A year on from Adobe finalising its move from ‘boxed products’ to the subscription-based Creative Cloud, Adobe has released major upgrade to its creative tools and services. There are new iPad apps and hardware accessories (though not in the UK yet) and upgrades to software across graphic and interactive design, illustration, photography and video post-production and animation.
Adobe is also launching the Creative Market with stock vector graphics and templates library that are free to Creative Cloud subscribers – though this isn't available yet.
Adobe says that its focussed on four areas for the upgrades: new creative tools, performance boosts, workflow efficiencies and better support for hardware and formats – though pretty much anything in an upgrade we’ve ever seen to any piece of creative software could fit into these four terms.
In this story we're concentrating on the new desktop apps. Read our other stories to find out about Adobe's creative hardware Ink and Slide (previously Project Mighty and Project Napoleon), the Line and Sketch iPad apps, and the Photoshop Mix app – which may also give a sneak peek at where Adobe's going with its apps in the future.
When will Adobe's new tools be available?
You should get access to the new version of Creative Cloud and its apps later on tonight. Let's hope Adobe's servers don't get overloaded with everyone trying to get their hands on the new tools.
What will Adobe Creative Cloud cost now?
Pricing for Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions won't change, starting at £39 plus VAT per month for individuals and £43 per month per person for teams for the full set of tools. The Creative Cloud Photography Plan that was previously marketed as an introductory rate remains at that rate of £7.31 per month.
Use the slideshow controls above and right to see what's new in all of the Creative Cloud tools, starting with what's new in the Photoshop CC June 2014 update.
Photoshop CC 2014 update: new tools
Photoshop CC gains a nifty new masking tool, better blurs, additional tools for web, mobile and interactive designers and more.
The Focus Area tool (right) automatically selects areas of a photo that are in focus, so you can apply adjustments to these (or by inverting the selection, to out of focus area). A Refine Edge function makes working with softer edges and fine detail such as hair easier. Read our Focus Area tutorial on how to use the tool to adjust the colour tone of the background in a photo, by photographer Tigz Rice.
The new Path Blur lets you, as the name suggests, apply a blur along a path using one or more splines. A series of dots on the end of the splines allows you to adjust their intensity.
The new Spin Blur applies a circular motion blur within a circle – for example to add a sense of motion to wheels or reels. Again, dots allow you to directly manipulate its effect on screen.
Content-Aware Fill has been upgraded so that as well as matching the colours and detail of a background, it matches its tonal range too.
Photoshop CC 2014 update: more new tools
For web, mobile and interactive designers, Adobe has give Photoshop CC’s Generator tools a polish, and it can generate SVG images from comps as well as the usual JPGs and PNGs. It’s improved its Layer Comps system for making multiple variations on a design (such as different web pages based the same structure and sharing some page elements). In the June 2014 release of Photoshop, you can apply changes you’ve made to elements to multiple comps – choosing whether to apply just things like effects or transparency – for example to change the colour tone of a graphic across interface ‘page’ designs.
Taking a feature from InDesign CC, Photoshop CC can now install TypeKit fonts automatically if it detects them in a PSD you’re opening – and there’s a live preview of fonts on your document as you browse the font list. You can also limit the fonts you see her to just those from TypeKit, for example for a website design where the final site would use TypeKit.
A new function makes it easy to work out the distance (in pixels) between elements.
Photoshop’s Smart Objects feature has been extended to allow you to essentially include live links to external PSD and AI files. If another designer or artist updates the file that’s linked to, then it’s appearance in your document updates too. One example of how this might be used it to update a website comp with a new logo or a retouched photo.
Other new features include better 3D printing tools, support for Windows 8.1 styli such as on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, and overall better performance through a tune-up to the Mercury Graphics Engine.
Illustrator CC 2014 update: new tools
Adobe has changed the way the Pen tool works in Illustrator CC. The company says that this is to make it easier for newcomers to learn how to use the tool, but it claims it makes it easier for more experienced designers and illustrators.
Illustrator CC now shows how lines drawn with the Pen tool will appear as you’re drawing them. You can also hold down the Alt key to adjust how long you want the second handle to be to adjust the curvature of lines.
A new shape properties area of the Transform panel lets you change the properties of multiple shapes at once, for example altering the rotation or the corner radius of rounder corners of a bunch of rectangles at once.
For creatives using Illustrator to design graphics for the web, Illustrator CC can now generate CSS for all elements on a page, and export them to a folder with images – including SVG graphics.
