Digital designers who don't need support for print or film work will find enhanced integration throughout the updates to Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and more.
Installing the private beta trial of Adobe CS3 Web Premium took about 40 minutes on a Windows XP computer in our tests. Both 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 OSX.
Among the highlights of CS3 Web's integration, it's now possible to copy Photoshop files and paste them into Dreamweaver. You can accept or reject and set specific optimization settings of Photoshop layers first, then open each layer within Dreamweaver CS3 later. Similarly, Flash CS3 will display the entire layer hierarchy of imported PSD files. It will maintain paths, anchor points, and more from Illustrator files, which can be imported as key frames or Flash layers. Fireworks will maintain layer effects and allow editing of imported Photoshop files. You can drag and drop Flash video assets into Dreamweaver, too.
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. This edition of Photoshop will export to formats including Flash Video, MPEG-4, QuickTime, AVI for video, and U3D, OBJ, and 3DS. Photoshop CS3 includes re-editable Smart Filters that let you tinker with new settings without destroying your earlier work. Quick Selection lets you, say, select a general area on an image and paint it without carefully outlining every twist and turn by hand first; Photoshop fills in the rest of the selection for you.
Illustrator CS3's 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 align points the same way objects are aligned, and to edit paths. A new control panel adds settings 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 within Mozilla-based browsers such as Firefox.
Adobe has tweaked Dreamweaver's layout slightly and beefed up its browser-compatibility-check feature, while Adobe Device Central shows how designs will appear and work on the latest mobile gadgets. Dreamweaver CS3 offers 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 puts CS3 users together to help each other with coding problems. Dreamweaver CS3 will also support the IPv6 protocol.
Adobe CS3 Web Premium is priced at $1,599, or $499 for users of Studio 8, MX2004, or MX, or if you own Adobe CS or CS2 Standard or Premium packages. Those upgrading from Flash and Dreamweaver can buy Adobe CS3 Web Premium for $1,399. The $999 Standard version of Adobe CS3 lacks Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat 8 Professional. It will cost $399 for users of Macromedia Studio 8, MX2004, or MX; or $799 for those who own earlier iterations of Flash or Dreamweaver. Designers who work exclusively with printed media should consider one of the two CS3 Design packages. Serious professionals who need to repurpose their work for print or video may want the support of the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection, which costs $900 more.
For now, Photoshop CS3 beta is available free for download; it has a two-day time-out that 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
Flash CS3 Professional
Illustrator CS3 (Premium only)
Photoshop CS3 Extended (Premium only)
|Price: full||Price: upgrade|
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 Master Collection
|$2,499||$1,999 (from Studios); |
$1,399 (from two older suites)
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 Production Premium
|$1,699||$799 (from Studios); |
$1,199 (from individual apps)