AdobeMAX 2019: Keynote Summary Part 1

MAX was amazing yet again this year! I was privileged to attend AdobeMAX 2019 in Los Angeles, CA and I came away again reminded why the gurus at Adobe are my industry heroes. If you weren’t able to attend this year, I highly recommend trying hard to get there next year. In the meantime, let me summarize the top takeaways from the Day 1 Keynote, which you can also watch in its entire 2.5 hour glory, online.

This year’s event hosted over 15,000 attendees on-site with thousands watching keynotes online around the world! Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, did the introduction and reminded us all of the ‘why’ behind Adobe’s work with Creative Cloud:

Creative Cloud unleashes creativity, giving anyone – anywhere – access to tools to express themselves. Creativity is about making emotional connections, and Creative Cloud is empowering and accelerating creative teams.

The goals of the team working on Creative Cloud are as follows: 1) Push the boundaries, 2) Accelerate productivity, 3) Put Adobe magic to work, and 4) Inspire the community. Chief Product Officer, Scott Belsky, stated that “Our imaginations are unlimited, BUT TIME IS – and it hold us back.” So Creative Cloud’s top priority is to help artists to conquer time, and they’ve made huge progress in that direction with each of the CC programs. Here are some key improvements made to achieve this goal within these applications:

Creative Cloud Desktop App

Creative Cloud now has a desktop app that acts as a launching pad or dashboard for all of your programs and cloud files. Categories are shown on the left, communities for tutorials are accessible for each app, and it shows stock and search capabilities, as well as your personal work files that you’ve stored in Creative Cloud. This dashboard is great for managing libraries centrally, creating shared libraries and also allows us to import these libraries into 3rd party apps like PowerPoint now!

Photoshop Background Removal

In Photoshop, we can now select a subject with a rectangular marquis, and use the ‘remove background’ capability! This is Adobe Sensei at work in the background, using its AI capabilities to identify and isolate out the foreground object from the background of an image – without all that time-consuming, manual labor on the part of the artist who used to have to create clipping paths, etc. to get the same result!

Illustrator Instant Zoom

The instant zoom feature revealed in Illustrator allows for instant zooming with thousands of vectors selected – and then the use of Object > Path > Simplify utilizes Adobe Sensei to simplify formerly complex paths into fewer points, improving render speed capabilities.

Lightroom Interactive Tutorials

In Lightroom, designers can now find interactive tutorials! This goes beyond the regular video tutorials that are common in all of these programs. Tutorials in Lightroom now provide you with the images that are being shown in the video so that you can follow along and try the techniques out yourself with guidance. They’ve also added in a ‘Discovery Area’ which allows you to browse images and download what you like WITH THE PRESETS IN TACT so that you can see what they did to create the style!

Capture brought to Desktop

You know that awesome app in your pocket that allows you to capture patterns, shapes, font styles and color palettes on the go from your smart phone, and syncs the in real time to your Adobe CC apps? Well, now it’s available for desktop so that the libraries that you’ve collected on your device are immediately accessible on your computer. This way you can continue capturing those colors, shapes and patterns and have them at your fingertips when you sit back down at your desk to create.

Photoshop celebrates 30 years!

Adobe celebrated Photoshop’s 30th birthday by releasing a new version that’s been reimagined for mobile devices! This 1st version is great for compositing, retouching and masking images, etc. on the go.

At last year’s MAX18, Adobe gave us a sneak peek of Project Gemini – a mobile app made to recreate the sensation of actual analog art materials and application! This is THE most exciting release to me because I love to paint and sketch, but I don’t love doing that for fun in Photoshop because the physical feeling of real art materials can never be replaced. I was excited to see this in progress last year, so at this year’s MAX19, when they began to speak about a new program called Adobe Fresco, I sat on the edge of my seat and cheered with the crowd when it became apparent that THIS was the Project Gemini app we’d been awaiting!  This program pairs perfectly with the Apple Pencil and an iPad (though I believe it’s available for Windows Surface devices as well) and it successfully merges the feel of real, analog materials (with live brushes that cause the paint and/or ‘water’ to move and blend just like real paints, and the option to have canvas texture come through in the background) and the time-saving benefits of digital creation (like having a delete and undo button, layering capabilities and the ability to export out your work to relevant apps in your Creative Suite). If you can’t tell by now – I’m a fan and have already begun working this new gem into my workflow!

Illustrator for iPad

Last year, Illustrator for iPad was a sneak peek – and this year it has been made a reality for mobile devices! Happy drawing!

Adobe’s VP of UX Design, Jamie Myrold, let us in on a little secret that’s not so secret anymore: the product teams at Adobe use Spectrum to build their design system – AND THEY’VE MADE IT AVAILABLE TO US ALL at

The Spectrum design system can be loaded into XD, and has over 150 new features that will increase designers’ speed. It includes master components, states (which stack interactivity into a component), system organization tools for teams, automatic versioning that saves to the cloud, and it enables co-editing for teams working in real time together. And to top it all off, each team member using the system is color-coded so that you can see who is doing what at any time!

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