At this year's Adobe MAX Conference, the company was handing out apps like candy on Halloween. And like that favorite house that always gave out Snickers or KitKats, the tastiest treats at MAX were of the mobile flavor. Several of the apps have been around a while but were given updates and a few given new names, while others are completely new to the line-up. All of them have been created to help enhance the mobile creative workflow and to work within the Creative Cloud ecosystem.
I am often overwhelmed with all of the apps that Adobe has, especially their mobile apps. Trying to keep track of which one does what and which desktop apps each works with has often required Sherlockian deduction. Luckily, they seem to have streamlined the organization of the apps, and even present them in such a way that it's clear what the purpose of the app is, and how it fits into the bigger Adobe picture. While so many of the announcements at MAX made me ooh and ahh like a kid at a fireworks display, I was most excited about the mobile apps that let me capture and create on my iPhone and bring those creations into my desktop workflow.
Adobe Brush CC
Adobe Brush CC allows you to capture an image with your iPhone's camera and then manipulate the image into a brush. The app—which I'm finding to be highly addictive—integrates with Illustrator, Photoshop, and Adobe Sketch, meaning the custom brushes you create in the app are (nearly) instantly available for use in those applications. The first question you have to answer is, where is this brush going to be used? That determines the options you'll have available to you when you start customizing the brush. Photo-realistic brushes can be used in Photoshop and Sketch—which also gives you the option of ribbon or scatter patterns—while the Illustrator brushes are more simple and can be expanded into vector components.
When creating an Illustrator brush, you can indicate a tail, head, and body much like the custom brush options in the desktop application. You can control the opacity of the background, which makes cleaning up the photo you took of your hand-drawn arrow on lined paper an easy task. At any point in the creation process, you can preview the brush in action, as well as preview it with different colors, opacity and size. Finally, depending on the target you set for the brush, Adobe Brush CC gives you options to set the actual brush size, pressure, velocity, and texture. When you've perfected your brush and saved it, your new creation will be available to you in Illustrator or Photoshop in a new Library panel.
Adobe Shape CC
See something you'd like to have as vectors in Illustrator? Shoot a picture of it with your iPhone and Adobe Shape CC will put the vectorized image in your Creative Cloud library. Those images are now available to you in the CC desktop versions of Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as the mobile Adobe Illustrator Draw. This app effectively saves you from taking the old route of scanning hand-drawn art into Photoshop, importing and tracing it in Illustrator, then saving those vectors and possibly even bringing them back into Photoshop.
Any high-contrast image or real-world object can quickly become an editable vector object. Adobe Shape CC lets you either take a photo, choose an existing photo, or use an item from your Creative Cloud library and the app automagically creates those vectors. You can then use the slider to adjust the amount of detail that will be captured. After tapping the bright green button, you can further refine your shape by choosing the plus or minus on the slider button and running your fingers over elements that need to stay or go.
Tapping the checkmark starts the actual tracing process. From there, name your shape and tap Save. Now when you go into Illustrator or Photoshop on the desktop, your newly-created shape is available from the Libraries panel. If you're using the Adobe Illustrator Draw mobile app, you can also access your shapes and use them as "stamp shapes," which you can position and scale, but you can't modify their paths.
Adobe Color CC
Bye-bye Kuler, hello Adobe Color CC! The new Color mobile app allows you to capture the color palette from an existing image or live image capture from your iPhone's camera. The app then creates a 5-color theme that you can refine even further. While the app picks the initial colors for you, you can simply drag the color circles around your image to sample a new color. If you're working in live mode, you can refine your colors with the color wheel. If you are using a photo—either pulled in from your camera roll or when you freeze your live capture—you can tap the little smiley icon and choose from presets such as bright, muted, dark, and colorful.
After you've created the perfect palette, tap the checkmark, name the theme, and add any tags for easier searching. From this point, you can choose to share the theme via email, Facebook, or Twitter, as well as having it sent to your Creative Cloud library. These themes are available in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash, and After Effects as well as in the mobile apps Sketch, Line, and Draw. If you go to the Adobe Color CC website, you can manage your themes there and even download a theme as an ASE file to share with your workgroup.
Adobe's mobile capture tools are bridging the gap between traditional desktop and mobile workflows. As the technology matures, the integration between the two will become more seamless, allowing creatives to focus less on the technology and more on their creations.
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