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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Archive for the ‘Creative Suite’ Category

    Creative Suite 2.3

    Monday, November 20th, 2006

    New Creative Suite? Well almost.
    Adobe has announced the release of Creative Suite 2.3, which includes something old, something new, something bought and something…well, I’m not sure if there’s anything really blue, but you get the idea.
    What’s old? InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Bridge and VersionCue all come over from the previous CS2 release…don’t expect anything new in this department until the release of CS3.
    What’s new? Acrobat 8.0. Yep, it’s that time of year again.
    I know for some it is frustrating that Acrobat is on a different upgrade schedule than the rest of the Creative Suite, and it’s not named Acrobat CS or Acrobat CS2.
    We’ll just have to get over that, since Acrobat has a much larger audience outside the print/publishing/design world we live in.
    As for the new version, however, we’ll talk more about how it impacts our industry in future discussions. For now I’ll just say that there are a few interesting new features for us like improved Color Management, shared Transparency Presets, Preflight improvements, Booklet Printing and some new Meta Data stuff.
    Today’s discussion focuses on when to buy Acrobat 8.0.
    So…when do you buy Acrobat 8.0?
    As a trainer and consultant, I have to get the software immediately and it’s just something I have to deal with.
    As a printer receiving PDFs from clients who might have Acrobat 8, you have to get the software immediately and it’s just something you’ll have to deal with. Unless you have the luxury of communicating with your clients and asking them to make their files compatible with previous versions.
    For those of us in a situation where we need the new software now, we possibly end up with more copies of software than we need. So I bought Acrobat 8, but I know I’m going to buy the Creative Suite 3 Premium when it comes out, which will give me another copy of Acrobat I won’t need.
    I could purchase the Creative Suite 3 Standard, which doesn’t include Acrobat, but I will want the web creation tool, as well, and to buy it separately would cost more than just getting the premium and having an extra Acrobat.
    So what’s the damage? Since Adobe has always been so kind with it’s upgrade pricing, those of us who buy the upgrade to Acrobat 8 professional are only set back $150. Not too much of an investment to have the software now, instead of waiting until the CS3 upgrade comes out in the spring.
    If you look at the new features and they’re worth 150 smackers, go for it and enjoy new productivity immediately. Otherwise, you may be better off to wait for CS and get your new version then.
    What’s bought? Dreamweaver is part of the MacroMedia package Adobe acquired recently and they are including it in the new Suite.
    As for the web creation tool, it seems the writing is on the wall regarding the future of the Creative Suite. I can’t imagine Adobe would release this CS2.3 with Dreamweaver then release CS3 with GoLive again. There is a greater plan in the works and I’m guessing we’ll see Dreamweaver 9 in the next CS3.
    What does that mean to me? I have to learn a new piece of software. Yabb-Adobe-Doo is created in GoLive since it integrates with the other Adobe products so well. Now that Adobe owns Dreamweaver, I hope to see the same happen with the new version.
    Regardless, I will be converting this site over to Dreamweaver in the near future and we’ll have discussions as to how well that works.
    What if you don’t own InDesign, yet? The longer you wait to get on board, the longer you will be working too hard and wasting time creating documents in other applications. My suggestion is to look at CS2.3 and consider joining the revolution. Even though there is an announced CS3 around the corner, it’s still far enough away that if you have projects to get out, you should be able to recoup your investment easily with improved productivity. If you don’t have much work in the next few months, it might be a good time to take advantage of a slow season and get up to speed on the software so you’re ready for your busy season.
    Here’s something else to consider: The CS2.3 upgrade is only $159. The Acrobat 8.0 upgrade is $159. So for the cost of the upgrade to Acrobat you can get Creative Suite 2.3 upgrade which gives you Dreamweaver for free. Hmmm…
    So what are you gonna do?

