March 26, 2007 9:00 PM PDT

Adobe to take wraps off Creative Suite 3

Adobe Systems on Tuesday launched Creative Suite 3, a showcase for the company's merger with rival Macromedia that is designed to smoothly combine Web design with content creation.

Creative Suite 3, which focuses on print designers, multimedia editors and Web designers, was two years in development. CS3 comes in six editions, though customers can also individually purchase updated applications, such as Photoshop, Illustrator or Flash.

The estimated price for Creative Suite 3 Design Standard is $1,199 and for the Design Premium version, $1,799. The Web-oriented editions cost $999 for Web Standard and $1,599 for Web Premium.

The CS3 Production Premium is $1,699. And the Master Collection, the most comprehensive package, is $2,499.

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The Design and Web editions will begin shipping in April, while the Production Premium and Master Collection editions will ship this summer, said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Adobe's Creative Solutions Business Unit.

Integration among different products was done with specific tasks, or workflows, in mind, Loiacono said.

To ease collaboration between photographers and Web designers, for example, people will be able to view and modify images from Dreamweaver, Adobe's Web development tool. By contrast, people now send images back and forth and make changes in the Photoshop image-editing program.

Or, rather than having to render a modified video clip a second time in After Effects, video editors can make changes to the clip directly in Premiere Pro, explained Loiacono.

"The difference between previous things we've done with Creative Suite and CS3 is the enhancements around the user interface and unification--a whole host of things to make it look and function more cohesively," he said.

The updated suite will also include new tools for audio editing and mobile content creation.

Soundbooth, an audio editing program aimed primarily at video editors, will replace Audition in the suite. And Adobe Device Central will let designers view how content, such as videos or illustrations, will display on a variety of mobile devices.

Applications in CS3 have been optimized for Mac OS X on Intel-based Macintosh computers and work with PowerPC-based Macs as well. The applications also run on Windows Vista and Windows XP.

On a related note, Loiacono said that he is not aware of any substantial problems with running Creative Suite 2 on Windows Vista but that the company is not officially recommending that usage because it has not done a full barrage of tests.

"The only way we can feel comfortable (recommending Creative Suite 2 for Vista) is to do full testing," he said.

Company executives contend that Creative Suite 3 is the most significant product launch in the company's history.

With CS3, the company is expanding its Photoshop franchise by introducing both new high-end and entry-level packages. Photoshop CS3 Extended, which includes additional features aimed at video production tasks, 3D texture-map editing, and scientific image analysis.

Later this year, Adobe plans to introduce an online version of Photoshop, an ad-supported online service to broaden the company's reach into the consumer market.

Loiacono said that more than 50 percent of the company's revenue comes from the Creative Solutions Business Unit and that the upgrade will have a big effect financially.

On Sunday, Amazon Canada stole some of Adobe's thunder when it accidentally published product details, including prices and release dates.

Features touted
Company executives showed off the latest features at an Adobe-hosted event in New York with customers and partners.

Before demonstrations, Adobe President and Chief Operating Officer Shantanu Narayen said the company's overarching strategy is to allow creative professionals to use the same content, such as photos or illustrations, in a variety of "channels," including print, video, Web and wireless devices.

He said Adobe expects there will be a growing number of "hybrid" applications that "combine the power of the desktop with the interactivity of the Internet."

Narayen added that Adobe has begun to experiment with these types of hybrid applications itself with Adobe Remix, an online video-editing product. Previously, company executives said Adobe will offer a Photoshop-branded online photo editing tool.

With the Creative Suite 3 release, the company is introducing online services to work in conjunction with desktop applications. One feature, called Kuler, allows Illustrator users to look for or share "swatches" of color combinations with other people online.

In another example, Adobe has launched a site called CSS Advisor, designed to help Dreamweaver Web developers search for common problems rendering Web pages on different browsers.

Loiacono said Adobe intends to increasingly use Apollo, its software for writing Web-based applications on desktop computers, in its own products.

For example, Adobe has written a version of Kuler to run on Apollo. And the company will release an Apollo-based client that will allow content creators to add digital rights management restrictions, Loiacono said.

Executives also showed off some of some of the digital manipulation features with a new high-end product called Photoshop CS3 Extended, which Loiacono said will help Adobe sell Photoshop to a new set of industries, including architecture, engineering and medical businesses.

Another "eye candy" feature added in the production version of CS3 is called Puppet, which allows video editors to add human motions to a still image in order to quickly create "character animations."

Company executives showed off how the enhanced integration between products can make collaboration between people easier. For example, video editors in After Effects can repurpose Web graphics by importing Flash animations, or they can import Photoshop files to make 3D images and animations.

