Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum: A Guide for Students and Teachers

2B: The 5 Principles You Need to Know about Using Creative Cloud

  1. Work at “the speed of thought” with Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud applications are increasingly intuitive and easy-to-use for beginners. For example, Adobe XD CC, is a next-generation application that was built so you can “design at the speed of thought.”  Early generation Adobe software had a reputation for being overwhelming — the application interfaces, workspaces, and menus can at first seem extremely complicated, like the controls in the cockpit of an airplane. But four things continue to improve to make Creative Cloud increasingly user-friendly:
  1. The interfaces, menus, and workspaces are more clean and simple.
  2. The tools and functions are more intuitive.
  3. The applications start up in ways that make it easy for beginners to get going.
  4. The programs are better engineered to be faster and more reliable.
Each generation of Creative Cloud becomes easier for novices to learn, without comprising the growing power that lies under the hood. So have confidence that, with a little bit of patience and guidance, it’s easier than ever to learn to ride the bike of Creative Cloud, because the applications have been developed, refined, and improved over decades of experience and innovation. Creative Cloud is now accessible to mainstream users, not just creative professionals and advanced techies.
  1. There are “many paths to god” using Creative Cloud
In every Creative Cloud application, there are many different ways to accomplish the same task, and often there are different applications that can accomplish similar tasks. So, when you learn how to do something, either through advice or by figuring it out yourself, don’t be surprised when you later discover a different way to accomplish the same task. For example, imagine that you had a video clip that was 30 seconds long, and you wanted to trim off the first three seconds and the final two seconds. To do this in Premiere Pro, you could use the razor tool, set in-points and out-points, or drag the beginning and end of the clip. There is no single “right” way to do anything — what’s most important is that the approach makes sense to you and works for you.

Not only are there different ways to use different tools within each application, but also you have choices among applications that can accomplish the same tasks. You can edit video within Photoshop, if that works for you, although Premiere Pro was clearly designed to do this better. Likewise, I’ve used Premiere Pro to edit and generate some still images, just because I was more familiar with the functions there which helped me get my work done “at the speed of thought."

This resource is created for students and teachers, and so all its advice is based on the easiest and most reliable ways to accomplish basic tasks, but you can and will eventually discover your own approaches. For example, the video tutorials use pull-down menu commands as often as practical because they’re the easiest to find, but some users might prefer to memorize and use keyboard-command shortcuts instead.
  1. Creative Cloud works collaboratively, with anyone, on any device
When most of us first learn to ride a bike, drive a car, or ride a horse, we have tunnel vision — we’re only able to focus on ourselves and what’s in front of us. When you first use Creative Cloud applications, you usually work alone — especially in college courses where you receive individual grades. But the way that businesses, communities, organizations, and institutions work in our increasingly networked world is through collaboration. Very quickly, especially in the professional world, you’ll find yourself working collaboratively, with a variety of people in a variety of places.

Thus, an extremely powerful and important dimension of Creative Cloud is its collaborative, cloud-based platform. You can easily store work and share it with your team on whatever devices they use, wherever they use them. And when it comes time to “go live,” your work can be easily published or broadcast, especially across social media, because it was developed in the cloud all along.

It’s always stunning to see the magic of Photoshop or Premiere Pro, for example when you completely swap the backdrop of your selfie from the ugly wall of your basement office to the majesty of a gorgeous landscape. We’ve known for a long time that Creative Cloud applications have those awesome powers. But what you’ll find just as magical and powerful are the collaborative and distributed powers of Creative Cloud. When you first start out, it’s difficult to appreciate how important the cloud and all of its synching and library features can be. But once Creative Cloud makes it easy for you and your team to work on a project simultaneously — even from your mobile devices — you’ll begin to appreciate the real power of Creative Cloud.
  1. The Creative Cloud desktop dashboard manages your applications and account
Computers that run Windows or Mac operating systems have a special Creative Cloud pop-up menu that looks like a black infinity symbol, located in the very top bar of the screen. If you use a smartphone, you probably don’t even think about the dashboard of applications that just pop up whenever you open up that device. And, if you use a computer, you also have a menu of applications that pop up on your screen.

Creative Cloud has an awesome pop-up menu that makes locating, installing, and running all of your applications efficient and well-organized. If you click that infinity icon, a self-explanatory list of applications pops up (or pops down), which tells you which apps you have installed, which apps you could install, and which apps have updates available. Get used to clicking that icon to manage your Creative Cloud apps. One important note: It’s a good idea to only download the applications you need one at a time, as you need them. Very few of us need all of the Creative Cloud applications downloaded and installed on our computers. Just use the ones you need, even though they’re all part of your Creative Cloud subscription.

As a Creative Cloud subscriber, you also have a web-based dashboard of account settings. You need your online account settings to access some Creative Cloud features such as Behance and Adobe Portfolio, but, most importantly, the dashboard helps you manage your assets and libraries that are synced through the cloud.
  1. Creative Cloud is one sweet suite
The word “synergy” often means a collection of things that work so well together that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So it is with the Creative Cloud suite of applications. You might find a different video editor that initially seems to work as well for your purposes as Premiere Pro. Or maybe you have a website editor that you like, so you haven’t tried Adobe Muse or Dreamweaver. But at some point — and probably sooner than later — you’ll need and want your individual applications to work together, to work in concert, to have synergy.

There is no suite of creative applications that are as professional, comprehensive, complementary, and powerful as Creative Cloud — and that’s not a debatable claim, because there is no other collection like it, period.

So, one of the incredible advantages and most powerful features of Creative Cloud is that its applications work together so seamlessly. They’re a matching set. If you’re putting together a magazine layout in InDesign CC and you need to adjust some aspect of a photograph, you don’t need to jump outside InDesign, launch Photoshop, work in Photoshop, then re-import the photograph back into InDesign. These kinds of operations can happen in an instant, “at the speed of thought,” because the applications have such synergy.


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