Adobe Creative Cloud 2015: what's new in Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere Pro – plus the innovative Hue app

Adobe's CC 2015 tools have been released. Find out what's new in this round up.

Adobe has applied a major update to its Adobe Creative Cloud tools and services, which subscribers will be able to access today.

The 2015 release of Creative Cloud brings power boosts across the range of desktop applications, as well as revealing new connected mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Photoshop celebrates its 25th birthday by introducing Artboards for designing cross-device projects, new productivity tools, and a preview release of a new work environment, Photoshop Design Space.

Mercury Performance Engine tweaks boost InDesign and give Illustrator a 10X speed bump. Illustrator also brings a new chart tool to the party, while InDesign allows one-click publish and distribution.

Headline features in video and motion graphics include Photoshop's Creative Cloud Libraries being added to AE and Premiere, Face Tracking in AE, Photoshop-style colour controls in Premiere Pro, a new way to deal with jump cuts, and interface tweaks to make the tools easier to use on touchscreen Windows tablets and laptops.

There are also two standalone products making an appearance in the Creative Cloud offering: Character Animator and the new 'Kuler-for-video' app, Adobe Hue.

Most of the motion and video tools were premiered (sorry) at NAB a few months ago, but we've highlighted any new additions to the lineup in the individual package pages.

The company has also shipped Adobe Stock, a stock content service that integrates directly into the creative toolset.

New: Creative Sync and updated CC Libraries

Creative Cloud 2015 introduces Creative Sync, which is not an application, but more an underlying technology.

CreativeSync intelligently syncs creative assets such as files, photos, fonts, vector graphics, brushes, colours, settings, and metadata, making them instantly available, in the right format, across desktop, web and mobile apps.

Assets in Creative Cloud Libraries can now be linked so that when a change is made to an asset, you and your team members have the option of updating it across any Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign projects wherever it’s used.

New : Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock, a curated collection of over 40 million images, illustrations and designs is Adobe's entry into the $3 billion global stock image market.

Building on Adobe's acquisition of Fotalia, and deeply integrated into the latest release of Photoshop CC, it enables you to buy and place single images in your comps, as you need them, or purchase a monthly plan.

Read more about how Adobe is taking on the Stock content market with this new service.

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New for Photoshop CC

Following the lead of Illustrator, Photoshop CC 2015 now offers Artboards, able to create multiple design surfaces within a single document.

The content aware workflow is enhanced with new Transform functionality, while the Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush and Patch tools have been turbocharged with Mercury Graphics Engine enhancements. 

You can also get precise and in-context previews of your mobile app and mobile web designs on an actual iOS device in real time using Adobe Preview CC, a native iOS companion app for Photoshop.

Photoshop now includes a preview of a new technology called Photoshop Design Space, which offers a designated interface with new interactions and design-focused features that reduce clicks, mouse movements and clutter for designers working on mobile apps and websites.

The application also benefits from greatly enhanced export options to a variety of formats, as well a modernised Save for Web workflow.

Read about the top ten new features in Photoshop CC 2015

New for Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC

Both Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC gain the new Dehaze feature, which appeared first as an Adobe MAX sneak in October 2014.

Dehaze eliminates fog and haze from photos, including underwater shots, for startlingly clear images. Haze can also be added to a photo for artistic effect.

The new tool for removing haze will be particularly useful to landscape photographers, who will also benefit from a new content aware automatic fix which will make working with panoramas inside Photoshop and Lightroom a lot easier.

New for Illustrator CC 

Illustrator CC is now up to ten times faster than CS6, thanks to a new Mercury Performance System boost that turbocharges panning, zooming and scrolling. 

The speed bump extends to 10x greater zoom magnification, so you can view and finesse the finest details in very demanding artwork at 10 times higher magnification. Zoom magnification can now go beyond the previous 6400% limit to 64,000%. 

A new failsafe system allows you to still recover your work when Illustrator crashes before you've had a chance to save it. Just reopen Illustrator and your document should be restored to its pre-crash state.

Illustrator CC can also now create data-driven visualisations, including custom charts, graphics and info-graphics, using a preview of a simplified Chart interface.

