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I really like the artboards in Photoshop as well as the improvements in web functionality like the Adobe Preview, and am really looking forward to Photoshop Design Space. The "never lose your work" feature is great in Illustrator as are the new charting capabilities.

New Software Spotlight: Adobe Creative Cloud 2015

With Adobe Creative Cloud now beginning its third year, a major update to the platform is coming out. In this release 15 separate applications are all getting updates. There are also new connected mobile apps as well updates to existing mobile apps. There are new services to enable a persistent creative identity and there are new offerings for both professionals and enterprises. There is even a new offering for selling work to and purchasing work from a stock photography library. There are a lot of exciting changes coming. In my last review I talked about the eight applications that had to do with video production. In this one I will talk about the remaining seven applications.

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud

The remaining tools that come with CC are Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe InDesign CC, Adobe Dreamweaver CC, Adobe Muse CC, Adobe Flash Pro, and Adobe Stock. To see more online about these applications or check out the various membership plans visit the Adobe Creative Cloud website.

Adobe Photoshop CC June 2015

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 review I will focus on those that are important for designers.

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Photoshop 2015

What’s New in Photoshop CC?

Linked Assets: Edit your photo, illustration, document, or other file once and it can be updated everywhere the asset is used. If you store your assets in the Creative Cloud Libraries, they can be linked such that when a change is made, you and anyone who works with you have the ability to update it everywhere the asset is used in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Artboards give you the ability to create multiple design surfaces within a single document. These work much like they do in Illustrator. You can make each artboard a different size, lay them out in a single document, and get a birds-eye view to see all of your designs at once. You can also copy and share content between artboards as well as export some or all of your artboards.

Redesigned Asset Export lets you export your images and designs to a variety of formats. The interface has been completely redesigned for a more intuitive and streamlined exporting experience.

Adobe Preview CC will ensure that you get in-context previews that are precise and correct when working on mobile apps and web designs. Adobe Preview CC is a native iOS companion application.

Photoshop Design Space (preview) gives you a first-hand look at a new technology geared for UX, mobile apps, and web designers. It has an uncluttered interface and new interactions and features targeted for a specific workflow. While this application is not complete, it is presented so that you can play with it and provide Adobe with feedback. This can be done from within the program itself. For those who work with mobile apps and the web, Photoshop Design Space should be a help.

Spot Healing Brush and the Patch tools: Response times have been increased significantly through the integration of the Mercury Graphics Engine. Now you will see your results in real-time at speeds 120 times faster than in CS6.

Adobe Illustrator CC June 2015

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Illustrator 2015

Adobe Illustrator is the company’s vector-based graphics editor, first developed for the Apple Macintosh in 1986, and the companion product to Adobe Photoshop. In the mid-1990s with the introduction of Illustrator 7 with ports for both Windows and Mac, Illustrator became standardized for the design industry.

What’s new in Illustrator CC?

Linked Assets: Just as in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator has the capability to edit once and update everywhere.

Increased speed through the new Mercury Graphics Engine. Now you will experience speeds up to 10 times faster than CS6.

Greater zoom for increased magnification of your artwork. You can now zoom in much more than the 6,400% – in fact you can go all the way to 64,000%, ten times closer.

Never lose your work. If Illustrator ever crashes and you have not saved your work recently, when you restart Illustrator, your document will be restored to its pre-crash state.

Create custom graphs, charts, and infographics through a simplified Chart interface. This makes it easier than ever to generate high-quality data-driven visualizations.

Scale up mobile designs using Photoshop Sketch: Scale up to 4x without losing quality to use your artwork for posters, display graphics, and other large formats.

Adobe InDesign June 2015

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe InDesign 2015

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

What’s new in InDesign CC?

Linked Assets let you edit once and update everywhere, just as you can in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Increased speeds up to two times faster than CS6 though the addition of the Mercury Performance system. You will see faster zooming, scrolling and paging up and down.

Images can now be placed directly in cells either by dragging and dropping or through the content collector. This will let you create tables that have a combination of both text and graphics much faster than before.

