In a mind-blowing move, Adobe has acquired NY-based Behance, a massive portfolio sharing network for creatives which served up 90 million views last month, for an undisclosed amount. With this deal, Adobe plans to deeply integrate Behance into its Creative Cloud subscription service.

Calling Behance “a very logical fit,” Adobe has made this move in an effort to “accelerate” Creative Cloud’s sharing and social features. Adobe tells us that it had been working on building out some of this functionality itself, but given steep competition from established networks, it seems that buying a major creative community hub outright was the best choice — considering Adobe’s lack of experience in building social networks.

With over 3 million projects and 30 million images hosted on its network, Behance has done quite well for itself since it emerged in 2006. The company recently launched student only galleries, a second iPhone app, a complete site redesign, an online store and a developer API, evolving its creative network into a platform. In May, Behance raised $6.5 million, led by Union Square Ventures, after bootstrapping for more than five years.

From Scott Belsky, cofounder and CEO of Behance:

As creatives rely more on the social web for collaboration and opportunity, creative people and teams will benefit from Behance’s community features integrated into the creative process. We’re thrilled to join Adobe and empower creative careers on a global scale.

What to expect

Following this deal, Adobe tells us that Belsky and all employees are staying with Adobe, and will remain at their current office. Adobe Senior Marketing Director for Creative Pros Scott Morris says that “for now, nothing will change [at Behance];” he anticipates this acquisition will mirror what has happened with Typekit, which has largely continued in its own direction.

Contrasting this point, Morris states that he doesn’t “know if the [Behance] name will stick around forever, that’s to be determined.” Update: Adobe has clarified to us that it “has no plans at this point in time to change the name of Behance.”

At least in the short-term, it appears that Behance’s integration with Adobe will likely only lead to easier content sharing onto the network from the Creative Cloud site and Adobe apps. Down the road, it’s unclear if the network will ever find itself moved under Adobe’s domain or directly into the Creative Cloud interface. Such a massive change seems unlikely at this point.

Considering that many Behance users already relied heavily on Adobe products, tighter integration could have repercussions for companies like Apple (Final Cut Pro, Aperture) who are competing in this space. Adobe already held a near monopoly on software for creatives, and now its role in the creative process is even stronger.

Screen Shot 2012 12 20 at 2.52.50 PM 520x343 Adobe acquires massive portfolio sharing network Behance to make Creative Cloud social

Creative Cloud’s sharing & social functionality has been limited to date.

Up until this point, Creative Cloud, which recently passed 1 million subscribers, only allowed for private sharing between clients and teams. Adobe says its vision, however, has always been to help you share your work publicly.

Creative Cloud, and thus Adobe, is about to become significantly more social, and that change will leave a significant impact on creatives across the globe.

Image credit: Thinkstock