More Information Concerning Adobe's Creative Suite

by Kevin Slimp, October 22, 2003

More Information Concerning Adobe's Creative Suite
Adobe Announcement Rocks Publishing World

Two weeks ago, this web site received a record number of hits following an announcement by Adobe that it was releasing new versions of several flagship applications. Included were upgrades to InDesign, Photoshop, GoLive and Illustrator. The suite is much more than the traditional bundles previously released by Adobe. Naming the collection “Creative Suite,” Adobe takes a huge step forward in integration between the various applications.

The first change you notice is the use of letters to indicate versions rather than numbers. Instead of purchasing an upgrade to Photoshop 8, the new version is dubbed Photoshop CS. Like its predecessor, Photoshop comes with ImageReady. InDesign moved up from version 2 to InDesign CS. Illustrator CS and GoLive CS round out the new versions. Adobe refers to the suite as a “complete design solution.”

I’ve taken the past two days to become familiar with the CS suite and found the programs to look and work, in large part, like their predecessors. There are a some noted enhancements in each application. Adobe has gone out of its way to bring consistency to users of the CS suite. Adobe refers to this as “shared core technologies.” Basically, this means that completing tasks in one program is often accomplished using the same tools and shortcuts as are used in another CS application.

Version Cue

The glue that holds the Adobe Creative Suite together is a file version manager called “Version Cue.” Version Cue saves all files to a workspace - a common folder on a local hard drive or server - that can be accessed by individuals and teams from the various CS applications. When a layout person accesses a file that is managed by Version Cue, a working copy is created on their hard drive, and new versions are saved back to Version Cue from these working copies. Permissions and restrictions may be applied by an administrator if desired. The idea is to guide users to collaborate more efficiently and ensure that everyone is using the correct version of files.

Common File Formats

A feature Adobe users have come to expect has been expanded in this latest suite of applications. Native file format support has become very important to layout persons. Users can open or place native Photoshop files in Illustrator. Photoshop users can import vector files from Illustrator CS and open them with text, slices, transparency and layers intact. InDesign users will appreciate the “Edit Original Selection” command, which automatically launches Photoshop or Illustrator when they want to make changes to a photo or illustration.

New Features in Applications

In future columns we’ll explore the Creative Suite applications individually. In the meantime, here are a few new features users will find while using the new versions:

Photoshop - The ability to place text on a path has been enhanced even more. All filters can be accessed from the new Filter Gallery palette. There is more support for 16-bit files. In the past, I’ve received a lot of calls from folks who wanted to know why Photoshop features wouldn’t work with these images. Now they will. Match Color lets the user take the color characteristics of one photo and apply them to another.

Illustrator - My favorite enhancements to Illustrator CS include improvements in the area of type capabilities. One new feature allows a serious of attributes to be applied to a character or group of words with the click of a mouse. The Scribble Effect is designed for creating artwork that looks hand-drawn.

InDesign - Important changes took place here. My favorite is the Separations Preview, which allows the layout person to view color separations on the page. Similar to the Info feature in Photoshop, color mixtures can be viewed for any point on the page. The Story Editor will be a welcome addition to folks who grew up using PageMaker. Story Editor allows you to display your text in a separate window, with changes appearing simultaneously on the InDesign page. Adobe also reports that InDesign has sped up significantly, including 50 to 80 percent faster screen redraws.

Combine these new features with the new version of Acrobat Professional that recently appeared and you have an unbeatable collection of tools for professional designers.

Gary Cosimini, Adobe’s newspaper and publishing guru, and I had a conversion concerning the new suite of CS applications a few weeks ago. Here’s what I learned. There are two versions of the CS Suite: Standard and Premium. Standard is InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Version Cue and lots of extras, including 100 OpenType fonts. Premium combines InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator with GoLive, Version Cue integration and Acrobat 6 (the same version of Acrobat released a few months ago). If you already own Photoshop - and just about everyone in our business does - there’s an upgrade price to either of them: $549 and $749. Now is a good time to save some money if you have been contemplating upgrading your software.

The OS X Factor

Like the recent upgrade to QuarkXpress, the Adobe Creative Suite has enormous consequences to our industry. All of these programs run on OS X (for Mac users) or Windows 2000 or XP (for Windows users). In addition, the latest versions of QuarkXpress (6.0), Acrobat (6.0), SuitCase and other applications will no longer operate on OS 9. Add this to new line of computers from Apple which do not support operating systems prior to OS X and you begin to see the seriousness of the matter.

Yes, we can continue to run our current software on OS 9. We can continue to use QuarkXPress 5, Acrobat 5, Photoshop 6 and other software that works on the older operating systems. However, someday soon computers will need to be replaced and there won’t be systems available which will run our older programs. What to do?

Every newspaper should already be working on a plan of action or have one in place. Adobe has called our hands. Just when our newspapers were trying to make the decision between upgrading to QuarkXpress 6.0 or moving to InDesign 2.0, Adobe goes and releases InDesign CS, along with the rest of its Creative Suite. Coupled with the changes in operating systems, newspapers have some important decisions to make in the not too distant future.

For more information concerning Adobe Creative Suite, visit www.adobe.com.