Publish Online (preview) is a new preview feature that allows you to repurpose documents you created for print by publishing them online. Again, this is a preview and so not fully ready, but you will get to see what is to come. Through Publish Online you will be able publish online in one click documents that will then be available on any device or any platform.

Paragraph shading lets you add color or shading to a paragraph.

Adobe Dreamweaver CC June 2015

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Dreamweaver 2015

Adobe Dreamweaver CC is a hybrid web development application, both a WYSIWYG editor that allows you to see the results of what you are developing before having to publish to your website, and a code-based editor that lets you hand code your sites as well. Dreamweaver provides an intuitive visual interface for making and editing standards-based websites and applications for desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

What’s new in Dreamweaver CC?

Responsive design lets you build and lay out websites that are production ready. You can dynamically adapt your work to adjust to various screen sizes that will make your design workflow much more responsive.

Device preview allows you to make sure the appearance of your pages look right and then test the interactivity in real time. This way you can see how your design will adapt in actual mobile applications.

Batch export from PSD gives you the ability to extract web-optimized images with multiple resolutions directly from a Photoshop PSD file.

Code editor has been improved to let you write standards-based HTML, CSS, and JavaScript using code completion, built-in validation, and site management.

Adobe Muse CC June 2015

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Muse 2015

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.

What’s new with Muse CC?

Typekit now gives you instant access to premium fonts for your design. The Adobe Typekit web fonts are available on your Adobe Muse font menu.

New widgets include blogs and shopping carts as well as features to create tables and design elements such as bullets, buttons, and more.

Contact form updates allow you to add buttons and check boxes that allow visitors to your site to select various options in a contact form.

Code improvements ensure that your site meets the latest web standards.

Adobe Flash Pro CC June 2015

Adobe Flash Pro is a multimedia software system used for creating vector graphics, animation, browser games, rich internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications and mobile games. It displays text and both raster and vector graphics as well as streams audio and video. It can capture mouse, keyboard, camera, and microphone input.

What’s new in Flash Pro CC June 2015

Bone tool lets you animate objects through linking a series of symbols together with a bone structure.

Timeline import of video provides the ability to import HTML5-frendly H.264 videos directly onto the timeline.

Sprite-sheet export lets you export all of the bitmaps in your HTML5 canvas project as well as a single sprite sheet so you can reduce the number of files in your project.

Audio-splitting makes it easy to coordinate blank frames on your timeline as you animate.

Adobe Stock June 2015

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is a new stand-alone service integrated into the Creative Cloud. It is the reincarnated Fotolia stock service that Adobe purchased in January 2015, which currently has over 40 million images.

Adobe is offering Creative Cloud users a discount of 40% when used through one of the Adobe products such as Photoshop. As an incentive to increase the number of images, users of Creative Cloud packages can also sell their work to the Adobe Stock service and earn royalties.

There are three different plans. The Creative Cloud plan gives you 10 images per month for $29.99 for one year paid monthly, and you can roll over up to 120 images. The same plan without a Creative Cloud subscription is $49.99. Finally there is an enterprise plan which gives you 750 images per month at $199.99 per month as an annual plan.

As for royalties for selling stock, you get 33% for every file sold. For more detailed information, check out the royalties page at Adobe.

Adobe Creative Cloud membership is $49.99 per month, with an annual contract. A special introductory offer of $29.99 per month for existing CS individual customers is available. You can subscribe to individual items as well. If, for example, you use only Adobe Photoshop, you can license it for $19.99/month. There is also a photography membership priced at $9.99/month.

Every year Creative Cloud keeps improving and this year is no exception. “Edit once update everywhere” is a great new feature. So is the speed improvement from the Mercury Performance engine. Things just seem to run more smoothly than ever.

I really like the artboards in Photoshop as well as the improvements in web functionality like the Adobe Preview, and am really looking forward to Photoshop Design Space. The “never lose your work” feature is great in Illustrator as are the new charting capabilities. In InDesign, images in table cells and the coming Publish Online are very nice. Add the enhancements to Dreamweaver, Muse, and Flash, it’s a nice set of updates if you are into web design.

Normally I would say I very highly recommend this upgrade, but if you have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, then you already have the upgrade.

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About T. Michael Testi

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

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