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Product:  Creative Suite 5 Master Collection
Company: Adobe
Website: http://www.adobe.com
MSRP:
$2599.00
 Upgrade: From $899
Review By: Andre Da Costa

Over the next few  weeks ActiveWin will be taking a look at the latest in design and creative solutions from Adobe. The Company continues to challenge itself by solving some of the hard problems persons who work in graphics and media are facing every day. The Creative Suite is a very mature product, with its roots going back as far as the Design Collection. With the introduction of Creative Suite back in 2003, Adobe realized that a cohesive experience was just as important as introducing whizz bang, how did you do that features. We have now arrived at the CS5 release which is even more impressive; highlights include more 64 bit ready programs, Enhanced 3D, Automatic lens correction, Enhanced Painting Effects, HDR Pro and HDR Toning, Variable-width strokes, faster way of distributing content using Flash, Easy and powerful coding, Streamline object selection and editing with InDesign, ability to Manage page items with more control using the all-new Layers panel. This is just a tip of the ice berg when it comes to using the new Creative Suite 5, especially the Master Collection edition.

Adobe is introducing CS5 at a very crucial time in the Company’s history. The Internet is not just about desktop’s, laptops and Netbooks, but powerful mobile devices called Smart Phones which have changed the way we engage with computers. Flash has become a guiding light for bringing flexibility to how content developers effectively create, share, manage and secure various forms of media, whether it’s an entertaining game, movie preview or a web based application. Flash CS5 will help developers seamlessly bring these traditional experiences to a mobile paradigm that will provide a consistent experience for both developers and end users regardless of the device or mobile operating system. Apple, a company Adobe has consistently provided creative solutions for since the 1980’s is now drawing a line insisting that their popular Smartphone device, the iPhone is not welcoming of Flash, not now, not ever. Google and other industry heavy weights though are taking the safer bet by supporting Adobe Flash Player 10.1 on their latest mobile operating system platforms. A recent demo of Flash on a Google Nexus One device impressed me so much that I immediately realized that lack of Flash on the iPhone is a big missing piece of the puzzle in Apples neck of the woods.

Apple is betting on HTML5 as the best place to go, Adobe has got you covered there too and new improvements in Creative Suite also caters to powerful experiences for Web Designers and Developers. At Google’s recent I/O developer conference, Adobe announced the availability of Adobe HTML 5 for Dreamweaver CS5. Adobe says the extension is based on feedback from its Adobe MAX 2009 conference. According to Adobe:

“This extension provides initial support for HTML5 and CSS3 in Dreamweaver CS5. While HTML5 and CSS3 will not be finalized for some time, the extension provides support for a set of currently implemented features”.

What’s in HTML5? Well, you will find features such as Starter layouts, code hinting for HTML5 and CSS3 features that takes advantage of the HTML5 tags, and WebKit engine updates and improvements to support video and audio in Live View in Dreamweaver CS5. What it essentially does is allow Web developers to better design web pages more easily and accurately for multiple screens with previews of they will look in variety of browsers and mobile devices. You can learn more at http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/html5pack.html

These are interesting times indeed and Adobe is keeping ahead by being the driving engine that powers the experiences Creatives will deliver over the next 5 years starting with this new release of the Adobe Creative Suite.
 

To see the full list of features in Creative Suite 5 Master Collection, visit: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/mastercollection/whatsnew/

Setup & Installation 

Adobe Photoshop CS5, version 12 was installed as part of the Adobe CS5 Master Collection, which is a massive suite of all of Adobe’s design applications. The suite is included on multiple DVD disks:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 5 Application DVD set (multiple disks)

  • Adobe Content DVD (a single disc, contains the 32-bit support package for Windows)

  • Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional DVD

If you plan on using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and Adobe After Effects CS5, please upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7 “64 bit” (note the emphasis on 64 bit), since these applications will not work on 32 bit version of either XP, Vista or Windows 7. The installation is a simple process, insert the disk and the auto-run wizard will begin. The wizard involves, accepting the End User License Agreement, Enter your serial number, confirming the installation options, whether you want the entire suite to be installed or not. The Adobe CS5 Master Collection requires at least 18 GBs of disk space if you choose all programs. I notice  I was not given the option to upgrade an existing installation of Adobe Creative Suite on my hard disk. Like previous versions, Adobe continues to use a co-exist strategy. So if you are low on disk space, its recommended you remove any previous versions. I suggest you find something else to do while the software installs on your system. I installed Adobe CS5 Master Collection on a HP xw4600 Workstation Intel 2.5 Core 2 Quad, 2 GBs of ECC DDR2 RAM, nVidia Quadro FX1700 512 MBs of RAM. The installation estimated a total time of 100 to 125 mins and at times said it would take about 35 mins. The suite based on my experience and timing took about 40 mins to install. A great thing after the installation was complete, I didn’t have to restart!

