Renown for its
multi-platform photo editing software, Photoshop, the folks at Adobe are at it again,
making their Creative Suite of tools even better with Creative Suite 2 (CS2). With
Adobe CS2, you will find yourself in the realm of design with six major software
packages: Acrobat 7.0 Professional, used for creating consistent documents no matter
what platform or set of fonts you may have; Photoshop CS2, a high-end photo editing
software package; Illustrator CS2, a vector graphics design program; InDesign CS2,
a desktop publishing package; GoLive CS2, a web design package; and Version Cue CS2,
a collaborate working tool. You may be quick to compare this software package to
the Macromedia Studio MX Suite; however, there are many differences between the two
design packages, and while some comparisons exist, there are other aspects of both
packages that stand strong and stand alone.
- 500 MHz PowerPC G4
- Mac OS X 10.2.6 and
- 512 MB RAM (1 GB
- 500 MB available
- iMac 17" 800Mhz
- iMac 17" 1 Ghz
There is no doubt that this is a very large installation. Get out your coffeepot
and be prepared to swap disks for quite a while. There is a significant amount of
heavyweight software to load up, but despite the size and time, installation really
is a straight forward process.
One thing to note is that Adobe has now taken more control over the activation process.
Unlike previous versions, just entering a serial number will not allow you to use
the software. Adobe switched to an activation scheme similar to Macromedia Studio,
where you must go through an Activation process that connects with Adobe's server.
This Activation keeps track of the number of activations that serial number has,
and with CS2, you are limited to two (allowing you to use the software on two machines).
This new activation process will thwart software piracy, which is likely the intent
of this change, but it could also be an issue if you need to reload the software
on your computer after a crash, or perhaps if you are moving the software from one
machine to another. More on this later.
After installing and activating the Creative Suite, it was time for the updates.
CS2 will ask you to download the latest updates, and that takes a bit of time as
well to finish up. Once you are done with that, you can get right to work with the
Creative Suite applications.
When the dust settled after the installation, a brilliant fresh green leaf was immediately
noticeable in the menu bar. A click on the leaf displayed the Version Cue menu, including
a set of Version Cue preferences.
The other applications all have equally bright and beautiful new icons, and each
starts up with a panel that displays the following choices: what's new, browse extras
and new / open document options (some have tutorial and video links). Startup times
seem pretty long compared to applications such as iLife and Microsoft Office.
The following sections will provide summaries of each of the major components to
probably most appropriate to start with Photoshop CS2, as Photoshop is likely the
most popular application of the CS2 suite.
Adobe Photoshop CS2 is the premiere photo editing software on any platform. Photoshop
CS2 is designed as a High End Professional title, but many of its features can be
easily tapped by the average user.
Photoshop has been around for quite awhile. I used a copy of it back in the early
1990's for use with a scanner. The quality and features packed into Photoshop CS2
truly will take even the novice into territory once reserved for photo restoration
experts. Photoshop CS2 provides the capability to work with a large variety of image
formats natively using the powerful tools provided.
If you already have Photoshop CS, there are a number of new features introduced in
Photoshop CS2. One new feature is integration with another CS2 product, Adobe Bridge.
While Bridge is a stand-alone application, it is a requirement if you desire to do
batch processing of photos. Specifically for PS CS2 files, you can do processing
on files in Bridge while you continue to work in PS CS2. Bridge is your gateway into
Adobe's stock photo service, where you can pay for some great royalty free photos
to use, or even order prints. The only thing that seems to be missing here is a way
for people to easily access their iPhoto library and get busy with their photos.
One of those coolest new features is Vanishing Point. Vanishing point allows you
to change the perspective within a photo. This works best with objects such as buildings,
however you can do many things, such as place text on objects and use the edges as
areas to define the objects in a more 3D-esq style mode.
New Vanishing Point tool
Image Warp is another nice new feature that allows you to take an image or part of
an image, and re-distribute it based upon a grid. Using the grid, you can easily
match up the image to revolve around spheres, cylinders or whatever crazy shapes
you have in mind. This can also be handy to exaggerate different parts of a photo.
Lots of uses and can be used intuitively .
Red-Eye Correction, while it seems like a no brainer since most all the low end photo
touch-up programs have it, is now just a one click function. The usage seems to be
pretty intelligently implemented. When you select an eye in a photo, you just have
to get close and photoshop will fix the eye quite easily.
Single click Red-Eye Correction - Before and After
If you ever had the need to work with those animated GIFs, then you'll love the new
feature Graphics in Motion. You'll be able to create some quick animated GIFs. Normally
you would have to find a plug-in or even use a third-party application to get your
animation set up. Graphics in Motion makes it easy within Photoshop. Everything is
very customizable, including frame hold times and whether or not to loop. This is
great for creating personal advertising on your own website.
Smart Sharpening is another new feature, great in a number of different ways. First
off, it does live updates on your photo, yet it also gives you a large preview window
showing you specific areas of your photo that you are most interested in. I think
that many people will find this very useful in touching up slightly blurred photos.
