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Adobe tests an AI recommendation tool for headlines and images

Team members at Adobe have built a new way to use artificial intelligence to automatically personalize a blog for different visitors.

This tool was built as part of the Adobe Sneaks program, where employees can create demos to show off new ideas, which are then showcased (virtually, this year) at the Adobe Summit. While the Sneaks start out as demos, Adobe Experience Cloud Senior Director Steve Hammond told me that 60% of Sneaks make it into a live product.

Hyman Chung, a senior product manager for Adobe Experience Cloud, said that this Sneak was designed for content creators and content marketers who are probably seeing more traffic during the coronavirus pandemic (Adobe says that in April, its own blog saw a 30% month-over-month increase), and who may be looking for ways to increase reader engagement while doing less work.

So in the demo, the Experience Cloud can go beyond simple A/B testing and personalization, leveraging the company’s AI technology Adobe Sensei to suggest different headlines, images (which can come from a publisher’s media library or Adobe Stock) and preview blurbs for different audiences.

Image Credits: Adobe

For example, Chung showed me a mocked-up blog for a tourism company, where a single post about traveling to Australia could be presented differently to thrill-seekers, frugal travelers, partygoers and others. Human writers and editors can still edit the previews for each audience segment, and they can also consult a Snippet Quality Score to see the details behind Sensei’s recommendation.

Hammond said the demo illustrates Adobe’s general approach to AI, which is more about applying automation to specific use cases rather than trying to build a broad platform. He also noted that the AI isn’t changing the content itself — just the way the content is promoted on the main site.

“This is leveraging the creativity you’ve got and matching it with content,” he said. “You can streamline and adapt the content to different audiences without changing the content itself.”

From a privacy perspective, Hammond noted that these audience personas are usually based on information that visitors have opted to share with a brand or website.

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CIO Cynthia Stoddard explains Adobe’s journey from boxes to the cloud

Up until 2013, Adobe sold its software in cardboard boxes that were distributed mostly by third party vendors.

In time, the company realized there were a number of problems with that approach. For starters, it took months or years to update, and Adobe software was so costly, much of its user base didn’t upgrade. But perhaps even more important than the revenue/development gap was the fact that Adobe had no direct connection to the people who purchased its products.

By abdicating sales to others, Adobe’s customers were third-party resellers, but changing the distribution system also meant transforming the way the company developed and sold their most lucrative products.

The shift was a bold move that has paid off handsomely as the company surpassed an $11 billion annual run rate in December — but it still was an enormous risk at the time. We spoke to Adobe CIO Cynthia Stoddard to learn more about what it took to completely transform the way they did business.

Understanding the customer

Before Adobe could make the switch to selling software as a cloud service subscription, it needed a mechanism for doing that, and that involved completely repurposing their web site,, which at the time was a purely informational site.

“So when you think about transformation the first transformation was how do we connect and sell and how do we transition from this large network of third parties into selling direct to consumer with a commerce site that needed to be up 24×7,” Stoddard explained.

She didn’t stop there though because they weren’t just abandoning the entire distribution network that was in place. In the new cloud model, they still have a healthy network of partners and they had to set up the new system to accommodate them alongside individual and business customers.

She says one of the keys to managing a set of changes this immense was that they didn’t try to do everything at once. “One of the things we didn’t do was say, ‘We’re going to move to the cloud, let’s throw everything away.’ What we actually did is say we’re going to move to the cloud, so let’s iterate and figure out what’s working and not working. Then we could change how we interact with customers, and then we could change the reporting, back office systems and everything else in a very agile manner,” she said.

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Premiere Pro Playbook Part 2: 10 Workflow Tips for Streamlining Edits

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In this video tutorial, we cover some core editing and organization techniques as well as tips for speeding up your workflow in Premiere Pro.

Following up on Premiere Pro Playbook: Part 1, let’s explore ten more workflow tips that can make your life easier in Premiere Pro.

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Things to Consider Before Building a Video Editing Computer

In this tutorial, we’ll cover a few important details to consider before building your own video editing computer — including how to save some money.

A few years ago, I decided to build a new video editing computer. I didn’t have a strategy for selecting the hardware, so I just chose the most expensive hardware I could afford. Fast forward to now, and I realize there are many things I could have done differently that would have improved my machine and saved me a lot of money!

Here’s what you need to know.

