Adobe’s New Creative Suite Promises Smooth Operation

Adobe launched its Creative Suite 3 line of products Tuesday. The six new integrated Web design and content creation software packages are the first to leverage tools and technologies the company gained with its US$3.4 billion acquisition of Macromedia in 2005.

With its six all-new suites and 13 standalone offerings — as well as completely refurbished versions of Adobe’s creative solutions products — the company said the release of Creative Suite 3 (CS3) is its largest product launch ever.

“This release reflects the powerful integration between Adobe and Macromedia and how our products bridge the gap between designers and developers,” said Bruce Chizen, chief executive officer at Adobe.

“With new workflows that streamline collaboration and impact the development of rich content, designers and developers now have the creative license to engage audiences across virtually every medium,” he added.

Manna from Creative’s Heaven

Two years in the making, the CS3 line of products, created for print designers, multimedia editors and Web designers, offers creative types a tightly integrated platform with design and development tools to suit virtually every creative workflow, Adobe said.

It provides a bevy of creative options that cover the gamut of content development for print, Web, mobile, interactive, film and video production.

CS3 comes in six varieties, including Design Premium and Design Standard editions; Web Premium and Web Standard editions; and Production Premium. CS3 Master Collection, the sixth suite, incorporates 12 of the new applications in a single package.

Businesses, creative professionals and consumers can also purchase updated versions of applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects CS3 Professional, Contribute CS3 and Flash CS3 Professional.

Intermingling Portfolio

Each edition of CS3, according to Adobe, incorporates different configurations of the company’s creative products to meet users’ design needs.

CS3 Design Premium serves as the toolkit for print, Web, interactive and mobile design. CS3 Design Standard concentrates on professional print design and production.

In addition, CS3 Web Premium offers Web design and development tools; the Standard version is ideal for Web developer pros. CS3 Production Premium is a complete post-production suite for video professionals and CS3 Master Collection covers the whole spectrum offering tools across all media.

“This is their first Creative Suit Portfolio that really intermingles — in a good way — products that they acquired with the merger with Macromedia,” Melissa Webster, an analyst at IDC, told TechNewsWorld.

One example of this is in the CS3’s Premiere Pro video suite. Content creators can use PhotoShop capabilities to edit images in a frame. This, Webster explains, is the first release in which Adobe has tightened up and integrated workflows for creative people producing video for the Web.

“Now they can take advantage of what used to be Macromedia’s tools such as InDesign,” she added. “That’s what this release is really about, is the greatness of the parts, and merging the print, Web and video.”

With CS3, Webster noted, developers no longer have to switch from one product to another. “This goes really far with integration of the products. You don’t have to switch products within the suite to get the benefit of that integration.

“What’s great for users is that tasks that used to require getting in and out of different applications, even though they could share files, now they can stay within the primary tool and leverage capabilities from other tools without having to stray. That means it’s just a few added clicks with a lot of added value,” Webster continued.

Pricing and Availability

Adobe estimates the street price for the product line will range from $1,199 to $2,499. CS3 Design Standard is $1,199 and Design Premium is $1,799; CS3 Web Standard is $999 and Web Premium is $1,599. CS3 Production Premium is $1,699, whereas the 12-in-1 Master Collection is $2,499.

Upgrades vary in price from $79 for Contribute CS3, and $89 for InCopy CS3 to $440 for CS3 Design Premium, $799 for CS3 Production Premium and $1,399 for CS3 Master Collection.

Adobe expects to begin worldwide shipping of Design Premium and Standard as well as Web Premium and Standard in April. Production Premium and Master Collection for Mac OS X on Intel-based systems and for Windows XP and Vista will begin shipping worldwide later in the third quarter of 2007.

“Adobe decided not to raise prices on the new bundles from its Creative Suite 2, so consumers are getting more products than they did in Creative Suite 2 for the same price,” Webster said. “They have very good upgrade paths, so that if you’ve ever bought one of the component parts of Creative Suite from Adobe or Macromedia, its easy to upgrade to a full suite for an incremental price.”

With more than half of Adobe’s $2.6 billion in sales generated by its line of creative development products, Webster expects CS3 to be a blockbuster seller for the company.

“CS1 had a substantial impact on Adobe’s income, CS2 had an even bigger impact and I’m sure CS3 will give the company quite a lift,” Webster concluded.

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