Adobe Max 2019 Special Report by Mark Brickey of Adventures in Design: Listen Now
Adobe Max 2o19: Good morning. Hello friends. My name is Mark Brickey. I'm the host of Adventures In Design, a daily podcast for creatives just like yourself that are struggling to figure out how to turn your daydream into your day job.
Scott "Sourdough" Power creator of Not Real Art is a good friend of mine and he saw that I was covering Adobe Max 2019 and ask what I do a favor for him and his community and let you know all about Adobe Max.
What happens there? Who's it right for and what's the deal? What's the deal with the Adobe max? Well, let's start here. Adobe understands their massive role in creativity and not only creativity today, but creativity going far, far into the future.
Nearly every creative at some point uses their tools, their applications. Even if you're a sculptor, at some moment of photo of that sculpture is going to get put into the computer machine and somehow put on the internet or put on social media and Adobe products help bridge that gap.
They understand that they hold the future of creativity and technology in their hands and many, many of the moral responsibilities that come with where technology is going. This year we learned a lot about the future of augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Virtual reality seems to be headed toward the consumer market. If you've ever had the opportunity to do a VR experience, whether it's just doing a video game, watching a short film or going on a quest, something like the Void, I don't know if you've ever done a Void, but you go in, you put on a helmet, you put on a backpack and next thing you know you and your family are inside of Star Wars or you're inside of Wreck It Ralph, you're walking around a room where everything has been digitally image map. So you know if there's a thai fighter there, you can reach out and physically fill a thai fighter, but it has been screened to look like whatever visual they want.
Augmented reality as sort of the interesting one that nobody really knows where it's going yet. And they showed us a sample of what a world could look like when you put on a pair of viewing glasses. And imagine your maps app not being stuck to your iPhone or your smart screen in your automobile, but literally projected on the road in front of you.
So you're riding your bike down the street and it says, take a left here and you take a left there. Many of these ideas get further and further into what we've been told would be the future. Think of things that you've seen in minority report or blade runner where as you walk through the world or holograms that pop up based on your way point of being, their little beacons that your human or your technology will have on it that will make the world interact in a way that you want it to.
So if you like balloon emojis, balloons will follow you down the street. But if you're into something else that will be there for you as well. And then sort of the scariest thing to artificial intelligence giving the computer, given the software a soul, they joked us off and it almost seemed as if they had a corporate policy that let's not scare people. Let's just be, this is kind of a funny fun thing that's coming and ha the computers might run the world.
They even went as far as to do a Terminator private screening that I was a part of and it was like, ah, I mean you guys are going down this path of Skynet and you're kind of making light of it, but they did show us some really good applications for artificial intelligence such as sensei. Sensei is a new software that is built into Adobe products that understand your workflow, understands the way that you need things to happen and can almost predict what it is you need sensei to do.
I think many people are very skeptical about artificial intelligence, but in the end, human curiosity will probably win out and people will be curious, well, can we make it do this? And it will do it. And it will be interesting to see how that path gets forged, who follows it and where it all goes. But we're at this moment right now. And the, the thing that struck me the most when I walked out of the big keynote is that Adobe holds this responsibility.
They have the software that goes into nearly every creative's computer, tablet, smartphone, and we're, all of this goes in, evolves. Somebody has to be the mediator of morality and that falls greatly in their hands. So it was interesting to see their positive messaging, how they want to work on getting their software into many people's hands as possible. And also I felt like they understand, fully understand the burden of technology and how will they react to it and roll it out to each of us.
But if you're looking for something to get into, if you're looking for a way to make a statement, if you know you want to do something creative and you don't know exactly what that vehicle is right now, VR, AR, AI, that's where the future's going. So if you're looking for a place to go, I can almost guarantee you that if you get involved in one of those three buckets, one of those three disciplines, there will be work for you for decades to come. But not only is Adobe a leader in technology, Adobe Max is a special event because it brings all of these creatives together. I mean, I was thinking about it 20,000 working creatives of all kinds of different disciplines, all kinds of different ways of thinking, various levels of employment, freelancers working for mega corporations, working for newly formed companies, like it's kind of the crossroads of everybody that uses one or more of these different applications as an extension for their creativity.
