Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014: Upgrade tips, and things to watch out for

Creative Cloud desktop app with 2014 updates

The 2014 release of Adobe Creative Cloud significantly updates the entire range of Adobe applications and services. I’ve collected some practical tips and information that you might not be seeing on the new feature lists.

You can watch a recording of the Adobe announcement event (June 18, 2014).

New version naming, and additional updates

In the picture of my Adobe Creative Cloud desktop application above, you might notice that Photoshop is listed three times. What’s that all about?

In this round of Creative Cloud applications, the name of each application contains the release year (2014). This name change indicates that the software is a significant revision, similar to saying Version 2.0 instead of Version 1.0. The code in the 2014 applications is different enough that they are installed in addition to the older CC apps instead of replacing them. (This doesn’t apply to all of the applications; for example, Adobe Bridge CC is updated in place and isn’t given the CC 2014 naming.)

One reason that updates are also listed for some CC and CS6 applications like Photoshop is because Camera Raw 8.5 became available at the same time and is compatible with those applications.

Stuff to watch out for

When you see the long list of new and updated software in the Creative Cloud desktop application, it’s tempting to just hit the Update All button. But before you dive into all the new hotness, there are a few things you should know and be prepared for. I strongly recommend reading Installing the 2014 Release of Creative Cloud by Julieanne Kost, and 2014 release of Photoshop CC: FAQ by Jeff Tranberry. I highlighted some of the issues below.

  • CC 2014 versions install separately. I just mentioned that CC 2014 applications are installed in addition to CC applications, so you’ll end up with two versions. This is confusing a lot of people. For example, you may need to uninstall your old CC versions and delete old Dock (OS X) or Taskbar (Windows) shortcuts, add new shortcuts for the CC 2014 versions, and make sure your add-ons still work (see next item).
  • Plug-ins and extensions apparently missing (but not really). Because CC 2014 applications install separately, they may not see your plug-ins and extensions if those are stored in folders for an earlier version of Photoshop. You may have to drag over those add-ons to the appropriate CC 2014 folder, or reinstall them.
  • Disk space requirements. Installing the 2014 Creative Cloud apps will consume many gigabytes of disk space, because remember, the old CC apps aren’t removed. If you’re down to less than 30-40GB of disk space you may want to do a fair bit of spring cleaning before updating a large number of Creative Cloud apps. (That number is my own very rough guideline, because the Creative Cloud desktop app doesn’t show how much disk space is needed, the total depends on how many applications you update, and because you do need to keep a lot of disk space free at all times.)
  • Removed features. Back in April, Adobe warned us that some features would be removed in the next version of Photoshop, and Photoshop CC 2014 is that version. Before you uninstall any old CC apps, test your workflow in CC 2014. Most of the features removed from Photoshop are related to the Pixel Bender technology (no longer developed) such as Oil Paint, and panels and extensions based on Flash such as Mini Bridge and other Flash-based extensions (including those made with Configurator). Also, Photoshop CC 2014 doesn’t support OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.
  • Photoshop crash when quitting. If Photoshop CC 2014 is crashing when you exit the application, and you had custom styles, brushes, patterns, or tool presets, Adobe is investigating this crash. They’ve published a tech note with workarounds and a request for your crash reports to help them debug the problem: Photoshop CC 2014 crashes when you quit
  • Lightroom 5.5 not starting or Develop module disabled. This is happening to lots of people; Adobe has published a tech note with workarounds: Lightroom does not launch or get error: “Develop module is disabled” after 5.5 update
  • Horizontally oriented dialog boxes. You may see some Photoshop CC 2014 user interface changes such as dialog boxes that are redesigned with a horizontally oriented layout. This was done to better fit dialog boxes to today’s widescreen displays, particularly those on lower-resolution widescreen laptops where the old tall dialog boxes could get cut off.
  • File Info redesigned. You might notice that the File Info dialog box looks different in Photoshop CC 2014. I believe this is because File Info was Flash-based in previous versions, so the dialog box was rebuilt due to the removal of Flash-based components.

You can also monitor the Adobe user forums for emerging issues with the CC apps you use the most.

Links to individual installers

If you need to download Adobe application installers instead of installing with the Creative Cloud desktop application, as usual ProDesignTools has a list of download links for each application. Be sure to follow the instructions exactly, otherwise you’ll get an error.

Creative Cloud services branch out

When Creative Cloud was originally introduced, the services were promising but incomplete. Though there are still some glaring holes, they’re gradually becoming more useful.

  • Lightroom sync expands. Lightroom Mobile now syncs Lightroom on the desktop with Lightroom on iPad and iPhone as well as the lightroom.adobe.com web view, and the Adobe Voice app for iPad can now get images from Lightroom synced collections. The growing reach of Lightroom Mobile sync is leading more users to point to the elephant in the room and ask: How soon will LIghtroom be able to sync catalogs between a desktop and laptop?
  • Folder sharing enabled. The ability to share a folder from Creative Cloud online storage is significant. Previously you could only share individual files, which seriously limited the value of your Creative Cloud shared storage. Being able to share folders removes that limit and makes Creative Cloud file sharing much more useful, especially for sharing Adobe file formats. But Creative Cloud file sharing still isn’t as widely supported by applications and devices as Dropbox,  Box, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Behance more tightly integrated. The Behance service is being tied into more Creative Cloud desktop and mobile applications as Adobe grows this creative online community of conversations and feedback about both portfolios and works in progress. For example, the new Adobe Sketch and Line apps for iPad are both intended to use Behance as a place to both store and show off the work done in those apps.
  • Royalty-free assets coming soon. Adobe talked about adding access to a new library of royalty-free assets, but it isn’t available yet. This won’t be the first time they’ve tried this; I remember Adobe Stock Photos. Although the new service will probably go well beyond photos.
  • Typekit support expands. Access to thousands of Typekit fonts is one of the most immediately useful Creative Cloud services, and more Creative Cloud applications now have access to them, notably Photoshop.

I didn’t completely cover changes to all of the applications, the new range of mobile apps and hardware, and the very interesting Adobe Creative SDK, but when you throw all that in with the application upgrades, with the 2014 release we’re starting to see the larger and longer-term vision that Adobe has for Creative Cloud.

Know Your Photoshop File Sizes — CreativePro.com article

How can one Photoshop image grow and shrink dramatically during production, even without compression? And why does Photoshop sometimes show you multiple file sizes for the same photo? In an article I wrote for CreativePro.com, I help you understand the many factors that affect the file size numbers you see both inside Photoshop and on the desktop. And the answers could save you a lot of storage space on your hard drive or in the cloud.

Click the link below to read the article at CreativePro.com:
Know Your Photoshop File Sizes

Know Your Photoshop File Sizes on CreativePro.com

Read my Lightroom Mobile review on CreativePro.com

The debut of Lightroom Mobile on the iPad naturally brings high expectations: Can this new app help a tablet replace a laptop in a raw photo workflow, and how well do photographers’ favorite features of the desktop version of Lightroom translate to the Apple iPad? If you want to know what I think, you can now read my review of Lightroom Mobile, published on CreativePro.com.

Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile, Lightroom 5.4, Adobe Camera Raw 8.4 released

Photoshop CC iconAdobe Lightroom 5 iconAdobe Creative Cloud icon

Adobe recently released a Lightroom companion app for iPad called Lightroom Mobile, along with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.4 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.4 (now 8.4.1) and a corresponding DNG Converter 8.4 update. All are free updates for current licenses of the software; update links are at the end of this article. The updates also include the usual bug fixes and add support for new cameras including the Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D4S, and the DJI Phantom for you quadcopter jockeys. As usual, the updates also add more Camera Matching color profiles and Lens Profiles, and fix a number of bugs. For more details, go to:

I talk about the new features in Camera Raw 8.4 below. The only new feature in Lightroom 5.4 is support for syncing with Lightroom Mobile.

Lightroom Mobile for iPad

Stealing the show from the Lightroom 5.4 and Camera Raw 8.4 updates is the introduction of Lightroom Mobile. The feature list has been publicized widely, but digging a little deeper reveals certain benefits and limitations of the real world Lightroom Mobile workflow. I’m writing an article about those, but until that gets done here’s a brief overview.

Lightroom Mobile

The initial release of Lightroom Mobile works best as a way to let you use an iPad to apply Pick/Reject flags and make basic edits to images synced over the Internet from a collection in Lightroom 5.4 or later on your computer. The ability to edit at the raw stage sets Lightroom Mobile apart from most iPad image editors. Lightroom Mobile doesn’t sync raw files to your iPad; it syncs Smart Previews which is a very good thing because Smart Previews use less storage space on your iPad and take less time to sync images over the Internet while still enabling raw edits.

