Adobe Releases 2014 CC Update, iPad Apps, Stylus and Ruler
Adobe Sketch, Adobe Line, and Photoshop Mix for iOS Will Integrate with Desktop Software
Adobe released the new 2014 update of Creative Cloud today, complementing previously announced new features in its desktop video applications with a new suite of iOS apps as well as a stylus and ruler designed for use with the iPad.
First announced at the Adobe Max conference last May, Adobe Ink and Adobe Slide are described as a "digital pen" and "digital ruler." Ink is a pressure-sensitive aluminum stylus designed for iOS 7 with some features for acccessing material stored in Creative Cloud. Adobe Slide is a companion three-inch ruler meant to allow users to precisely sketch a variety of shapes on the iPad screen. Built by Adobe's manufacturing partner, Adonit, both pieces of hardware are available from Adobe.com in a $199 set for shipment to North America only. Adobe says they will be available internationally later in the year.
Ink and Slide are designed to work with two of Adobe's new iPad apps, Adobe Sketch and Adobe Line. Sketch is described by Adobe as "a social sketching iPad app," and it's designed for freeform sketching with some community features tied into Creative Cloud. Line is intended for precision drafting, and is meant to combine freehand drawing with controlled lines and curves and tight Slide configuration as well as an in-app software equivalent of the hardware ruler, called Touch Slide. Though both programs are designed to complement the Ink and Slide hardware, they're not required.
The third iPad app is Photoshop Mix, a more robust version of its existing Photoshop Express and Photoshop Touch apps. It includes easy-to-use touch-based compositing and masking tools plus advanced features like Upright (perspective correction), Content Aware Fill and Camera Shake Reduction. Adobe calls those latter three features "cloud-based imaging technology," meaning they do the computing in the cloud in order to get the job done without smoke coming out of the back of your iPad. It will also let users open and save PSD files, presumably making it possible for your iPad to hold its own in a roundtrip workflow with desktop Photoshop.
Sketch, Line and Photoshop Mix are free applications, with English, French, German and Japanese versions available now in the Apple App Store. One point worth noting — the cloud-based features in Photoshop Mix are free for a limited time, but will require a premium CC subscription at some unspecified point in the future. And, yes, the apps are being released for iOS only. Adobe officials say customer demand for Android versions will be "evaluated." (Well, you'd better not hold your breath.)
The mobile apps were developed using the new Adobe Creative SDK, which is currently in private beta, the company said. More on the SDK will be available at Adobe Max in October, but you can keep an eye on http://creativesdk.adobe.com to see what information Adobe feels like making public between now and then.
Upgrades to Adobe's video apps were announced before NAB and include Live Text Templates and Masking and Tracking, which bring functionality previously limited to After Effects into Premiere Pro. Direct Link functionality for Adobe SpeedGrade has been further brought into line with the rest of the Adobe Suite, and After Effects enjoys some new keying tools. Look for more on these features in our First Look.
And if you're wondering what else could possibly be added to Photoshop, Adobe has it covered. The photo-editing software is getting a new set of Blur Gallery effects designed to better suggest motion within still images, a Focus Mask aimed at editing portrait shots with a very shallow depth of field, a few new Content-Aware tricks, and Perspective Warp, for adjusting perspective in only one part of an image without affecting the rest of the picture. Mercury Engine performance has been improved, and Smart Objects can now be linked and shared with other documents. Finally, touch enhancements have been added with an eye on advancing usability specifically on Microsoft's powerful new Surface Pro 3 tablet.