October 18, 2017

Adobe Pushes Hard Into the Cloud to Speed Up Workflows and Improve Collaboration

Adobe rolls out a host of new updates this week at Adobe MAX with a larger focus on the "cloud" part of Creative Cloud.

When Adobe went to the Creative Cloud, the major change was the move to the still surprisingly controversial subscription-based pricing model. Most software functions remained firmly local, on your machine and not on the cloud at all. However, between the cloud storage and the branding, it was likely that Adobe would work to move some of their software functions onto a cloud platform similar to something like Google Docs, and with the newest releases from Adobe MAX this week, we are seeing that implementation with a huge push towards moving Lightroom onto the Cloud with the new Lightroom CC.

Credit: Adobe

After an already impressive set of video-focused updates last month, the announcements this week from the MAX convention in Las Vegas are relatively thin for the purely filmmaking-focused tools. Character Animator, a popular tool for creating simple animations driven by video, has left Beta to become a final release. Audition now uses Adobe Sensei, the AI tool, to auto-duck music behind dialogue and other sound elements, and has added Mackie HUI hardware platform support.

Credit: Adobe

The big news in this wave of updates are heavily photography focused, but they impact filmmakers in a few key ways. First, still photos remain one of the key ways that communication happens between the set and base camp, including clients and post team members. By moving the ability to manage a catalogue and manipulate the images to the cloud, it should be easier for filmmakers to communicate with far-flung decision makers.

Sending through reference images and getting notes that they feel "too dark" or "too warm"?  Rather than relaunch Lightroom on your local machine, re-color, re-export, and re-upload, those tweaks can take place in the app. With apps for your desktop, your mobile device, or the web, the ability to share photos easily and tweak them dynamically while saving several steps will be a huge bonus to many cinematographers, colorists, and directors communicating their vision with teams.

Credit: Adobe

This is especially useful since Lightroom (or, as Adobe is now calling it, "Lightroom Classic," with shades of 30 Rock and Coca-Cola) has traditionally been resource intensive, and while Adobe brags that it is faster in its new release, it's still going to require a lot of system power. RAW image files can slow your system down, especially on a laptop, and there are countless tutorials on the web devoted to tricks to speed up Lightroom because of its sluggish nature. By moving that processing power to Adobe web servers, which can be optimized for the task, users should notice much less lag in Lightroom when making those tweaks on the go.

The ability to have your RAW masters saved on the cloud and use your phone to make edits will be a huge timesaver. The workflow appears to involve Adobe generating a lower-res version for your mobile device and then syncing it with the high-res version on the server, so there might be some lag, but even if there is a touch of lag, the time savings in the number of steps avoided will be worth it.

Credit: Adobe

These announcements also hint at where Adobe is headed in the future. While Creative Cloud has traditionally had a 20GB file storage standard, which makes it not ideal for video projects, the new Photographers Plan offers a 1TB option. This is huge since it will allow exhaustive catalogues to live online for a project. You could create a library of all your location stills from scouting on the platform, and color correct those stills in the platform to help your team identify your plans for the project.

Most enticingly, 1TB is enough storage that, if Premiere Pro CC moves in the same direction, small video projects could easily live in the cloud, allowing for remote editing. For every editor who has had to go back to the office for a new export on a weekend because someone updated a graphic or noticed a problem in a subtitle, the ability to make those small tweaks from your mobile device will be huge. We aren't there yet, video has a ton more complications that will take longer to implement than still photography, but this release tells us we aren't that far away.

Currently, the report says that RAW photo formats will be supported, but it remains to be seen which RAW formats will be supported and if that support will be updated as frequently as it was with Lightroom Classic. 

For more information, check out Adobe's Creative Cloud page    

Your Comment


"Still surprisingly controversial" ? Really? You really do seem to love Adobe. Personally, I prefer Resolve 14 with its editing features that rival Premiere and its color grading that destroys Premiere. Oh, and Resolve is free. Perhaps it's not so surprising after all.

October 18, 2017 at 11:31AM


Editing in Resolve is nowhere near editing in Premiere. Obviously it has better color tools. But it's still slow, clunky, non-intuitive, and not particularly satisfying.

The uproar over the subscription model is still surprisingly controversial because it makes so much sense and is a minor cost relative to the benefits of a professional tool yet people still roar to the high heavens that it's some sort of dark sin.

October 18, 2017 at 12:10PM

Joshua Bowen

Hi Joshua, not interested in a pissing contest and if you find Premiere better for your use that's great. Now that I have learnt Resolve (14) for me it's as fast as P ever was, and actually more intuitive. I also feel that the way it works is more professional. By that I mean you have to understand how to do something but when you do you have far more control and input in many of the operations. Once you're familiar with how things work there's not a hint of "clunkiness" IMHO. I've been editing for more years than I care to remember - started on Sony U-matic and Betacam linear systems then as the digital thing progressed moved to AVID and tried the rest along the way, FCP, Prem, Vegas, finally Resolve and for me (and it's always going to be a personal thing) Resolve is the best so far, especially having removed the need for round tripping to grade and mostly now being able to avoid the Protools journey. I respect that YMMV but many people are resentful of the way Adobe moved to "the cloud" and also of the way they are dumbing down their apps at the expense of professional features and reliability. Just my 2cs.

October 19, 2017 at 4:44AM


As a after effects artist for 15 years I'm really curious what adobe is doing with that gigantic heap of cash they're getting month by month. For many years after effects is getting next to no attention (not telling that other softwares do get it...). Complete BS features nobody asked for (brainstorm/stopwatch anyone?) get implemented and killed off again. The preview system allegedly gets a major rewrite which caused almost apocalyptic issues and didn't really result in breath taking performance increases. But hey, CHARACTER ANIMATOR is there!!! Let's forget that were asking for years and years to get a better alternative to precomps, a better 3D space and effects that all work in 16 and 32 bit depths. I could go on and on but hey, it's Adobe, they don't care anyways since they've got the users within their CC jail...

October 18, 2017 at 5:08PM, Edited October 18, 5:11PM


I currently pay $4224 Australian a year for the Adobe Suite for 4 computers, pretty much twice the price since I started with CC 2 years ago. I don't have 4 staff or users, just me trying to get work out the door, which needs 4 computers. I only really use Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop. My subscription ends in March 2018. I will be cancelling this subscription and buying multiple copies Davinci Resolve Pro. I'll be keeping one license in place so if I need to go back to a previous project, I can. In the space of one year, I will save over $2000. I'm a small business, and I need to cut costs. If Adobe made a more affordable package deal that was just for film-makers needing Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop, then I might re-consider leaving them, but after playing with Resolve, (which is much faster with playback that Prem Pro on my system) and doing the math, for me, buying a different editing solution outright, and getting rid of the costly Adobe multi-license is going to be my best option. It was affordable at $2k a year, but after 2 years of them doubling the costs for software I don't even have installed or use, well.....no more Adobe multi licenses for my small business.

October 20, 2017 at 3:07PM

Shayne Cantly
Head Honcho

You won't regret the move to Resolve! Fusion is also a great alternative to AE once you get used to the node based workflow. Adobe is a complete rip off, especially for us Aussies.

October 26, 2017 at 1:51AM

Joe Pro