Adobe CS5

Being in the Graphic Design world how could I not offer my two cents about the amazing new Creative Suite from Adobe? Check out the movie clips to see exactly how these features work. I will drool a little over some of the highlights of the hotness and offer my opinion of what’s new and what’s better?

Photo Shop: If you look at the CS3 to CS4 upgrade for PS, there was not that big of a difference. There were some nice little finesse elements, like the tabbing of files, one click adjustment layers and the pretty new skin, but there was no real wow moment. Well CS5 makes up for that BIG TIME!

Painting Engine: The first cool new feature is the new painting engine. With the paint engine you can simulate real paint brushes and different paint types. Utilizing both pressure and brush sensitive, you can now blend and move the colors around in your psd much as you would if you were painting on canvas, delicious!

Puppet Warp: As if that is not cool enough there is the new “puppet wrap feature”. This is really cool. It is basically like the Fl CS4 bone tool only for bitmap images right off your canvas!

HDR Pro: This is a little more geared towards the photographers out there, but it is awesome none the less. You can merge up to 11 different exposures to get one image, thus allowing for some breath taking photo effects. You can drop pivot points set terms and even use the smart engine to bloat while distorting (giving a flexing-like effect).

Transitions: While these features are all pretty cool, the real show stoppers are the next two. One is the areas of transition feature on masks. This is a god send especially when it comes time for making tricky hair selections over a tough background. You can make a haphazard selection and then by defining the transition area PS will make the selection for you! Super cool and a huge time saver. I don’t even know what I am going to do will all of the extra time that this one is going to save… anyone want to grab a beer?

Content Aware Fill: The last but certainly not least is feature and all around jaw dropper is the feature called content aware fill. This is a mind blowing feature. Alone this makes buying PS CS5 worth it. Once you have made a selection form an image you can delete that selected portion and PS will fill that deleted space in with the correct background content. How in the world it does that is WAY beyond me…magic maybe? Or perhaps NASA has launched a spaceship full of monkeys into outer-space who have been trained in the arts of pixel perfect rendering such that each time you utilize this feature the request goes out to them only to be returned seconds later?!? Surely I don’t know which is more plausible…

Illustrator: In the CS3 to CS4 jump there were some pretty huge changes to AI, many of which I feel were pretty overlooked. I mean the addition of transparency?!?! That was HUGE! Sure there is the blob tool and there are a few others, but CS5 is where it is REALLY at!

Perspective Drawing Tools: First there is the perspective grid tool. This allows you to drop down a 1, 2 or 3 point perspective grid and basically block out a building or environment. Then once you have something down you can take ANY vector and apply it to the grid and the proper distortions will be made to impose that perspective! Why did I even bother studying drafting for so many years? This will do it for you!!! Really it is amazing!

Width tool: This tool allows you to tweak the width of any portion of any regular line on the fly. As if that is not enough you can save your settings as a profile for later use! How many times have you had to make a compound path and then use the pen tool to tweek one side of that line to create a pressure sensitive looking stroke? Now it is uber eays. Sometimes I am not sure if Adobe makes the sweet new releases to help us out or make us feel like idiots of all of the hours we have wasted in the past.

Draw Inside Mode: This is such a simple concept, but it makes a world of difference. Think of this as a coloring inside the lines, idiot proof mode. Thus anything you draw in this mode will fall inside the bound of the item you have selected. This is particularly amazing with the type tool. Sweetness!!

Bristle Brush Technology: I always wondered why you could never really paint in AI. I mean the blob tool took you closer, but not like this! When you toggle the Draw Inside Mode and then pull out the new bristle brushes you can create vector art that looks like it is right out of PS! Crazy!!

InDesign: InDesign has some really cool new features. The most in your face is FLASH INTEGRATION!!!! You can make interactive FLAs or SWFs right in Id! Crazy. It is super easy too.

Flash: The major new feature is Text threading. Aside from that there is a new file structure based around XML instead of Binary and there is mobile integration setup (which is rendered a bit moot by Apples article 3.3.1 of the new terms of use…). This aside, enters Flash Catalyst…duhn duhn duhnnnnn

Flash Catalyst:

New to CS5 this program is Flash for Designers! Interactivity WITHOUT code!!! FC lets you pull AI or PS documents right into Flash for interactivity. You would not believe how easy FC makes things like scroll bars, buttons, transitions, you name it.

Dream Weaver: From design to development to testing this has it all!

Multiple Servers: On of the really sweet new features is the ability to define multiple servers for a site, such as a test server and the real live server, which you can switch between at will.

Live View: So live view was new to CS4, but in CS5 they beef it up a bit more. You can now navigate right in live view. Even better you can now edit segments of server-side code (say PHP) form your computer without needing to download all of the file, thus allowing you to preview what effect your changes will have without needing to save, upload and refresh your browser. You can work on a “header” segemt and see how the changes will effect the site right there in live view (event though all of the files are not on your computer and you are not live).

Custom Code Hints: This is awesome! This allows you to have code hints like you do for regular HTML, only for any language and any framework. You just need to point DW to your framework file (for WordPress this is just your installation file, and then you get those sweet code hints as you work). So COOL!

Browser Lab: This is a really cool feature that is an Adobe online service. Much like BrowserShots, but still is just give you a screen shot… They do try to make is sounds like this is a fix all and that DW CS5 has the answers, but in the end you really still need to test it on the native platforms.

FireWorks: As a major user of FW, I was a bit disappointed here. With FW it seems as though the “upgrade” is the patching of a few bugs, including better pasting from AI and better text editing ability. All in all though it seems like Adobe kind of passed over FW when they were revamping the creative suite this time around…

So what is the take away? I would say that the take away is WOW! This is a must buy for anyone who is in the design field. The new features are amazing and will save tons of time as well as opening up the opportunity for you the designer to create graphics/effects that you would not have been able to create other wise if not certainly not with such ease. But have a look and decide for your self :-) Happy Designing!

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