Adobe Creative Suite 3

AdobeThe introduction of Adobe Creative Suite 3 is the culmination of a story that began back in the late 90s. Every graphic designer worth his salt used previous industry standard Quark Xpress along with Adobe’s imaging applications, Photoshop and InDesign.

Adobe introduced InDesign in 1999 to compete with Quark Xpress, soon leaving the bloated, overpriced market leader in the dust. And following its 2006 purchase of Macromedia, Adobe now has every major print and web design application under one roof.

CS3 Design premium is just one of six different CS3 versions to choose from depending on whether you’re a designer for print, online, filmmaking or all three, but it’s the core application set you’ll need if you’re in a typical print design environment doing rudimentary web development.

It comes with the latest versions of InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash and Acrobat, as well as the constantly evolving utilities such as Bridge, Version Cue and Stock Photo.

Deleting all the old Creative Suite versions and installing CS3 took a little over ninety minutes and put 3Gb more data on our disc.

The first change you’ll notice is that once again, Adobe has standardised as much as it could. InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop now have the same palette layout and many of the same commands across the whole suite, and one wonders how long it will be before one super-application does everything as their functions evolve and overlaps further.

When Macromedia and Adobe were separate there were plenty of double ups, and their merger has given Adobe (and us) the luxury of trimming duplications. Gone is the web development program GoLive — which never came close to the quality of Dreamweaver. Photoshop has lost Imageready, the applet that’s bee replaced with the animation palette Photoshop now shares with Flash, and CS3 Print Premium doesn’t have web graphics tool Fireworks, all of whose functions are adequately covered by Photoshop.

Aside from cosmetic streamlining, nothing sweeping has changed inside each application, and the only real improvement that makes Creative Suite 3 worth buying is the fact that everything now comes in the one box. Even if you’ve never come to rely on or use tools like Bridge or Version Cue, the entire suite offers an ease of workflow two separate packages could never manage before.

It also comes right on time for the impending growth in mobile content now serious and affordable 3G is being taken up across Australia, with the tools necessary to design online content for multiple platforms, not just websites on computers. Several applications hare a shortcut to preview your design on a large number of current model mobile devices, a classic example of Adobe being ahead the curve as always.

For the first time coming on one installer DVD, Adobe CS3 is big in every sense of the word. Gone are the individual idents, logo and personalities like eyes, butterflies and feathers, and while it’s exciting enough that every application you need to set up your own studio now comes in a single box, they all work more than comfortably together.