At this time, Lightroom Mobile is not set up to import raw images directly from a camera to an iPad, even though that’s what many would expect. Also, you can’t currently use star ratings or apply keywords or other metadata. Tom Hogarty of Adobe explains the app’s initial feature set in the Lightroom Journal blog post The Field Triage Opportunity for Lightroom Mobile. It’s clear that we are to think of Lightroom Mobile as version 1.0, and to expect more in the future. If you account for that, what Lightroom Mobile does do right now is a good start.

As an introduction, I like Richard Curtis’s Lightroom Mobile Deep Dive. This is the article where I learned that when you sync through Lightroom Mobile, you can view and present all of those images in your web browser by signing into Creative Cloud at lightroom.adobe.com. Having all synced images viewable over the Web has workflow advantages and security implications that are worth reflecting on.

Lightroom Mobile is free to download and install, but to sync with Lightroom on the desktop you need a Creative Cloud subscription and an Internet connection (you can’t sync locally). Also, for now it’s available only for iPad on iOS 7 (iPhone is next). These requirements have disappointed some users. Personally, I’m relieved that Lightroom Mobile runs great on my old iPad 2.

Update: You can now read my review of Lightroom Mobile on CreativePro.com.

New features in Camera Raw 8.4

The Adobe Camera Raw 8.4 blog post I linked above describes new features for Camera Raw including:

  • Before/After preview feature. This replaces the Preview checkbox, and works sort of like the Before/After feature in Lightroom. If you’re used to pressing the P key to toggle the old Preview checkbox, pressing P now swaps the Before and After views.
    Before/after view in Camera Raw
  • Pet-Eye Correction. No joke…when the eyes of dogs, cats, and other animals are blown out in flash photos, they require different correction than red-eye in humans. This new feature lets you quickly simulate dark animal eyes, and includes an option for creating movable catchlights in the eyes.
    Pet-eye removal, new in Camera Raw 8.4
  • Shortcuts for resetting Develop sliders. And new options for selecting all or no checkboxes when synchronizing settings.
  • Fill Image option for the Radial Filter. This makes the Radial Filter area cover the entire image area, which is useful if you prefer to create image vignettes with the Radial Filter instead of using Post Crop Vignetting.
  • Shortcut for aspect ratio toggle between horizontal and vertical for the Crop Tool or Straighten tool. Simply press the X key, as in Lightroom.
  • Built-in lens profile indicator. If Camera Raw automatically applies a built-in lens profile (also called “metadata-based” by Adobe) to the image, the Profile panel now indicates this.
    Metadata (built-in) lens profile in Adobe Camera Raw 8.4

A metadata-based or built-in lens profile is not the same as the lens profiles you can choose in Camera Raw and Lightroom. It’s applied automatically when necessary, with no user controls. You may see the built-in lens profile indicator appear for raw files from some compact cameras, because it is so difficult to built a compact lens that is fast, sharp, and undistorted while remaining affordable. Some camera makers have realized that if they allow for more lens distortion and chromatic aberration, they can push harder toward the other lens design goals while reducing size and cost. You don’t normally see the extreme distortion because the camera automatically compensates internally when you shoot JPEG, and if the camera comes with raw conversion software its software applies the correction too. But this means a truly raw image from such a lens would look severely distorted compared to a JPEG from the camera. For this reason, when Camera Raw detects one of those lenses in the image metadata, a built-in profile is always applied. If you then apply a lens profile in the Lens Correction tab, that is a different lens profile and an additional stage of lens correction.

Camera Raw vs. Lightroom feature parity

Should Lightroom users be concerned that Lightroom 5.4 doesn’t also have new features other than sync to LIghtroom Mobile? No, because some of the new features in Camera Raw 8.4 appeared in Lightroom first, such as the Before/After view and pressing the X key to swap the crop aspect ratio. Adobe continues to add features to Camera Raw to bring it closer to Lightroom, as I wrote about in my article Camera Raw 8.2 vs Lightroom 5.2: Latest Releases Shift the Balance.

But Camera Raw 8.4 adds a few features Lightroom doesn’t have yet, such as the metadata-based lens profile indicator, the Fill Image option for the Radial Fill filter, and pet-eye correction.

These differences aren’t just academic. Many people ask whether they should build their workflow around Lightroom or Camera Raw, and knowing the differences helps clarify the decision.

