by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2009
Mike McNamee provides an in-depth review of the latest offerings from Adobe and (at last) finds something good about Vista!
Now that Adobe have adopted the policy of upgrading the entire product portfolio in one hit, the magazines are a little overwhelmed by the arrival of the software every 18-months or so. Indeed, many of the magazines have been forced to run their reviews of the suites across a number of issues - so much to look at, and so little time! The list is impressive and because some of our readers may not even be familiar with some of the products, we list them here, with a brief description about what they do.
Acrobat remains slightly aloof from all this and once again had been released some time ago as version 9. The products are provided as individual applications or as suites of applications intended to service a particular user base. It is impossible to know if the 'suite' upgrade tactic has had any bearing on Adobe's poor financial performance, they have certainly stirred a hornet's nest in regard to the discrepancy between USA and European costings. When it is cheaper to fly to the US, buy a product and fly back again there is something wrong with the pricing policy. They may also be suffering from the upgrade to 64-bit being something of a curate's egg - Mac has not got 64-bit and PC users are faced with the daunting task of taking on the much-derided Vista, we are left a little bit between a rock and a hard place. Ironically, Photoshop CS4 has provided the first opportunity for this reviewer to see something running in Vista with an obvious benefit!
Photoshop is unquestionably the product of most importance to many Professional Imagemaker readers, with Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Bridge or perhaps Apple's Aperture following on close behind. Only those involved with graphic design will have an interest in InDesign, Illustrator and Acrobat Professional. These last three are very powerful applications which many professional photographers could exploit, providing they know how to use them. Those who make their own websites may have an interest in Dreamweaver, it is after all, the leading web-design tool.
The increased interest in video may lead yet others towards Adobe Premier, After Effects and Soundbooth. In a nutshell then, if it is to do with the creation or delivery of information, involving visual images, moving images or sound, and for delivery on paper or electronically, then Adobe has something in its catalogue.
What is special about CS4?
Sometimes the changes to a product are 'must-haves' for some, or all, of the user-base. Sometimes an individual user will be sufficiently happy with their current version that they have no need of the upgrade. Sometimes it boils down to money, especially if the user has a lot of 'seats' to upgrade. Sometimes the need to upgrade only becomes apparent to a photographer when they purchase a new camera and discover, perhaps, that their older version will not open the newer RAW files of their latest camera. This scenario can be yet further complicated when the hapless software upgrader discovers that their new software will barely scrape by on their tired old computer. It can be a costly business!
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