Adobe Max 2014 Review -Adobe Unveils Revolutionary Updates to The Cloud



 Adobe  Max 2014 was more a celebration than a sales job as we are used to with other corporate get-togethers like MacWorld.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted the ever popular Adobe Sneaks a peek into Adobe's future applications and Weird Al Yankovic gave a revealing indepth look into how his creative personna was formed.  Young Al wanted to be a Mad Magazine gag writer but his parents talked him into going to Cal Poly where he earned a degree in architecture. He  put aside the degree (but perhaps not the eye for detail which he put to good use in his thriller video) and followed his creative heart. And of course as in any great party there were gifts, a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 which can run all of Adobe's new mobile apps and desktop apps, rendering 3D surprisingly well.  All  attendees were given one...all except the press.

Al Yankovic at Adobe Max

Though the revolutionary new ways of working with Adobe’s Creative Cloud outlined in the opening keynote, will, I believe, finally silence the critics who refused to see the value of subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service.  The second keynote featuring the concept of the Community Inspires Creativity was the most moving. A photo of the world’s largest mural from recycled materials from war torn Damascus, emblematic of what was to follow, demonstrated that art is not peripheral but integral to lives of people.  For it's goal as the creators pointed out was to, "bring a smile to the people, joy to the children and show the Syrian people love life,love beauty, love creativity."  People then can be identified not by their conflict but by their art.


Damascus Mural


Featured artists  Amy Vitale and Jason Seiler displayed their unique visions which in their own way become elements of change in different corners of the world.

Vitale talking about her work


 Amy Vitale photographs remind us of the humanity midst deadly conflicts.  Not just chronicling the conflict but creating masterful portraits of the life that stubbornly continues to flourish within.  Her moment of enlightenment came, when she turned he lens away from the battle to capture the expressions of those indigenous inhabitants looking out at the devastation other photographers put on the front page.

Vitale's vision of humanity in the midst of war

Jason Seiler's , career was born when he was sent to the principal for making caricatures of his teachers during class. His principal then paid him to draw the rest of the faculty and now Time Magazine paid him to draw their man of the year cover, Pope Francis. Jason fashioned the cover from start to finish with Adobe Photoshop with his own custom brushes while using just one layer.

Seilers cover of the Pope drawn in Photoshop

All the while his visual lampoons flourish on the covers of todays most influential magazines and newspapers. 


Seiler caricatures

Adobe Max provided  a chance to learn from the leading teachers and innovators, who we usually access on , or other learning sites in person.  Adobe's Worldwide Senior Evangelist Paul Trani demonstrated Photoshop’s new 3D printing capability, which allows you to take almost any 3D file and print it locally or send it to Shapeways internet 3D printing service



 For a complete tutorial with practice files for those less familiar with Photoshop 3D click here.

There were a number of courses that detailed a new workflow, which centered on using the Cloud to go from Adobe’s new full featured mobile apps, to a finished photo, graphic or video on your desktop or digital pad (ipad surface 3 pro). Foremost among these was Adobe's resident genius, Russell Brown’s, course From Mobile Phones to Movie Posters. During the 3 day session, Brown teamed with an all star cast which included  a team from Stan Winston School of Character Arts. Attendee designs were turned into movie posters and printable shirts using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CC. As a bonus attendees learned how to transform their creations into a functional monster suit as part of the Kaiju Project.

  The winning monster entry can be see here.

The Creative Cloud is now part of a workflow that allows designers, web professionals, video editors and directors to not only work in new and faster ways, share assets, but to collaborate even if both parties do not subscribe to the Cloud. With Adobe’s Behance, whether you use mobile or desktop, The Creative Cloud now becomes a marketplace of ideas, assets and one of the best places to display your talents in hopes of getting a job. 

3D Mask created by Melissa Ng and printed by Shapeways using Photoshop CC

Melissa Ng Behance Photo Page

Photo by Patricia Meisels

The goal, David Wadhwani, Adobe SVP Digital Media, and Scott Belsky, Adobe VP Products and Ecosystem pointed out when they announced Creative Talent Search, is for the community along with the Adobe scientists to help drive the changes in the software, the way digital art is marketed and the creative community as a whole.

