Today, Adobe has taken to the stage to present its latest and most significant product release in years: CS6, a complete refresh of the well-knwon Creative Suite line, and the official premiere of Adobe’s new subscription alternative, Creative Cloud, both shipping early May.
Now, you may have heard about Creative Cloud already as it was first announced last August. Likewise, you probably have caught glimpses at leaked details surrounding the upcoming changes in CS programs like Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Honestly, I’m not sure if Adobe has ever been more open about its product development cycle than it has been lately.
Another conference. “Great.”
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Adobe CS6 encompasses nearly all of Adobe’s design programs, and it looks like every single application has received new updates.
Adobe has made tons of advances in content aware fill technology, 3 new types of ‘blurring’ filters, background saving, “Adaptive Wide Angle” filter for straightening and tweak images as well as new video editing features. The flagship program has also received a visual refresh, with a brand new layout and theming options. You can check out 5 amazing things you can do with the new Photoshop here.
New Illustrator CS6 features include the Pattern creation tool, a new tracing engine for converting raster images to vector files, a re-tooled interface, the ability to apply gradients to strokes, type color and transform panel improvements and more. These changes bring great improvements, but aren’t at all ground-breaking.
The latest iteration of InDesign essentially prepares the program for the boom of tablets and smartphones. Liquid and alternative layouts for different screens have gotten top billing.
A new, separate extension of Flash Professional CS6, Toolkit for CreateJS, allows Flash users to create interactive HTML5 content by building on core animation and drawing capabilities in Flash Professional. Other than that, our eyes are really focused on what’s next for Adobe Edge. Upcoming features for Flash Builder include new debugging capabilities, improved code editing and templates
Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 is all about responsive design. More than ever before, Adobe is embracing emerging technologies and open standards (see Edge), which is why it’s exciting to see the company embrace responsive design with its new “Fluid Grid Layouts” tool.
New features for Fireworks include improved CSS support, jQuery Mobile theme skinning support, improved performances and new API access.
New features for Premiere include an enhanced playback engine, 50 new editing features, dynamic timeline trimming, warp stabilizer effect, expanded multi-cam editing and more.
Users of After Effects can expect new features like the 3D camera tracker, variable mask feathering and integration with Adobe Illustrator.
Audio buffs and engineers can expect new, real-time clip stretching, automatic speech alignment, extended control surface support, improved pitch correction, HD video playback and more.
A new component of Adobe CS, SpeedGrade brings the Lumetri Deep Color Engine, which offers precision grading for virtually any file-based footage, including RAW and HDR content, without clipping highlights or crushing shadows.
Prelude is Adobe’s transcoding video app, for ingesting file-based footage and faster logging with a powerful keyboard-driven workflow.
According to Adobe, the disk isn’t dead yet. The latest version of Encore features support for Blu-ray authoring and more.
Bridge, Adobe’s less than perfect asset management tool, has received a number of improvements, including 64-bit support, display of linked files, custom image sizing and PDF watermarks.
Creative cloud is fundamentally a $50/month subscription to all things Adobe. It’s a massive combination of software and services, featuring the CS6 Master Collection, Muse (1.0), Edge (preview release), Lightroom (coming this summer), Business Catalyst, Typekit (portfolio level), 20 gigs of dropbox esque file hosting/sharing, syncing and heavy integration with Adobe’s touch apps and the tease of early access to new features that others will have to wait for.
Creative Cloud brings forward a new model that Adobe is embracing now more than ever; selling its software as a service, which comes in strong contrast to the popular app store model. Overall, the company’s goal is to integrate itself directly into the creative process. Furthermore, Creative Cloud has a unifying effect on the way we view Adobe’s tools. And while $50/month may feel a bit steep for designers that only stick to a few CS programs, it’s not a terrible deal for anyone looking to dive right into Adobe’s ecosystem head first.
We knew Adobe kept a few secrets, and now we have just gotten a glimpse at what’s on the way for Creative Cloud subscribers, arriving after May’s release this summer…
Community Galleries: Adobe will later release new community galleries which allow users to share and create with other creative professionals. The goal here seems to be to develop a gallery space and network just for members.
Adobe Kuler: The impressive Kuler app is coming to the iPhone soon, with CC integration
Lightroom: Every CC member gets Lightroom 4, which will be out this summer
PhoneGap: Adobe’s acquisition of the ever-popular PhoneGap service is arriving soon, and perhaps it is connected with the release of Adobe Shadow.
Digital Publishing Solutions (DPS) are coming to all. The service had been previously only used by major publishers. This will undoubtably be integrated with InDesign, which has a major role in Adobe’s tablet push.
Adobe also revealed that external artists designed the covers for each program — a testament to Adobe’s commitment to supporting and embracing artists and designers.
Lastly, Adobe is announcing a handsome $1 million scholarship for students seeking college degrees in the arts. You can read more about this here.
Much of today’s presentation reintroduced what we already know, but even though many of the surprises we’re exactly surprising, this release of CS6 should not disappoint, and Creative Cloud proves Adobe’s commitment to evolve.