Everything that was announced at Adobe MAX 2016

Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe
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Adobe kicked off its annual Adobe MAX creativity conference with a bang earlier today, Wednesday, 2 November 2016. The world’s premier creativity conference saw over 10,000 creative people – professionals and enthusiasts alike pack the event venue of the San Diego Convention Center.

At its high-powered, two-hour keynote in the morning, it announced three brand new products – Adobe Sensei, a new framework that utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence; Project Felix, the groundbreaking industry-first design tool for graphic designers; and a new Mac release of Adobe Experience Design CC (XD), the tool for designing, prototyping and sharing user experience across web and mobile platforms. Then there’s Adobe Spark, the creative tool to help consumers create animated videos, web stories and social graphics. It also introduced developments in the company’s research labs like Project Nimbus as well as key updates and enhancements to its Creative Cloud suite of applications.

Shantanu Narayen , CEO of Adobe System
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Shantanu Narayen , CEO of Adobe System

The future of creativity and design

“We’re bringing together photographers, filmmakers, designers, developers, students, teachers, leaders. We’re bringing together the power of creativity and technology, art and science; to elevate these (digital) experiences to new levels,” said Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems said in his opening speech.

Creativity has a huge impact on all aspects of our lives. In research Adobe initiated called State of Create: 2016, two-thirds of respondents said creativity makes them better workers, students and parents, and better leaders. Almost half of respondents said they would pay more for the right product experience.

Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media, Adobe
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Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media, Adobe“The world is changing around us. Design and creativity is at the centre of that change,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe.

This is the underlying premise of Creative Cloud. Now five years old, the suite of application and services – to give creative minds everything they need to meet the demands of today’s consumers. With Creative Cloud, creatives have a breadth of tools to bring their creative vision to life – anytime, anywhere. And while the focus has always been on its bread-and-butter desktop apps, the shift to mobile platforms is inevitable.

Catch the VOD of the Adobe MAX keynote here: max.adobe.com/

The future: Machine learning and artificial intelligence

Machine learning seems to be a buzzword we’re hearing more and more these days. There’s no doubt about it. Artificial intelligence is huge. If you’ve dabbled with Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, then you’ve had a little taste of what machine learning and AI are all about. But of course, it’s much more than that.

Adobe Sensei that’s built into the Adobe Cloud Platform, makes sense of Adobe’s massive volume of content and data assets. It automates mundane tasks to let you, as a creative, spend more time creating and designing. Utilising machine learning and AI (Adobe has actually used this tech for many years), it powers some of Creative Cloud’s new features including Adobe Stock Visual Search, Match Font, and Face-Aware Liquify in Photoshop.

Adobe, in the post-keynote press briefing said, Adobe Sensei is there to help creatives be more creative, and to spend less time on menial mundane tasks, as well as not sweating the technical details.

More about Adobe Sensei later.

Building experiences. Quickly.

Adobe Experience Design CC isn’t actually new, having been released as a preview on the Mac previously. It’s the first all-in-one tool for designing, prototyping and sharing user experiences for web and mobile apps.

A new Mac release sees a few key enhancements being rolled in – Layers and Symbols support. Layers and Symbols were adopted from flagship design tools like Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. They help designers use and reuse components and objects, and manage layouts better. Designers can now also easily share prototypes and collaborate in real-time. XD is robust and fast, and also supports co-editing of documents and visual versioning.

Photoshop, now in 3D

Project Felix will likely be graphic designers’ best friend. It’s the industry’s first design tool that lets you create photo-realistic images by combining 2D and 3D assets. You’ll have access to 3D models, materials and lights from Adobe Stock. Much like having a 3D modelling software built-in to Photoshop, it lets you customize properties like materials, perfect lighting and also adjust camera angles. It boasts real-time rendering, allowing you to preview work even while editing, the exporting the render to Photoshop to complete their design.

I asked why the name ‘Felix’ in the media Q&A, and apparently the back story is that it was named after an 18th century mathematician.

Having seen how Project Felix works during the keynote demo, I believe this is ground-breaking indeed.

Premiere Pro and After Effects get social

The long-standing choice for filmmakers, the new release of Adobe Premiere Pro CC will feature auto-aware virtual reality (VR). Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effect CC also now integrates Dynamic Linking and a new Social Publishing Panel (Beta), that’s powered by Adobe Marketing Cloud. It enables you to easily export videos to social channels without worrying about technical specification of each platform i.e. size, format, file type.

The Marketplace: Adobe Stock and Adobe Typekit

Adobe Stock service now offers more than 60 million royalty-free, high quality photos, videos, illustrations, graphics and 3D models, as well as templates and assets – a click away from Creative Cloud apps.

Enhancements include improved search and contributor workflows and auto-keyword feature (beta) – all leveraging on machine learning.

At MAX, Adobe announced a partnership with Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news provider. The partnership brings Reuters video and photography content to Adobe Stock’s editorial collection.

Adobe Stock Contributor is also now available, allowing you to sell your creative work to the largest creative community from Creative Cloud.

Also part of Adobe’s creative marketplace is Adobe Typekit. New enhancements introduces a new way to find, purchase and manage individuals fonts from premier foundries like Frere-Jones Type, Type Network/Font Bureau and Émigré.

Typekit is included as part of the Creative Cloud subscription. There are now over 6,000 fonts to choose from, accessible to all Creative Cloud apps.

Major updates to Creative Cloud apps

If you’re not overwhelmed yet, Adobe released updates across the board in its Creative Cloud suite.

Adobe Spark is a great tool to let you easily create and share content to web, social and mobile platforms. Currently available on Mac and web, an Android version is in development.

Speaking of Android, Adobe is bringing its popular mobile apps like Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC and Photoshop Fix to Android.

The list of updates:

The action continues

If you can’t attend Adobe MAX, don’t fret. You won’t be taking home free gifts, but you can catch all that’s happening via MAX online.

Catch the two keynotes live at max.adobe.com/sessions/max-online/

Day 2 Keynote: Community Inspires Creativity

  • Thursday, 2 November
  • 10AM PDT (01:00AM MYT)

Follow me for updates: vernonchan.com/tag/adobemax2016, and also on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

The official hashtag is #adobemax.

Disclaimer: My Adobe MAX trip is generously sponsored by Adobe System. My opinions posted here are on my own.

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