Since Adobe bought Macromedia nearly two years ago, rumors have flown about what mutant offspring might emerge from this marriage of software makers.
Although a leak on a blog revealed bits of this closely guarded secret about a day early, Adobe has officially taken the wraps off the pricing and packaging of its Creative Suite 3--most of which will work on Intel-based or PowerPC Macs, as well as with Windows Vista and XP. (See our coverage of the CS3 Master Collection to start.).
The six flavors of CS3 are built for different types of digital designers. So far, we've checked out beta editions of the CS3 Web and Design packages, which offer a blend of tools, including the new Photoshop (read Lori Grunin's first take), Illustrator, Flash, and Dreamweaver. Web and Design will each be available in Standard and Premium editions. The rumor mill pegs April 20 as their final release, although Adobe hasn't confirmed that with us.
As for the CS3 summer releases (on July 1?), there's not much else on the market that will rival the scope of capabilities offered by Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, which handles videographers' needs, from shooting on-site all the way through postproduction. Cross-platform support might even turn the heads of some FinalCut Pro fans. Starving artists may salivate at the Adobe CS3 Master Collection, a comprehensive toolkit that well-equipped corporate design departments will likely snap up for creating Web, mobile, interactive, video, and print content.
There's integration galore throughout the applications, such as native support for Photoshop and Illustrator files in Flash and Fireworks. As anticipated, Macromedia GoLive seems to be dying quietly, while other former Macromedia apps, such as Flash, are adopting the look and feel of their Adobe step-parent. There's no sign yet of a Web-based Photoshop.
That's just a taste of the ballyhooed new features within Adobe Creative Suite 3. Unfortunately, Adobe's big packages come with big price tags. We'll cover any quirks we encounter as we continue to test the betas and then get our hands on final editions of the many applications.