Whether Adobe’s focus on collaboration and remote-working was prescient long-term thinking, or if this direction of development is a reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic is unclear; what is clear is that the timing of this release is ideal for the new work environment we find ourselves in.
Adobe CC June Update Highlights
Adobe’s move from an 18-month release cycle, to multiple releases per year thins out the excitement surrounding these updates, but in this one there are some new tools and initiatives to get excited about — particularly if you’re a fan of Photoshop, XD, or Premiere Pro.
Creative Cloud Desktop Update
The Creative Cloud Desktop app ties the whole Creative Cloud suite together. Adobe is transforming it into a place to connect and to learn, as well as managing your documents.
The big news for Photoshop users is a substantially enhanced Select Subject tool. Adobe was lagging behind in this area, with detailed cut-outs requiring hours of manual work to get right. The algorithms governing the tool have been updated, cutting hours off the time it takes to isolate complex shapes like hair, or smoke.
Photoshop also sees the introduction of Local Hue Adjustments. These allow you to localize changes to an image’s color. You could always do this, but now you can do it without multiple masked layers.
If those improvements aren’t enough for you, there’s also tighter Lightroom integration so you can hop back and forth between apps, leveraging the power of both.
XD is fast becoming Adobe’s most important app, if not in terms of sales volume, then for its singular ability to keep pace with rivals like Figma.
This release is XD’s 30th, and it includes a new way of working with layouts: Stacks are CSS Flexbox-style elements that work horizontally or vertically. Stacks are content-aware, with elements repositioning themselves when dragged.
XD version 30 also introduces Design Tokens. Design Tokens are a simple way of labelling a high-level design decision, like a color, so that when the design is exported the developer receives more insight into the designer’s intention.
Expect more XD innovation in the future because the Adobe Fund for Design will now be issuing grants for technical projects, including developing plugins for XD.
Premiere Pro Updates
The big news for Premiere Pro users is the introduction of stock audio to the Adobe Stock Library. This means that for the first time you can trial, and purchase music from within your Premiere Pro editing environment.
Yes, it is just another opportunity to open your wallet. However, the addition of music elevates video to another level, and this new type of content in the Adobe Stock Library is a huge leap forward.
Premier Rush Updates
Not to be outdone, Premiere Rush now has a Sensei-powered auto-reframe tool enabling the app to intelligently crop video.
If you are publishing video for multiple file formats – to post to different social media channels for example – Auto Reframe will intelligently crop the video to the right aspect ratio.
Illustrator is very much the Oliver Twist of the Creative Cloud suite, but even it gets a welcome update.
Illustrator can now save directly to the cloud, and Adobe testing suggests that doing so is up to five times faster than saving to your local drive.