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The main event at Adobe's MAX 2013 conference in Los Angeles was a pair of two-hour keynotes that focused as much on the company's new Creative Cloud suite as they did on how users embrace the creative process. While Monday's keynote heralded a big shift toward the subscription-only Creative Cloud software, Tuesday morning's keynote, "Community Inspires Creativity," focused strictly on the creative process as four designers from different fields hit the stage to talk about inspiration and their different approaches to work. (In previous years, this keynote was focused on a deeper look at new application features.)
Joining Adobe's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Media David Wadhwani on stage were Paula Scher, a graphic designer whose work includes larger-than-life illustration primarily used for architecture, with many of her bold designs projected onto the impressive Nokia Theatre stage where the event was held.
Artist Phil Hansen certainly embodies change better than anyone, having turned nerve damage in his right hand into an opportunity to create unique work that would handicap other talented minds.
While Scher and Hansen's work is not strictly limited to Adobe products, photographer and retouch artist Erik Johansson counts Photoshop as one of his most important tools for bringing his vision to life. MAX 2013 attendees were treated to a look at how Johansson arrived at his finished work in a rare look behind the scenes.
Last but certainly not least, Oscar-winning Hollywood visual effects supervisor Rob Legato revealed a look at how some of his biggest and best work came to be in major motion pictures such as Apollo 13, Titanic and most recently in Martin Scorcese's Hugo.
Starting June 17, the Creative Cloud software bundle will only be available as part of a subscription package, a change some veteran users have initially reacted with hesitation. However, the change was clearly on the company's radar as far back as the initial Creative Cloud reveal last year -- and its rapid adoption seems to have shown Adobe the way forward.
"We launched Creative Cloud a year ago and it has been a runaway success,” said Wadhwani. “By focusing our energy -- and our talented engineers -- on Creative Cloud, we’re able to put innovation in our members’ hands at a much faster pace."
Although subscription-only CC products are now Adobe's core focus, the company will continue to sell and support the current Creative Suite 6, but last year's version won't receive new features, but instead occasional updates for future operating system support.
As longtime users may debate the merits of this change, MAX is also undergoing a transition of its own, from a developer-focused event to one the company now bills as "The Creativity Conference."
With more than 5,000 attendees present for MAX 2013, Adobe is working hard to reinvent not only its iconic software products but also help inspire and transform the users who rely on them, and judging from the reactions of those in attendance, the best is definitely yet to come. Both keynote sessions are now online and available for all to enjoy.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter