Adobe Creative Suite

Company pulls the latest versions of PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive and Acrobat into one integrated package.

Adobe announced today that it has significantly integrated its main Web design packages in an effort to speed performance, enhance usability and lower their total cost of ownership. As part of the announcement, the company also launched its new Version Cue file version manager.

Adobe Creative Suite

The integrated package, called Creative Suite (CS), comes in two flavors. Adobe CS Premium Edition includes the full, new versions of Adobe Photoshop with Adobe Creative Suite ImageReady, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe GoLive and Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional, together with the new Version Cue file version manager. It also supports a complete Acrobat 6.0 workflow.

The Standard version, which is aimed primarily at print-only users, contains the same products, with the exception of GoLive and Acrobat. In an effort to avoid confusion, all of the applications have dropped their version numbers in favor of the CS tag.

“Our mission is the same, ” explained Caleb Belohlavek, general product manager for Adobe Creative Suite CS. “We’re just changing our strategy and the way we’re delivering functionality to our customers. We’re merging the applications together, just as today’s designers are increasingly merging Web and print.”


* Version Cue. Perhaps the most important part of the announcement is Version Cue, a new workspace-type environment that can run locally or on a server. It lets users access, revise and add comments to various Adobe-built designs, all within an easy-to-navigate workflow, and it makes finding files quicker and easier.

“Whether you’re looking for the most recent iteration of a file or for an older version, Version Cue helps you find it quickly, ” Belohlavek said. Users can visually scan image thumbnails from within any of the integrated Adobe applications, or search using embedded Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) metadata such as version comments, author, date and so on. “Finding files quickly helps you increase productivity and meet tight deadlines, ” he said.

* Common interface and toolset. For the first time, all of the integrated applications now use the same interface and toolbox, Belohlavek said. This commonality should make moving between applications and learning new features easier, he said.

* Native file format support. CS’s integration means users working in one of the CS applications can easily access and edit files built in another – in their native formats, Adobe said. Users no longer have to open another application and find the right file, a task that previously tended to bog down productivity.

* Shared core technologies. Each of the integrated applications shares certain core technologies, such as a graphics manager that produces a high-quality display of images, graphics and text across all the members of the suite; a color engine that helps ensure predictable color across software tools and hardware devices; and enhanced XMP support.

* Automated Web production. Users can now export images to GoLive in batches from PhotoShop, Illustrator and ImageReady, and ImageReady now offers enhanced HTML output and a new Web Content palette.

* Easier packaging of print pages for the Web. InDesign users can package their print pages for the Web, exporting images and pages as Smart Objects and XML content for use in GoLive. If changes are made to the InDesign file, users can create the package again and links will be updated throughout GoLive, Adobe said.

All of the packages will be available in stand-alone versions as well. But if purchased as part of the suite, they come with one integrated installer and one serial number, significantly easing installation, Adobe said.

Pricing and availability

Available sometime this fall, the Premium edition costs $1, 229, while the Standard edition costs $999. Upgrades to the suite for current application users cost $749 for the Premium version and $549 for the Standard edition. Stand-alone packages are priced as follows: PhotoShop CS: $649 full and $169 upgrade; Illustrator CS: $449 full and $169 upgrade; InDesign CS: $669 full and $169 upgrade; GoLive CS: $399 full and $169 upgrade; Acrobat 6.0 Professional: $449 full and $149 upgrade.