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First look at Creative Cloud Libraries, connecting Adobe's desktop and mobile apps

J.R. Bookwalter | Oct. 14, 2014
Creative Cloud turned three this month, an age when most children finally begin to walk more confidently as they grow out of the toddler stage. The same could be said of Adobe's latest steps--the company took an adult-sized stride last week with the release of new mobile apps, and technology that connects them to a traditional desktop workflow like never before.

Creative Cloud turned three this month, an age when most children finally begin to walk more confidently as they grow out of the toddler stage. The same could be said of Adobe's latest steps — the company took an adult-sized stride last week with the release of new mobile apps, and technology that connects them to a traditional desktop workflow like never before.

The feature that makes this possible is Libraries, a cloud-based repository for colors, text styles, brushes, graphic assets, and even full images. Content added to Libraries from mobile or desktop apps gets synced immediately to Creative Cloud, ready to serve other compatible software connected to the same account.

Support your local Libraries

For the time being, desktop access to Libraries is limited to Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC — shared content won't show up in Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, or InDesign, for example. However, it's not hard to imagine Adobe will eventually expand the reach of Libraries to other members of the CC family with future updates. While Photoshop can access all asset types, Illustrator is slightly more limited, recognizing everything except for layer styles.

Libraries are positioned as a universal method for storing assets across platforms, but users should expect some legacy roadblocks. For example, vector-based Illustrator files can be dragged and dropped into Photoshop with no problem, but bitmapped images can only be placed into Illustrator, since such files can't be natively edited there.

The new Assets section of the Creative Cloud web portal can also be used to view or delete — but not edit — Libraries. Here, you can see the format of saved content, file sizes, and dimensions (the latter only for bitmapped elements), and sort your content by name or date.

Unlike the local brick-and-mortar book repository of the same name, Libraries exist as bits of code hidden within a user's Creative Cloud account. Opening the Creative Cloud Files folder from the Finder on a Mac reveals no trace of such content alongside other types of synced data — Libraries will only show up inside supported applications.

Shared assets

To open Libraries on the desktop, select Windows > Libraries from the latest version of Photoshop or Illustrator. Adding content to an existing library is as easy as selecting it from an open document, then dragging and dropping it onto the panel, or just click the Add button in the lower-left to do the same. Assets are automatically grouped by type, and each library can contain an unlimited number of content types.

Double-clicking an asset's name lets you change it to something more descriptive; doing the same on the icon opens a temporary file in the original application so you can make revisions. And then saving that temp file automatically updates the asset across all of your Creative Cloud-connected devices.

 

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