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Adobe To Launch AR Features ‘As Fast As We Can,’ Exec Says

The creative software company heats up to augmented and virtual reality.

Adobe executive Mark Asher said AR is the company’s “next big step” and they plan to bring AR features “to the market as fast as we can,” in an interview with VRScout.

AR places 3D images in your surroundings you see through a headset or phone. On the other hand, VR cuts you off from your visual surroundings to completely immerse you in an app or film.

Asher, director of corporate planning for Adobe, said he was more optimistic about the future of AR than VR.

“Between 360 video, virtual reality, and augmented reality, I think augmented reality has much bigger opportunities,” Asher said. “It’s not as bulky. It’s a great hybrid between the real world and the virtual world.”

He said to “stay tuned” for upcoming AR products and features.

“The best I can say is stay tuned, we’re working to bring something to the market as fast as we can,” Asher said. “We will definitely be there.”

Adobe is known for its creative suite of image, video and audio editing software that includes Photoshop and Premiere. Asher wouldn’t provide specifics, but it’s easy to imagine Adobe offering software for editing and creating 3D AR images in apps and video.

The San Jose-based company isn’t the first big fish to gush about AR. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that “AR will change everything” and make the iPhone “even more essential,” while Microsoft has been revamping its computing around VR and AR, or what it calls “mixed reality.”

Adobe unveiled its first foray into AR with a proof-of-concept Microsoft HoloLens app that overlays 3D data visualizations on products in a store. For instance, retail staff could wear the HoloLens to see how something has been selling.

But Adobe is also making moves in the VR space. They added 360-degree editing features last year for placing images, text and animated transitions in Premiere Pro.

“This is really a fundamental change in the way that people are going to consume digital experiences,” Asher said.

Despite VR’s continued struggle with wide consumer adoption, it’s hard not to find advertisers and companies making 360-degree and VR content. Adobe, which announced a record $7.3 billion in revenue in 2017, is seizing the opportunity to provide the tools.

“We have complete permission to play in this space and our creative professional audiences are going to be banging on the table for tools and best practices for how to participate in building experiences,” Asher said.

The company has already launched some experimental VR projects. In October of last year, Adobe unveiled Soniscape, which allows VR editors to “see sound” in 3D. Adobe also debuted Project Dali last year, a VR painting app built in the vein of Google Tilt Brush.

Adobe might be the undisputed king of creative software, but they face competition in the VR space. Unity, which allows developers to create highly customizable experiences for VR and AR, leads the pack. Asher said Adobe is looking to offer a more user-friendly and less code heavy experience than Unity so its users can avoid making a “gigantic pivot” to VR.

“I still find that people are still thinking about, ‘How do I take my first step? Where do I begin?’,” he said. “Just helping people get on the on-ramp is the work we are providing for people to do it in a way stepwise and help them walk up to it instead of having them jump into it.”

When asked about Adobe’s plans to bring more VR compatibility to its software, Asher said he couldn’t provide details but that Adobe was “working behind the scenes” with big names in the space.

“I think one of the most exciting areas for us is this growing area in immersive,” Asher said. “It will probably be one of the most disruptive areas I’ve seen developed in the 15 years I’ve been here with Adobe and involved in technology.”

Image/Video Credit: Adobe 

About the Scout

Dieter Holger

Dieter is an emerging technology journalist reporting for VRScout. Send tips to dieter@vrscout.com and follow him on Twitter @dieterholger.

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