One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe’s just-launched CC 2018 release and the previous CC 2017, CC 2015.5, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC 2013, or 2012’s Creative Suite 6? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features and advancements in CC 2018 versus prior versions?
Now that the new CC 2018 milestone release is shipping worldwide, everyone is entitled to either a free upgrade 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 of them), with discounts available for education customers. Adobe says that if you look at all of the changes since CS6 to the current CC 2018 release, there have been thousands of significant updates – meaning new and enhanced features, added capabilities, and performance boosts – to the key creative applications.
Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!
There are now 19 desktop applications included in Creative Cloud. Fifteen of them received full upgrades: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, InCopy, Animate, Muse, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Prelude, Media Encoder, Bridge, Camera Raw, and the rebranded Lightroom Classic. In addition, there are four brand new 1.0 products: Adobe XD for user eXperience Design, Adobe Dimension (formerly Project Felix) for 2D to 3D compositing, Character Animator for 2D animation, and an all-new cloud-centric photography service by the name of… Lightroom CC. Please see the table below for what’s new in each tool.
Adobe has boosted the online storage levels for all Creative Cloud memberships (100 GB is now standard, up from 20 GB), plus now offers the ability to purchase additional cloud storage – up to 15 TB per account. They have also added other new goodies for CC members, such as exclusive access for CC members to Kyle Webster’s best-selling Kylebrush.com collection, where you can download 1,500 Photoshop brushes.
Creative Cloud subscriber also now receive 45 free professionally-created motion graphics templates in the Master Artists Collection for your video production, as well as the acclaimed Adobe Spark with Premium Features – a new service that’s worth $9.99/month just by itself. Plus you can still get 10 free high-quality images or illustrations via the fast-growing Adobe Stock, now with over 320 million assets available.
Also new on the scene is a Lightroom-only plan option, which comes in at the same $9.99/mo. price point as the very popular CC Photography Plan, but swaps out Photoshop CC and Lightroom Classic and gives you 1 TB of online storage instead to store your photos using the all-new cloud-based Lightroom CC app. Meanwhile, the Photography plan continues as before, but with the addition of Lightroom CC alongside Lightroom Classic.
Other top tools and services like Behance to showcase your work, your own Adobe Portfolio website, Typekit fonts (now with the capability to match and capture typefaces), thousands of royalty-free icons, graphics, patterns, and backgrounds for no cost in the Creative Cloud Market, and industry-standard Acrobat DC Pro continue to be included in Creative Cloud 2018 as well.
A variety of free mobile apps have also been updated for both iOS and Android, which work together with the cloud and the desktop programs. The company also continues to embed machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities across the entire suite of tools and services with Adobe Sensei, enabling you to work smarter and faster through technology. For example, Lightroom’s “Auto” functions now use an advanced neural network to give better results by analyzing your photo and comparing to tens of thousands of professionally-edited photos to create a beautiful, pleasing image.
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.
Install now: Get all new Creative Cloud 2023 direct download links and free trials.
Finally, it’s important to know that the system requirements for Mac have changed meaningfully… The CC 2018 release requires macOS X 10.11 (El Capitan) or higher. If you’re not running that yet, then you can get a free upgrade from Apple to the latest version: macOS High Sierra (v. 10.13). For Windows, there are no big changes to the specs or requirements from CC 2017 – Windows 7 and higher continue to work for CC 2018.
The only caveat so far against upgrading is for DVA users who rely on Dolby Digital audio encoding or decoding by the CC tools. For further information, see this help page. If you’re on an older operating system or still need that functionality, then you can still keep the CC 2017 versions installed on your computer by deselecting “Remove old versions” under Advanced Options.
So here they are, the feature breakouts by individual product – what’s new (at-a-glance or in depth), as well as the version comparisons and differences between Adobe CC 2018 vs. the CC 2017, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC 2013, and CS6 releases:
What’s New in Adobe CC 2018
|Product||At-a-Glance||New Features in Depth, by CC Release|
See the CC System Requirements for complete platform information.
|Photoshop CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Illustrator CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|InDesign CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|InCopy CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Dreamweaver CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Adobe Muse CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Animate (Flash) CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Lightroom CC||What’s New?||2018||—||—||—||—|
|Lightroom Classic CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Camera Raw (ACR)||—||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Adobe Bridge CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Adobe XD CC||What’s New?||2018||—||—||—||—|
|Dimension CC||What’s New?||2018||—||—||—||—|
|Premiere Pro CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|After Effects CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Audition CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Prelude CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
|Character Animator CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||—||—||—|
|Media Encoder CC||What’s New?||2018||2017||2015||2014||2013|
For more details on the essentials and differences, don’t miss our CC 2018 Review Guide.
- The 10 most common myths about Creative Cloud
- How to save 60% with the Student & Teacher Editions
- Download free Adobe books (choose over 30 titles)
- Don’t need full Cloud? Get PS + LR for $9.99/month
- Free Adobe Stock! Download 1,000,000+ top images
- How to join Adobe’s Creative Cloud for free
Do you have any questions about Creative Cloud? Just ask below and we’ll get you answers fast!
Keep up with the latest on Adobe software — follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to our RSS feed… You can also enter your email and have new articles sent directly to your Inbox. We are reader-supported; when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.