Computers and Cameras

For the sake of comparison, think of your video editing computer like your camera and the software you use like your camera lenses. I like this comparison because you’ll likely use the same lenses on several cameras, just like you’ll use the same programs on different video-editing computers.

Camera Lenses
It’s easier to update the software on your computer than the computer itself.

And, I still use lenses that I bought when I first started making films. However, I hardly ever use the first camera I ever owned. This is because you can only upgrade cameras so much before they become outdated (for the most part). This also happens with computer hardware.

Ensure the Motherboard Supports the Latest CPU Chipset

Latest Processors
Make sure the motherboard supports the latest CPU chipset.

Your first consideration should be the motherboard. Make sure you purchase one that supports the latest CPU chipset. This is easy to overlook, but your motherboard is essentially the glue that holds all of your hardware together. Installing a motherboard that supports the latest CPU chipset will accommodate more upgrades and give your machine a longer life.

Invest in the CPU

Invest in a high-end CPU.

Adobe products still depend heavily on the CPU, so I recommend that you invest the most money in the CPU. It’s easy to get carried away with high-end graphics cards and excessive amounts of RAM. However, Premiere Pro and After Effects will run into many bottlenecks with a slower CPU.

Research the Software You Use Most

Next, research which hardware improves performance the most with the software you use. Then, build around that. Check out Puget Systems for some great case studies, recommendations, and information on which programs use which hardware the most. I can’t stress enough the value of their research data.

Buy Mid-Level Hardware

Mid-Level Hardware
Building a mid-level machine today will save you money on upgrades in the future.

I recommend buying mid-level parts — as opposed to buying everything high-end. Obviously, they’ll be cheaper overall, lowering the initial cost. But, you can then use the money you saved to invest in future upgrades — or just buy another mid-level machine that much sooner.

Buying a new machine so quickly might sound a bit crazy, but a mid-level machine, in the future, will likely be superior to a high-end machine you build today. That’s what happened in my case. You could easily build a computer to the level of the one I have — for half the price now — just a few years later.

Use Multiple SSDs

The last thing I’d recommend is using multiple SSDs, instead of one large one. This is a huge benefit for programs like Premiere Pro and After Effects. (And it also follows the Puget Systems recommendation.)

Reduce bottlenecks by investing in multiple SSDs.

Have one SSD for your OS, the second SSD for your current media footage, and a third SSD dedicated to the media cache. Having each of these on their own SSD drive will reduce bottlenecks. This was something I didn’t know at the time of my build, and it’ll provide a much smoother workflow.

Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?

Looking for more on video editing? Check out these articles.

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Source: The Shutterstock Blog

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Adobe celebrates Photoshop’s 30th anniversary with new desktop and mobile features

Adobe’s Photoshop celebrates its 30th birthday today. Over that time, the app has pretty much become synonymous with photo editing and there will surely be plenty of retrospectives. But to look ahead, Adobe also today announced a number of updates to both the desktop and mobile Photoshop experiences.

The marquee feature here is probably the addition of the Object Selection tool in Photoshop on the iPad. It’s no secret that the original iPad app wasn’t exactly a hit with users as it lacked a number of features Photoshop users wanted to see on mobile. Since then, the company made a few changes to the app and explained some of its decisions in greater detail. Today,  Adobe notes, 50 percent of reviews give the app five stars and the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times since November.

With the Object Selection tool, which it first announced for the desktop version three months ago, Adobe is now bringing a new selection tool to Photoshop that is specifically meant to allow creatives to select and manipulate one or multiple objects in complex scenes. Using the company’s Sensei AI technology and machine learning, it gives users a lot of control over the selection process, even if you only draw a crude outline around the area you are trying to select.

Also new on the iPad are additional controls for typesetting. For now, this means tracking, leading and scaling, as well as formatting options like all caps, small caps, superscript and subscript.

On the desktop, Adobe is bringing improvements to the content-aware fil workspace to the app, as well as a much-improved lens blur feature that mimics the bokeh effect of taking an image with a shallow depth of field. Previously, the lens blur feature ran on the CPU and looked somewhat unrealistic, with sharp edges around out-of-focus foreground objects. Now, the algorithm runs on the GPU, making it far softer and foreground objects have a far more realistic look.

As for the improved content-aware fill workspace, Adobe notes that you can now make multiple selections and apply multiple fills at the same time. This isn’t exactly a revolutionary new feature, but it’s a nice workflow improvement for those who often use this tool.

