Adobe, which led the cloud pricing trend with its wholesale switch to subscriptions, has put cloud collaboration front and centre in its 2015 edition.
Four years after revealing a subscription option with the first edition of Creative Cloud, and two years since ceasing perpetual licences, Adobe is fully embracing features such as collaboration and remote storage in CC 2015. The vendor has announced "enterprise-grade administration, security, collaboration and publishing services".
Central to the latest update is 'CreativeSync', an umbrella term for a range of features – some new, some pre-existing – to "intelligently sync creative assets: files, photos, fonts, vector graphics, brushes, colours, settings, metadata and more".
"CreativeSync is the new term. We did have this ability to sync libraries but it has really matured in this release. With the new features, we are now calling it CreativeSync technology, to incorporate all those things like libraries, folders, files, stock etcetera," said Paul Burnett, Adobe's principal APAC evangelist.
Assets are stored within Adobe's cloud, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services. This allows users to switch between devices or share assets with collaborators.
It could provide an alternative to third-party cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox. The limit for individual users is only 20GB of storage space. However, each seat for CC for Teams and CC for Enterprise subscriptions has access to 100GB of storage.
Burnett agreed that CC 2015 was making more of the syncing, storage and collaboration possibilities of the cloud, whereas the 'cloud' in early versions of Creative Cloud was more about the subscription pricing model.
CreativeSync should allow more seamless collaboration between the traditional desktop versions of software, such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, and Adobe's suite of mobile apps, many of which have been upgraded and expanded in this release.
Android users will now get access to many of Adobe's leading apps, including Brush CC, Shape CC, Colour CC and Photoshop Mix.
Adobe has also updated iOS apps, including Adobe Comp CC, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw, Brush CC, Shape CC and Colour CC.
Adobe is also turning the Creative Cloud into a platform in its own right. Its free Marketplace allows downloads of user-generated assets such as vector graphics, while the vendor has also launched Adobe Stock, which it created through the acquisition of Fotolia last December. The $800 million cash acquisition gave Adobe ownership of around 40 million images and videos from Fotolia.
Users can, for instance, download placeholder images from Stock to use in their mock-ups, and once signed off by the client, can automatically replace these watermarked filler images with the high-res originals.
Another wow feature in CC 2015 is dramatically improved processing speed thanks to an upgrade to Adobe's Mercury Playback Engine - performance is up to 10x faster regardless of device hardware.
Users can also expect increased performance on Macs following Apple's announcement during last week's Worldwide Developers Conference that its Metal framework was coming to OSX. According to Apple, Metal provides developers with "the lowest-overhead access to the GPU, enabling you to maximise the graphics and compute potential of your apps on iOS and OS X".
At WWDC, Adobe was revealed to be adopting Metal in future OSX releases. Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, said Apple saw an 8x improvement in performance using Metal for Mac.
While Adobe's stronghold – designers – are often Mac users, Adobe has also been cosying up to Microsoft. At Adobe's Max conference last year, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella got on stage with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, where they demoed a touch-skewed interface for Illustrator.
This was achieved after separating the application's underlying engine from the user interface, Burnett told CRN. He said Adobe's development team had worked closely with Microsoft's Surface team on the touch version.