Recently at the annual MAX conference, Adobe launched the new 2021 release of Creative Cloud – and everyone wants to know what’s new, what’s different, and what’s changed between CC 2021 and the previous releases. In other words, what are the key new features and advancements in the 2021 upgrade versus prior versions?
With the new release, everyone is entitled to either a free update or a new free trial for 7 days. Ongoing access to these tools requires a Creative Cloud membership (either for one app or for all), with discounts available for education customers. Adobe says if you look at all of changes since CS6 to the current CC 2021 release, there have been thousands of significant updates – meaning new and enhanced features, added capabilities, and performance improvements – to the key creative applications.
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There are now 21 desktop applications included in Creative Cloud. All of the apps received full upgrades: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, InCopy, Acrobat DC, Adobe XD, Dimension, Animate, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, After Effects, Audition, Character Animator, Media Encoder, Prelude, Bridge, Camera Raw, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic.
In addition, there’s a new desktop version of Adobe Aero (still 100% free), as well as two new mobile apps: the popular digital drawing & painting app Fresco is now available on iPhone – plus for the first time ever, we have Illustrator on iPad (a real version which opens and saves AI files). Please see the table below for what’s new in each Creative Cloud tool.
And it’s not a new app, but it’s an amazing resource nonetheless: the company also unveiled the brand new Adobe Stock Free Collection, with over 1,000,000 top-notch images, vectors, illustrations, templates, 3D models, and videos available to everyone at no cost and completely royalty-free. Check it out and start downloading here!
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Other top tools and services continue to be included in Creative Cloud 2021 as well, such as Adobe Fonts, which gives you a massive library of over 22,000 premium fonts for unlimited use (a $100/year value), Behance to showcase your work online, your own Adobe Portfolio website, over 1,000 brushes from award-winning illustrator Kyle T. Webster, and the acclaimed Adobe Spark with Premium Features (worth $9.99/month).
If you want to try any of the CC apps out, then just sign up for a free level of Creative Cloud membership to gain access. For learning how to best use the products, there are plenty of free tutorial videos, and even dozens of completely free books that you can download for all of the most popular applications. And don’t forget that all CC products include ongoing upgrades at no extra cost, so you can always be running the latest and greatest version available.
The System Requirements Have Evolved
In addition, you should know that the minimum system requirements have changed meaningfully both on Windows as well as on Mac, in order to take advantage of the latest operating system features and technologies… On Macs, the CC 2021 release now requires macOS 10.14 (Mojave) or later. If you’re not yet running a compatible version of macOS, then you can get a free upgrade directly from Apple to Mojave (10.14) or Catalina (10.15). Be aware, however, that in Catalina, Apple has dropped support for any older 32-bit programs that you may have. The new macOS 11.0 (Big Sur) is supported as well, although there are some known issues.
On PCs, Windows 10 (version 1903 or higher) is a fully-supported platform for all Creative Cloud applications. Importantly, except for Acrobat DC, the CC 2021 apps no longer support 32-bit or any Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems.
Adobe explains that focusing their efforts on more modern OS versions allows them to concentrate on developing the features and functionality most requested by members, while ensuring peak performance that takes advantage of modern hardware. For more details, please consult the official System Requirements. If these specifications don’t work for you for some reason, then you can instead continue to use the older CC 2020 applications, or even CC 2019 or CC 2018.
Feature Comparison: Creative Cloud 2021 vs. Previous Releases
So here they are, the feature breakouts by individual product – what’s new including version comparisons and differences between Creative Cloud 2021 vs. the 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, and CS6 releases:
For more details on the essentials and differences, don’t miss our CC 2021 Review Guide.
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