Adobe’s creative tools are generally the standards for their respective industries. But unless you’ve been using them for years or investing in some professional training, they can be extremely difficult to use. The latest in the company’s endless parade of applications is titled “Creative Cloud Express.” If any headline doesn’t help, imagine it as the # 1 baby posting tool. It is based on the previous Adobe Spark program.
At its heart, Express is a layout editor with a few image editing tools for good measure. The tool relies heavily on a collection of pre-built templates and artistic elements that can be put together, then rearranged and adjusted to meet the needs of whatever interests the user at the moment. It is primarily designed for online promotional material: an eye-catching header or splash image for your Facebook post, for example. The web version even opens up to a collection of pre-built formats and templates, just in case you’re worried about having to start from scratch. In addition to that, it includes “20,000 premium Adobe fonts and 175 million royalty-free licensed Adobe Stock images”.
Express also includes at least some basic video editing features, as well as tools for sharing between Creative Suite accounts (because Adobe really wants Creative Cloud to be a cloud platform more than anything else). ‘Quick Actions’ Can Leverage Part of Adobe’s Cloud Processing punch for simplified versions of some advanced Photoshop and Premiere tools, such as removing background elements or merging videos.
What’s perhaps more interesting is that it’s an Adobe program designed from the ground up to be cross-platform: the web version works on any browser on Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS, and naturally Android and iOS have their own dedicated applications. But aside from the obvious acclimatizations to screen shape and size on mobile, all versions of Express have access to the same tools, templates, and resources. It is clear that Adobe wants users to be comfortable using Express anywhere and anywhere.
Speaking of which: who can use it? Technically, everyone. Unlike most Adobe programs, Express is free … in the same sense as candy Crush is free to play. You can open and use the program with no more than a free Adobe account, but to access these handy templates, fonts, and stock images, you’ll have to pay somehow. The full version of Creative Cloud Express is available to users who already subscribe to Creative Cloud for $ 20 per month or more. Otherwise, they will have to shell out $ 10 per month to get the full version. Kindergarten to Grade 12 users can access them for free – they should be hooked up while they are young.
$ 10 per month is a parcel for a series of sophisticated models and assets, and it is difficult to recommend it to the apparent target market of novice social media users. But it’s hardly unusual for Adobe to overvalue its own properties and services.
Michael is a former graphic designer who has been building and tweaking desktops for longer than he wants to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.