CGW Review: Adobe CS5 Master Suite

Computer Graphics World by George Maestri

In April, Adobe updated its Creative Suite 5 (CS5). Every Creative Suite update is a massive undertaking for Adobe, because every one of its core products gets updated—from the venerable Photoshop to Web design software such as Dreamweaver and Flash, to graphic design products such as Illustrator and InDesign, to video products such as After Effects and Premiere Pro. This creates a lot of new features in a lot of different packages, so this review will focus on Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro—applications most commonly used in CGI production. All these applications offer increased speed and stability, as well as a number of innovative new features.

The good news is the key applications in CS5 are now 64-bit native. Photoshop still works on 32- and 64-bit systems, but After Effects and Premiere Pro have gone totally 64-bit. In order to use these applications, a 64-bit operating system is required: either Snow Leopard on the Mac, or Vista or Windows 7 on the PC. Sadly, Windows XP is no longer supported. The switch to 64 bit is mostly to increase performance, allowing for faster data processing as well as larger memory spaces, which allow you to work with larger images and process them faster. The switch to 64 bit only also seems to have increased stability.

Photoshop

Photoshop is really the core application of CS5, as it is used throughout the suite for everything from Web design, to publishing, to motion graphics and special effects. This version of Photoshop has a number of new features used in CGI production as well as increased performance.

Probably the most interesting and powerful new feature in Photoshop CS5 is that it is now aware of the content within an image and can use this to create intelligent fills, often eliminating the need for the clone or healing brush when retouching images. This allows Photoshop to automatically do things like use the surrounding content to fill in an image. If you want to delete an object out of the scene, for example, simply lasso it and hit “delete.” The resulting dialog box will allow you to use the surrounding content to fill in the deleted pixels. read more...

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