Goodbye Creative Suite, Hello Creative Cloud: Adobe intros its New Apps

Adobe unveiled the next version of its popular graphic design, Web design, and video editing applications at Adobe MAX on Monday, and the collection is changing names from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud, hinting at a future where Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver are available only through subscriptions instead of traditional licensing. Adobe is also pushing the collaborative features of its apps through its purchase of Behance at the end of 2012.

Adobe revamps its apps, drops Creative Suite for Creative CloudAdobe revamps its apps, drops Creative Suite for Creative Cloud

Creative Cloud, formerly Creative Suite, includes Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premier, After Effects, Lightroom, Acrobat, and more. For the first time, it includes InCopy, which previously was seen as a critically missing component from the package.

Adobe chose to do away with the two-version model for Photoshop and is now offering all of the image and graphic editing features from Photoshop Extended in the app while dropping "Extended" from the name. That means all Photoshop CC users will have access to advanced 3D editing tools where previously only Photoshop Extended users had those features.

Photoshop CC's updated Smart Sharpen toolPhotoshop CC's updated Smart Sharpen tool

Photoshop CC includes several new features such as a Camera Shake Reduction that intelligently fixes blurred images from moving cameras, Smart Sharpen for better image sharpening with fewer artifacts, improved upsampling that creates less image distortion when increasing resolution, round rectangle shapes and new multi-shape editing tools, nondestructive blur and liquify effects, and more.

InDesign CC, Adobe's professional page layout application, finally gained 64-bit support and Retina Display support, which the company says improved performance when printing and importing INX and PDF documents. The new version also falls in line with Adobe's dark interface that was already available in Photoshop and Illustrator CS6. Like those versions, InDesign users can choose between several different menu and palette color schemes.

The new version supports Adobe's Sync Font feature for finding and downloading fonts from the Adobe Typekit library. Fonts downloaded through the service are available to all applications on your Mac as long as your Creative Cloud subscription is up to date. When Adobe previewed the new Creative Cloud apps to The Mac Observer they didn't yet have details as to how subscription licensing for Typekit fonts would be managed.

InDesign CC's enhanced font menusInDesign CC's enhanced font menus

InDesign CC now offers an enhanced font list filter that lets users find specific typefaces by searching for terms like "bold," or "italic" in addition to font names, they can now set favorite fonts that sync between CC apps, and the app now includes a built-in QR code creator.

Adobe's vector image editing application Illustrator now includes what the company is calling the Touch Type tool for precise control over changes to text on a letter-by-letter basis. individual letters are editable as if they were objects, and object handles now include specific functions. For example, grabbing one corner handle can resize proportionally while another skews an object.

Illustrator CC treats text as individual objectsIllustrator CC treats text as individual objects

Illustrator is the first of the CC apps to support color swatch syncing from the new Kuler app for the iPhone. The app lets users snap photos, select colors from those images, and then build a custom color palette. For now, those palettes can be synced only with Illustrator, but Adobe told TMO that support for other CC apps is coming soon.

The new version of Illustrator also includes the ability to paint with raster images, can create CSS code for use in your website designs, and can import multiple files into a single document.

Dreamweaver CC, Adobe's website design and editing app, now sports a visual editing tool, can build responsive sites through its improved Enhanced Fluid Grid layout, supports visual jQuery UI widget support, and offers improved asset management. Like InDesign and Illustrator, Dreamweaver CC supports font syncing

Even though Flash isn't as dominant as it once was, it's still an important part of the Adobe product lineup. Flash CC has a new 64-bit architecture, offers high definition video and HTML5 export, gained an easier to use interface, supports real-time drawing, and includes an unlimited pasteboard size.

Flash is still here, and includes HTML5 export supportFlash is still here, and includes HTML5 export support

Premier CC, Adobe's professional video editor, sports a redesigned timeline the company says will make nonlinear editing easier, supports source sequence editing into other sequences without nesting, offers improved asset linking in projects, can more easily use shared assets stored on servers, improved Closed Captioning support, and added the Lumetri Deep Color Engine.

The CC app suite also supports syncing settings, libraries, brushes and other preferences between apps on different computers. CC users will also get 20GB of online storage along with access to the Behance graphic designer and photographer social network.

Hello, Cloud
For users that aren't ready to make the jump to the CC app suite, Adobe still has you covered. Creative Coud subscribers can download the Creative Suite 6 apps as well, and Adobe will keep both versions up to date through its online update mechanism, and CS6 users will continue to receive maintenance updates at least until the next major Creative Cloud update regardless of whether they have a traditional perpetual license or are already Creative Cloud users.

Pricing for Creative Cloud hasn't changed. Users will still pay US$49.99 a month, or $19.99 a month for a single app. Traditional license CS6 users can sign up for the full Creative Cloud package or an individual app for half price for the first year.

If you're planning on buying a traditional perpetual license for the new app versions, just as you've been able to do for Creative Suite, get ready for disappointment. Adobe chose to move forward aggressively with its subscription-only model, killing off perpetual licenses only a year after introducing Creative Cloud. In other words, if you want the latest Adobe apps going forward, plan on jumping in to the subscription model.