The Production Premium Suite features Adobe CS4's video-editing tools - Premiere, After Effects, Soundbooth, OnLocation, and Encore - along with Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, and Flash.

See also: Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) review

Among the highlights of Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) are a simplified workflow system, new tools for integrating Flash animations into projects, and expanded support for community features.

Creative Suite 4 remains a cornucopia of individual applications, most of which are sold independently, too. But with CS4, Adobe tightens the links among the applications - evidence that the company recognises designers' need to switch seamlessly between programs without leaving a project. Adobe addresses this need with a newly simplified workflow, which will permit users to design across media more efficiently and to complete common tasks more easily.

INDIVIDUAL CS4 PRODUCTION PREMIUM APPS REVIEWED IN DETAIL:

Adobe Photoshop CS4 review

Adobe Illustrator CS4 review

Adobe After Effects CS4 review

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 review

Adobe Flash Professional CS4 review

Adobe Soundbooth CS4 review

For example, an expanded version of Dynamic Link in CS4 Production Premium will enable designers to move content between After Effects, Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, and Encore, and to see their updates instantly without rendering.


Illustrator CS4 now lets designers work from multiple art boards at once. Designers can pull up art boards from within InDesign, and can then drag and drop elements from those boards into page layouts. This tool has promise: it can be especially helpful for coordinating illustration and text for books or pamphlets, for example.

InDesign CS4 also includes a Live Preflight tool to help designers catch production errors, and a customisable Links panel for placing files.

The new Content-Aware Scaling tool in Photoshop automatically recomposes an image as it is resized, preserving vital areas as the image conforms to new dimensions. Photoshop CS4 also will have 3D capabilities, which will enable you to take a 2D image and wrap it around a 3D wireframe, such as a sphere.

With this latest iteration, Adobe promises a more intuitive process for creating what it calls "life-like" animations in Flash CS4. The new version has the ability to apply tweens to objects rather than to keyframes, giving designers greater control over animation attributes. And the Bones tool helps create more realistic animations between linked objects. These new Flash features allow designers to directly produce animations.

NEXT PAGE: collaboration tools and pricing

Adobe's Design Premium CS4 suite features InDesign CS4, Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4 and Acrobat 9 Pro, along with new versions of Bridge, Device Central, and Version Cue (although it replaces the standard version of Photoshop with Photoshop CS4 Extended) and adds Flash, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks.

See also: Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) review

A big addition to Creative Suite 4 is its collaboration tools. Adobe ConnectNow, accessible from most applications in the suite, allows up to three people to collaborate in real time. This feature should be useful to designers who want hands-on input from their clients. In addition, designers can share colour harmonies via the Adobe Kuler, have technical questions answered in Adobe Community Help, and access a media and tutorial library through Resource Central.

Adobe is offering prospective users a choice of six suites or full-version upgrades of 13 stand-alone applications, including Photoshop, Photoshop Extended, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Premiere Pro.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 pricing

Adobe Creative Suite 4.0 Design Premium will be £1,249, and it will cost £1,195 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, £1,409 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium, and £1,969 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection.

Last May, customers got a preview of the next-generation versions of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth, when Adobe released beta versions for download on its Adobe Labs site (see below for review links, or click here for reviews of all Adobe products). CS4 will reach the market in mid-October 2008. We'll be taking a closer look at Creative Suite 4.0 over the next few weeks. So click back for further detail.

INDIVIDUAL CS4 PRODUCTION PREMIUM APPS REVIEWED IN DETAIL:

Adobe Photoshop CS4 review

Adobe Illustrator CS4 review

Adobe After Effects CS4 review

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 review

Adobe Flash Professional CS4 review

Adobe Soundbooth CS4 review

Adobe Creative Suite 4: Specs

  • 2GHz or faster processor
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2/SP3, Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit Windows XP and Windows Vista)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 9.3GB hard-disk space for installation
  • additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices)
  • 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
  • Some features in Adobe Bridge rely on a DirectX 9.0–capable graphics card with at least 64MB of VRAM
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7.4.5 software required for multimedia features
  • broadband internet connection required for online services
  • 2GHz or faster processor
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2/SP3, Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit Windows XP and Windows Vista)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 9.3GB hard-disk space for installation
  • additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices)
  • 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
  • Some features in Adobe Bridge rely on a DirectX 9.0–capable graphics card with at least 64MB of VRAM
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7.4.5 software required for multimedia features
  • broadband internet connection required for online services

OUR VERDICT

The Production Premium Suite features Adobe CS4's video-editing tools - Premiere, After Effects, Soundbooth, OnLocation, and Encore - along with Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, and Flash.

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