Adobe announces Photoshop CC updates at MAX 2017

The updates keep on coming from Adobe's creative conference, MAX 2017. We've already seen how Adobe Sensei is bringing machine learning to the table to increase the data-handling capabilities across Adobe's Creative Cloud applications, plus the launch of cloud-centric photo service Lightroom CC which is set to make editing and sharing images easier.

But what about Adobe's core tools like Photoshop and Illustrator? Don't worry, they haven't been left behind.

New innovations and performance enhancements have been revealed today for Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Premiere Pro CC, and After Effects CC, along with greater integration with Adobe Stock.

With plenty of products and updates to get through, let's crack on and look at what all the enhancements have in store.

Photoshop CC

Newcomers are guided through Photoshop with a Learn Panel

The latest updates to Photoshop are geared towards making it easier for beginners to pick up the platform for the first time.

Adobe started rolling out ease-of-use improvements earlier in the year with the launch of the curvature pen tool, and now they're building on this with a new learn panel which provides interactive tutorials directly inside Photoshop, complete with tips to help you navigate each step.

Photoshop CC now also offers significantly expended photography support. By integrating Lightroom Photos into the start screen, users can save themselves time when working with mobile images they've synced via Lightroom CC.

The all-time number one request of Photoshop users - improved brush preset management - has finally been addressed as well. These improvements give users the ability to save tool options such as opacity, flow, and blend mode in a brush preset, making the whole painting experience smoother than before.

Topping off the updates to Photography CC are an even more accurate Select and Mask tool, brush stroke smoothing enhancements, and an improved integration with Adobe Stock images that lets users find images directly within the properties panel.

Illustrator CC

The new Property Panel makes tools easy to find

As Illustrator turns 30 this year, Adobe's focus has been on improving the tool's core experience so designers can easily create stunning graphics. We've seen some of these features like an Image Crop tool already, but with this latest release Adobe is looking to take things even further.

The standout feature in this upgrade is the updated Essentials workspace which includes a new Properties Panel. By showing users the controls they need, when they need them, Adobe claims that the Properties Panel is so revolutionary that you'll wonder how you lived without it.

By organising all panels into one locations so that users can access them quickly and easily, this is one update that's sure to be welcomed by designers that like working in a clutter-free environment.

For example when you use the Type Tool to insert a text frame, the Properties Panel automatically displays controls for character attributes so you can change the size, leading, or kerning there and then. What's more, if you draw a shape, the controls for the colour or stroke will be displayed by the Properties Panel.

It's hoped that the Properties Panel will improve a user's efficiency, but if it's not suited to how a person works they can always revert back to previous configurations.

InDesign CC

Find fonts based on style with the latest InDesign CC update

Adobe's efficiency drive continues with the latest updates to InDesign CC. With the new enhancements, users will be able to easily convert posters and books to digital magazines, ebooks and interactive PDFs.

Other improvements to the industry-leading page-design app include the ability to add endnotes and table annotations. Endnote numbering, formatting and layout can also be controlled, plus there's the option to directly import endnotes from Microsoft Word.

Rounding off the InDesign updates are object-style enhancements, paragraph borders, and the ability to manage text in Creative Cloud Libraries. Finally, additional enhancements make it easier to work with type. Fonts can be filtered via the Character Panel plus you can search for them based on visual similarity.

Premiere Pro CC

Create immersive environments easily with Premiere Pro CC

There's good news for video editors as the latest innovations for Premiere Pro CC include new collaborative workflows, immersive environments for editing VR/360, and Responsive Design controls for time and position when designing motion graphics.

These updates make Premiere Pro the only NLE that allows editors to work with multiple open projects at the same time while editing teams can work on a single project simultaneously over a closed or open network.

With Responsive Design functionality, users can also respond to changes in duration, aspect ratio, and frame size. These tools mean that users have the ability to preserve the integrity of keyframes (for example n intro and outro) so they are not affected by changes made to the overall clip duration.

In a similar vein to Adobe's improvements to Photoshop CC, there's also a focus on making it easier for newcomers to get on board with Premiere Pro CC. This improved usability includes new key commands for working with graphics, the ability to close gaps in a timeline with just one click, and label support for Search Bins. Coach marks are also on hand to guide users through the process of creating their first sequence.

After Effects CC

Workflows just got streamlined in After Effects CC

Improved workflow efficiency is the order of the day when it comes to the updates for After Effects CC. The latest release streamlines the ability to create data-driven graphics and delivers high-quality VR and 3D results. And thanks to GPU performance enhancements, After Effects CC does this faster than ever before.

One of the most exciting new features puts viewers into the centre of the action with either 180 storytelling to full 360 VR. A new VR Comp Editor in After Effects transforms equirectangular 360 footage into familiar, flat rectilinear images.

Meanwhile a new Extract Cubemap in After Effects simplifies motion tracking and object removal in 360 video while the new VR Converter lets you switch on-the-fly between different immersive formats so you can ensure your final content will play well on any platform.

On top of this, users can design immersive motion graphics experiences, using the new Create VR Environment feature, including camera positions -with or without live-action footage.

Thanks to performance and navigation enhancements, users can render layer transforms, motion blurs and more effects on the GPU. Keyboard Shortcut Mapping allows you to quickly find, adjust, and customise keyboard shortcuts using a visual map like the one used in Premiere Pro.

And with the help of the enhanced Start screen and New Composition and New Composition from Footage buttons, creatives can get down to work that much quicker.

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