InDesign CC 2014 update: new tools
Designers working with tables will appreciate that you can now move entire columns left and right within a table in InDesign CC. Effects applied to text will scale properly when the text is scaled. And the InDesign CC June 2014 update also gives you the same folders for Swatches as Illustrator CC gains.
InDesign CC can be used to create fixed layouts for ePUB (using the ePUB 3 standard), which is for device-specific ebooks of a set size. This allows users to design book specifically for the iPad to be sold through the iBook Store.
Also new is the introduction of Folders to the Swatches panel to make it easier to navigate large numbers of swatches, support for HiDPI screens on Windows, and an enhanced QR Code Creator.. And you can import settings from previous versions of InDesign, getting rid of a major annoyance when upgrading that Adobe should have implemented years ago.
Muse CC 2014 update: new tools
Adobe has completely rebuilt its web-design-for-graphic-designers application Muse from scratch. No longer based on Adobe’s ageing AIR architecture, it’s now a full 64-bit application for Mac and Windows with a dark interface that’s more similar to tools such as InDesign and Photoshop – and supports Apple’s Retina display and HiDPI screens on Windows PCs.
Users can now design mobile and desktop versions of a site side-by-side. Sites created using Muse can be published to any web server, not just to Adobe’s BusinessCatalyst hosting service. The sites can be edited in-browser by clients – in areas that the designer lets them – and clients who want to do this don’t need to have a Creative Cloud subscription.
Add-ons for Muse CC will be available from the Adobe Add-ons site, which will include both free and paid-for add-ons from other developers.
Dreamweaver CC 2014 update: new tools
Back in the world of ‘real’ web design, Dreamweaver CC gains a Live Element Quick View, Live Insert and a Live View property inspector. The CSS Designer has also been improved.
Flash Pro CC 2014 update: new tools
Flash Pro CC gains the ability to export elements as SVG files. Designer can create variable width strokes, with tweening over their values. The Motion editor has been improved, and WebGL is now supported for animation.
Edge Animate CC 2014 update: new tools
Edge Animate now supports native HTML video. It can import sprite sheets and you can copy-and-paste SVG from Illustrator.
HTML5 animations created in Edge Animate for use in Adobe DPS books and magazines can now link to articles in those publications.
After Effects CC 2014 update: new tools
Back in the day, updates to After Effects were all about new filters – though this has slowed in favour of attempted boosts to performance and workflow. This new update to Adobe CC adds two new filters that are designed to make keying less painful by reducing the time spent on manually tidying up keys.
Both the Key Cleaner and the Advanced Spill Suppressor are designed to be used alongside the standard keyer, The Foundry’s Keylight. The Key Cleaner is a largely automated tool that removes noise for cleaner keys, while the Advanced Spill Suppressor – as you’d expect – cleans up the spill around keys.
The new feature that’s going to make the most difference for many VFX and motion graphics artists and animators is the ability to add masks to effects with a single click. This makes it easier to constrain an effect to an area of your footage or animation, and there is a button on the timeline to track the underlying clip and match your effect to something that’s in motion.
Adobe has also integrated its TypeKit fonts service into After Effects CC (and Premiere Pro CC too). This gives artists, animators and editors access to 217 fonts that can be used in commercial projects – and includes quite a few ones you’d actually use from Futura and Franklin Gothic to Myriad Pro and Dalton Maag’s Aktiv Grotesk (like Helvetica but better, as used by our sister site Macworld).
Lastly, there's integration with the Creative Cloud's Kuler service, which allows you to capture images using an iPhone app and build colour schemes around them.
Premiere Pro CC 2014 update: new tools
Premiere Pro CC gains the same TypeKit support and masking tools as After Effects. There’s also GPU-accelerated debayering of Red footage (and overall support for more graphics cards for OpenCL-based video processing), the ability to backup project files to Creative Cloud, and ways to output files with the correct metadata for use with broadcasters than require AS-11 or for digital projection.
Live Text Templates users edit text in After Effects compositions from directly within Premiere Pro CC.
One very useful new tools is the ability to apply effects to master clips in the Source panel. These effects are then applied to all instances of a clip on the timeline. This is a fast and efficient way to apply a look or fix a problem across a project when you’ve only discovered it when you’re half-way through editing.
Other CC video tools 2014 update: new tools
Adobe has also added the ability to create storyboards to its Prelude CC ingest tool, while users of SpeedGrade will be able to turn layers of a linked Premiere Pro on and off when grading.