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First look at Creative Cloud Libraries, connecting Adobe's desktop and mobile apps

J.R. Bookwalter | Oct. 14, 2014
Creative Cloud turned three this month, an age when most children finally begin to walk more confidently as they grow out of the toddler stage. The same could be said of Adobe's latest steps--the company took an adult-sized stride last week with the release of new mobile apps, and technology that connects them to a traditional desktop workflow like never before.

Colors and type styles can also be added to a library with a drag and drop onto the respective icon in the lower-left of the panel. Assets can be viewed as a grid or list, with additional details, such as which application created the original file, or the font name and size for type styles. Synced content is cached locally so you can work on it offline.

Although you could theoretically toss shared content into a single library, this type of disorganized approach offers little advantage over the way designers already work. Instead, you can create new Libraries for specific projects, clients, and jobs, because switching between them is as easy as clicking a panel menu. That means fewer trips to the traditional file browser, and ultimately a more efficient workflow.

Capture your world

Another way to load up your Libraries is using one of Adobe's new connected mobile capture apps. Adobe Color CC (formerly Kuler) let you capture color palettes with your iPhone's camera, while Adobe Brush CC and Adobe Shape CC allow you to create custom marks or clip art-style graphics on any iOS device.

While Libraries require a paid Creative Cloud subscription to use on Photoshop or Illustrator, the mobile apps do not — they can be used by anyone who signs up for a free Adobe ID, a deal that also includes 2GB of cloud storage. Regardless of account type, there are a few limitations worth noting.

Which library assets you're shown depends on the app you're using at the time. For example, Color CC can only access color themes, Shape CC is limited to vector shapes, and Brush CC can only see brushes. iPad-only apps like Adobe Illustrator Draw can access images and shapes, Illustrator Line is limited to images, and Adobe Photoshop Sketch can only access brushes.

Brushing up

Adobe Brush CC acts as a companion for the Photoshop Sketch app, but can also be used to create brushes for Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC on the desktop. It's important to choose the appropriate target for a new brush, since that will ultimately determine where it can actually be used. (Brushes created for Sketch will show up in Photoshop or Illustrator, but can't be used. However, you can change brush type with Brush CC at any time.)

Although I don't fancy myself an artist, it was quite easy to scribble out a custom mark using a pen and notepad, capture, and convert it into a Photoshop Sketch brush in just a few steps. Selecting the Ribbon type allowed me to adjust the tail and head of the brush so it flowed seamlessly while using it to paint on an iPad.


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