The Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium package is built for Web-page designers, animators, and graphics pros. Its key components include the updated Dreamweaver and Fireworks for dynamic Web design, Photoshop and Illustrator for pixel and vector graphics, Flash for animation, and Soundbooth to tweak audio. Acrobat Professional 9, which now integrates Flash content, is also here.
Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium costs $ 1,699 (or between $599 to $799 to upgrade). The charts below detail the contents of and pricing for this and other CS4 suites; please click on the images of individual applications to learn what's new inside each of them. If you can afford this package, then choose it over the $999 Web Standard collection that offers only Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash, excluding Photoshop and Illustrator. If you need more tools for print design beyond PDFs, then check out the Design Standard or Premium editions that include InDesign.
The release of Adobe Creative Suite 3 in 2007 was the first to incorporate former properties from Macromedia, such as Flash. With Creative Suite 4, Adobe has unified the interfaces of all the applications for a more seamless experience. Workspace adjustments to CS4 include panels that are more nimble than its predecessor's, and handy pull-down menus with preset styles that enable you to shift among workspace layouts quickly.
Setup and interface
The Web abounds with complaints about Adobe's installer and updater, and most are justified. Every Windows application installer suggests you close any running applications, but you can usually ignore it, and 99 percent of the time everything works out fine. Adobe forces you to close your browser and all Microsoft Office applications, because many of the programs in the suite--primarily Acrobat--spread octopus-like tentacles throughout your working environment. That's pretty appalling in and of itself, but in addition to wasting a large chunk of time installing, you can't do anything else but play Solitaire while it's happening. And as before with the updater, you'll get to relive this delightful close-your-apps-or-else experience on a regular basis. Plus, the installation "progress" bar bears no relation to reality whatsoever, with its two steps forward and one step back movement.
Unfortunately, it took us nearly 2 hours to install the Adobe Master Collection CS4 on Windows Vista and XP machines. (We didn't test CS4 thoroughly on a Mac.) That's still less time than with CS3, and installing the much smaller Web Premium will likely take less time. Adobe's custom installation still lets you pick and choose which components to embrace or reject, but there's no mechanism for migrating your settings and all your custom tools from CS3 and earlier.
To install Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, Windows users need at least Windows XP SP2 or Vista, with a 2GHz-or-faster processor. The necessary available disk space is 9.1GB (and will be perhaps more during installation). Mac users will need a PowerPC G5 or Intel-based machine with at least OS X v10.4.11, as well as 1GB of RAM and 11.2GB of available disk space. For both Windows and Macs, installation comes via a DVD. The display must be 1,280x900, with 32-bit video card and 16MB of VRAM. Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0 compatibility may also be necessary. These system requirements are less stringent than for those suites involving video, such as Production Premium and the Master Collection.