Adobe Photoshop 5

After installation, I launched the industry standard image editing solution. I was greeted by Adobe’s latest artistic splash screen which seems to be an origami layout, not sure to be honest. Users should note that Adobe Photoshop CS5 which is the Company’s flagship product is now 20 years old. Developed in the late 1980’s by brothers Thomas and John Knoll, Photoshop was initially released as Image Pro version 0.9 for the Mac and was bundled with scanner hardware. Adobe became aware of the product and acquired it releasing the first version for Macintosh in 1990. Adobe did not release the Windows version until version 2. Since then, Adobe has consistently released corresponding versions for both Mac and Windows.

Some might ask, why would I really want to upgrade to version CS5 especially if I am running CS4, which is 64 bit, contains 3D imaging and many other features I am probably still trying to understand.

Interface

Immediately I saw some differences to the CS5 interface layout, panels are more intuitively displayed, showing a minimal amount of features probably just to reduce the overwhelming experience of using such a powerful application initially. If you are new to Photoshop, transitioning from an earlier version or Photoshop Elements, users should feel more comfortable, a new ‘What’s New?’, feature will get you up to speed with the newest features of the product so you can start implementing some of the latest design features in your project.

Highlights:

  • Complex selections made easy

  • Clean removal of unwanted photo elements

  •  HDR Pro and HDR Toning

  • Extraordinary painting effects

  • Reshaping image elements with Puppet Warp

  • State-of-the-art raw-image processing

  •  Automatic lens correction

Adobe is a Company of innovation and it’s really about pushing the edge and finding answers to problems in a number of areas, from 3D to basic 2D graphic design. Photoshop CS5 could be summarized about making some of the common pain points of digital image editing much easier.  Content Aware Fill is one of the major highlights I love using in the new Photoshop CS5, when working on complex images with intricate aspects, the process can be demanding, complex, impossible and very time consuming. Content Aware Fill makes working on these types of images much easier using technology to remove certain objects from within an image and make it seem like it was never there in the first place. The way it works is almost like magic, but the engineering is actually the magic, by detecting the minute details of photo, by finding what are objects within the photo itself. You can use the familiar tools of Photoshop CS5 such as Fill command or Healing Brush when a selection is made within the photo.

Users of Photoshop CS5 will notice that the Refine Edge dialog is greatly enhanced with better accuracy when making selections within an image. Smart Radius automatically matches the best selection approach with the subject’s changing edge characteristics, and the extra view modes assist you in previewing the quality of your selections. The Refine Radius and Erase Refinements tools customize your masks and selections as you make them. These tools help you brush in tricky image elements like hair. As selections are applied within a photo, the Refine Radius tool will customize masks when made, Color decontamination helps eliminate any residual background color from around the edges of your selections, and more output options provide extra flexibility when using the completed mask.

Puppet Warp

This feature allows you to have a greater depth of control over objects with a project. For example, you can reshape, transform, reposition and object to suit a particular layout by using a simple drag and drop action. Photoshop will automatically adjust the additional parts of the image to apply to the adjustments.

If you work mostly with the Painting tools in Photoshop, CS5 introduces a new set of brushes such as Mixer and Bristle Tip that are more naturally familiar to users of competitive packages such as Painter with a more realistic result . The Mixer Brush for instance offers on-canvas color blending, and Bristle Tips, which let you create lifelike, textured brush strokes. You can apply painted effects on photos and makes images have a higher level of realism than before by controlling the level of wetness and mix rate. Bristle Qualities define key bristle properties such as shape, length, stiffness, thickness, angle, and spacing, which affect how the color is laid on the image as you paint. The Bristle Brush Preview feature provides a visual representation of these changes, and you can save your tip configurations for future use, allowing you to build a customized collection of Bristle Tips to experiment with when using Photoshop brush tools.

Enhanced 3D

If you are running the Extended version of Photoshop CS5, you will be pleased to find some great new enhancements. Adobe Repoussé makes it surprisingly easy to convert 2D artwork into 3D objects and then create depth by altering the extrusion properties of the 3D model. Extrude text to create logos and 3D artwork for use in websites, video frames, or layouts. Alter the look of your 3D model by manipulating its key extrusion properties: depth, scale, bend, shear, twist, or inflate, located in the Repoussé dialog box. This great for creating special Word Art effects using your own style.

