With Adobe Creative Suite 5, Adobe has taken functionality and user experience another great leap forward. This new version adds 64-bit compatibility to the Macintosh version and incorporates scores of requests from users around the world. While CS5 includes Illustrator CS5, InDesign CS5, Acrobat 9 Pro and other programs depending on the version purchased, it is Photoshop CS5 that is getting all the coverage right now. This makes sense, since it is the most revised and upgraded element of the package.
In the new Photoshop, you can now drag and drop files from the desktop to an open Photoshop window, where they create a new layer, as well as save customized layer styles as defaults, change multiple layers’ opacity/fill simultaneously and lots more. More Adobe magic is on display with the Content-Aware Fill option, which helps you remove unwanted areas or objects quickly. The brush palette got its first overhaul in many moons, and now features realistic tips in addition to a Mixer Brush that turns photos into paintings without filters. None of these upgrades will overwork any modern Mac CPU, but CS5 will only run under Mac OS X 10.6 on an Intel model. That said, it will happily cruise along on a Mac mini and CRE’s iMac rentals, too (until you bog down in 3D work; see below).
Other top new tools include a revised Refine Edge function, whose Smart Radius tool makes selecting fur and other ephemera quick and easy, and a Lens Correction filter that uses camera profiles you create or download. The list goes on – and on. This is a massive upgrade, for sure, and Photoshop Extended users even get the new Repoussé (“Rep-oo-say”) tool, which makes 3D versions of paths, text, selections and masks on a special layer where all the program’s 3D tools can be used.
Power vacuum in 3D
Even on powerful Mac Pro rentals, working in 3D is not a particularly swift process, as there are huge amounts of CPU power needed for the extrusion process. Speaking of 3D, there are other multidimensional features like the new Ground Plane Shadow Catcher, which makes creating realistic cast shadows a snap. A faster 3D Ray Tracer allows pauses in rendering to change quality, and there are tons of new light sources, overlays and new material types in addition to the option to change depth of fields, adjust preferences and more, even as you work. Powerful software, yes – but for this you need hardware power, too, as much as you can get. Adobe even specifies minimum requirements for graphics cards with CS5. Don’t buy without checking this out!
Adobe updates appear every year and a half or two, and in a recessionary economy justifying the cost (especially a first purchase) is tough. Numerous reviewers have called the buy a “no-brainer” but this is really true only if you passed on CS4 and are two versions behind. If you don’t work in 3D, but need the rest of the new stuff, stick with the standard version.
Which Creative Suite for you?
Now there are five different bundles starting with the Design Standard version — standard Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, InDesign CS5, Acrobat 9 Pro, as well as Bridge CS5 and Device Central CS5 — to the top-of-line Master Collection. This bundles Adobe’s best, including Photoshop Extended CS5 with the advanced 3-D capabilities, with the other tools you need to make content (and apps!) for the upcoming Flash Player 10.1.
Our Account Executives can give you more information on the hardware you need to run Adobe’s powerful new software. Call, send an e-mail or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form online and we’ll get you set up, promptly and properly, with the solutions you need for the work you do.