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Ok. Full disclosure. I’m a big Adobe fanboy. I’ve been using Adobe products for quite some time, and I always get excited when I hear about new software updates. So, you can understand my excitement about being onsite covering Adobe MAX 2018–The Creativity Conference in Los Angeles.

SEE: Black Friday deal–25% discount on Adobe Creative Cloud (promo ends Nov. 23, 2018)

I won’t dive into the app news. Instead, let’s take a look at the big picture. What is Adobe attempting to do for creative artists around the world?

SEE: Hiring kit: Multimedia designer (Tech Pro Research)

Liberate your creative workflow

This year’s keynote theme differed from last year’s keynote where Adobe pushed the power of AI and Adobe Sensei. Today, Adobe drives home three bullets of note: Liberated creativity, accelerated workflow, and continued acceptance of new mediums and technology for the creative artist.

With regards to “liberating” creativity, Adobe understands that sometimes a creative artist is hit with inspiration at random. Speaking for myself, I am inspired pretty much 90 percent of the time at random instead of based on previous research.

The problem is that you’re not always in your creative workspace to get those creative inspirations drafted. (This is why I always carry a camera with me.) In the past, Adobe launched mobile apps such as Adobe Capture, which works really well to snap images or sketches that can be synced to the artist’s Creative Cloud apps such as Illustrator or Photoshop to continue developing the inspiration. This was a great idea, but there were limitations.

Adobe is now pushing this idea even more by making its creative apps integrate across operating systems and devices. Put an asset on your phone, and you can then view or work with it on your computer. And vice versa. Project Rush was a great example of this where you’re allowed to import video files for a quick edit as well as add audio and motion graphics with only a few clicks on the screen or a tab on the touchscreen.

SEE: Hiring kit: User experience specialist (Tech Pro Research)

AI and computational editing

Work acceleration is always useful as it allows the artist to complete jobs faster and more efficiently. This can lead to more jobs done in less time and essentially–more jobs from clients. Adobe plants it’s AI into some of its work flow to speed up repetitive actions and task as well as introduce new tools that learn from popular styles as well as your own style.

One of my favorite implementations of this is within the video editor, Premiere Pro. If you shoot a scene with two different cameras, you’ll most likely have the same scene with mismatched color science. One version of the scene may have a warmer tone than the other. With one click in the Premiere Pro Lumetri Color panel, you can match up the two scenes for a (near) perfect color balance.

On the front of new creative mediums and technologies, Adobe advises that AR, VR, and voice should not be considered art forms that will be a fad. User design and experience (UI/UX) is a big part of our day-to-day lives. Why do consumer enjoy smart assistants? Why do people enjoy using certain apps on their phone or tablets? Sure the underlying service associated with these products may be a part of the amour, but clean design and an intuitive experience keep consumers engaged and coming back. The UI and UX app from Adobe known as XD continues to get updates and tighter integration with other Adobe apps.

SEE: The latest Adobe Photoshop update continues to flex its AI muscles(TechRepublic)

Big app updates

It was rumored that Photoshop will be available on the Apple iPad. It’s not a rumor. iPad owners will now be able to use the popular image manipulation software on their tablet–the full version. No, this isn’t a stripped down version to work more efficiently with a mobile device. This is all of the features you’d find on the desktop version. Adobe took note of the touch interface and improved some functions of Photoshop by making menus slightly larger and easier to grab. The Apple Pencil also integrates well with this version of Photoshop.

Speaking of the Apple Pencil, Adobe also announced it’s beta project “Project Gemini” as its next offering for creative artists that love to create drawings or illustrations on their iPad. Intuitive functionality with the pencil as well as added computational and AI image processing will help speed up the work flow of repetitive tasks or common functions when creating. For example, if you need to duplicate and flip an eye in a portrait drawing because the right eye is slightly different anatomically from the left eye, you won’t need to draw both eyes in some instances, just duplicate it.

Apple isn’t the only tech giant looking to leverage the power of AR. The new Project Aero is Adobe’s initiative to take advantage of AR innovation. Project Aero will allow designers to work with the existing Creative Cloud tool. Developers and creatives will be able to create AR experiences built with Apple’s ARKit. Developers can easily create immersive content and bring it into Xcode for more development.

I remember the anxiety photographers felt when Lightroom was re-branded as Lightroom CC and Lightroom CC Classic. Well, Lightroom Classic is still here with us touting a more noticeable performance increase as well as more AI integration to help with organizing your images and retrieving them.

On the other hand, Lightroom CC (the newest version) received the same treatment as well as updated functionality. Synchronized edits across multiple images in the library have been added to give users batch editing power. HDR processing has been simplified with fewer clicks and options leaning more and more on Adobe’s AI.

Project Rush is now Premiere Rush. The beta project has now been released into the wild for use. The app is the next step in the simplified video creation. Premiere Rush is a lean and mean video editing tool available for use on MacOS, Windows and iOS. Android compatibility will be “available in 2019” as mentioned in the press conference. Rush takes the UI notes of Lightroom CC, but adds the power of desktop apps Premiere Pro, Audition, and After Effects rolled into one app. You can sync video files from your mobile devices or Adobe cloud space. You can add a music track and voice over. You can mix all the assets together then polish them up with built-in motion graphics templates.

This is a big step in mobile video editing. It’s not as powerful as the desktop apps, but it allows users to create awesome videos quickly and share them to social channels within a few clicks. If more bells and whistles are needed for a project, the Rush files can be used within Premiere Pro to finish the job.

SEE: Three free apps to handle your photo editing needs (TechRepublic)

Lots of information has been shared so far, and there’s even more to come from Adobe MAX. More from After Effects and Premiere Pro. Adobe Stock and Adobe XD also saw updates. The biggest key is that all of these apps are designed to work better together and have seamless integration between creative projects.

While I cover this event, I will continue to check out the ins and outs of Adobe MAX 2018 for everyone here at TechRepublic. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to ask questions about MAX and come back to Tech Republic all week long for more release notes.