A spotter’s guide to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps

A spotter’s guide to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps

Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps are the gold standard in professional software for creatives of all stripes. But whether you’re a graphic designer who uses Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator day-in, day-out, or a videographer who knows Premiere Pro and After Effects like the back of your hand, there’s a wealth of apps you have access to under a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription that, while you may not be that familiar with, could be a very welcome addition to your creative workflow.

So here we’ve put together a quick spotter’s guide to all Adobe’s fantastic desktop apps, and where to find them. How many have you tried?

Design tools

Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop CC is your common or garden digital imaging app, the number one choice the world over for photographers and designers. It lets you enhance, retouch, and manipulate photographs and images in any way you can imagine, with clever content aware technology and powerful design tools like editable shapes and vector layers. (Also available as a Single App.)

Lightroom. Often spotted in the same habitat as Photoshop, Lightroom lets you organise, edit and share your all photos from anywhere, whether that’s on your computer, on the web, or on your iPad, iPhone or Android devices.

Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator CC is the industry-standard vector graphics software. Create compelling vector art and illustrations using advanced, precise drawing and typography tools, and work quickly and intuitively on everything from brand identities and marketing materials to graphics for the web, video, and film. (Also available as a Single App.)

InDesign. InDesign CC is professional page layout software for print and digital publishing. Use it to design, preflight, and publish a broad range of content in print, online, and for tablet apps. You can create simple or complex layouts quickly and efficiently with precise control over typography, built-in creative tools, and an intuitive design environment. (Also available as a Single App.)

Experience Design (beta). Still a fledgling at the moment, the Experience Design app is designed to improve teamwork among workgroups who are prototyping apps and mobile content, and allows you to build and share prototypes, then collaborate and feed back on them in realtime.

InCopy. Adobe InCopy CC makes it easy to collaborate in demanding editorial workflows. With InCopy CC, writers, editors, and designers can work simultaneously on a single document without overwriting each other’s contributions. (Also available as a Single App.)

Video tools

Premiere Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a powerful, customisable, nonlinear video editor that lets you import and freely combine virtually any type of media, from video shot on a phone to raw 5K and higher resolution footage, and then edit in its native format without wasting time transcoding. (Also available as a Single App.)

After Effects. The industry-leading animation and creative compositing software used by a wide variety of motion graphics and visual effects artists, After Effects CC gives you powerful timesaving features like a Live 3D Pipeline with Maxon Cinema4D software and Mask Tracker, which lets you apply a mask and effect that travels frame by frame throughout your composite. (Also available as a Single App.)

Audition. Adobe Audition CC is a cross-platform audio editor that speeds up production for video, radio, music, games, and more, thanks to uncompromising sound quality and intuitive workflows. (Also available as a Single App.)

Media Encoder. Ingest, transcode, create proxies, and output any format – this powerful media management tool allows users to work with media in a unified way across applications, tightly integrating with Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC and other apps for a seamless media processing workflow.

SpeedGrade. SpeedGrade is a colour grading application that delivers layer-based colour correction and look design tools to ensure that digital video projects are visually consistent and aesthetically compelling.

Prelude. Rapidly tag and transcode video footage and quickly create a rough cut with Prelude – a video logging and ingest tool designed for intuitive, efficient media organisation and metadata entry.

Story Plus. This service combines collaborative screenwriting, reporting, and scheduling tools with script metadata logging to help you edit video in Premiere Pro. (Also available as a Single App.)

Character Animator (beta). Create 2D characters in Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC and bring them to life in Character Animator. Act out movements and record your voice using your webcam and microphone, with realtime facial expression and motion tracking.

Fuse (preview). The new 3D modelling app lets you quickly create unique human characters for your Adobe Photoshop CC images, designs, prototypes and more.

Web tools

Dreamweaver. Build sites and apps with Adobe Dreamweaver CC – the all-in-one, industry-leading web design tool. Dreamweaver CC provides a robust and integrated solution to design, develop, and publish projects for any screen size. (Also available as a Single App.)

Muse. Adobe Muse CC lets you design and publish HTML websites for desktop and mobile devices without writing code. Design freely using familiar tools and shortcuts, easily add engaging effects and interactivity, and even integrate third party functionality like blogs and shopping carts. (Also available as a Single App.)

Animate. Design interactive animations with cutting-edge drawing tools and publish them to multiple platforms – including Flash/Adobe AIR, HTML5 canvas, WebGL, or even custom platforms – and reach viewers on broadcast TV or virtually any desktop or mobile device. (Also available as a Single App.)

Flash Builder. A development environment for building games and applications using the ActionScript language and the open source Flex framework. Flash Builder Premium includes professional testing tools such as profilers, network monitoring, and unit testing support.

Scout. Adobe Scout is a lightweight but comprehensive SWF profiling tool designed for Adobe Flash game developers. Any SWF file, regardless of whether it runs on mobile devices or in browsers, can be quickly profiled with no change to the code — and Adobe Scout quickly and efficiently detects problems that could affect performance.

