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Adobe CS5.5 launched with new iPad 2 apps

Jim Martin
11 Apr 2011
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New release schedule announced along with subscription prices and iPad apps

Adobe has launched Creative Suite 5.5, a mid-cycle update designed to incorporate the latest features and formats before the next major overhaul to the suite in 2012. This is a change of tack for the company, which has traditionally released a major new version of each of its applications, including Photoshop and InDesign, every 18 to 24 months.

At the launch in London's Soho Hotel, an Adobe spokesperson explained that "We're changing the release schedule to help keep customers ahead of the trends, rather than behind them". Milestone releases, i.e. 5, 6, 7 will launch every two years, starting with CS6 next year.

As always, the suite will be available in different versions, including Production Premium, Web Premium and the Master Collection, which comprises all 15 packages.

As well as the Windows and Mac packages, there are also three new iPad apps: Nav, Color Lava and Eazel. These will all be available from early May 2011. Nav (£1.19) allows you to use the iPad as a kind of remote control for Photoshop, including the ability to zoom in and out of documents, select tools and colours. It also lets you display images from Photoshop, which could be useful for businesses showing artwork in progress to clients.

Color Lava (£1.79) works like an artist's palette, and lets you mix 'paint' with 'water' to create your own colours. The swatches can be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 or later. Last but not least, there's Eazel (£2.99), which is a little like the existing Adobe Ideas app, allowing you to use every last pixel on the iPad's screen to draw images with your fingers. The use of multi-touch is genius: place all five fingers on the screen and the interface appears for changing things such as brush size, opacity, colour and undo. When you're finished, your creation can be sent directly to Photoshop on your desktop computer.

Web Premium

Most of the features in CS5.5 centre around publishing, and specifically, the web and mobile devices. When CS5 was released, there were virtually no tablets around. Now, they seem to be everywhere, and Adobe clearly realises that designers need to make websites that display properly on every screen. Plus, with the increasing popularity of eBooks, documents and books need to be made available on these devices, too.

DreamWeaver has had a fair upgrade, and now includes a preview screen where you can view various versions of your site, such as desktop, tablet and mobile phone, at once. This allows you to see how each page will look on each device. There's support for CSS3 and the latest WebKit engine updates. As expected, there's also HTML5 support, while PhoneGap integration means it's possible to quickly create iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android apps. The jQuery support means it's easier to create web applications that work on both mobile and desktop devices. Updates to Flash Professional CS5.5 include content scaling, allowing media to be scaled for any screen size or resolution.

Production Premium

Premiere Pro has also had its fair share of upgrades for version 5.5, including better CUDA support for a wider range of graphics cards and more video effects are now GPU accelerated. The new Warp Stabilizer is particularly impressive, as it can take the wobble out of handheld footage, completely automatically. The Mercury Playback Engine has been improved so it also support GPU acceleration and should allow more complex footage (including 4K) to be played back more smoothly. A new Merge Clips command is designed to make it easier to sync sound recorded separately - and is aimed squarely at those shooting footage on their DSLRs, and recording sound on a separate device.

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