You can select materials from the library of included presets, download additional materials by choosing 3D > Browse 3D Content, create your own, or even edit existing materials to customize them for your needs (in the materials section of the 3D panel). Test a variety of looks for your 3D models and extruded designs by adding different materials or textures to their surfaces. The Repoussé dialog box and the Materials section of the 3D panel both contain options for applying a single material to all surfaces. They also enable you to choose different treatments for individual sections and surfaces of your models.

Photo Pro’s

Photoshop CS5 remains true to one of its early group of adopters, photographers. Photoshop CS5 introduces HDR Pro for more control over the HDR merging process and greater adjustment power over the styling of HDR output, resulting in images that range from photorealistic to highly surreal.

HDR Pro offers extended controls, an enhanced dialog box, and improved image processing. New algorithms enable more accurate alignment of source files and automatically deghost any problem areas caused by moving subjects. New tone-mapping tools and adjustment controls give you the power to implement your own HDR vision, producing photos that vary in look from fully textured photos of high-contrast scenes where detail and tone prevail, to colorful and dramatic, hyper-realistic creations.

With support for more than 275 camera models, the new Camera Raw 6 Plug in introduces enhanced sharpening and noise removal. You can apply new styles such as vignette and film grain in your RAW projects. The Automated Lens Corrections offers new features that greatly simplify photographer workflows with tools for geometric distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting. Lens profiles can be customized with a free download of Adobes Lens Profile Creator plug-in.

 

Adobe Illustrator CS5

The new version of Adobe’s vector illustration program offers tighter web integration and cohesiveness with sibling Flash CS5, but, the program does not leave itself out when it comes to traditional illustrators and painters, new features such as the new perspective drawing feature and perspective grid tool adds more depth to the artboard feature introduced in CS4. The 3D like environment allows you to alter the path of vertical planes, raise or lower the ground level including switch between 1-, 2- and 3- point perspectives. You will find new controls for multiple artboards make it much easier to share and work on multiple projects in one place, this is especially handy when your work is centered around a theme or campaign, you are able to have more control and clarity over various aspects of the design process.

Another enhancement I am appreciating in this release is the ability to place one or more in the same location across all your artboards. This further gives you the ability to rearrange artboards on a regular grid with layout and spacing of your choice. Artboards can even be reordered on the fly so that pages saved as a PDF look just the way you want it to. To keep things in order, you can have further control of your artboards by keeping them locked so they don’t interfere with other options on the canvas itself. The new width-control handles simplifies the experience of working with strokes in a more convenient way. You add width-control points wherever you want them, move them around, and save width profiles for reuse. Arrowhead control, including size and position options, is now in the Stroke panel, along with options to choose how your dashes lie along a path. Art brushes and pattern brushes are now more controllable and easier to work with.

Creating your own shapes

Building shapes is so much easier and accurate in Illustrator CS5, prior versions were more of a luck if you got the result you wanted. A new Shaper Builder tool allows you to merge objects, breaking overlapping shapes into distinct objects, subtracting areas, and more. For example, you can draw a stroke across the middle of a circle and quickly create two half-circles—no need to open a panel. Coloring fills and strokes is easier now, too. The Shape Builder tool includes interactive color selection for quickly filling closed or partially closed areas your artwork, automatic gap detection, and the option of choosing whether or not to automatically fill new shapes.

Designers will discover improvements have been made to previous features too. For example, the new mode called Draw Inside automatically creates a mask out of selected objects—no need to use the menu to make a mask. The option to Draw Inside automatically creates a mask that you can edit as you would any mask or clipping path. You can use the Control panel button Edit Contents to move and scale the placed photo. The Draw Behind mode enables creation of new artwork underneath any selected object, exactly where you want in the stacking order. Scale a symbol and retain the readability of the text in it, along with the consistency of the corner shapes.

Painting

Paint with vectors that resemble realworld brush strokes. With the new Bristle Brush, you can set bristle characteristics such as size, length, thickness, and stiffness. Set brush shape and bristle density. And set paint opacity, which uses transparency variations to simulate lifelike blending.

Use the Bristle Brush to create versatile, scalable designs that can be used for many different outcomes, as is the case here, creating an ad for an apparel line called “Bristle.” This intricate but flowing artwork can go on a billboard as easily as a mobile phone, thanks to the vectors that make up the painterly surfaces.

