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By Justin Seeley | Thursday, January 16, 2014

Explore the January updates to Adobe Creative Cloud

Illustrator - Update Screen

Adobe Creative Cloud members will have a nice surprise waiting for them when they fire up their computers today as Adobe is pushing a big round of updates to both InDesign and Illustrator CC. Below are a few of my favorite new features in these two products, and why I think they’ll be a big deal for creative professionals going forward. (If you’re also interested in recent updates to Photoshop CC, be sure to check out Deke McClelland’s Photoshop Creative Cloud Updates, Chris Orwig’s course Photoshop for Photographers Creative Cloud Updates, and Ryan Kittleson’s blog post on Photoshop’s new 3D printing features.)

Illustrator CC

Illustrator gets the biggest update today with the addition of features like Live Corners, revamped shape manipulation, and a brand-new Pencil tool. Users who previously found Illustrator’s drawing tools cumbersome or difficult to use now have a whole new way to work and create shapes within Illustrator.

Live Corners

My favorite Illustrator update has to be the new Live Corners feature, which allows you to simply click and drag corners of an object and round them off. Previously, the best way to manipulate rounded corners was to draw a rounded rectangle or apply an effect, but that left you with limited editing options and it took time to fumble through the appearance panel. Now you simply grab the Direct Selection tool, point it at a corner, and drag to round them off. It’s awesome!

Illustrator - Round Corners

Reshape Segments

Drawing with the Pen tool is probably the scariest task for new Illustrator users. Well, fear not young illustrators, for now you have access to a new Reshape Segments workflow. Now you can turn primitive paths into complex shapes simply by clicking and dragging segments into smooth paths without having to know or understand the Pen tool. While I still believe there’s merit to learning the Pen for more complex tasks like tracing artwork, this new feature is a simpler way to get started.

Revamped Pencil tool

The Pencil tool in Illustrator has never been particularly useful for me as it produced jagged paths that never quite seemed to match up with what I imagined in my head. But in the latest update to Illustrator CC, Adobe has revamped the Pencil tool to behave more like you’d expect. First and foremost, it now has smoothing controls that actually work! Double-clicking the tool itself will give you an options dialog box which allows you to set the smoothing to either Accurate (more jagged) or Smooth (more natural). Also, you can now create closed paths with the Pencil tool, which should make freehand illustrations much easier for digital artists. Finally, you can now use the tool to continue a path from an existing one, or even merge two paths together. This totally changes my view of the tool, and I think you’ll feel that way too, once you’ve tried it out.

For more details on these new features, check out my course Illustrator Creative Cloud Updates.

InDesign CC

The updates to InDesign CC are as much under the hood as they are on the surface. There are a ton of bug fixes and updates to existing workflows, like EPUB, that will see big improvements. There’s also a new way to add interactivity to documents that will make your ebooks and interactive docs much easier to manage.

EPUB changes

InDesign has quickly become the industry standard for digital publishing, and Adobe continues to expand its support for EPUB documents with these updates to InDesign CC. Here are some that I think will be most important to designers:

• There’s now an option to “Use Original Image” in the Object Export Options Dialog. • Images with transforms applied to them will have their appearance preserved via CSS3 transforms. • Alt text attributes are now blank by default. • Text on the path of an image will now trigger rasterization by default. • There’s support for Edge Animate files placed into EPUB3 documents.

Hyperlinks

In addition to the EPUB changes, InDesign CC has a new hyperlinks workflow. Previously hyperlinks were added by opening the Interactivity Panel from the Window Menu. This update lets you right-click an object and choose Hyperlinks in order to add links or modify an existing link on that object. This is going to speed up the workflow for interactive documents, in my opinion, and should make it easier for you to manage the navigational items in your InDesign files.

InDesign Hyperlinks

For more details on these new features, check out my course InDesign Creative Cloud Updates.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few things to check out with these updates. You can download the updates to both InDesign and Illustrator by using the Creative Cloud desktop app. If you’re unsure of how to do that, check out my Up and Running with Adobe Creative Cloud course here on lynda.com. For more information and in-depth training on the new features from this update, watch my Illustrator Creative Cloud Updates and InDesign Creative Cloud Updates courses. And for a master list of all our Creative Cloud courses that’s updated regularly, bookmark our curated playlist: Explore Adobe Creative Cloud.

Got questions about these new updates to Adobe Creative Cloud? Join me online next Tuesday, January 21st at 12 noon Pacific Time for a live Creative Cloud Q&A session – follow us on Google+ to get details and sign up.

Adobe, Creative Cloud, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

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