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Adobe announces Creative Suite 3.0

Photoshop meets Macromedia products

Adobe today released details of a complete revamp of its Creative Suite - the market-leading software package for high-end photographers, graphics- and web-designers. Adobe revealed that it has combined, for the first time, products from its aquisition of Macromedia with its own portfolio.

Adobe has created six different versions of Creative Suite 3.0. Each is aimed at specific customer groups, according to Caleb Belohlavek, Adobe CS group manager. The targeted groups are print and publication designers, web designers and video designers. Adobe also has created a monster suite that includes all the products.

In a major update from CS2 (Creative Suite 2.0), Adobe has created critical links between tools included in the suites. This will make it easier for designers to create graphics and applications in a market where various multimedia formats are converging, Belohlavek said.

Read our Adobe Creative Suite 3 review.

"Creative professionals are being challenged to create content via print, web, mobile, video, etc," he said. "That's really what this launch is about: bringing together Adobe and Macromedia to break down barriers as they work across different products."

Adobe completed its purchase of Macromedia in December 2005. Before the deal, the two companies competed in both the graphic-design and web-design tools markets. Macromedia had an edge in the latter. The combined company has no serious rival in the web- and graphics-design tools market, although Microsoft is hoping to make some ground with its forthcoming Expression tools suite.

Read our hot-off-the-press review of Microsoft Expression Web.

CS3 (Creative Suite 3.0) bridges the gap between Adobe and Macromedia products, and eliminates overlap in the product lines. Designers can now import the layers of a Photoshop image directly into Flash, then manipulate the image without having to flatten all the layers into a completed image first. Having to import all of the layers into Flash at once "used to be a huge time consumer", Belohlavek said.

At the behest of customers, CS3 sees Adobe replace its GoLive web-design product with Dreamweaver, Belohlavek said. Adobe will maintain GoLive as a standalone product.

For print designers, Adobe has created Creative Suite 3.0 Design Premium and Creative Suite 3.0 Design Standard. These packages can be seen as the successors to the current version of Adobe Creative Suite, CS2, Belohlavek said.

Design Premium includes new versions of: Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop Extended, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Professional, Adobe Flash Professional and Adobe Dreamweaver.

It also includes Adobe Bridge, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Adobe Stock Photos, Adobe Version Cue and Adobe Device Central, a new emulation tool that lets designers demonstrate how mobile applications will look and perform on a variety of mobile devices.

The standard version includes all of the same except Dreamweaver and Flash. The version of Photoshop in Creative 3.0 Design Standard is the basic version of Photoshop, not the extended one.

Suites targeted at web designers, which can be seen as successors to the former Macromedia product Studio 8.0, are Creative Suite 3.0 Web Premium and Creative Suite 3.0 Web Standard.

The premium product includes Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Contribute, Adobe Photoshop Extended and Adobe Acrobat Professional. The standard edition of the web suite includes Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Fireworks and Contribute.

Creative Suite Product Premium is targeted at video developers and is the next-generation version of Adobe's Production Studio, Belohlavek said.

The product includes new versions of the following: Adobe After Effects Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop Extended, Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Soundbooth, Adobe Encore, Adobe OnLocation (Windows only) and Adobe Ultra. Adobe Bridge, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Adobe Stock Photos, Adobe Device Central and Adobe Dynamic Link also are included in the suite.

Finally Adobe has created a comprehensive suite called Creative Suite 3.0 Master Collection that includes all of the products of the three premium suites in one package, Belohlavek said.

Adobe expects the print and web editions of Creative Suite 3.0 to be available in April or May, with Creative Suite Product Premium and Master Collection to follow about 90 days after, in the third quarter of the year.

Estimated street price for the Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 Design Premium is £1,409, £1,195 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium, £1,409 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, and £1,969 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection. There are numerous upgrade paths available for Adobe customers.


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