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Adobe Ships Creative Suite 4, Flash Player 10

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Adobe has begun shipping Creative Suite 4, with new versions of its development, design, publishing, and video/motion graphics applications, along with new and modified pricing and licensing schemes for both K-12 and post-secondary education. The company also released Flash Player 10 Wednesday.

Creative Suite 4
Creative Suite 4 is available in six distinct editions--Design Standard, Design Premium, Web Standard, Web Premium, Production Premium, and the Mast Collection, which contains all of the individual applications. Almost all of the applications in the collections have received some major upgrades, with a particular focus on performance and UI enhancements in the applications that formerly belonged to Macromedia (Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.).

For an in depth look the updates to the individual applications, please see our article "First Look: Adobe Creative Suite 4." What follows is a list of some of the more significant enhancements to the individual applications in Creative Suite 4.

Photoshop:

  • 3D compositing and editing features;
  • 3D object/layer manipulation directly within the main interface window;
  • Support for painting on 3D objects;
  • New painting modes used on 3D layers--diffuse, bump, glossiness, shininess, opacity, reflectivity, and self-illumination;
  • A new integrated ray tracer for higher final render quality;
  • Non-destructive adjustments for raw images;
  • A new version of Adobe Bridge featuring updated navigation, workspace control, and UI, among other new features;
  • New printing options, including 16-bit printing in Mac OS X;
  • Support for multi-touch gestures in Mac OS X;
  • Overall performance improvements;
  • Support for using video layers as textures;
  • Support for exporting 3D layers to the OBJ, KMZ, Collada, and U3D file formats;
  • General UI enhancements;
  • Manipulation of light, camera, and material properties of imported 3D objects; and
  • The new ability to convert text and images to "volumes."

Dreamweaver:

  • Significant performance improvements in split-code view;
  • A new UI, with completely redesigned palette styles, along with some rearrangements within the menus and palettes themselves;
  • Live View, which allows users to preview their pages with browser accuracy;
  • Live Code, which lets users modify code while in Live VIew mode;
  • Related Files, which displays all of the related files for a given document that you're working on, including CSS, XML, and other types of external documents;
  • The ability to create data sets directly within an HTML document using tables, divs, or ULs;
  • Support for Photoshop's Smart Objects feature;
  • InContext Editing;
  • Code hinting for Ajax and JavaScript frameworks; and
  • Support for Adobe AIR authoring.

Flash:

  • Support for inverse kinematics for simplified animations of multiple related objects;
  • An object-based animation model designed to reduce the number of steps it takes to create a basic animation;
  • A new Motion Editor, which provides independent control over every motion parameter;
  • 3D transformation capabilities;
  • A new tool called Deco, which is a procedural modeling tool for creating pattern effects from individual symbols;
  • Built-in Adobe AIR publishing support;
  • XFL file format support;
  • Support for XMP metadata;
  • New support in Adobe Media Encoder for H.264 encoding; and
  • Adoption of the suite-wide CS4 interface and a few new UI options to make Flash a bit more intuitive for non-coders.

Fireworks:

  • Performance and stability improvements;
  • Adoption of Adobe's text engine;
  • An overhauled user interface and general workspace improvements;
  • Adobe AIR interactive prototyping;
  • The ability to design and export CSS-based Web page layouts; and
  • The ability to export to PDF.

Illustrator:

  • Support for multiple artboards (a long-requested feature);
  • Enhancements to gradients, including support for transparency, new elliptical gradients, and overall improvements to manipulating gradients on objects;
  • A new Blob Brush tool, which creates outlined and filled shapes from brush strokes (as opposed to stroked paths);
  • The addition of Flex Skin Design extensions;
  • Enhanced integration with other Adobe apps, including multiple artboard support in Flash and InDesign CS4;
  • Smart Guides;
  • Appearance editing within the Appearance palette;
  • Graphic Styles previews (without applying the styles to objects);
  • Support for more object types in Isolation mode; and
  • A separations preview.

InDesign:

  • Automatic text reflow for overset copy, including the creation of new pages to handle the flow;
  • Page/spread rotation for simplifying the task of working with non-horizontally aligned text;
  • Smart guides to assist with transforming multiple objects (without the need to create guides manually);
  • Conditional Text, which allows users to create multiple, unique versions of a document;
  • An enhanced Links palette;
  • A new feature called cross-referencing, which automatically updates multiple elements when a change is made to one of them; and
  • Live Preflight, which provides warnings during the entire page layout/design process.

After Effects:

  • Support for importing Photoshop 3D layers;
  • New 2.5D planar motion tracking via Imagineer Systems' Mocha for After Effects;
  • Additional 3D compositing features, including keyframing individual X, Y, and Z transformations;
  • Searchable timelines;
  • Additional features for exporting to Flash CS4;
  • Interface and workflow improvements; and
  • Integrated mobile device authoring workflow.

Premiere Pro:

  • New direct-to-disk recording support;
  • Batch encoding;
  • Improved integration with other Adobe applications, including Dynamic Link to Encore, improved support for Photoshop features, and improved copy and paste text between Adobe applications;
  • A wide range of new editing enhancements;
  • Improved project, sequence, and clip management; and
  • A new Source Monitor for more precise viewing of audio waveforms.

CS4 Education Licensing
For students, teachers, and institutions, Adobe has made a few adjustments to Creative Suite licensing and pricing. Here's the way it works for both higher education and K-12, broken down by individual suite edition.

CS4 Design Standard Edition

  • K-12 school site license: $6,499
  • Student Single license (K-12): $249
  • Student Single License (higher ed): $249
  • Educational Single-license Shrink: $499
  • Retail Single-license Shrink: $1,399

CS4 Design Premium Edition

  • K-12 school site license: $8,499
  • Student Single license (K-12): Not available
  • Student Single License (higher ed): $349
  • Educational Single-license Shrink: $599
  • Retail Single-license Shrink: $1,799

CS4 Web Standard Edition

  • K-12 school site license: $4,999
  • Student Single license (K-12): $199
  • Student Single License (higher ed): $199
  • Educational Single-license Shrink: $399
  • Retail Single-license Shrink: $999

CS4 Web Premium Edition

  • K-12 school site license: $7,999
  • Student Single license (K-12): Not available
  • Student Single License (higher ed): Not available
  • Educational Single-license Shrink: $549
  • Retail Single-license Shrink: $1,699

CS4 Production Premium

  • K-12 school site license: $8,499
  • Student Single license (K-12): $349
  • Student Single License (higher ed): $349
  • Educational Single-license Shrink: $599
  • Retail Single-license Shrink: $1,699

CS4 Master Collection

  • K-12 school site license: $13,999
  • Student Single license (K-12): Not available
  • Student Single License (higher ed): $599
  • Educational Single-license Shrink: $999
  • Retail Single-license Shrink: $2,499

Additional licensing options are available through the Transactional Licensing Program and Contractual Licensing Program. Further information about each of the suite editions can be found on Adobe's product pages and its education portal, which also provides additional details on TLP and CLP options. Further information about licensing options can be found here. Adobe Creative Suite 4 is available now.

Flash Player 10
Adobe also released Flash Player 10 today. The new version includes performance improvements and additional creative features, including support for new effects, 3D transformation and animation, improved audio processing, and GPU hardware acceleration.

Flash Player 10 is available now for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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