How Suite it Is
by Thomas Franklin
Part 1 of a 8-part Series
Adobe’s long-awaited Creative Suite 3 (CS3) launched last month—the largest product launch in the software company’s history. Encompassing 13 software applications in all, designers and photo imagers will get their hands on the latest updates of Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, and more, in a variety of packages and configurations.
The firm’s Design Standard suite is geared specifically toward professional designers and print providers. It incorporates Acrobat 8 Professional and CS3 versions of InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator for $1,199. Upgrade pricing is also available, as is the ability to purchase individual applications or all 13 titles in a Master Collection for $2,499.
Within the voluminous list of new and enhanced features driving the new releases are several design features that "work well when working in large format," says Lonn Lorenz, product manager, CS3. Specifically, the ability to create Smart Objects in Photoshop lets designers alter the size of images without altering the original image file. This non destructive editing lets designers work with vector data that would otherwise have been rasterized in Photoshop. For proofing purposes, it lets designers scale down the image to a smaller page size without down-sizing the original files.
Photoshop CS3 builds off of Smart Objects with new Smart Filters—essentially traditional filters that are applied to images in a non-destructive manner.
Another benefit for large format designers, Lorenz says, is larger PDF page sizes. From a previous 200 inches, the max page size in a PDF is now 200 feet.
The page layout program InDesign offers the ability to add Photoshop effects to objects on page, without permanently altering them. The list of available effects has grown, with the addition of directional feather, bevel and emboss, satin, inner and outer shadow, and more in the CS3 release.
Headlining Illustrator’s new features is Live Color, which lets users combine and experiment with colors. The tool lets designers create color schemes based on 23 "color harmony rules" or you can invent your own. You can work within existing libraries like Pantone or use previously saved, custom libraries.
As with most new software, the performance of the products within the suite has been enhanced, especially for those with the most robust processors—image scrolling and zooming have been sped up and refresh rates have been quickened. Photoshop CS3 specifically boasts a 40 percent speed increase versus the previous version on Intel-based Macs, according to Adobe.
Working with HP, Adobe also enhanced its Photoshop print dialog—adding a color-managed print preview for one last soft proof before sending the file to be output. Indeed, one of the benefits of the suite approach—as opposed to standalone offerings—is unified color management across multiple applications, Lorenz says. For CS3, color management settings can be synchronized across more software platforms, including Acrobat, from the Adobe Bridge program.
"People go pale when you mention color management," Lorenz jokes. "Now, we have it on in default so [color management] is in place out of the box. I think we did the right thing with color management, because there’s no such thing as turning it off."
Another advantage to the suite, Lorenz adds, is the ability to work with a consistent user interface with the assurance that the programs "will work well together." For instance, the suite enables an end-to-end PDF workflow which "other programs can’t match."