2015 Adobe Creative Cloud: In-depth Review of the Programs

by Modis on December 15, 2015

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The power of great design lies within individual creators, but using the right tools can have a huge impact on boosting your ability to deliver a top-notch finished product. Adobe has long been a household name when it comes to all things design, with tools aimed at everyone from publishers and video creators to coders and game developers. Now that the latest update to Adobe’s Creative Cloud has been out in the wild for a few months, here’s a closer look at what’s new with the software suit and what designers are saying about it.

Adobe Creative Cloud at a Glance

As a software platform aimed at putting a broad range of tools in the hands of tech-savvy creatives, the updated 2015 Adobe Creative Cloud includes a suite of more than 30 apps for desktop computer and mobile devices. Recognizable heavy-hitters like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, Dreamweaver and Lightroom round out a range of smaller programs in the collection.

adobe creative cloud©1999-2015, Noble Desktop LLC

Many of the desktop apps now come with mobile counterparts, and there’s a much stronger emphasis on giving users the ability to create and draft content anytime in a way that can be easily shifted across devices via the cloud.

What’s New?

Improvements to the interface and engines nearly across the board give many of the apps in the 2015 Creative Cloud a significant boost in speed and performance over previous editions. This fine-tuning is set to help users create and design faster and more fluidly, which is always a good thing. Other updates bring notable improvements and new features to some of the core flagship programs.

Photoshop’s new art boards, for example, let you test out multiple layouts in a single document, giving wiggle room to try different sizes and configurations without hopping to a new file. A new device preview feature lets you see how your designs will look in mobile devices.

In Premiere Pro, a new Lumetri Color panel allows for instant color corrections and video morph cuts. Added integration with Creative Cloud Libraries makes for a smoother experience when transitioning between programs to work on different aspects of your project.

Other minor feature updates beyond performance optimization include Lightroom’s de-haze function for eliminating (or adding) fog and haze to image, as well as expanded one-click publishing and distribution for InDesign projects.

The 2015 Creative Cloud update also incorporates an all-new service, Adobe Stock, which gives users access to a vast marketplace of 40 million photos, illustrations and graphic assets. Loading up watermarked stock photos in your project, you can work on designs and share them across the core desktop apps. Once you’ve finalized a design you’re happy with, you can purchase a license for the photo directly in-app from whatever program you’re currently working in.

Pros and Cons

Feature lists and broad overviews are all fine and good, but what does this mean for the end-users who’ve adopted this latest iteration of Adobe’s creative suite? What are actual designers and creatives saying about the 2015 Creative Cloud update?

Beyond the handful of app-specific perks and updates, the core focus on giving users more speed and flexibility to create and share their work-in-progress designs across devices is a big part of what makes the Creative Cloud so compelling as a suit. Individual programs, like Photoshop and InDesign, remain critical elements of many production pipelines across numerous industries, so it makes sense that many power-users have these programs heavily entrenched in their creative pipeline.

The biggest points of contention among users, however, fall squarely on Adobe’s “software as a service” style payment model and its emphasis on incremental updates instead of major overhauls. Without the ability to buy and own any of the programs outright, users are stuck paying monthly fees, either for individual programs or in discounted packages. This rankles some long-time Adobe customers who prefer the older software as a result. Minor ongoing improvements and additions, rather than sweeping updates, also seem to dampen the enthusiasm of some adopters. Still, many find these challenges aren’t enough to keep them away completely.

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