Adobe Unveils Substance 3D Modeler at Max 2022 Conference

Adobe Unveils Substance 3D Modeler at Max 2022 Conference

Adobe also announces new collaboration and AI selection tools as well as updates to Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro.

PC hardware is nice, but it’s not much use without innovative software. I’ve been reviewing software for PCMag since 2008, and I still get a kick out of seeing what’s new in video and photo editing software, and how operating systems change over time. I was privileged to byline the cover story of the last print issue of PC Magazine, the Windows 7 review, and I’ve witnessed every Microsoft win and misstep up to the latest Windows 11.

Adobe Unveils Substance 3D Modeler at Max 2022 Conference Image

(Credit: Adobe)

The annual Adobe Max conference, which is taking place both in-person in Los Angeles and online from Oct. 18-20, includes news about significant updates to nearly all the applications in its Creative Cloud suite, as well as the launch of a new application, Substance 3D Modeler.

Expect a slew of other product announcements covering AI, collaboration, 3D, video, and photography software across 100+ online sessions and over 200 in-person sessions featuring celebrity guests like artist Jeff Koons, music producer Steve Aoki, producer Sian Heder, and actor Kevin Hart.

Photography Software

Most people associate Adobe with its flagship product, Photoshop, and the company is always adding new whizzbang digital image manipulation tools to the software.

At this year’s Adobe Max, Photoshop gets even more impressive selection tools that now let you do one-click delete and fill operations. It also gets guideline improvements and lets you copy and paste live text between Illustrator and Photoshop.

The improved object selection tool detects more object types and has greater accuracy. According to Adobe, it “recognizes complex objects and regions such as the sky, buildings, water, plants, different types of flooring and ground (e.g., mountains, sidewalks, streets).”

The new One-click Delete and Fill option, as its name suggests, lets you hover over a detected object and remove it, filling in the background with a single keystroke: Shift-Delete. New guide options let you customize those lines that help you line up elements in your image to an unprecedented degree. You can specify pixel position, color, and the number of rows and columns.

To protect your intellectual property and prevent fakes, Adobe’s Content Credentials feature lets you attach attribution info to your work at export. Adobe’s also adding multiuser and multidevice workflows and a cloud service (called Verify (Opens in a new window) ) to save file space.


Adobe’s industry-standard workflow software for pro photographers, Lightroom, also sees updates at Max. Some of the same automatic selection and content-aware remove tools from Photoshop have now come to Lightroom. Select People and Select Objects are now in both Lightroom Classic and the new cloud-emphasizing version (which is confusingly just called “Lightroom” by Adobe). You can select multiple people, body parts, or just the background. Also new are Adaptive Presets for portraits, sky, and subject. These use Sensei AI-powered masking to adjust only appropriate parts of the image; for example, you can choose teeth whitening or eye enhancement.

One big improvement for me is that you can finally get a side-by-side comparison of the original image and your edited version—something that other photo applications have long offered. Lightroom’s side-by-side view has only worked with two different image files till now, so you’d have to create a duplicate to compare your edits.

Illustrator and Design

Probably Adobe’s next most popular application after Photoshop is Illustrator, the industry-standard design software. With Adobe Max 2022, the program sees the new Intertwine feature, which Adobe’s VP of Product Marketing for the Creative Professional division, Deepa Supramaniam, says offers “an innovative way to overlap and weave together shapes or text to create depth and dimension that automatically transforms with your design.” Also new for the app are advanced 3D effects and textures, and its web version is progressing in private beta.

Illustrator’s companion drawing app, Fresco, gets Free Transform and Liquefy tools, as well as vector outline and jitter brushes, and automatic color palette creation from images.

Video Software

Premiere Pro and After Effects are also major players in their fields of video editing and motion graphics, and Adobe offers Character Animator for 3D cartoonlike animations. That last app gets an enhanced motion library, with 350 full-body animation captures from professional actors. Premiere Pro sees more titling options, including flexible alignment and bulk editing. Motion graphics templates have been sped up by a factor of 2, and the software now supports the Arri Alexa 35 camera.

After Effects gets native H.264 encoding, Select Track Matter Layer (which lets you designate any layer as a matte), and over 50 new animation presets in a redesigned interface.

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3D Software

Though Adobe is in the process of removing 3D modeling from Photoshop, the company is far from abandoning the category, and the launch of Substance 3D Modeler at Max 2022 is ample evidence of this. Since its 2019 acquisition of Algorithmic, the developer of the industry standard Substance apps for material and texture for gaming and entertainment, 3D has been a push for Adobe, with its Substance 3D lineup of tools.