Smart Sharpening is located in the filters, exactly where you would expect to find
New Smart Sharpen dialog
love the new support for RAW format. Photoshop CS2 has built-in support for the raw
format provided by most of the leading camera manufactures. The advantage of the
RAW format for the professional photographer is that what you shoot is what you get
on your computer. This support extends into your ability to edit your photos in the
raw mode without converting to a JPEG. This means that your final output is of the
same quality without compression as the original that you shot.
Photoshop CS2 now includes an enhanced Adobe Help Center. I'm not sure what is wrong
with the Apple Help system, but it seems that Adobe wants to have some consistent
look and feel in the cross-platform environment. There is adequate help provided
as well as a third party disk filled with video tutorials to help you get started.
Some other new features worth noting: Advanced Noise Reduction, 32-bit high Dynamic
Range (HDR), Optical Lens Correction, Smart objects, new PDF engine integrated with
Version Cue CS2, menu customization and event-based scripting.
Overall, Photoshop is a great product, and there are new features in CS2 for most
everyone. Photoshop CS2 makes a necessary transition from a virtual stand-alone application
to software packaged together into a tightly integrated suite of creative collaborative
tools. Adobe makes great use of high-end Macs, and doesn't dumb down the software
to placate older machines. The performance is still strong enough to use every day.
While on my older machine, it does take some time to load initially, once it gets
going, it seems as fast as ever. Whether you're looking to add Photoshop to your
Mac as either part of the Creative Suite 2 or stand alone, you can be sure Adobe
has added many great and powerful new features, such as RAW format editing and integration
with Adobe Bridge. You may wonder why you didn't upgrade sooner.
- Easy to use Red-Eye
- RAW camera Format
- Fantastic smart sharpen
- Great image manipulation
- Strong image management
through the Adobe Bridge
- Pricey for the home
- Still no integration
with Apple's iLife suite
- Education is required
to get the most out of Photoshop
InDesign is a professional page layout application which is geared to producing printed
output such as magazines and brochures, as well as to PDF and the web. It works with
other members of the Adobe CS2 suite, for example by exporting to GoLive and importing
from Photoshop and Illustrator as well as from Microsoft Word.
While there is overlap between word processing and page layout, the focus of word
processors is to originate content, whereas page layout is about presentation of
content that may be originated in other applications. The hallmark of page layout
is the capability to place multiple text flows, each in multiple connected frames
which can be adjacent or on separate pages. By contrast, while many word processors
have a simple text frame capability, a word processed document is generally a single
flow from beginning to end. InDesign offers drawing and word processing functionality
including drag and drop text editing and spell checking.
With InDesign your starting point is that you have a set number of pages to fill
- for example you may have decided in advance to produce a 4 page newsletter or a
40 page magazine. In general when you open a magazine you are looking at a left page
and a right page, which taken together constitute a "spread". InDesign
encourages you to design to those spreads and displays spread pages side by side.
Like Illustrator, InDesign works with the true-to-life concept of an artboard where
you put the final work, while you keep scraps of things you are working on off on
In the end you may want to print onto paper twice the size of your magazine and fold
it in half. You won't print the pages in spreads, but in the order that they will
be in the folded pages. For example, for a 16 page magazine you would have to print
page 16 on the left of page 1, turn over and print page 2 on the left of page 15.
Word processors in general can't do this. InDesign comes with a handy plugin, InBooklet,
that looks after this for you for a simple document and can be upgraded to create
documents with more complex bindings.
In the early days of page layout applications, using a computer was more efficient
and accurate than the old fashioned methods, but far less creative. With a phototypesetter,
a process camera, scissors, glue and technical pens you were not confined to vertical
and horizontal alignments of rectangular text frames. Today with InDesign, I am hard
pressed to imagine something I could do manually that couldn't be done with InDesign,
whereas InDesign suggests all kinds of things that would have been extremely time
consuming at best, or more likely impossible to do in the olden days.
For example, although InDesign lets you set type in evenly sized vertical columns
if you want to, it's equally possible to choose a layout that's more in keeping with
its subject, in this case the megaliths of northern Scotland. All the time of course,
the text flows after each tweak of a corner of the containing frames.
As well as text editing, positioning, and typographical features (such as glyphs
and kerning), InDesign has drawing tools similar to Illustrator's. One point to note
is that there are small differences in the palettes between Illustrator and its siblings.
For example in the tools palette, the tools with multiple options can't be torn off
like they can in Illustrator - in this respect InDesign is like Photoshop.
InDesign is easy enough to come to grips with for anyone who has used a page layout
or desktop publishing application in the past. Experience with Photoshop or Illustrator
will make the user interface familiar. There is a comprehensive help system with
tutorial sections which cover the most important "getting started" topics.
If you are moving to CS2 from CS, the splash page can take you to the InDesign CS2
website where you can watch short but concentrated Quicktime videos of tutorials
on the new features.
InDesign CS2 is a major upgrade over InDesign CS. Fabulous new features include anchored
objects, object styles, and support for layered objects. Anchoring objects allows
you to define precise positioning of a graphic relative to a paragraph (for example)
and to lock that position against accidental mouse gestures in the vicinity of the
Object styles allow you to define a reusable named format for objects in your InDesign
document and reapply them to other objects. If you change a previously styled object
manually, the style offers you the option to reapply the manual change to all other
objects of that style. Example applications include applying consistent positioning
and drop shadows.
