I have been reading in the Business press (try Business Week September 22nd 2008 edition or any recent issue of Harvard Business Review) that the US industry needs to get back to innovation. That may be true of the oligarchs like the Oil and Gas or the Auto Industry (GM is going hat in hand asking for bailout subsidies on its new car the Volt – which may provoke a reVolt on Main Street already saddled with helping out their favorite Wall Street Bankers). But the IT industry seems to be batting two for two on recent announcements.
However, let me say that I was skeptical about Adobes New Suite of Products. I just did not think that Adobe could pull off so many improvements all together across all of their product lines. But I was wrong – especially for the core programs. Adobe Flash CS4, Photoshop CS4 Extended, OnLocation CS4 and Premier Pro CS4 are all must have, ground breaking updates for the designers and artists working in their respective fields. Adobe After Effects CS4, Contribute CS4, Dreamweaver CS4, Illustrator CS4, and SoundBooth CS4 have solid updates with a few real grab you features and enhancements. There are some clunkers with Fireworks, Illustrator, InDesign and Bridge (given what Photoshop Lightroom does, this program needs to be pared down and then merged with Version Cue and OnLocation)laeding the parade.
This also means that among the Adobe Suites of CS4 programs, Production Premium is the one to get . Adobe has finally lavished attention on its long suffering designer/stylist base. CS4 can be called the Return of Design. And its shows. This makes the Production Premium Suite with programs such as After Effects, Premiere Pro, PhotoShop Extended, Flash, OnLocation, and SoundBooth offering not only great designer features but also improved integration among the tools. On the other side of the ledger it appears that Web Premium Suite and Design Standard Suite offer the least bang for the buck.
But the prices for the Suites are all very attractive. For Web Designers who now need to be able to do Video, Photo and Web design and editing, the only missing ingredient in the Production Premium Suite is Dreamweaver . Perhaps such users may want to upgrade to the Master Collection for a price of $1199 . However, note that the jury is still out on how well the critical new Photoshop 2D +3D layering and object features work; but Photoshops new Object Property editing, Adjustment panel, Mask panel, Content-aware Scaling, and enhanced Object blending and Object alignment are strong features on their own.
So congratulations are due to Adobe for a very impressive and innovative launch of a largely robust upgrade to its complete product line and in a record 17-18 months. Now if we could just get the auto-industry thinking innovation – I know GM has a hybrid in every technological color, but can they be produced to sell? In contrast Adobe Suites should do very well indeed.