Big News from Adobe MAX 2018 for the Printing World

Ryan McAbee
Oct 31, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, creative professionals ascended en masse to Los Angeles Convention
Center for Adobe’s annual gathering known as Adobe MAX. The event was part learning, networking, and entertaining and attended by over 14,000 creatives. Although Adobe grew up with the digitization of the printing industry and Creative Cloud and PDF are mainstays, many in our industry may have missed some of the bigger news from MAX. In fear of being the 1,574th article written about the conference (apparently 1,573 were written for the 2017 event), here’s what matters to the print community.

HP SmartStream D4D

The most interesting announcement at MAX for print came from HP’s release of SmartStream Design for Designers (D4D). Billed as a suite of “light” design solutions that designers can used to add variability to text, color, and images. The Adobe Illustrator plug-in, available for free download on the Adobe Exchange site, is a simplified version of HP SmartStream Designer. The tool allows designers to create up to 20 variations on any design as demonstrated by the Smirnoff labels created by designer Eva Yarza. The move will give designers an entry point to quickly create customized designs that could then be printed on HP Indigo presses. Watch the video series on YouTube.



Adobe Sneaks for Fonts and Packaging

“Sneaks” are sneak peeks into various projects that Adobe is working on that may one day appear in one of their products. The three sneaks that caught my attention were related to packaging, fonts, and textiles.

  • The FantasticFold project allows packaging designers to start with the 2D CAD dieline file, see a 3D rendering, and most importantly identify and isolate certain panels of the design using Adobe’s Smart Unrwapping Tool. The unwrapping displays the 2D CAD areas selected by the user in the 3D model. From there the designer can drag-and-drop and confirm positioning more easily so that “crazy cool time capsule” does not become “l crapsule” when its printed and converted.

  • Another game changer, that could also create difficulty in the print community, is Fontphoria – a glyph morphing and generation system powered by Adobe’s AI platform Sensei. In a nutshell, designers can apply an image style across a font family, convert outlines to glyphs and dynamically generate new font characters, and the ability to create a glyph from an image! See it in the video below to understand its potential.

  • For the last one, we are going back to the future. ProjectPara appeared for the first time at Adobe MAX 2014 but it appears that Adobe has found a use case suited to the technology for creating and repeating textile patterns. The technology is now in beta. You can read an update from Pat McGrew or watch the video from 2014.

Creative and print professionals along with print vendors and software developers must pay attention to the developments originating at Adobe MAX conferences. It provides a glimpse into today’s advancements and future technologies that will definitely impact, or possibly disrupt, our industry going forward.

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