If you import a layered Photoshop file, InDesign can now allow you to hide and show
layers in the Photoshop file without going back to Photoshop; the same is true for
layered PDFs. Here are some illustrations of this feature in use.
Imported Photoshop document with multiple layers
Import a photo with several layers into InDesign. Select Object Layer Properties
and, in this example, turn off the layer containing the sea, ensuring Preview is
checked. Now it's possible to pour text into the blank area by setting InDesign's
Text Wrap tool to follow the alpha channel of the image:
Extracting only the layers you want for your InDesign document
Unfortunately, although the layer control works, on the review machine (1GHz 17”
flat panel G4 iMac with 1GB memory and 80G hard disk with about 5 GB free at best)
it worked extremely slowly, sometimes taking up to 25 seconds to respond to a command
to turn on or off a layer - which would be achieved in an eyeblink in Photoshop.
I hate to complain that it didn't "beachball" while I was waiting - but
I have to, because without the beachball I could continue to turn preview off and
on and lose track of what InDesign was supposed to be doing and end up going round
in circles. Once I developed the habit of clicking once at a time and then waiting
with one eye on the second hand of my watch, I began to believe that it worked.
Workflow-oriented features include improved import of MS Word and RTF, XML support,
plus InCopy assignments. For Word import, you can now define how Word styles map
to InDesign styles. InCopy assignment refers to the capability to assign articles
within your magazine to named members of your editorial staff using InCopy, a separate
copy editing application that is not part of the CS2 suite under review.
Less exciting are the new features of Adobe Bridge and InDesign snippets. Bridge
is basically a browser that lets you organize and find all the files that you might
want to import into your InDesign file, including Photoshop, Illustrator and Microsoft
Word files. Bridge can zoom in or out on its content so you can see enough of a candidate
file to decide whether it's the one you want without actually opening it. Snippets
is the name for the capability of dragging bits of your InDesign file out into Adobe
Bridge and leaving them there for use in different files later. What you get out
of Bridge depends wholly on how much time you commit to organizing your media within
Finally, there's one euphemism in the new features list. Seemingly, InDesign CS2
is not file compatible with InDesign CS. What to do? Write a conversion application
and have your marketing team claim it as a feature. Honestly!
Adobe InDesign is an industry standard page layout application which is geared towards
print publications and capable of exporting to electronic media and the web. It offers
unlimited flexibility in bringing any visual design you can imagine into print, and
the CS2 version has some new features which add to usability and improve workflow.
Adobe InDesign CS2 is recommended for professional users and for serious amateurs,
especially those who have access to the discounts available for students and educators.
- Totally flexible
positioning, rotation, scaling and transformation
- Drawing tools
- Anchored objects
- Object styles
- Can hide and show
layers in Photoshop and PDF files
- Performance issues
with layered Photoshop file manipulation
- File format can't
be opened by InDesign CS without conversion
its name suggests, Illustrator is a vector drawing package for producing 2-D illustrations.
Despite its high quality and huge feature capability, it is specialized to illustration
and so it doesn't readily support organization charts, software engineering diagrams,
or scale drawings.
Since the end result of using Illustrator, a vector drawing program, and Photoshop,
a bitmap editing program is in both cases a piece of visual art, how do you choose
one or the other? The key is that anything you draw in a graphic program can be resized
or reshaped non-destructively, whereas in a paint program if you draw something and
don't like it you have to erase it and draw it again. With CS2 though, there is convergence
between Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as with other members of the Suite such
as InDesign. For example, Photoshop has filters which turn a photo into a mosaic
or a watercolor - Illustrator offers all the Photoshop filters but they are applied
to vector objects - mind blowing! And Illustrator also offers sophisticated text
handling capabilities from InDesign.
Illustrator's Help function is comprehensive and contains some "getting started"
tutorials as well as reference material on each function. For people who already
know Illustrator and just want to know what's new for CS2, there is a wonderful Demonstrator
feature which takes over Illustrator and draws for you while a voice explains what's
Illustrator offers all the usual drawing package functions for lines, curves, rectangles
and ellipses - and also less usual functions such as spirals, grids and stars of
up to 1000 points. In each case once you have selected the tool you can either click
and drag to draw the default shape or click to fill in a dialog with exact dimensions
and parameters for the shape.
Illustrator allows you to work at a high level of accuracy - for example you can
set the drawing grid to snap to a fortieth of a millimeter or less. Practically,
at maximum magnification, snapping at less than this amount isn't very different
from turning off grid snap. Illustrator's default units are the printing units of
picas and points but you can also use inches, centimeters or millimeters. One small
disappointment is of course that you can't set Illustrator's grid so that 1 inch
= 1 foot and then read off sizes in feet for room plans. You can draw room plans
if you like but all scale conversions have to be done elsewhere.
