Adobe MAX Conference 2018: Cynthia Edition
Back in October, I had the pleasure to attend the Adobe MAX Conference with my coworker and fellow designer, Catherine Babin. While we both attended the larger general keynotes together (Welcome Reception and MAX SNEAKS), we made sure to attend separate sessions throughout the three days we were at the conference to get the most knowledge to bring back to our team. Since we both had different experiences, we decided to both write separate blog posts. Feel free to check out Catherine’s experience here.
Adobe MAX is Adobe Systems’ (the great people who created Photoshop, etc.) annual conference. It’s not just a creativity conference, it’s THE creativity conference. Every year at Adobe MAX, Adobe updates us on some great new updates, what’s in the near future, and how they are continuing to improve their software to nurture creatives all over the world. The conference is a three-day journey filled with sessions and workshops on design and creativity.
This year, MAX was in sunny Los Angeles, California from October 15th through the 17th.
Now, I’ve had the pleasure of having attended two previous design conferences while I’ve been at PMG (Circles and AIGA). But neither prepared me for the creativity overload that is Adobe MAX.
When Catherine and I walked into the Los Angeles Convention Center that Monday morning for the Welcoming Reception, I was overwhelmed with the number of people attending. At more than 14,000, Adobe MAX had its biggest attendance yet, and it will only get bigger. The room was filled with excitement as the intro video to Adobe MAX began in the million screens across the room.
Shantanu, the CEO of Adobe, was the first to welcome everyone. He spoke about how the future belongs to those who create, and Adobe’s mission is to “nurture the creativity that lives inside of all of us.” We are in creativity’s golden age, and Adobe and their products are making sure that every creative is able to transfer their great ideas from their brains to their screens and to share with the world around them.
Next, Scott Belsky, the Chief Product Officer of Adobe, took the stage to talk about the three principles that guide the Adobe team when working on their tools for creative professionals:
Accelerate your work
Liberate your creativity
Drive new mediums
With that, Scott and the Adobe team shared some exciting news about the future of Adobe products. Here’s a quick overview of some updates that made me gasp audibly.
Command-Z shortcut to undo in Photoshop.
Scale proportionally now the default in Photoshop. No more Shift key *tear*.
Full Photoshop on the iPad in 2019.
Project Gemini: a brand new drawing & painting application for the iPad coming in 2019.
Adobe Premiere Rush: the new app for creating and sharing online videos, inspired by influencers like Lilly Singh.
Project Aero: Adobe’s new augmented reality tool coming soon.
The welcoming reception was an incredible beginning taste of what was to come the next three days. I could write about every single detail of my experience at MAX, but that would take much more than one blog post. Therefore, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite moments and some of the incredible things I learned.
After the welcoming reception, I had some time to spare to check out the Community Pavilion, which was full of booths from different companies. My bag was filled pretty quickly with a bunch of freebies and I had the opportunity to check out some incredible vendors and companies that impact the career of designers like me. Plus, I got some sweet free t-shirts too, so that’s always nice.
My first session on Day One was “The Most Important Things in After Effects You Need to Know.” I just started using After Effects, Adobe’s motion graphics tool, only about a year ago. It has fascinated and frustrated me, but it is now a big piece of what we do here on the creative team at PMG. In this session, Fox Sports Motion Graphics Designer, Sergei Prokhnevskiy, walked through some time-saving tips on After Effects. For example, he talked about P.A.R.T.S, or his way to remember all the short-cuts for the transform properties in an After Effects layer (P – Position, A – Anchor Point, R – Rotation, T – Opacity, and S – Scale). Small tips like that can save me HUGE amounts of time.
I was really excited for my first workshop at MAX. Bonnie Siegler, the founder of Eight and a Half, was the instructor for Making Signs of Resistance. She showed us a slide show of powerful protest signs before she told us to pick a topic we’re passionate about and find the table with that topic. I chose immigration since it’s a topic dear to my heart. The table was filled with other creatives who felt the same way. Bonnie wanted us to create a protest sign as a group. We ditched our computers for this one and painted, cut, and put together a powerful poster with the words “Let U.S. In,” playing off the word “us” and replacing it with “U.S.”
Day Two began with the Community Inspires Creativity reception. Adobe’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ann Lewnes, introduced some creative professionals whose career journeys are a form of inspiration for every creative. Nicola Scott, a comic book artist, spoke about her journey from not feeling satisfied creatively at the beginning of her career, to eventually working her dream job drawing Wonder Woman for DC Comics. The legendary photographer, Albert Watson, spoke about how graphic design, fine art, and film training influenced his photography. Ann ended the reception by interviewing the legendary Ron Howard on stage. His first acting role was when he was just 18 months old and since then, he’s gone from acting to directing movies like the Da Vinci Code. He spoke about how even as a child, he always loved the creative-problem solving portion of film and TV, eventually fueling his love for directing.
The reception wrapped up and I headed to my first session of the day to see my all-time favorite designer, Aaron Draplin. He’s always a joy to listen to and I’ve been lucky enough to see him more than once before. With his beard and his trucker hat, he has become a celebrity in the design community and always draws a crowd, and this time was no different. His talk highlighted mistakes in his career and how he made lemonade out of those lemons. It was great to hear from such an experienced designer that even years into his career, he still makes mistakes.
Day Two ended with Adobe SNEAKS. Some sneak peeks on some of the exciting projects that Adobe is working on for the future. Catherine goes into it in great detail in her blog post, but I did want to highlight some of my favorite projects!
Day Three passed by pretty quickly. Our last day at MAX had arrived and the crowds have gotten smaller. While there were no big sessions on day three, I enjoyed the sessions I attended. My favorite by far was the Photography Essentials for Improving Your Photos session, ran by Matthew Richmond, Adobe Director of Experience Design. I am by no means a photographer, but this session explained the basics of taking great photos. He shared a cheat sheet on ISO, shutter speed, and aperture that was helpful for beginners. Photography is a realm of creativity I am extremely interested in and this fueled my desire to learn more about it.
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As you can see by my very long blog post, I learned A LOT at Adobe MAX. I was overwhelmed but in a good way. And just like every previous conference I attended, I left feeling inspired and so grateful for my career choice. I highly recommend to any creative to attend MAX at least once because nothing will compare.
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