Thoughts on Adobe Creative Cloud 2014…

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It has been a few weeks since the release of Creative Cloud 2014, and have had a chance to fully integrate the various apps into my daily workflow. As with any new tools, it takes a bit to get used to the changes and to discover how the new features work.

icon-48.fp-5541debeb12c469a693561461388d45aLet’s start with the big guy, Photoshop. Now not really a new feature for Creative Cloud 2014 release, but the Generator functionality that was added after the initial Creative Cloud release is still my feature (hey, my review, my rules). As a prototyper, I often get my visual assets is various states of development. Being able to quickly generate the assets I need, in the formats I need is great time saver.

I also love seeing how the team has integrated the TypeKit service into Photoshop as well. Now I can open my designer’s PSDs and be able to access the typography they have chosen. I may have good collection of fonts on my machine, but it no match to my designer’s collection.

The last feature that I have found useful in my workflow is the improvement to Layer Comps. Developing mobile user interfaces means handling a variety of screens sizes and orientations. While not perfect for this, we are finding that we can use this to better group the user interfaces together.

icon-48.fp-289fc33f826f0284f3ac2ed0a7c722fbMy Illustrator skills are not nearly as strong as they should be. So having the new ability to help me close my paths has been great. I always had trouble keeping my work “on pixel”, often I would find once my work was rasterized, there was more anti-aliasing than I expected. Illustrator can now also snap the anchor points to pixel, grid or point. Also, they have done some nice work on working with anchor points. I think I can really start to use Illustrator as my drawing tool, rather than just working with designs given to me by my visual designers. Since I am also starting to use more and more SVGs in both my web and mobile development, I am sure I will be seeing that pen tool more and more.

icon-48.fp-ab5d905480c4975a4711aed4fe027db6Speaking of web development, Dreamweaver got a few nice touches as well. I must confess, most of my day to day web development is done using Brackets. But there are times when I need to open a competed web page to work with. In those cases I often do launch Dreamweaver. I was pleased to see some of the new inspectors, the element quick view has been useful when working on a complex DOM, and attempting to see the structure. I also like the live view property inspector that has been added. It is nice to be able to poke around and see what is being applied to an element. That is one thing that interrupts my workflow with Brackets, is pulling up the Chrome Inspector and losing the live refresh link with the page.

I also do a fair amount of teaching new developers web technologies, and it nice to see that the CSS that Dreamweaver is producing is clean, and the new visual editing tools can really assist your development workflow.

icon-48.fp-7aee161e34391878452392f6f08b7725I wrote about some of the new improvements to Flash in a previous post. In short, Flash is returning to its roots as a premiere animation solution. We can now publish to HTML5 via the create.js library or through WebGL. In fact, the team brought back the motion editor that has removed in Flash Professional CC. Another nice addition to Flash is the ability to export SVGs.

icon-48.fp-e2933b90285ca810d1d6c2eac1e9534eThe last tool that I have been experimenting with is Adobe Muse. We are always looking for ways to shorten our prototyping cycle. Although are some interesting tools in the prototyping space, due to various reason we are not allowed to use them. So I decided to take another look at Adobe Muse in this release to see it might assist us. There were several under the hood changes that really made a difference, the two most noticeable is the fact it has been completely rebuilt with 64-bit support. The sluggishness that existed in previous versions is now a distant memory. The app also now supports HiDPI screens (and if you like a dark UI). Doubt I will use Muse as part of my production workflow, but I think we can leverage its easy to use features to quickly mockup and prototype with.

I am really enjoying the improvements to my workflow by using the 2014 release of Creative Cloud. Let me know what features are helping your workflow.

 

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