You can not only vary the line thickness of the lines that you draw but also select
different brush shapes and transparency to give effects more like paint as shown
Illustrator's concept of path has many ramifications - you can adjust the path that
defines an object, convert points on the path to be corners or smooth, join objects
together so that a new path bounds them all or cut the path with a scissors tool.
In most drawing packages you can define the order of objects so that one object is
on top of or underneath another. However, suppose you want to draw interlinked objects
like a chain or Celtic Knotwork. Illustrator allows you to
do this by selecting part of a closed path, copying it and pasting it on top.
Illustrator gives precise control over text including kerning and tracking and aligning
to paths. Here's an example with a drop shadow:
Text on a Curve
Illustrator allows you to define gradient fills in great detail. Below is the gradient
palette set up for a multicolored radial gradient, followed by an example of applying
that gradient to a star with 100 points on a black bacground.
Illustrator Gradient palette
Applying gradient to a 100-point star
Illustrator CS2's Live Paint function allows you to pour paint not just into closed
objects but into the shapes formed when objects intersect. This is familiar in paint
programs but groundbreaking in a draw program, since the paint flows as you move
the objects relative to each other.
It's delightful to be able to align objects using the mouse and smart guides without
resorting to alignment dialogs (which are also available). Another neat feature is
to be able to save different views of your work that you can then pick from a menu,
allowing you to toggle between zoomed in and zoomed out.
Frustration sets in when Illustrator won't do what you know it ought to, simply because
you haven't wielded the mouse in exactly the way it demands. For example, you can
use the direct selection tool to reshape an object's path by clicking on the anchor
points in the path but if the object is already selected when you start, this won't
Complexity starts with having 3 mouse pointers and a Free Transform tool where many
programs get away with one mouse pointer. In the real world we don't have to use
one hand to pick up a lump of clay and a different hand to squish it and yet another
hand to pull a corner of it, but that's life with Illustrator. Another example is
the big list of Photoshop filters in the Filters menu which is duplicated in the
Effects menu. In the Effects menu the filters operate in a live fashion allowing
you to change settings or remove the filters after you apply them; in the Filters
menu the same filters operate in a permanent fashion allowing you to manipulate the
resulting object's new anchor points.
Adobe Illustrator is an industry standard package specialized to creating illustrations
for creative media using vector graphics and text. In addition to its awesome power
and accuracy, it also offers a familiar interface to users of other Adobe products
such as Photoshop and Elements and a help system which can get you productive with
a moderately steep learning curve.
- Type features
- Brushes, filters
- Live Paint
- Demonstrator for
- Installation issues
- Long startup time
- No scale drawing
- Quirks with mouse
GoLive is the Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2) tool designed to help web designers
to put together a fantastic website. Adobe is well known for its software designed
to create brilliant looking off-line content, but GoLive is one of those products
that is designed to help fill the void between paper and the web. While many web
designers will tell you that they have their favorite web design software, most will
agree that the ability to get a site up and running quickly and easily is their goal.
Adobe GoLive CS2 is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) HTML editor that targets
mostly professional web-designers; however, anyone can take advantage of the power
From a web design aspect, you should be aware of enabling technologies that help
bring a website to life. The basic foundation is HTML, and GoLive CS2, just like
many other web design software packages, provides a strong WYSIWYG interface. In
some ways it is like word processors that are creating Rich Text Format behind the
scenes; that is, once you get started, the codes are hidden away until you're ready
to upload your pages.
GoLive quick sample of WYSIWYG page
With WYSIWYG, you just drop your elements into the page and type just as you would
with a word processor. Additionally, if need be, you can edit the code in the HTML
Editor, or preview the page in your favorite browser.
CSS has become the rage for web designers. It takes much of the effort out of the
redesign of pages, since much of the formatting can be placed in separate files that
can apply to an entire website. So for instance, you wanted the font changed from
Times New Roman to Arial, you could just update your CSS file, and your entire website
would reflect the change. All modern browsers are equipped to handle CSS and plug
the HTML into a layout that has been "pre-designed". GoLive CS2 makes modest
improvements in the handling of CSS. Most noteworthy is its ability to take HTML
and CSS developed elsewhere and render it properly for editing within GoLive CS2.
One thing that is missing
is a CSS preset pallet that allows for "One-Click" CSS updating.
GoLive uses a drag and drop model for all page development. While you can code HTML
or whatever you'd like directly into the editor, this style of page building is as
easy as it comes. Basically all the building blocks that are available are laid out
in floating pallets on your screen, and then you drop those elements into the page
and lay them out in the way you would like your page to look. Just for comparison,
Dreamweaver, considered by many to be the direct competition, uses more of a word
processor interface with a toolbar across the top of the screen.
GoLive includes the standard tool palette that Adobe users are accustomed to in all
the CS products, and objects also have a handy inspector window that is used for
viewing and editing details on a specific object (such as an image, link, etc.).
GoLive Inspector palette
There are lots of new tools to help design blog pages, such as support for Movable
Type and TypePad. These are services provided to help people publish their own web
logs (blogs). This offers specific code that can be dropped into your page to support
the special requirements of these blogging programs, so that your pages are customized
to fully utilize the power of the software.
