Update Roundup For June 2016

Google, Adobe And Techsmith release Some Pretty Neat Updates and New Products

Content Aware Crop, Googler Fonts Updated page and Snagit's new interface are shown.
Adobe , Google and TechSmith have some preety sweet updates.

The past few weeks have been rather busy with little changes, big announcements and a new product. Google has a new app to rock your iPhone’s LivePhotos, Google totally revamps Google Fonts, Snagit gets a sweet upgrade and interface retooling, a rather interesting UX tool appears on my radar and, finally, Adobe has just rolled out a ton of new features to Photoshop, Muse, Adobe Stock and  CreativeCloud Libraries.

Let’s get started:

Google Fonts:

This is not exactly an update but  the Google Fonts home page just got a major overhaul which uses the Material Design standard. Rather than a bunch of fonts heaved on to a rather plain page, each font specimen is added to its own interactive card which lets you choose what to see – Sentence, Paragraph, Alphabet, Numerals or Custom – which lets you enter the text. Not only that the interface has been completely revamped and, to borrow from that infamous phrase, “is so easy to use even a caveman could use it.”

Motion Stills:

Google quietly released this rather nifty iPhone app a couple of weeks ago. In many ways this app takes the LivePhotos concept to the next level. I had always felt the LivePhoto feature was neat but what then? Motion Stills answers the question. Essentially, you open the app and, when you access your Camera Roll, you are presented with your collection of LivePhotos.

You then swipe a few of them to the right to create a clip and, from there you can upload the clips to YouTube or share them- as Animated GIF files- to a number of places including Instagram which doesn’t support LivePhotos. This is a “must have” if you are an iPhone user and will become an absolute essential for parents with cute young children … or kittens.

LookBack:

If you are a member of a UX team, Lookback gives you the opportunity to do live user testing of your Android or iOS apps from the actual device being used by the tester. All the user does is press the record button and not only are the interactions picked up but the front-facing camera is turned on so the user can talk about what they are doing and their “issues”.

SnagIt:

This screen capture app from TechSmith has been upgraded (a paid upgrade) to version 4 (Mac) or version 14 (PC). The major change is a totally revamped, easier to use Editor.  The tools are now easier to find and use, the toolbar can be customized, video captures can be output to Animated Gif’s, panoramic capture allows you to pan or scroll a window’s contents and you can now capture yourself through your web cam. Having been a power user of SnagIt both here at About and elsewhere, I can honestly say TechSmith addressed all of my Snagit pain points with this upgrade which is worth the upgrade price.

Creative Cloud Libraries:

Adobe is continuing its integration of CreativeCloud Libraries with all of its apps. One bi addition is the inclusion of Adobe Stock to the CC Libraries panel. No longer do you have to pop out of whatever you are working on to open Stock in a browser and find an appropriate image.

You can search for Photos, Videos, Illustrations or Vectors, right within the Library panel. Once you find the image, you can download a watermarked version right into the open document and, if it works, you can license it right from the application. Another interesting addition is the fact your Libraries can be shared with the team and you can then assign permission to edit or view the library contents to each member on the list.

Adobe Stock:

This service from Adobe is really taking off. Apart from the fact you can access whatever you wish in your CC Library, there have been some serious improvements to Stock. The first major update is the ability to open a Stock image in any of the CC apps. Assume you find an image and want to use it in Photoshop. Now you click the Photoshop icon in the download window and the image is opened in Photoshop.

There is also a new category in Stock called the Premium Collection which is a curated collection of over 100,000 pro-grade images.

Content Aware Crop In Photoshop:

The Photoshop Wizards have done it again. It is a common complaint among Photoshop users that straightening an image inevitably requires a trip to the crop tool and a rotate. With Content-Aware Cropping, the blank area is read by Photoshop and filled using the “all-powerful” Content Aware Fill method. I’ll be posting a “How To” around this in the near future.

Face Aware Liquify In Photoshop:

The ability to tweak faces in Photoshop is more of a “Black Art” than anything else. Face Recognition has been added to Photoshop’s Liquify filter and, best of all, the Face-Aware Liquify properties allow you to tweak specific features of the face such as eyes, nose, mouth and face shape. I’ll be posting a “How To” around this in the near future.

Match Font Menu In Photoshop:

We have all had the experience of a client sending us a jpg image with text in it and then being ordered: “Use the font”. The Match Font feature does just that. You select Type>Match font, marquee the text and the Match Font dialog box analyses the font and shows you the fonts you have on your system that are a match and it also presents you with a number of matches available on TypeKit. If you find a Typekit match, you simply download it from the Match Font dialog box and it is added to your font list. All of this while the document is still open in Photoshop! I’ll be posting a “How To” around this in the near future.

Adobe Comp CC and Adobe Muse CC Integration:

I am a huge fan of Adobe Comp CC. Having the ability to use my iPhone or iPad to develop or flesh out UI ideas is something I quite enjoy. With this new feature your Comp projects saved to your CC Library can now be added to Adobe Muse CC meaning your ideas can move from comp to upload in a very short time.