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Adobe's new Creative Cloud Express helps you make zippy, peppy graphics

This replacement for Adobe's Spark apps runs on smartphones and the web.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Adobe Creative Cloud Express is designed to make peppy graphics for flyers, student projects and social media posts.
Adobe; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe launched a new tool called Creative Cloud Express on Monday that's designed to help you quickly create animations and other graphics that you might want to use on posters, websites, class presentations and social media.

The software lets you combine video clips, graphics, photos, music and text into new images or videos, with effects that can make elements swoop and zoom. It's the kind of task that's made apps like Canva useful for those who want to stand out on Instagram, TikTok or Twitter.

Creative Cloud Express replaces the Adobe Spark apps first introduced in 2014 for iPhones, iPads, Android devices and web browsers. It unifies these apps with a new user interface, lots of new images, templates and fonts, and new tools like the ability to remove backgrounds from photos.

Creative Cloud Express is available for free, but if you subscribe for $99 per year or $10 per month, you get many more assets like photos and fonts, and 100GB of cloud storage space for your projects. A subscription also grants access to premium features in its stripped-down video and photo editing apps, Premiere Rush and Photoshop Express.

"You get creative superpowers from our pro tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro without any of the complexity," said Adobe Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky in an online press conference Monday.

The tool is an evolution of Adobe's effort to strike the right balance between creative professionals and others who may not have the time, skills or budget to wrestle with Adobe's professional-grade software. Making lighter-weight, streamlined apps and making basic versions available can bring many more people into the Adobe fold and eventually get them paying the subscription fees that have proved so helpful to Adobe's business.

Adobe has no plans to show ads on the free tier, said David Wadhwani, Adobe's chief business officer. Indeed, the company pioneered the "freemium" model that combines free basic products with premium, paid versions, he said.

"We know that if we can get hundreds of millions of people expressing themselves on something like Creative Cloud Express, we will find ways to monetize them," Wadhwani said.