updated 03:00 am EDT, Mon April 11, 2011
New monthly subscription and tablet features
Adobe has announced Creative Suite 5.5, an update to its major creative applications including InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Premiere Pro, and After Effects along with a new SDK for Photoshop CS5. The company -- which now offers new monthly subscription-based pricing options for each of the major suite bundles -- says the new version brings advances to HTML5, Flash authoring, digital publishing and video tools as well as new capabilities to help integrate tablet-oriented designs into creative workflows. Also present is a final version of Audition for the Mac; the SDK is the Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit (SDK).
Photoshop Touch SDK, new iPad apps
Adobe's new SDK and complementary tablet applications interact with Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended, helping to bring Photoshop features and interactivity to touch-enabled devices. Using the Touch SDK, Adobe has developed three initial companion apps for the Apple iPad: Color Lava, Eazel and Nav. The apps allow users to create custom color swatches, paint, and drive popular Photoshop tools.
Developers can access the free Touch SDK for Windows and Mac platforms today via the Adobe Application Manager at www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop. Current Photoshop CS5 customers will be able to upgrade device support by downloading a free patch using the Adobe website or the Application Manager on May 3rd.
Color Lava mixes colors on the iPad and creates custom swatches and five-swatch themes, while Eazel produces paintings and then pushes them to Photoshop. Through new technology that allows digital paint to "dry" over time, users can mix "wet" and "dry" paint to create new blends with controls for changing color, opacity, brush size, and other settings. Finally, Nav can customize the Photoshop toolbar, select tools, browse and select open Photoshop files and copy files to an iPad. All the apps typically rely on a network connection between an iPad and a computer, but colors and paintings can be brought into Photoshop when a local connection is available, or else shared via email.
The iPad apps are expected to be available in early May, ranging in price from $2 to $5 on the App Store.
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium & Standard
Several new versions of the Creative Suite are available, including 5.5 Master Collection, 5.5 Design Premium, 5.5 Web Premium, 5.5 Production Premium, and 5.5 Design Standard.
The Design Premium edition includes InDesign CS 5.5, Dreamweaver CS 5.5, Flash Professional CS 5.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5, as well as current versions of Acrobat X Pro, Illustrator CS5, Photoshop CS5 Extended and Fireworks CS5. Design Standard only includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat.
Updates to Dreamweaver CS 5.5 (including the Live View mode, CSS panel and Multiscreen Preview panel) streamline the design of websites that need to be optimized for viewing on multiple devices and let designers preview desktop, tablet and smartphone browsers side-by-side, while the new Folio Producer tools in InDesign work in conjunction with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (available separately) to deliver interactive digital magazines, newspapers, corporate publications and advertising for reading on tablets such as the iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook and Android tablets. Using InDesign CS 5.5 in combination with the integrated Folio Producer toolset, designers can add new levels of interactivity to their page layouts, including video, audio, panoramic views, 360-degree rotation of objects, pan and zoom of images, integration of HTML5 content and other interactive overlays. Designers can also test how their content will look and feel on a broad array of tablets from within InDesign.
Adobe has also enhanced InDesign to improve reading experiences on e-book devices such as the Nook, Sony Reader and iPad. Designers can now add refined typography, images that resize automatically to fit various screen sizes, and video and audio for e-book apps that support HTML5 video and audio tags.
New functions in Flash Professional let designers and developers build mobile apps that run on the iPhone, iPad, PlayBook and Android devices.
Design Premium and Standard are scheduled to ship within 30 days for $1,900 and $1,300, while upgrades will start at $400 and $300.
Creative Suite subscription options include a one-year plan for lower payments or a month-to-month option for greater flexibility. Design Premium is $95 per month, while Design Standard is $65 a month.
The new Web Premium includes updated versions of Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder, Device Central, Acrobat X Pro as well as the new Flex framework for mobile devices. Present are HTML5 advancements in Dreamweaver, new tablet and smartphone app development functions in Flash Professional, and Flash Builder Premium 4.5, plus enhanced cross-browser testing, mobile emulation and on-device debugging.
Web Premium CS 5.5 advances HTML5 authoring tools through integration of jQuery mobile framework for browser-based content and PhoneGap support. It also includes enhancements to the multiscreen preview panel in Dreamweaver to support the latest in media queries, WebKit engine updates, and CSS3 attributes as well as to allow side-by-side renderings of what a single design looks like on different form factors.
New additions in Flash Professional include content scaling so users can quickly scale their content on stage to adapt to different screen sizes. The program also includes a new shared assets feature for more streamlined publishing, and more than 20 new code snippets for creating mobile and AIR applications with accelerometer, multitouch gesture, and save/load data support.
