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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.

Brush CC also includes full control over crop and masking, as well as fine-tuning brush size, flow, pressure, velocity, and texture. Artists can preview how the brush will work without having to leave the app, and once synced, the new mark will be available for use on the iPad from the Photoshop Sketch app. Brushes can also be given unique names, but be sure to save them in the correct place — there's currently no way to move them between Libraries.

Getting into Shape

Adobe Shape CC has a similar, but even more impressive mission: Convert whatever the iPhone or iPad can see into editable vector graphics within seconds. The resulting SVG file can be further edited with Illustrator CC, or used as-is from any compatible software.

Shape CC isn't quite as robust as Brush CC when it comes to editing — you simply import an existing image or aim the device camera at an object you'd like to capture, adjust contrast, and then use a fingertip to remove unwanted areas prior to conversion. It's important to properly frame the desired area, because the app can't rotate a captured area or correct for surplus bleed between vectors.

Despite this simplicity, the very act of converting a captured image into high-quality, editable vector artwork on a mobile device is quite magical. Adobe Streamline once cost $199 to convert raster scans into vectors using processor-intensive desktop software — and now here it is, free to anyone with an iOS device. (Adobe rolled Streamline into the Live Trace tool starting with Illustrator CS2.)

The future is now

Adobe's October 2014 releases display a more focused company intent on changing the way designers will work in the future. Free from the shackles of the desktop, inspiration can now come from nearly anywhere as connected mobile devices are no longer considered second-class citizens for creating content.

Creative Cloud may be young, but Libraries and the new connected capture apps finally put the service on solid footing — and with the kind of poise and grace we don't often see from kids during adolescence.


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