PhoneGap Build. Take the pain out of developing mobile apps by simply uploading your HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript assets to the Adobe PhoneGap Build cloud service, and Adobe will do all the work of compiling for you while you put your feet up.

Spark. Are you a social butterfly? Create social graphics, web stories and animated videos with real punch, using Spark’s free graphic design app.

Workflow tools

Acrobat Pro DC. Keep a sharp eye out for the all-new Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud, designed to change the way you work with important business documents. Do away with ink signatures and overnight envelopes, protect your important documents, work anywhere and edit anything.

Bridge. Bridge CC gives you centralised access to all the files and assets you need for your creative projects. Organise personal and team assets, batch edit with ease, add watermarks, set centralised colour preferences, and even upload your photos to Adobe Stock.

Creative Cloud. Where it all begins. The Creative Cloud for desktop app is where you can quickly launch and update your desktop apps, manage and share your assets, download fonts and assets, and showcase and discover creative work on Behance, all while staying conveniently out of sight.

To find out more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 251 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or like us on Facebook

Adobe tools for the computing curriculum

Adobe tools for the computing curriculum
Michael Gove may be gone, but the 2014 computing curriculum lives on, replacing traditional ICT lessons with a more practical (and, let’s face it, more useful) focus on problem solving, computational thinking, and coding.

We’re big fans of this development, but a lot of the schools we deal with have mixed feelings. Staff like the computing curriculum in theory, but don’t think they have the skills or equipment to teach it effectively, especially when it comes to integrating coding into the rest of the curriculum.

Luckily, there’s no need for you to start crowbarring turtle graphics into GCSE art lessons. There are tools out there that can help you give your students a more technical understanding of creative technology, without taking the focus entirely from art, design or whatever else you’re trying to teach – and if you’re using Adobe software, you may well have most of them already.

Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Edge and Muse
Of Adobe’s current crop, the programs you want to focus on for teaching creative coding are: Dreamweaver, which allows students to design and publish web pages; Fireworks, for prototyping and optimising web and app designs for different devices; Edge Animate, a tool for animating Photoshop and Illustrator-created graphics using HTML5; and Muse, a simple, mostly drag and drop interface for creating simple websites.

All of these programs are intended to help non-technical designers, which actually comes in really handy when you move them to the classroom. The focus of the lesson stays on your subject, rather than it becoming a fully-fledged IT lesson, students who are less technically able can use the shortcuts in the software to ensure they can still participate fully, while those who are more confident can use CSS3, HTML5, JavaScript and PHP to push their designs further, or use this as an opportunity to focus on user experience design and usability and how this should inform their IT work. Here are a few of the goals we reckon Adobe can help you hit…

Working with a range of applications and devices
The holy trinity of InDesign, Fireworks and Dreamweaver all contain tools that’ll let you remodel work for different screens, browsers, tablets and phones. This is a great starting point for conversations about responsive design and the changing IT landscape – how are people accessing content? What new things do students need to consider, as developers, as a result of that? How do they make sure they have a design that is simple enough to translate, but still engaging and interesting? Do they know how to build swipe functionality into mobile versions of their content?

It also means that when you send them out into the working world, they’ll be used to taking these (very important) factors into consideration, and have experience with a wealth of devices to draw on – both great pluses for any job-seeking student!

Creating, re-using, revising and repurposing digital artefacts
The interoperability of all your Adobe software makes this one a breeze. Images you’ve created in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign can all be added to web pages using Dreamweaver or Fireworks, and you can encourage students to repurpose their content for different devices. For example, they can create a web page for desktops, a mobile version that anyone on a smartphone can see, and an app version (complete with touch controls) for anyone who’s looking at the content on a tablet.  You can make this even easier by using Edge Animate to create a series of templates that students can work with or modify, or encourage them to create and share their own.

Self-expression and developing ideas through ICT
“Design and build a web site” pretty much hits this on the head, and that’s what Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Muse allow students to do. They can combine creative work they put together in Photoshop, InDesign, Flash or Edge Animate with functionality they’ve developed using CSS3, HTML5 and jQuery tags in Fireworks and Dreamweaver to create a fully featured, multi-platform project with as much functionality as they can pack in, with tools like W3C validation on hand to make sure they stay focused on creating user-friendly, accessible pages that meet professional standards.

Practically applying IT skills to a range of creative projects and media
CSS3, HTML5, JavaScript/jQuery and PHP are all used throughout Adobe Dreamweaver, Edge and Fireworks, so students can practise working with a range of languages and optimising that content for different devices, browsers and screen sizes. Adobe’s preference for very visual interfaces that offer a code-free way to edit page elements means that students who are less technical can get a clearer idea of which parameters affect which page elements, then tackle the code itself once they’re more confident.

