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Adobe on Tuesday announced the 2015 release of Creative Cloud, the company's comprehensive graphic design offering, with 15 new desktop app versions, integrated sync technology and a stock image monetization platform called Adobe Stock.
Building off an already strong base of OS X and iOS apps, Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 is largely a collection of backend enhancements targeting performance, better cross-platform syncing and a few new tools. Adobe is also releasing a number of mobile apps for Google's Android operating system.
Unlike last year's CC offering, which marked a whole-hearted shift to the cloud, Adobe's 2015 version is all about polishing existing features.
For example, marquee brand Photoshop is getting Healing Brush and Path tools that render some 120 times faster when compared to CS6. Both Photoshop and Lightroom are adding automatic haze removal tools to their already well-equipped palettes, as well as support for compositing HDR images from multiple photos.
To facilitate its vision of a unified experience, Adobe is introducing a service called CreativeSync that dynamically transfers files, fonts, metadata, settings and more to a central repository before pushing it out to CC-connected apps. Akin to Apple's Continuity feature, CC users can start a project on Mac, then switch over to an on-the-go workflow on iPad or iPhone.
Cross-platform syncing is a tentpole feature for CC 2015, taken further by Linked Assets in Creative Cloud Libraries. Photoshop is a prime example of Adobe's work toward a unified experience, with mobile apps Photoshop Sketch, Photoshop Mix, Comp CC, Brush CC, Shape CC and Color CC all working together seamlessly with the desktop version of Photoshop. With apps drawing from the same CC libraries, any edits made to a file in one app automatically appear on other platforms, ensuring a persistent experience across multiple devices.
Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Premier Pro and After Effects also feature Linked Assets as well as speed boosts compared to CS6. Other apps with updates include Dreamweaver, Muse and Flash Pro.
Introduced with CC 2015 is Adobe Stock, a stock photo marketplace built directly into Creative Cloud and its corresponding apps.
Adobe found a large majority of artists who market their wares through stock photo services use Adobe software like Photoshop to prepare images for sale. Adobe Stock is an attempt to cut out the middleman and offer purchases directly from Adobe's apps.
Launching the Stock interface from a CC app like Photoshop lets users search and browse marketplace images. Each photo comes with detailed information, including size, format and creator, as well as proper watermarking for fraud prevention. Saving a photo syncs a watermarked version to a user's Creative Cloud Library, which can then be dragged into a Photoshop file for placement.
Stock comes with a preview feature allowing users to add layer effects and tweaks to an lower resolution image prior to purchase. Once an image is licensed, the preview image is replaced with a high-resolution version with all effects applied automatically.
Pricing and availability
Creative Cloud prices are mostly unchanged from last year, with monthly fees varying depending on the application or suite being purchased:
The Creative Cloud Photography Plan is priced at $9.99 per month and includes Photoshop CC and Lightroom for desktop, mobile and Web.
Single apps come in at $19.99 per month with an annual commitment, except for Adobe Muse and Acrobat Pro DC, which are priced at $14.99. Fees include a ProSite portfolio website, access to Typekit desktop and web fonts and 20GB of cloud storage. Prepaid annual and monthly plans are also available.
Adobe Stock images can be purchased for $9.99 per image or as part of two tiered subscription models. Users pay a monthly fee of $49.99 for access to ten images per month, or $29.99 when a subscription is purchased alongside a Creative Cloud plan, while a more comprehensive tier comes in at $199.99 per month for access of up to 750 images.