To say this is milestone year for Adobe would be a major understatement. The company behind the software most designers use day in, day out, across the globe - from Photoshop and Illustrator to After Effects and Dreamweaver - is introducing a revolutionary change in the way we interact with its products and services: a software-as-service model called the Creative Cloud (if this is all new to you, you'll find our summary here).
Adobe's currently taking to the road to explain the benefits of Creative Cloud to designers across the globe in a series of "Adobe Creative Days", part of its "Create Now World Tour", and they hit London tomorrow (you can watch the live stream here, wherever you are in the world).
In the run-up, we caught up with Rufus Deuchler, senior worldwide design evangelist for the Creative Cloud - en route from Moscow to the UK - to find out more about the event, what we can expect from it, and the future of Adobe in general...
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The point of the Creative Day, Deuchler explains, is to give Adobe's experts the chance to explain the move to the Creative Cloud more fully and put to rest some of the myths surrounding what that means for designers. "We made a quite a few announcements at Adobe MAX a few weeks ago, and we'd now like to engage with our users directly, all around the world," he says.
What's special about a live event, he says, is that "nothing can replace seeing for yourself, be that in-person or via the live stream, a new product, feature or innovation. And we couldn't be more excited to share the vision of Adobe and the new tools."
"I personally will be talking about our vision around Adobe Creative Cloud, and I will also be showing some of the new features in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Muse," Deuchler continues. "I'll be joined by Jason Levine, who'll cover the new features in our video workflows, and by Paul Trani, who'll be talking about our brand new tools for web design."
And it won't just be Adobe employees we'll hear from, he adds. "We also wanted to provide a platform for creatives to showcase their work and share what motivates and inspires them - we have a great line-up of speakers."
Why move to the Cloud?
In the meantime, though, we wanted to get Deuchler's general take on why designers should move to the Creative Cloud. What, we ask, is his 'elavator pitch' to persuade sceptical designers to shift from boxed copies to the new subscription model?
Deuchler argues that the new service is more than just the sum of its parts. "The Creative Cloud brings together all of the apps you know and love along with sharing and storage, collaboration, community and publishing, to enable the best creative experience, allowing our users to showcase their work and expand their creative network with Behance, and seamlessly deliver their content to any device, any screen, anywhere," he explains.
It's about creating a workflow that makes you more productive and frees up time and energy for creativity. "The Creative Cloud is deeply integrated into the personal user experience, with the ability to sync settings, fonts, brushes and more, across multiple computers. Creative Cloud is really the perfect toolset for designers today."
Deuchler points to the tie-up with online portfolio community Behance as an example of how this integration of services creates a whole new offering for designers. "As a designer myself, I was very excited about the acquisition," he says. "I really think that the community is, and must be, an integral part of any creative workflow. Behance allows for that, it allows for sharing, getting feedback on work in progress, and did you know that Creative Cloud members get a ProSite as part of their membership? A ProSite allows you to create a professional online portfolio in a few easy steps."
Another is the tie-up between After Effects and Cinema 4D - one of the more eye-raising of recent Adobe announcements, given that Cinema 4D is produced by a separate company (a Lite version is included in the Creative Cloud subscription for those who don't own the full product).
"The After Effects/Cinema4D integration has long been a request from our users and those in the compositing/VFX community," Deuchler explains. "In our continued efforts to listen to our customers and bring new innovations together, this was indeed an enormous first step - and we're only just beginning."
Fireworks is included
One Adobe tool there's been some confusion over has been Fireworks. Deuchler confirms that "we're not planning further feature development for Fireworks", but that doesn't mean Fireworks users have been left high and dry. "For our users who are not ready to drop Fireworks for our other solutions, we will continue to sell Fireworks CS6 as well as make it available as part of the Creative Cloud," he explains.
But why not continue develop the tool? Deuchler responds: "In recent years there has been an increasing amount of overlap in functionality found in our creative applications like Photoshop or Illustrator, and our new Edge Tools and Services," Deuchler responds. "We have therefore decided to focus our efforts on smaller, more modular, tools and services for specific tasks in web design. The new CSS generation features in Photoshop and Illustrator are the way of the future, in my humble opinion."
As his job title suggests, Deuchler is full of passion for Adobe and its products, and seems genuinely enthused by the prospect of coming to London and interacting with designers, both at the event and online via the live stream and social media. And he stresses that feedback is genuinely welcomed by the company.
"Being on the road most of my time, I also gather a lot of great feedback and ideas from our users from all over the world," he says. "And that information is conveyed back to the teams. I am looking forward to seeing you in London."
- You can watch the live stream of Adobe's Creative Day from 9.45am tomorrow at www.adobecreativedays.com/uk, as well as following and interacting with the event via the #creativedays hashtag on Twitter. You can contact Deuchler via Twitter @rufusd.
- We'll be talking to Mala Sharma, vice-president of product marketing for the Creative Cloud, later in the week about nitty gritty of how the service works, such as how you access your files if you cancel - so stay tuned!