Last week I had the opportunity to attend Adobe Max in Las Vegas with 12,000 people like me (scary I know). What followed was four days packed with wisdom, innovation and fun that brought me home with my mind and heart full. Here’s some highlights:

Connections

One of the benefits of attending conferences is networking with people from near and far that you wouldn’t otherwise have the time for. I had the chance to get to know people from down the street like (CAMP Founder) Bram Timmer, and talented designers like Matt Dawson and Neal Williams from across the continent.

Adobe Sensei

Every year at Max Adobe rolls out a range of new products and innovations. At the core of many of these new developments is their new AI engine, Sensei. It’s a cloud-based technology that leverages data across Adobe’s vast stock library to do a lot of incredible things. It’s really going to be a game changer for the future of Creative Cloud.

Sneaks

Another Max staple is Sneaks, where Adobe gives us a peak behind the curtain at the crazy things they’re working on for future releases. Hosted by Kumail Nanjiani (of Silicon Valley fame), we got a look at a handful of really incredible advancements, largely powered by Adobe’s new Ai technology: Sensei. Most incredible of these was using a Sensei-powered content-aware fill to quickly and easily mask out objects and people from video – a task that was previously incredibly work intensive and tedious.

Neon Boneyard

Fresh off a residency at Adobe, Craig Winslow is working on an amazing projection mapping project at the Neon Boneyard that’s bringing old dead signs to life. A small group of us had a chance to get a sneak peek, and it’s going to make this Sin City attraction even more of a must-see.

Charles S. Anderson

“Great design adds meaning to people’s lives.”

CSA was probably my first real post-college design crush, through their amazing work for French Paper. 17 years later I had the chance to hear the man himself speak, and he did not disappoint with his dry humour and gruesome tales (rats! feces! blood! balls!) from his childhood jobs.

Dan Stiles/Tad Carpenter

Two other favourite talks were those from Dan Stiles and Tad Carpenter. Both presented work from throughout their careers along with key insights learned along the way. More importantly both of these guys were super approachable and happy to chat and answer questions, even outside of their sessions.

Aaron Draplin

I had the pleasure of a couple of run ins with Draplin in his natural habitat: the roulette table. As always he was very generous with his time, and genuine as anyone you’ll ever meet. Truly one of the good guys of graphic design, and I’m grateful to be his acquaintance.

The Food

Maybe the most pleasant surprises at Max was that the food (and drinks) were all provided, and it was top shelf. We’re talking New York Strip and salmon lunches for thousands – all done with incredible efficiency. After all, it’s much easier to concentrate on feeding your mind when your body is taken care of.

Of course that’s not all, Max was four incredibly full days in the city that never sleeps. I also heard from Jon Favreau, Jonathan Adler, witnessed a dope DJ set by Mark “Uptown Funk” Ronson, and saw an impressive new suite of Adobe products released. So if you’re interested in even more Max, I’d recommend checking out the conference sessions on demand right here.

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