This is part of a series featuring highlights from the 2018 Adobe MAX Conference. Mitchell Art Director, Nathan Burns attended multiple sessions.

At the keynote event each year, Adobe innovations were highlighted across the entire suite of Creative Cloud apps. These features cover every facet of production — from photo editing, to text layout, to illustration and video. But this year, a unifying theme emerged.

Work smarter by getting the computer to do the work for you.

According to a recent study cited at Adobe MAX, 74% of creatives report spending 50% or more of their time on repetitive, uncreative tasks. And at the same time, our volume of work is increasing. This is no surprise in the deluge of communications in which many of us find ourselves. Adobe’s effort to mitigate these repetitive tasks is also no surprise.

Some Adobe innovations are simple enhancements to the interface. Users can sort their favorite fonts rather than scrolling through a list of hundreds. Or instead of rendering each scene to an image, the user can bookmark camera views of 3-D scenes and quickly export the entire scene for review online. These fixes are simple and efficient, and they certainly save time.

But the truly exciting features are those that use Adobe Sensei, the A.I. and machine learning engine for all of Adobe’s products. Many of these features take the most time-consuming tasks and shift the bulk of the effort to the computer.
Examples include:

  • Simplified creation of augmented reality experiences
  • Automatic color grading for video
  • Smart content/layout resize for print and digital
  • Interactive prototype animations
  • Live illustration brushes
  • Subject selection and masking

The time-saving nature of these features is crucial, especially in the on-demand nature of PR. There is steady demand to connect through constantly shifting events and perceptions across the globe. But it’s about more than just work volume – the most exciting tools represent entirely new ways of thinking about digital capabilities.

In the creative field, the power of computing is magnified.

Behind each creative decision, there is a human – curious and inventive. The machine may be doing countless computations to generate the final experience (and for those Adobe engineers making that happen, we are eternally grateful), but the machine is not alone. As new tools are made available, humans dream up unique ways of storytelling and connecting with audiences, with other humans. Take the image below, for example.

Adobe innovations: Project Gemini

Adobe launched Project Gemini as a pre-release this MAX. The interface allows illustrators to interact with and respond in real time with a digital touch canvas, creating digital watercolor or oil paintings. As you see above, the computer simulation is game changing. This doesn’t merely save time. It offers a previously lacking possibility for deep human expression.

And this is just one of many new Adobe innovations. Our creative team is already diving in and bringing the latest features into our workflow. We definitely appreciate the time-savers, but the most inspiring features are the ones that make us put down our mouse. The ones that make us stop and say, “Woah. I can do what?”