Adobe released details Monday about Creative Suite 4, its first update to more than a dozen design and editing tools since Adobe CS3 some 17 months ago.
The costs of the applications, set to reach consumers in October, haven't changed since CS3, but remain hefty. Should longtime users upgrade?
Of course that depends on the specific tools you need. However, we suspect that only the most well-heeled will jump at the chance, as CS4 shares the majority of tools with its predecessor. Perhaps more dramatic, life-changing alterations will come with the next Creative Suite. That said, time-saving tweaks to Illustrator and Flash in particular could lure professionals immersed in them to upgrade.
With CS4, Adobe aimed to unify the interfaces of more than a dozen applications, including Flash and other former properties of Macromedia. You'll see similar pull down menus for toggling among workspaces that you can customize, as well as Flash-based panels that nicely snap open and shut. Corporate design departments will find plenty of enhancements for their teams to share work more quickly.
Adobe continues to improve integration among the applications. After Effects, as only one example, can import Photoshop 3D layers and export content directly into Flash.
Options for working with high-definition video and mobile content expand too, with support for the latest formats as well as for making Adobe AIR applications. Among other highlights:
Photoshop CS4 will use your computer's graphics chip for the first time, while offering support for 64-bit Windows.
At long last, you can handle more than one project at a time in Illustrator, thanks to the new multiple Artboards feature.
Flash CS4 has a rebuilt animation model, so you can make objects move on the stage in two quick steps. And Flash introduces a new, XML-based file format.
Dreamweaver provides plenty of shortcuts to CSS coding, including within the Properties panel.
We've been toying with the beta code of CS4 for several weeks. Check out our first take reviews and videos of the six suites and their individual applications for more details. We'll report back with rated reviews after working with the final code.