Custom-built to provide UX (user experience) designers with an optimised design process, Adobe Experience Design CC, more commonly referred to as Adobe XD, is a powerful software medium used to design interactive mobile apps, websites, and so much more. This single application can be used to create the entire process, from designing wireframes to mock-ups to interactive prototypes that are viewable in live previews and can be shared across digital platforms such as Apple, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
Adobe XD Starter Plan
If that’s not enough to make you feel excited, Adobe introduced their new Adobe XD Starter Plan during May 2018 and announced that they’re making it available free of charge and here’s what you’ll get: continuous access to XD’s desktop version on both Windows 10 and Mac, which includes all design and prototype capabilities, as well as mobile preview apps on Android and iOS.
There is no limit to the number of XD documents you can create, so you can create to your heart’s content, export the elements to produce and share videos with colleagues and clients, across different devices, using just one app. While this specific plan only allows you one active shared design spec and one active shared prototype, there is an option to upgrade to unlimited sharing. Unlimited sharing is included in the Creative Cloud plan, as well as the XD single app plan.
Adobe announced that over the course of the next few months, users can expect substantial advancements in innovative prototyping as well as animation capabilities, and new collaboration features for teams as they continue working towards providing users with a state-of-the-art, A-to-Z UX design platform.
June 2018 Release
True to their word, Adobe’s XD release in June 2018 includes enhancements made to Sketch & Photoshop integration, commenting, auto-recovery of docs, and the control for image fills, as well as exciting new features that include overlay support, the ability to fix design elements when it comes to desktop authoring, math calculations enabling more precise design creations, access to private design specs and prototypes for designers/reviewers within the Shared with You (BETA) section of the Creative Cloud Assets page.
Not only is Adobe XD one of the simplest apps to use, it gives you the ability to transform your bright ideas into your best work, that you can share across all desktop and mobile devices in a matter of seconds, using one platform.
It is almost mid-June 2018, so you may be wondering why we would choose to talk about what’s new in Adobe CC 2018 now. Well, it seems that there are quite a few people asking the question, so we decided we would offer some insight. This is not a concise list, but it does highlight some pretty awesome stuff.
For that one reader that that is unfamiliar with Creative Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud offers subscribers access to a suite of software that you can use to do activities like photo editing, web development, graphic design, and video editing, to name a few. With this new release, one of the major questions that seems to be popping up is what features have been included in Adobe CC 2018 that was not present in previous versions, so without further ado, here are some of the new features that you will find in Adobe creative cloud 2018.
Photoshop CC 2018
Since Photoshop was first sold to Adobe by its initial developers, John Knoll and Thomas, this application has been among the most used applications in creative cloud. The new features added in the 2018 release includes a welcomed update on the Brush Preset panel. This panel has been better organized and you can now create and use your own folders and subfolders to organize your brush tools, giving you overall control over your brush file structure. Adobe has also included 1,400 additional brushes, because let’s face it, you can never have too many paint brushes.
Another new feature in the 2018 upgrade of Photoshop is the brush stroke smoothing. You now have the ability to easily change the settings regarding how Photoshop smooths your brush strokes.
A final feature worth mentioning is the addition of a curvature pen tool which will allow you to create smooth flowing vector lines.
Illustrator CC 2018
The most significant update in this version of Illustrator is the addition of a Context-Aware Properties panel, something that we fell in love with in Photoshop. This panel will help to make your workflow easier by displaying Content-Aware options right there where you are working. With Illustrator CC 2018, the number of artboards has been ramped up to 1,000. If you are an Illustrator Jedi, this should get your warm approval.
InDesign CC 2018
Moving on to InDesign CC 2018, you can now create endnotes and, for your convenience, you can filter your fonts through the use of the character panel. You can also use swatches and fonts in the CC library to share with Projects and teams.
Adobe XD CC
With all the current hype around Adobe XD, you could easily think that this tool was only released in 2018, but the truth is, Adobe released its first public beta version in 2016. A lot of great improvements have been made since, turning this into a must-have piece of software. This user experience design tool has been in beta mode pre-2018, but with the 2018 upgrade, Adobe launched a non-beta version which is Adobe XD 1.0. It supports CC libraries which makes it possible for you to drag-and-drop files from the library into your Project.
The workflow between editing your images in Photoshop and moving them to XD has been simplified. Also, you can take a single element, use design mode to customize it, and then use Prototype mode to add interaction to it. Web design and app building has just got a whole lot easier. Adobe XD CC also includes a Symbol Panel which you can use to add character styles and colors.
This application is totally new (last quarter of 2017, to be exact). Are you looking to do impress your client with some amazing package design or perhaps go a little bigger and design some billboards? If 3D is important to you, then you need to get your hands on Adobe Dimension CC. It enables you to work with 3D assets and allows you to do photo illustration and retouch work. But, when I say it like that, it does it no justice. Take a look at this video clip to appreciate just how awesome it is.
