The Adobe Creative Cloud is a great way to have a seamless way of keeping settings, files, and feedback from team members in sync. Before CC every 2 years Adobe would release a new Box set with CD’s. If they were to make an update you would have to wait 2 years to get that update. Now with a subscription you get monthly updates on each individual program.
Photoshop Image sharpening
If you were to take an image that’s 500px and 72dpi and want to make it 3 times larger and 300dpi you might think that’s crazy. Of course it’s going to be all blurry and horrible. But not anymore! PS has a new “Preserve Detail” (File/Image Resize) option that enables you to do this while still preserving the quality of the image. This is a default setting and the results speak for themselves.
Take a look below at the woman’s freckles and hair (on right) compared to the original on the left. That detail is amazing.
The little things…
They have updated the default setting to be more efficient. Instead of colour red and position inside (which is a setting no one would use), it’s been updated to screenshot below. This is a more realistic setting. It’s nothing ground breaking but these little things make our life easier.
When designers are asked “make everything have rounded corners” we would painstakingly delete and redraw every shape in the design! But now with PS CC new feature we just need to select all shapes and go to our new Live Shape Properties window which gives you the ability to make rounded corners. Wait it gets better – you have the option to do all 4 corners or one at a time. This will save lots of time when designing or doing updates.
Real time image assets
This is one of the best features Adobe has released! Instead of using the slice tool or copying and pasting into a new window then exporting every element in the design. PS can now do real time asset creation just by giving you the ability to name the files accordingly. So for example I have a layer that is a white arrow. Simply name the layer white_arrow.png or white_arrow.jpg depending on what format you want. Go to File/Image assets and this automatically generates an image folder with all my assets in.
But wait there’s more! What if I need a retina version? If you need larger dimension images for retina displays, you can also quickly create those by adding a scaling factor.
To turn on this functionality, go to File -> Generate -> Image Assets. Now all you have to do is rename the layers or layer groups you want to export. Here are some examples of supported tags:
.png (Default value: png32 with semi-transparent alpha), .png8, .png24, .png32
.jpg (Default value: 9), .jpg(1-10), .jpg(1-100%)
1-n%, (Number) px x (Number) px for scaling
Here are some examples of how tags can be used:
“200% logo-retina.png, logo.png” produces both a 2x and a 1x asset
“heroImage.jpg10” produces a 1x asset with max quality
“400% tuningfork.png, 250×250 tuningfork.jpg40%” produces a 4x PNG asset and a custom-scaled JPEG asset.
This is great for any iOS or Android project because they can require up to 4 different sizes for the one asset. Again this a great time saving!
Bitmap Brush tool
Illustrator has got some very cool new features too. Creating a brush is nothing new but it was only limited to vector shapes. We can now create a new brush from a bitmap image.
InDesign has a great new search font tool – where you can search fonts by style (ie: all bolds etc.) and you can also add fonts to favourites. We can now generate QR codes in InDesign which is a vector so we can copy and paste into PS or AI.
Reflow is a new tool CC has released to market. It allows our designs to come to life through the responsive layouts or breakpoints. It demonstrates how the design will look depending on what device they are on. I have played with this tool. I think it works well if you have a fairly basic site, but it can be a little more challenging for those more complex, and it also depends how well you have named layers. You have to use the new naming convention as seen above in real time image assets. Reflow is still in it’s early stages but has a very exciting future ahead!
Adobe Muse was a brand new tool built for CC in mid 2012. But it has had major updates nearly every month with new features and upgrades released to the CC members. With the latest update at the end of 2013 Muse is bigger and better then ever. If you are not familiar with Muse it’s a program that builds websites but without any code. You can design on the fly and literally Muse does the rest for you. It also handles tablet and mobile templates too.