The publishing world is becoming more and more integrated and dynamic. No longer is it all about copy tasters, cow gum and the old printing press. The transition from artwork, to photo to page and then even to web has to be as easy and efficient as possible.
One and a half years ago, Adobe saw this was the case and honed their applications into one Creative Suite. One and a half years on and the honing is even further apparent with the applications now working seamlessly together. Whether you’re editing photos with Photoshop, drawing illustrations with illustrator, doing page layout with InDesign or transferring the whole lot to the web with GoLive, as a package it all talks to each other. But the secret is that they not only talk to each other as individual applications, but that Adobe has created a bridging program called strangely enough Adobe Bridge that is at the heart of its new package Adobe Creative Suite 2.
There are so many new features and additions across the range that it would be impossible to list them all here and keep you interested. The what’s new guide alone is some 23 pages for the overall suite and a further 7 - 15 pages for each individual application. So what we’ve opted to do is pick out the more interesting one across each package.
The most notable addition aside from new elements and improvements is the creation of a completely new application within the suite called Adobe Bridge. The new application works as a go-between for the suite as well as serving as a clipboard/album for all your images and text. Designed and performing in an almost identical way to iPhoto, images can be previewed, and details changed all at the click of a button. Furthermore, you can drag elements from bridge directly into any of the programs within the suite. The overall effect of this of the rest of the applications only helps when you are managing multiple elements and multiple programs.
Photoshop has long been the professional image editors tool of choice, used by photographers and image specialists alike it’s the defacto industry standard. New additions here are as you will see across the suite are in their multitude.
Key upgrades include:
The introduction of a Spot healing brush that allows you retouch dust, scratches and other image flaws at the touch of a button. The system works in a simpler way to the old clone button, however with a lot more intelligence. In our reviewing this tool was great for eradicating blemishes on skin and just getting rid of random items in the background, without having to spend hours with the cloning tool.
Another interesting new element, although we are struggling to see why you might want to use this all the time, is the Vanishing Point tool. The tool allows you to clone, paint and transform in the perspective of your images making buildings taller or distances further away.
Again like the Vanishing Point tool Image Wrap is something you’ve probably seen in PowerGoo or the like. It allows you to wrap any object with other images - your mug on a coke can for instance.
The application has further had a heavy orientation to photographers, with the addition of a noise reduction feature for correcting high ISO shooting, One-Click Red Eye Correction, Optical Lens Correction for fixing barrel and pincushion distortion and in-depth support for Multi-Image Camera RAW files
However it's not all new toys, Adobe has also developed and built on existing tools available. Most notably the addition of Smart Shapen which allows you to have greater control over how your image, including shadows and highlights, is sharpened.
Unlike Photoshop where there's a plethora of new elements, the InDesign Team has concentrated on improving existing options rather than creating new ones. Improvements range from the smallest of details such as WYSIWYG font menus, to more in-depth elements like improving the use of style and character guides. The biggest additional however is the use of Adobe bridge. Using the new application allows you to drag image, copy and other elements into the package as if it was merely a floating clipboard. This, as you can imagine, makes a huge difference to how you work as well as connecting you to the other applications like Illustrator and Photoshop.
The Illustrator team, like the development team from InDesign have spent their time over the last one and a half years honing what is already there. That’s not to say there aren’t new elements, far from it, they just aren’t as openly noticeable as say the developments in Photoshop. The most interesting delevopment aside from greater connectivity with both Adobe Bridge and Photoshop is Adobe’s quickness to support mobile phones. Features within the application enable optimized font quality, minimized file size, and previewing an SVG document and SVG code in a Web browser equipped with the Adobe SVG Viewer plug-in. This combined with greater support for Adobe’s web editing application GoLive hones the package further.
Dreamweaver has always been the industry standard just like Quark was for Desktop publishing before Adobe stepped in with InDesign. Having now played with GoLive CS2, we can still say that Dreamweaver rules the nest. There have been delevopements in the software application over the last one and a half years, but the package still has to be the weak link in CS2 armour. Updates include improved support for mobile phone programming and improvements on css style sheets, but not much more. The appeal here is that you’ve got the integration with the other elements which Macromedia can’t promise to the same degree. That said, (and maybe it's because we are biased towards Dreamweaver as its what we use on a day to day basis for Pocket-lint) it just doesn’t have the same easy feel to it.
You can see what Adobe has been doing over the last 18 months with the Creative Suite Package. Everything has undergone a good overhaul and everything seems to offer improvements over previous versions. The inclusion of Adobe Bridge has significantly helped Adobe convey the connectivity of the applications, allowing them to truly sell this as a complete suite rather than a bunch of applications in one box. This is a professional product aimed at the professional market place - the price will tell you that. If you're in the publishing or image manipulation business this will allow you to turn ideas in reality. The only downside? GoLive, not because its not competent in its offering, but because it’s the weak link here, but then everyone needs an Achilles heel. Top marks.