Adobe is making a bold move. The company has radically reworked its four major applications: GoLive, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. The fruit of its labor is the OS X-only Adobe Creative Suite (800/272-3623, www.adobe .com), which includes all four revitalized applications. There are some great new features in these tightly integrated programs (for pricing and package information, see “Suite Spot”)–here’s what you can look forward to:
Improvements in and additions to Photoshop should please print and Web designers, photographers, and digital-video artists.
View Photos in the Raw: When it first appeared last spring, Photoshop Camera Raw was a $99 plug-in. Now it’s built into Photoshop. Not to be confused with Photoshop’s .raw file format, Camera Raw gives you access to the digital equivalent of a film negative. You can edit the proprietary image formats that a digital camera produces before the camera’s internal algorithms process the information. Camera Raw’s color-calibration controls and separate histogram display give you fine control over the image data.
Share Comp Layers: Designers have long used Photoshop layers to experiment with variations on a theme, but presenting those layers as comps to other people is difficult. Now it’s easy to output each comp layer as an individual image, or create a multipage PDF or Web site with one comp layer per page.
PDF Presentations: You may prefer to design your comps in separate files, not on separate layers. You can still deliver your ideas in one coherent package–the PDF Presentations feature groups multiple files into one PDF. You can even add notes, page transitions, and security restrictions.
Place Text on a Path: In version 7, Photoshop’s type engine took on some of the sophisticated power of Illustrator and InDesign. That trend continues in Photoshop CS–you can now place text on a path and edit it at any time.
Make Videos: Pixel Perfect Like graphic designers and photographers, video artists and filmmakers rely on Photoshop. But digital video and film use nonsquare pixels, which the previous version of Photoshop didn’t support. Now you can create nonsquare pixel documents that are ready for import into applications such as Apple’s iDVD, DVD Studio Pro, and Final Cut Pro, as well as Adobe After Effects.
Also new is Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction, which lets you view images in the aspect ratio of a video monitor. Without this new feature enabled, computer screens distort nonsquare pixel images.
Filter Gallery: No need to schlep up to the Filter menu any more–you can see and control all filters from the new Filter Gallery palette. A larger, resizable preview pane helps you judge the results of stacked effects. The Filter Gallery palette includes new Photo filters, which mimic the look of traditional photographic lens filters.
It’s Alive!: Histograms can give you important information about your images. In Photoshop CS, live histograms reflect edits as you make them. You can also look at before-and-after histograms for quick comparisons of your work.
Match Colors: You’ve taken a series of shots and edited one of them until it looks just right. With the new Match Colors feature, you can apply those edits to the entire series. You can also use Match Colors to make photos shot in different lighting conditions look more consistent.
Replace Colors: On the flip side, the new Color Replacement tool paints the foreground color so you can quickly change the color of a portion of your image without altering any shading or texture.
Double Exposure Control
More Support for 16 Bits: In previous versions of Photoshop, some features worked only on images with 8 bits or less. Now you can use layers, painting, text, and shapes on 16-bit images as well.
SWF Support: There are also changes to ImageReady, Photoshop’s Webcentric companion. You can now export the layers in a Photoshop file as separate SWF files, the format native to Macromedia Flash. Once you’re in Flash, you can assemble the separate files into one file. (Adobe has quietly stopped promoting SVG, a file format it once saw as a competitor to SWF.)
Dynamic Data Sets: You could define dynamic (changeable) images and text in ImageReady files before, but now you can include dynamic text in a SWF file–without having to learn how to program complex variables.
Web Productivity: It’s easier to tweak multiple objects on the ImageReady CS canvas, whether you’re copying them or executing layer commands over several layers. This has the potential to speed up common Web-design tasks such as creating rollover buttons.
Take the Long View: There are several plug-ins and stand-alone applications designed to allow you to stitch photos together into a panorama, but now that capability is built into Photoshop. The Photomerge tool combines images and blends the seams.
