Business-like, isn't he?



Business in Vancouver logo

    Assessing Adobe’s new creative suite deal

    by  Alan Zisman (c) 2007 First published in Business in Vancouver

    May 22-28, 2007; issue 917

    High Tech Office column

    Only a few products from the high-tech office have gotten so entrenched in popular consciousness that their names get used as a verb. Think “googling” for looking something up online or “photoshopping” for digitally altering reality.

    So any time Adobe releases a new version of its graphics and design software, it’s noteworthy. The company’s recent upgrade of Photoshop was accompanied by new versions of Adobe’s Illustrator drawing software, InDesign page layout program, Dreamweaver web design program, Flash for web animation and more; the programs are available individually or grouped as Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3).

    This time around, there are six packages in the CS3 family, starting with a US$1,199 design standard built around Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Adobe Acrobat Professional. A US$1,799 design premium version adds Dreamweaver and Flash along with an enhanced Photoshop extended version. Aiming at web designers, CS3 web standard (US$999) packs Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks image editor and Contribute, while the US$1,599 web premium adds Photoshop Extended, Illustrator and Acrobat to that mix.

    Promised for the summer are a production premium edition (US$1,699) that includes tools for video and sound editing and a US$2,499 master collection that includes everything. The various individual programs and CS3 bundles are available for Mac and Windows. These programs have been around for a while. Photoshop 1.0, for example, was originally released (for Mac only) in 1990, and the new CS3 is its 10th major upgrade. As a result, individually the applications seem more like fine-tuning than dramatic redesigns. Nevertheless, the CS3 products will probably prove popular among graphic artists and print and web designers.

    Many Mac-using graphics departments had put off upgrading hardware to Apple’s new Intel-based systems because previous versions of Adobe and Macromedia software were designed with previous generations of Mac hardware in mind. The Mac CS3 programs have been rewritten as so-called Universal Binaries to run efficiently on both older PowerPC Macs and the new Intel powered systems. This is the first full upgrade of Adobe’s products since the company bought its longtime archrival Macromedia; CS3 mixes the best of each company’s product line while helping them work together.

    Designers will find it easier than before to edit web images, because they’ll finally be able to copy and paste between Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver can now import and tweak for the web designs created in Adobe InDesign. Similarly, Flash users can now import images directly from both Photoshop and Illustrator and use Illustrator’s powerful tool-set within Flash.

    New to Photoshop: US$649 standard and US$999 extended versions. The premium version adds tools aimed at animators and medical and scientific professionals. Both versions benefit from interface house-cleaning that enable users to devote more screen space to images while still allowing them easy access to the program’s multiple tools and palettes.

    Graphics and design professionals are going to buy into the new Photoshop and the rest of the CS3 lineup. More casual users may want to look for more affordable alternatives. Check back next week.

Search WWW Search

Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan