I was recently invited by Adobe to attend Adobe Max 2014 as an “Adobe Max Insider”. My duties included sharing my experience on various forms of social media such as the Twitters, the Instagrams, and the Facebooks. You may have seen my posts using #AdobeMax. If not, you’re in luck as I’m about to wrap up my experience of this conference (held October 5 through 8 in Los Angeles) in this blog post.
First of all, I have to give my sincerest thank you to the people at Adobe for inviting me to this amazing conference.
I’ve always loved watching product announcement keynotes (Apple, Nike, Microsoft, Adobe), so being able to attend a product keynote was a real treat. The production value for these things are phenomenal. I recommend you watching the intro here. Make sure you have your sound and bass turned all the way up!
Adobe announced some pretty cool stuff during the keynote. For a full overview of their new and updated mobile apps head on over to this blog post. This keynote really gave us a sneak peek into the vision Adobe has with Creative Cloud, and these mobile apps are a significant part of that vision.
The thing I’m most excited about are “Creative Cloud Libraries” and “Creative Profile”. To get a better look take a look at this 15 minute part of the keynote. I’m always collecting brushes, textures, colors and other stuff to use in my illustrations, and these libraries make it very easy to access these elements on the spot without having to dig through folders. It’s also very easy to edit libraries on the fly. It’s not perfect yet (currently CC Libraries are only available in Illustrator, Photoshop and the mobile apps—not InDesign), but it’s far better than it used to be. Adobe also demoed collaborative libraries which doesn’t seem to be available yet. Hopefully soon (I’m guessing).
During Monday morning’s product keynote Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella demoed a new touch-friendly workspace for Photoshop that’s currently in development (click here for more info). Once the demo was over, they surprised the audience by giving everyone a free Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Being a Mac guy, I have to say that sketching on the Surface Pro 3 is definitely nice. Unfortunately I can’t really compare it to a Cintiq because I don’t own one. Side note, the sketches below are done on the Surface Pro 3 using the standard version of Photoshop, NOT the touch version demoed during the keynote.
During day 2 I got to attend a session titled: Working with Color in Illustrator: Establishing Your Design’s Visual Voice, taught by Mordy Golding and Von Glitschka. This session really showed the power of the mobile app/desktop workflow using Creative Cloud Libraries, Adobe Color and Adobe Illustrator.
Above, Mordy Golding demos how he can quickly recolor some of Von Glitschka’s artwork using a color palette derived from my shirt. The colors were pulled from my shirt using the updated Adobe Color iOS app (previously “Adobe Kuler”). (At least I think it was my shirt. Von scanned several people’s shirts using the app–mine was the one that closely matched.) It was pretty cool how quickly it all worked. I’ve been using the Color iPhone app since to quickly capture color schemes on-the-go. I even used it the other day to create some schemes from The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (click here).
The second day keynote titled, Community Inspires Creativity featured four people making a difference with creativity. Click here to view their presentations.
During his talk, Lee Hirsch and Adobe announced an amazing collaboration called The BULLY Project Mosaic: Art for A Movement. If you’re interesting in fighting the bullying epidemic I highly encourage you to visit Adobe’s blog for more info on how you can get involved.
Day two featured a look into projects that may or may not make their way into Adobe’s line of apps. This presentation was hosted by actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I had great seats! Adobe demoed some amazing stuff! One of the project demoed was called “Para Drawing”. This tool offers a new way of working with vectors in Illustrator. For more info visit Paradrawing.com and watch the video. It’s pretty cool!
The end of day two featured a big party with the band “Kings of Leon”. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of the band, but I did get a photo of this cool restroom directional sign. Unfortunately I still never found the bathroom. So many people!
I have to admit that I was a little bit skeptical of this conference going in. I was expecting product announcements, several days of tutorials, and nothing more (perhaps people trying to sell me stuff). While this conference did have all of this, it had so much more. It’s a conference celebrating creativity in general, and I loved that! The session speakers were not Adobe worshipers. In fact, every once in a while an Adobe software frustration would slip in to their talks which added a sense of authenticity. I appreciated this.
One of the awesome things about this experience was seeing and visiting with the people from Adobe behind the products. Nowadays, it’s so easy to throw tantrums whenever a piece of software has a bug (or two or three), yet we forget that there are real people behind the curtains who are just as creative as we are. I found they were very receptive to feedback. In fact I would say they craved it! If there’s something you would like to see added or fixed definitely let the folks at Adobe know. They’re listening. Just be respectful.
If you would like more info on what Adobe announced regarding the Creative Cloud I would check out their blog. To watch replays of the keynotes and some sessions click here.
Would I Recommend Adobe Max?
That’s a good question, and it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to connect with creatives from other disciplines, be inspired, and have fun, then this is definitely a conference worth considering. It is a little bit pricy, but that’s something you’ll have to weigh for yourself.
Thank you for reading this, and thanks again to the fine people at Adobe for the experience–especially Christine Jennings and Darrian Watts who personally reached out to me for the invite. They were extremely pleasant and professional.
Back to drawing.