Creative Cloud and Adobe Touch Apps Have Changed My Life


I think it is nearly impossible to speak of Adobe’s Creative Cloud service and their Touch Apps too highly. I’ve been using them for a little while now and if to be honest I’m reaching productivity levels now that I could only have dreamed of before. I’m currently using Ideas, Photoshop Touch and Proto, although I do have and play with Collage, Easel, Lava and Nav (see the Adobe website for more on the last three). Here’s my quick take on these brilliant touch apps and the Creative Cloud (with links through to the product pages on the Adobe website).

Adobe Ideas is the one app that is getting almost daily use from me at the moment. Now if inspiration arrives when I’m on the train travelling to or from work, or between jobs out comes the iPad and with my Wacom Bamboo Stylus start sketching something up in Ideas straight away. Unlike working in my sketchbook though, the file uploads to the cloud as soon as I get into work (my iPad is Wi-Fi – I’m so buying a data plan next time around) and is available to use in Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign as soon as I log in on my desktop. I can also directly from Ideas mail the file on to a colleague or client and start the ball rolling on a project, too.

Ideas has layers (although you do buy these as an add-on) and the ability to import a photo onto a layer that you can use as a tracing image by lowering the layer opacity. The controls are really easy to use and you can vary colour, opacity and brush size. The file format when emailed is PDF, and you can download the original .idea file (opens in Illustrator) or as a PDF, or if you want raster (.ideas and .pdf are both vectors) JPEG or PNG.

Photoshop Touch has been the subject of many a movie by Russell Brown on Adobe TV and is surprisingly powerful – check them out here. It supports a wide range of adjustments with a really neat interface, as well as several effects and a gradient tool that Photoshop should have – in fact I’m amazed that it still has the same one it’s had for years (but that’s another story, I guess). I first used this when I had gone to Stonehenge very early one morning (actually a bit too early – I had to wait 45 minutes for it to open) to get some shots for friends in California. I shot them on the DSLR and then took a few with the iPad camera. Later in the cafeteria having a coffee before moving on I found I was able to process the iPad shots quickly and it was fun!

Collage is an app for creating digital mood boards and I’ve only played with this so far – maybe because I haven’t had a suitable project to use it on but do plan to get into it a bit more. The Collage page on the Adobe website lists the following as highlighted features:

  • Create modern moodboards with mixed media.
  • Import PDF, PSD, and AI files.
  • Search and import Google and Flickr images.
  • Draw with multiple pen types.
  • Add text with a variety of fonts.
Proto is a wireframing tool and it is fantastic. There are tools to add divs, video assets and text, etc. but these can all be added with a simple library of gestures. You can create layouts using a grid and the objects will snap to the grid. You can add navigation bars, placeholder text and lists with just a few swipes. A preview is available in the app and when you get the file into dreamweaver the underlying code and css is all useable, even if only as a starting point. I’ve got a web project starting later in the week and I’m already developing layouts using this tool – and all this on the train or the bus.

Kuler hasn’t made it to iOS yet although it is available for Android. I like using the Kuler website and the extensions in my apps – I’m sure  it’ll be a useful addition when I finally get it on my devices but I’m not in too much of a rush as colour themes are generated automatically from the files you upload to the Creative Cloud. Fantastic for getting quick themes from images you grab on the move just because you “like the colours you’re seeing.”

Cloud membership also gets you the entire Master Collection, as well as Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge, which are not available as boxed or download product. Here in the UK (check for your region) you can get a special offer (up until September 2012) on your first year of Cloud membership if you have CS3, 4 or 5 products and if you buy three Touch apps you get an additional month free. My advice to you is grab this with both hands, now.

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