Surface Pro 3 + Adobe Creative Cloud

Surface Pro 3 + Adobe Creative Cloud

Now it gets interesting

At the Surface Pro 3 announcement back in May, an Adobe executive promised that his firm's Creative Cloud applications, starting with Photoshop, would be updated to support the Surface Pro 3's high-DPI display. But aside from a pretty lame experimental feature in Adobe Photoshop CC (2014), we've seen nothing to indicate that Adobe was really onboard. Today, finally, that all changed.

You can read about my lackluster experience with the experimental high DPI support in Adobe Photoshop CC (2014) Surface Pro 3 + Adobe CS 2014. But maybe it's time to look forward, not back.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen on stage at Adobe MAX today to discuss how Adobe is optimizing Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) for Surface Pro 3.

"I love Photoshop, I've been using it for two decades," an Adobe employee noted to Mr. Nadella and Mr. Narayen. "But honestly, the user interface has not changed in that time. And so when we started to explore touch, we knew that we would have to radically shift the way we design the interface."

To do this, Adobe separated the user interface layer of Photoshop from the underlying application code. In other words, not just a high DPI treatment of the existing UI, but something new. What emerges is a far more elegant application, one with buttons that are big enough to touch, of course, but one that is also not tied to the tired old UI. The layers window swoops in from the side when needed, for example, rather than being docked.

This "transformational" UI is also available in the new Illustrator, Adobe says: Just pull off your Surface Pro 3 Type Cover and see what happens.

There's also a new Playground area for UI experiments. The firm showed off a new UI experiment called the Layer Inspector which provides a touch- and software-based lens which can be dragged around onscreen so you can inspect the underlying layers.

Adobe also showed off a new video product, codenamed "Animal," which aims to make character animation easier. As with Photoshop, Animal supports an immersive touch experience where you can grab and animate onscreen parts, recording the animation as you go.

Even more impressive, you can enable your Surface Pro 3's front camera and the onscreen character in the animation will move and make facial expressions with you as you move and talk. It's like having Andy Serkis ("Gollum", "King Kong", etc.) in software.

Adobe also showed off some Perceptive Pixel work, and Microsoft gave away Surface Pro 3s to everyone at MAX. So much fun was had all along. And it looks like I'm going to have to take another look at Adobe's apps.

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