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Preconference courses

NEW this year: Design and Video bootcamps

Amp up your skills in a single day with deep dives of our most popular labs. Choose from the Design Bootcamp or Video Bootcamps.

(Preconference courses & bootcamps are an additional fee to the conference fee.)

Full–day Preconference courses

All below on Sunday, Oct. 14 9am–5pm

  • Character Animator Bootcamp: Make It Animate

    Learn how you can bring your characters to life. Used on a variety of TV shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, Adobe Character Animator has been taking the animation world by storm as the first software to do live animation. But that’s not all it does — it also helps artists transform any Photoshop or Illustrator character into an animation with a very simple, yet robust toolset.

    Join Adobe’s Dave Werner and Dan Ramirez as they walk you step-by-step through the process of creating your first animation and explore the tools professional animators use. You’ll love the results.

    In this bootcamp, you'll learn how to:

    • Build a custom character in Photoshop from scratch
    • Rig, practice, perform, record, and edit your character
    • Add finishing touches to make your character truly come alive
    • Make your puppet walk, run, and sneak around your canvas
    • Export your character into other Adobe applications or output it live via Facebook or YouTube


    By taking this After Effects Bootcamp, you will not need to sign up for the following regular MAX conference labs, as you will get all that content and more in this single day bootcamp:

    • Adobe Character Animator: Creating an Animated Monster from Scratch


    Type: PC Lab
    Instructors: Dave Werner and Daniel Ramirez
    Technical Level: Beginner to Intermediate

  • After Effects Bootcamp: Learning the Basics for Editors and Designers

    Creating superior motion graphics or visual effects is not as hard as you may think. Learn from veteran After Effects artists Ian Robinson and Eran Stern as they show you how to master this industry standard software. In this deep-dive bootcamp, experience the magic of After Effects and learn what you need to do to incorporate After Effects into your creative life.

    In this bootcamp, you'll learn how to:

    • Animate a logo and 3D title
    • Create and animate a title card and lower third graphic for a video
    • Design animated backgrounds
    • Generate an animated transition
    • Make flexible graphic elements for Premiere Pro with Motion Graphics templates


    For generating visual effects, learn how to:

    • Analyze and fix video clips with Warp Stabilizer VFX and Camera Shake Deblur
    • Choose the best tracking method for each different kind of effect
    • Insert text and animated graphics into video footage with the Camera Tracker
    • Composite effects to better match your graphics


    By taking this After Effects Bootcamp, you will not need to sign up for the following regular MAX conference labs, as you will get all that content and more in this single day bootcamp:

    • VFX in After Effects: Digital Effects for Video Editors
    • Creating Your First Promo: Animation & Title Design in After Effects


    Type: PC lab
    Instructors: Ian Robinson and Eran Stern
    Technical Level: Beginner to Intermediate

  • Premiere Pro Bootcamp: Core Skills for Editors

    This one-day bootcamp is designed for the experienced editor or the editor that wants to go deeper with Adobe Premiere Pro. You’ll get step-by-step mentorship through the entire editing process using Adobe Premiere Pro. From file creation to output, you’ll experience the best way to work in Premiere Pro and get up to speed on time-saving tools within Creative Cloud such as Dynamic Link and Motion Graphics templates.

    In this bootcamp, you’ll learn:

    • The ins and outs of file management
    • Essential and intermediate editing techniques
    • Color correction, audio mixing, and repairing
    • Titling and effects
    • How to deliver your content to tape, the web, and mobile devices


    By taking this After Effects Bootcamp, you will not need to sign up for the following regular MAX conference labs, as you will get all that content and more in this single day bootcamp:

    • Adobe Premiere Pro: An Introduction to the Basics
    • Colorist Techniques for the Video Editor


    Type: PC lab
    Instructors: Robbie Carman, Jeff Greenberg, & Rich Harrington
    Technical Level: Intermediate

  • InDesign Secret Techniques Every User Needs

    You know you could be better at using Adobe InDesign, if only there were a convenient time to learn. Now there is: join InDesign guru David Blatner in this deep dive into our favorite page layout app. Whether you’ve been working with InDesign for 9 months or 9 years (intermediate to advanced users), this full-day MAX preconference tutorial will help you take it to the next level.

