Pre-view: Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection

April 23, 2012 10:38 pm

Tags: Adobe, After Effects, Audition, Creative Cloud, CS6, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Prelude, Premiere Pro, SpeedGrade


The world is ever-changing, especially for both print and digital designers. From mega-sized flat-screen televisions to mini Blackberry phone screens, creating content for a multitude of different sized devices is a designer's nightmare. Yet, Adobe consistently strides ahead of technology in regards to creativity. They also have an uncanny instinct as to what the future will bring in regards to their customers' wants and needs. Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection not only reflects the future of design, it’s a driving force … Adobe's 2012 motto could easily be: If you have a designing dilemma, Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection has the solution!

If Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection was a step into the Mobile Revolution … the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection is a giant leap for "creative minds on the move." Adobe's creators and innovators have gone all-out to make this the most advanced upgrade Adobe has seen in years. Adobe listened, learned and incorporated comments and suggestions from its users, adding new features and functions, while keeping (or improving) their users' favorite features.

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection is available in both Mac and PC platforms. This is more than another upgrade version … it's a re-creation of many of your favorite programs. For this preview, I'll touch on a handful of the new features and/or enhancements within the main programs of the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection. In future months, Renderosity will publish in-depth reviews of individual programs within the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection.

If you just can't wait for the upcoming CS6 individual product reviews, visit the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection official site, and give the free trial version of Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection a test drive.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS6  

file_480797.jpgWith Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5, my favorite new feature was the enhanced multi-screen preview panels. The new Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Fluid Grid Layouts takes the multi-screen design experience in a totally new direction. No longer do designers need to create separate pages of the same web page to get the perfect page design for various mobile device formats.

With Adobe Dreamweaver CS6, users can create and work concurrently on three "fluid" versions of the same web page, for three different sized devices, by simply dragging and dropping content into easy to manipulate templates. The Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Fluid Grid Layout provides designers a one-stop space for computer, cell phone, and tablet website designs.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 also provides hassle-free utilization of HTML5 and CSS3. The new CSS3 Transitions Panel allows designers to incorporate CSS3 code without actually writing code, and without the need of JavaScript for transitions to playback once the page is published. The new jQuery Swatches Panel, with its numerous jQuery Mobile themes and buttons, makes it easier than ever to create a mobile application designed in jQuery Mobile.

Adobe Fireworks CS6

file_480799.jpgEase of creating exciting and informative content for mobile devices continues with Adobe Fireworks CS6. This new version is an invaluable companion to Adobe Dreamweaver CS6. Adobe Fireworks CS6 is packed with new tools for … "creating and optimizing vector and bitmap images, themes, content, comps, wireframes, mockups, and more—all with high quality and small file size."

Mobile devices are constantly evolving. With no standardized size format, or screen resolution, designing for mobile devices is also in a constant state of flux. Adobe Fireworks CS6 provides several solutions for webmasters, by providing easy-to-use new and enhanced tools … especially geared to web designers in regards to mobile devices.

Like Adobe Dreamweaver CS6, Adobe Fireworks CS6 utilizes the jQuery Mobile framework. Plus, the new CSS Properties Panel makes it easier than ever to extract specific CSS3 code and then implement the code into a new document.

Adobe Flash Professional CS6

file_480800.jpgWith the growing popularity of mobile device game apps, Adobe Flash Professional CS6 gives game-developers new and exciting tools … so that even novice gamers can easily realize the true potential of their creativity. With Adobe Flash Professional CS6, users can quickly merge different sequences of symbols and animations into a single concise sprite sheet. Also available are pre-built native extensions.

Thanks to the powerhouse Starling framework (Flash's open source game engine), instead of being limited to 24 fps (frames per second), you can now utilize up to 60 fps. More importantly, the Starling framework plays nicely with the majority of mobile iOS and Android platforms.

Adobe Flash Professional CS6 now offers an innovative feature for developers of mobile device apps. The Simulator Controller simulates "touch" functions. For app designers, this new addition is invaluable when creating touch function features on a non-touch device (ie: laptop or desktop computer).

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 

file_480805.jpgWhen I first opened Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, I was impressed at the new (customizable) user interface … finally making this extremely complex editing program accessible to even novice users. Within the redesigned UI are new features and enhancements to: the Project, Audio Mixer, and Monitor panels; and resizable clip thumbnails in the media browser.

Another new "how did I ever live without it" feature is the expanded multi-cam editor, allowing for easier viewing and editing when shooting a scene using multiple cameras positioned in multiple angles. Also, previously the multi-cam editor limited you to only 4 cameras; in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 the number of cameras is only limited to your resources.

Although the Warp Stabilizer is not new (it was introduced in After Effects CS5.5), it is now woven into Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, where it's an intricate and essential editing component. Add to all the above, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is loaded with a plethora of new features and enhancements, providing video editors with tools that make editing films both easy for the novice and challenging for the professional.

Lastly, with all the new shortcuts and sleek custom UI, it's easy to forget that Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is more powerful than ever, and regarded as a professional video editing program. As such, it demands a powerful operating system: Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 (and Adobe After Effects CS6) runs on a 64-bit system and no longer supports 32-bit.

Adobe Prelude CS6 

file_480804.jpgFor pre-production, Adobe Prelude CS6 is the perfect complement to Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. With Adobe Prelude CS6, ingesting (downloading) film footage from camera to computer can be as easy as: ingesting hours of footage to a workhorse desktop computer; or merely ingesting partial, yet important, edited moments to a laptop.

By simply selecting Transcode in the Adobe Prelude CS6 Transfer Options panel, filmographers can select a specific film format and presets … all during the ingestion process. Adobe Prelude CS6 provides effortless collaboration between directors, cinematographers, and film editors by utilizing the advanced searchable embedded metadata, comment markers, and subclip markers. 



Adobe SpeedGrade CS6

file_480806.jpgWith Adobe's recent acquisition of SpeedGrade from IRIDAS, rumors abounded as to how Adobe would best utilize the professional post-production processing, color-grading, and finishing program. With the release of Adobe's CS6 Suites, the rumors have been put to rest. Adobe has partnered SpeedGrade CS6 with Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 … taking filmmaking to a new level.

Budding filmmakers will appreciate the color consistency that SpeedGrade CS6 offers, as well as being able to easily resize and reframe the final cut of their film masterpieces. Adobe SpeedGrade CS6 also solves display format output headaches with tools to resize, and/or reframe, for display formats from tablets to movie screens.



Adobe Audition CS6 

file_480796.jpgLike the other programs in the CS6 family, Audition CS6 (Adobe's cross-platform, high-performance multi-track professional audio editor) has both new and enhanced functions to increase productivity. The new and enhanced "effects" easily solve a multitude of audio problems.

New precise editing features boost multi-track and waveform editing. New organizing tools turn intricate projects into manageable endeavors. New diverse file formats for audio and video adds to the already professional audio editor's functionality.




Adobe After Effects CS6 

file_480798.jpgIn this fast moving world, it's impossible not to get swept up in "instantaneous mentality." The new Adobe After Effects CS6 Global Performance Cache automatically saves each preview, allowing for instant accessibility satisfaction.

Adobe After Effects is renowned for adding a bit of magic to each new version. In Adobe After Effects CS6, the magic is in the new 3D Camera Tracker that morphs 2D scenes into 3D … it also enables users to insert additional objects into the newly created 3D scene.

Also new to After Effects CS6: the ability to convert vector text (created in Adobe Illustrator) into After Effects editable shape layers. Plus, a new ray-traced 3D rendering engine, rolling shutter repair, and variable mask feathering. Add to that numerous additional effects and enhancements, providing for efficient and improved workflow. 


Adobe InDesign CS6

file_480802.jpgAs I've mentioned in previous reviews, as a designer and publisher, I'm always excited when Adobe announces a new version of InDesign. With its abundance of new features and enhancements, Adobe InDesign CS6 exceeded my expectations.

With the inevitable downsizing of the print industry, and the rise of digital publication, each new version of Adobe InDesign addresses the wants and needs of designers within the digital publishing world. Adobe InDesign CS6 has an abundance of new and enhanced features and functions geared specifically toward designing and publishing digital media.

The Adobe InDesign CS6 liquid layout and alternate layout, continues with Adobe's CS6 Suite's theme of "simplifying the creation of content for mobile devices." These new and enhanced features repurpose layouts, allowing designers to effortlessly create for different sized devices, as well as designing for horizontal and vertical orientation within a single device's design.

The new Content Collector tools, does as the name implies, and collects a variety of content (from images to text), and distributes the content from one layout source into another. Keeping content consistent within a layout is an important design aspect. The new Adobe InDesign CS6 Link Content feature allows for uniformed links within (and across) established (and new) layout documents. Both the Link Content feature, and the Content Collector tools can be used in conjunction with each other, or independently.

Adobe InDesign CS6 also includes new and enhanced export features, aiding in the ease of publishing layouts created in Adobe InDesign CS6.

Adobe Illustrator CS6

file_480801.jpgWith its new impressive user interface, along with its supped-up Mercury Performance Engine, Adobe Illustrator CS6 has a whole new look and feel. Being redesigned from the inside out has improved the usability and the performance of this designer's workhorse program.

The overall new ease of use and diverse enhanced functionality, of even the most familiar tools, will make even die-hard Adobe Illustrator pros feel like they are using Adobe Illustrator for the first time.

Designers will find they can effortlessly change raster images into vector images … that remain high quality and editable. New is the ability to create seamless vector patterns that are flawless; and the capability to insert the created pattern into an editable image. The image can even be manipulated without pattern distortion. It's just one of the new "have to see to believe" features of Adobe Illustrator CS6.

Creating a 3D appearance from a 2D image is easy with the Adobe Illustrator CS6 new "gradients on strokes." Innovative artistic depth to illustrative work can be achieved simply by replacing Fill with Gradients.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended (and Adobe Photoshop CS6)

file_480803.jpgAs much as I'm excited when a new version of InDesign is announced, I'm apprehensive when a new version of Adobe Photoshop is forthcoming. With each upgraded version, I find it difficult to imagine how Adobe can improve on Photoshop's perfection (translated: I hope Adobe doesn't remove my favorite features).

In this new version, Adobe Photoshop CS6 has undergone an extensive facelift: including a new user interface, with a darker workspace. Adobe did have the foresight to allow long-time Photoshop users (like myself) to modify the workspace color to the familiar (and most often, preferable) lighter grey. With the exception of the darker workspace, I was very impressed with the Adobe Photoshop CS6 new features, as well as the numerous enhancements to familiar features, functions, and tools.

Content-Aware has been enhanced, improved and revamped; adding precision, clarity, and just pure magic to image retouching. Also, the new Blur Gallery allows photographers to add dimension and depth to otherwise bland photographs.

Although auto correction has been a long standing fundamental feature of Photoshop, this version's auto corrections (with their improved built-in intelligence) makes it feel more new, rather than merely enhanced.

Creating stunning videos in Adobe Photoshop CS6 is merely a matter of opening a video file. The frames are automatically added to Adobe's Layers Panel as a Video Group, and to the Timeline as a track entry. Adding text and/or manipulating individual frames is as simple as working within a layer's file. The new video playback engine also supports over 50 file types.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended is surprisingly powerful when it comes to creating 3D imagery … and converting bland 2D images into 3D artwork that truly pops, is easier than ever. Also, rendering images in 3D is now quicker, due to the new Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine.

My favorite Adobe Photoshop CS6 feature, however, is the new Background Save and Auto-recovery functions. If those were the only two new additions to this version of Photoshop, it would be well worth the upgrade. I've used Adobe Photoshop on a daily basis since 1995, and Adobe Photoshop CS6 is fast becoming my favorite Photoshop version to date!

The Adobe Creative Cloud

Although this is a pre-view of the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection, I'm also including a brief summary of the Adobe Creative Cloud. The Adobe Creative Cloud is more than a powerful transfer and storage space, it's also a subscription-based gateway to let your creativity soar.

For a nominal monthly fee of only $49 (based on the yearly month-to-month payment plan), Adobe grants account holders full access to the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection and much, much more (see comparison chart below for a complete listing of all the programs, and services, available when you subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud).

If you opt for the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription of the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection, you download the full version of each program to your computer (along with serial numbers). The software resides on your computer, with updates automatically added the instant they become available. If you do not renew your subscription, access to your programs are revoked.

With the introduction of CS6, Adobe is providing their customers with the option to either "lease" its most popular products with a paid subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud, or to "own" the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection outright by purchasing a down-loadable or boxed version.

I highly suggest that you explore the Adobe Creative Cloud website before making a decision in regards to the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection.

Should You Upgrade? 

Which CS6 Suite is for you?

Upgrading to any new software version is a huge step, and should never be taken without weighing all your options. To help you make the decision to upgrade to the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection easier, I suggest that you keep-tuned to Renderosity's Industry News and the forth coming full reviews of the individual CS6 programs. You can also download a trial version of the programs (to fully explore, and appreciate, the new features of the individual programs within the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection, click on the "New In …" button included in each program).

If you are currently designing for mobile devices, or even if you contemplate working with them in the future … upgrading to the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection (or any of the CS6 individual programs) is essential. As I stated in the beginning of this review … Adobe's 2012 motto could easily be: If you have a designing dilemma, Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection has the solution!

Something Old, Something New

As always, prices for the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection vary, depending if you are a first-time buyer, or if you are upgrading from a previous edition. Something new: Adobe is now offering a yearly and a month-to-month subscription of its Creative Suite 6 Master Collection edition via the Adobe Creative Cloud. Also available, the free 30-day limited trial version. See Adobe's pricing guide for a full price list.

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April 23, 2012

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