With the announcement of fresh updates to its flagship publishing applications--InDesign and Illustrator--Adobe redirects its attention to its roots in the print and graphic design arena. Today, at its own Adobe Max Creativity Conference, the company is revealing more details about the new version of its desktop nonlinear editing and motion graphics programs. Here are some of the highlights. In a departure from the intense focus on the mobile market that marked last year's CS6 release, Adobe says that at least 75 percent of all program updates to the debut release of Creative Cloud desktop apps were devoted to its traditional image editing and publishing software.
In Adobe's transition from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud, the familiar apps get an upgrade while subscribers get a slate of extra services for their $50 monthly subscription. Access to Sync services, 20GB of online storage, the Behance community hub, automatic cross-platform downloading and updates to all programs in the suite, and training are some of the benefits built into subscriptions.
Working with display text is a huge part of working with Illustrator, and Illustrator CC introduces a Touch Type tool that provides expanded control over type. With it, you can move, scale, and rotate individual characters and change fonts or copy at any time. In addition, you can now use multitouch devices as well as a mouse or stylus.
In the Character panel, type a style such as bold or italic, a font family, or any other part of a font name to see a filtered view of the fonts that match your search. A new area and point type conversion capability lets you switch between area type and point type. Text object conversion is quick, even with imported type, so you can design freely in text layouts.
The Images in Brushes feature lets you paint with a brush made from a photo because Art, Pattern, and Scatter brushes can contain raster images, letting you paint with brush strokes that you can reshape and modify. Auto corners for pattern brushes give you the desired corners with minimal steps. Create pattern brushes swiftly with auto-generated corners to match the rest of the stroke.
A multiple-file place feature lets you import multiple files into your Illustrator layout at the same time. Define the location and scale of your files--images, graphics, and text--and use new thumbnail views to see where each file will go and how big it will be.
A new CSS extraction feature lets Illustrator generate CSS code that you can copy and paste into your Web editor. It even works with gradients.
InDesign users will see changes inside and out. Like Photoshop CS6, InDesign has gone to the dark side with an updated, adjustable interface. Under-the-hood enhancements such as native 64-bit support promise to expedite work with complex documents. HiDPI and Retina display support let you take advantage of the late-model MacBook Pro's high-resolution Retina display.
Users can now share work directly from InDesign CC, sync fonts from Adobe Typekit, and gain improvements in speed and stability when printing and when exporting PDF and INX files.
In addition to the Font Search and Filter feature, InDesign's instant font preview lets you see how different fonts look in your layout. Using the arrow keys, you can browse through fonts and see each one applied to selected text. Then choose the best fit for your design. The Font Favorites feature lets you find the fonts you use most often without sorting through a huge collection.
A handy new QR Code creator sits right in the program, and because InDesign creates vector codes, you can resize and copy them into other applications, such as Illustrator.
The Save to Cloud command makes layered files accessible to team members or clients on any device. All changes are tracked, so you don't have to worry about versioning.
InCopy, InDesign's editorial sidekick, has received an upgrade, too--and a ticket to Creative Cloud. Look for analogous enhancements of interface, Retina Display support, and font search.
Adobe released a new Web designer called Muse last year. Targeting InDesign users, it allowed for much the same kind of design functionality as did early versions of Dreamweaver, before it became more of a development tool. The Web has changed a lot since the original release of Dreamweaver (which was then a Macromedia product); but the spirit of the old Dreamweaver lives on in Muse, in that designers who do not want to deal with coding can use it to build professional-looking websites.
Users can use familiar desktop publishing tools and hundreds of Web fonts to design freely, and they can add interactive elements such as slideshows and forms. New features include Parallax scrolling, which makes images and elements move in different directions at different speeds as you scroll, and in-browser editing, which lets clients make changes to the content of their live Websites via a browser--without affecting the underlying layout or structure of the site. You can choose whether to merge changes with the original Adobe Muse files.
If those options remind you of InCopy, the editorial app companion to InDesign, that's no coincidence. As noted above, Adobe has moved InCopy to the cloud, too, and has updated it in conjunction with InDesign.
Kuler is perhaps best known as an online service that users access via a panel in Photoshop CS6. In a significant update to this utility, Adobe has turned Kuler into a cloud-based application for making color themes via the iPhone or via a browser. Capture colors from any environment and use Kuler to create and share color combinations. You can browse themes from the Kuler community, sync your themes to Adobe Illustrator CC with the Sync Colors feature, and start using them in your designs.
Working with the new iPhone app, you can choose among five presets such as Colorful and Muted. In the Kuler Web app, you can select presets that follow color theory, including Analogous, Triad, and Compound, among others.