writing, the only way to utilize the full potential of the Comp CC “send to” feature is to have one of the three designated Adobe Creative Cloud programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign) installed on your computer. As sending to these three programs will save your file as a layered (psd) file.

You can use the “save” or “share” feature using email (your Adobe Creative Cloud Storage, etc.), however your Comp CC creation will only be saved as a non-layered (jpg) file.

One workaround: you can open a layered Comp CC file if you have just one of the three Adobe Creative Cloud programs installed on your computer. For example, if you only have a cloud-based Adobe Photoshop version installed (including Adobe Photoshop CS6), you can then utilize the “send to Photoshop” feature, and your Comp CC image will automatically open in the current version of your cloud-based Photoshop program.

Once you open your Comp CC design in the cloud-based Photoshop program, you can save the file as a psd (with all layers fully functional). Once the file is saved, you can then open it in a non-cloud-based version of Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop. This also gives you the ability to send your saved psd file to a collaborator who has a registered non-cloud version of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and/or Adobe InDesign.

Adobe Comp CC is a free app, yet, you do need to sign-up for at least the free, basic-level of Creative Cloud membership. This includes 2GB of complementary storage for file syncing and sharing. If you need more storage space, you can purchase up to 20GB of Adobe Creative Could file storage for only $1.99 a month (a monthly iTunes auto-payment that can be cancelled at any time).

Adobe Comp CC was recently released to the public (March 30, 2015), and is still in its infancy. Currently, it is only compatible with iPad (iOS 7.1 or later). To learn more about Adobe Comp CC, please explore the following link: Adobe Comp CC Website. The Adobe promotional video below gives you a general idea of the applications work flow.




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