Welcome to our Adobe Max 2022 liveblog, where we’ll be covering all of the big announcements from today’s festival of creative apps. Whether you’re a fan of Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, or just seeing the future of creative digital tools, Max is always a fun ride – and we’ll be rounding up all of the news here as it happens.
What exactly is Adobe Max? The software giant calls its LA-based event a ‘Creativity Conference’, but it’s really an excuse for Adobe to unleash a confetti blast of announcements across its huge suite of Creative Cloud apps. Think fancy, AI-powered Lightroom tricks, new launches like Photoshop on the Web, and lots of future-gazing demos around machine learning, AR and VR.
Even if you aren’t a hardcore Adobe fan, the Max conference is always a good sneak peak at the cutting-edge creative tools that are coming down its expertly-rendered pipeline. Given the increasingly hot competition Adobe is facing right now, from Google’s AI editing tools to machine-learning wizards like Dall-E, this year’s conference should be particularly fascinating.
The live virtual keynote doesn’t kick off until 9am PDT / 5pm BST (or Wednesday 19th at 2am AEST), but Adobe has historically made some big announcements in the run-up to its live presentation – and we’re expecting the same again this year.
So join us as we discuss everything we’re hoping to see and what the new updates for Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, InDesign could mean for your creative noodlings, whether you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber or not.
Hello, I’m Mark (TechRadar’s cameras editor), welcome to our Adobe Max 2022 liveblog. Adobe’s ‘Creativity Conference’ has already kicked off in LA, but today is the big day for the software giant – and anyone who uses its dozens of apps.
From 9am PDT / 5pm BST (or 2am AEST on Wednesday 19th), Adobe will be streaming its two-hour keynote, which will give us a glimpse of the new treats coming to software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro and more.
But in the run-up to that big reveal, we’re expecting to see Adobe make some teaser announcements around the things that it’ll be fully unwrapping later. So if you want to know what we’re hoping to see at Adobe Max – and our early thoughts on the news as its happens – stay tuned to this regularly-updated liveblog. We even promise not to mention the metaverse (well, we’ll try).
So what exactly are we expecting to see at Adobe Max 2022? I’m particularly fascinated by this year’s event because there are so many rivals apparently eating Adobe’s lunch, or at least stealing a few of its fries.
Firstly, there’s the increasingly popular Canva, a free graphic design tool that’s expanding into new areas like video editing. It’s one of the main reasons why Adobe splurged $20bn on Figma last month (that’s more than Facebook paid for WhatsApp in 2014).
Then there’s the text-to-image creators like Dall-E and Midjourney, not to mention Google building AI photo editing into its Pixel phones. So with all of this in mind, I’ve put together the top five things I’m hoping Adobe to see announce or talk about during the Max 2022 keynote later.
Prediction #1: Virtual clay on Meta Quest Pro
Here’s something that went a little under the radar during the Meta Connect event last week. Skip to the 42:30 mark in Meta’s keynote and you’ll see Mark Zuckerberg announce that Adobe is making creative apps for the new Meta Quest Pro mixed-reality headset.
Referring to Adobe, Zuckerberg said “next year, they’ll begin releasing a suite of apps for professional 3D creators, designers and artists – from collaborative design reviews to Substance 3D Modeler using Quest Pro’s controllers.”
The latter is something I reckon we’ll hear a lot more about at Adobe Max. The sculpting software is already in beta and lets you muck about with digital clay. That actually sounds custom-made for VR/AR headsets, unlike work meetings with weird legless avatars.
Prediction #2: Adobe’s response to Dall-E 2
I’m both excited and slightly terrified by the emergence of text-to-image creators like Dall-E 2 and Midjourney. These AI image generators seem to be improving on a daily basis and it feels like Adobe needs to respond. After all, if the average person can just type some text and instantly receive world-class illustrations or images, why bother with Adobe apps like Photoshop and Illustrator?
Of course, the likes of Dall-E are new tools, rather than replacements for human creativity. But professionals are already using Dall-E and Midjourney in their workflows, so it’s a space Adobe can’t afford to ignore. But what does it have up its AI-generated sleeves? Hopefully we’ll get a peek later.
