Adobe 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.

Adobe CS6 perpetual license availability to decrease in 2014

Photoshop CC iconAdobe Creative Cloud icon

(Updated April 7, 2014)

Want a non-subscription license for Photoshop or any other CS6 software? Better get it now.

As Adobe has continued to advance their transition from traditional perpetual licenses (pay once per major upgrade) to Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions (monthly payment for more frequent enhancements), users who don’t want a subscription wonder how long they can continue to buy perpetual license versions of Adobe Creative Suite 6 software.

Adobe has previously stated that CS6 will be sold “indefinitely,” which in the short term means CS6 is still available, but in the long term that won’t mean forever. Somewhere between “indefinitely” and “forever” is an end date. While Adobe has not announced an exact end date, statements Adobe made in their Q1 FY2014 earnings conference call on March 18, 2014 indicate that “indefinitely” will soon mean “no” for channel sales outlets.

During the conference call, Mark Garrett, Adobe Executive Vice President and CFO, said “As a result of Creative Cloud success across teams and enterprises, we will soon end general availability of CS6 perpetual licensing in the channel. This decision is consistent with our comments last December when we stated we expected no material revenue from perpetual licensing of CS6 in the second half of fiscal 2014.” Mr. Garrett also said “Looking to the second half of the year, in the coming months we are planning a major launch of our Creative products and the removal of legacy CS6 products from the channel.” (The Adobe fiscal year ends on November 30.)

After this article was first published, an Adobe PR representative reached out to clarify that the above statements don’t affect direct sales to individuals or education, only software in the reseller channel. More details are in this official statement:

“Adobe will no longer sell Creative Suite 6 via the Cumulative Licensing Program (CLP) and Transactional Licensing Program (TLP). This change will be applicable across the commercial segment worldwide, as well as the government segment (with the exception of Japan); there is no change for education customers. Note that CS6 products will remain available for individual purchase via electronic download on Adobe.com, as well as via licensing for education customers. Acrobat and other Adobe products sold via CLP and TLP will remain available.”

Even though CS6 will continue to be sold to individuals and education, concerns may arise about how long that will continue to be true given that CS6 channel availability will already be limited later this year. For now, if you want to make an individual purchase of CS6 software, you can still find it at Amazon, Apple, and other direct (not channel) or educational sales outlets. On the Adobe website the page for buying CS6 software is not easy to find, so below is a direct link for the entire suite, individual products, full versions, and upgrade pricing.

Creative Suite 6 software for sale on Adobe.com

Photoshop CS6 available for purchase

Photoshop CS6 still available for purchase at the time I wrote this article

(January 6, 2016: The link above no longer lists Photoshop CS6. You must now buy Photoshop CS6 at this page: http://www.adobe.com/products/cs6.html. For more information, see my more recent article: Can you buy Adobe software without a subscription?)

If you’re a Creative Cloud user, the last part of Mr. Garrett’s statement indicates that a “major launch of our Creative products” is in the cards for the second half of 2014, so that sounds like something to look forward to.

You can read the complete Adobe Q1 FY2014 Earnings Call Script (PDF) at the Adobe Investor Relations website. You can also read the transcripts of both the presentation and the Adobe Q&A session that followed, at Morningstar.

Among other tidbits from the conference call was Mr. Garrett’s news that “…Q1 reported Creative revenue from subscriptions and ETLAs [Enterprise Term License Agreements] exceeded reported revenue from perpetual licensing for the first time.”

It’s unclear to me whether the timeline for removing perpetual licenses from availability applies to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. While Lightroom is included in Adobe Creative Cloud, it never used the Creative Suite 6 branding and is also still offered as a perpetual license. Adobe has not announced any plans to convert their entry-level Elements line to a subscription model, and if they consider Lightroom to be in the same general category they might decide to continue offering a perpetual-license version of Lightroom as an entry point to Adobe software. On that we’ll have to wait and see.