Another interesting feature is the ability to import from InDesign CS2. InDesign
is a program used to create newsletters and other Paper-Based content. The concept
of design once and publish everywhere is a great idea. So now I can simply design
my newsletter then publish it as a webpage. My only thought is that designing for
the web and designing for paper/pdf are two completely separate things. This is really
a concept that Adobe has been trying to merge, with little success. Flash enabled
websites and more dynamic content has really been the ruler of the web.
Adobe GoLive CS2 is a powerful WYSIWYG HTML editor designed for professional web
designers, yet easy enough to use by the hobbyist. GoLive has a very strong collaborative
design element using Version Cue. Version Cue allows different groups, such as an
art department, a programming department, and a web design group to all have input
into the final product without losing control of the entire project. Note, however,
that Version Cue is a separate application, so you would need to either purchase
it separately, or obtain both GoLive and Version Cue as part of the entire CS2 package.
While GoLive's tools are extensive and useful in designing big web sites over time,
it's interface could be improved for helping to design websites more easily and more
quickly. GoLive does include a number of templates to help you get started, but I
found the templates to be lackluster. GoLive provides some phenomenal support for
several technologies, including CSS. Beginners may be a bit overwhelmed by the amount
of options provided in GoLive, but for anyone looking to do some serious web site
design, GoLive is an excellent tool providing powerful features, excellent site management,
and good support for new web technologies.
- Great interface with
other CS2 applications such as InDesign and Version Cue
- Easy to use elements
supporting blogging, using TypePad and Movable Type
- Enhanced editing
- Good site management
of static files
- Lack of large library
of robust templates
- PHP support requires
server support for testing
- Beginners can become
overwhelmed by the options, and lack of "cookie cutter material"
Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional allows you to convert files to portable
document format (PDF). This format's primary advantages are platform independence
and preserving the appearance of your document. For example, if you distribute a
Word document, you may find that its appearance changes due to the fonts that are
present or absent on the recipients' individual computers. This can affect the appearance
and feel of the document or the pagination resulting in unwanted page breaks. With
PDF, you can be confident that what you publish will look the way you want it to.
I created a small document containing 3 levels of structured headings in Microsoft
Word and capriciously added a 2.4 MB image of my dog without any consideration of
the needs of the eventual audience for print quality versus download speed. Here
is how the resulting 2.6 MB document looks in Microsoft Word - note the document
map on the left which shows you the three levels of headings.
Document in Microsoft Word
I created a PDF from this Word file using the built-in Mac OS X capability and each
of the Adobe options. I named each resulting PDF file according to the creation method
and sorted them by size, largest first. Here is a snapshot of the Finder window showing
all the files including the Word original:
Various PDF output test
All methods produced
a file that looked correct and was readable online. However, as you can see, the
built in Mac OS X PDF saving did a poor job with regards to file size - the PDF was
4 times the size of the Word original. The higher quality Acrobat settings produced
a file approximately the same size as the original, but the standard and smallest
file size options produced relatively tiny files that still looked good on screen.
The difference between 11.1 MB and 96 KB is huge when you consider download times
Bookmarks, just like the Word document map illustrated above, allow you to navigate
a long document and read it online without printing it. I knew that the Mac OS X
PDF print would not create hierarchical bookmarks from the Word heading styles. I
was dumbfounded to discover that Acrobat 7.0 "Professional" for Mac OS
X will not do this either.
The Windows version includes the Adobe PDFmaker application which offers a window
allowing you to define which Word styles become bookmarks: this function is entirely
absent in the Mac OS version. Worse still, the help for Acrobat appears to be written
for both Mac and Windows versions and rather than coming out clean and saying the
Mac version doesn't do automatic bookmarking, the help evades the issue in a manner
that leaves discovery of the awful truth in the hands of the hapless user.
Support for forms is another area where Acrobat for Mac OS X provides the basics
but seems to lag behind the Windows version. The help on this topic is frustratingly
bad; at every turn, it extols the virtues of the Windows version's added application,
Adobe Designer; it totally fails to explain how forms in a PDF work; it doesn't even
discuss the forms tools that are available in plain old Acrobat-without-Adobe-Designer.
The user interface also has some deficiencies - the menu options for actually adding
form fields won't be found under the Forms Tasks toolbar button, nor under the Advanced
-> Forms cascade menu. Instead you have to know to look under Tools -> Advanced
In order to be accessible via assistive technology such as the screen readers used
by blind people, the information in a document must be available as text. This is
a more subtle problem than just supplying alternate text for each picture or graphic.
Semantic information, such as "this document consists of a main section called
"Sporting" with subsections called "Spaniels", "Retrievers",
"Setters" and "Pointers"..." is conveyed visually by text
size and presentation; to make it available via a screen reader, this semantic information
must be tagged, in a very similar way to the heading styles in a Word document. Also,
text must be tagged to state what language it is in - otherwise how will the screen
reader know how to pronounce it?
The big surprise here is that Acrobat had no difficulty tagging all the headings
in my test Word file; it didn't need me to manually apply bookmarks first. It reported
that I hadn't supplied an alternate text for the picture or stated the language.
