Adobe Creative Cloud 2020 is here with new Photoshop and Illustrator for both desktop and iPad - plus updates to InDesign, XD and more

Adobe has just launched its new Creative Cloud tools for 2020; Digital Arts is at the Adobe MAX conference in LA to see what's on offer in Adobe's new update, which is now available for download.

MAX is where the latest sneaks and software get unveiled by Adobe, and one long year after the tease of Photoshop for iPad, designers and digital artists everywhere can get their hands on the tablet version of Adobe's flagship software.

The new release comes alongside a new version of the desktop Photoshop, and the news of Adobe's other much touted iPad app Fresco making its way onto Windows devices (although note the same won't be happening yet for the iPad Photoshop, and not all Windows devices will be Fresco-compatible, as we'll explain).

Also unveiled is a version of Illustrator for iPad. Good news for all creatives working on the iPad Pro, but what about desktop users currently subscribed to Creative Cloud?

Alongside new versions of the classic Photoshop and Illustrator, CC customers will find updates to InDesign, XD, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom and more.

You should be able to download the updates from your Creative Cloud app. 

Find below what's coming to the new CC, and watch out for a hands-on soon of Illustrator and Photoshop for the iPad along with Adobe Fresco on Windows as we navigate the extravaganza of Adobe MAX 2019.

Adobe Photoshop 2020

Photoshop is 30 years old this year, and the new desktop update packs in a lot to celebrate, definitely a lot more than last year's version anyway.

We've already made you aware of an impressive AI-infused Object Selection tool that helps you cut out multiple things from photos; that AI power of Adobe's machine-learning Sensei platform rears its head in improved Select Subject and Content-Aware Fill, the former now running faster on Mac models.

What's new in Photoshop 2020

  • Properties Panel with  repackaged top tasks into a central location
  • Redesigned Preset Panels (although users can revert back to Legacy settings!
  • Smart Object Convert to Layers
  • Enhancements to Warp Transform
  • Lens Blur addition
  • Adjustment layers for curves and brightness/contrast for 32-bit images
  • Consistent Transform Behavior
  • Smart Object and Layer Comp Tracking

Photoshop for iPad

First unveiled at last year's MAX, the iPad version of Photoshop has been long awaited but also long kept under wraps; last year's MAX didn't allow attendees for hands-on sessions, and recent press from Adobe has been more preoccupied with the recently released iPad art app Fresco than anything else.

Joining Fresco at last though on the tablet of choice for creatives on the go is this first ever release of Photoshop for iPad (PSi as we’ll dub it), available free for current CC users.

This tablet version of Photoshop stands as a rival to the likes of Affinity Photo by bringing the desktop PS experience to the iPad. Adobe acolytes at last year’s MAX had mostly taken this to mean the full-fat experience of PS on a tablet, but more recent scuttle has steered creatives to expect a very familiar experience instead, using the same code base as opposed to including every single nut and bolt.

We've already seen works of up to 500 layers made using the software, so it seems Adobe has managed to make a tablet alternative with the power of the original, including Photoshop’s top workflows, compositing, masking and retouching capabilities. Lightroom connections are promised with future updates of PSi, and Adobe has stressed that those will bring even more familiar features to the tablet experience. As expected, there is seamless integration when working and saving pieces between the two versions.

Read our full story on Photoshop for iPad. Look out for our hands-on soon from Adobe MAX in LA.

Illustrator 2020

The desktop original of Illustrator is getting a 2020 update of course, promising accelerated performance and stability.

Files will now save in the background, and run 2x faster. And speaking of speed, if you use Drop Shadows or Gaussian Blurs in your designs, they’ll render faster than ever.

What's more, you can now preview the effects on your designs before committing to them, an overdue aid which we're glad to see.

Illustrator for iPad

As mentioned, Illustrator is coming to the iPad - but in beta form only, so don't go expecting it in your Creative Cloud or the Apple Store yet.

Expect the full build next year; for now, know that text and Radial Repeat are all covered in this mobile edition, and seamless connections between the same piece of work and iPad will be possible, just like with PSi.

Read our full hands-on preview of Illustrator for iPad.

InDesign CC

While Photoshop hits the big 30, InDesign becomes a twenty-something (check out our historic retrospective on the software classic here).

The new features aren't as substantial as the PS ones, but look out for support for SVG at long last, variable fonts and automated column rules.

Apple isn’t All: Fresco comes to Windows

Adobe Fresco came this summer for the first time ever, doing a reasonable Procreate impression but with a sadly tacked on-monthly subscription fee.

That said, we've noticed digital artists curious about the forthcoming Windows version of the painting app, and today that becomes a reality as Fresco lands on ten Windows devices today, list as following:

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4, 5 and 6
  • Microsoft Surface Book 1 and 2
  • Microsoft Surface Studio 1 and 2
  • Microsoft Surface Go
  • Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13′′ and 16′

The news had already been announced in the summer, but of note is that any work on the iPad will transfer to your Windows device and vice versa. Also note that not any Windows user with a Cintiq will be able to start using Fresco; it's just the list of ten above and no more. It has also been confirmed to us that there won't be a free version of Fresco for Windows as there is for iOS, but the trial lasts for six months.

Find out more in detail about Adobe Fresco on Windows here, and watch out for livestream capabilities coming to all versions of Fresco soon.

Adobe Animate 20.0

Adobe Animate (neé Flash) has a new interface including a redesigned timeline and a more informative Propeties panel, and the same Fluid Brush as Fresco.

Dimension CC

Adobe Dimension 3.0 promises users more control over lighting. Also look out for new ways to render and create high quality images.


The latest version of the Adobe XD UX design app includes a full Document History – so you can easily go back to a previous version. You can even go back, copy something you've since deleted, go forward to your latest version and paste it in. Component States makes creating design systems easier, and in beta you can now find real time-co-editing, giving you a chance to work with your team on any one project.

There is also full integration with Creative Cloud Libraries.

There's a lot to the new Adobe XD, so if UX design is your thing, you can find out more here.

Premiere Pro CC

You can now work with Apple ProRes HDR on both Mac and Windows.

After Effects CC

Multichannel EXR files are up to 10-12 times faster in Adobe After Effects.

Lightroom CC

In-app tutorials are now available in Lightroom and Lightroom Classic; also expect improved speed and performance.

Substance by Adobe

Remember when Adobe bought Substance Painter at the start of the year? Well, Substance by Adobe (to use the suite's official name) offers a new improved version of the beloved Substance Painter, with a brush engine that matches more closely to Photoshop’s, encouraging 2D artists to enter the third dimension much like Homer Simpson once did.

Enhancements include better pen pressure accuracy, new brush settings such as minimum size and blending modes, and ABR format support. In the coming months there'll be a collection of ABR brushes on the way; Substance Alchemist meanwhile is now out of beta and on general release today, giving users a library of 3D textures, plus ways to mix and tweak existing materials, and even make new ones from photos and high-res scans.

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