Adobe Max Experience conference recap

Billed as “the largest creativity conference in the world,” Adobe MAX is an annual gathering that focuses on learning, collaborating and empowering users across a variety of powerful Adobe platforms. The most recent event was held virtually on October 26, 2021 and featured more than 400 sessions, workshops and keynote speakers.

With topics ranging from graphic design to photography to video to user interface/user experience design and more, our Foundry creative team found that Adobe MAX truly offered something for everyone. That might explain why, when we asked their thoughts, we received a ton of feedback. Read on to learn more about what they took away from the conference–and how they are already putting it into practice for our clients.


Matt C: I learned more about Neural Filters in Photoshop and how it can help improve my workflow in just a few clicks. I also got some great tips on coding in InDesign to allow me to make changes to the entire document, which will save me time moving forward.

Michael L: I learned better practices on how to improve my workflow by recognizing and eliminating micro-distractions and optimizing my workspace. I also learned some really impressive image compositing features and techniques in Photoshop, as well as some great time-saving shortcuts in Illustrator and even a few new tools on the panels that I’d never used before.

Jason R: I learned that Adobe has a ton of free vector and photo assets available to download. I also found that Photoshop’s new Neural Filters are amazing! They are able to automate some hugely time-consuming tasks. Another helpful thing I learned about was the importance of considering accessibility when creating basic UX/Web interactions, and providing reduced motion versions of these interactions.

Adam B: I learned that opportunities do sometimes just appear out of nowhere but rarely without us creating some change for ourselves first. You can prepare for whatever comes next by learning new things and paying attention to opportunity. The process exists whether you trust it or not.

Theresa B: I learned that there are big benefits to using more features—or exploring more of the tools in each program. I also became more familiar with the effects gallery in Photoshop and how to apply them. I liked the “Find” and “Change by Lists” functions to clean up formatting in one swoop.

Matt L: I got some great tips to improve my Adobe XD skills, including tips on creating wireframe designs, importing video into XD, and editing it within the program. As others have mentioned, I enjoyed learned how to harmonize different images using Neuro Filters in Photoshop.

Alexey M: I learned more the process of extracting original files from Word doc, as well as conditional text in InDesign. I also got a better understanding of compound paths in Illustrator.

Lydia B: I learned to become more familiar with some of Photoshop’s tools and trick, such as the object selection tool and the new Neural Filters in Photoshop. I also become more familiar with Adobe XD through the conference.

Elizabeth Brass: I learned some new tools in Photoshop, which will make it easier for everything from matching colors and lighting of two different photos to cutting out subjects quicker and easier.

Anne W: I learned that it’s important to look for pain points across our entire design process, and kindle thoughts on how to find/integrate automatable tools to ease the weight of repetitive tasks. I also got lots of great refreshers on using styles in InDesign, to help maintain our brand consistency.

What was your favorite part about the conference?

Matt C: Learning new tips and tricks in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. It was also nice to have the flexibility to change classes/courses if the content wasn’t as expected.

Michael L: My favorite part about the conference was perusing through the courses and building my Adobe MAX schedule. The classes themselves were great but it was exciting to map out my Adobe MAX learning adventure. Nerd Alert. It’s also a humbling experience to hear other creative professionals speak about their challenges and accomplishments, but also inspiring. I always walk away feeling motivated and inspired to do better and be better as a professional creative.

Jason R: Having the ability to pause and rewind classes has been great, as I was able to go back for more detail on certain topics. Also, the virtual class flexibility was nice, being able to end a class early and start a new one, if it is not what I had expected it to be (not getting stuck with your initial schedule).

Adam B: I got to pay attention to a lot of the mindset behind successful designers instead of just doing a lot of tutorials. I did some of that, as well, but mostly observed mindset and drive.

Theresa B: Being able to watch on-demand and pick the topics that I wanted to learn more about. I loved the L334 Photoshop and Illustrator Styles segments.

Matt L: It was great learning new tips and tricks in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and XD.

Alexey M: I loved that Foundry allowed us to each dedicate an entire day to watch these cool tutorials and expand our skillset.

Lydia B: Loved all the awesome new tricks I learned about Photoshop.

Elizabeth B: All the awesome new tricks I learned about Photoshop. There are so many features that I didn’t know about.

Anne W: I really enjoyed being able to dedicate a whole day to focus on the classes, and the fact that they were virtual meant that I could enjoy them comfortably as well as at my own pace. There were multiple times that I paused one of the seminars to practice applying the technique, which for me is an invaluable way to cement it in my thinking.

What is something you want to learn more about and are going to work on getting better at based on what you learned?

Matt C: Just the depth of each program and what each has to offer.

Michael L: I would love to learn more about designing and building the brands we put together here at Foundry. I also wouldn’t mind devoting some time to learning more about motion graphics/animations.

Jason R: I’d like to dive deeper into Adobe XD and focus more time on Web and UX design.

Adam B: My favorite learning was to create boundaries for a project to be more productive and stay away from blank page phobia.

Theresa B: I’d like to start using more automated scripts in InDesign when it’s appropriate. Also, I want to continue to get better at sharing libraries and our resources so we don’t duplicate our efforts.

Matt L: I look forward to prototyping more websites and eblasts in XD and working on motion graphics in After Effects.

Alexey M: I’m eager to learn more about Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.

Lydia B: I want to use Photoshop’s Neural Filters in my work.

Elizabeth B: I want to keep learning more about Photoshop.

Anne W: The Adobe XD classes on web and UI design were very interesting, and I’m looking forward to having more tools in my belt to expand my designs in that field. There are a lot of XD tutorials on the Adobe site to choose from!

What insight or trend stood out to you the most?

Matt C: Motion graphics being used to grab attention quickly.

Michael L: I noticed a lot of work and creative exploration is now being done on the iPad. One major trend I noticed was motion graphics are becoming increasingly popular each year due to the massive amount of content we as consumers take in on a daily basis. Motion graphics are a way to cut through the noise and grab someone’s attention.

Jason R: COVID lockdown has been affecting our industry globally, as everyone is experiencing difficulties with collaborating in this new environment and struggling to adapt. It’s nice to hear this from industry professionals, as it is something we are all going through, and something we all have to dedicate time to nurturing.

Adam B: This quote from a session stood out to me: “Failure is just research, unless you never try again. Rushing through one failure to the next without time to process, reflect, accept feedback and adapt, that is a recipe for another failure.”

Matt L: Motion graphics rather than static images will be used more widely in marketing campaigns.

Alexey M: It was the course “Diving Deep into InDesign” where the presenter showed how to speed up workflow.

Lydia B: To me, it was the importance of cross-platform compatibility.

Elizabeth B: Learning more about the copy and paste layers from Illustrator to Photoshop is going to be a game-changer for me.

Anne W: Honestly, as these were almost all recorded in someone’s home due to the pandemic, the overall insight I saw repeatedly from all the presenters (even in the tutorials) was that you’re doing great, keep doing it, keep trying, keep looking ahead and be kind to yourself. Basically, “we’re giving you all these tools and tips to help ease the burden of technology, not add to it, so you can focus on learning more about yourself and your business.”

At Foundry, we believe in the power of good people and good ideas. That is why we get so excited about lifelong learning opportunities such as those presented by the Adobe MAX Conference. We are thrilled that this year’s event offered so many avenues for our creative team to reflect, refresh and renew their skills in 2022 and beyond!