Web Integration

Create vector objects precisely on the pixel grid for delivering pixel-aligned artwork, and choose one of four text anti-aliasing options for each of your Illustrator text frames. Illustrator CS5 includes these enhancements for online projects, as well as the exciting new integration with Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 for designing interactive experiences.

When you’re designing artwork for the web, it’s critical that raster images look sharp, especially standard web graphics at 72ppi resolution. With Align To Pixel Grid, objects are automatically nudged to the closest pixel edge when you create them or apply transformations. Now, a one-pixel stroke won’t straddle two pixels and looked blurred or get lost due to anti-aliasing.

Create readable text for the web, mobile devices, handsets, gaming devices, or any destination where you need to generate raster images from your Illustrator artwork. You can apply a different rule to each text frame in your artwork, and your specifications are saved with the document.

Working with Adobe Flash Catalyst

Use Illustrator CS5 for interaction design. Develop your ideas and design your interface in Illustrator, creating screen layouts and individual elements such as logos and button graphics. Then open your artwork in Flash Catalyst, where your effects and file structure are perfectly preserved, and where you can add actions and interactive components—without writing code.

Adobe Flash CS5 Professional & Flash Catalyst CS5

Interactive content continues to be a major part of the web experience, whether you are developing for it or consuming it as the end user. The biggest draw for users coming from prior versions of Adobe Flash is the more integrated experience version CS5 provides with its Creative Suite siblings in addition to more robust tools to produce more powerful solutions. Some highlights include, a powerful new text engine, expanded support for mobile and consumer devices, and enhanced coding tools are among the new features in Flash Professional CS5. Stronger integration with Adobe Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, and After Effects® software, and creating a design workflow that extends the potential of your interactive content across media formats is also something to look forward to. Flash Professional CS5 integrates support for  Adobe Flash Player, Adobe AIR®, and mobile authoring, allowing you to easily and consistently deliver interactive content, advertising, and video virtually anywhere.

New Text  Engine

Flash Professional CS5 adds support for the new Text Layout Framework built into Flash Player 10, which produces print-quality typographic functionality with more sophisticated results. Support for the Text Layout Framework provides, multilingual typographic control previously not available in Flash Professional, as well as a comprehensive set of APIs to manipulate text content, layout, and markup. The new text engine in Flash Professional CS5 also maintains layout and text formatting with better results when moving content to other products such as InDesign. One of the benefits of the advanced text support in Flash Professional CS5 is that layout and text formatting are maintained with higher level of reliability when importing content from Adobe siblings such as After Effects.

If you are a designer, you want to have that exact experience when transitioning content from programs such as InDesign to the web. Replicating the typographic creations is often the sticky part of job that’s most difficult reproduce for a complex platform. Flash CS5 Professional offers a greater level of power and control through the new Text Layout Framework. Immediate benefits include richer typographical controls with advanced text styling such as kerning, ligatures, tracking, and leading, and advanced text-layout controls including threaded text blocks, multiple columns, and text wrap. The multi-lingual support is also an exciting addition too! The ability to display and edit not only right-to-left scripts, but also top-to-bottom scripts, and those that often uses a mixture of left-to-right and right-to-left scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew is a definite welcome. Additional features for East Asian typography, including an East Asian justifier, vertical text support, and Tate-Chu-Yoko, or blocks of horizontal text embedded into vertical runs of text, are also supported. The support for these new capabilities makes Flash even more accessible to customers in a wider range of markets.

XML-based FLA source files

When you save a file from Flash Professional, it appears on your computer as a single compressed binary file with an FLA extension. This single file contains everything in your project, including symbols, images, movies, and scripts, and can be opened or worked on by only one person at a time. When a team of designers and developers work collaboratively on a large project, this current workflow requires managers to break projects into multiple parts, which is harder to control. It’s also harder to integrate such projects with version-control systems.

Now, with Flash Professional CS5, you can choose to save your file as a single compressed FLA file as before, or you can choose to save your file in an uncompressed XML-based implementation of the FLA file format called XFL. This compact and efficient file format maintains data in a Flash document and makes the individual elements easier to manage and use. When saved in this way, uncompressed projects appear not as a single FLA file, but as a folder which contains all of the assets for your project, allowing you to easily swap out assets and work collaboratively with others.

