MAX 2021: Creative Cloud ecosystem update

Adobe MAX 2021 logo and illustration

When it comes to maximizing the power and utility of Adobe Creative Cloud apps and services, extensibility is at the core. Adobe apps are built to be open, enabling interoperability with other apps both inside and outside of Adobe — and making it easy to share assets with teams, wherever they are. The reality in today’s world is that, in order to do our best work, we often need to build a custom tool stack. Creative Cloud is a powerful platform for connected creativity, and we want to make sure our apps work seamlessly with whichever other tools or services you rely on.

“Customers want to be able to collaborate across the many creative tools they use each day. We’re enabling that by building partnerships across the creative spectrum. Our goal is for Creative Cloud to be a collaborative platform that empowers your work in Adobe products, and beyond.”

Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer for Creative Cloud.

As we bring more Creative Cloud desktop capabilities to the web and unveil new collaborative surfaces and features, we are deeply committed to our vision of an open ecosystem. But we’re just getting started. Expect Adobe to continue to invest in these new capabilities by making each of them embeddable and extensible going forward.

At Adobe MAX this year, we are excited to announce:

Read on to learn more about each of these four areas.

Stock & Marketplace: Find the plugins you need and more

Last year, Creative Cloud’s desktop app became the central hub to find everything you need to do your best creative work — from installing Adobe apps and accessing your projects, finding plugins and other resources on Marketplace, and learning about all the ways to make the most out of your Creative Cloud membership.

Today, we are excited to announce the launch of Stock & Marketplace, bringing Adobe Stock, Adobe Fonts, Plugins, and Substance 3D assets all together in one place. This will make it easier to discover and find all the creative building blocks you’ll need in your journey — from blank page to final deliverable — including everything you need to extend Adobe solutions and integrate with other apps and services. Going forward, we’ll be integrating the experience further to unify how you acquire and manage all of these assets and tools too.

You’ll find the Stock & Marketplace experience on a new tab in the Creative Cloud Desktop app, and on web surfaces like Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud. This will give you more options for where and how you discover the power of Adobe’s plugins and integrations to add features, automate repetitive tasks, and connect to popular tools that will help you be more productive when it counts.

With the new Stock & Marketplace tab, it’s easier than ever to discover Adobe Stock, Adobe Fonts, plugins, and more. Everything you need for your creative journey is all in one place in the Creative Cloud Desktop app.

Creative Cloud: More collaborative than ever

Creative Cloud’s collaboration tools give you and your stakeholders easy access to your projects and assets, making teamwork easier and more efficient. With this comes better control, helping you maintain brand consistency across every touchpoint. In particular, Creative Cloud Libraries is a great way to organize regularly-used creative elements (such as graphics, logos, and images, including approved photo collections from Adobe Stock) and keep them at your fingertips.

Creative Cloud Libraries also gives you the ability to share, manage, and reuse your creative elements across your Creative Cloud apps and in many of the world’s leading collaboration and productivity tools, including Microsoft Teams, Word and PowerPoint, Google Workspace, and more. Since the launch of the Creative Cloud Libraries API last year at Adobe MAX, global enterprise companies like Autodesk, Publicis Sapient, Benchmark International, Atlantic Records, and MTV Entertainment Group are connecting Creative Cloud Libraries to apps like MURAL, Tiled, and CameraIQ.

This year, the ecosystem of third-party integrations with Creative Cloud Libraries continues to expand. Whether you’re accessing assets to build no-code microapps in Tiled, bringing creative elements into your online forms with Paperform, or saving vector illustrations directly in unDraw, you’ll be able to work with your libraries in Creative Cloud effortlessly.

The creative team at Benchmark International syncs their Creative Cloud Libraries to Tiled so their approved brand assets are instantly available when building microapps. Learn how you can too.

More Photoshop and Adobe XD plugins

A hallmark of Adobe is the thousands of plugins that add features and supercharge your creative workflows, all powered by CEP, our common extensibility platform. More recently we’ve been building Creative Cloud’s new unified extensibility platform (UXP), a shared technology stack that delivers a unified, modern JavaScript engine that is even more performant, reliable, and secure. We started rolling out UXP-powered plugins for Adobe XD in 2018 and for Photoshop last year. With UXP, developers can build even better plugins to help designers create, refine, and share their work seamlessly, working with the best third-party tools on the market.

