Adobe Max 2014 – A breathtaking experience

Last week I represented Ratio at the annual Adobe MAX Creative Conference in Los Angeles. Over 5,000 creatives attended, seeking inspiration, to meet new creatives and be the first to see Adobe’s newest features. The conference was held at the convention center in downtown LA, talk about a massive venue!


A breathtaking experience

As soon as the doors opened to the Nokia theater, I was blown away by Adobe’s ability to create a breathtaking experience. Clearly, it took many man hours to plan and execute this amazing space . A giant projection-mapped screen filled the entire stage with a visual Behance search engine. Two smaller screens on either side of the stage were used for text-in polls and crowd interactions.

After about 15 minutes imagining the crazy possibilities of the opening ceremony, the lights faded and a deep bass started to rumble the whole theater. Those two giant screens started to rotate while a an amazing motion reel started to play. Adobe clearly wanted to show After Effects‘ power and the creatives behind making awesome videos. Moments after I was blown away by the crazy motion pieces, Shantanu Narayen (Adobe’s CEO) walked out to center stage welcoming us.

The opening keynote is usually when big announcements are revealed and boy, did they have some exciting news to share about the latest and greatest Adobe products. David Wadhwani took the stage with Jeff Veen to talk about the new Creative Profile and the new libraries seamless workflows. We are now able to use Creative Libraries across adobe projects, connecting colors, brushes, assets, etc. And your creative profile helps to manage all of these assets and settings.


Going Mobile

The new mobile apps are great supplemental tools to the creative workflow. For example, Shape uses the camera to scan objects and create vector shapes that can be uploaded to your Creative Cloud profile. The Brush application uses the same concept only instead of creating vector shapes, it creates brushes from the images scanned through the camera. For example, scan a picture of a red brick and create a “red brick brush” from the image and use it in any Adobe program that has a brush tool. They have also released other applications that mimic programs such as Premiere or Illustrator but are optimized for tablets. They demoed these programs on Microsoft Surface Pro 3s, which is great but I think everyone in the room was thinking the same thing as me, “thats cool but I really doubt my iPad could even handle that sort of program…”



Ratio-blog-AdobeCC-GridThats when Satya Nadella appeared from behind the giant rotating screens. He emphasized how great it was to finally have powerful design tools that were actually useful on a tablet and wanted each of us to experience that with a new Surface. Yes, Microsoft gave each and everyone of us a brand spankin’ new Surface Pro 3. As you can imagine, the crowd went wild.


Action Packed Keynotes

The other keynote speakers were Weird Al YankovichJames SeilerAmi VitaleLee Hirsch and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Each of these great creative minds gave a talk around how “Community Inspires Creativity”. Lee Hirsch (Director of Bully) saw a major problem, and wanted to do something about it. With his skill set he was able to expose what really happens in schools and create a powerful documentary that has moved people all over the world. Whether you’re a Photographer, Digital Illustrator, Director or Parody Artist; the environment and people you surround yourself with will inspire your work.

It was go, go, go when it came to the breakout sessions. There were hands on sessions where we could follow along and ask questions to the surrounding staff members. I am a big fan of the hands on classes, the instructors would each have a challenge or goal for us to complete. Staff members scattered throughout the room that quickly responded if you needed some extra help. The great thing about the hands on classes was that you had great instructors and you were also surrounded by other creatives that you could bounce ideas off of and create some really interesting things instead of just simply following along. During my Edge Animate class, the two people I was sitting next to asked me how I had made a curved line animation instead of a simple straight line. I showed my fellow classmates and it struck some interesting brainstorming discussions. After the short intro to Edge Animate, I am extremely excited to incorporate this program into my workflow!


Community Pavilion

Another great feature of MAX was the Community Pavilion, this was more or less a showroom where different sponsors set up booths to show off their latest software, projects, or host a competition like Battle of the Hands. This was a great place to do some networking and discuss your thoughts with other attendees.

One of the coolest sets on the pavilion floor was the 4D Studio by Daquri. Although Augmented Reality isn’t anything new, the ability to create and design an AR experience with no coding is. I havent had a chance to dive into this program myself, but I did get a personal demo of a few projects made with the software. It looks beautiful and is extremely responsive with the different interactive features.


The big finale was the Adobe MAX Bash. It was an outdoor party full of interactive installations, delicious food, and a live performance by the Kings of Leon. This party was insane, unlike anything I have ever attended. It was a great chance to meet new people over a few beers while listening to some great music. I also had the pleasure of meeting Chris Buettner, the Executive Director of the SoDA. Ratio has recently been accepted into SoDA, so it was great to discuss our partnership and future initiatives.



Adobe MAX was an incredible experience and something every creative should attend at some point in his or her career. I am looking forward to helping my team incorporate some of these new Adobe products and tools into our workflow. Shout out to my awesome team at Ratio for giving me the opportunity to attend!

Image Credits Adobe and Ryan Hoback

Post by Ryan Hoback, UI Designer at Ratio