With 20,000 of us under the hood, this is probably the largest annual creator that exist in America, much less planet earth. Nearly every creative uses their applications, and I know this is the third time that I've said this, but it bears repeating.
Think about how long you've been an Adobe user and think about all of your peers that use Adobe products. And really some of us go from Adobe product, Adobe product, and some people just loosely use Photoshop, but we're all kind of in their domain. So when you get 20,000 creative people together from all different walks of life and people that are on different bandwidths of communication, if we're being totally honest, what does that feel like? I have to summarize it as a room without judgment. If you want to hold up your camera and start filming a video or do a stop animation or whatever you're doing, everybody in the room just walks by and goes, Oh, they're just, they're making something literally a room without judgment because everyone there understands the creative process comes first.
This is what guides us. It's that thing inside of us that makes us make decisions. We're always looking for the job that rewards us with the most creativity. Then we worry about money and other things, second of all, but for all of us, it's about creativity. You get that many people under the roof and it literally becomes a room with no judgment. And I'll break this down to you in a way that only will understand.
They do this thing called sneaks where they show you small teams that have come up with an idea for software. One of the young woman did a software like you know it's probably a team of a few people have. When you go on vacation you want to take a photo of you and your partner but you hand your camera to a stranger and somehow they forget to mention that you know you might want the Eiffel tower behind you or it's all Eiffel tower and none of you are, they shoot down and you have fat Chen or they shoot up and you just look weird.
So what she and her team created is software where you take a photo of one of you and then the other person takes the camera and takes the photo of the other person or multiple people and the software realizes, okay, here's the background. Let me lock that in. Here's one person and here's the second person. But because you're not going to stand in the exact same spot, it can measure everything that's in the background and figure out what the scale is so it can scale me to the appropriate size of my wife. And now we have great photos of us on vacation and we never ever have to talk to a stranger, all problem solved. But because this is new software and it's beta and these are just ideas that they're sort of testing, Hey, would you guys be interested in software that could remove every from a recording?
The answer is yes, I would. And the idea is that they're showing software that's still in a rough, rough part of its protocol, right? Like it's not fully rendered and you're going to get some crashes. So they tell you upfront every time something goes wrong, applaud. And imagine doing a presentation in front of, Oh, I don't know, 15,000 people. And you'd be so nervous that it would joke or would crash. But if every time that happens, the audience is a creative, just like you. Someone that is understanding that things don't always go right. It's not perfect. It's not done yet. It's a work in progress and you get rewarded with applause every time your computer hiccups or every time the software crashes or you have to relaunch your app or it doesn't do what was promised that it would deliver. It creates that room where everybody's clapping.
I'm like, don't worry about it. This is awesome. Can't wait to see how this works out. It's the kind of feeling that you only get when you're in a room without judgment where everyone else is on the same creative frequency as you are. Even though Adobe shows you tons of new features that are coming to their core applications and software that they're toying with it. You might see in a year or 10 they also gave us a good look at what they're doing outside of software outside of digital. I find a lot of their messaging to be the opposite of artificial intelligence and leaning back on the human spirit. So one of the biggest things they're doing outside of software is they're focusing on community. They're trying to do the proper outreach to make sure that their products are accessible to all with lower level iOS applications that are a few bucks to download and finding ways to get involved with lower serve communities, people that don't have as much, how can we get software to them?
How can we understand a way to build this community of creativity? Because creativity is the new capital capture is the new capital. If you view, look at what we are all doing these days with Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, there's so much creativity that people are just putting in as part of their normal life. And when you don't have these tools or access to these tools, will you get left behind? So even though the conference itself caters to a high function and creative, they understand the importance of democratizing creativity and making sure everyone can get a hold of different levels of the tools, different entry points into creativity because creativity is power and creativity is the new form of commerce. Now, outside of our corporate overlord showing us all the new software that we're going to get to play around with, the conference shines the most and it's workshops.
