29 September 2010
I was at the Adobe CS5 Switzerland tour in Lenzburg, Switzerland, yesterday.
It was my first time in one of such "famous" events. I wanted to know Adobe a little better, from a user point of view and a human point of view.
The three "Adobe evangelists" were experts in three "media" : web coding, digital design and digital video. Here they are :, Greg Rewis, Terry White, Jason levine
from left to right, Greg Rewis (web coding; Dreamweaver, Flash), Terry White (designer; illustrator, Photoshop, inDesign. Bridge), Jason levine (Video; Premiere, After Effect).
Let's start from the end. Is it worth buying or upgrading to the CS5 suite? Yes, definetely. The improvements are important.
CONTENT-DELETE. Automatic creation of the background. Now when you remove a detail, a spot, a person from a picture with a simple click the "hole" is recreated immediately with a mathematic averaging from surrounding areas. Also useful for removing skin defects. The result can be stunning and the time saved is huge. I seel lot more of digital manipulations in the Press and on the Net coming.
HAIR CONTOUR. In the same context of photo-retouching, now when you cut-and-paste the head of a person or a model, the haircontour can be recreated looking naturally and so avoiding the tedious and time-consuming.manual reotuching with the previous versions.
LENS DISTORTION CORRECTION. If you shoot a picture with a wide-angle or a fish-eye. you can now correct the lesn distortion (and noise).
MIXING COLOURS. There is another important new feature in my opinion which was not mentioned in the tour: the ability to mix colour. Of paramount importance for digital artists and painters, and a way to fight the competition of teh Painter programm by Corel.
MINI-BRIDGE. A smal window mimics the bridge window inside Photoshop helping you browsing picture much more easily.
All major improvements.
NEW ART-BOARD PANELS. There is a new panel (little window) allowing you a more organized work. You can see all your "working pages" in one "page".
PERSPECTIVE-GRID. Wow, now you can create 3D-like graphics with a special grid guideline. The guideline helps you draw vector graphics looking like 3D objects (e.g. a cube). You can choose from the classic three perspective types: 1 view point (VP), 2 VPs and 3VPs. Technical illustrators might object there is lack of an isometric perspective tool but I am sure Adobe will do this in later releases.
NEW SELECTION AND CUTTING TOOL. You can now redraw the background much more easily. For instance if you have three shapes in order, a square, a circle inside the square, a rectangle cutting orizontally the two previous shapes, you can easily create a "no-entry" sign with a simple click by removing the unnecessary shapes!
DIFFERENTIAL THICKENING OF A LINE. Once you made a drawing in simple lines, now with a simple dragging of the tangent point you can modify the thicknes of the line "artistically" (eg. thicker in the centre of the segment and tapering towards the ends).
ARROWS. Now you can create arrows of any shape and design. there is even a special panel to change all parameters you want (Size, directionsetc..), even if you want the head of the arrow aligned with the end or the beginning of the "body" (the "line" of the arrow).
DOTTED LINES. Ok, this is a nearly invisible feature. But if you want to make an arrows with dotted lines, a panel allows you to play around if you like the dots matematically aligned (and loosing corners), or esthetically designed with dotted line making a corner when changing direction.
BENDING. But you can also BEND your foreground objects. Correcting perspective.
BRISTLE BRUSH. Do you want to draw smoke as a vector? Now you can! It looks like a pixel image but it's a vector. Amazing.
WEB ORIENTED. The major improvement that I undertstood is the ability to create a flash-booklet with slinding pages from within InDesign without knowing falsh coding. You can also create vector graphics (Web-banners) and clickable (interactive) buttons with single, self-intuitive clicks.Exporting into SWF format: Flash rules the web, or so the tune goes. So now you can create "things" from Indesign to be used directly on the web, or they can later adjusted with Photoshop or Flash.