Source: TechCrunch

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Meditation App Headspace Closes On $93M Series C, Eyes Continued Global Expansion

Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation startup, announced this morning it raised $93 million in a Series C round, which includes $53 million in equity and $40 million in debt.

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Axios’ Kia Kokalitcheva broke the news.

Blisce/ led the equity financing, which included participation from new investors Waverley Capital and Times Bridge (the global investments and partnerships arm of The Times Group of India). Existing backers The Chernin Group, Spectrum Equity and Advancit Capital also pitched in.

The Series C round brings Santa Monica, Calif.-based Headspace’s total venture and debt raised since its inception in 2010 (was it really founded a decade ago?!) to $168.2 million, according to Crunchbase data. The company declined to disclose at what valuation the latest round was raised. It closed on a $36.7 million Series B in June 2017.

To rise above the hype around meditation, Headspace claims to be “the most science-backed digital mindfulness product in the market.” As an example of that, the company says it’s currently in progress on over 70 clinical research studies with institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University.

Over the years, it’s branched out from its consumer app into different product lines including “Headspace for Work,” its B2B segment that counts Starbucks, Adobe, Hyatt and GE among its 600 enterprise customers. It’s also offering “Headspace Health,” an effort to integrate mindfulness into health care. In general, the company says its goal is to help its users apply mindfulness to improve their health via content around stress, anxiety, sleep and focus, among other things.


Since its founding, Headspace said it has experienced over 62 million downloads in 190 countries and has more than 2 million paid subscribers.

In addition to growing its direct-to-consumer business,Headspace says it will continue to invest in its Headspace for Work segment, which has seen its revenue double year over year from 2017 to 2018 and most recently in 2019. It also plans to continue putting money into its health care segment. I’ve reached out for more specifics regarding its financials and will update this piece if I get them.

In 2019, the company launched localized versions of the app in French and German, and appointed former Apple executive Renate Nyborg as head of its European division to lead expansion in that region. Also last year, Headspace launched in Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. It expanded into Asia through strategic relationships with partners such as The Times of India. The company plans to use its new capital in part to continue expanding internationally.

Investors talk

Alexandre Mars, founding partner of blisce/ said, Headspace’s aim with its offerings “resonates deeply with blisce/’s core belief that it is possible to both ‘Do Good’ while also building a strong business with sustainable growth.”

Rishi Jaitly, CEO of Times Bridge of India, notes that Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe began his mindfulness journey as a monk in India, and as such, he is “excited to bring things full circle through” a strategic partnership.

Of course, Headspace is not alone in the meditation app space. Last February, Calm announced the close of an $88 million Series B round that propelled it into unicorn status with a $1 billion valuation. In July, it announced a $27 million extension to that round.

Blog Roll Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Organic LED manufacturing startup Kateeva slashed its staff, according to a filing with the state of California

Manufacturer of biodegradable menstral products closes a $900,000 seed round led by Maroon Venture Partners.

WeWork laid out a five-year plan on Tuesday, including goals to be free cash flow positive by 2022 and have $1 billion of free cash flow by 2024.

SiriusXM invests $75 million in SoundCloud to beef up product development and enhance services.

Source: Crunchbase News

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After Effects Playbook Part 3: 10 AE Workflow Tips

In this video tutorial, we’ll focus on some After Effects workflow tips to speed up how you work — and how to avoid render issues.

Here are ten more After Effects workflow tips you can use to help save time and avoid potential headaches. If you haven’t seen them yet, check out After Effects Playbook Part 1 and Part 2, as well.

1. Apply Effects to Adjustment Layers Instead of Footage

You probably edit with 4K footage in a 1080p-sized composition. What you may not realize, though, is that if you apply an effect to 4K footage in a 1080p composition, After Effects actually renders the effect in 4K. This significantly slows down renders, and usually provides little to no visual difference (because the final composition is only 1080p). Save yourself some render time and add an adjustment layer directly above your footage, and apply your effects on the adjustment layer instead.

Create Adjustment Layer
Begin by adding an adjustment layer above your footage.

2. Copy and Paste Layers in the Same Order

Have you ever copied and pasted layers in After Effects, only to have them paste in reverse order? This is because After Effects is picky about which layers you select first when you copy and paste. To ensure your copied layers paste in the same order, always select your layers from the top down.

Copy and Paste Layers
Select layers from the top down.

