Adobe’s long-awaited Creative Suite 4 has made its public debut. As the company has demonstrated with previous releases of Creative, as well as other products, it is advancing a Web 2.0 agenda. For example, Adobe has integrated Flash throughout Creative Suite 4 to facilitate collaboration among designers and developers as they craft digital work products.
Toward that end, Adobe has also realigned workflow enhancements — changes that were on display for a short time earlier this year, when the Adobe Labs site posted publicly available betas of Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Soundbooth.
Integration of Creative 4’s many moving parts was a fundamental goal of its developers, Adam Pratt, senior solutions engineer, told TechNewsWorld.
“It is important that each application does a great job for its particular function, but users don’t work in isolation anymore — so integration across the Web, print and video workflows is more important than ever before,” he explained.
Citing the wholesale integration of Flash technology, Pratt noted that prior to Creative 4, “there had been little samples here and there, such as with video. But nothing like this.”
The new suite — Adobe’s largest software rollout to date — includes Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design editions, Creative Suite 4 Web editions, Creative Suite 4 Production Premium and Creative Suite 4 Master Collection, as well as 13 point products, 14 integrated technologies and seven services.
Customers can choose from six suites or full version upgrades of 13 stand-alone applications, including Photoshop CS4, Photoshop CS4 Extended, InDesign CS4, Illustrator CS4, Flash CS4 Professional, Dreamweaver CS4, After Effects CS4, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4.
Changes to the functionality include a simplified workflow that enables users to complete tasks and switch between mediums without leaving a project.
InDesign CS4 provides a new Live Preflight tool that allows designers to catch production errors; a newly customizable links panel helps them place files more efficiently.
The Content-Aware Scaling tool in Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended automatically recomposes an image as it is resized, preserving areas as it adapts to new dimensions.
An expanded version of Dynamic Link in CS4 Production Premium allows users to move content between After Effects CS4, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, Soundbooth CS4 and Encore CS4, so the updates can be seen without rendering.
3-D functionality is also a focus in Adobe Creative Suite 4, with users able to paint, composite and animate 3-D models using pre-existing tools.
In Flash CS4 Professional, users can apply tweens to objects instead of keyframes. In Flash, the new Bones tool creates more realistic animations between linked objects.
With Adobe Device Central CS4, which has a library of more than 450 device profiles from manufacturers, users can test mobile content designed using many of the Creative Suite 4 products.
Adobe Creative Suite 4 also expands access to online collaborative services. Adobe ConnectNow, an Acrobat.com service that allows real-time collaboration with two other people, can be accessed from InDesign CS4, Illustrator CS4, Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop Extended CS4, Flash CS4 Professional, Dreamweaver CS4, Fireworks CS4, and Acrobat 9 Pro.
Designers can also share color harmonies with Adobe Kuler, which is now accessible from InDesign CS4, Illustrator CS4, Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop Extended CS4, Flash CS4 and Fireworks CS4.
Adobe Creative Suite 4 and its products will ship in October 2008. It will be available through Adobe authorized resellers and at the Adobe Store.
Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium is expected to retail for US$1,799. Other price points include $1,699 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, $1,699 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium, and $2,499 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection.