How To Use Creative Cloud Libraries

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Getting Started

A style Tile created in Photoshop is shown.
Libraries are a workflow boost.

 With the introduction of Libraries for Illustrator, Photoshop and certain mobile apps – Adobe Brush, Adobe Shape and Adobe Draw – our workflow just got a ton easier. Now, you can create an asset in any of the above applications and be able to add that asset to any Adobe app that makes use of this new feature. For the moment the only applications in the CC lineup that make extensive use of Libraries are Illustrator and Photoshop though I suspect it is only a matter of time before we see Libraries appearing in InDesign, Adobe Muse and others. They are just that useful. Just keep in mind, Libraries are tied to your CC account.

In this “How To” we will be creating a new Library and adding elements from Photoshop and Illustrator to the Library.  Let’s get started.

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Creating A New Library

A new library is being created in the Photoshop Libraries panel.
You can hcreate multiple libraries.

In this example I am using a Style Tile, which is a sort of Photoshop mood board for a project I am working on. I need to keep the colors consistent, the font needs to be set, the Logo should be available as needed and there are some Chinese characters, created in Illustrator, which will be needed throughout the project. Prior to the introduction of Libraries, this was a pretty tall order. No longer.

If you aren’t seeing a Libraries panel, select Window>Libraries to open the panel. Select +Create New Library from the pop down list of Libraries. This will allow you to give your Library a custom name. Click the Create button and you will see a blank library panel.

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Adding Graphics To A Library

Some text in the image is selected and drageed into the open Creatiive Cloud library panel on the right side of the image.
Adding graphics to a library.

The neat thing about adding items to a Library is just how easy the process is. You have two choices: Drag the item into the Library or click a button at the bottom of the panel. In this case I want to add the Logo. The logo is a great example as to why thee are two ways of adding an item to a Library. If I click and Drag it into the Library I will actually bring in the entire Header group. If I select the Logo layer and click the Add Graphic button at the bottom of the Library panel, the logo gets added and I can rename it.  As the item is added, it is also synched to your Creative Cloud account and is instantly available to any apps that have access to a Library.

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Adding Fonts To A Library

The header text is selected and the T icon in the Library panel ,when clicked, will add the font to the library.
Adding a fonts style to a library.

 Adding fonts to a Library is an absolute joy. I plan to use 36-point Myriad Pro Bold as the H1 font. To add it to the Library, I simply click the T icon at the bottom of the panel and the font is automatically added. The Text Link text uses a custom color. The fascinating aspect of this font feature is not only are the styles preserved but also the colors.

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Adding Photoshop Layer Styles To A Library

The FX button in the library can be clicked to add a Layer effect to the library.
Layer style can be included in a Library.

Another interesting aspect of the Library is that it allows you to save and reuse any Photoshop Layer Styles you may wish to preserve. In this case, I added a Drop Shadow to the Variations layer and clicked the fx button in the Library to add the style. 

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Adding Custom Colors To A Library

A colour swatch is sampled using the Custom Color button at the bottom of the Library panel.
Custom color swatches can be included.

 Adding a custom color to a Library is dead simple. Click on the color swatch layer and the color appears in the Add Fill Color swatch at the bottom of the panel. Click it and the color, containing both Hexadecimal and RGB values, is added to the Colors area. Then it gets better. You can also add any custom text colors you have used in the project as well by simply selecting the text and clicking the Add Text Color swatch. I did this with the link color.

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Using A Library

A logo, showing the Chinese characters for Beijing, is draged from the Library and added to the document.
Libraries can be used in Illustrator and Photoshop.

In this example I have opened an Illustrator document and opened the Library created in Photoshop. If you don’t see a Libraries panel, select Window>Libraries. When the panel opens, select your Library.

The plan is to use the green color for one of the characters and to set the Text to the Heading font from the Style Tile.

To do this I simply selected a character and clicked the Gold swatch in the Library. To change the text to Myriad Pro Bold, I clicked once on the text and clicked on the Heading style in the Library. If I want to add the logo to the document, I just drag it out of the Library and onto the artboard.

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From Illustrator To Photoshop

An Illustrator vector drawing is selected and dragged into the Creative Cloud Liv=brary panel.
Illustrator content can be added to a Library.

This is dead simple to accomplish. Simply drag the vector into the Library and name it. I return to my Photoshop document , open my Library and drag the Vector into the image. When I release the mouse I can scale the vector like I would any Smart Object.

One final aspect of these Libraries is the fact the Library tells you  where the artwork originated. If you hover over the Library item, you will be told “Created in Adobe Illustrator”. You will also see a visual clue to the right of the item name. In this case, the Illustrator logo.

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How To Share Your Libraries

The Collaborate context menu is shown.
Libraries can be shared with the team.

 Sharing your Library with members of your team is a relatively simple process.

Click on the Context menu for the Library and select Collaborate ... 

This will open your Creative Cloud account and you will see a the Collaborate dialog box shown above. Enter the email addresses of the team members, write a short invitation message and click the blue Invite button  An email will be sent to that person and all they have to do is the click the Accept the invitation link in the email.

So there you have it … Libraries. There is a lot more to a Library than simply being a place to stick stuff. The ability to preserve colors, fonts, Layer Styles, effects and graphics as well as the opportunity to share them offers you a serious productivity boost.