Adobe has unveiled Creative Suite 4 (CS4), the latest update to its suite of high-end applications for print, web, and video professionals. Available in October, the suite consists of 13 products, 14 integrated technologies, and seven services.
One of the biggest changes users will notice right away is the new tabbed interface for applications in CS4. Adobe has given all of its applications the ability to use tabs, so you can have multiple tabs open at the same time, but still be in one window.
Files and objects can be shared across tabs by clicking and dragging them and holding them on a new tab. Of course, if you prefer the multiple window interface of the old Adobe products, you can still use that too.
Major standalone products released as part of CS4 include Photoshop, Photoshop Extended, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Adobe Premiere.
If there is a consistent theme in Creative Suite 4, it's integration. Adobe integrated its Flash multimedia application across the CS4 applications. The company also focused on integrating common functions in other apps, too, as part of an effort to make pro users more efficient.
"One of the things we are really committed to is helping customers express their ideas," said Chad Siegel, group product manager for Adobe Creative Solutions. "We aren't just about providing the tools, we are about making a platform to help them express themselves in engaging ways."
Trying to come up with solutions to challenges for one product the size of Photoshop is a daunting task for any company, but coming up with solutions for eight or 10 products can seem almost impossible.
Siegel said Adobe spent a lot of time with its customers, watching what they were doing on a daily basis. Isolating the workflow issues of a variety of pro users helped the company narrow the focus of where CS4 needed to go.
According to Siegel, Adobe focused on four key challenges across the suite of applications - effective collaboration between designers, developers, specialists within workflows, creative pros and clients; support for mobile devices and new media; the embrace of new media; and tracking, managing, automating and deriving value from assets.