Ask any designer/photographer/illustrator/programmer about Adobe Creative Cloud and they WILL have an opinion.
Sadly, many of these are still based on preconceptions about Cloud without trying the software for themselves. I’m not paid by Adobe, don’t “drink Kool-aid” nor are any of the other insults I’ve received about my pro Creative Cloud views true. I’m aware I’m putting my head above the parapet by posting my view of Creative Cloud on here. My views are based on having been a member since Creative Cloud started. In that time, I’ve had several versions of the software while still paying a static price, regular updates, inclusive hosting for 5 sites with Business Catalyst… the list goes on and on.
So what difference has Creative Cloud 2014 realistically made?
As a long time user of Creative Cloud (and most Adobe versions before that), I’ve become accustomed to the gradual increments between versions and more so with the Creative Cloud subscription updates. Bearing in mind Adobe’s focus on productivity, has the 2014 release made a big difference?…
The first thing I’ve noticed in InDesign Creative Cloud 2014 is the difference in producing ePub files. Gone is the clunky dialog box conversion, now its as simple as exporting an interactive PDF – for both fixed and flowing ePub formats. It makes life much easier for the digital publisher, and feels infinitely more professional. This has already sped up my workflow, and previews directly into your chosen reader for checking saving you precious clicks.
Other key feature updates include;
- tables: Improved manipulation of tables including click and drag columns for easy shifting of data – much better than having to cut columns out manually etc. and useful for training programs with multiples of chart data.
- seamless updates: your plugins, setup and workspaces will automatically transfer to your updated versions of InDesign
- colour groups: you can now group swatches, which is useful at concept stage to manage colour ways etc.
There are also some minor tweaks to the search engine enabling the user to “Find Previous” as well as next.
As it celebrates it’s birthday, Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014 has a number of new features. My favourite of which is the new smart guides. While these have been available for some time in InDesign and Illustrator, they have finally made the transition to Photoshop. This means suddenly we can easily space elements evenly on the fly, and makes life much quicker than using align and distribute buttons to achieve the same effect.
Another useful time saver for illustrators and designers is the ability to package linked files within your Photoshop document. This saves time not only in finding the files in the first place, but the ability to use linked files prevents having to repeatedly change multiple documents when one source file changes. Anything that saves me time I consider a blessing, as I can concentrate more on what I enjoy doing. It also saves the awful aaargh moment when the client decides to change the product design after all the marketing collateral has been completed.
Now, we can even use Layer Comps in a smart object to create new effects. Typekit even works in Photoshop now too for unparalleled ease between programs. This, together with added blur functionality and focus based selection, a feature page editor can easily put together a spread title that would have meant intricate selection marking previously.
All this is before we come to the 3D printing capabilities that are now included in Photoshop, including direct sending to online 3D providers! Now we can take a 2D logo design and turn it directly into its own marketing product. Want it in ceramic? Fine… Want it in gold? Feel free!
The key to all these great features is PRODUCTIVITY! Every routine has been streamlined to make us able to work faster instead of twiddling thumbs waiting for our computers to catch up.
In this Creative Cloud release, Muse comes of age and becomes a fully fledged application. It’s UI now matches the other Adobe Creative Cloud titles, and has added drag and drop functionality in its Plan view (a wireframe view for initial site layout and mapping). Many of the features will appear unchanged to previous versions of Muse, but what is new both for Muse and for Creative Cloud is the Asset Library that is due to become available to Creative Cloud subscribers. This will provide Muse users with base designs to work from, new widgets, stock imagery and more!
The Asset Library
One of the big announcements was the curation of a free to use Asset Library as part of your Creative Cloud subscription. As I mentioned, this has benefits for Muse users, but will also benefit print designers too! It’s not launched yet as there tends to be a phased introduction – as with Typekit.
These are just the things I’ve had chance to play with in the first week of Creative Cloud 2014! I’m looking forward to writing some updates as and when I get to try more.
There will always be doubters of the subscription model, mainly while people labour under the idea they have bought the software previously. Either way you are only buying a licence to use the software, and I would rather pay monthly and have continuous support (and Adobe’s have been good in my experience) than spend in one lump sum that only covers me for one or two versions of the software.