As an attendee, you have the right to go see different speakers speak to you and, and some of them are small lectures and others are actual labs where you have, you know, an iMac in front of you or a tablet in front of you and you actually get to go through the tools step-by-step. I think it shines most on that level because it's a choose your own adventure. If you need more help with your illustration, you can go sit across from a a pro, have a tablet in front of you and understand how they use the tools to create their illustration. But if you're looking more for philosophy, if you're working artists that feels you don't have your voice and creativity, you can go to a lecture and have someone speak to you on how they slowly started to put each brick in the wall that made their signature style and how your career changes once your signature style is established and starts to evolve.
And people when they hire you hire you because they know exactly what they're going to get. So if you happen to watch a couple of the celebrity keynotes online and you think, this isn't for me, well I would agree. I don't know who gets much out of the celebrity keynotes. Billie Eilish, for example, is such a unique different story that I don't know what a room full of people can learn from a 17 year old that's just been on a completely hot streak that most folks will never get to touch. So I would say the conference shines most in the workshops and less with the celebrity stuff and the celebrity stuff would shine more if they had a proper interviewer. Having the CMO of Adobe do the interviews is a little insulting. I do interviews for a living and if I was sitting across from Dave grow, I would understand how to get to the creative process and how to give something out to that audience that they would understand.
It's a bit insulting because I never go to Adobe one day and go, Hey guys, I think I'm going to run the place for two hours. So it's interesting that she would think, ah, I can just handle this. I'm good. I've seen talk shows before. I know how interviewing works and I'll tell you it's an art all into itself, but celebrities sell tickets, celebrities get headlines, so they're a big part of the whole equation, but you'll probably find a lot more that will resonate with you, that will help you build your career and more immediate information to help you become better or solve that big mystery in your career. If you dig deep into the workshops and panels because those sessions add the real value of the conference, of trying to figure out what it is that you're looking to solve with your career. And looking at someone that you trust as a professional, as an expert in the field that can help you solve that problem.
It makes it more of a summer camp then a software sales pitch. So that's really, I find them the most value of it and there becomes this thing once again, room without judgment that when you're in a workshop, the person next to you is trying to find out the same problems with their career. So it's a really great way to meet people at your level. Never ever underestimate the value of networking when going to a creative conference, you have the ability to make very close friends that understand exactly what you're going through and if you live a town or a state or a country apart, even better because you can relate to the same problems but never have to feel like you're given the competition a leg up on you because it's just, Hey, I'm having this problem with my clients. How are you addressing it?
And those conversations, those relationships happen when you put yourself in the same room as other people that are looking for similar results in their life as you are. Which goes back to my point of what are you going to be able to get out of celebrity driven interviews, especially when celebrity driven interviews are being done. Someone who doesn't do interviews for a living and they ask people like, Dave Grohl, what's your favorite song? Or Billie Eilish, are you really 17 there's not a lot of value from there. And if a professional interviewer was doing that, you would probably be able to get some sort of chicken nugget from those two that you could apply to your choose your own adventure in your career, but you're just not going to get it with those types of questions. So if you looked at the keynotes and said, I don't know, this really is just not even scratching the surface, dig a little bit deeper and go and look at some of the workshops they offer and I guarantee you that's when you'll start to see the one on one application of how this would make sense for you, your career, where you're trying to go, and you'll start to see the investment possibly making more sense for you.
So let's talk just about that. The money, who should attend and is it worth the money if you can get your job to pay for it? Absolutely go. And I would say, this is a stat that I'm pulling off my head. I would assume probably 90% of the people there, their job is banned for it. We're talking a couple thousand dollars to go there for the three to five days, depending on how long you're in town for. It will be in Los Angeles next year. So if you're a fellow California local, that could save you airfare and hotel. But if your job will pay for it, I'd definitely say go. How you get your job to pay for it. Show them the workshops, right? Like ignore the celebrity stuff because then that just makes you look kind of goofy, but go and dig through and say, Hey, this thing happened last year and here's four or five workshops.
If I went there, I know I could add more value to my team, so do a little bit of research and say, you know that thing we're trying to figure out, this professional is going to be doing a workshop about that. If I can go here, that one and these three others, I'll be in a better spot. Now, if you're a working artist, we always have the backdoor entry to get into whatever we want to go to, right. Try to become a sponsor. They do this thing that I think is very cool of them. They have a big pavilion where some vendors have spent tens of thousands of dollars to have their booth represented there and some of them go all the way up to 100,000 but on that Wednesday they set up a little artists market in front of all that. They do. Two rows, you know, back to back of 10 by 10 booths where you can sell your artwork.
So if you can try to get involved that way, I believe that's only $500 you have the ability to sell way more than that and make a profit on top of getting reimbursed. And then when you're a sponsor, you're allowed to attend a Adobe max and go to all the different conferences. So if there's a way to get in there as a working artist, that's always your best bet as a working artist who's, you know, trying to do things on a budget and make a couple of bucks while you're at it. A lot of my friends were vendors there. They did very, very well. Very well because think about it, you have thousands of creatives that probably flew in on their company's dime. They've just had the time of their life being in a room without judgment. Meeting so many other creative people feeling better about themselves when they go home, cause then now they've learned a new set of skills.
They're filling, recharge creatively, and they're looking to spend some money. They want a souvenir so you can maybe capture those cells and get paid to go to Adobe max, which would be the best way to do it. So if you're a freelancer and you're in UX so you don't have a product to sell but you work for yourself and your boss isn't going to send you cause you don't have a boss, I would then say don't go, don't go. Because it's a lot of money that you could probably do other things with and you can watch a lot of it online or listen to different podcasts such as myself, are not real art that cover it. And you can kind of get, you know, a little bit of a vibe like you were in the room. And the bad thing about that system is, is you're not going to be able to get your hands on those one-on-one workshops that keep those pretty fire walled off.
But you could look at those people and then go over to a service like Skillshare and do it for less. My rule would be, don't spend money on something like this. Unless if you look at your savings account and go, I have six months worth of bills saved up, I've earned this. Yes you have, but for the rest of us, keep working. Watch it on a stream. It's probably not the right fit for you. Probably something better that you could do for that money. My honest evaluation. But before I say goodbye to you, I would like to tell you that my biggest takeaway to all of Adobe max is this. With artificial intelligence coming and new tools like augmented reality, it takes a creative mind to program those things. It will take creativity to understand how to use this software in the most efficient way for civilization and where technology evolves to the one thing that can never be replaced is the human spirit.
So as always, your unique DNA will always be your best guide to greatness. Inside of each and every one of us, there is a unique personality. The more you get to know that person, the more you capitalize on what makes that person unique. That's always your competitive edge. So don't be afraid of the technology wave that's coming. Learn how to embrace who you are and find your place in that new environment because it's coming whether you like it or not. And for a giant corporate company, their messaging was on point that you, the human experience, the personality inside of you, your unique voice of creativity is something that no robot can ever replace. So as long as you keep focusing on being you, and I know that that can sound a little Pinterest city and a little go get 'em tiger. But it's true. It's very true.
When you look at all your heroes, when you look at all the, they are unique because they were them and no one else. And that's why you looked up to them. That's why they're your hero. And that's why you tried to learn a little something from all of them and put it inside of whatever makes you last thought I'd like to leave you with is software is just a tool. Don't ever let it be a crutch. So when the new technology comes out, always stand back and look at and go, that's fascinating. How do I make that work for me? Not how do I work for it? In the end, when you know who you are, you have your creative voice. All of these different tools become just that. A way for you to build your empire away for you to materialize your dream, a way for you to build a bridge that will take you to the other side of where ever you want to go.
Adobe knows it, I know it and you know it. Hopefully this helps figure out if Adobe max is right for you, it will be coming back to Los Angeles at the LA convention center next October. Maybe it's time to start begging the boss. Maybe it's a time to get your booth ready for an application or to try to be a speaker at the event or maybe it's time to put six months worth of savings in your bank account. Never a bad thing to try to do. I hope you enjoyed today's conversation and I think my good friend Scott "Sourdough" Power for inviting me over here to share with you everything that I learned when I was at Adobe Max. I did a few episodes about it that are alluded a little bit longer, but this is the convention and the short strokes. Thank you so much for listening and thank you for supporting Not Real Art, one of my favorite art communities here in Los Angeles, and wherever you can share this episode, let people know that you heard this. I'm Not Real Art, and that you found a community that's guiding every creative to get to their best version of their own greatness. I'm Mark Brickey from Adventures In Design. Good day and good design.