Prediction #3: The expansion of Frame.io
Just over a year ago, Adobe splurged $1.3bn on a video software service called Frame.io, which lets creative teams upload, review and approve video footage remotely in the cloud.
That service has since plugged neatly into Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects software, with Creative Cloud subscribers getting 100GB of free storage. But where will it go next?
Adobe is surely looking to expand its powers, given it doesn’t do a lot more than the original plug-in. Hopefully we’ll see it properly realize its potential as a super-streamlined video editing platform at Adobe Max 2022.
Prediction #4: More AI smarts for Lightroom and Photoshop
I’ve been pretty bowled over by the development of Adobe’s masking tools in the past few years. If the past couple of Adobe Max conferences are anything to go by, we should see them go up a notch in Lightroom and Photoshop today.
I’m already very reliant on Lightroom’s ability to automatically select a photo’s subject or the sky, then let me refine that selection with a graduated filter. But there’s room for Adobe to go even more granular here, perhaps automatically picking the specific parts of someone’s face to edit.
Or perhaps Adobe Sensei could learn to fetch me a beer while I spend more time faffing about with the color wheel.
Prediction #5: ‘Photoshop on the web’ goes free for all?
This time last year I was recovering from falling off my chair at the news that Adobe had finally created a web-based version of Photoshop. The awkwardly named ‘Photoshop on the web’ turned out to be less of a Photopea-killer, and more just a way for existing Creative Cloud subscribers to collaborate on Photoshop files.
But earlier this year The Verge spotted that Adobe was testing a free-to-use version in Canada, and we’ve since seen the service expand to become more of a standalone version of the image editor.
Could Adobe go the whole hog and announce ‘Photoshop on the web’ as fully free for everyone? It’d certainly be a bold, and very welcome, statement.
One more thing…
There is one bonus thing I’d like to see at Adobe Max 2022 (beyond an Oprah-style giveaway of Creative Cloud for anyone watching the livestream). For a while, Adobe’s been promising us a universal camera app that might act as a next-gen version of Photoshop Camera.
CNET recently spoke to Marc Levoy (formerly of Google, now an Adobe VP), who said that Adobe’s new app will be for “photographers who want to think a little bit more intently about the photograph that they’re taking and are willing to interact a bit more with the camera while they’re taking it”.
Specific details are thin on the ground, but Levoy did say Adobe’s working on a “feature to remove distracting reflections from photos taken through windows”, among other tricks. The app will apparently be here in the “next year or two”, so could we get a preview at Adobe Max 2022? I hope so, because it sounds unlike any photo editing or camera apps that are out there right now.
So, how exactly can you tune into Adobe Max 2022 later? Like last year, there’s a YouTube livestream that’s free for all to tune into – it’s above and the keynote kicks off at 9am PDT / 5pm BST (or 2am AEST on Wednesday 19th for those in the southern hemisphere).
The keynote’s scheduled to go on for two hours, so expect a barrage of Adobe-related information. But if Adobe Max 2022 is anything like previous years, we’re expecting to see some news break well before the keynote starts.
Adobe’s Chief Product Officer, Scott Belsky, has shared a little behind-the-scenes of the Adobe Max livestream setup. Confirmed: squirrels will be making an appearance, as will a “glimpse into the future”.
There have been some pretty big moments at Adobe Max in the past few years – Photoshop coming to the iPad, the arrival of web-based versions of Illustrator and Photoshop – will we get anything this big at Adobe Max 2022? We’ll find out very soon.
backstage with the team today in prep for #AdobeMAX tomorrow – showcasing the latest and greatest across each creative category, and a glimpse into the future as well. https://t.co/jlJ0uDEzmy to join us… 😎 pic.twitter.com/CzATifKR9gOctober 17, 2022
The recent launch of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 2023 gave us a good taste of what might be come at Adobe Max 2022 for its full, subscription-based versions.
Those stripped-down, one-off purchases are all about AI-powered features, including auto-reframing and Guided Edits. Outside of its neural filters, Adobe’s main use of machine learning has been to speed up the editing process for creators at all levels.
That’ll likely be a big theme at Adobe Max 2022 and that’s fine by me – more time to develop my creative vision* (*read snacks and mindless Twitter scrolling).