The Top 10 Coolest Things At Adobe MAX (Plus, CS5.5 Contest!)

UPDATE: The contest has ended! Thanks to all who entered – our winner is Andrew Conniff, a student at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

I’m sure the stuff in parentheses is the most exciting part of that title to all of you, so I’ll address that first! Yep, we are indeed giving away a copy of Adobe CS5.5 Master Collection, and we’ve partnered with Mouthy Morgan and our friends at Adobe Students to do it. Details on how to win this $2,600 software suite are at the bottom of this post!

First, however, I’d like to share my picks for the 10 coolest things at the Adobe MAX conference I attended a couple weeks ago. MAX was the first big conference I’d ever been to, and it was also the first time I’d ever gotten a press pass. Needless to say, I was really excited to attend and it turned out to be an amazing experience. A lot of cool announcements were made at the conference, including announcements about Adobe’s acquisition of Typekit, the introduction of Adobe Creative Cloud, and more.

Some of the things at MAX where definitely cooler than others, though. Here are my picks for the best ten…

The 10 Coolest Things From Adobe MAX

10. The Biggest Game of Angry Birds EVER

Rovio is a company that just keeps getting more and more successful, and this year they took the stage at Adobe MAX to talk about Angry Birds and how they use Flash to bring it to more platforms. The most impactful moment of their presentation came right at the beginning, when they used the 300ft. screen to show Angry Birds being played. Sure beats the Retina Display. Another thing that stuck out was something Rovio GM Andrew Stalbow said on stage…

Our fans spend over 300 million minutes playing the game every day.” Holy bacon-flavored pancakes.

Check out the video of Andrew’s presentation for more.


By the way, you can play Angry Birds in your web browser now. Even though the website says it’s for Chrome, it’ll work in other browsers too.

9. The Rubbadub Trick

Near the end of my last conference day, Adobe held a session called Sneaks. In this session they demoed some projects Adobe engineers have been working on – projects that may or may not ever see the light of day. Some of these projects were simply amazing; one of them enabled Photoshop to “weave” layers, another actually “unblurred” blurry photos, and yet another showcased new “liquid layouts” in InDesign. My pick for the coolest one, however, is the “Rubbadub” trick.

Rubbadub is an add-on to Premiere Pro, Adobe’s video editing program. The add-on seems to completely fix discrepancies between videos and dubbed audio tracks. In the demo, the Adobe engineer who created Rubbadub took a scene from The Office and perfectly placed an Indian voice over Dwight’s lines. Without Rubbadub, the dub is obvious and doesn’t look very good; with it, they’re perfectly synced. Amazing.

You can see videos for the rest of the sneaks on Adobe TV.

8. Mini-Fantasia in Miama Presentation

This was a presentation we saw that education-based pre-conference the day before MAX actually started. The Mini-Fantasia project shows just how powerful mixed media can be; it merges a ton of rendered video with live symphony orchestra performance to create a truly unique experience for the audience.

7. New Tablets from Sony

Some have deemed 2011 to be “The Year of the Tablet”, and that certainly seems to be ringing true. In addition to all the Galaxy Tabs we saw floating around at MAX (there really wasn’t any iPad love here for pretty obvious reasons), there were also some new offerings from other companies.

One of the most interesting was the S1 from Sony. This 9.4″ tablet is in stock now and ships with a 1280×768 screen, dual cameras, and Android 3.1. Being made by Sony, it’s also got access  the Playstation Suite – an Android marketplace that gives you access to classic PSOne games.

While there are a few things about the S1 that could be improved – for instance, my first impressions of the built-in speaker weren’t all that stellar – the S1 seems like it’s doing mostly right. Check out Morgan’s video on the S1 below for more details.


6. Unreal Tournament 3 Running IN THE BROWSER

As a huge UT3 fan (I’m really more of a run-and-gun guy; all this Gears of War cover-based stuff isn’t my cup of tea), I was blown away by this demo. I knew Flash had come a long way since last year’s MAX conference, but when Epic Games staff took the stage and pulled out this bad boy, my jaw dropped.

The game still uses the Unreal 3 engine for all the heavy graphical lifting, but Flash enables it to run in the browser. Just imagine what this means for the future, especially with cloud computing taking such a prevalent stance – we might be logging into Steam from our browsers at some point and playing all our games there.


