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Announcing Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

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Adobe made a major announcement about their Creative Cloud suite of applications and services, Creative Cloud 2014. Akin to the 18 month upgrade cycle announcements of boxed software, Adobe wants to let their user base know what they've been up to over the past year. Yet unlike those boxed software days, Adobe also wants to give their users a heads up of what are the developments down the pike in the months to come. So here’s a quick overview of those announcements.

First Adobe has made major enhancements to all 14 applications in the Creative Cloud suite. These enhancements come in four flavors, Performance Boosts, Workflow Efficiencies, Hardware & Formats, a new (marketing) phrase they call Adobe Magic. In all honesty all users expect and demand the first two items. They want their software to work faster and smarter. These items aren't necessarily the sexiest stuff, but they are important and always appreciated for the day to day operations of the creative professional. Okay, so what’s next are Hardware & Formats. What does that mean? First, there’s the element of hardware. Adobe has spent the last year working with the company Adonit, to develop their own pressure sensitive stylus, Adobe Ink and a digital ruler, Adobe Slide. These tools are designed to work with mobile devices. Mobile is the format part of the Adobe equation. They are also Adobe's first venture into creating hardware products.

It seems Mobile is where Adobe has really put their collective creative mind into for their design apps. They have moved past cute and cool to something that could actually be useful for the creative pro on the go. They have introduced three new mobile apps, Adobe Sketch, Adobe Line, and Photoshop Mix. Adobe Sketch is a free hand drawing tool for the iPad. Adobe Line, is a precision drawing and drafting tool for the iPad. Then there’s Photoshop Mix, which is an app for doing serious composting and masking tasks using the iPad. All of these tools are designed to work on iOS 7 tablets. What I find a bit odd about Adobe’s platform choice is that both Wacom and Microsoft have seriously powerful hardware devices running Android and Windows 8.1, that would be amazing with these new Adobe mobile apps. In fact Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, is optimized for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 touch screen. Still Adobe feels that they can get greater bang with iOS because of the large creative pro user base there, theoretically.

What is also exciting is all of these new mobile apps are free. You don't need a Creative Cloud subscription to download and use them. It would be a good idea to at least get the free Creative Cloud membership, if you don't have one already. That will get you 2GB of cloud space in the Creative Cloud.. All apps will save to Illustrator or Photoshop. However, Adobe Ink and Slide hardware cost $199.99. Download the Sketch, Line, and Photoshop Mix apps from the Apple Store and buy the hardware directly from Adobe.com.

Finally, there’s Adobe Magic. This is a reference to all of Adobe’s WOW Factor features. As a Photoshop user, Creative Cloud brings a new selection tool, Focus Mask, that can create masks based on objects that are in focus within a photograph. There are also Blur Gallery motion effects which introduce Path Blur and Spin Blur. These new filters create a sense of realistic motion, even when they were not originally captured. Photoshop CC 2014 has also made working with 3D a lot more intuitive.

One other announcement of note is with payment plans. Adobe has finally solidified the Photography Plan at $9.99 a month with no pre-ownership conditions. Now anyone can join the Creative Cloud for $10.00 a month and get Photoshop, Lightroom, TypeKit font library, 25 GB of Creative Cloud storage and have a Behancé Pro Site. A great deal.

I've only scratched the surface here. There's a whole lot more going on, and I'll tell you more about what's new in Photoshop CC 2014 in my next article. But don't wait for that! You can find out all that’s new with Adobe CC 2014 and view the Launch Event video at this link.

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