Improvements to Coding

Coding is an essential part of using Adobe Flash Professional, the new version provides an extensible code snippets feature which allows you to quickly add prebuilt code to your project, and you can code faster using custom class introspection and code completion when writing ActionScript code. In addition, you can use Adobe Flash Builder software for authoring, debugging, and testing your code. Flash Professional CS5 also provides a new way to quickly include code for things like timeline navigation, actions, animation, audio and video, and event handlers with the Code Snippets panel. By injecting prebuilt code into projects, you can work faster so you can focus more on the design experience of your project. The performance of your work flow is also greatly improved with the improved ActionScript Editor, additions such as custom class code hinting and code completion, and referencing your own code or external code libraries can be done more efficiently. If you just starting with coding in Flash, you can start projects and have code hinting provide help as you learn the fundamentals of the ActionScript language. Flash Professional CS5 can write the import statement for libraries, while more experienced and advanced developers can more quickly reference their own code or external code libraries they’re using.

Integration with Flash Builder

Adobe Flash Builder (formerly Adobe Flex® Builder™) is a professional Eclipse-based development tool that enables intelligent coding, interactive step-through debugging, and visual design of the user interface and behavior for Flex applications. Rather than having to choose between one integrated development environment (IDE) and another, you can now write your ActionScript code in Flash Builder and then test, debug, and publish your content in Flash Professional.

Spring for Bones

Flash CS4 Professional introduced an easy-to-use Inverse Kinematics (IK) feature, giving you the ability to quickly create and control animation. With Flash Professional CS5, Adobe integrates the power of a dynamic physics engine into the Inverse Kinematics system. This engine allows new users to create physics-enhanced animation with ease, and gives expert users powerful functionality that is supported for both runtime and authortime. Spring for Bones gives IK animation lifelike movement that is 100% configurable, so you can get realistic multi-object interactions that look less robotic and rigid.

Video improvements

More designers are looking to use video content within their design solutions because they offer a dynamic nature to the experience. With integrated support for content created with Adobe Premiere® Pro or Adobe After Effects software, it’s easy to work with video content directly in Flash Professional CS5. Quickly and easily incorporate video, and make the video content more meaningful by timing content against cue points.

New Deco drawing tools

Flash Professional CS5 extends the functionality of the dynamic Deco brush tools, enabling you to easily draw shapes and add advanced animation effects. Use these new brushes to quickly add graphical elements to your projects.

Any device, any platform, anywhere…but the iPhone

A preview of the Packager for iPhone component is included with Flash Professional CS5, and it compiles ActionScript bytecode into native iPhone application code that developers can then distribute as iPhone application installer (IPA) files via the iTunes store. (The preview is also available in the Adobe AIR SDK.) Unfortunately, Apple Inc. recently made some suspicious changes to its iOS 4 SDK License which prevents major third party developers such as Adobe and others from using development tools other than those created by Apple to author and package applications for distribution on the Apple iTunes App Store. Apple says it’s nothing personal, but more of a chance to control the experience of applications created for the iPhone and to keep the clout it has gained over the past three years since the introduction of the wildly popular device.

 Steve Jobs has said, it’s about maintaining the quality of applications for the device and not becoming beholden to a third party developer to introduce innovations. I can understand this view, but I am missing where Apple is not willing to work with Adobe to help make the technology which is ubiquitous with the web reach a satisfactory level for the iPhone, Adobe is willing to go the extra mile. Yes, HTML5 is a reality, even Adobe realizes that, but Flash is not going anywhere and HTML 5 is still missing a lot of maturity, even when it does reach the mainstream, Flash will remain a significant part of the web. Moving on from this rant, Adobe has decided to move forward and embrace the next best option which is Google’s Android which is fully supporting Flash in version 2.2 code name Froyo (it should be available to most Android devices by the time you read this review). Microsoft has also committed to supporting Flash on its next generation mobile OS Windows Phone 7, but that won’t be for now. Flash right now represents a unique opportunity to really get your app a mass market appeal, when you look at social networking apps such as Seesmic or TweetDeck, which are very popular on Windows, Linux and OS X, the opportunity to democratize and simplify the end user experience is a key benefit of developing with Flash CS5 Professional.

Flash CS5 Catalyst – Design and development are two fields that always seem to face that oil and water obstacle when it comes creating a cohesive, seamless experience for the web. Adobe believes they have the answer with a new version 1 tool called Flash CS5 Catalyst. This interactive design solution allows persons who don’t know how to write one line of code have all the power of a person who does by allowing you to create impressive graphical elements that can be used in your Flash projects. Flash Builder and Catalyst CS5 go hand in hand to really achieve the results. So, you could also describe as more of a workflow tool that helps to simplify the design process and reduces some of the bottlenecks for persons who are not on the same level. Let’s face it, you sometimes just don’t get the best of both worlds, a brilliant coder, but no taste, a brilliant designer, but no logic. This is a great effort on Adobe’s part and I like the fact that the Company is trying to narrow the two and open both philosophies to each other more gently.

