The Adobe Creative Suite family of products -spanning from CS1 to CS6, the latest incarnation on the market– has been extraordinarily popular amongst graphic designers, website developers and graphics editors of all types. This is with good reason; the products offered are great, extremely diverse and enormously powerful as digital design tools. CS6 has recently come out on sale following a May beta release that came out for consumer testing.
A lot of people who never got around to trying out the beta version are probably wondering what the big differences between 5 and 6 are before they decide to fork over either $1300 for the Design Standard version or $2,600 for the Master Collection that features everything Adobe has to offer. That said; let’s go over some of the design related changes that distinguish Adobe CS6 from CS5.
In short, Adobe has really upped the ante with CS6. The new creative suite introduces changes in almost every single one of the 14 different design products both it and CS5 come with. Notable and major upgrades have been made to all the major design programs like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Flash Pro, Fireworks, InDesign/InCopy, Premiere Pro and Encore among others. Photoshop, for example, has been upgraded with 62% more new features from the CS5 version.
Aside from expansions to existing features of CS5, Adobe has also added two completely new applications to its Master Collection and Production Premium versions; Prelude CS6 and SpeedGrade CS6. The first of these is a tool for video logging that helps transcode footage quickly and SpeedGrade is a professional color grading system for video editing.
The programs that haven’t changed between CS5 and 6 are: Flash Catalyst, Contribute, OnLocation, Device Central,Acrobat and Flash Builder.
The best way to examine such an enormous amount of changes is by having a quick run through some of the key differences in major design programs.
Key new features of Photoshop include a new and improved user interface, new Camera Raw 7, save for background and Auto-recovery, intuitive video editing, redesigned 3D and Vector engines, an excellent new video editing system for many formats and a completely re-engineered crop tool. These are just some of the completely new features in Photoshop CS6; there are many more.
Illustrator CS6 also comes with a re-engineered user interface, new creative tools for creating patterns, image tracing ability, gradients on strokes, a customizable interface and the Adobe Mercury performance system for 64-bit support on Windows or Mac. Other new features for web, video and mobile uses are also included.
The versatile desktop publishing software has been upgraded to be easier and more efficient than ever. Time-saving tools include split window ability, content collector tools quick access recent fonts, grayscale and alternate layout. Other new features such as PDF form field creation and HTML content pasting or placing are also part of InDesign CS6.
A fluid grid layout for cross-platform design, HTML5 code rendering that includes liveview and multi-screen preview; optimized FTP performance, enhanced jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap support (A bonus for mobile apps development) are just some of the new features in the new Dreamweaver. The latest version of this excellent page design software is sure to make web design easier and more intuitive than ever.
With Fireworks you can create extraordinary website and app designs quickly and easily; knowing how to code isn’t even required. New features in the latest Fireworks include screen layout tools, jQuery Mobile theme skinning, CSS3 code extraction, increased memory management in Windows 64-bit editions and improved redraw performance for Mac.
The New Adobe CS6 is truly a large improvement from its previous incarnation; the changes and new features that have been created for CS6 are numerous enough to fill a dozen pages and what we’ve explained here only covers the more important design oriented parts of what’s been done.
Whether CS6 is worth the $2600 USD price tag for the complete set of programs and apps is a subjective decision. The Adobe website itself offers per-program upgrades for those designers and programmers who just want to change up for only a few of their CS5 apps. This offers a nice budget option for enjoying the new features of CS6.
Amanda Gant is a respected, award winning technology writer and has been covering the tech industry for many years. When she’s not reviewing eCommerce web design in Chicago, she’s busy writing her autobiography and practicing her violin.