Adobe Creative Suite 5 Details Revealed

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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