Adobe Creative Suite
At first glance, Adobe’s latest release
begs the question, “How do you improve upon perfection?” Answer:
you make it faster, more feature-rich, and easier to use. And
that’s exactly what the developers appear to have done.
Combining several of their flagship applications into a well-integrated
modular suite, at its most basic, the Creative Suite Premium
Edition contains Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Professional
6, Go Live, and Photoshop CS with Image Ready, and with an
optional Pagemaker module available as well.
Of course, that’s an indispensable set of
design applications, if not, in fact, the literal state-of-the-art.
But that’s just the surface of what CS has to offer:
in addition, it presents some of the most helpful, user-friendly
features a technology professional in education could ask for.
I’ll assume that if you’re reading this, you most
likely recognize the above software titles; if you don’t,
in brief, the above apps allow you to manipulate, create, enhance,
distill, and print just about any kind of web or print graphic,
photo, or multimedia file.
However, new to the
CS suite is the powerful file management system, Version
Cue. The Version Cue system allows a single user to track
various versions of a single project, and several networked
users to share various versions of a collaborative project.
The benefits of this for education are obvious: teachers
can flip through all of the various conceptual stages of
a project in development, and whole classes can collaborate
on collective works far more easily than any system I’ve
personally tested. The tighter integration of the applications
impacts on this as well, because the software now shares palettes
and commands, and generally makes switching between applications
much smoother—really a must for any kind of sophisticated
print or web design work. Also worth mentioning are the many
tutorials and the very helpful Design Guide as well.
Trying to describe all
of the new features within the space of a short article is
probably impossible. Just to touch on a few, I personally
found the keyboard shortcut remapping, support for native
files in InDesign CS, and improved support for 3D in Illustrator
to be the most impressive, but this will, of course, depend
on exactly what you’d like to use the
product to do. I’d imagine that whether the user is a
teacher of web or image design, an in-school IT supervisor
developing a class or extra-curricular site, or just a 3rd or
4th year student, the CS package will offer a significant
improvement in efficiency, power, and convenience in comparison
to the various stand-alone products used separately.
A few words about the various special programs
Adobe offers the education user: first off, the company makes
a very generous discount available to students, teachers, and
qualified institutions, as well as volume licensing and discounted
technical support. Much more information about this can be
found on the website. In addition, the Adobe Web Tech curriculum
has been updated to accommodate the CS user as well, providing
a full year-long online learning opportunity aligned to national
standards. Plus, curricula guides for InDesign CS, Pagemaker
CS, and Acrobat 6 Professional can be had, and a full platform
for curricula exchange for Adobe education users.
Unfortunately, I have
space only for a few of the highlights of this vast software
product. Probably the best thing I can do is just say “highly recommended,” and
direct you to www.adobe.com, where you can find not
only much more detail, but download multimedia features guides
and tutorials as well.#