Creatives reliant on Adobe’s suite of products listen up, because if you’re a subscriber to the Creative Cloud, you just got upgraded.
This week, Adobe has refreshed a whole heap of the apps it makes for the photographers, the animators, the artists, the digital magazine makers, sound engineers, video editors, web developers, and video game makers, releasing the 2015 editions of titles in its Creative Suite, or what is now referred to as the Creative Cloud.
The updates include a whole heap of fixes and new additions, with bits and pieces ranging from changes to the way colour is defined in the video-editing application Premiere, to more zoom levels in Adobe Illustrator making it possible to zoom in up to 65000% while keeping the app faster than it’s ever been, while cleaner and faster previews can be found in the film-making post-processing and effects tool that is After Effects.
Photoshop is one of the more important ones, being one of the most used professional photo editing tools on the planet, and this year it even celebrates 25 years.
To coincide with this anniversary, Photoshop expands this year to become more useful to people who don’t just edit photos, but perhaps who design websites and mobile apps with the introduction of artboards.
This is one of those features that comes out of Illustrator and allows people to work on different elements of a project in the same screen, seeing everything at the same time, almost as if you were working on the various elements separately — which you are — only without having to work through individual files.
Photoshop now gets artboards for similar sorts of things, enabling web and app developers to come up with different screens and mock up their projects inside Photoshop, linking elements and working not just between folders, but various artboards.
Photoshop also gets some neat improvements, with the Photomerge function getting an update to support the content aware fill technology, meaning panoramas that you might shoot handheld can be automatically stitched together by the software and have any missing elements regenerated using Adobe’s advanced algorithms, picking up on similar areas and filling in the gaps with cloned assumptions of what would normally be there.
Photoshop also receives a “dehaze” technology, which aims to cut back on smoke, fog, smog, and anything else that obscures details in images, lightening the so-called fog and making the colours more impactful. Alternatively, the feature can also increase the fog and smoke, producing images that look more like they came out of a spooky smoke-filled movie.
Enthusiast photographers will also see the haze and dehaze feature added to Lightroom, with panoramic merges also possible there too, though without the content fill from Photoshop simply because Lightroom doesn’t work like that.
Web designers will see some improvements to Dreamweaver, making it possible to set up responsive websites with ease, and there’s even support for a new concept called “extract” that will take the aforementioned artboards from Photoshop and pull elements directly into CSS classes, which might seem like a bit of jargon but should make it easier to build elements into a website.
Across the Adobe suite, you’ll even see support for stock images, allowing you to search for images that you might want to throw into layouts from inside the program, purchasing them then and there, or testing them with a watermark.
Mobile apps also get a bit of an update, with more apps being delivered to Android, though the majority still seeing release on Apple iOS first, with Android to come.
One of these that will see life on iPhone and iPad first and Android devices later is called “Hue”, and works like a colour sampler for making colour schemes for videos.
Run the app (above) and grab a picture either from the web, your gallery, or the phone or tablet’s camera, and Hue will sample colours from the image and make a custom colour and lighting scheme for videos you might be working on.
But one addition that definitely grabs our attention is a newbie, and more of a technological preview than anything else.
It’s called “Character Animator” and it’s an addition to the video suite, connecting with Adobe’s After Effect app and providing would-be animators with an easy way of producing talking animated characters.
You start out designing your character using design tools; perhaps you’ve built a talking fish in Illustrator, so you create different elements for his eyes, for his mouth, his cheeks, and name them accordingly. When you get the elements into Character Animator, you can make your character, and when you need to animate him, you simply use yourself.
At this point, the webcam on your computer switches on and the Character Animator app maps your face, tracking your eyes, mouth, and head movement to move the character on screen. If you blink, your character blinks. If you open your mouth, your character does too. If you wink with your left eye, the character’s left eye will do the same, and once the recording starts and you speak, that sound bite will be recorded and synchronised alongside the animation, allowing you to export it later on to a video.
This was one demo that really grabbed our attention when we saw it this week, and it could allow anyone with After Effects to build their own “BoJack Horseman” or any other animation, though obviously Adobe isn’t drawing the characters for you, nor is it writing any scripts.
“The 2015 release of Creative Cloud is packed with innovation,” said David Wadhwani, Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Adobe. “Creative Cloud 2015 is our most powerful and comprehensive release to date.”
Adobe’s 2015 updates are available now for Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers on both Mac and Windows, and can be installed alongside previous versions of the apps.