Aug 3, 2010


I've just installed the newest version of Adobe's Creative Suite for Designer (Design Premium). First, let me start off by saying I highly recommend this product. I have been waiting, and working to save up for this product months. I'm running on a duel processor Dell Inspirion with Windows 7. It runs beautifully.

Here are the programs that are included in the suite which I use on a daily basis:
  • Photoshop
  • Flash Professional
  • Dreamweaver
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Fireworks
  • Acrobat 9 Pro
  • Bridge and Device Central
Now some of these tools I use more than others. I would say right now I'm heavy on InDesign and always Photoshop. Outside of work I'm designing logos in Illustrator and updating sites with Dreamweaver from week to week. I've back slidden from Flash even though I've read the book on ActionScript (ActionScript 2: The Definitive Guide). At the outset I was engrossed in Flash and the possibilities on the programming side. After reading and understanding how to program in Flash I found, much like 3D artwork, that it is a lot of work on one end and the result is sometimes small and overlooked.

Getting back on track. I will go over each program and review the new options I like about each one. Please note that some of these upgrades or new tools might have been introduced in CS4, as I have not worked with CS4. I use CS3 at work and still have the original CS (CS1) at home.

Photoshop is easily the one program out of all of these that has had the most improvement's/upgrades. The most talked about is the Content Aware addition to the spot healing brush. This tool is just plain awesome. It doesn't fix everything all the time but when used appropriately, it can really make a difference in saving time. The zoom tool has been altered but I easily got used to it in a matter of minutes. In an education video, Adobe totes that the brush size and weight can be altered using a hot + mouse action but I wasn't able to do this. Painting effects (wet, water colors) have been added or perhaps upgraded. If you have a background in traditional painting it gives the effect of adding water on top of dried water color paint. I have not been able to use this properly because it requires the use of a tablet pen. That's a $80 dollar addition if you want to see the real results for this. Edge selection (hair, grass) has been improved/added in the Refine Edge options window. 3D options were added. This is were my computer said, "No thanks." I have a decent computer but the warning window that popped up said I needed a better video card/whatever. So that feature I can't comment on.

I use Indesign a lot. It's great for multiple page design and layout. CS5 introduced a target like symbol to objects (only images?) so that selecting images within a frame is 5 times faster. Another great feature is an enhancement added to the selection bounding box around an object (images or text too?); little gold boxes, that when selected, which control the corner style of the frame. Awesome! This is achieved in CS3 by using the Pathfinder + Convert Shape tool but now you have the ability and control over how much rounding is available. Controlling alignment and proportions is made easier with the width selection tool. Adobe also advertises and animation tool which appears to be a simple pre-formated action that moves object from right to left/top to bottom etc. Another feature is the multiple page sizes for layout. I haven't tried that yet or the interactive PDF (videos and animation come into play here). Which is strange to me because I've always thought of InDesign as a printing tool. But it's also used for Web Site layout. Something I've never tried. Sounds a little too dangerous.

Like I said, I'm using Illustrator for some logo designs. Advertised is a pixel grid, which I haven't tried. Also a horizon perspective tool is introduced which is something that is being brought over from Photoshop but seems more practical here. Also like Photoshop, Illustrator has art painting brushes that look very similar to Photoshop's art brushes. Again, it looks like I'll be bringing home my pen tablet tonight. There is a new tool that lets you draw behind or inside of an object. Last and I think best is the Shape Builder tool. I can't tell you how much time I've spent putting two shapes together by delleting, joining and adding verticies. Use this tool to instantly combine two or more shapes by simply drawing a line over them. Why wasn't this thought of earlier?

If you read the top paragraph you'll know that I'm a little burnt out on Flash right now. I've browsed over the additions to Flash and I'll say that it doesn't look too impressive. The only tool I see worth mentioning is the bone/ligament tool that's added to objects for manipulation. The rest if code snipets and short cuts and better import options from the rest of Adobe's programs. It's funny because if you go to the updates page for Flash you'll see a small video for "Wide content distribution" which totes flexibility for different screen sizes in device central "including the iPhone!!" HA HA HA! Adobe is super upset at Apple about it's decision to not support flash on any of it's devices.

Flash Catalyst
I suppose that my views for Flash right now are affecting my use or intrest for this program also. When I have some spare time I think I'll give it a test drive and see where it takes me.

According to the site there hasn't been much of an upgrade to this program...

Not too much going on with Dreamweaver. Still a really good HTML editor and great for working directly onto a server with files. One thing that caught my eye is support for Content Management Systems. This is an overlooked bonus that should have been advertised heavily. A lot of web design is moving towards CMS with systems like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and Ruby on Rails. I've used and work with Joomla. The support added to Dreamweaver alone is worth the upgrade but I have yet to use it.