Adobe MAX 2008


Connect. Discover. Inspire.
The Adobe MAX Conference was held November 16-19, 2008 in San Francisco, California.
The following are notes on the Conference sessions and labs I participated in complete with excellent external links and tips on updates for Adobe CS4.

MONDAY, November 17, 2008

MAX 2008 Opening General Session

Top brass from Adobe, Nokia, the New York Times and Disney brought their future visions to the Adobe faithful. The surprise celebrity guest was California First Lady Maria Shriver, on hand to introduce the state’s new Adobe Flash heavy site and surprised us all with her humorous delivery of one-liners.
Recent products mentioned this morning included Flex, Cocomo, Adobe Wave. Mobile phones are #1 worldwide in accessing the Internet and Adobe is focusing on RIA development tools for hand-helds. The big push this morning was for Flash and Adobe AIR,: 80% of online video worldwide is Flash;
MLB is now streaming in Flash along with the NBA, NFL, NHL; Adobe AIR is now included with Flash Player 10…..
CNET did a great job of reporting on Monday’s opening session @ CNET articles from the Adobe Max Conference including “Adobe wants to bridge gap between PCs and cloud”.


Adobe Blogs posted Max 2008 Highlights, videos included. These links are from the Washington, DC area user group


Tips, Techniques, and Secrets: Hidden Gems in Illustrator and Photoshop

So many features, so little time. Check out these great sites presented by two of America’s leading designers.
Author Terry White:
Colin Smith, Photoshop, Flash, design and visual communications:
also Clone Stamp Tool

Standards-Based Solutions to Common Web Design Challenges

The only session or lab I attended that was a little too back to basics, but did introduce the Adobe Web Standards presence.
Stephanie Sullivan, Adobe Task Force for Web Standards Project

Flash CS4 Professional: Deep Dive with the Product Manager

In this lab we built modules illustrating the Adobe Flash advancements in CS4 including those listed below in Tuesday’s General Session. Use of the bones tool and motion tweening without the tedious management of keyframes are the big time and money savers here.
Richard Galvan, Product Manager for Flash:

TUESDAY, November 18, 2008

Video Basics: Video Production for the Web

This lab reminded me that when I grow up I want to edit video all day until my eyes fall out. Adobe Premiere is easily the most interesting and fun software product that I know of. This is like Final Cut Pro on steroids, and easier to use.
On the Road with Production Premium, Dynamic Media, and Karl Soule:
and Essential Keyboard shortcuts for Premiere Pro

General Session

Office Space + Hip-Hop DJ

Office Space + Hip-Hop DJ

Time for a few more gags and some serious product promotion. Today’s session touched on Flash Catalyst, Alchemy, Flash to AIR features, using AIR for home automation, and the newly released CS4. A few of the many new Adobe CS4 features:

Adobe Flash

  • Save hours of development time with Object-based animation, which applies tweens directly to objects instead of to keyframes
  • Use Motion Presets to jump-start your project with prebuilt animations that can be applied to any object, save your own presets as well

Adobe Illustrator

  • Create files containing Multiple Artboards up to 100 of varying sizes and display them any way you want, and save a selected range or all artboards as a multipage PDF file
  • Work with Clipping Masks more easily by viewing only the clipped area of your objects during editing. Take advantage of Isolation Mode, and use Edit Clipping Path for even more control

Adobe Photoshop

  • A big timesaver is the Content-Aware Scaling feature to automatically recompose an image as you resize it, smartly preserving vital areas as the image adapts to the new dimensions. Get the perfect image in one step without time-intensive cropping and retouching
  • Quickly create and edit masks from the new Masks Panel. This panel offers all the tools you need to create editable pixel- and vector-based masks, adjust mask density and feathering, easily select noncontiguous objects, and more

Adobe Dreamweaver

  • Insert any Adobe Photoshop® PSD document in Dreamweaver to create an image Smart Object tightly linked to the source file. Make changes to the source image, and update your image in Dreamweaver without opening Photoshop
  • Implement CSS best practices without writing code. Create new CSS rules in the Properties panel, and get clear, simple explanations of where each property fits in the cascade of styles

'Twas Ever Thus...