I was able to supply the alternate text for the figure and the only difficulty I
had defining the language was the absence of "dog latin" in the list of
available alternatives. Acrobat can also speak a document aloud to check how a screen
reader might render it. All in all then, Acrobat provides a set of tools that you
will find useful if you are a conscientious provider of accessible PDF documents.
Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional for Mac OS X is capable of producing PDFs with a variety
of optimizations for smallest file size, high print quality or standards compatibility;
it has valuable features for making PDFs accessible, making one PDF from multiple
files, creating forms, collaborative commenting, annotation and reviewing and security.
Frustratingly, it lacks important features compared to its Windows equivalent, but
costs the same, $449 as a standalone package. The most unbelievable deficiency for
the review team, who are familiar with the Windows version, is its inability to generate
bookmarks from headings in Microsoft Word files; this is an essential task in producing
a usable PDF of a large technical document. It's also disappointing that the help
describes features only available in the Windows version and that menu items for
functions that are absent in the Mac OS X version are present but permanently disabled.
It's difficult to recommend Acrobat 7 Pro as a stand alone product at it's retail
price and it's current lack of features. As apart of the CS2 bundle, however, it
is a nice tool to have, and the only tool, really, for creating efficient PDFs on
- capable of producing
tiny PDFs from large documents
- features for creating
and checking accessible PDFs
- create one PDF from
multiple source files, adding headers and footers
- create interactive
- comments, reviewing
and graphic annotations
- can't generate bookmarks
from heading styles in Microsoft Word documents
- help describes features
that are only available in the Windows version
- can't create layered
PDFs from Mac OS X available file formats
- menu items for functions
which are absent in Mac OS X version are present and permanently disabled
Cue 2 (VC2) is both a version control application and project collaboration tool
enabling you to have multiple people work on the same files at the same time. The
primary users would be offices that have different departments working on different
aspects of a project, such as an Art department for illustrator files, a photo department
for photoshop files, a layout department for InDesign files, etc. All of these different
files can find themselves neatly placed into a VC2 folder for review and updates.
Some people may see this as merely a version control tool, similar in some ways to
Visual Source safe with an implemented front end, integrated within the CS2 suite,
but it's power and useability come from the collaborative review processes.
VC2 organizes related files into "projects". A project is nothing more
that a folder within Version Cue that contains files on a server. The server can
be on your local network, or can be any arbitrary IP address. There are two
different ways to set up a project. You can either use the Adobe Bridge, and
easily create one there, or if you have Version Cue administrative privileges,
you can create a project from within your web browser.
Using Adobe Bridge to create a Version Cue project
Adobe Bridge is file browser application that provides the glue integrating the CS2
suite together. Adobe Bridge provides an easy
interface to access and create Version Cue projects that can be reviewed and worked
on by individuals throughout the network. Additionally Bridge has other capabilities,
such as enhanced batch processing of Photoshop/image files, thumbnail and filmstrip
reviews, search, use advanced scripting, and access Adobe Stock photos. Adobe Bridge
specifically provides a direct link to the Version Cue workspace for ease of maintenance
Version Cue, however, misses out on a great Mac-specific opportunity. Many Mac Users
have .Mac accounts. This uses a different interface than a local server. It would
be great to see some work done to help smaller users leverage their .Mac accounts
with this collaborative content management tool.
If you have had the pleasure of working in a collaborative work environment, then
you understand workflows and file servers, etc. However, in many collaborative processes,
you download files to your system to work on them, then upload them back to the server.
Version Cue 2 takes a smarter approach by having the users work on the files right
on the server. This means that you don't have four other copies sitting around your
desktop, and then have to guess which document you meant to put up on the server.
While you can work on the file locally and save it locally, when you select "Save
A Version...", that version is saved on the server.
A VC2 project does not merely have pointer files; these are the real files used to
create your project. In many cases there could be 5 or 6 versions of the same file
stored at this location. The big concept to grasp with Version Cue 2 is that all
documents stored within a VC2 project area are versioned, not merely CS2 documents.
Once the document is "tagged" to also use VC2, then you can save that document
without the use of Adobe Bridge.
When you save a file you are presented with the ability to provide comments on your
Saving a Version
As stated before, you do not need Bridge to open project files, it just makes it
easier to do so. If you open a file using any of the CS2 products, then use the Adobe
Dialog (there is a button to choose it), you will see a link to access the Version
Cue workspace. From there you can find items that you want to work on.
Another aspect of VC2 is that you can have people take projects in different directions
and maximize their creative talents by working on the same files without causing
a problem with the original source file. This is called using "Alternates."
This is very helpful when you ask a few people to provide inputs on the same file.
Adobe Version Cue is a version control application and project collaboration tool
enabling you to have multiple people work on the same files at the same time. If
you are not alone in your creative pursuits, then Version Cue will help even two
co-workers bring together their project with fantastic results. No more emailing
of large files, or wondering if you have the right version, Version Cue 2 sorts out
the latest versions and quickly provides them to your desktop. It's a snap to administer
and you can be up and running in less than 30 minutes. Navigate to find your projects
and files using Adobe Bridge or whatever CS2 program that you are using. While Version
Cue doesn't leverage .Mac, or integrate version control on software other than CS2
projects, it is a powerful collaboration tool that will surely maximize efficiencies
of work groups and small offices.