After Effects CC 2018
After Effects CC 2018 brings you a whole list of impressive features. First off, Master Properties, which allows you to access and edit layer and effects Properties like colour or opacity composition when it is nested in another composition. Another great improvement is the Adobe Immersive Environment which now allows you to review your composition in a head-mount display – no more guessing before rendering. A final feature improvement worth listing is the Advanced Puppet Tool. The flags blowing in the wind on this page should be enough to excite you: https://helpx.Adobe.com/after-effects/using/whats-new.html
Premiere Pro CC 2018
We’ll conclude with Premiere Pro. Some of the features that have made this software so much better, include the ability to compare shots using Comparison View, matching colour across shots and auto-duck music which allows you to create a volume envelope to ‘duck’ music behind dialogue, sound effects, or any other audio clip you choose. Premiere Pro CC 2018 has integrated Mettle’s skybox 360-degree video editing tools directly into the editor for your added convenience. You also have the ability to open multiple Projects now – for those who suffer from Video Editor ADHD – or, of course, those who simply enjoy multi-tasking.
So, there you have it! If you were one of those asking the question, I hope that this has been helpful. If you are one of those who have been sitting on the fence, wondering if upgrading to Adobe Creative Cloud CC is worth it, it’s time to do yourself the favour of upgrading today. Your workload could get a whole lot lighter. You may even discover that you have time for a life outside of your Design environment. 😊
Adobe Max is an in-your-face, larger-than-life, all-guns-blazing annual celebration of creativity, which this year descended on Vegas. It’s Nice That was invited by Adobe, with over 12,000 other creative minds from all over the world, for a few days packed full of talks, product updates and inspiration. The scale was nothing short of amazing, but from the days spent pounding the corridors of the Venetian Hotel, a few things really hit home:
Technology is accelerating creativity Kicking off the event was an impressive keynote from the Adobe team and the amount of new product updates was staggering. First and foremost, they launched four brand new apps into their cloud ecosystem including the impressive and intuitive XD, a new app for designing and prototyping mobile apps and websites. The growing importance of UX design in the industry cannot be understated and it felt like this could become as widely used as a Photoshop or Indesign over the next few years.
Adobe also announced improvements in its current products including increasing the power of Stock, Typekit and Live platforms, showing its continued dedication to making the transition between each app in Creative Cloud as seamless as possible.
Great relationships breed amazing work
One of the most moving talks of the conference was from ex-White House photographer Pete Souza. Having cut his teeth assisting another photographer during the Regan presidency, Pete started photographing Barack Obama from before he was president, right through to his final day in office. His conversation with magazine 99U uncovered beautifully told stories behind both iconic moments and more mundane, everyday interactions. What was most apparent though, was that his incredible body of work was made possible by the trusting relationship he forged with the commander in chief. Because of this dynamic, Pete was present at all the most important moments in the President’s life, from photographing his kids’ school play, to capturing the moment the Osama Bin Laden raid was completed.
All in all, you’d be hard pressed to deny that the photographer has fulfilled his ambition of creating “the best archive of a President there has ever been”, and you can make up your own mind when his book is published in a couple of weeks.
Creativity can create change
Many of the talks It’s Nice That attended waxed lyrical about how creativity and design can create great change, but none followed through on the claim more convincingly than Annie Griffiths, one of the first female photographers to work for National Geographic. Annie took the stage and told us about her career and how it has led her to start Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document the programmes that are empowering women and girls throughout the developing world. She spoke about this incredible organisation that has bought about huge change for women and girls, and delivered it with the warmth and poise you would expect from someone behind such a brilliant idea. “A woman in my situation should just get some cats and a vibrator and call it a day… I got into aid work,” she said.
Kindness + Empathy = Loyalty After so many insights into mind-expanding new technologies, it was a joy to hear Tina Roth Eisenberg speak about how important the human aspect of creativity will always be. Her much-loved blog, global talks series Creative Mornings, temporary tattoo business Tattly and anything else she has touched have been built by doing things in an inclusive, generous way –
stating that “generosity is the business strategy of Creative Mornings.” Her warmth came across in a beautifully open talk – and an equation we could all take something from, whether business owners and entrepreneurs like Tina, or freelancers working in isolation: “Kindness + Empathy = Loyalty.”
AI and machine learning is going to be critical in the future of the creative process The announcements that seemed to generate the most gasps from the auditorium were all around Adobe’s AI and machine learning platform Sensei. The technology is being applied and embedded across the entire Creative Cloud ecosystem allowing everything from better image searching right through to helping designers to complete mundane tasks more quickly and intuitively. The scope of the system is colossal and it feels as though we’re only just starting to see the power AI can bring to the creative process. No matter what your opinion of how creative jobs will be effected as this kind of technology continues to develop, we were left in no doubt that if tools like the ones launched this week can be harnessed in the right ways the future will be incredibly exciting.
You can see all of the updates from Max here and lots of the talks and presentations here.