    Topics include:

    • Working more seamlessly with Photoshop and Illustrator
    • Automating common formatting and document layouts
    • Techniques for creating and managing RGB and CMYK color
    • Fast and efficient text import and cleanup
    • Adding easy-to-use scripts to your toolbox
    • Taking InDesign beyond print for awesome interactive documents
    • The three steps you must take before printing or exporting a PDF


    Type: Mac lab
    Instructor: David Blatner
    Technical Level: Intermediate to Advanced

  • Design Bootcamp: Next Level Skills to Boost Your Workflow

    Immerse yourself in your favorite Adobe tools and elevate your creative skills and techniques in the Design Bootcamp. This bootcamp combines three very popular MAX labs, expanded to offer additional content not available in their standard MAX format, and pairs them with top instructors.

    Part 1 will focus on supercharging your design process using Adobe Illustrator CC. Discover how to take advantage of the latest tools in Illustrator and explore the current best practices in design. Sharpen your existing Illustrator design skills and learn powerful techniques for doing your best work in less time.

    Join Brian Wood, certified Adobe trainer, MAX Master, and author of Adobe Illustrator CC Classroom in a Book to learn:

    • The Puppet Warp tool and how it fits into your everyday design workflow
    • Easier methods to create and edit artwork and speed up content selection and organization
    • Fast ways to recolor artwork, change appearances, and make your designs pop
    • How to leverage Creative Cloud Libraries to capture and share assets
    • Best practices for saving and exporting content


    In Part 2 you’ll learn how to leverage the powerful tools in Photoshop to create eye-popping design elements and repurpose them without reinventing the wheel each time. Create a campaign for an album drop, starting with the album cover, then repurpose the assets to make both a print ad and a social media banner. Work with type, styles, effects, photos, and vectors.

    Join Colin Smith, founder of Photoshop Café, popular YouTube trainer, conference speaker, author of more than 20 books, and former MAX Master, and learn how to master techniques that include:

    • How to keep the highest quality through the process
    • Non-destructive editing: Smart Objects and Smart Filters
    • Using Layers, Masks, clipping groups and blending modes
    • Making work reusable with Libraries, Type styles and layer styles
    • Creating print-ready PDFs and best settings for exporting for Web


    In Part 3, the bootcamp concludes with essential Photoshop techniques for compositing. Learn indispensable ways to create multiple image composites in Photoshop CC. Use existing photographs and designs to create entirely new images in a variety of projects. See how you can expand your creativity by using photographs and design elements in different ways. Learn how to shoot your own images or choose stock photos that will work well in composites, and use selections, layers, masks, smart objects, and blend modes to create amazing composites.

    Join Seán Duggan, popular Linkedin Learning trainer, workshop leader, and co-author of Photoshop Masking & Compositing, and learn how to:

    • Use Adobe Stock images in the compositing process
    • Master selection techniques to remove subjects from their backgrounds
    • Work with layers, layer masks, and blending modes to combine images
    • Take advantage of Smart Objects for flexible transformations
    • Seamlessly integrate type and design elements into composite projects


    By taking this Design Bootcamp, you will not need to sign up for the following regular MAX conference labs, as you will get all that content and more in this single day bootcamp:

    • Supercharge Your Design Process with Illustrator CC
    • Essential Photoshop Tools for Designers
    • Essential Photoshop: Compositing for Realizing Your Creative Vision


    Type: Mac lab
    Instructors: Brian Wood, Colin Smith, Seán Duggan
    Technical Level: Intermediate

  • The Home Print Maker: Hands-On Printing Techniques That Can Be Done Anywhere

    Mixing a collection of provided images along with your sketches, we’ll be making tactile, printed artwork. Special guest instructor, Clark Orr, will lead us in the finer points of designing for handmade printing as well as file preparation, separations, and trapping. It’s the stuff that home printing dreams are made of, as every technique we use will be easily replicated in any living room, garage — even in a conference ballroom! We’ll be providing screens for screen printing, linoleum for cutting, as well as a selection of artwork. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm! We’ll be drawing, carving, and practicing other techniques you can accomplish without a darkroom. You’ll leave with a basic understanding of screen and linoleum cut printing, a stack of commemorative prints from both processes to prove it, and quite possibly some inky hands.


