The newly released Adobe Creative Suite Premium is the first package that includes all Adobe Systems Inc.s popular design development tools. It offers users the opportunity to effectively and affordably use these products to create and edit images, print content, and generate online content in an integrated and collaborative work environment.
Adobe Creative Suite Premium, released last month, includes new CS versions of Photoshop, ImageReady, Illustrator, InDesign and GoLive. It also includes Acrobat 6.0, which eWEEK Labs reviewed in April. A standard edition that lacks GoLive and Acrobat is also available.
Adobe Creative Suite Premium
Adobe Creative Suite Premium provides an integrated and collaborative Web, print and image design environment. Its major selling point is the classic suite benefit of multiple applications at an affordable price. With its individual components priced around $500, the $1,299 suite can be an attractive option, even for companies that dont use all the tools.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
Although the integration of these products is welcome, the new versions are, at best, minor upgrades. For most companies, the suites primary selling point will be its price, which, at $1,299, is a considerable discount from buying each component individually.
Another plus for the Adobe suite: While Macromedia Inc. has jumped aggressively into using activation to prevent unlicensed use of its products, including the competing Studio MX 2004, Adobe has just dipped its toe in the activation waters—only the Windows version of Photoshop uses activation protection.
The main integration feature of the suite is the new Version Cue system, which is essentially an updated version of Web Workgroup Server in GoLive 6.0. Version Cue provides a collaborative server environment that makes it possible to share content across workgroups and use content management features such as check-in/ check-out and versioning.
Furthermore, all the products in the suite can use Adobes PDF format natively, which made it easy in tests to share content across work environments and platforms. And, of course, all the products feature the same basic Adobe interface. This will make the suite components easy to learn, but it may make things confusing for those who regularly have more than one application open at a time.
Adobe Photoshop CS includes improved file and color management and a nice feature for putting text on a path or shape. We also appreciated the new option to export directly to the Flash format.
The GoLive CS Web authoring environment has probably benefited the most from integration with the other products in the suite. Among the new features in this version are improved color management through the shared engines, as well as integration with Acrobat and InDesign. The new Smart Objects feature let us do in-place editing of images and PDFs.
GoLive now includes a co-author mode, which made it possible to control how nondeveloper users added content to a Web site. By first creating templated Web pages with defined content areas, novice users could use the co-author mode to safely add content only to areas they were allowed to use. Although this worked well, we prefer in-page editing options for Web sites. Also, co-author requires additional licenses for each user.
Companies that want to purchase GoLive CS as a stand-alone product should keep in mind that Version Cue is now available only in the Creative Suite.
InDesign CS is probably the most significant upgrade of the new products. The Adobe publishing system includes several welcome new features including a very good Story Editor, improved typographical controls and styles, and custom work spaces.
The principal new features in the Illustrator CS drawing tools are support for three-dimensional shapes and improved PDF integration.
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