5. Dwight Schrute Hosts the MAX Awards

Rainn Wilson – better known as Dwight Schrute from The Office – was the host of this year’s MAX awards. I’m sad to say I didn’t get a photo-op.

Rainn 1rainn2rainn3

4. Photoshop Touch

Adobe introduced quite a few new apps for tablets at MAX, but the one that definitely stuck out most was Photoshop Touch (this was evident by all the blogger surrounding reps for Touch, rather than the other apps, during the press lunch I attended).

While there’s already a mobile version of Photoshop out there, Touch aims to be much more powerful and useful. Adobe is positioning it as an option for designers who want to get out of the office for a while, or who need to do some design work during a trip.

Photoshop Touch has some really cool features, one of which is 3D Layers. Using your fingers, you can actually rotate your composition in order to see your layers from a 3D perspective. While this doesn’t affect the final project, it does allow you to see how your layers fit in with each other. Plus, it’s just really cool.

Check out Morgan’s video feature to get more details.


3. The Adobe MAX Playground

Adobe certainly didn’t pull any punches when it came to the conference show floor. In addition to booths for multiple companies, they also set up the “MAX playground”, which included triple-monitor gaming stations running Dirt 3, basketball hoops, Angry Birds stations, a Lego area, and more.


2. The MAX Bash

If the MAX Playground was the entertainment appetizer, the MAX Bash was the main course. This huge party took place right after the Sneaks session right outside the Nokia Theater, and it was awesome. They had eight different food trucks with unlimited food, live music from String Theory, people doing flips, and the freakin’ Super Mario Bros TV show running.

The bash culminated in an awesome performance from Weezer. I’ve never been to any other big conferences like this, but MAX’s party certainly impressed me.

Long Fingersstring theoryMario showWeezer - photo by Flickr user nawilloughbyWeezer photo by Flickr user nawilloughby

1. Adobe’s HUGE Projection Mapping During the Keynotes

Out of everything shown at the MAX conference, this is still what blew me away the most. I’d seen projection mapping videos on YouTube before, but never had I seen it done in real life. This projection-mapped video graced the 300ft x 50ft screen in the Nokia Theater on both keynote days of the conference, and it was simply amazing. Check it out.


CS5.5 Master Collection Giveaway!

Alright, so here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for… yes, we are indeed giving away a copy of Adobe CS5.5 Master Collection. So, you want to get your hands on this badass prize? Here’s what you need to do…

  • Head over to our Facebook page and find the link to this post.
  • Leave a comment on the link telling us what you think is the coolest thing from Adobe MAX. It can be something from this post, or something else you heard about elsewhere. (Your comment needs to be on our Facebook wall post, not on this actual post here)
  • Click Share to share the post on your Wall. Write a description of the link saying something to the effect of, “College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan are giving away a free copy of Adobe CS5.5!” Make sure you tag both College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan in your description. You can tag the pages by starting to type “@College Info Geek” – you should see our page show up as a suggestion. Click it to tag it. You need the tags in your description so we know you’ve entered.

That’s it! We’ll run this contest until 11:59 PM on October 31st. At that time, we’ll pick random winner from the comments on the Facebook post. If you’re picked, we’ll check that you’ve shared the link and then send you details on claiming your prize! Good luck! This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Full rules can be found here.

Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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  1. It’s Monday morning and I don’t want to work, so 300ft Angry Birds gets my vote as the coolest thing right now! 🙂

  2. I have to say that it’s a tie between InDesign Liquid Layout and Near Field Communications (NFCs) using Adobe AIR. That was pretty cool to progress smart phone and tablet technologies. Not only that, but the Touch is drool worthy! “@College Info Geek, @mouthy Morgan >> Adobe Max!; giving away a free copy of Adobe CS5.5!”

  3. The coolest thing about Adobe Max is the unveiling of Adobe Touch, hands down amazing.

  4. I think the new tablet integration of Adobe is pretty wicked. Touch would allow users to work away from home, and that’s all but the next step in Adobe application.

  5. I saw somethign about an intellegent unblur somewhere (reddit?) That was pretty damn cool. Probably my coolest thing. 🙂 I also like the audio sync, that will be handy for work.

  6. All of it sounds pretty freaking amazing to me, but I must say, I would have enjoyed the MAX Bash and Playground the most. Well, most likely.

  7. Coolest thing about Adobe Max was definitely the demos on the features they’re working on, like the Blur fix for Photoshop and Rubadub for Premier Pro.