Catalyst works great with other siblings such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, so you can start your projects in either two and bring them over into Catalyst to add the interactivity and logic behind animations for instance. Using Catalyst though, I wondering if there is a possibility that Adobe might not just merge it with Flash in the future, especially if you want a lot more power, you still have to depend on Flash CS5 Professional to do a lot of the heavy lifting. It’s a great effort for a 1.0 release and you see what Adobe is trying to do to help everyone stay on the same page. Kudos to that!

Adobe PRemiere Pro Cs5

The new version of Adobe’s world renowned video editing solution includes a host of significant improvements such as exclusive 64 bit native support, accelerated graphics and built in support for the latest tapeless camera formats which lets you begin editing without delay. Premiere Pro CS5 also adds a new script to screen workflow that helps you turn project ideas into actual production faster.

HD remains a difficult and costly endeavor for small production companies, what Adobe aims to do is harness the power of the latest commodity off the shelf hardware affordable yet powerful enough to compete against pricey proprietary systems from the likes of AVID. The key to this is the underlying power of the Premiere Pro CS5 software, for starters, its 64 bit only, which means you can tap into larger sums of memory than before. 64 Bit processors allow you use more than 4 GBs of memory, you can build a cheap 12 GBs of RAM, Intel Core i7 system for under $2,000. The clear benefits are less time to complete large scale projects because of the ability to crunch more data than before. One aspect of 64 bit with Premiere Pro CS5 is the new Mercury Playback Engine which significantly improves performance when working on difficult time lines at a high resolution such as HD and 4K, this is done through GPU acceleration which takes the burden off the processor for rendering task. To realize the benefits of the Mercury Playback Engine you will need to have a qualifying video card, certain video cards in nVidia’s CUDA lineup support this, so its recommend you check out those if you are planning to build a system just for Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

The benefits when you deploy Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 on appropriate configurations is tremendous, the immediate performance benefits. The ability to finally do real time hi-definition editing should help to make production much faster and less costly. If you don’t meet the recommendations for running Premiere Pro CS5 efficiently Adobe still makes it acceptable run it under certain conditions. For example, you can open projects faster, scrub through HD and higher resolution projects fluidly, and handle long-form content and effects-heavy sequences more reliably. Play through most common transitions and effects without waiting for rendering. Plus, you can usually see results instantly when performing multiple color corrections and tasks such as keying with Ultra, applying Gaussian blurs and blend modes to footage, and working with numerous other effects.

Integration with OnLocation

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 has beefed up support for OnLocation CS5 which integrates closely with Adobe Story*, essential elements in the script’s formatting that identify new scenes, characters, production notes, dialogue, and so on are automatically captured as metadata. When the script is imported into OnLocation, that same metadata is used to automatically create placeholders in the OnLocation Project panel shot list, this saves a lot time by eliminating the need to manually create shot placeholders and metadata during preproduction. Another nice addition to OnLocation CS5 when used in combination with new tapeless camera support in Adobe OnLocation CS5, the script-to-screen workflow saves even more time on set or later in production process. The new Logging Without Wires feature lets you tell OnLocation which shot is currently recording and then enter related notes, comments, and additional metadata—even when the camera isn’t connected to OnLocation.  Say for example you are recording at a shoot, select a placeholder clip in the shot list, and then click the new Timestamp button—this tells OnLocation which clip is being recorded. As long as the internal clocks in your cameras and computer match, when clips are copied from the tapeless camera, OnLocation automatically merges the metadata in each placeholder with the corresponding video clip.

The new Turbo Comments is a great feature which lets you add frequently-used words—cast names, sports highlights, and so on—with a simple keystroke to log live action accurately, consistently, and efficiently. OnLocation lets you store up to nine comments with shortcuts for each one, for instant, timecode-accurate logging and commenting.