- Easy to set up
- Strong Version Control
- No need to email
- No .Mac support
- Awkward support of
3rd party files for version control
The CS2 Bundle was reviewed by Mac Guild staff writers Judd and Diane. Judd and Diane
had a discussion about the product with the Mac Guild editor-in-chief to further
discuss the product. Key points from that discussion are shared below for the benefit
of our readers.
Judd: Choosing my favorite
tool out of CS2 is a tough one. I really like Photoshop CS2, but I was pretty satisfied
with the features of Photoshop CS. There were a few nice new features, but I didn't
think Photoshop CS2 was that much better than CS. I really liked Acrobat. Acrobat
CS2 offers some great features that previous versions were missing, and the ability
to create smaller PDFs over the built-in Mac OS PDF creation is a nice plus. It is
fast, offers built-in OCR, it offers the ability to create smaller PDFs than OS X
can create, and the resulting PDFs are platform independent. For a web designer,
smaller PDFs is very important.
Unlike Judd, I found the Acrobat experience to be infuriating. Acrobat is certainly
my least favorite tool of CS2, but I never had the experience of using the previous
Mac version, so I didn't see the improvements that Judd recognizes. If the Mac is
supposed to be a professional platform and we are going to pay for Acrobat professional,
then it should be able to do bookmarks from word heading styles, and it should not
contain permanently disabled items in its menus. It should offer the same forms editing
capabilities as the Windows version. It seems that, with Acrobat, Adobe basically
took the Windows UI, and disabled options rather than removing them. This was then
dished out to Mac users, not only keeping us from using the option, but taunting
us that the option is there... for Windows users. For example, the Bookmarks tab
option menu contains "New Bookmarks from Structure..." which is permanently
disabled. For creating forms, Adobe provides a separate application that comes with
Acrobat for Windows, but not for Mac. As a Mac user trying to learn about forms from
the help system, it just keeps telling you to use this separate application (that
doesn't exist). Mac users have to create the labels in a 3rd party application like
Word, and then create the text boxes in Acrobat, and this is very cumbersome.
Let's say I want to create a form. On a Mac system, I have to make the form in Word,
perhaps drawing the boxes using Word table cells, then I import the document into
Acrobat and make the fields inside the boxes. On Windows, I can use Adobe Designer
to make the form. I don't know anything about Adobe Designer because it doesn't exist
for the Mac. However the help system on the Mac continually refers to it.
Acrobat aside, there are some very powerful CS2 tools that I like, and picking a
favorite is a tough call. I have always loved Photoshop, and I have admired Illustrator
and Indesign from the distance for many years. I got on really well with both of
them. I gave Indesign the highest score, but I am not doing much print layout any
more. I find that I use Photoshop the most, and so it would have to be my favorite
tool. The new RAW import feature is very helpful.
Judd: With regards to Acrobat, I
would have to agree that Adobe seems to have shortchanged Mac users on some pretty
basic features. The Bookmark one is an especially big pet peeve of mine. However,
even with the shortchanging, I still do see it as the one application that I simply
cannot "live" without. I don't know another application that allows you
to edit PDF files.
My least favorite CS2 tool would have to be GoLive. GoLive didn't seems to provide
the big improvement that I expected from earlier versions. GoLive is an excellent
program; however I expected to see some major changes and improvements. For starters,
I don't think that the CSS editing feature is as easy to use as it could be. I would
like to see a much more robust library of templates and artwork to help you develop
your site, and finally, better support for developing interactive websites. Dreamweaver
is still the stronger player in the webdesign area.
Diane: A couple of tools that many
people may not be familiar with are Adobe Bridge and Version Cue. These products
appear to be intended for professionals who generate a large amount of Adobe content.
Version Cue helps you keep track of versions, and Bridge allows you to view any content
from any program. For example, InDesign adds snippets that let you select some content
from Indesign, drag it into Bridge where it can be used in another document. Given
my needs, these tools weren't as valuable to me as the big hitters in CS2, although
if I was a professional graphic designer or photographer that could be a different
Judd: My impression of Bridge and
Version Cue is a little different. Bridge and Version Cue are really separate programs.
Bridge is a very expanded version of the browse feature found in Photoshop CS. Version
Cue is a server based program that allows workgroups to work on any CS2 document
using version control. The audience might be an advertising agency or a small printshop
that has both photo folks and layout folks. I think that single users don't necessarily
need that level of version control; however, Bridge does allow for some batch processing.
I would agree that it isn't the most important program in the CS2 package, but it's
nice to have.
Diane: I would like to add that if
you want a complete version control program, then you want it to work on any content,
not just content from a particular set of applications.