FRAME WITHIN A FRAME. If you have a text list in a coloumn and want the list appear as a two coloumns list, you can now do it without creating another frame inside the coloumn
I use dreamwever almost daily. This fact does not make me an expert, especially in coding. But now the Dreamwevaer experience is more learning oriented as well, reportedly: you can study other websites....in "like view"..
LIVE VIEW. You can see the appearance of your webpage directly within Dreamweaver. Not only, more interesting you can see original code of external webpages within Dreamweaver and learn by studying the code.
PHP WEBSITES. You can create and see PHP pages. A totally new feature.
SIMPLIFIED TEMPLATES. From 34 we now have only 17 HTML templates from where we can also learn coding thanks to the many comments explaining what to do and why.
HTML 5. New features in the new HTML 5 protocol like making rounded corners, shades, including videos, new free Fonts made available by an Adobe server, etc...Problems here are due to the "Babylon syndrome": all browser tending to speak their own language, notably IE explorer 6-8 (IE 9 start to be more friendly to all other browsers).
EASIER, SELF-INTUITIVE CODING. The task of writing Actionscript 3.0 is facilitated. A panel allows you to immediately create moving objects, dragging objects, stopping frames, etc...
EPUB EXPORTING. You can export your project in a "safe" EPUB format which can be used simlutaneouls on all "plattforms" (e.g. homecomputer screen, ipad, eReaders, iphones, etc...). It existed also before but now it's more evident.
MINI-BRIDGE. From within Photoshop and Illustrator we can now open a new window allowing faster finding of files and folders.
FONT IMPORTED. Opening files without "font missing" errors thanks to a new folder capability to recreate fonts within Bridge.
PDF PAGES BROWSING. Now we can turn and see pages of PDF files within bridge
I group together Premiere and After Effects. To explain the improvements, I start by explaining the problems. When you want to work with videos on your laptop or home computer, you are faced with the sheer size of video files (expecially now with High Definition, HD, capabilities) and the "horse-power" that you need from your processor. In one word, slowliness.
The new features aim at making editing videos from a laptop fast. Caveat: mind the processor type, you need a 64-bit computer (or a Mac with system X) to run Adobe premiere and After effect.
There are new features of course in the new version, like a better "masking" (the "cutting-and-pasting" of people and objects like in Photoshop but inside a movie, so "moving" people and objects into a total different background, for instance. Also better color adjusting features.)
Do I need the Adobe CS5 suite? Yes, absolutely. I will be able to work faster and cut time. Adobe has made (or bought) great programms and has been improving them every year. This CS5 version offers amazing , even historical, new features. I certainly recommend it.
This said, allow me a personal comment.
I was disturbed by the self-celebrating mood of the new "Evangelists" of the digital era. They were expecting clapping of hands and "wows" at each new feature they showed. For some of the new features this did happen naturally (e.g. the Photoshop "one click" retouching) for other features this did not happen - but it's not so that it went unnoticed -and they remarked it continously. Why is this? I could see the "American" corporate style of living that I also casually noticed on TV when watching Steve Balmer (Microsoft CEO). There are certain people who want their employee totaly excited and enthusiasts for their company. And the same even for the customers!
The three "evangelists" travel the world (see their tour programm below), are in touch with the most advanced technology and richest people in the world.They can afford the newest gadgets...and they don't need to cook. In one word, they live a bit in a surreal world.
26 August: CS5 Masters Tour. Johannesburg, Z.A.
Adobe is doing what is doing for one purpose: money.
The "Gospel" of the "Evangelists" is moved by "money" and "power".
Moreover, Adobe does what it does "because this is what people want" - statement by one of the three Evangelist - (referring to interactive applications on mobile phone).
In one word, Adobe (and other companies) are following the market without thinking on the content but of the way to provide it easily and quickly. And make money inbetween.
The result? Videogames and tapping on screens.
Are we heading to the right direction?
I think we should not loose contact from reality. The Adobe CS5 tools are great. Let's use them appropriately.
SIDE-NOTE: the three speakers were all using MAC computers (I am an old MAC fan)