Photoshop ecosystem

UXP launched in Photoshop in 2020 and we continue to see partners build on this platform to enhance collaboration and bring advanced image editing to new heights. This includes exciting new UXP-powered plugins from globaledit, a creative workflow management solution for brands, agencies, and studios, and Smartsheet, which makes it easy to find, review, and update assignment details, upload content to proofs, manage versions, and request approvals without leaving your favorite Creative Cloud apps.

This adds to the many existing plugins that connect to your favorite tools to empower collaboration and creativity. And the crop of plugins for image editing also continues to grow, adding features from Easy Panel, ProStacker,Re-Touch by FX-Ray, APF-R, and more coming soon, including Lumenzia by Greg Benz and the newest iteration of TK8 from Tony Kuyper. These plugins make Photoshop even more powerful, with advanced image editing features from our developer community that supercharge image retouching, sharpening, color grading, simplify luminosity masks, and more.

Screen shot of Smartsheet project and workflow.

With access to Smartsheet projects and workflows, creative teams can work how and where they want to produce high-quality content without leaving Photoshop or Adobe XD.

Adobe XD ecosystem

With more than 300 plugins, the Adobe XD ecosystem also continues to grow. We’re unlocking additional workflows to help web and app design teams collaborate better, like Smartsheet’s plugin for XD and Toki Chat for real-time messaging right in XD. This also includes UI Copy, which helps you generate and insert suggested copy into designs, and the LottieFiles plugin, which gives you access to thousands of Lottie animations so you can easily bring them into your designs.

Access thousands of Lottie animations from LottieFiles right from Adobe XD, and bring motion into early designs, giving you and your team a way to visualize your designs better.

More support for our developer community

Creative Cloud’s developer community of innovators and makers are working tirelessly to improve workflows for the creative community. We are thrilled to support many of these developers through the Adobe Fund for Design. In 2021, we supported all-star plugin developers to bring powerful tools to XD — these include, among others, Walter Kimaro’s Fancy Maps (a plugin to create and import custom maps), Mighty Alex’s UI Copy (which provides common text strings), and Simon Widjaja’s Yumtastic Hero (which helps users create everything from high-quality animated banner ads to animated infographics and interactive storytelling right from XD).

Photoshop has a rich ecosystem of creators building plugins that simplify image editing workflows, and we supported several in this category too, like Picture Instruments, which partnered with Christoph Kaltseis to build APF-R (a plugin that simplifies Absolute Point of Focus sharpening in Photoshop), the Re-Touch by FX-Ray (a plugin for common retouching tasks like Frequency Separation and Dodge & Burn), and Simon Henke, who built more than five Photoshop plugins last year.

Adobe Fund for Design image with partner logos.

And we’re delighted to engage with leading developers that contribute valuable resources to the benefit of the community at large. Thanks to the work of contributors like Davide Barranca (who released the Adobe UXP: Things you need to know video series) and Jaroslav Bereza (who launched the UXP-powered plugin Alchemist, to provide added development tools that help you build new plugins and even generate code), new developers have strong support from our amazing community. Head over to the Adobe Tech Blog to stay up to date on the Creative Cloud developer community from here.

What’s ahead for the ecosystem

We are living in the Golden Age of creativity. One of the biggest reasons why is that creativity has become a team sport — a collaboration-first discipline where our customers share by default with their teams and collaborate in real-time, often in the same document. The creative world is changing, with more and more creativity happening on the web.

At MAX this year, we’ve set the foundation. We’ve released more accessible and collaborative solutions with cloud documents and more control with Creative Cloud Libraries. We have shared a vision for the next evolution of Creative Cloud — one that is as much about connecting with one another as it is about creative tools. We announced new ways for you and your team to work together, bring others into the creative process, and get aligned on a cohesive creative vision via the web. You can learn more about these announcements here.

We recognize all of these new surfaces need to work well with your existing toolchain. You can expect Adobe to invest in making these solutions embeddable and extensible, supporting our commitment to an open ecosystem, and enabling collaboration across all creative tools — inside and outside Adobe. The future of creativity is on the web and it is more collaborative than ever, and that opens up amazing new opportunities for our creative community and ecosystem. It’s a journey we’re excited to be on with all of you.