And as an Adobe Creative Cloud Member you get a free Pro Site to display your projects.  Paul Trani explains the process below.

How to create free Pro Site on Behance when you get Adobe CC


Few people realized as the Adobe execs pointed out, with a subscription service like the Cloud, updates did not have to be held back for a release every year and a half.  Scientists are given free reign to innovate and designers freedom to design.  This continual forward momentum was in evidence in Adobe Max’s sneak peeks where working prototypes of new apps coming in the future are trotted out like Visual Speech. Pictured below. You will now be able to go from this view of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's interview on The Ellen Show.

Editing audio the old way sound wave and picture

to this


Newly invented Visual Speech editor

It allows someone with no experience to cut audio because the edit points where speech pauses are already marked.  Just copy and paste.  It was created by the scientist who first designed Adobe Audition in 1969 and has used his Stanford smarts to create this new app coming your way in the near future.

 The back and forth between users like the editing and special effects crew of Gone Girl, who shot on 6K and edited on Premiere, allows for accelerated improvement and design modification. Though this is the first time Fincher's crew went entirely Adobe, Tyler Nelson, assistant editor and special effects whiz, has been using After Effects on previous films.  This smooth round-tripping between Premiere and After Effects by way of dynamic link, was one of things that allowed the crew to speed up and improve their workflow.  This user input keeps an app like Premiere current enough to handle the challenges of shooting with the new Red Dragon 6K update to their camera.


This forward movement in video/vfx application design by Adobe is evident in a brand new feature called Adobe Animal Project (click here to become part of the beta test) that was demoed with the Microsoft Surface Pro. By using the Surface Pro's camera as a motion capture device, the data that is captured (mouth shapes, facial movement) can be applied simultaneously to a cartoon or CG character as demonstrated in the clip below.

 I was shocked to see that the price of the outdated and un-upgradable CS6 is going for up to $1,300-$2,000 on Ebay.   Individuals who puchased CS3 or above can now subscribe for $29.99 a month (students $19.99, $15.99 for Black Fiday sale thru Nov 28th) so that $2000 will buy you around five and a half years of Cloud’s subscription service.  As I told an illustrator friend of mine you are not only not going to be using the same software in 3 or 4 years; if you are serious, you are probably going to be using a different computer. (Please note if you sign up for a year at $19.99 please read Adobe's email when they notify you about the end of your contract. Be on the lookout for a chance to re-up at the discounted price. They will be glad to oblige (I forgot) however the onus is on you as a consumer to track the end of your discount)


The array of amazing new mobile apps which will allow you to perform many of the same tasks as Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro are free.  You can start on mobile and download to a desktop apps to finish, from your creative cloud account.  (Though mobile apps  work better on Iphone 5 or later you are okay to use them if you are running the latest OS).

Featured Adobemobile and desktop apps

Possibly, the most widely used of Adobe’s new mobile applications, will be Photoshop Mix, which makes use of a simplified and improved way of selecting or cutting out from one picture and compositing in another.



Click here to view demo of all Adobe’s new Mobile Apps


Mobile apps Shape and Illustrator Draw


Adobe Shape allows you to capture a shape and have it turned into a vector illustration that can accessed fro the library in Illustrator Draw or modified in Illustrator desktop app which will allow you to use the paths in the captured image. 

Adobe Shape Workflow

Adobe Illustrator Draw

For those of us who hated using the pen tool in Illustrator (my hand is up), the new Oct update for Illustrator CC features the new Curvature tool, which simplifies drawing elegant curved paths. Adobe Illustrator Draw on a touch device lets you use images you captured with Adobe Shape  to be modified in designs that can be further refined in the desktop version of Adobe Illustrator.  It also features a touch type tool.

To view most of the sessions which cover the updates too numerous to mention in one article,click here and go to the bottom of the page.  The course covering the Adobe updates can be found here.


Art wall at Adobe Max drawn in chalk by attendees

Photo by Patricia Meisels

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