Adobe recently announced a major upgrade to Creative Cloud suite of applications – CC 2014. Adobe has a wide range of products for creative and marketing professionals, but today I’m focusing on a few new features for print design/production and web development.
The Classic Trio for Print Media
For print design and production, here are a few new features worth trying out:
Focus Mask – If you spend a lot of time masking images (or close cropping to block out unwanted backgrounds), you might be interested in the new Focus Mask option. This feature claims to automatically select objects that are in focus, making the masking process much more efficient and accurate. This means better looking images to help businesses sell their products.
Live Shapes – One of Apple’s trademark design features, rounded corners for rectangular shapes, has found its way into many designs. As an Apple fan, I naturally like rounded corners. InDesign has made rounded corners quite simple for a while now, but I often get designers asking me how to do it in Illustrator. While it has always been possible, it has been neither efficient nor intuitive. Until now.
All corners of a shape can now have independent radius values, which are retained when you resize the shape (imagine that!). And changing the radius of corners is a simple matter of changing the numbers in the Transform panel. This might seem trivial to some, but I am celebrating!
Simplified tables – As if tables were not already pretty simple to setup with InDesign, Adobe just made it even easier. Moving rows and columns is now a matter of dragging them into the desired position. Presenting table information can now look even less like a spreadsheet, with fewer steps, saving time and money.
Streamlining Web Development
For web design and editing, here are some of the things I’m looking forward to trying out:
It’s true, Acrobat can be used in either print or web, but I’m including it here because many Acrobat forms are posted on websites. I recently was involved in a project where we had to create fillable forms with Acrobat. Adobe makes it very easy to create fillable forms that are intuitive for users and useful for businesses collecting data. Fillable forms has been a feature of Acrobat Pro for a while, but it just got a bit easier in the latest version. PDFs can also be stored in the Creative Cloud, accessible from any device – a great feature for designing, testing, and sharing.
CSS Designer – For web designers who do a lot of editing to existing websites, this tool makes it much more efficient and intuitive to edit the code used to style elements on a web page (CSS). Adobe also improved editing capabilities for @media queries, which are used in responsive web design to style page layouts for a wide variety of browsing devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.). Looking good across all devices is very important for businesses trying to reach more customers.
Add hosted web fonts – Since Adobe first announced Dreamweaver (actually, even before Adobe bought the original Go Live program), I have hoped for a more intuitive web design tool. It seems like they are much closer to granting that wish with Muse. And since fonts have always been an issue for both web and print designers, we now have double the pleasure with Muse’s ability to easily add fonts already installed on a computer. This will not only be fun (designers love playing with fonts); it will also mean less time spent on technical back-end details and more time creating layouts that help clients sell their products and services.
SVG Export – You can now take a single frame from a Flash animation and export to SVG format which can then be opened in Adobe Illustrator. With Illustrator of course, you can enlarge the vector graphic as much as you need and use it in your print projects (e.g.. poster, banners, etc) or make detailed edits and then re-import the file to your Flash project. Pretty cool.
There are many other new options to explore in the latest Creative Cloud update, but these are just a few that will improve design and production workflow. And improved workflow means less time in production so clients can focus on marketing goals for their products and services.
Interested in more? Check out Adobe’s Creative Cloud today.