Designing and Building Web Experiences in
Flash CS4 Professional

A highlight of the conference, Lee Brimelow is a Platform Evangelist at Adobe focusing on the Flash, Flex, and AIR developer communities. Check out his worthwhile resources: – Free video tutorials by Lee Brimelow on the Flash Platform

The Online Business Effect: How the “Death of the Website” Affects You

A practical look at how small businesses can harness Adobe tools to build an online e-commerce presence.
Adam Broadway, Co-founder of GoodBarry:
The triangle extension for Dreamweaver is available from

Seamlessly Blending Pixels and Vectors in Fireworks

Life is full of surprises. This session was listed as “Seamlessly Blending Pixels and Vectors”. When we arrived, Mr. Beall explained that the title had mistakenly not included the last two words “in Fireworks” and he would not be offended if anyone left. Ha! For the next hour our favorite new Fireworks Guru completely stunned the room with step-by-step demonstrations building his designs and creations, all created in Fireworks. Who knew? I didn’t.
Aaron Beall, Interactive Designer and Fireworks Guru

MAX Awards

Experience Adobe’s official Awards given to the latest new Adobe based products from around the globe

Sneak Peeks

The latest incredible innovations from Adobe Labs, what’s to come will blow people away if some of these products get to market. The applause-o-meter was used this year to gauge audience’s reactions and ultimately the “winning” team featured a woman being interviewed on video, and during the interview a voice-recognition tool would pick out keywords of her conversation and offer them in a sidebar as links to Wikipedia, etc.

Extensive notes of this year’s Sneak Peeks are available on several Web sites including flashthusiast.

The guy pictured below is from a project named meer meer and is demonstrating multiple browser views (IE, Firefox, etc.) from within Dreamweaver that can be demonstrated side-by-side to find display differences and highlight the code associated. You can also have a read about this Dreamweaver and ajax app @ ajaxian:

Customer Appreciation Event

Tuesday night at the DeYoung and Science Museums

Have you ever been to California? We like to prove to the folks that no one in the USA can spend money on a party like us, even if it means shuttling all 5,000 conference attendees to Golden Gate Park where Adobe rented the DeYoung Art Museum AND the Science and Technology Museum across the street – both at the same time. Adobe + Customer + Party = see it’s all good: the food, the music, the exhibits, the contortionists…. Wait until you tell the wife about this one and how you’re having the time of your life. How do you say, “doghouse”?

WEDNESDAY, November 19, 2008

Pixel Perfect: Essential Image Enhancement for Web and Flash

Michael Ninness is an excellent presenter and not to be missed if you have the opportunity, I’d place his delivery on par with Pixar’s John Lasseter. His description of the first three options listed in the Photoshop “Sharpen” drop-down menu as Lame, Lamer, and Lamest was priceless, and the rhetoric was soon backed up with a demonstration of applying the High Pass filter on a separate layer to sharpen an image.
Michael Ninness, InDesign Senior Product Manager
Create your own custom Photoshop keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop Shortcuts Tutorials @Photoshop
and Sharpen Images With The High Pass Filter

Building Desktop Applications with Dreamweaver CS4 and Adobe AIR

Justin Nemeth: Senior Software Engineer @ WebAssist

In this lab we built the Flair tool, that lets Facebook users know whenever you’re poked, or someone writes on your wall, or adds you as a friend – without having to check the Facebook site or your e-mail.

The Building desktop applications with Dreamweaver and Adobe AIR presentation features links to all the Adobe APIs used for this application

Getting Started with ActionScript 3.0

This lab was a great introduction to ActionScript 3.0 given by Mr. Lou Barber from Richmond, Virginia who is a self-taught Flash designer and evangelist.
Lou Barber, Manager Flash Development User Group:
and Getting Started With ActionScript PDF

Maximizing Your Web Workflow

In this lab we concluded the conference by using the Creative Suite of tools to build a Web site including Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and Flash.
Joseph Lowery is the author of the Dreamweaver MX Bible and the Fireworks MX Bible series


Adobe Resources Online:


One response to “Adobe MAX 2008

  1. A big thanks to Eye Street Software

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