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Adobe Creative Cloud updates offer a lot for XD fans and Stock lovers

In its fall Creative Cloud update announcements, its traditional core applications don't get as much love as some would like.

It's that time of year where Adobe answers the question "what's new with you?" And as usual, it's a very long answer. In addition to the debut of Project Felix, its designer-focused tool for creating photorealistic mockups of scenes combining 2D and 3D elements, the updates and new capabilities in its video applications Adobe announced at IBC in September are now available, including Team Projects.

One of the most interesting developments is how Adobe decided to monetize its free Adobe Spark storytelling suite of products. First up: If you're shelling out the mucho bucks for a Creative Cloud subscription, you can now remove the branding that Adobe slaps all over your creations. In the future, there will also be new features just for CC; I wonder if integration with Adobe Analytics is on the menu.

Also notable, Android will finally gain the full set of mobile apps as Photoshop Sketch, Comp and Photoshop Fix come to that platform. You can now use Photoshop brushes in Sketch and Comp has some workflow enhancements.

As has become Adobe's tradition, the strong Adobe Stock push continues. In addition to the new asset types introduced to support Project Felix, the company's ramping up visual search -- similar to Google's Search by Image, with the additional ability to refine by keyword or another photo -- and will offer templates for Photoshop and Illustrator. This comes at the same time as its contributor portal leaves beta. Adobe's also entered into a partnership with Reuters to deliver access to that company's still and video content.

A very welcome addition is the Typekit marketplace. The selection of fonts on Typekit has always felt a bit thin to me, but now the marketplace provides access to license from tons of third-party type foundries.

It's a bit sad that the highlight of the Photoshop improvements is improved SVG (scalable vector graphics) handling and integration with XD, including support for SVG color fonts. That's not trivial, but doesn't have the mass appeal we're used to. And universal search across help and asset content...OK.

Designers who've patiently waited for XD to up its game can now start chair dancing: symbols and layers are here.

Adobe

Adobe XD fans seem to get the most feature love with the next version of the beta: long-awaited support for layers and symbols, real-time preview on mobile devices (iOS and Android ) and shared prototypes with commenting. In the first half of 2017 those will be joined by the ability to co-edit in real time and versioning with thumbnails. By the end of this year, we'll even see a Windows 10 version of the application.

The much-needed ability to align at the pixel level arrives in Illustrator, along with type and glyph improvements, InDesign's OpenType and footnote handling get a lift and the Dreamweaver beta that's been out for a while, with its new interface and improved coding engine, goes live.

As always, there are lots of small, user-requested improvements across the applications. But sadly not on the list: The overhaul of Lightroom's database engine which I've been waiting for forever. (It's at the top of my mind because of the dreaded corrupted catalog I experienced last month.)