Compatibility

Important: At the time this article was published there was a problem with Camera Raw 8.4 and Bridge CS6. If you run into this, manually install the build of Camera Raw 8.4 provided by the link in the Adobe tech note Camera Raw 8.4: no metadata or Camera Raw edit in Bridge CS6.

Camera Raw 8.4 is available for both Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6 (as well as Adobe Bridge CS6 and CC). Consistent with current Adobe policy, Photoshop and Bridge CS6 get Camera Raw 8.4 bug fixes and support for new cameras, but not the new features.

Creative Cloud updater showing Camera Raw 8.3 update

As announced earlier, Camera Raw and DNG Converter now require OS X 10.7 or Windows 7. If you have an earlier operating system you can go only as high as Camera Raw 8.3.

If you’ve been using the Release Candidate (RC) versions of Camera Raw that were released by Adobe Labs earlier for public testing, you should install these final versions because there have been some changes from the RC versions.

How to get the updates

To update Camera Raw from Photoshop, start Photoshop and choose Help > Updates.

To update Lightroom, start Lightroom, choose Help > Updates, download the installer, and run the installer.

or:

To update both Camera Raw and Lightroom through Adobe Creative Cloud: Start Adobe Creative Cloud if it isn’t running, and it should indicate that an update is available for Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom.

You can also download standalone installers for Lightroom 5.4 and DNG Converter 7.4 from the Adobe Product Updates page.

Lightroom updater

Adobe Typekit: Do your fonts disappear when you’re not online?

Typekit iconAdobe Creative Cloud icon

Uncertainty about how much Adobe Creative Cloud depends on Internet connectivity makes some users wary of signing up. We already know that annual subscribers can run Creative Cloud applications for 99 days in offline mode before having to revalidate the license online (30 days for monthly subscribers).

But I started to wonder how that works with Typekit fonts. Access to the Typekit font library is a valuable Creative Cloud feature because you can sync any of thousands of TypeKit fonts to your desktop and use them in any application (they’re not just web fonts). Of course, you can’t simply copy the fonts to just any computer and use them; because Typekit fonts must be validated by the Creative Cloud servers they work only for licensed Creative Cloud users.

Which leads to this question: If you synced Typekit fonts from Creative Cloud to your desktop, and you need to edit documents that use Typekit fonts when no Internet connection is available, do you still get to use those fonts or do they disappear along with the Internet? This is a big question because losing access to fonts can make it impossible to edit design-intensive documents.

Fortunately, the answer is the one we want to hear: Typekit fonts you’ve already synced to your computer will continue to work even if you don’t have an Internet connection. When you’re offline, Typekit fonts are kept accessible by the Creative Cloud desktop application; that’s the software you use to install and validate Adobe Creative Cloud tools and services such as applications and fonts.

Creative Cloud desktop application and TypeKit

I originally thought Typekit fonts didn’t work without the Internet, but later realized that was only because I had quit the Creative Cloud application. (I have a habit of shutting down processes such as Creative Cloud and Dropbox when I don’t need them.) But as long as the Creative Cloud desktop application is running, your Typekit fonts will continue to be available in your applications whether you are online or offline.

As with Creative Cloud applications, you’ll have offline access to Typekit fonts as long as you were signed into your Creative Cloud account the last time you were online. But a key difference is that Creative Cloud applications will work just fine when the Creative Cloud desktop app is not running whereas Typekit fonts will not. Even when you have an Internet connection, you still need to run the Creative Cloud desktop app to keep Typekit fonts active.

Possible resource issues

Running the Creative Cloud application all the time may be an issue for those concerned about battery life and keeping CPU cycles available. Some users report that Creative Cloud sometimes consumes more CPU power than expected when idle; and on OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Creative Cloud is sometimes listed as an Application Using Significant Energy under the battery icon in the menu bar.

Creative Cloud using significant energy

Those observations have caused some to quit Creative Cloud when not using Creative Cloud applications. But if you want to be able to use Typekit fonts in your documents, for now you must let the Creative Cloud application continue to run. Adobe regularly updates the Creative Cloud desktop application and may be able to improve its power management over time.

Update: The Creative Cloud desktop app version 1.8.0.447 released on October 6, 2014 may have addressed this problem. The release notes for that version include this item: “Save battery life via improved app efficiency.” We’ll have to see how much difference that makes.