A few years ago, Adobe started rolling out a series of iPad-friendly apps that were supposed to make visual content creation all kinds of easy: Adobe Voice was for animated videos or presentations, Adobe Slate was more for text-driven projects, and Adobe Post was for social graphics.
Now the company is bringing all three of those apps under a new name, and also introducing a web version of the software. The new Adobe Spark suite includes Adobe Spark Video (formerly Voice), Adobe Spark Page (formerly Slate), and Adobe Spark Post (which was just Post before).
Spark is a kind of "next-gen Photoshop"
The idea behind the software is largely the same: it lets people make social graphics, web stories, and animated videos without requiring a lot of digital-media expertise. But the addition of a browser-based web app, where you can open up Spark and continue editing the projects you started on mobile, is supposed to allow for a little more control over projects.
The apps still have limitations. For example, you can’t can’t export some of the projects for use on your own site, though you can embed an Adobe-hosted project. And there isn’t even an Android version of these apps. But the limitations seem to be largely part of a differentiation strategy. The apps are free today, but Adobe has said there will be paid versions of this in the future that offer more features and more granular control.
Unlike Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of apps, Adobe sees Spark as serving the market of non-professional content creators — at least, for now. Aubrey Cattell, Adobe’s head of next generation products, says Spark is a kind of "next-gen Photoshop," with "atomized apps" within one larger platform. It’s software that small business owners and active social media users will use, Cattell says, rather than pro video editors.
One thing is certain: it’s a post-Flash world out there, and Adobe clearly doesn’t want to get caught flat-footed in the upcoming — and current — generation of online content creation.