Our Kuler web app has been a hit with creatives everywhere for a few years now, allowing designers (and the color-curious like myself) to create and explore color themes. We sneaked the new version of Kuler at Adobe MAX back in early May — and today it’s available. A new revamped web experience for Kuler is now online at: http://kuler.adobe.com
It’s really a gorgeous piece of web design that has been rebuilt and optimized for the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
But the real exciting news is that Kuler has gone mobile with the delivery of a new free iPhone app available, here. Kuler allows you to easily extract a theme from what the iPhone camera is seeing, without even taking a photo. It’s as simple as opening the app, pointing the camera at something and its colors are quickly captured for later use.
Kuler also has a Sync Color feature for use with Illustrator CC. Sync Colors lets you use Kuler and Illustrator to quickly incorporate colors you see around you into your vector artwork. Sync your favorite themes with the Kuler website, and they’ll be accessible immediately inside Illustrator CC – which will be available as part of our major update to Creative Cloud, released on June 17.
The Kuler team is always interested in hearing your views, so if you’d like to join the conversation head over to the Kuler forum.
It was fun being on stage at MAX with David Wadhwani to share a few of the projects that we have been working on in XD. The team has been exploring how new form factor displays, new interactions (like touch and gesture), cloud connections and even new hardware might change how you all create and in turn how it might impact what software we need to build. And we have been having a serious amount of fun.
Although there are many explorations going on, we chose three to highlight. The first, Mighty, is our connected pen:
The Adobe “Project Mighty” Connected Pen
We actually started project Mighty, our “cloud pen” to help us focus on the future of drawing. I’ve always been a little obsessed with drawing. An early mentor of mine said: “If you can’t draw, you can’t think. I guess I took that to heart. The good news is that absolutely anyone can train himself or herself to draw. With the right tools to support you it’s a little bit like learning to ride a bike – you just have to keep doing it until you tease out your own style of drawing.
Mighty is pressure sensitive, which helps it draw a natural and expressive line. It is also connected to the Creative Cloud through the software and a local Bluetooth LE connection. We have used this connection to pull up Kuler themes and enable a “cloud clipboard” which gives you access to assets you have saved to the cloud for reuse.
Mighty was created with the help of Ammunition, the industrial design firm founded by Robert Brunner. They landed on a three-sided, twisted form that is inspired by the ergonomics of holding a pen. When a child struggles with writing, he or she is given a triangular grip that fits over the pencil. Our design takes that one step further by twisting the pen’s triangular form so that it also rests gently on the hand. It also yields a sculptural object that is both beautiful and distinct. There’s a lot of hardware technology involved in bringing a high tech pen like this to life, so we’ve been working with San Francisco-based MindTribe on the electrical and mechanical engineering.
Although we spend many hours a day behind the keyboard and mouse, we still often start the creative process as we did thousands of years ago with pen and paper. But with tablets and new input methods like Mighty, this is going to change – I am confident. Over the last year, my tablet has replaced my sketchbook. I never thought I would give up drawing in a moleskin sketchbook.
Our second exploration, code named Napoleon is complementary to Mighty. This digital ruler is designed to bring back some of the feeling of drawing with analog tools like the t-square and triangle. Adobe has been talking about building a physical drawing aid like this ever since we built our first digital drafting table, almost two years ago.
Adobe “Project Mighty” Connected Pen & Project Napoleon” Digital Ruler Working on iPad
I was originally trained as an architect, and still find great comfort and confidence drawing with these tools. There is something about the confidence of drawing a line aided by a physical device – the tactile feedback you get as you move the straightedge around – as well as the fluidity and accuracy of drawing that comes from interacting with physical objects. Our little ruler (Napoleon, get it?) creates a digitally projected edge that you can use to accurately draw shapes and lines. It just feels right.
The Adobe “Project Napoleon” Digital Ruler
We are looking at a lot of potential features for Napoleon, but a favorite of mine is snapping to vanishing points. Imagine how easy it will be to sketch in perspective, when you can use the ruler to quickly create and then snap to perspective vanishing points that are well off screen.
Finally, Project Context is the most ambitious of the three explorations. I like to think of it as our answer to “big content.” You know, just like big data, but with images and text and video and the like. Most of us have experience with printing hundreds of images and trying to pin them all on the wall or spreading them on the floor just to try to figure out the big picture. This is another good example of how something was lost when we went from physical to digital. Somehow file folders full of assets, or tiled displays of images don’t quite cut it. We think that large screens with touch and gesture interaction paired with the appropriate software design are a way to not only get back what was lost, but to take the organizing and producing experience to a whole new level.
When combined with InDesign and the Digital Publishing Suite, Context creates an ideal editorial and publishing environment for Wired and other publishers. Context offers a powerful and intuitive way to grab assets from just about anywhere, and to collaboratively organize and eventually even edit and publish them. These exploratory projects stand a much better chance of becoming real shipping products when we work with a customer to build them. We have the good fortune to be working with WIRED to build out the first version of Context as a system to support the editorial and layout process for their magazine.
Digitally enabled, cloud connected physical devices leverage the best from both the digital and the analog worlds. They could enable whole new levels of creative productivity and artistic confidence – and one of the many innovation milestones that makes an Adobe incredible place to work.
Adobe MAX 2011 kicked off in Los Angeles today with seven announcements. Below are the highlights:
Adobe Creative Cloud, a major new initiative, redefines the content creation process. It will become the focal point for the worldwide creative community, where creative professionals can access desktop and tablet applications, creative services, and share their best work with peers.
Adobe Touch Apps, a family of six intuitive touch screen applications, designed for Android and iOS tablets, enables creative professionals to explore ideas and present their work anytime, anywhere. The apps include:
Adobe Photoshop Touch allows users to transform images with core Photoshop features and create new images by combining photos, choosing elements to edit, and applying filters and other effects.
Adobe Collage helps creatives capture and refine ideas and concepts by allowing them to combine inspirational images, drawings, text and Creative Suite files into modern, conceptual mood boards.
Adobe Debut allows creative professionals to present designs to clients and stakeholders virtually anywhere, opening tablet-compatible versions of Creative Suite files for convenient and beautiful viewing on the tablet.
Adobe Ideas is an easy-to-master, vector-based tool for drawing, using either a stylus or a finger.
Adobe Kuler makes it easy to generate color themes that can inspire any design project.
Adobe Proto enables the development of interactive wireframes and prototypes for websites and mobile apps on a tablet using gestures and a touch-based interface.
Adobe acquires privately held Typekit Inc., a leader in the delivery of hosted, high-quality fonts for use on websites. Available as a subscription-based cloud service, Typekit’s vast font library gives designers and developers creative license to deliver beautiful type that enhances the web experience.
Tune in tomorrow, 10/4 at 10:00 a.m. PT for Day Two keynote as we explore the best solutions for delivering highly expressive and usable experiences, both in the browsers and as apps. We’ll look at a variety of technologies and products such as Flash and HTML, highlighting current opportunities, and peering into the not-so-distant future: max.adobe.com/online.
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