Look at the Big Picture: If you design billboards, bus wraps, and other projects of mammoth dimensions, you’ll need to take note of Photoshop CS’s new upper limits–your files cannot be larger than 300,000 pixels by 300,000 pixels.–TERRI STONECorrect Color: The Shadow/Highlight pane (shown here) lets you adjust over- and underexposed areas simultaneously. Match Color lets you take the color statistics of one photo and apply them to another. This could be a time-saver if you have a series of shots taken in similar conditions and you want to apply improvements made to one image to the entire series. You can view Match Color and Shadow/Highlight changes as they happen in a new, real-time Histogram palette. Browse Smarter The File Browser is no longer just a bare-bones way to view a folder full of photos. You can now see not only a grid of thumbnail previews, but also a larger preview of any one of those images. A new toolbar contains buttons for deleting, search-ing, and flagging files. The Flag command marks images temporarily–so you have, for example, an easy way to collect only the zebra images from 100 stock photos you’re considering for a zoo brochure. If the stock company has assigned keywords or other metadata to those wildlife photos, you can also search for the word zebra, via the File Browser’s new Metadata pane.
We wouldn’t use the word flashy to describe most of the changes to InDesign, but the new version may help you work faster and more efficiently.
Nested Styles: In previous versions of InDesign, when you wanted to apply a character style to text formatted with an existing paragraph style, you had to apply the character formatting by hand. Now you can quickly apply character and paragraph styles simultaneously to the same text–including drop caps, inline headings, and table text. You can also specify the number of sentences, characters, and words to which they are applied.
Separations Preview: The Separations Preview palette lets you preview color separations. You can check potential problems such as knockouts and overprinting, and experiment with ink limits to see how your output might vary on different media and in various press conditions.
XML Support: If your workflow requires XML, then InDesign CS’s built-in support for Document Type Definitions (DTDs) may make integrating it easier. For example, once you’ve imported a DTD into the Structure view, tags in the DTD automatically show up in the Tags palette, and you can apply them to templates or content. You can also map XML styles to character styles, so InDesign knows to style anything with the XML tag Byline in 11-point HTF Champion, say.
Speedier Performance: Since version 1.0, people have complained about InDesign’s slow performance. Adobe says InDesign CS scrolls and redraws its screen 50 to 80 percent faster, imports Word and Excel documents 40 to 70 percent faster, imports PSD and EPS files as much as 70 percent faster, and prints complex PDF files 40 percent faster.
Interface Additions: Several small but significant items debut in InDesign CS. Drag a palette to the left or right edge of a window, and it will shrink into a sidetab and dock itself along the edge of the window. The new Info palette should look familiar to Photoshop and Illustrator users; it shows you everything from how many characters, words, lines, and paragraphs are in a frame, to the resolution of an image after you resize it in InDesign. The Measure tool has been brought over from Illustrator. This tool helps you calculate the distance between any two points on your layout. The context-sensitive Control palette functions much like the one in QuarkXPress. The Document Presets feature lets you save a group of settings you use often–say, page and margin size, column number and placement, and bleed and slug settings–so you don’t have to specify the settings manually. –TERRI STONE
Tell Me a Story
No Transparency TroubleStory Editor: If you cut your teeth on PageMaker (from Adobe or Aldus), you’ll be glad to hear that a text editor reminiscent of PageMaker’s is now in InDesign. Story Editor is a lightweight word processor that displays your text in a separate window, where you can edit text, and view and apply text formatting, character and paragraph styles, and XML tags. As you alter text in the Story Editor, your layout reflects the changes. (Story Editor doesn’t replace InCopy, Adobe’s writing, editing, and workgroup-management product.) Flattener Preview: The Flattener Preview palette is designed to address problems InDesign 2.X users have had printing files that include transparent elements. (PostScript RIPs can’t output transparent objects natively, so you have to first flatten transparency.) The new palette helps you identify areas that might be affected by flattening, such as complex vector graphics and outlined text, and control the flattening process with greater precision.
Illustrator CS adds quite a few high-level features to its already extensive list of abilities.
Scribble Effect: One new feature is Scribble Effect, which is useful for making vector artwork that looks hand-drawn. The feature adds texture to your designs. You can control how far the scribble appears outside the lines of the original shape, and you can use these irregular shapes as image masks. Blending two scribbled shapes into a SWF file can also cause jumpy animation.
