Adobe Max 2014

Hi, friends-

I’ve recently returned to Memphis following a wonderful week in Los Angeles, three days of which were spent at the AdobeMAX conference. I had such a great week, and such a great time at the conference––I’m excited to tell you guys all about it!

Photo via Adobe Creative Cloud on facebook.

Photo via Adobe Creative Cloud on facebook.

You may have read in my recent posts that I was invited by Adobe to attend the MAX conference as one of their “Insiders.” This is the second year for the Insider program, and I am so thrilled to have been a part of it. Adobe selected 8 people from different creative backgrounds to attend the conference and share their experiences via social media. I’ve put links to the other Insiders at the bottom of this post. It was a really cool, really talented group of folks. And it was nice having some new friends with which to experience MAX.

Day One: Monday

The opening keynote, titled “Creativity on the Cutting-Edge,” was all about Adobe’s new applications and product features. From Adobe: “In our increasingly complex and real-time world, where you work, how you work and what you work on is dramatically changing. Creativity is no longer confined to the desktop – you want to work across devices and between desktop and mobile.” With this idea at the core, Adobe revealed new features for Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, as well as new (and updated) mobile apps. As someone who has completely embraced working on the iPad, I was thrilled to learn about (and see in action) all of the new reveals. Read about all of the new releases here, and see tutorials for the new apps and features here.


Photo via AdobeMAX facebook page.

Photo via AdobeMAX facebook page.

While the first part of the keynote focused on the Creative Profiles, Creative Libraries and the new features and apps, the second part focused on how Adobe and Microsoft have partnered to bring the full power of Photoshop and Illustrator to the touch workspace. They gave a really cool joint presentation which shared examples of the kind of things one can do using a Microsoft tablet and the Adobe apps. And to top it off, they gave everyone in attendance (close to 6000 of us) new Microsoft Surface Pro 3s! It was really exciting, as you can imagine. I’ve been steadily playing with and learning my way around this cool new tablet.

After a great lunch in the Press Room with the other Insiders, we were given a hands-on demo of one of the newly-released apps, the Premiere Clip. This app lets you turn clips and images from your iPhone or iPad into perfectly polished videos.  Here's a quick video I put together after returning home of some of the sights and sounds from the Max Bash. I found this app really fun and easy to use.

There were hundreds of classes, labs and sessions available at Max (all of which were held at the LA Convention Center), and I primarily focused on the instructional ones. Monday afternoon I attended the class “What’s New in Adobe Illustrator CC.” This was a great overview of all the new features. You can see this class and most of the others online here.

That night I attended a fun party at the Edison, a steampunk-themed nightclub in a basement, where I met up with the other Insiders and all the cool folks from Adobe. Here I am with Rachel and Orlando, fellow Insiders.

Jenean, Orlando, Rachel at AdobeMAX 2014

And here I am with Geoff Dowd, Principle Designer at Adobe, with our Adobe Ink styluses. I “met” Geoff months ago on Instagram when he commented on one of my drawings, and I was happy to get to meet and connect with him here.

Geoff Dowd, Jenean Morrison, Adobe Ink

I have to say, one of the coolest parts of the conference was getting to meet and talk to the people behind the Adobe products. Everyone is so passionate and excited about the things they are working on. It was great to be a part of that energy.

Day Two: Tuesday

We started off the second day back in the Nokia Theater where we listened to four amazing creatives share their inspiring stories. This was a real treat and contrasted nicely with the technical information that was shared the day before. The theme of the talks was “Community Inspires Creativity,” and Ami Vitale, Jason Seiler, Weird Al Yankovic and Lee Hirsch all gave passionate, inspiring presentations about their work. I really loved all of these, in particular Lee Hirsch's talk where he discussed the power of film to move people and the impact of his movie, "Bully."

I attended two classes on Tuesday, starting with Creative Drawing on the iPad in Adobe Sketch. I’m totally in love with this program now, so it was great to get an inside look at all the new features. I also attended a class on Making Your EPUBs pop. This was a really cool look at the new interactivity features that can be integrated with your digital books via InDesign.

Tuesday was the longest day of the conference, with classes ending at 5:30 and Max Sneaks starting at 6:30. Max Sneaks was a preview of the ideas and technology that is in the works at Adobe, and it was one of the most fun events of the conference. More than a dozen projects were shared, and you can see them all here. My favorites were Shape Shade, a unique touch and tablet program for vector drawing, and Project Para.

At Max Sneaks with fellow insiders Sarah and Rachel, and our Adobe contacts Christine and Darrian.

At Max Sneaks with fellow insiders Sarah and Rachel, and our Adobe contacts Christine and Darrian.

Max Sneaks was followed by the Max Bash, a huge outdoor party filled with tons of food, drinks, incredible artwork and design, a DJ and a performance by Kings of Leon. It was a beautiful party and a great way to end the day.

Day Three: Wednesday

Although the Max Bash was the culminating event of the conference, there was still a full day of classes on the third day.  I attended five classes that day, where I learned more about the new apps and working with Illustrator on the Surface Pro 3 touch screen. I also attended a great class on social media and building a personal brand.

While lots of the classes are instructional, there are plenty that focus on inspiration and creativity.  Sarah, my fellow Insider, raved about both of these:

How to Tap into Your Creative Voice and Make Work That Matters

Think Like a Hacker: How Creative Overachievers Smash the Norm

New Releases

That sums up my day-by-day play-by-play, but I wanted to share more details about the new apps. I was so excited by these that I was tempted to sneak away during the conference and play with them, but there was so much going on that I didn’t want to miss anything. I did find a few minutes to try them out, quickly sketching these between classes.

Now that I’m back and have had some time to play, I can tell you that you are absolutely going to fall in love with these apps if you haven’t already.

I’ve been using Illustrator Draw (formerly Ideas) quite a bit, and it is one of my faves. In addition being easy to use, it allows you to send your sketches straight to Illustrator and edit them as vectors. I love being able to draw on the iPad and refine and turn the artwork into repeat patterns on the desktop.

I’ve also grown really fond of Brush and Sketch. Brush allows you to create unique brushes out of photos and illustrations, then use those brushes in Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch. Below are a few sketches where I’ve incorporated the brush app. I started by creating an element in Draw, turning that element into a brush in Brush, then using those brushes in Sketch.

I’m trying out all of the new apps, including Photoshop Mix over on Instagram, so check in with me if you want to see how I’m using these in my work.

I was sad to leave L.A. but happy to see my husband and my sweet cat back at home here in Memphis! A big thank you to Adobe for this wonderful opportunity! I really loved this conference, and I plan to make it an annual event. It was the perfect mix of technology and creative inspiration!

Be sure to check out the work of my fellow Insiders: Josh Cleland, Rachel Binx, Tony Zhou, Joel Grimes, Orlando Arocena, Andrew Shen and Sarah Croughwell.