3. Quickly Center Anchor Points

You can quickly center anchor points on text and layers by selecting the Pan Behind Tool, and then holding CTRL (CMD on Mac) as you move the anchor point. This’ll cause the anchor point to snap to the direct center of the layer. You can also use this trick to center layers onto each other.

Anchor Points
Select the Pan Behind Tool to center anchor points on text and layers.

4. Effect Presets for Transform Settings

Most people don’t know that you can create effect presets using just transform settings keyframes. These can be quite useful for things like scaling and opacity animations. In my case, I created a scale “pop-in” preset. Just highlight your transform keyframes and then create a preset in the effects and presets panel.

Transform Setting Preset
Creating a preset in the effects and presets panel.

5. Turn off the After Effects Home Screen

The After Effects home screen offers very little benefit, and it can be quite annoying to close out every time you open After Effects. To turn it off, navigate to Edit > Preferences > General. Near the lower-third, you’ll see the option to uncheck Enable Home Screen.

Home Screen
To disable the After Effects home screen, uncheck the Enable Home Screen option.

6. Create a New Project Template

You can have After Effects automatically open up a template you’ve created whenever you launch After Effects. This can save you time by not having to create the same folders over and over again. Navigate to Edit then Preferences, and then select New Project. Check on the option New Project Loads Template and select your template.

New Project Template
Save time by having After Effects automatically open a template for you.

7. Disk Cache Settings

First, you can quickly purge your disk cache at any time by navigating to Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache. Next (if possible) make sure your disk cache is located on a SSD. To change where your disk cache saves, navigate to Edit > Preferences > Media & Disk Cache. You’ll see the option to choose a folder for the disk cache to save to.

Disk Cache Settings
Changing your disk cache settings.

8. Render in After Effects

If you’re rendering a project with a lot of third-party plugins and effects, or a 360° video, you’ll be better off rendering that project directly in After Effects instead of Adobe Media Encoder. Rendering a heavy project in Media Encoder only increases the chances for a render error. I’d recommend rendering out of After Effects to a format like QuickTime with the ProRes 422 codec. Then, you can always send that exported file to Media Encoder later if you need to.

With third-party plugins and effects, render that project directly in After Effects.

9. Close the Composition Preview Window During Renders

This is a simple trick, but it can put less strain on your machine during renders. You can actually close the composition view when you’re rendering. This keeps After Effects from having to generate a live frame-by-frame preview as the render is happening.

10. Render a PNG Sequence if Your Render Keeps Failing

Nothing is more stressful than completing a project in After Effects, only to have the render continue to fail. It feels like your project is being held hostage by After Effects. However, if you render your project out as a PNG sequence, you’ll still save all the frames of your video that rendered before the crash. (Something that doesn’t happen on video file formats.) So, you can then restart your render from the last PNG frame rendered. This’ll typically allow you to render around whatever issue was snagging After Effects.

PNG Sequence Render
Render your project as a PNG sequence.

Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?

Looking for more post-production tips and tricks? Check these out.

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Source: The Shutterstock Blog

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Adobe Experience Manager now offered as cloud-native SaaS application

Adobe announced today that Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is now available as a cloud-native SaaS application. Prior to this, it was available on premises or as a managed service, but it wasn’t pure cloud-native.

Obviously being available as a cloud service makes sense for customers, and offers all of the value you would get from any cloud service. Customers can now access all of the tools in AEM without having to worry about maintaining, managing or updating it, giving the marketing team more flexibility, agility and ongoing access to the latest updates.

This value proposition did not escape Loni Stark, Adobe’s senior director of strategy and product marketing. “It creates a compelling offer for mid-size companies and enterprises that are increasingly transforming to adopt advanced digital tools but need more simplicity and flexibility to support their changing business models,” Stark said in a statement.

AEM provides a number of capabilities including managing the customer experience in real time. Having real-time access to data means you can deliver the products, services and experiences that make sense based on what you know about the customer in any given moment.

What’s more, you can meet customers wherever they happen to be. Today, it could be the company website, mobile app or other channel. Companies need to be flexible and tailor content to the specific channel, as well as what they know about the customer.

It’s interesting to note that AEM is based on the purchase of Day Software in 2010. That company originally developed a web content management product, but over time it evolved to become Adobe Experience Manager, and has been layering on functionality to meet an experience platform’s requirements since. Today, the product includes tools for content management, asset management and digital forms.

The company made the announcement today at NRF 2020, a huge retail conference taking place in New York City this week.