 Illustrators will also be able to scale up Photoshop Sketch drawings up to four times their original size with no loss in quality, so the art can be used in designs for posters, display graphics and other large formats.

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New for InDesign CC

InDesign gets its own Mercury Performance System boost with zooming, scrolling, and paging up and down complex documents now twice as fast than CS6, according to Adobe.

You can also place images directly into cells of tables – either by dragging and dropping or via the content collector - allowing you to create tables that have a combination of both text and graphics in a faster, simpler way than possible before.

InDesign's new preview feature Publish Online allows you to repurpose the documents you have created for print by quickly publishing them for web or mobile.

The feature enables one click publishing of InDesign documents as a digital version that works on all devices, in any modern browser, without the need to install a plug-in.

The Publish Online document can be accessed by anyone who has the document URL, and allows them to view the document in simple, online reading experience, on any device, and on any platform.

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Designers also now have the ability to add colour or shading to a paragraph in InDesign CC 2015

New for Dreamweaver CC

At the top of the list of tweaks for Adobe's web veteran are tools for responsive design. You'll be able to rapidly build and lay out production-ready websites that dynamically adapt to fit various screen sizes, making responsive design a part of your everyday workflow.

Coding improvements include the ability to write standards-based HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code, using tools like code completion, built-in validation, and site-management.

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Dreamweaver also gains a Device Preview, which displays a taster of the appearance of your pages and lets you test interactivity in real-time, so you can see how your design will look and adapt in an actual mobile browser.

There's also the ability to batch extract web-optimised images with multiple resolutions from a Photoshop document for use in InDesign.

Creative Cloud Libraries for video

Creative Cloud Libraries are a feature within Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign that allow certain components to be shared between documents: colour schemes, graphics and logos and the like.  

At NAB Adobe previewed CC Libraries for After Effects and Premiere to allow you to quickly access assets - especially regularly used ones like logos - and share them between applications.

The assets are automatically synced between your computers through your Creative Cloud Files, and are created and can be accessed through a panel in each application.

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New app: Adobe Hue

First revealed at NAB 2015, Project Candy has become Adobe Hue.

Hue is essentially Kuler for video - but where Kuler turns photos into colour palettes of three-to-five colours, the iOS app Hue captures the 'look' of a photo. You can adjust these in the app using 'colour bubble' controls.

The looks are saved online, where they automatically appear in Premiere Pro, After Effects and the Premiere Clip app.

After Effects CC: Face Tracker

Previewed at NAB, this extension to AE's tracking toolset can automatically detect faces and the points within them (eg nose, eyebrows, pupils and mouth) through a clip.

It's the update's big wow feature - though even Adobe seem unsure what you'd do with the track once you'd done it. It seems a big technological innovation to just change eye colour or cartoonify facial expressions.

However, the tracks can be exported to the new Character Animator software, for example to power facial animation for a cartoon character. The technology also underpins that application's live facial animation feature.

After Effects also now offers Uninterrupted Preview, sure to be a popular enhancement.

This allows artists to adjust a composition’s properties and even resize panels without impacting playback.

Premiere Pro CC: Morph Cut + Premiere Clip Workflow

Facial tracking is put to more practical, everyday use in Premiere Pro CC, where it's used by the new Morph Cut transition.

Previewed at NAB, it ostensibly allows you to get rid of jump cuts in fixed-camera close-ups (such as interviews) by using a transition that creates smooth morphs between edits. Cassetteboy's going to love it.

Adobe has also improved its Premiere Clip app so that edits, music cues and looks created in that app can be opened as a project in Premiere Pro CC.

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Premiere Pro CC: Lumetri Colour

The new Lumetri Color panel brings together traditional video colour correction tools such as colour wheels with ways of altering the colours of a shot used on photography in tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom - such as RGB Curves.

Adobe Character Animator

Character Animator is relatively simple animation application that's currently available as a Preview in After Effects

Its one trick - and it's a pretty good trick - is to capture your facial expressions from a webcam and apply these to an animated character. It uses the same technology as AE's new Face Tracker and Premiere Pro's new Morph Cut.

As well as expressions, it can lip sync to your words. For more info, see our full story about Character Animator.