An eLearning Developer's Take on the Adobe Now Conference
As an eLearning developer I have to have a wide knowledge base of a variety of applications. One day I can be making animations to help companies explain their new system and the next I can be in Articulate Storyline making compliance eLearning.
Generally, the most used product on my computer is Adobe Creative Cloud. So I couldn't miss Adobe's Create Now conference in Melbourne. This is a high level summary of some of the products and technologies that I'm excited about.
Cross platform capability
A big new feature was the ability to edit the same piece of work on your phone, tablet and computer. The example they showed was using Lightroom and Photoshop. They started off with an image that Terry White had taken on his Camera (but it could've been taken with his phone). This was then opened up in Adobe Photoshop Mix app and he was able to edit the photo with all the power of Photoshop... but on a tablet.
This means you can make changes out in the field without needing to go back to the office to make those small little colour changes or replace an object. This is going to save us a lot of time.
Creative Sync has been part of the Adobe Creative Cloud since last year, but it was never really explained that well. You just got it and were told that it "syncs with the cloud". After some explanation it quickly became apparent that this could be really powerful for a design team.
To explain just how awesome this feature is let me break it down.
Create sync is kind of like Google Drive, except it sits inside your Adobe programs like Illustrator and Photoshop, so you can drag files straight out of it and into whatever program you are using. This is cool but it gets better! You also have the ability to be able to share certain folders with other people. This means that your design team can have a central folder where they can add and remove items, then it updates so everyone can see it.
But what happens if someone edits it and you don't want these changes Well Adobe has sorted that out for you? Each edit is a new version so you can just revert to a previous version.
When I'm not up to my neck in Storyline variables, I'm animating in After Effects. There are two really cool features that Adobe released in the new version of After Effects. The first one is uninterrupted previews - it's just like when you used to RAM preview, but now when you click somewhere else on the screen it wont stop. Now that may not seem like a big thing... but it is! The basic premise of it is that you can have your composition previewing in one window, while you make changes to precomps in that scene and they will show up in the composition you are previewing.
The other big release was Character Animator. This is in Preview One stage which means its pretty much an alpha version, but the mechanics inside of it are pretty solid and Adobe just needs to tweak the back end rendering functionality to make it a solid product.
This is how it works and what it does: You create your usual characters in either Illustrator or Photoshop and use the naming conventions that that are specified in a template (you have to name all the parts of you character). You would also need to make all mouth expressions for lip syncing. Once you have made all of these you would import them into Character Animator and it's automatically rigged for you.
Now for the cool part. You turn on your webcam and microphone and lets the magic begin. Your webcam will track you facial movements and call upon the part of the character rig that goes along with your action. For example, if you look to the left your character eyes will do the same, while the microphone calls on the lip sync files to make the mouth shapes.
Your character will also be scaled up or down depending on how close or far away you are from the camera. You can also add in actions that can be called from a key press on your keyboard like to turn your head to the left or right or to blink. Finally, you are able to put effects on certain parts of the body like dangle or breath to make you character more life like.
This means all you need to do to animate a character is a webcam, microphone, character... and an empty room because you will probably make a bit of an ass of yourself while doing this.
Take a look at this video for a demo:
I'm really happy with what Adobe is offering and I can't wait to make some amazing stuff with their new products and features. I've only just scraped the surface in this blog post and Adobe is constantly updating their products. By the time you have read this post, Adobe will have probably released something else that is even more amazing.