Adobe overhauls suite for design professionals

Adobe Systems Inc. has revamped its tools suite for high-end graphics and Web designers by combining, for the first time, products from the former Macromedia with Adobe’s own portfolio.

The company has created six different versions of Creative Suite 3 aimed at specific customer segments, said Caleb Belohlavek, Adobe Creative Suite group manager. The targeted designer groups are print and publication designers, Web designers, and video designers, he said. The company also has created a comprehensive suite that includes all of the products.

Adobe also has created critical links between tools from each of the vendors included in the suites to make it easier for designers to create graphics and applications to meet the demands of a market where various multimedia formats are converging, Belohlavek said.

“Creative professionals are being challenged to create in a variety of media formats,” he said. “They’re being challenged to create content via print, Web, mobile, video, etc., and that’s really what this launch is about: bringing together Adobe and Macromedia to break down barriers as they work across different products.”

Adobe completed its purchase of Macromedia in December 2005. Before the deal, the two companies competed in both the graphic design and Web design tools markets, though Macromedia had an edge over the latter. The combined firms really have no rival in the Web and graphics design tools market, though Microsoft Corp. is hoping to steal some of its thunder with its forthcoming Expression tools suite.

Creative Suite 3 for the first time bridges the gap between Adobe and Macromedia products, and also eliminates overlap in the product lines. For example, designers can now import the layers of a Photoshop image directly into Flash and then manipulate the image that way without having to flatten all the layers into a completed image first, Belohlavek said.

Having to import all of the layers into Flash at once “used to be a huge time consumer,” he said.

Adobe also replaced its GoLive Web design product with Dreamweaver in the versions of Creative Suite 3 that include a Web design tool because customers said they preferred the former Macromedia tool, Belohlavek said. Adobe still will update GoLive as a standalone product. For print designers, Adobe has created Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Creative Suite 3 Design Standard.

These suites can be seen as the successors to the current version of Adobe Creative Suite, Belohlavek said. Design Premium includes new versions of: Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop Extended, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional, Adobe Flash Professional and Adobe Dreamweaver.

It also includes Adobe Bridge, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Adobe Stock Photos, Adobe Version Cue and Adobe Device Central, a new emulation tool that lets designers demonstrate how mobile applications will look and perform on a variety of mobile devices.

The standard version includes all of the same except Dreamweaver and Flash. The version of Photoshop in Creative 3 Design Standard also is the basic version of Photoshop, not the extended one. Suites targeted at Web designers, which can be seen as successors to the former Macromedia product Studio 8, are Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Creative Suite 3 Web Standard.

The premium product includes Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Contribute, Adobe Photoshop Extended and Adobe Acrobat Professional. The standard edition of the Web suite includes Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Fireworks and Contribute.

Creative Suite Product Premium is targeted at video developers and is the next-generation version of Adobe’s Production Studio, Belohlavek said.

The product includes new versions of the following: Adobe After Effects Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop Extended, Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Soundbooth, Adobe Encore, Adobe OnLocation (Windows only) and Adobe Ultra. Adobe Bridge, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Adobe Stock Photos, Adobe Device Central and Adobe Dynamic Link also are included in the suite.


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