The new Substance 3D Modeler application has been in beta since April, but its released version debuts at the Adobe Max show. According to the company, the new application is for “creating concept art, sketching and prototyping, blocking out game levels, crafting detailed characters or props, or sculpting an entire scene.” It allows creators to switch between desktop and VR views of their work, and offers symmetry, both organic and hard surface sculpting. The tool joins other members of the Substance 3D Collection of software, which includes Substance 3D Assets, Stager, Painter, Sampler, and the node-based Designer for creating materials, lighting, and patterns.

New tools are also being introduced for other members of the Substance 3D Collection, like a 3D Capture tool in Sampler that can turn a group of photos into a 3D model. Note that the Substance 3D Collection is not included with a Creative Cloud subscription but requires its own $49.99 per month subscription.


With more and more knowledge work being done remotely, collaboration tools are key. Two options in Creative Cloud supply this need: Share for Review and Co-edit. Photoshop and Illustrator’s new Share to Review feature lets collaborators see live updates to your image and comment in real time right within the program—no more opening a web browser to do all this. That said, collaborators who don’t have Photoshop installed can still see your work in a browser. The co-editing option lets multiple designers work on a piece in live real-time.

On the video front, Adobe’s acquisition of, the dominant video production collaboration platform, has become part of Premiere Pro. It’s Camera to Cloud feature lets videographers send media directly from their hardware to the cloud, and now supports Fujifilm and RED cameras.

For more detail on Adobe Max announcements, head to Adobe’s blog (Opens in a new window) and read our reviews below:

Apple Moves Beyond ‘Trailers’ With iMovie Storyboards, Magic Movies

Apple adds two new powerful but easy-to-use features to iMovie for iOS and iPadOS.

PC hardware is nice, but it’s not much use without innovative software. I’ve been reviewing software for PCMag since 2008, and I still get a kick out of seeing what’s new in video and photo editing software, and how operating systems change over time. I was privileged to byline the cover story of the last print issue of PC Magazine, the Windows 7 review, and I’ve witnessed every Microsoft win and misstep up to the latest Windows 11.

Apple Moves Beyond 'Trailers' With iMovie Storyboards, Magic Movies Image

Trailers, which lets you create astoundingly impactful short videos using detailed shot templates, orchestral music, and powerful text overlays, has long been one of Apple iMovie’s most distinctive features. Today, the company releases Storyboards, which takes this great idea and extends it to many other types of video production—Product demos, cooking lessons, thank you missives, and more.

Apple first teased the new features at its Peek Performance event on March 8, and today they’re available to download on devices running iOS 15.2 or iPadOS 15.2. That includes iPhones back to the 6s, iPads back to 2017’s 5th generation model, and the iPod touch 7th generation. (The new release is called iMovie 3.0, though 12 years ago I reviewed iMovie 11. So much for product version numbering.)


I’ve long been a fan of iMovie’s Trailers feature, because it was nearly alone in teaching consumers how to craft compelling video stories, rather than just joining clips, using transitions, and adding titles willy-nilly. The feature, and now Storyboards, starts you with movie templates to fill with your media, specifying whether you should use a wide shot, a group shot, a closeup, and so on. (Another fine app that’s unfortunately no longer with us, Directr, did this, too.) In a nice touch, when you populate a shot slot with your media, it fills in the list with your content rather than keeping the line drawing sample.

Storyboard’s 20 categories range from cooking tutorials to gaming to makeovers, to product reviews to news reports—it’s a healthy choice, and an especially welcome one, considering there was just one, Trailers, before. Thankfully for fans of Trailers, that’s still among the Storyboard options, complete with the impactful symphonic soundtracks.

Once you’ve settled on a Storyboard type, you choose a Style, which you can change at any point. The Storyboard templates offer a great starting point for YouTubers to deliver polished uploads for their subscribers. The templates aren’t rigid, either: You can add, remove, and reorder shots to taste, or apply Instagram-like filters. You can also change the look and feel of the productions, choosing a different style.

Royalty-free music associated with a template autofits to the video length, and you can swap it out for your own creation from Garageband. You can also adjust the relative volume of video sound to background music with a simple pair of sliders.

Magic Movies

If even Storyboards sound like too much work for you, Apple’s got you covered with Magic Movies. With this tool, you simply select a bunch of clips and images and let the feature do the rest. That rest consists of identifying the best shots and clip sections, adding titles, transitions, and background music.

With either new tool, you can take the production to the desktop for further editing in iMovie or Final Cut Pro on a Mac. Then, exporting directly to a social media platform or sharing the movie in the other regular ways is a tap away.

For more advanced video editing, read our roundup of video-editing software, and head to our Apple coverage page for more on the tech giant.

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