Similarly, with Premiere Pro, files can be recorded on DVD, broadcast over the Web as Flash, or, through Device Central, displayed on a mobile handset.

Despite the excitement of Adobe employees, a technical glitch forced Loiacono to delay the presentation for about 20 minutes midway through the event.

"Welcome back to the Creative Suite 3 launch," Loiacono said. He blamed the audiovisual hardware problem on a cell phone, rather than software.

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16 comments

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You have to hand it to them...
Not every publisher can claim the feat of making their packaging significantly uglier with every successive release. Adobe's package design has been making designers (its intended audience, it must be noted) cringe for years, and judging by the image here, the latest edition is positively horrendous. Good show.

Here's hoping that the parallel trend of making each successive release slower and more bloated than the last will not continue in CS3. Though if this Vistaesque six-edition silliness is any indication, it will probably get much, much worse.
Posted by Ikthog (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$2,499...!?!?!?
And the software industry wonders why people use pirated
software...
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$1599??!!
Yeah. I agree. Must have taken a page from the Microsoft Vista Pricing Junket.
I think Adobe needs a visit from the FTC on monopolizing the market after it was allowed to purchase Macromedia.
Time to sign up for a school course, and get the student editions.
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Link Flag
The price isn't SO ridiculous
You are getting the whole shebang from the Adobe and Macromedia products -- InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Contribute, After Effects, Premiere, Soundbooth, Encore and more. Obviously you wouldn't choose that version unless you need to do print design, Web design and development AND video and sound production.
Posted by Ikthog (43 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, I don't think these suites are targeted at the average consumer. Because no way a normal person would pay that much money for software. I'm thinking this is for businesses and professionals.

Having said that, their products are ridiculously over-priced anyway. And I agree that it's probably why they get pirated.
Posted by ACuriousOnlooker (2 comments )
Link Flag
Don't laugh, but...any word on HomeSite?
I suppose this is the last thing on anybody's mind, but first on mine: Does ANYBODY know whether the long-abandoned HomeSite will be magically revived now? Or is this just wishful thinking for this old dinosaur and I should just get with the times?
Posted by ProfessorDino (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Same as with GoLive
Left to wither on the vine? Actually from what I read HomeSite is
included with the new DreamWeaver.
Posted by Lee in San Diego (608 comments )
Link Flag
Homesite lives!
You can still get HomeSite, either with Dreamweaver or on its own. It hasn't advanced much recently, but then, it does what it does just fine already. I personally have switched to Dreamweaver, just because it does so much more, but it's still nice to have HomeSite around.
Posted by Ikthog (43 comments )
Link Flag
There's nothing to laugh about..
Thats was a good app. If they claim to offer professional tools then I think its really worth there while to make tools for web developers who actually write code.
Posted by Akiba (220 comments )
Link Flag
Wait a minute...
"On a related note, Loiacono said that he is not aware of any substantial problems with running Creative Suite 2 on Windows Vista but that the company is not officially recommending that usage because it has not done a full barrage of tests."

Didn't Cnet post an article last week stating that adobe is recommending that people with vista should just upgrade to CS3, rather than wait for a patch for CS2 to make it 100% vista compatible?
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What gets me...
How long was Vista out in BETA? How many times was it delayed?

What the hell were all these companies doing during that time frame? I had to go back to XP because HP didn't have Vista printer drivers for a laserjet 1020. Every time I loaded up Photoshop CS2, it asked me to register... didn't matter if I had already registered, clicked do not register and never remind me again, it always came up with that.

To me, there is simply no excuse for companies to have not been ready for Vista.

I'm actually happier on XP and will be sticking with it now for at least 6 months.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Story Corrections
A couple of corrections to this story:

After the unplanned intermission, I believe Loiacono said "Welcome back to the Creative Suite 3.2 launch" -- making a joke about the delay.

And the reference to the cause of the problem being a cell phone was also a joke. He did point out that the glitch was an audiovisual problem, not a software bug, but he didn't seriously mean to attribute it to someone's cell phone being left on. He was kidding.
Posted by kwhitehouse (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Right
I bet if it would have happened with Vista there would be up to 250 comments already about it bashing Microsoft and saying they suck.
Oh well, it's Adobe, it's no problem, no one's perfect.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
What happened to HomeSite?
Of course they killed HomeSite. All it needed was

1) a simple and workable FTP client ability, and
2) a fully-capable macro system...

...and it would knock any HTML editor off the perch. But that's the last thing that Adobe wants to hear about. They have their bloated, crash-prone, macro-challenged Dreamweaver cash-cow to milk, and it's milking time!
Posted by alcidebava (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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