Source: TechCrunch

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Adobe Press Community Resource Center

The official source of training materials for Adobe software and cloud-based solutions, the Adobe Press community largely focuses on high-quality, creative digital media learning resources. Aimed at all learning levels, the brand publishes instructional books, eBooks, videos, and online courses published, marketed, and distributed by Peachpit.

We invite you to join our User Group and Product Review Programs—talk shop with like-minded individuals and become a truly trusted voice in our social networks; help Adobe Press continue to publish the best resources focused on the needs of today’s learner. We are listening:

Source: Adobe Press :: Promotions

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Share Your Knowledge and Become a Community Reviewer

Peachpit Community Voices Reviewer Program

Join the Peachpit and Adobe Press Reviewer Program

Peachpit and Adobe Press invite our community to post reviews on new and pre-release products to help fellow learners make informed purchase decisions. We are excited for you to get started, but before you do, please read through the following guidelines and requirements so you will know what to expect.

How does it work?

Pearson provides our accepted reviewers with complimentary review copies of new and pre-release products. We ask that the product reviews are completed within 45 to 60 days of product receipt, and that the review is posted on* and one other online location, with a link back to the Peachpit or Adobe Press product page.

*Exception: Amazon review submissions are not required for products that are not sellable on

Are Community Voices expected to write only positive reviews?

No. We welcome honest opinions about the product. We simply request a professional and thoughtful review.

How do I become a Community Voice Reviewer?

The Peachpit and Adobe Press Program is an invitation-only program. Potential candidates may request to join the program by submitting a complete application, and if selected, will be contacted with next steps for participation.

How are Community Voices for the Reviewer Program selected?

Our reviewers, known as Community Voices, are selected based on several criteria, but primarily on the candidate’s background and experience in the topic area, and their interest in providing a helpful review of our learning products.

Can I select the product I want to review?

We encourage our reviewers to let us know if there is a particular product that they are interested in reviewing. We try to match the product with the reviewer’s interest whenever possible. However, final products sent for review will be chosen by Peachpit/Adobe Press based upon the reviewer’s area of expertise, interest, and the products scheduled for the program.

How many reviews are Community Voices expected to complete?

To be considered an active member of the Community Voices program, we ask that you complete all product reviews that you sign up for within 45 to 60 days of product receipt, and that you have reviewed a minimum of one product within a 24-month time period.

What format will I receive for the review copy?

If you reside within the United States, we will provide you with your preferred format (print or eBook for books; DVD or streaming for video). If you reside outside the United States, we will arrange for you to receive an eBook version for books or streaming version for video. Special arrangements for international shipping can be considered upon special request, but cannot be guaranteed.

Do Community Voices get paid for their reviews?

No, Community Voices are not paid, but they do receive free products. On your application be sure to check the box yes if you want information about the Affiliate program—to learn how you can earn commission for referring sales.

Terms and Requirements

All reviewers must submit a completed Reviewer Program Application Form. Incomplete, inaccurate, or other forms of entry will not be considered.

Submitting a completed application form does not guarantee that you will be approved.

Final products sent for review will be chosen by Peachpit/Adobe Press based upon the reviewer’s area of expertise and interest, and the products scheduled for the program. Reviews are expected to be submitted within 45 to 60 days from product receipt.

All reviewers are required to:

  1. Submit their review to for products that are sellable on Per policy, each reviewer must have an existing account open that has at least one (1) purchase made.
  2. Post their review on one additional online location, such as blog, social channel, or website, with a link back to the Peachpit or Adobe Press product page.
  3. Email their completed review text, as well as the URL(s) where posted, to Failure to do so may result in being removed from the Community Voices program.

If you are accepted into the Reviewer program, you grant permission to Pearson to use your product review statements in any manner or media without previously notifying you, and to be considered for presentation in such mediums as publisher domain-hosted web pages and other associated printed and online promotional materials. You permit us to edit your comments for length/brevity/punctuation, so long as edits do not change the writer’s intent or the spirit of your message.

As per Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulation, we require that every product reviewer mention in their review that the product was received complimentary as part of the Reviewer Program.

By applying for this program, you acknowledge that you have read and do accept the terms and requirements.

Apply Now

Tell us about yourself! Email with your background. Include full name, email, phone, mailing address, areas of expertise, years of experience, certifications, and site URL if you have one. Let us know if you are a member of a user group, run a blog, or are interested in becoming an affiliate.

Thank you for your interest in becoming part of our community.

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