So how so you plan these lessons?
One of the best things about Adobe’s education offering is that it includes access to the Adobe Education Exchange. This is an online portal packed with training programs, curriculum advice and lesson plans to help you get the most out of your Adobe software.

Both Adobe experts and other teachers can contribute, so it’s a good way of gauging how other schools are embedding technical and creative skills across the curriculum, and the resources are guaranteed teacher-friendly. You can even download sample files showing how to complete different types of project, such as creating your own textbooks or building multi-page apps.

It also includes resources for the 10 week Adobe Train the Trainer course, a series of self-paced lessons that act as continuing professional development for Adobe users.

 

Just want to code? Here are some of our top apps to try…
Cargo-Bot (Two Lives Left, free) – This former Jigsaw24 App of the Week teaches programming by asking students to create simple routines to activate a robotarm. Great for gauging pupils’ coding skills when they enter KS3!

 
Codea  (Two Lives Left, £6.99) – The programming app used to make Cargo-Bot, Codea allows you to create apps, games and simulations directly on to your iPad. It includes visual editors as well, so is perfect for beginners who want to grasp the basic concepts before moving on to more complex coding.
 

Scratch 2 Games (David Phillips, 69p) – If you’re using the web version of Scratch to teach students coding, these video tutorials on game creation are a must for teachers and students. 
 

Codeacademy’s Hour of Code (Codeacademy, free) – This app encourages pupils to work through the vocabulary and grammar of coding as if they’re learning a language. They take on one small step at a time, building on previous knowledge, and are introduced to the concepts and terminology behind their favourite apps and websites.
 

Want to know more about your Adobe options? Get in touch us on 03332 409 333 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest education info, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.  

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How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

When Adobe announced that their key apps were moving to Creative Cloud and that a new teams option would be available, we decided to sign our in-house design team up straight away. While they were initially nervous, we now have a team of designers who can work remotely, collaborate easily and have developed an unhealthy fascination with InCopy…

Choosing to move to Creative Cloud for teams

As the UK’s largest Adobe reseller, we’re always keen to get our hands on the latest updates so that we know what our customers are dealing with. However, when the design team found our that their beloved copies of Creative Suite were going to be confiscated, they were a little worried.

“At first, I was apprehensive, because it was really an unknown,” explains our design manager Loui Goldsworthy. “Because of the name, I thought it might change how our team works. Would it pull from a server continuously and be slow?” (These worries turned out to be unfounded – our team just needed to download the apps once, then worked locally as they had before, without the need to connect to Adobe’s servers or maintain a constant internet access.)

But the possibility of accessing new features quickly overcame any nerves. “We thought it was the right thing to do – we were excited to move and see the new features we’d get to explore, and we always want to make sure we’re utilising the latest features and using the most efficient workflow,” Loui.

As for the designers themselves, their reactions ranged from excited to nervous to worried that they’d have to pay for their own software – a worry quickly put paid to by the arrival of Creative Cloud for teams, which allowed everything to be managed centrally rather than forcing each designer to take out an individual licence.

Getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams

When it came to getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams, “It was really easy,” said Loui. “We just had to assign the email addresses of the individual designers to the licence. They then got an invitation to the main Creative Cloud portal.”

From there, the designers can download whichever apps they need. If their requirements change or they want to explore a new app, they simply head back to the portal. On the flipside of that, our design managers can also choose to lock down apps if they wish. “We’ve stayed away from that as just because some of our apps aren’t part of our workflow now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. If we don’t explore them we don’t know what we could be missing. The expanded range of apps available as standard in Creative Cloud for teams is great to give us opportunities to be able to cater more widely to our clients’ needs.”

Finding new features and tools

One of the main benefits of moving to Creative Cloud for teams was that our designers got access to a host of new tools. “I love the idea of Edge Animate and the possibilities it opens up when you’re creating HTML5 animations for websites and iBooks,” said Paul, while our graphic designer Liana is a big fan of Kuler: “You can download it to your iPhone, which is great if you get inspiration on the go or need to kill time on the bus.”

Across the department, there’s also been a lot of interest in InCopy. “I looked at it years ago but made the decision that the extra cost wasn’t justified then – now it’s free it might be a really useful addition to our workflow,” said Loui.

So would we recommend it?

“Yes,” said Loui. “Firstly because the range of apps that come as standard within Creative Cloud and the seamless integration between them. And secondly because of the admin side of things – I’m very pleased not to have to mess about with loading installer CDs, it’s much better to have a central area where I can download the apps I need when I need them. Plus it’s great that the licence allows me to load Creative Cloud on my home computer so I can continue with some bits at home if I need to, or any of the team can pick up work out of office – it helps us stay productive without being tied down.”

“I’ve changed my mind about the cost after working with it,” Paul added. “Yes, on the face of it, moving to a subscription rather than owning your software is strange, but you do get access to all the applications. This opens a lot of doors creatively and also challenges you and makes you want to learn more and do more.”

Want to know more about how Adobe Creative Cloud for teams could help you? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
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