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Adobe Photoshop CC (2015 release): Empowered By and For Mobile Devices

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You can use Creative Cloud mobile apps to feed ideas into Photoshop and other Creative Cloud desktop applications, and you can now use Adobe Photoshop CC (2015 release) to more easily design content for mobile apps and web sites. Conrad Chavez looks at how Photoshop CC 2015 integration with Adobe mobile apps works in both directions.
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Since Adobe Photoshop became a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, much of the attention has focused on the desktop-oriented benefits of Creative Cloud, like how it brings together continuous feature updates, simplified installation, file storage, and additional tools and services such as the TypeKit font library and the Behance creative network. But Adobe is increasingly connecting the desktop with a constellation of apps on mobile devices, and Photoshop CC 2015 is a major player in this effort.

That connection goes both ways: You can use Creative Cloud mobile apps to feed ideas into Photoshop and other Creative Cloud desktop applications, and you can now use Photoshop CC 2015 to more easily design content for mobile apps and web sites. Let’s look at how Photoshop CC 2015 integration with Adobe mobile apps works in both directions.

Start Ideas Anywhere, Finish Them in Photoshop

Creative Cloud mobile apps let you work out visual ideas as soon as you think of them, and then you can send those works-in-progress along to Photoshop and other Creative Cloud desktop applications for further development. Instead of creating a simple digital version of a designer’s paper notebook, Adobe has thought about how mobile apps can address specific needs for photography, design, and illustration. That’s why Adobe has developed a range of Creative Cloud mobile apps that are optimized for particular tasks.

A smartphone or tablet camera might not be a digital SLR, but its images are more than good enough for you to use as the basis for digital paintings or a design mockup. For example, if you see a scene that conveys the right tone for an ad you’re designing, you can use the Adobe Photoshop Mix app to take a photo of the scene with your phone’s camera, bring in design assets from your Creative Cloud online storage, and assemble the mockup in Photoshop Mix. If you only need an object out of the scene, you can use Photoshop Mix to cut the object out of its background. When it’s time to develop the mockup into a more finished piece, the work you do on the iPad isn’t a dead end because you can send the Photoshop Mix composition to Photoshop on your desktop computer, where it appears as a layered Photoshop document.

Figure 1 You can send a Photoshop Mix composition directly to Photoshop CC on the desktop as a layered document.

If you’re developing web or print layouts, especially where type is a major element, you might prefer the Adobe Comp CC app for the iPad. Comp CC is gesture-based, so you can use your finger to sketch shapes that Comp CC automatically converts into layout elements such as text and graphics placeholders, rectangles, and circles. It’s also easy to add images and vector graphics from your Creative Cloud libraries. For text, you can choose from a selection of fonts from the TypeKit library that’s part of Creative Cloud. Those fonts are also available in TypeKit on the desktop, so if you later open the Comp CC project in Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe InDesign on your computer, the TypeKit fonts you applied in Comp CC will be preserved and editable.

Figure 2 Use gestures (left) in Adobe Comp CC to build Photoshop-compatible layouts (right).

If your concept development or artwork is often based on drawing or painting in Photoshop, your mobile solution may be Adobe Photoshop Sketch. With this iPad app you can use a compatible pressure-sensitive stylus (such as Adobe Ink) to draw, paint, or trace images using tools that mimic real pencils, brushes, and paints. You can send your work directly to Photoshop on the desktop for further editing. If you’d like to show off your artwork and get feedback, you can share it on the Behance creative network.

Figure 3 Draw or paint in Adobe Sketch and send the sketch to Photoshop CC on your computer.

Connect a Team with Creative Cloud Mobile Apps and Libraries

Creative Cloud Libraries are a key connection between Photoshop and the Creative Cloud mobile apps.  A Library is a set of assets that is accessible both in Creative Cloud mobile apps and in the Libraries panel in Photoshop and other Creative Cloud desktop apps.

Figure 4 The Libraries panel in Photoshop CC, containing assets including color themes and brushes.

You can organize assets into multiple libraries, such as by project or by client. You can also share libraries with other Creative Cloud users. When you develop ideas in Creative Cloud mobile apps, libraries give you a place to store those ideas in a way that’s accessible not only on other devices, but also by your creative team.

For example, if you’re working on festival graphics in Photoshop and you need to research colors and brushes to paint textures, you can use the Libraries panel in Photoshop to create a “Festival” library, share it with your team, and ask them to help gather ideas for colors and brushes. When your team is away from the office, they can use their phone camera with mobile apps such as Adobe Color CC to sample color themes from the real world; or they can use Adobe Brush CC to sample potential graphics for patterned lines, stroke styles, and illustrative borders.

Figure 5 Sample or create color themes in Adobe Color CC (left) and create brushes in Adobe Brush CC (right).

As your team collects these color themes and brushes to the library, they can add them to the library you shared straight from the mobile apps. By the time the team gets back to their desks at the office, they’ll see that all of the ideas they collected with their mobile devices are already listed in the shared Creative Cloud library in Photoshop and other Creative Cloud desktop applications, ready to be refined and developed into finished festival project graphics.

See Your Mobile Designs on Actual Devices with Adobe Preview CC

The new Adobe Preview CC app does something a little different for Photoshop, compared to the other Adobe Creative Cloud mobile apps. If you’re designing a website or mobile app UI with Photoshop CC 2015, you can open the Device Preview panel to view that Photoshop document on the screen of an actual mobile device running Preview CC. Photoshop CC 2015 and Preview CC will automatically find each other if you are signed into both Photoshop and Preview CC with the same Adobe ID, and the device is connected to your computer either with a USB cable or wirelessly over the same Wi-Fi network.

Preview CC really comes into its own when combined with the new Artboards feature in Photoshop CC 2015. With artboards, you can have multiple canvases of different sizes in a single Photoshop document, making it easier to explore and develop related design ideas together. When you send a document to Adobe Preview CC you can simply switch artboards in Preview CC to see how each design option looks on the actual device. If you set up the artboards to match the screen sizes of different mobile devices, you can design for all of those sizes in the same Photoshop document. You can then use the Device Preview panel to send the document to Preview CC on each mobile device, where you can choose the artboard with the design for that device’s screen size.

Figure 6

Figure 6 Create mobile web designs in Photoshop CC 2015 (left), and view the Photoshop document in Adobe Preview CC on an iPhone (right).

Make Mobile Connections with Photoshop CC 2015

The new mobile connectivity in the 2015 release of Adobe Photoshop CC helps Photoshop keep its crown as the king of image editing applications. Many recent trends in both desktop and mobile image editing remain focused on editing an image on a single device and then sharing the image on social media. Photoshop CC 2015 instead offers new, flexible production-oriented workflows that can begin or end on desktop or mobile devices. You could start designing a mobile website in Adobe Comp CC while sitting on the train, pick it up on your desktop in Photoshop CC 2015, and use Adobe Preview CC to test your Photoshop layout on various mobile devices on your studio’s wireless network.

Creative Cloud mobile apps are available mostly for iOS, with some available for Android. Adobe has announced that more Creative Cloud mobile apps will be available for Android starting in the summer of 2015.

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