Judd: The two programs that I was
not that familiar with are InDesign and Illustrator. I thought that both were fine
applications Coming from the ancient days of Pagemaker, I found InDesign to be a
great layout program, but if you're new to the program, I don't think that you will
quickly push out a newsletter (unless you have some predesigned templates). Illustrator
was simply awesome, I was able to do some fantastic things, such as changing photos
to vector drawings. It was easy to import photos, adjust a few settings, and just
like that, the photo would look just like a drawing. The process was speedy, and
the results were great. It uses a feature called LiveTrace. Basically you can have
it trace all the lines, and if you select LivePaint, it will fill in the traced image
with color. You can also select how many colors that you want it to use (see figure
Using the LiveTrace feature of Illustrator
Another great feature
of Illustrator was the use of brushes. There are a lot of people producing free brushes
out there, which further expands the capabilities of the program. The brushes allow
you to have preset artwork assigned to your objects. Adobe does provide quite a few
brushes and that gives you something to work with out of the box. For example, being
able to create ropes and chains without having to hand draw them is quite nice.
Diane: The thing I like about Illustrator
is that it is a vector program. What you draw in a paint program is static; that
is, if you don't like it, you can touch it up, redraw it and even apply effects to
regions, but you can't manipulate the basic architecture. A vector program such as
Illustrator provides you that kind of control. Illustrator really pushes the limits
on some regular drawing features and breaks the mold in other areas.
Overall, the CS2 package provides some powerful tools satisfying a wide range of
needs. There is a lot of convergence between all the applications now, providing
much better integration. However, if you only work with photos, then purchasing the
entire suite would be overkill (and expensive). On the other hand, if you are into
graphic design in general, want to do newsletters, etc., with innovative layouts,
then Create Suite 2 is exactly what you need. Each of the programs are expensive
on their own, and so they are all a better value in the package than individually.
So even if you wanted 2 or 3 of the applications within the suite, the full package
may be the best way to go. Additionally, there is a substantial educational discount
open to any child, student or educator.
As an example, we have a wall with some lights that we don't like, so we drew a scale
model of the area in Illustrator. We got photos of new lights from the manufacturer's
website and stuck them into the drawing scaled to the correct size to verify that
our design choice would work. I had to use Photoshop to remove the background and
lighten them so they looked like they were turned on. This was a joint effort with
Photoshop and Illustrator. It would be hard to do all that with just one program
or the other.
Judd: In closing, I have to re-iterate
that the new activation scheme is the biggest problem with CS2, and something should
be done to find a better balance between protecting Adobe's bottom line and respecting
paying customers. Requiring that the software connect to Adobe servers in order to
use the software, in my opinion, is one step below spyware. The hassles that the
activation process can lead to can really turn your experience with CS2 sour.
Activation process aside, CS2 is simply awesome. A creative individual can go very
far in designing and developing some great online and offline content.
Diane: Activation is an extra step
that makes it harder to use what you own. If you go into a store and buy a hammer,
you can use it without phoning the manufacturer. On the other hand, I have always
found Adobe telephone support for previous registration issues to be very good. I
was disappointed with some installation issues I had, which seemed to be related
to installing as admin and then using on a different account to access the software.
This should not happen and I should not have to deal with dialogs saying "error
in Line 1" (although this did eventually fix itself).
Although Acrobat was my least favorite application, I did want to say one more thing
in favor of Acrobat. I found it to be very conscientious that Acrobat includes a
feature for creating accessible PDFs (for people with disabilities).
On the whole, I was very impressed with the CS2 suite. I would also say that upgrading
to Photoshop CS2 wholly depends on the new features. For some users, RAW support
or lens aberration correction are essential features making the Photoshop upgrade
well worth it. It's a delight to be able to work with Illustrator and InDesign, and
even Acrobat is handy to use, even if it's not what you get for Windows. I'm interested
to see what will happen when Dreamweaver enters the product lineup, and I'm also
curious to see how CoreImage will be used by Adobe in Photoshop.
Diane's Final Thoughts
|It was a real privilege to review
the CS2 package. I have used Photoshop for a long time, and Photoshop CS2 has some
great new features. I've admired Illustrator and InDesign from a distance for many
years and really enjoyed getting to know them. While I was disappointed by some of
the features absent in the Mac version of Acrobat, it remains a useful member of
the CS2 package.
I would recommend CS2 to any professional user who needs any single one of the products
- they are a better value taken together; to any advanced hobbyist who enjoys graphic
design - for example graphics for websites can be beyond the capabilities of Adobe
Elements and iPhoto; and finally to anyone who has a student or educator in their
household and therefore qualifies for the educational discount.
Judd's Final Thoughts
|It is great to see a tightly integrated
suite come out of Adobe. The files and products work together rather than being a
loosely bundled bit of creative software. If you can afford to get the entire suite,
it is definitely worth it, as no single application substantially overlaps the capabilities
of the others. If you have a slower G4 or G3 machine, you may find that this program
is a bit too processor intensive for you, so it is important to match your computer
with this software to avoid performance disappointment.
Finally, as both Diane and myself found out through the documentation, there are
features that are provided in Windows versions of the software that are not provided
in the Mac versions. Hopefully we will see that this is resolved in future releases.
Overall, this is one of the MUST HAVE Mac applications there is for the creative
|Version Cue CS2