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New Software Spotlight – Adobe Creative Cloud for Designers June 2014

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With Adobe Creative Cloud now reaching past its one-year mark, Adobe is coming out with a major update to its Creative Cloud platform. In this release are 14 separate applications that are all getting updates. There are also new connected mobile apps as well as new hardware devices that you can use with your iPad to enhance your experience. Last installment I looked at Adobe Creative Cloud for Video, this time I am going to look at Creative Cloud for Designer.

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

Adobe Creative Cloud for Designers makes it easier than ever to design illustrations, create documents as well as develop high-quality websites more efficiently than ever before. There are new features that come with Adobe Photoshop Illustrator, InDesign and Muse that will provide you with better workflow to create the most efficient design experience ever.

The tools that come with CC for Design are Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe InDesign CC, and Adobe Muse CC. If you want to see more online about this package or check out the various membership plans you can just go to Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Photoshop CC is a raster graphics editor. That is, it is an editor that allows users to manipulate, edit, composite, and paint images on a computer screen and save them in one of many popular raster file formats including JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF. This makes Photoshop extremely good for working with photographs. While there are a lot of new features for Photoshop, for this I will focus on those features from Photoshop that are important for designers.

So what is new with Photoshop CC?

• Enhanced type tools – will help you eliminated the missing font problem. Now, when you open up a file that someone else sent you or even one of your own that you may have created on another computer, if a font is missing, you will have the option of finding it or a similar one on the Typekit website. If it is a good fit, simply click and download the font and your font problem is fixed.

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe Photoshop

• Improved font search – not only gives you the Typekit lookup capabilities, but now you also have live preview. This means that when you select a text layer in Photoshop and you then go to look for a new font, the preview will automatically occur right in your document so that you can see real-time how the font will look saving you time from applying the font only to find that it is not quite right.

• Smart Guides – allow you to align objects up much easier. Now Photoshop displays the reference measurement guides that show the distance between original layer and the duplicate. You can also display measurement guides while working in paths as well as distances from the canvas. When you duplicate an object you can match the spacing between the object and its neighbors.

• Linked Smart Objects – can now be packaged in such a way that the source files are saved to a folder on your computer and a copy of the Photoshop document is saved with the source files in the folder. You also have the ability to convert a smart object to a Linked Smart Object as well.

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe Photoshop

• Layer Comps – in Smart Objects can now be changed without editing the Smart Object. The Layer Comps panel has been redesigned to show which attribute each layer comp controls which gives you the ability to sync changes to multiple Layer Comps. This means that when a Smart Object contains layer comps, you can choose which layer comp is displayed.

• Blur Gallery – motion effects gives you the ability to create motion blurs along the direction of a path. Just create your path and apply the blur along it. You can also create a spin blur is a radial blur that is measured in degrees.

• Focus Area – gives you the ability to select the area of an image that is in focus and out of focus. Once the image is adjusted, you can determine how you want to work with it; you can produce a new layer or should it be a selection or mask on the current layer.

Adobe Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator is the vector-based graphics editor that is developed and published by Adobe Systems. It was first developed for the Apple Macintosh in 1986 and it is the companion product of Adobe Photoshop. It wasn’t until mid-1990 with the introduction of Illustrator 7 with ports for both Windows and Mac that Illustrator became standardized for the design industry.

So what is new with Illustrator CC?

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe Illustrator

• Live shapes – means that all rectangles and rounded rectangles now remember all of the modifications that are made. This means that you can work with these objects; changing the shapes into a mix of rounded, inverted, or chamfered corners as well as scaling and rotating the object, but you always have the ability to return to the original shape of the object.

• Pen tool preview – now shows a preview of what will be created on your artboard before you have to drop the next control point. This gives you the ability to pre-visualize what the next location will create before having to commit to it. This can save time on having to re-do points in your work.

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe Illustrator

• Anchor point enhancements – will give you more flexibility and precision when creating vector artwork. Unequal handles will let you keep the anchors paired, but allow them to be of different lengths. It is also much easier to smooth corner points by the use of pairing broken handles. You also have much more control when closing paths and repositioning the final closing point.

Adobe InDesign CC

First introduced in 1999, Adobe InDesign CC forms the base of the publishing platform the Creative Cloud. It is targeted at designers, publishers and those who job it is to design professional layouts including periodical publications, posters, print media, and more. It is now taking on more responsibility in the world of electronic publishing and supports the ability for content consumption on various electronic devices.

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe InDesign

So what is new with InDesign CC?

• Simplified tables – now make it much easier to move columns and rows just by selecting them and dragging them where you want. You can also copy the content of the footer and headers to the body rows and vice versa.

• Color groups – can now be created and used within InDesign. Color groups are created from the Swatches panel as well as from the flyout and context menus. You can also share the color groups with other applications using the Adobe Swatch Exchange (.asg) file format. This will allow you to keep color schemes consistent throughout all phases and applications.

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe InDesign

• EPUB enhancements – means that you can now export an eBook to the EPUB3 fixed-layout format. Now it is possible to keep your layout in place when creating a digital book. What this means in reality is that if you are creating a children’s picture book, text book, guide book, cook book, or any other type of book that has a lot of images or stylized layout, you can now successfully create an eBook that will retain your layout without a lot of creative manipulation.

Adobe MuseCC

Adobe Muse CC lets designers create HTML websites for desktop and mobile devices, without writing code. Design web-standard sites just as you design print layouts, using familiar features, keyboard shortcuts, and hundreds of typefaces. Engage visitors by adding interactive elements such as slide shows and contact forms using built-in tools. Then, publish with the Adobe Business Catalyst service to take advantage of in-browser editing and site-hosting benefits, or publish with any hosting provider.

So what is new with Muse CC?

• Rebuilt as a native 64-bit application – which allows you to take advantage of the latest operating systems and new hardware as well as ongoing website updates. This now puts Muse on par with Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator in the built for speed and dependability.

Creative Cloud for Designers 2014

Adobe Muse

• Integration with Adobe Add-ons – give you the ability get a jumpstart on your site design. A new online market places replaces the old Adobe Muse Exchange and gives you the ability to download design element such as widgets, starter files, wire frames, graphics, and more. These design elements such as buttons and menus can give you instant lift when creating your website.

• In-browser editing – provides the ability for you to give your clients access to make minor changes to their sites using only a web browser. They do not have to have access to Creative Cloud or Adobe Muse. This will free you up when they need some changes that they can now make themselves. It also is available if the site is hosted by some other provider other than Adobe.

Each of the four products come with significant new features. Designers will love the all of the new text features that are now available in Adobe Photoshop. The time savings with the font preview can be significant as with the ability to find and replace fonts. For Adobe Illustrator the Live Shapes are really helpful, the Pen tool preview is really nice, and I really like the enhancements to the anchor points. Those will be really helpful as well.

Adobe InDesign updates for the tables are very welcome in that they will save a tremendous amount of effort for those who really need the fixed layout for their books. What used to be time consuming to manually try to do will now be a snap. Finally, Adobe Muse really needed the 64-bit re-haul. This alone will make the update worth it and when you add in the in-browser edits, this will be a very well regarded update.

The rest of the improvements are also really nice additions as well and shows the commitment to making the design platform both incredibly useful, but also very streamline and functional. Normally I would say I very highly recommend this upgrade, but if you have a subscription to Creative Cloud then you already have upgraded.

 

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.