Adobe overhauls Creative Cloud with new touch features and cheaper pricing

Adobe updates don't get the same amount of attention that they used to. No doubt, this is largely due to the company's Creative Cloud platform, which pushes gradual improvements to more than 1 million subscribers automatically. But the company reckons there's still room for major overhauls every once in a while, and it claims today's is the "biggest software release since CS6." The update brings new features to pretty much all of Adobe's desktop applications, as well as four new mobile apps (which we'll get to in a minute), plus a permanent $10-per-month subscription deal for access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC (which has already been widely available through time-limited offers.)

There's no room here to go through all the new features -- Adobe's website can take care of that -- but there are a couple of Photoshop additions that stand out to us as especially useful. These include pinch-to-zoom and enhanced brush strokes on Windows 8 touch devices, as advertised during the launch of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, plus a Focus Mask for quickly selecting and editing areas of an image that are in or out of focus -- something that sounds very handy for portrait shots.

Finally, a quick look at the new mobile apps: Two of these, Sketch and Line, are designed to accompany Adobe's latest digital pen and ruler peripherals for the iPad, which Billy Steele has just written about in a separate article. Photoshop Mix is a third app that lets you work with PSD files stored in your Adobe cloud drive, and it was built using an SDK that will soon allow third-party developers to integrate PSD workflows and Creative Cloud access into their own apps. Lastly, Lightroom mobile has arrived on the iPhone as well as the iPad, allowing quick access to organization and editing tools right from your handset -- check out our full review of the iPad version for more.