1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Max 2014: New Features and Functionality

Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 update

It's that time again: a huge update has come to Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Below, you'll find all of the new features added to Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, and some new iOS mobile apps that integrate with many of Adobe's applications. Take advantage of Library panels, easily extractable assets, apps like Adobe Brush and more, all created to improve your workflow.

New Features for Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Libraries Panel

Previously, other applications have seen library panels that are only useful for that particular application. With this update, Photoshop gets a brand new panel that can be carried across multiple applications and used throughout your Creative Cloud account.

Features like color swatches, images, layer styles, etc., are available within any library that you create and save for use within Adobe programs and any device when connected to your Creative Cloud account. If disconnected from the internet, the ability to sync library additions across programs is not available.

Libraries panel with freshly saved swatches
Artwork from Tuts+ course Mastering Sketch Design in Illustrator.

Extract Assets and SVG Support

Extract assets from a working document's layers with ease, and save them to a variety of formats and resolutions. Simply select the layers within the document you'd like to extract and go to File > Extract Assets. From there, adjust the size, resolution, and export settings of each selected layer and save to your computer or the Creative Cloud. This speeds up the process of saving, sending, and managing file assets to a dizzying speed.

Extract Assets easily in Photoshop CC 20142
Extract assets easily in Photoshop CC 20142.

Additionally, you can now export layers as SVG files in order to preserve path information, layer styles, and more within the exported file itself rather than it being the large, full PSD file.

Improved Guides

Finally, guides have been updated so they're easily created and edited. No longer will you have to drag out and manually place multiple guides (unless you want to). Under View you'll find three new ways to interact with guides: New GuideNew Guide Layout, and New Guide From Shape

  • New Guide simply allows you to create a new horizontal or vertical guideline.
  • New Guide Layout (shown below) allows you to place multiple guides at once and choose their placement on your document and in relation to each other. Edit the number of guides, margins between them, and their placement on the document.
  • New Guide From Shape allows you to quickly place guides around a document or shape layer (note that it will place the guides around the document if it's a rasterized layer you have selected).
New Guide Layout in action
New Guide Layout in action.

Adobe Color Themes Panel

This panel has replaced Kuler within the application. Still connected to what was your Kuler account on Adobe's website, the Adobe Color Themes panel now allows you to create themes and palettes within Adobe Photoshop itself, rather than only being a library resource for sets created either through the Kuler mobile app or the Kuler website.

You can also easily explore other themes created by Adobe users or share your themes with friends, colleagues, or the world through the panel when logged into your Creative Cloud account.

Adobe Color Themes formerly known as Kuler
Adobe Color Themes formerly known as Kuler.

Support for Windows Touch Devices

So long as your Windows device that has touch capabilities is running Windows 8.1, Adobe Photoshop now allows for zoom, pinch, pan, and rotate features to be enabled. This is especially useful if you're running your software on a Microsoft Surface Pro or similar device.

Support for 3D PDF files

Continuing in its support for 3D printers, Photoshop now carries that support to creating and saving 3D PDF files. This allows the user to easily transfer 3D designs to clients or coworkers for viewing or editing in Adobe Acrobat or to open in a browser.

Additional Photoshop Updates

Other additions to this update include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Transparency data included when a user Copies and Pastes a layer into another application. 
  • Easily lock layers (Control-/) and hide layers (Control-Comma (,)) with new keyboard shortcuts.
  • Selected layer groups will become a part of a newly created layer group rather than having to drag them into it in the Layers panel.

New Features for Adobe Illustrator CC 2014

Creative Cloud Libraries

Much like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator has access to its own Libraries panel, which makes transferring assets a breeze. Below you'll see the swatches I added in Photoshop have appeared within my Illustrator Libraries panel, as well as graphic assets I added within Illustrator itself.

Further use of Adobes Libraries panel
Further use of Adobes Libraries panel.

Curvature Tool

You'll notice the Toolbar has been rearranged during the latest update. To the right of the Pen Tool (P) you'll now find the Curvature Tool (Shift-~). Easily create curved shapes, including perfect circles (which only take four clicks), rather than messing around with the Pen Tool and an overabundance of anchor points.

The Curvature Tool's points are editable too, allowing the shape to change its curve once placed rather than manipulating each and every anchor point within the shape. Additionally, double-clicking on a point with the Curvature Tool converts that point to a corner point with straight lines converging or back to a curve again.

The new Curvature Tool in action
The new Curvature Tool in action.

Join Tool

In the event you work quickly or use the Pencil Tool (N) a lot, this tool will be very useful. Easily join open paths together with the Join Tool (found under the Pencil Tool in the Toolbar). Click and drag the tool in a scribble-like motion over the open path and the two disconnected anchor points you drew over will be joined.

You can also close the gap between two points by scribbling in the rest of the path, or simply trim excess portions of paths (whether strokes or filled in shapes) by joining or closing the path in at an earlier point.

Use the Join Tool to quickly and easily close a path
Use the Join Tool to quickly and easily close a path.

Additional Illustrator Updates

Other updates to the program include (but are not limited to):

  • Integration of Touch work space into Illustrator through Windows 8.1 tablet devices. Much like Photoshop, Illustrator now supports touch functionality (pressure sensitive tools and multi-touch gestures) for tablets such as the Microsoft Surface Pro and more.
  • Area type frames now auto-size as you add, edit, or delete text within a text box you created.

