Adobe knows there’s a bigger audience of would-be creators out there than full-on pros, so it’s launching a new app that attempts to open up some of its more powerful tools to amateurs. The app, called Creative Cloud Express, offers basic versions of image and video editing tools, letting users work with layers, AI effects, and a huge font library, all with a simplified interface that’s supposed to make the features easier to use.

“A lot of people need something simple and more accessible, and these customers are increasingly content-first and more focused on outcomes than process,” Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer, tells The Verge. Creative Cloud Express is designed so new users don’t have to “endure the learning curve” of Adobe’s more capable tools like Photoshop and can quickly make something that looks good.

“Start to deliver innovation that anyone can access, as opposed to just the creative pros”

The app seems to be designed for social media managers, small business owners, and anyone else who has something to promote but isn’t a pro at graphic design.

When starting it up, you’ll be able to choose from pre-designed templates made for different purposes: a flier, a Facebook post, an Instagram story, a YouTube thumbnail, a restaurant menu, a book cover, and so on. Once you choose a template, you’ll be able to adjust all the features within it. In a short demo video sent to The Verge, an Adobe product manager showed how you could adjust the text, import new assets from Adobe’s stock image library, and add animation. One particularly clever feature automatically removed the background from a stock image, letting the image focus just on its subject.

The app is free to start, but additional features — like access to Adobe Stock images — are available for a $9.99 per month subscription (they’re also included for existing subscribers of many Creative Cloud plans). It launches today and is available on iOS, Android, and the web.

Belsky sees this launch as a step toward creating accessible versions of all of Adobe’s most powerful tools. “I hope I can tell my teams … whatever you do that’s amazing for After Effects or Premiere Pro,” Belsky says, “find a light and accessible version of it that might be accessible to everyone else and start to deliver innovation that anyone can access, as opposed to just the creative pros.”


Leave a Reply