Conclusion

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 is definitely worthy upgrade, the native 64 bit support is a significant highlight, because it contributes so much to making the product not only easier to use or obviously faster but less costly especially when integrate with workflow capabilities of OnLocation to really make post production work so much smoother. Definitely a worthy upgrade, the 64 bit support should not be a deterrent, the majority of systems sold within the last 3 years a 64 bit capable too, so the only consideration should be the operating system. Windows 7 Home Premium  cost about $119 and it’s a worthy upgrade, you can even get a Family Pack for 150 and have 3 powerful 64 bit systems for Premiere Pro CS5, After Effects and Photoshop. J

Adobe After Effects CS 5

Along with Adobe Premiere Pro’s new 64 bit native support, the suites premier Motion Graphics solution also takes advantage of the new exclusive 64 bit power. The Roto Brush is a significant and very impressive addition to After Effects CS5. What it allows you to do is identify key foreground and backgrounds using broad strokes with the green brush, you can shrink the brush size to detect elements such as edge highlights, hair, and ears. The red brush can be used to identify the background. Although I discovered the learning curve can be steep, don’t jump in expecting to know it out of the box, you need to practice and get the hang of it. When you do, the results are worth it. One thing users of After Effects CS5 should realize all those investments in 32 bit plug-ins will be left behind. You will need to obtain 64 bit native Plug ins for this release. Included third party applications/plugins Mocha & Mocha Shape, and Color Finesse have been updated. The Digieffects Freeform effect (formerly known as Forge Freeform by Mettle.com) is a new addition to the plug-in lineup. It allows you to add simulated depth and distortion to flat 3D planes you can apply either a displacement map to the 3D layer or sub-comp, or manipulate the distortion mesh to create unique effects in a 3D environment.

It’s a worthy upgrade that offers richer capabilities for persons working in 3D with more depth and control. The ability to take better advantage of the powerful hardware will just like Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 will offer greater performance to your workflow while also delivering results faster.  

Adobe Fireworks CS5

When Adobe purchased the assets of Macromedia, a product that was thought to be on the chopping block for sure was Fireworks, since Adobe already had its solution for optimizing images for the web called ImageReady. Those assumptions were of course unfounded and Adobe instead replaced ImageReady with Fireworks. Fireworks CS5 is more than just about prepping your images for one platform, which a few years ago you would assume as being the traditional web browser on a computer. Adobe has focused on making it easier to move your project to a mobile device using its Adobe Device Central integration so you can use the programs correct specifications using device profiles to make sure content looks ready for the mobile device platform you are targeting. You can import assets from Adobe Photoshop® or Illustrator® software and export to PDF, HTML, CSS, or Adobe AIR®. Export your Fireworks designs in FXG format to Adobe Flash® Catalyst™ CS5 software, where you can add interactivity.

Fireworks CS5 is heavily focused on improving user productivity, for instance, significant changes have been made in the user interface that enable you to access key features directly from the Properties panel. Resizing objects proportionally using accurate numeric values is one of those everyday tasks that you want to complete as quickly and efficiently as possible. Doing this in Fireworks CS4 required several steps: choose Modify > Transform > Numeric Transform to open the Numeric Transform dialog box, check Constrain Proportions, and then enter values for width and height. In Fireworks CS5, you can accomplish this task much more quickly by working directly in the Properties panel. 

The new Gradient Editor features let you quickly reverse gradient direction. Another new gradient feature allows you to dither a gradient fill to smooth gradients that might otherwise suffer from banding. Together, these features allow you to more quickly create gradients that look exactly the way you want them to. Specifying whether a stroke aligns to the inside, center, or outside of an object’s path is now much faster. Instead of opening the Stroke Category menu, choosing Stroke Options, and then selecting stroke alignment, you can accomplish this task directly in the Properties panel. Now you can quickly and easily optimize the stroke on every graphic you create.

Custom stroke editing and creation

Editing and creating custom strokes in previous versions of Fireworks took several steps involving menus and dialog boxes. Now you can access the Edit Stroke dialog box directly from the Properties panel, which makes working with custom strokes much faster and more convenient. Saving custom strokes also enables you to ensure consistency across multiple projects. 

You can now preview pages in a Fireworks PNG file before opening it. You can also choose which page of a multipage document opens as the active page. And you can insert selected pages from a Fireworks PNG file into an open Fireworks document. Documents saved in Fireworks CS5 include page thumbnails by default.

Fireworks CS5 supports the latest FXG format (2.0) so you can easily export individual objects or multipage designs as editable FXG elements for use in Flash Catalyst and other software. In addition to exporting individual objects in FXG format from Fireworks to Flash Catalyst, you can export entire pages. Flash Catalyst accurately preserves page elements such as text and layers, opacity, and more. Designers can use Fireworks to mock up rich media content, and then export that content in FXG format to hand off to an interaction designer or a developer.

