M&E Connections

Adobe Touts New Lightroom, Spark Features at Pepcom New Technology Showcase

NEW YORK – Adobe used Pepcom’s new technology showcase for media Nov. 16 to spotlight new Lightroom and Adobe Spark features.

With Adobe Spark, the company highlighted the new premium features it made available in September that it said allow users to reflect their unique styles by creating and sharing “branded stories” in all three Spark formats: Post (for graphics), Page (for web pages) and Video (for video stories).

Adobe initially made Spark available for free to all its Creative Cloud users in May 2016, calling it “the only integrated web and mobile solution for creating and sharing impactful visual stories.” Spark was “designed for everyday communications” and “empowers anyone – including small businesses, social marketers and students – to create stunning visual content that engages audiences across multiple channels and looks great on any device,” it said at the time.

Spark can be accessed via any desktop browser or iOS mobile device. Adobe is “currently working on Android” to add compatibility for devices using Google’s mobile operating system, Benjamin Matthews, director of design for Adobe Spark, told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) at the Pepcom event. Spark users including digital marketers, educators, small businesses and entrepreneurs have been among those asking for an Android app, he said.

The new premium features, which allow users to add their own logos, colors and fonts, were added for free to existing Creative Cloud users, but costs $9.99 a month for newcomers, he noted. Demonstrating the features, he showed that users can now create a brand online in only about a minute. Users can also easily create their own business cards and video introductions. The new “Brandify” feature provides the ability to stamp a user’s brand specifications onto any existing Spark Post or Inspiration Wall target with just a tap on one’s mobile phone, Matthews showed MESA. A magic resizing feature “takes a lot of the guesswork out” of making sure images are the correct size, he said.

User feedback about the premium features has been “really positive for the most part,” he said, adding that users realize they must be consistent with the appearance of their brands online. The new Spark features make that a whole lot easier.

Adobe, meanwhile, launched the Lightroom photo processing and image organization desktop application about 10 years ago, Roman Skuratovskiy, digital imaging PR manager, noted.

It introduced a new version of it – Lightroom CC (Creative Cloud) – in October that’s targeted at photo professionals and enthusiasts who now need a “more accessible, cloud-based photography service for editing, organizing, storing and sharing their photos from wherever they are,” Adobe said in its announcement.

Lightroom CC also adds 1 TB of cloud storage, Skuratovskiy noted, pointing out the “classic” version only offers 20 GB of cloud storage now. For the same $9.99 a month, CC subscribers also get the classic Lightroom, which Adobe continues to offer new features for also, he said, adding consumers, therefore, “don’t have to choose” one version over the other. Lightroom is compatible with Android, iOS and any web browser, he said.

During a demonstration of Lightroom CC, Michelle Wei, Lightroom product marketing manager, showed MESA examples of intelligent search features that she pointed out are powered by the Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning technology.

For example, for users who don’t do a great job of providing data identifying their photos, Lightroom can search through many photos just to find all images of one thing – such as mountains, for instance, she said. A culling feature can also make it easier to filter out images somebody doesn’t want to use – a feature that’s especially handy for wedding photographers, she noted.

Other companies exhibiting at Pepcom’s Nov. 16 event included independent game studio Playful, which promoted its latest game, “Super Lucky’s Tale,” available now at $29.99 exclusively for Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs as an Xbox Play Anywhere title. The family platform game was released in early November, just in time for Microsoft’s Xbox One X console launch Nov. 7. The 4K Ultra High-Def console was announced by Microsoft last year, although it was referred to only as “Project Scorpio” at the time.

Although the new game isn’t a virtual reality (VR) title, much of McKinney, Texas-based Playful’s focus has been on VR since it was started in January 2013 by the same development team as Zynga’s game “Words with Friends.” Playful’s initial game, “Lucky’s Tale,” was a launch title for the consumer version of Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset last year.

“Everybody who tried it loved it” at the shows that Playful exhibited “Lucky’s Tale” at, David Calkins, head of marketing and communications at the company, told MESA.

But he conceded that game journalists who reviewed the game weren’t quite as positive. Playful has “absolutely” listened to the feedback from that title and there were “lessons we’ve learned” that will be incorporated into its next VR title, “Star Child,” which he said will be released in 2018, probably in the summer. It will be an exclusive for the Sony PlayStation VR at launch, but will later be offered for other platforms, he said.