New Features for Adobe InDesign CC 2014

Interactivity in Fixed Layout EPUBs

Now, when creating EPUBs, you can add various interactive and animated features to your fixed document. These include slide shows, hyperlinks, or buttons that trigger animated features within the document.

Additionally, you'll be able to preview and control how these features are viewed or used from a variety of devices within the EPUB Interactivity Preview panel. This gives you greater ability to create an EPUB that is flexible and usable in a variety of formats, so your clients, customers, friends, or colleagues will view and interact with your document in the way that you intended.

Preview your EPUBs features in the EPUB Interactivity Preview panel
Preview your EPUB's features in the EPUB Interactivity Preview panel.

Adobe Color Panel

Much like the other Adobe applications listed above, InDesign CC 2014 continues to utilize Kuler under a new name: Adobe Color. Create color themes, download the themes from other users, and share your themes all within InDesign itself rather than having to go to the Adobe Color website instead.

Manage your Adobe Color themes directly from Adobe Applications
Manage your Adobe Color themes directly from Adobe Applications.

Additional InDesign Updates

Other updates to Adobe InDesign 2014 CC include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Typekit Enhancements: InDesign will indicate whether or not font syncing is turned on within Creative Cloud while you're working within a document. 
  • EPUB enhancements: Hyperlinks are now supported, along with cross-references. You can also preserve the appearance of a layout in EPUB files you create.

Adobe Mobile and Tablet Application Updates

Adobe Brush CC

With Adobe Brush, you can create custom brushes for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Sketch from your device's camera, camera roll, or your Creative Cloud account. Adjust the size, scatter, and jitter options of the brush within the application, save, and use the brush within its selected application on your tablet or desktop.

This mobile app is available for iPads and iPhones running iOS7 or later. You can download it free in the App Store.

Create Brushes easily with Adobe Brush CC
Create Brushes easily with Adobe Brush CC.

Adobe Shape CC

Using the Adobe Shape CC app, downloadable in the App Store, you can create shapes from almost any image your device has captured with its camera. Whether it be a photo of a friend, logo, texture, or drawing, your captures can be saved to your Creative Cloud Library and utilized in other Adobe applications, such as Adobe Illustrator.

Adjust the captured shape with the app's dials (see the highlighted components within the app below) so you get exactly what you want from the image converted into vector form. This app also integrates with another mobile app, Adobe Draw, which I'll explain in the next section.

Capture images textures type and more with Adobe Shape
Capture images, textures, type, and more with Adobe Shape CC.

Adobe Illustrator Draw

Formerly known as Adobe Ideas, Adobe Illustrator Draw is a vector drawing app for the iPad. Available free in the App Store, this app works perfectly with the Adobe Ink & SlideAdonit Jot Touch, or Wacom's Intuos Creative Stylus in creating vector art on the go.

Work with all of the tools from Adobe Ideas in an updated interface that's reminiscent of Illustrator Line and Photoshop Sketch. Create perfect lines, curves, and shapes, and easily import them into Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 or send to other files. You'll also find this app can upload finished or in-progress work directly to your Behance profile, much like Adobe's desktop apps.

Work entirely within Adobe Illustrator Draw or send files to the desktop app
Work entirely within Adobe Illustrator Draw or send files to the desktop app.

Adobe Illustrator Line

This precision drafting app has been updated from its previous version to integrate more fully with Adobe Illustrator. Whatever you create in Line can be imported into the desktop app with all of its vector data intact. The update also includes the ability to group drawings as projects and publish them directly to Behance.

Smart Spacing has been introduced to the app to allow users to perfectly distribute shapes that have been traced or stamped with the help of smart guides. Additionally, grids are made available to help align or snap shapes.

Use Illustrator Draw for more precise drawing and drafting tools
Use Illustrator Draw for more precise drawing and drafting tools.

Adobe Color

Formerly known as Kuler, Adobe Color integrates with your Creative Cloud account to create, save, and access color themes across Adobe applications on both desktop and mobile. With the mobile app, though, you can capture images and extract color palettes from those images to use them elsewhere, rather than simply making them from scratch.

Capture photos and create custom color themes with Adobe Color
Capture photos and create custom color themes with Adobe Color.

Adobe Photoshop Mix

This app's Version 1.3 has been updated so it's now available both on iPad and on iPhone (provided these devices are running iOS 7 or later). New features include Auto Cut Out, which automatically selects the primary element in an image, preparing them to be cut out. What was formerly known as Enhance has been renamed to Adjust. You can share your projects directly from the app to Behance, Facebook, and more.

Use new features in Adobe Photoshop Mix like Auto Cut Out
Use new features in Adobe Photoshop Mix like Auto Cut Out.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

In version 2.0, Adobe Sketch boasts more expressive brushes that include acrylic and pastel style brushes for your painting needs. Additionally, this app is integrated with Adobe Brush CC, which allows you to create brushes easily and import them into Adobe Photoshop Sketch. Lastly, you can access your brushes and content created within the app in your Creative Cloud library, allowing whatever you do in Adobe Photoshop Sketch to be transferred to desktop apps and more.

Sketch paint and create with Adobe Sketch
Sketch, paint, and create with Adobe Sketch.

Missed the Day 1 Keynote from Adobe Max?

No worries if you missed the live event from Adobe Max 2014. You can check all of Adobe's app updates on its website or watch the keynote event here detailing and demoing updates to programs and apps. If you're a Creative Cloud subscriber, don't forget to download the newest updates to your applications. If you're not, perhaps some of these updates, or those from June, will sway you in checking out Adobe CC 2014.

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