Type Enhancements: Illustrator CS borrows from InDesign and adds many improvements to its type capabilities, including a redesigned text engine. Illustrator now has character and paragraph styles, which help you retain consistent formatting and save time by applying a series of attributes to characters and words with a click of the mouse.
Illustrator CS now has advanced support for OpenType fonts and includes more than 100 such fonts. Styles can use OpenType font options such as ordinals, fractions, and discretionary ligatures, and the new Glyphs palette provides easy access to all of a font’s glyphs.
Two new features help you reduce the time it takes to manually kern type. Optical Kerning analyzes words, lines, or paragraphs to determine the ideal spacing between characters of different fonts and sizes. Optical Margin Alignment shifts punctuation such as quotation marks and hyphens at the beginnings and endings of lines to make them look more even.
Better PDF Support: Illustrator CS supports Acrobat 6 and the Adobe PDF 1.5 format. It also supports layers, printer’s marks, and bleeds, and it provides extensive security (such as password, printing, and copying protections) for PDF files. To save time and ensure consistency, you can now save your PDF export settings as presets, and Illustrator CS includes three: Illustrator PDF, Press PDF, and Acrobat 6 Layered PDF.
Tight Office Integration: Adobe has added a new Save For Microsoft Office command to Illustrator–useful when you want to use an Illustrator file in PowerPoint, Word, or Excel. –JONATHAN SEFF
Roll Them Bones
Starting Point3D Effect: Illustrator CS has added the 3D Effect feature, for transforming shapes and type into 3-D objects. You can extrude shapes to create 3-D type, cubes, or other regular geometric shapes; revolve paths around a central axis to create bottles, glasses, or other circular shapes; and rotate a shape in 3-D space, so you can take advantage of another new feature, the ability to map artwork onto the surface of a 3-D shape. This feature can help you create product labels for 3-D objects, for example. Like dedicated 3-D software packages, Illustrator CS lets you adjust lighting and surface characteristics of your 3-D objects. You can add as many lights as you want, each with individual intensity controls, as well as a shadow color for lighting as a whole. To determine the surface of an object, you can adjust matte and gloss controls and use other Illustrator effects. If you want to reuse what you’ve created, you can save your formatting choices as a graphics style to apply to other objects. Templates: Illustrator CS ships with more than 200 templates (in a new template file format), with custom-size artboards, layers, styles, swatches, symbols, and more, so you don’t have to start every project from scratch. You’ll find many blank templates for projects such as business cards, and you can save your own designs as templates with custom guides, character and paragraph styles, and more.
Web designers familliar with previous versions of GoLive won’t find GoLive CS jarring, but they will discover many useful new features.
Style Previews: Although GoLive has long supported Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), GoLive CS is the first version that offers a preview of styles as they’re created instead of just when they’re applied to text and objects on a page.
Photoshop Support: You can now crop Photoshop files from within GoLive, avoiding common extra steps. You can also zoom in on Photoshop files to see details.
Packages: GoLive can now display previews of InDesign CS files, using InDesign’s Package For GoLive feature. The preview is a replica of the InDesign layout, but individual objects, text layers, and stories can be dragged directly onto Web pages. You can also place native Illustrator and Photoshop files within package files on GoLive pages, and manipulate them within the program, as you could in previous GoLive versions.
Added Software: The biggest change to GoLive is the external software that the program now interacts with. The first is Adobe Web Workgroup Server (AWWS), which was bundled with GoLive 6 and is now called Version Cue. It’s available only as part of Adobe Creative Suite.
AWWS managed only Web sites, but Version Cue stores revisions and allows file check-in and checkout for all CS applications. This lets groups collaborate on projects, with all of their resources and versions in a central depository. Only one user at a time can check out a file.
The second application is Co-Author, a program that lets a user edit Web pages that a designer has set up in GoLive CS. The designer defines regions, called templates, on each page. For instance, a menu document might have templates that allow a user to add new entrees or update prices.
The Web designer uploads the pages and then exports an encrypted XML document containing the FTP user name and password for accessing the Web site. A Co-Author user imports this document and can then open any file with tem-plates on the Web site. Co-Author users can change only specific areas within a file and do so with the help of a wizard. — GLENN FLEISHMAN
See also Adobe Puts It Together.