Adobe today unveiled a new version of its Lightroom CC photo workflow software with a simpler interface more targeted to consumers and a full 1TB of online photo storage.
At its annual MAX conference in Las Vegas, the company also announced five new mobile apps: a 3D graphic design tool called Dimension; the XD interface design prototyper; Character Animator; Spark; and Lightroom.
The biggest news out of MAX is the splitting of Lightroom into two separate offerings: the synced, simpler-interfaced Lightroom CC that includes 1TB of online storage; and Lightroom Classic, which hews closely the existing interface. Though the CC version has a simplified interface, most of the deep editing tools are still available once you dig in. This is because of the progressive-disclosure design, in which more tools are revealed as you need them.
"Expectations for ease of use and that it's everywhere because it's based on the cloud, are a bigger change than what we saw from film to digital…and the current Lightroom didn't fit those expectations," Adobe's Tom Hogarty, who leads the Lightroom team, told PCMag. The new Lightroom CC is joined by updated iOS and Android apps, along with a new web experience, all of which align with the new main photo workflow app.
The whole shebang will cost users $9.99 per month, just like the old Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan. That plan also included Photoshop, but if you want that now, it's an extra $9.99 per month, with a $14.99 combined offer for existing customers.
Comparing with other online storage options, $120 per year for 1TB of online storage is a bit steep. You can get that free with Flickr ($49.99 ad-free), Apple iCloud gives you 2TB for the same price, Google Drive offers 1TB for $99.99 per year, and Microsoft OneDrive gets you 1TB along with Office apps for $69.99 per year. But the powerful Lightroom software is, of course, a major differentiator.
We can't have a new software release in 2017 without mention of artificial intelligence, and indeed, the new Lightroom CC includes Adobe's Sensei AI system to power search and organization. Lightroom Classic also gets improvements in import speed and other operations, as well as new editing capabilities for the Color and Luminance Range Mask.
The new Lightroom mobile apps also get Sensei-powered search, keyword support, hierarchical albums, and support for iOS 11's new HEIC file format. As a reminder, Apple will let iOS users take advantage of raw camera files using Adobe's DNG format.
New Design Apps
Of course, other design applications were added and updated for this year's MAX show. Of particular interest are the XD user interface design app and Dimension, which was formerly called Project Felix. The latter lets you add 3D objects to 2D designs with photorealistic results. Spark, another updated app, lets you create video stories using your own or stock images, background music, and voiceovers. A very fun new app is Character Animator, which reproduces movements and expressions in a 3D animated character as you move in front of a webcam.
New Stuff for the Big Applications
Adobe's tentpole applications—Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and InDesign—also benefit from new features announced at MAX. Photoshop gets built-in tutorials to get newcomers started and to refresh pros, a new Curvature Pen tool, variable font support, and brush stroke smoothing. Illustrator gets a new Puppet Warp tool, a contextual properties panel, Artboard enhancements, and variable color and font support. InDesign adds endnotes and paragraph borders, object styles, and typographic enhancements.
Premiere Pro and After Effects can now work with 360-degree content. The video editor can now access motion graphics templates and lets you work on multiple projects simultaneously. Cool, useful data-driven animations and GPU performance improvements come to After Effects.
A new collaboration platform, Team Projects 1.0, improves multiparty workflows, and boasts autosave.
Adobe also announced that its purchasable asset portfolio, Adobe Stock, now contains 100 million assets, including not only photos, but video, motion graphics, and 3D objects. The company's social creative community, Behance, now has 10 million members. And a brand new live-streaming service with the goal of teaching digital creativity, AdobeLive, launches at MAX.
Finally, Adobe Experience Cloud, the company's digital marketing suite, will offer new integrations with the Creative Cloud suite. For more on all the new offering as well as pricing, head to Adobe's MAX minisite.