  8. My favorite thing about Adobe MAX is that Dwight hosted the awards… he is my fave. Thank you Adobe MAX, College Info Geek, and @mouthy Morgan

  9. The rubbadub addon, by far, is amazing. Well, that and 3d layers. Both are good stuff!

  10. I am totally still jonesin’ over the RUBADUB deal. As an aspiring film maker I have struggled with ADR time and time again. This is absolutely the pinnacle for me!

  11. My favorite is the rubbadub add-on for Premiere Pro, but the unblur effect for Photoshop still blows my mind!

  12. p.s. – Facebook wouldn’t let me tag Mouthy Morgan, but I tagged College Info Geek!

  13. the labs and sessions at max were pretty dang good. The best lab I attended was a BYOD flex air mobile lab that was 4 hours long. Good stuff!

  14. I think the coolest thing was Rainn Wilson leaving Dundler Mifflin for a day to host it all. 😉 I also liked getting to see what Photoshop Touch has to offer for a more on-the-go type app!

  15. While everything looks exceedingly cool, I’m most excited for Adobe Photoshop Touch! Not only does it allow creativity on the go with convenient access via the Adobe Creative Cloud, it manages to bring back a sense of nostalgia from my childhood when I was still fingerpainting! I can’t wait to literally get my hands on it!

    Plus, did someone mention bacon-flavored pancakes? This app will definitely make it easier to eat those! 😉

  16. Not exactly sure which thing was more amazing… They all were… but the projection mapping was amazing! Playing Unreal Tournament in the browser is also very cool… and of course the un-blur feature is also very promising 🙂

  17. The projection mapping was spectacular. But I’m pretty excited about the photoshop touch as well.

  18. The projection mapping video in the opening was AMAZING…I’m also very excited about the deblur feature in photoshop, I hope they use that.

  19. The keynote opening, rubadub, and the unblur sneak peak were the coolest things.

  20. deblur and rubbadub are awesome.combine the unreal flash engine with the easy to run and update Air applications and you have the future of gaming

  21. I’m a big fan of the cloud computing stuff. I tried a demo of Mass Effect 2 through a cloud gaming site and was able to run it 100% fine on my 3 year old laptop. The future is going to be cool!

  22. I absolutely love the projection mapping, and new photoshop touch concept. Also the un-blur feature that was presented during the photoshop keynote was rediculously amazing.

  23. You have been tagged and shared SSCC – South Campus Computer Science I hope I win!

  24. All the new features coming to all the Adobe programs, they almost made me wet my self out of excitement, rubbadub, image deblurring, 3d layers, Video Meshes

  25. love it! Photoshop touch was sweet! I loved some of the geeky session like the AE scripting session and the audition session where we cleaned messed out audio files

  26. Browser-based UT3 for the absolute win. Adobe+Epic=best partnership ever, haha. That giant party sounded pretty awesome too.

  27. I think the coolest thing was the 7 apps for tables. I can wait to use proto and photoshop

  28. I think the coolest thing was the Photoshop sneak that autofixed blurry images into clear pictures.

  29. The coolest thing for me is 3D layers in PhotoShop Touch. This will completely change my opinion of tablets!

  30. I’m with David on that one. I loved UT and want it back in my life!! lol

  31. Thanks for commenting! Don’t forget to share and tag us to complete your entry!

  32. The coolest thing for me was is the posibility to run Unreal Tournament 3 in a Browser.

  33. I’ve shared again and I can’t get my tags to work either…..I do hope my comment worked though….good luck to everyone!!!!

  34. Gotta be the Rubbadub…hells yeah College Info Geek & @mouthy morgan

  35. A 300ft Angry Birds game is hard to beat but I am looking forward to unblurring photos

  36. I say the projection mapping can’t be beat! The shear magnitude it is amazing!

  37. I am very impressed with the new projection mapping! I can’t wait for it!

  38. Wow, everything from Adobe MAX looks pretty sweet, but that projection mapping blew me away. I’m always amazed by 3D projection mapping, but that one was incredibly large and phenomenal!

  39. Seeing that unblur feature in action was AMAZING. Think about all that this can help. Specifically, in my experience, wedding photos. You take a few that for some reason are blurry, but the composition is great and the subjects are doing what they are supposed but it’s blurry! Put that right into the Unblur, done. No problems.

