Aside from the inspiring keynotes and product announcements across the first two days at Adobe MAX, Adobe Sneaks is also one of my favourite sessions. It’s where Adobe’s amazing engineers showcase future tech on stage, usually rewarded with cheers and wows from the appreciative creative crowd. It’s a sneak peek, if you will, into what’s brewing in Adobe research labs. Some of these outstanding ideas actually make it into Adobe’s suite of products.
A fine example would be last year’s #ProjectPuppetron which eventually became Character Animator, an actual shipping commercial product. This year’s Sneaks was hosted by comedian, actress and writer Tiffany Haddish and Paul Trani, Adobe’s senior Creative Cloud evangelist. Tiffany and Paul were on fire and kept things fun and lively throughout Sneaks.
Unlike the keynotes that Adobe streams, the Sneaks session is exclusive to MAX attendees. All is not lost for those who couldn’t join Max this year, though. Adobe has made all the inspiring Sneaks videos available online. Here they are:
#BrushBounty by Fabin Rasheed
Let’s face it. Animating a static object can be time consuming and complex. What if you wanted to, let’s say, add rainfall to an illustration? You’d need to animate each raindrop right? Well, not any more. With Project Brush Bounty, adding motion to illustrations is as easy as painting brush strokes over the canvas to create movement.
The fantastic thing about Brush Bounty is that it lets you connect your artwork with rich data. Imagine the rainfall that you added is an actual representation of rainfall where you’re located? Brush Bounty allows you copy a link that contains live rainfall data and input it into the rain density column.
And what if you want your illustration to change over time, maybe according to time of day? Again, you can use live data to make this happen.
#ProjectSmoothOperator by Nicolas Huynh Thien
Now this is going to be a super handy tool for video and social content creators. With the plethora of different social and content platforms out there, it’s a pain to keep up and optimise for different aspect ratios and formats. Here’s where Project Smooth Operator comes in. Using Adobe Sensei, the app automatically and intelligently re-crops a video into multiple aspect ratios while keeping the key subject in frame. I can see this being used to optimise or export content from Premiere to YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and vertically-inclined Instagram Video with a single click of a button. Perhaps it will roll into Premiere Rush? Who knows?
#FantasticFold by Amanda Ghassaei
Having graduated from graphic design college some years ago, I can empathise with the challenges attributed to packaging design. Even with the wonders of digital technology, creating packaging design from sketch to flat 2D dielines into a finished product is still challenging and error-ridden. Well, here comes Project Fantastic Fold to save the day.
This nifty tool analyses a dieline then automatically determines the folded 3D shape as well as an interactive mapping between the 2D and 3D views. You need to see it in action to believe it. That origami though, wow.
#ProjectWaltz by Yaniv De Ridder
Project Waltz is a mobile companion app that lets you control cameras in the 3D virtual space and allows for precise and natural camera motions. Fire up the app you and you’ll be the camera man in the virtual world and you will be able to walk around your 3D objects. The app also makes it easy to animate a walkthrough of a scene. Yes even Blair Witch-type of handheld views!
#Fontphoria by Praveen Kumar Dhanuka
Whether you’re a graphic designer or type designer you’re going to love #Fontphoria. Adobe Fonts already has the ability to recognise fonts and match them from a library. I previously used Whatthefont.com’s engine to identify fonts but #Fontphoria goes several notches further. Imagine having the ability to generate a complete set of fonts by just capturing a single letter glyph or word. The tool uses deep learning from Adobe Sensei to convert an image into a glyph, then applying that style to other glyphs that in turn transforms them into a complete set of fonts. It’s amazing, and I want it NOW.
#ProjectFastMask by Joon-Young Lee
Creating and applying masks to an object or objects in a video is a laborious manual task, but here’s where Project Fast Mask comes in. The tool again uses the magic from Adobe Sensei to quickly select an object in a video using several key points, then quickly and accurately applying the mask across multiple frames of the video. It’s incredibly intelligent too, as you can see from the masked cat example in the video.
#ProjectModelMorph by Giorgio Gori
Project Model Morph is an easy and intuitive tool that allows you to edit and scale 3D objects easily and quickly while preserving symmetry and eliminating distortion.
#MovingStills by Long Mai
If you’ve been wow-ed by Facebook’s 3D photo feature (only on iOS at the moment), then you’re going to love Project Moving Stills. The tool lets you turn any still photograph into a live photo, simulating an animated 3D parallax look, with a mere single click. Moving Stills uses deep learning again powered by Adobe Sensei to generate videos from a single still image. I could see this feature being used in apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s brilliant.
#ProjectKazoo by Zeyu Jin
This is a fun invention that can turn your voice into music. It uses Adobe Sensei to convert a singing voice into the sound of a musical instrument. This can then be used to create audio tracks or sound effects. Sounds can also be changed into other instruments. In his demo, inventor Zeyu Jin sings a tune and it’s then mapped into the sound of a violin. Another fun feature is called “Voice Follow” where the instrument can inherit the personality of your voice.
#ProjectGoodBones by Vineet Batra
Editing super complex vector graphics can be tedious but here’s where Project Good Bones can completely change the way designers work. The tool enables intuitive and shape-aware editing of complex vector graphics. It automatically analyses a graphic and connects them to create a skeleton with segment handles and “bones.” These bones can be moved, reshaped and edited easily. The cool thing is that whatever changes you’ve made to the bones can be keyframed automatically and animated. You have to check this one out.
My favourite Sneaks
Having attended MAX in 2016 and 2017, I found this year’s Sneaks the most mind-blowing. The great thing about this year’s crop is that any one of the ideas could be integrated into future Adobe products. The quality benchmark is that high. The ideas are useful and practical, and I think would be perfect complements to Creative Cloud apps.
I have quite a few favourites and they include #BrushBounty, #FantasticFold, #Fontphoria, #ProjectFastMask and #ProjectGoodBones. The most fun idea for me is #ProjectKazoo, and I can see this rolling into Audition or perhaps spin off as a fun consumer app.
What’s your favourite Sneak? Drop your comment below.
Stay updated with MAX
Adobe MAX 2018 conference happens at Los Angeles Convention Center from 15-17 October 2018.
Disclaimer: I’m an invited guest at Adobe MAX. Conference tickets, travel and accommodation are sponsored by Adobe. My opinions are my own.