Print and Web designers who don't need support for film work will find enhanced integration throughout these updates to InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, and more.
Adobe created Creative Suite 3 Design Premium for digital designers specializing in work for print, Web sites, and mobile gadgets who need consistency across their various creations. For instance, this suite would enable a company to make printed brochures, Web pages, Flash-based games, and content for handheld devices without forcing designers to start from scratch resizing and optimizing the logos and images for each medium. Since the 2005 release of Adobe Creative Suite 2 and the company's purchase of Macromedia, Adobe has invested heavily in integrating its many applications. This suite includes new versions of InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and other tools for making images and complex page layouts from scratch. Preview skins within Adobe Device Central Creative allow for testing designs on the latest mobile devices.
Installing the private beta trial of Adobe CS3 Design Premium took some 40 minutes in our tests on a Windows XP computer. Both the Premium and Standard editions of the CS3 Web collections run on Windows XP and Vista as well as on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs running OS X.
Among the highlights of CS3 Design's integration, the Flash animation program can import and optimize individual layers from Photoshop and Illustrator documents. Dreamweaver, too, can open layered Photoshop files.
The InDesign page layout application now allows you to apply object effects, such as feathered gradients, without making a permanent change. There are more controls over transparencies, and the program offers more support for long documents in addition to allowing you to repurpose a print design for the Web via XHTML exports. Adobe aimed to help smooth the publication process for designers by enabling them to use PDFs and JDF job definitions when sending designs to a publisher.
Photoshop CS3 Extended offers new tools for animation and 3D artists, such as the ability to edit Flash files, use time-based cloning, and create multiple planes within images. Photoshop CS3 includes re-editable Smart Filters that let you tinker with new settings without destroying your earlier work. Quick Selection lets you select a general area on an image and paint it without first carefully outlining every twist and turn by hand; Photoshop fills in the rest of the selection for you.
Illustrator CS3 offers deeper integration with Flash, mobile, and video workflows as well as faster performance overall. Its Live Color feature lets you color in objects and change the color theme of a file in one swoop, far easier than in the past. Drawing enhancements include the ability to edit paths and align points the same way objects are aligned. A new Control Panel adds controls for anchor points, selection tools, clipping masks, and so on.
Flash now allows you to copy motion from one object to another. Interface components are based on ActionScript 3, which is moving toward an open standard and will eventually be integrated with Mozilla-based browsers such as Firefox. Flash also gets a pen tool for creating quick vector graphics so you don't have to open Illustrator to make sketches.
In Dreamweaver, there's more support for Ajax coding using the Spry framework to serve designers better versed in HTML than Java scripting. Adobe packs Spry widgets within Dreamweaver, so artists will be able to use preset CSS components rather than building them from scratch. A new CSS Advisor Web site brings CS3 users together to help each other with coding problems.
Adobe also aimed to speed up the performance and improve the work space customization of Bridge media management software, which has a new loupe tool as well as an N-up display option. And Acrobat Connect Web conferencing can put creative teams on the same page at the same time.
Adobe CS3 Design Premium costs $1,799. Those upgrading from Adobe CS or CS2 or from Macromedia Studio can pay $599, while those who already have InDesign or Photoshop can pay $1,599 for CS3 Design Premium. The $1,199 Adobe CS3 Design Standard lacks Flash and Dreamweaver. It will be available for $399 for those upgrading from the Adobe CS or CS2 packages, or $899 for those with earlier versions of InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.
For now, Photoshop CS3 beta is available free for download; it has a two-day timeout, which you can extend with a valid Photoshop CS serial number. We'll report back with rated reviews once we test the final editions of the various applications.
|Price if bought separately|
Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional
Dreamweaver CS3 (Premium only)
Flash CS3 Professional (Premium only)
Photoshop CS3 Extended
|Price: full||Price: upgrade|
Creative Suite 3 Design Premium
|$1,799||$599 (from Studios); |
$1,599 (from individual apps)
Creative Suite 3 Design Standard
|$1,199||$399 (from Studios); |
$899 (from individual apps)
Creative Suite 3 Web Premium
|$1,599||$499 (from Studios); |
$1,399 (from individual apps)
Creative Suite 3 Web Standard
|$999||$399 (from Studios); |
$799 (from individual apps)
Creative Suite 3 Production Premium
|$1,699||$799 (from Studios); |
$1,199 (from individual apps)
Creative Suite 3 Master Collection
|$2,499||$1,999 (from Studios); |
$1,399 (from two older suites)