Finally, the cat's out of the bag. Adobe announced Creative Suite 5 today. I'm really impressed with this release. For designers, there's something for everyone. But you might have to dig beyond Adobe's marketing messaging to discover the features and improvements that will affect you.
Begin by watching the 35 minute launch video. This will give you a general idea of where Adobe thinks the design market is headed in the future. Don't expect to see a lot of coverage of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. In fact, at least the first 5 and last 5 minutes are devoted to Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Omniture, Flash Media Server, Scene7 and Business Catalyst. These are all products that don't directly impact the lives of most designers...today. But don't despair! There are HUGE improvements for designers using InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver in CS5.
Much will be written about the many new features both here and elsewhere in the upcoming weeks and months. But right now, one way to get a sense of what's new is to view AdobeTV and visit the "What's New" page on Adobe.com for each product. Here are some links directly to that content.
InDesign [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Photoshop [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Illustrator [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Flash Professional [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Dreamweaver [AdobeTV] [What's New]
My friends over at InDesignSecrets have compiled a detailed writeup of many of the new features of InDesign. A must-read if you use InDesign.
Flash Catalyst is a brand-new application that's bundled with Creative Suite Design Premium, Web Premium and Master Collection. I'm really excited about this application. I've been using it a lot and will be writing more about it here in the future. Flash Catalyst allows designers to create interactive content without writing code, using Illustrator and Photoshop as a starting point. Learn more about it here, or see it on AdobeTV.
Besides the big shiny new features for each product, the InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop development teams all spent a lot of time smoothing off rough edges, polishing existing features, and adding "little things" that customers have been requesting. The Photoshop team called this process JDI (Just Do It). One could argue that for some users, these little things equal the big shiny features in importance for day-to-day productivity.
If it seems hard to keep up, consider this. Adobe has released 5 versions of the Suite in less than 7 years! The first verson of Creative Suite was released in October 2003. Whew!
Adobe expects to ship English language versions of Creative Suite 5 by mid-May 2010.