Every Creative Cloud application gets new features in the 2015 update
Adobe has officially revealed the 2015 update to its Creative Cloud software suite, adding a host of new features to its most popular creative software, in addition to several new mobile apps and deep integration with the newly rechristened Adobe Stock, a stock image website born from Adobe’s acquisition of Foltolia earlier this year.
The big new change for 2015 is how linked assets to Creative Cloud libraries now include Adobe Stock images, meaning you can browse and add stock shots to your projects directly within the relevant app. They will then be added to your Creative Cloud project folders, and can be accessed by any of your collaborators. You’ll even be able to apply edits to an unlicensed, watermarked image, then have those edits automatically apply to the final image once you pay for its license. Linked assets to Creative Cloud libraries are possible in Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop, while Premiere Pro, After Effects and other CC programs get similar, albeit reduced Creative asset functionality.
We’ve covered many of the major updates to Creative Cloud’s biggest programs below, but there are far more behind-the-scenes tweaks and changes that creative professionals are sure to appreciate. Adobe maintains a full list on its website.
The highlight of the 2015 update for Illustrator is the 10x speed improvement over Illustrator CS6. Redraw is significantly faster, even in incredibly complicated files, and scrubby zoom lets you quickly navigate around an image without having to wait for it to redraw after every movement. A new rocket icon will take you straight to GPU performance, to ensure the program has correctly detected your GPU if it’s compatible and toggle animated zoom if you want it or not.
A new crash recovery system enables automatic interval saving, to avoid any loss of progress. You can disable this option if you’re working on a very complex document, however.
Finally, Illustrator gains the option to create custom charts and infographics. It’s currently in preview mode, and likely to stay so for around a year while Adobe gathers feedback from users, but it could be a welcome addition for anyone making information graphics.
Adobe realises that designers are using Photoshop more and more for interface and app development, so it has implemented multiple artboards in single documents to make this design process easier. You can also preview on device for the first time, letting you see what your creations look like on an iPad or iPhone. Currently only Apple devices are supported, but more are set to follow soon. A glyphs panel lets you see every possible object in a font library, and a new Desgn Space has been created specifically for anyone creating mobile or tablet apps.
Multiple layer styles can now be applied to a single object, up to 10 per layer style, which should make text and graphic customisation a lot smoother than it was in previous versions of Photoshop. Image adjustments are now available for smart objects too, and apply separately from adjustment layers in a non-destructive manner.
The healing and patch tool brushes are 120x faster than they were in Photoshop CS6, and panoramas now automatically fill transparent edges – removing a step for image creators. Finally, new additions to the blur gallery let you add monochromatic and colour noise to images, helping you match the grain effects of photos.
Adobe’s desktop publishing program has also gained a performance boost in the 2015 update, although InDesign CC 2015 is ‘only’ twice as fast as InDesign CS6, compared to Illustrator’s 10x boost. That being said, instant redraw is now possible, even in high quality, meaning no waiting around for images to re-render whenever you zoom in and out of a project.
The biggest change appears to be the ability to directly publish documents online. Currently this is limited to Facebook, but other social media sites are expected to be added soon. It’s all done with HTML5, without the need for any plugins.
Among other tweaks and additions, Lightroom users will find a new haze tool in the 2015 update, which lets you add or remove haze from photos. We saw it in action on a large landscape vista shot at the height of the afternoon, with plenty of haze stretching into the horizon. Toggling the effect reduced the haze visibly, giving the image significantly more depth and visual appeal.
Beyond the major applications, Adobe has also tweaked and upgraded the rest of Creative Cloud. Dreamweaver CC has been improved to make responsive website design easier than ever with device previews and batch exports from Photoshop PSDs. Muse CC gains premium font access from Typekit, new widgets for blogs and shopping carts, contact form updates and code improvements to ensure Muse meets web standards. Flash Pro CC gets a new bone tool for more accurate animations, a new dedicated animator workspace, audio splitting and video import directly on the timeline.
Premiere Pro CC
Videographers will appreciate Premiere Pro CC’s dramatically simplified colour workflows. It’s now far easier to colour grade your work, with real time scopes that didn’t exist in either Premiere or Speedgrade before the 2015 update. Five useful presets now appear at the top of the application, in workflow order. Assembly, Editing, Colour, Effects and Audio are all easily reachable and act differently based on user needs.
The Lumetri colour plugin is included for quick colour edits, and a new Morph Cut plugin can analyse a clip and pull up to 10% of the frames out if it’s too long for a particular segment. According to Adobe this works best for talking head segments, and 10% is a conservative estimate of the plugins abilities before your footage starts to look a little odd, but the clip we saw showed it working surprisingly well with 30 seconds of stumbled interview.
After Effects CC
Some major behind the scenes changes in After Effects CC, which saw RAM previewing moved onto its own CPU thread, means you can now preview your rushes without interruptions while you wait for them to render. It’s easier to animate 2D characters with your webcam using a new capture mode, and the Face tracker has been improved for near real-time eye and feature tracking. Where before you could blur faces, now you can map them and apply effects in 3D space, such as adding an eye-patch to a pirate.
All these updates will be rolling out this week, and will be available to all existing and new Creative Cloud subscribers.