  40. The flash based gaming has to be one of the coolest features to be presented.

  41. I like that Adobe is extending the role of the tablet in the creative process. With Photoshop, the cloud app -and hopefully illustrator soon– I could see myself getting one to use as a digital note/sketchbook.

  42. The best thing about MAX is that we can see why adobe is so a huge monster in the world of animation, photo, …

  43. The coolest thing from the MAX conference that I found on College Info Geek was the Huge Projection Mapping During The Keynotes

  44. I wasn’t much of an iPad fan because Adobe programs weren’t all that great on there. But Photoshop Touch is making me rethink my decision!!!

  45. I can’t wait for Photoshop Touch…I need an iPad first though 🙁

  46. Coolest thing at Adobe MAX? Definitely running Unreal Tournament 3 in the browser with Flash.

  47. I love the idea of the image unblur feature. Hope it will be released soon!

  48. College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan are giving away a free copy of Adobe CS5.5!

  49. Adobe MAX’s most awesome component was certainly that opening projection-mapping. However, on a more technical level, it’s great to see Flash get to a stage where UT3 can run inside it, imagine the possibilties :O

  50. Having Dwight as a host,
    Is almost the most,
    best thing from Adobe MAX.

    But Photoshop Touch,
    With 3D layers is much,
    Much cooler than anything else.

  51. Rovio’s presentation about their use of Flash was awesome. Other mobile developers could learn a lot from them.

  52. College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan – Hard to pick one thing, but deblur is great!

  53. I would say that the coolest thing from Adobe MAX was the Rubbadub plugin for Adobe Premiere. That is certainly a helpful looking tool, one which I could have used in the past, had it been out then. XD

  54. I would have to say that one of the two coolest things from Adobe MAX would be the Adobe Photoshop Touch that was revealed. Another coole thing about that event had to have been The MAX Bash with all of the food and entertainment (especially Weezer rocking the show!). College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan giving away a free copy of Adobe CS5.5 is also awesome!

  55. The coolest thing from Adobe MAX would have to be the app Photoshop Touch. It’s so convenient for when you have an idea and need to edit right away, especially when your’re on the go. I use Photoshop all the time, and I get ideas out of nowhere so I definitely see myself getting my hands on that app when it’s available.

  56. I am just so very glad you guys went and came back to share…… It’s like going to the north pole to visit Santa……..I loved it all. Since i dabble in photography I like the unblur in Photoshop, but being able to rub a dub my husbands videos and give him a hard time about what he is singing would be tons of fun too. Bet you wanted to bring it all home with you. thanks again for sharing College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan

  57. I think the coolest thing is rubbadub! for those times when you absolutely have a bad sync!

  58. I think I would have LOVED the MAX playground. The introduction of new products is wow too.

  59. The deblurring is the best and my favorite is the rubbadub redubbing feature for premiere pro.

  60. Photoshop touch has the potential to bring a new dimension to the process and experience of design. Tablets are very well on their route to becoming a designers must have tool and with programs such as photoshop touch, Adobe is breaking the barrier between intuitive and effective.

  61. I wasn’t at Adobe MAX – but I think the new un-motion-blur- feature was from a recent one, and is very cool.

  62. People…don’t forget to share the post on your wall to officially be entered in the contest!

  63. photoshop touch is definitely the coolest- i really like the idea of a 3D layer view!

  64. Photoshop touch = awesome. College Info Geek and Mouthy Morgan thanks for putting the contest on!

  65. Thanks for all the comments, guys! Make sure you share the post and tag us to complete your entry 🙂

  66. I honestly don’t k ow what I would do without any adobe programs… no other program can match with them.<3

  67. The 1st coolest thing is the adobe “sneaks”. I already found the adobe sneaks blog so I can find out how to unblur a blurred photo!!! My second fab coolest is the ap for photo touch!!

  68. @collegeinfogeek sure, if you could send us a little info, we could tweet it

  69. @SzabolcsSzakacs I know – I really wish I could make it worldwide, but it’s almost impossible to comply with the laws of multiple countries when running a contest 🙁

  70. @Thomas Frank Thanks for modifying it… now I can pull my hair out with good reasons… dammit… only US … again… so sad… 🙁

  71. Awesome article, even more awesome giveaway… but a very bad idea imo to put the “Full rules can be found here” as a .docx file which needs to be downloaded… 🙁 … not to mention that from this computer which I’m using now I can’t open that format (so I can’t read the rules until I switch to my notebook)… 🙂 Anyway, good luck to all participants 😀

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