    Type: Full day workshop
    Instructor: Nick Sambrato
    Technical Level: General Audience

  • Design, Prototype, and Test Digital User Experiences

    From sketches to pixels, digital product design requires a lot of collaboration. As technology advances and becomes a cornerstone of every aspect of our lives, the problems designers have to solve become bigger and more complex. Getting in front of the user and working with a team to tackle complex problems allows you to poke holes in assumptions, iterate, and ultimately produce the best end result possible.

    See how Adobe Creative Cloud, including Adobe XD, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Stock facilitates collaboration throughout the design process. Together, we’ll tackle a design problem from the brief all the way to a full-fledged prototype that can be handed off to production.

    In this lab, which combines hands-on work as well as group review and feedback, you will:

    • Apply methods of the iterative design process working in compressed sprints
    • Go from ideation to user testing, iterate through polished designs up to developer hand off
    • Learn how to leverage Creative Cloud tools and services to support the design process in a collaborative environment
    • Learn how to leverage Adobe Stock, Photoshop, Illustrator and popular 3rd party tools together with Adobe XD
    • Learn techniques and best practices for user testing with Adobe XD


    Type: Mac lab
    Instructor: Andre Jay Meissner
    Technical Level: Beginner

Half-day Preconference courses

All below on Sunday, Oct. 14 1–5pm

  • Channel Your Inner Picasso — Sculpting with Everyday Materials

    Join Christian Clayton, ArtCenter College of Design professor, artist, and image maker as you experiment in 3D with the ubiquitous and indestructible art material known as cardboard. You will be amazed at what is possible!

    In this preconference workshop, as you design, tear, cut, mold, sculpt, draw, and paint, you’ll create own one-of-a-kind sculpture: a self-portrait, a free-form design, an architectural object — or just use your imagination! You’ll use cardboard, paper, fabric, glue, string, and paint — along with your creative energy and an open mind — to fully explore the endless possibilities and creative potential of these readily available materials. This is your opportunity to learn a new style of art and exercise your creativity. No prior experience required. Participants will have the opportunity to display their final pieces in a gallery located in the MAX Community Pavilion.


    Type: Half day workshop
    Instructor: Christian Clayton
    Technical Level: General Audience

  • Small Camera – Big Results

    The quality of our smartphone cameras is simply astounding! In this hands-on session you’ll learn how to hone your vision, build photographic skills, and practice effective image editing. Join photographer, artist, author, and educator Katrin Eismann for this workshop that combines photographic theory with hands-on practice. You’ll photograph a variety of scenarios from portraits, to still life, to spontaneous street scenes. And you’ll gain knowledge on how to make your images shine with insider tips and image editing techniques using Lightroom CC on mobile.

    Katrin will combine learning and laughter, while showing you how to:

    • Create better photographs before you pick up a camera
    • Work with light and composition 
    • Use Lightroom Mobile to make your images shine
    • Develop a new photographic mantra: Frame, Shoot, Review, Repeat
    • Share your images on social media


    Type: Half day workshop
    Instructor: Katrin Eismann
    Technical Level: General Audience

  • Go Big! Lettering & Mural Design with Gemma O’Brien

    Join Gemma O’Brien in a half-day workshop designed to teach you lettering skills and techniques for creating large scale murals.

    The first part of the class will focus on two methods of letter creation: drawing and writing. Gemma will share a variety of methods used in her practice to create bold and dynamic designs. The second part of the day will focus on taking a design from the page to the wall. You’ll be taught how to rework and resize drawings for a large-scale space and other tips and tricks to consider when painting a mural, including setup, measurements, and paint and brush selection.

    Type: Half day workshop
    Instructor: Gemma O’Brien
    Technical Level: General Audience