    How Soon We Forget

    Monday, October 30th, 2006

    Have you ever bought a newer, faster computer and then, after three days of speedy bliss, you’re yelling at the machine to “hurry up!!
    Do you keep your old computer around and fire it up once in awhile just so you’ll remember what it was like in the old days?
    As a daily user of Creative Suite CS2, I enjoy using many of the features that are new in this last upgrade.
    As a trainer, I often run into people still using CS1. They’ll see me demonstrate something and ask “Do I have that in CS1?”
    “Uh…Nope”
    I would answer.
    The other day I was working with a client who, I found out later, was still using InDesign 2.0 (not CS2 which is version four, but 2.0 which is version…well…2.0). So they were asking me how to do a particular thing and I told them. And they asked about something else, and I told them.
    Later, when I realized they were on the older version, I had to give them the bad news that they couldn’t use any of what I had told them.
    And InDesign 2.0 was a great piece of software.
    It was the first version to offer transparency and tables. It was able to export a good PDF file and it had so many of the features we still brag about today like unlimited undos, eyedropper, crash protection, all the text stuff like optical margin alignment and optical kerning.
    But since October of 2003, Adobe has given us two upgrades chock full of goodies that would make us refuse to use that old, outdated application. You might as well tie my hands behind my back and make me work blindfolded, you might say.
    How soon we forget.
    I give Adobe credit for giving us features we USE. I often feel like they sat down with me and asked me what I would like to see in the next version. What gets me is the stuff they put in there I didn’t even think of, but now I can’t live without.
    I can’t wait for upgrades. I love them. There is always something in there that helps me work faster and design better.
    I recommend you keep a copy of your old Adobe software on your computer and every once in a while go back and try to create something with it. Then you’ll really appreciate the software you have.
    Better yet, keep a copy of Quark around and try to create something on it. Then you’ll REALLY know how far we’ve come.

    Quark XPress 7.0 vs. Adobe InDesign. Why?

    Monday, June 5th, 2006

    It’s a busy week in our industry when Adobe talks about the features of a yet-to-be-released InDesign CS3 the day before Quark releases XPress 7.0.

    From early reports, it looks like Quark has finally had a decent upgrade, and it is causing a lot of discussion in the industry.

    Why?

    That’s not a rhetorical question, I really want to know. I need help comprehending why so many people in the design, print, newspaper and publishing world are sticking with Quark through so much. We haven’t offered this much loyalty to any company in the past.

    We dropped typesetters for computers in no time in the mid-80s. We dropped PageMaker for Quark overnight in the late 80s. We killed SyQuest drives for Zips in an afternoon.

    So why all the love for Quark?

    Who literally changed our world with PostScript, ushering in the computer age?

    Who changed our industry a second time with PDF?

    Who gave us Photoshop (be honest…who doesn’t LOVE Photoshop)?

    Who changed our industry, albeit with lesser impact, with Open Type, Transparency in layout software, and incorporating industry standards in a usable way into all of its software (including PDF X-1a, color standards and more)?

    Adobe.

    What has Quark given us? Page layout software that was better than anything on the market at the time…then a bunch of mediocre or poor, yet expensive, upgrades since. Add to that the years of poor support and they haven’t done much for us.

    On top of that, they’ve ignored or been slow to adapt to the industry.

    For starters, when XPress 4.0 was released, it had no PDF support, either for placement or creation. It wasn’t until InDesign was released that they got on the ball and gave us something in Quark 4.1.

    And what about XPress 5.0 released not OSX compatible?

    And XPress 6.0 with no transparency support, even though transparency had become more than common in our industry, including PDF transparency support.

    So here we are at version 7.0. I ordered it. I got it quickly, in a couple of days (6.0 took three weeks), nice packaging and a bevy of new features the trades are saying are impressive. I’ll let you know.

    But back to the bigger picture. The new macs were released AFTER InDesign CS2 was released. And CS3 will not only be able to run natively on the new Macs when released, they will have a bunch of new features to go with it.

    Bottom line: Has Adobe ever let us down? Has Quark? I don’t think your choice of software should just be XPress vs. InDesign…it should also be Quark vs. Adobe.

    Hands down, Adobe has not only created our industry as it is today, they continue to revolutionize it.

    I LOVE InDesign, and CS2 just rocks. I LOVE Photoshop, and CS2 just rocks. I am absotely in LOVE with Illustrator, and CS2 just rocks.

    As for QuarkXPress?

    So help me here, I’m asking for your help in understanding this continued love for QuarkXPress. I just don’t get it.

    Unless it’s the Stockholm Syndrome.