Fireworks CS5 includes numerous features to enable you to precisely control the placement and appearance of design elements. In addition to those already described—stroke alignment, type-handling enhancements, proportional scaling, and FXG export—Fireworks CS5 allows you to create crisp graphics that align to the underlying pixel grid.

Snap To Pixel

With Fireworks CS5, blurry vector strokes on squares and rectangles are a thing of the past. If a vector edge is positioned on a half-pixel—creating a blurred, anti-aliased stroke—you can restore a sharp edge quickly and easily using the Snap To Pixel feature.

Creating complex vector shapes is much faster and more flexible in Fireworks CS5, thanks to the Compound Shape tools in the Properties panel. The Compound Shape tools allow you to group vector shapes temporarily as you draw them, so you can both move the objects as a group and edit individual objects one at a time. You can also achieve nondestructive effects such as punching, intersecting, or cropping overlapping vectors. With the Compound Shape tool, you can use simple shapes to build complex vectors faster and more flexibly.

Fireworks completes a very cohesive set of workflow experiences in the Adobe line up, allowing you flexibly move content and media from traditional platforms to new and more embraced ones such as mobile devices such as cellular phones and tablet devices that are all the rage these days. What it ultimately does is allow you to work faster, more efficiently bringing impressive solutions to market in a short time period than it would have taken with prior releases. With the growing threat of the web these days, Fireworks is playing an even more important role than ever.

Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 98%
Performance: 95%
Design: 95%
Price/Value: 85%
Overall: 93.25%

We have now reached the end of our Adobe Creative Suite 5 Review and I must say it was impressive, overwhelming, but is certainly a worthy upgrade that solidifies Adobe’s commitment to design and innovation. Let me be honest, this suite is not for the faint of heart and does take some learning, but I must say, it’s worth every penny of investment, not because it’s the latest and the greatest, but simply because of the opportunities it delivers. Adobe did a respectable job with CS3 which was the first upgrade of the suite that introduced us to a combination of Adobe and Macromedia assets. With CS5 what we are seeing here is a completely revamped suite that melds everything together in a way that makes the workflow experiences a major reason to upgrade. Every CS5 program knows and understands each other. The seamless process of moving projects from one environment to the other without having to worry should be highly commended. The cohesiveness of the interfaces to help make the learning process faster, the focus on taking advantage of the latest in hardware innovations through 64 bit support and powerful video card technologies are examples of why I know you should be running CS5 if you haven’t upgraded.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 93.25%
Version Reviewed  Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection
Release Date Out Now
The Good Points Extensive Features
Professional Grade Software
GPU Acceleration
CS Live Online Services
Improvements over CS4
The Bad Points

Learning Curve

Does Not Include Adobe Acrobat X
Pricey (Subjective)
In The Box

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Application DVD set (multiple disks)

Adobe Content DVD (a single disc, contains the 32-bit support package for Windows)

Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional DVD

Similar Product  CorelDRAW Premium Suite X5
System Requirements

Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor (Intel Core™2 Duo or AMD Phenom® II recommended); Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom II required for Adobe® Premiere® Pro

Processor with 64-bit support required for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects®

Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 3; Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (Service Pack 2 recommended); or Windows 7

64-bit edition of Windows Vista or Windows 7 required for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects

2GB of RAM (4GB or more recommended)

24.3GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash-based storage devices)

1280x900 display (1280x1024 recommended) with qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics card, 16-bit color, and 256MB of VRAM

Adobe-certified GPU card for GPU-accelerated performance in Adobe Premiere Pro; visit the Adobe Premiere Pro system requirements page for the latest list of supported cards

Some GPU-accelerated features in Adobe Photoshop® Extended require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0

Some features in Adobe Bridge rely on a DirectX 9–capable graphics card with at least 64MB of VRAM

7200 RPM hard drive for editing compressed video formats; RAID 0 for uncompressed

Adobe-certified card for capture and export to tape for SD/HD workflows

OHCI-compatible IEEE 1394 port for DV and HDV capture, export to tape, and transmit to DV device

Sound card compatible with ASIO protocol or Microsoft Windows Driver Model

DVD-ROM drive compatible with dual-layer DVDs (DVD+-R burner for burning DVDs; Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray Disc media)

Java™ Runtime Environment 1.6 (included)

QuickTime 7.6.2 software required for QuickTime and multimedia features

Adobe Flash® Player 10 software required to export SWF files and to play back DVD projects exported as SWF files

Broadband Internet connection required for online services*

 

 

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