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Adobe Max Reaffirms Adobe’s Innovation DNA
October 26, 2022 News


Written by: Martin Dale Bolima, Tech Journalist, AOPG.

Adobe Inc. is a revolutionary. From the late 1980s to the 1990s, in fact, it revolutionised the worlds of graphic design, video editing, documentation and desktop publishing with the release of Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, Premier and InDesign, respectively, in that order. By the 2000s, the California-based software company was transforming web design as well—while pretty much perfecting the proprietary software that established Adobe as a major player in the field of tech.

Fast forward to 2022 and Adobe’s innovation DNA appears to be stronger than ever, with the software giant introducing its latest innovations in the recently concluded Adobe MAX Conference 2022. The hybrid, multi-site event is a fitting prelude to Adobe’s 40th anniversary this coming December and is the world’s largest creativity conference to date. More importantly, it showcased the many reasons why Adobe is the preferred brand of many of the world’s best creatives—and why it has outgrown its reputation of being a creativity-centric company.

“This is a year of milestones,” Shantanu Narayen, Chairman and CEO at Adobe, in his opening keynote to kickoff Adobe MAX. “We celebrate 40 years—our 40th anniversary in December. And we could not be more proud of the impact that our technologies have had on every aspect of human society. From inventing desktop publishing to revolutionising imaging and design, to pioneering electronic documents, to advancing animation, gaming and video, and now to leading 3-D, immersive digital marketing and commerce. We are focused on empowering everyone, everywhere to imagine, create and bring any digital experience to life.”


To that end, Narayen emphasised Adobe’s continuing commitment to innovation, noting how the company has “focused on delivering groundbreaking innovation” to bring the best of Adobe to its many communities around the world. And he credits the passion and creativity of these communities for inspiring Adobe to “reach higher” and keep innovating even after all these years.

Adobe’s mission, though, remains unchanged: To democratise creativity by “enabling anyone, anywhere to tell their story—whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.” But there is now an added component to the company’s never-ending product innovation, and that is to unleash what Narayen calls “the power to do social good.” And to that end, Adobe’s CEO made the first big announcement of the conference: The rollout of Adobe Express for Nonprofits, which will give over 10 million nonprofits worldwide free access to Adobe Express, a template-based platform creators can use to easily make, edit and share digital content. This means they can use leading content creation software to “engage donors and drive greater impact.”

Creators Need Help, and Help Is on the Way

Adobe’s innovations are even more relevant today when content is now king.

“What makes this moment so special is that we’re living at a time when content and creativity and design have never been more valued when content is fuelling the global economy, when digital content consumption is exploding and where virtually every business needs a digital presence,” said David Wadhwani President, Digital Media Business at Adobe. “This creates amazing opportunities for all of you, but it also creates real challenges.”

These challenges, according to Wadhwani, are the very challenges Adobe aims to solve. The biggest and most important of these, however, is how to help content creators realise their ideas in the most efficient and productive ways imaginable. The solution is simple: Provide the most powerful creative products. And that is something Adobe has done over the years with its creative suite which includes Photoshop and InDesign.

That suite of products has only gotten better—and will keep getting better—with Adobe Sensei, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine. Sensei, whose major upgrades were also announced at MAX, integrates with most of Adobe’s programs to help content creators leverage AI for content creation. Wadhwani describes Sensei as a creator’s “creative co-pilot” that “is like magic”—automating mundane tasks, helping content creators express their ideas more quickly and more efficiently and allowing generative AI but from a creator-centric standpoint (meaning, it aims to enhance human creativity, not replace it entirely).

Adobe is also doubling down on collaboration to allow content creators to share ideas, work together to create content and exchange all-important feedback with each other. And to this end, Wadhwani announced enhanced Share for Review capabilities, along with the acquisition of Figma, a collaborative web application for interface design.

Supercharged Sensei

Advancements to Adobe Sensei were among the major highlights of MAX 2022, and it underscored Adobe’s commitment to innovation and AI. These upgrades are also set to make life easier for content creators.

“Our people-centred approach to building AI to enable creativity is all about infusing intelligence into the products creatives know and love, so they can dream big and bring bold ideas to life,” explained Ely Greenfield, CTO, Digital Media, at Adobe. “The new AI-powered features in Adobe Express and Creative Cloud enable anyone to tap into their creativity, spending more time creating and less time on basic, repetitive tasks.”

Among the new features this AI advancement will enable are:

  • Easy, simplified photo restoration.
  • Select People, a new tool in Adobe Lightroom that automatically detects a person in a photograph.
  • Quick Actions that simplify tasks such as resizing videos and images, finding the best colour palettes and scanning for the right font.

The upgrades to Adobe Sensei will also enhance Adobe’s creative suite. These advancements, in turn, will further improve beloved programs such as Photoshop (enhanced Selection tool, Remove Background, etc.), Express (Refine Cutout, Font Recommendations, etc.), Lightroom (Adaptive Presets, Select Objects, etc.), Premier Pro (Auto Colour), After Effects (Scene Edit Detection) and Substance (3D AI-Enhanced Materials, 3D Capture, etc.).

A Sneak Peek Into the Future

As always, Adobe MAX saved the best for last in Sneaks: A preview of what is to come from Adobe. And from the looks of it, there is a lot in store for the future—all for the benefit of content creators at every level.

One future innovation to watch out for, in particular, is the new video editing tool code-named Project Blink. This tool uses AI to help users pinpoint specific clips from a video by simply selecting from a video transcript certain words, sounds, or objects.  After which, AI will do the rest, automatically looking for that video portion and then transforming it into a new clip.

Another notable innovation in the works is Project Made in the Shade, another AI-enabled feature that recognises the different aspects of a given scene and makes it easier to edit shadows and their surroundings. This feature allows the user to move elements around and recast their shadows where necessary, preserving the scene’s realism by making realistic shadows.

Making the Most of the Present, Moving Forward for the Future

Adobe Max, which went on hiatus due to the pandemic, came back with a vengeance and highlighted an exciting present for creatives around the world relying on Adobe’s technologies. But the company also promised an even more exciting future, one in which content creators will be able to unleash the full breadth of their creativity.