In Flash Builder 4.5 users have new mobile support for ActionScript and mobile Flex projects, as well as improved designer-developer collaboration throughout app development with a new bi-directional workflow with Flash Catalyst and Flash Professional. Features spread across Flash Builder 4.5, Flash Professional CS 5.5 and the Flex 4.5 framework for mobile devices let designers and developers build apps that run on iOS, Android and PlayBook devices.
Web Premium CS 5.5 also includes new HTML5 emulation and support for the latest mobile devices in Device Central, the tool that simplifies the production of content for mobile phones and other electronics. BrowserLab has been updated for cross-browser compatibility testing with the latest browsers.
The new Web Premium is scheduled to ship within 30 days for $1,800. Subscription pricing is $89 per month.
Production Premium, intended for video and post-production work, contains updates to Premiere Pro, After Effects, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Story, Media Encoder and Device Central. New as part of Creative Suite 5.5 is Audition CS 5.5, bringing Adobe's audio-for-video multitrack editing environment to the Mac in its first completed form following a beta period.
Version 5.5 incorporates an updated Mercury Playback Engine, which was originally introduced in Premiere Pro CS5. The engine expands its GPU support to include notebooks and more cards, in theory allowing people to open projects faster, get real-time feedback for more GPU-accelerated features, and work more smoothly at 4K and higher resolutions.
Premiere Pro CS 5.5 boosts performance by providing a smoother editing workflow through new trimming and editing tools that provide more precision and control. Dual-system sound support from the new Merge Clips command lets users quickly sync video with high-quality audio recorded on separate devices like location recorders. It also saves time by sending individual clips or sequences, including reference videos, directly to Audition for audio editing and restoration. Other CS 5.5 tweaks include enhanced support for RED and other tapeless cameras, such as improved RED Source Settings dialog in Premiere Pro and After Effects CS 5.5, and native support for media up to 5K from RED Epic cameras via an extension available on Adobe Labs.
The new 64-bit Media Encoder CS 5.5 has been completely redesigned to deliver Premiere Pro video sequences, After Effects compositions and Encore projects to multiple screen formats quickly, while doing the encoding in the background. Media Encoder also introduces new format support such as AVC-Intra and DPX, and watch folders so users can encode a single clip to multiple destinations with a simple drag and drop.
After Effects CS 5.5 introduces new features such as the Warp Stabilizer, Camera Lens Blur and Light Falloff. Warp Stabilizer eliminates unwanted camera movement, making handheld footage appear as smooth as a camera mounted on a mechanical stabilizer. The Camera Lens Blur effect mimics the properties of physical lenses offering more realistic depth-of-field blurs. Light Falloff simulates natural illumination falloff to mimic how light behaves in a 3D scene and can be used to create other light intensity effects.
The Mac and latest Windows versions of Audition offer a completely re-written audio engine with a toolset to record, edit, mix, master and enhance audio, applying effects such as noise reduction.
Production Premium moreover offers enhanced project exchange support for Final Cut Pro along with new or enhanced OMF support in Premiere Pro and Audition, making it possible to export audio projects to Avid Pro Tools.
Access to the new version of Story, an Adobe CS Live online service, improves collaboration between users with email notifications of new script edits and a faster method of tracking changes through script elements and filters. The ability to import Story script data directly into Premiere Pro further strengthens XML-based metadata support found throughout the Production Premium suite, which is critical for everything from file-based workflows to media asset management.
Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium is scheduled to ship within 30 days with a street price of $1,700 or a subscription costing $85 per month.
Pricing & Availability
All of the CS 5.5 upgrades will be available via Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store in North America and Adobe Direct Sales. Regular prices are $2,600 for the CS 5.5 Master Collection, $1,900 for CS 5.5 Design Premium, $1,800 for CS5.5 Web Premium, $1,700 for CS5.5 Production Premium and $1,300 for CS5.5 Design Standard.
Individual program prices are $700 for Photoshop, $1,000 for Photoshop Extended, $250 for Flash Builder 4.5 Standard, $700 for Flash Builder 4.5 Premium, $400 for Flash Catalyst and $700 for Flash Professional. Flash Builder 4.5 Premium is bundled with Web Premium and the Master Collection. Flex 4.5 is a free open-source framework.
Educational pricing for students, faculty and staff in K-12 and higher education is available from Adobe Authorized Education Resellers and the Adobe Education Store. More information on volume licensing is available online.