    If I only had a G5 with Creative Suite 2 in the 80s

    Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

    Often I think back to the early days…not wood or lead type…not that early. My early days, when I used to use a CompuGraphic MDT350 to write my stories. Or my old Nikon Nikkormat film cameras…and layout boards…and line tape…
    Or what about PageMaker 1.0…on a PC 286AT…with run-time Windows…and a 300dpi laser printer? Ahh…those were the days.
    I was thinking about one of my first freelance projects using PageMaker on that old machine, and I remembered that it had a memory limit. Not based on RAM or Harddrive space, but a limit within the program.
    It would happen something like this: you’d be typing along, working on page 25 of the document and all of a sudden…POW!!!…a message would pop up…mid-sentance…saying “you have reached your memory limit” or something to that affect.
    So now what do you do? Delete enough characters to work, save the document, do a save as and break your document into two parts. Eventually I had broken my 120 page catalog into six 20-page docs.
    Aaaahhhh…the good ol’ days.
    And what about the speed? Outputting the final pages at a blistering 1 page every day.
    There was the project where I wanted to put the page number inside a circle. When I printed the page out, they weren’t arranged like they were on my monitor. To make it work, I had to move the page number until it looked good on the printout…which, of course, meant the file on screen looked like a train wreck.
    Remember Photoshop pre-Layers…and pre-Actions…and pre-History? Oh yeah…they weren’t always there.
    It doesn’t take long for my thoughts to move to “What if I had a time machine? What if I could go back to the 80s with a G4 laptop, loaded with Creative Suite 2? What would that do to the competition?”
    Oh, I know it’s just a pipe dream, but it’s still fun to think about how different things would be.
    I think of how I really could have used things like Object Styles, Snippets, Anchored Objects and the eyedropper over the past two decades.
    One thing that hasn’t change, though. I think it’s funny when I hear people say “This Creative Suite is so easy to use and so powerful, now everyone is going to think they’re a designer.” Well, I’ll tell you…I heard that back in the mid 80s at the birth of the Desktop Publishing age.
    These faster computers and more powerful software programs don’t magically make people designers…they just help people create crap faster than ever before.
    So tell us what it would have been like for you if you had a G5 with Creative Suite 2 in the 80s…or the 90s for that matter.

    Features and Fixes…things we’d like to see in CS3

    Monday, April 3rd, 2006

    Just today I was demonstrating the Text Wrap feature of InDesign and, once again, I had to accept the hard truth…InDesign isn’t perfect…yet.
    I know, it’s difficult to swallow, but let’s face it. If InDesign were perfect, we wouldn’t have anything to look forward to.
    Yes, there will be a CS3 someday. And when that happens, we will all, once again, be filled with that childish excitement generally reserved for birthdays and first dates. When it happens and what it will offer is only for the Adobe Gods to answer.
    But for now, we can do our part. Let’s compile a list of features we would like to see added to future versions and I’ll submit it to someone who will care. After all, one needs only use InDesign for an afternoon and it’s pretty clear that Adobe has been listening to us since they first released this great product.
    I’ll kick this off with a feature that was actually mentioned as a possible feature with the release of InDesign back in 1999, when Adobe was still calling it K2 and demonstrating it in dark warehouses on the edge of town…top secret stuff.
    I remember clearly that they hoped you could not only place, but edit PDF files in InDesign. It was even written in on of the white papers introducing the world to what this program was going to be.
    I’m not bitter about it…not trying to beat anybody up…just mentioning it again in case it was forgotten. Can you imagine if you were a newspaper and you placed a PDF ad on a page and could also edit it without outside software…at least for some basic stuff like typos?
    Another feature that would help the few spell checkers of the world would be a “previous” button, so when you’re cookin’ on deadline and click too fast, zipping by a word you meant to check, you could just press the previous button and go back.
    How about a button (it’s always a button) that will allow the frame, frames or group you have selected to be centered on the page automatically…and instantly?
    An Illustrator feature I would love to see added to ID relates to the align palette. When you have two objects selected to align, you can click on the one you want to have stay put, in Illustrator, and the other object, or objects, will align to it. Doesn’t work that way in ID. You are best served to lock the position of the one you want to align to prior to pushing the button…and I’m too lazy for such things. (more…)