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Summary:

I was only just talking about how long its been since Adobe released a new major update to its flagship Creative Suite product with an imaging professional friend, and now there’s a sign that we won’t have to wait much longer for said update to arrive. […]

I was only just talking about how long its been since Adobe released a new major update to its flagship Creative Suite product with an imaging professional friend, and now there’s a sign that we won’t have to wait much longer for said update to arrive. AppleInsider got an exclusive look at some of the new features coming up in various CS5 programs, some of which look mighty appealing to my hobbyist eye.

Photoshop CS5 will finally become 64-bit, for starters, something which Photoshop CS4 for Windows could claim nearly two years ago in 2008. The new 64-bit Photoshop CS5 has be completely rewritten in Apple’s Cocoa development framework, after Apple’s decision to scrap a 64-bit version of Carbon blocked the simultaneous release of a 64-bit Photoshop CS4 for Mac. But that’s not all. Many other new goodies are also forthcoming.

Many Behind-the-Scenes Improvements

As a frequent, though not very in-depth user of Photoshop CS4, I consider it by far the best iteration of Adobe’s image editor to date, and so I wasn’t too disappointed to learn that many of the changes made in CS5 will come as backstage enhancements. Like Apple did with Snow Leopard, Adobe’s engineering efforts with the new version of Photoshop were concentrated on taking better advantage of available system and software resources.

Those improvements will result in a nice little speed boost according to AppleInsider:

In its own internal tests, Adobe found the average 64-bit app to run about 8 to 12 percent faster than a 32-bit one. The primary advantage of 64-bit applications is their ability to address very large amounts of memory in excess of the 4GB limit of 32-bit apps.

Other changes will mostly affect users who do a lot of 3D work, which is something I’ve never even attempted. Few other details about these changes were revealed, although specific feature information about improved photo retouching, including smart object removal was part of the report. If it works as well as advertised, this feature alone will make the upgrade worth my while.

Flash, Dreamweaver and InDesign

Many of the changes being introduced in other software titles included in Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 seem aimed at shoring up and further entrenching Flash web technology, to the detriment of HTML 5, which threatens to eventually render Flash almost irrelevant.

Flash CS5 includes the ability to convert Flash apps and games into code that will be accepted by the iTunes App Store, though according to the sources for the report that isn’t yet working in the beta versions of the software:

This functionality is not working in the current beta versions. We don’t think serious developers will use Flash for creating iPhone applications. It also appears that Adobe continues to miss the boat with HTML 5, and is focused almost exclusively on trying to get users to depend more on Flash – even as the Web development community is looking elsewhere.

Finally, new InDesign features also try to reinforce the use of Flash, making it possible for layout designers to create web-based Flash tie-ins to their print content, or just making it easier to introduce Flash content into their InDesign-created websites. Testers were confused about why Adobe would try to shift focus for InDesign to web content creation, when Dreamweaver is so much better at that kind of task. Having used both, I have to admit I’m wondering the same thing. Perhaps the fear is that InDesign will become less appealing as print culture continues to falter.

Web Review Across the Board

While a lot of the new features revealed so far seem focused on righting the sinking ship that is Flash, some seem genuinely useful to all users. One such improvement is the introduction of web review across of the CS5 products. This will allow designers and artists working in the various creative suite applications to quickly and easily share proofs and samples with clients and coworkers who don’t have access to CS5 themselves. It should take at least a few steps out of the QA process, and anything you can do to simplify that headache of a process is plenty impressive in my books.

Look for Adobe CS5 to come to market sometime this Spring. No pricing details have been announced or hinted at.

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  1. Having only ever purchased CS4 myself, does Adobe generally offer upgrading discounts?

    1. Yes indeed. For instance, to upgrade from Design Premium CS3 to the current Design Premium CS4 is only $600….a $1200 savings from the full price of $1800.

    2. Generally, yes. But I’ve heard that Adobe will not be offering upgrades from CS4 to CS5.

    3. Any link on that? Would be quite a thing considering the general pricing of the suites.

  2. Typical Adobe.
    They are finally getting their code up to the 20th century standards and they are going to charge users for a full upgrade. The code rewrite should have happened years ago. The CS4 update was hardly worth the price from CS3 and the release dates were too close together. Most of my clients are still on CS3.

    Photoshop needs a completely new interface and a new workflow. The idea of destructive filters is still a joke. (I know all about the smart filters). Destructive transformations are totally uncalled for.

    I hate opening Photoshop these days. If it wasn’t for After Effects (which really need to be rewritten to take advantage of the GPU) I wouldn’t buy any Adobe programs at this point.

    I feel bad for Lightroom users also. LR will always be a crippled program so there is always a need for Photoshop.

    Lou …

  3. Ya know, I always embrace an Adobe upgrade. Two things that piss me off. (well three)

    1. Feature bloat w/o the UI refinements needed for people brand new to the products
    2. Size bloat (isn’t it like 10 gigabytes for CS4 now?)
    3. Compatibility: Buy CS5 and you have to down-save to an older version for anyone CS1-CS4 to be able to read the files.

    I’m happy that they’re straight up about simply making the program faster but this should be CS4.5 not version 5. They really need to rework this entire strategy. I shouldn’t have paid $2499 for CS4 Ultimate and simply stayed with CS3 but they got me and they’ll get me again.

  4. “Flash CS5 includes the ability to convert Flash apps and games into code that will be accepted by the iTunes App Store, though according to the sources for the report that isn’t yet working in the beta versions of the software”

    That’s not true at all. I’m in the Viper Beta, currently working on an iPhone project. I know two people who have submitted and successfully gotten an app on the App Store with CS5.

  5. I will not be upgrading. Not at least for three years.

  6. There’s no talk about the iPhone packager?

  7. I do not see any need for upgrading as well. I can do everything i need with current suite.

  8. Yes..I am sure the prices are not going to be customer friendly.

  9. CS5 no thanks Adobe. You have messed around long enough. I have put all my faith and luv in Pixelmator, Coda, CSS Edit, and Jquery which does the job better and a lot cheaper than what CS Creative can offer.

  10. Having seen this: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/the-wired-ipad-app-a-video-demonstration/
    I’m quite curious in seeing where InDesign is going. I can see where it would be very usefull getting your printed content smoothely into shape for devices such as the iPad.
    But other than that I don’t see much that’s in it for me in this iteration. Non-destructive image editing as in Lightroom, yes, that would be a killer feature. Until then. Well, guess I keep up my upgrade cycle of only getting every second update.

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