It was impossible to attend Adobe MAX this year without leaving inspired by creatives and awed by technology changes that are empowering those creatives to influence marketing, communications and entertainment at virtually every point of human interaction. But beneath the hype – Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish and M. Night Shamalyan were among the big moments – and the jaw-dropping tech (wait until Photoshop Camera hits next year – look out Instagram!), were three fundamental themes that are driving creative development as we head into the 2020s.

Mobility

Creatives are on the move. They’re getting out from behind the computer and venturing… everywhere. Artists of all types – from novelists and filmmakers to graphic designers and musicians – find that great ideas and inspiration comes while they’re on the go, the muse striking at any moment. With this in mind, app makers are continuously rolling out new tools, and improving existing apps, with a bent toward mobility so we can create anywhere. This year’s Adobe MAX introduced Photoshop on iPad and Adobe Fresco, and announced Illustrator on iPad and Photoshop Camera for 2020. These are all extensions of market-leading desktop technology to smaller, more portable devices.

AI-powered filters will light up social media when Photoshop Camera hits the market in 2020

Collaboration

People they come together, or projects will fall apart… Collaboration isn’t just on business plans, special projects and Word documents. Today, there are many people working together on creative projects as well. Inside, the Adobe Creative Cloud is growing both wide and deep, enabling more features that empower collaboration across the Adobe Suite via libraries. Outside, Adobe is integrating with Slack and Microsoft Office to extend their libraries to their programs.

Day One of Adobe MAX 2019 was all about the apps…

Innovation

On one front, improvements in creative apps point to a creative future that is faster and more efficient (which also makes them more friendly to mobility!). But there’s an entire innovation track focused on new technologies as well. The afore-mentioned Photoshop Camera is bringing artificial intelligence to filters. Apps like Dimension are delivering 3-D rendering power to 2-D artists and Adobe Aero works with additional tools like Photoshop and Dimension to develop augmented reality. These aren’t concepts—they’re working right now to help creatives turn yesterday’s sci-fi into today’s reality.

Dave Grohl, M. Night Shamalayan and Billie Eilish at Adobe MAX 2019

All of these forces – with some help from broadband and 5G technology – are forming the dawn of a golden age of creativity. Artists can work anywhere, collaborate with anyone and use tools that can do almost anything. “Limitless possibility” may be cliché, but new tools already available or hitting the market next year are giving power to that very concept—especially since they are connecting in ways that bring scale to, of all things, creativity. (Who’d have thought that “bigger and better together” could apply to art?) The world around us is about to become richer and more vibrant, and with artists in the driver’s seat, perhaps a little more meaningful in the process. One thing is certain… it’s about to become a lot more interesting.