Just when you think Adobe can’t possibly cram any new
features into already-packed programs, the company has
surprised us with some very interesting new tricks in
CS3. We’ll start with an aerial view, then circle in for more
details on the individual applications.
Note: As you’ll see in the sidebar on page 29, there
are six Suites in the CS3 release. Rather than occupy
half this magazine with CS3 reviews, I’ve concentrated
on the Design Premium offering. Geared toward
print (but also containing powerful web tools), Design
Premium is the logical upgrade for current users of
CS2 Standard or Premium.
Whether you have a PowerPC or Intel Mac, you’ll
appreciate the performance improvements in CS3.
Whereas CS2 applications ran in Rosetta (emulation
mode) on Intel Macs, CS3 runs natively. And
if you’re a Windows user bravely moving to Vista,
you’ll be happy to know that CS3 programs will run
under the new Microsoft operating system.
Minimum system requirements:
Macintosh: PowerPC G4/G5 or Intel processor;
latest versions of OS X 10.3, 10.4 or
Windows: Intel Xeon, Xeon Dual, Centrino
or Pentium 4 Processor; Windows XP (Service
Pack 2 or higher) or Windows Vista
Understandably, the more RAM and available
hard drive space, the more nimble the new applications
New icons—No more flower = Illustrator,
feather = Photoshop. The new application icons are
straightforward tiles with abbreviations of the product
names (figure 1).
Revised interface—Be prepared for a bit of
interface shock when you first launch the new
Creative Suite versions. For starters, we’ve all been
raised on two-column tool palettes, and it’s initially
somewhat disorienting to see a single-column
arrangement upon program launch (figure 2). Never
fear: The old familiar two-column palettes are just a click away. Small double triangles above the tools
provide a quick way to toggle the tool palette and
In some cases, the interface changes are subtle,
and the applications offer workspace options that
more closely resemble previous Creative Suite versions.
But work with the new environments for a
very short time, and you will quickly adapt. You’ll
appreciate the conservation of screen real estate,
and—if you’re like most users—you’ll find the new
approach is elegant and fairly intuitive. Let’s start by
taking a look at the new Adobe Bridge.
The new Bridge sports a sleeker interface, inspired
by Adobe Lightroom (figure 3). Bridge creates pictorial
thumbnails for any Adobe file; documents
created in non-Adobe programs appear as generic
thumbnails (e.g., a Quark icon for any QuarkXPress
file, a Word icon for Microsoft Word files and so
on). Building on the previous version, the changes
in Bridge CS3 consist of finesse and refinement,
with few “wow” additions. But since Bridge users
often use the application in lieu of the operating system,
the refinements are welcome.
The new Filter panel lets you selectively view
assets by specifying such attributes as file type and
creation date. The Find command is expanded—you
can now search by criteria such as height, width and
swatch names. And a new Loupe tool lets you examine
magnified details in the Preview window (figure 4).
Click the “flatten view” icon in the Filter panel
to display thumbnails for everything in a folder—including the contents of nested folders.
The new Stacks function represents multiple
files with a single thumbnail. Open all files in a stack
by double-clicking, or ask Bridge to perform the
same operation on all members of a stack to streamline
PHOTOSHOP CS3: GRANDE AND VENTI
I can never keep the size designations straight in
fancy coffee shops—I insolently ask for “large.” But
maybe now I’ll start asking for “extended,” in honor
of the new Photoshop CS3 Extended.
That’s right: Photoshop now comes in two
sizes—Photoshop CS3 (“regular” Photoshop, not a
“light” version) and the CS3 Extended version. The
Extended version contains all the new features of the
“base” Photoshop, plus some additional features. We’ll
start with just a few of the features shared by both:
Smart filters—An outgrowth of the Smart
Objects feature, these non-destructive effects are editable
Refine Edge—Fine-tune active selections with
delicate controls. Much better than the Expand/
Smooth/Contract options of yesteryear, the Refine
Edge options allow you to preview results before
finalizing the settings (figure 5).
Improved conversion to grayscale—Rather
than using the old Image > Mode > Grayscale, try
the new, improved Black & White adjustment. More
fun than channel blending, with all the finesse.
Clone source palette—Set up to five clone
source points in currently open images, and even set
scaling and rotation factors.
Auto-blend layers—Trying to get a decent picture
of something, but pesky people keep walking
past? Take multiple shots on a tripod; then place the
multiple images on separate layers in one image. Use
Auto-Blend Layers to factor out the elements that
change, leaving only the unchanging pixels of the
true subject (figure 6). Way cool!
The Extended version incorporates all of the features
of Photoshop CS3 and adds capabilities geared
toward video, technical and medical needs. The
additional features are scattered among existing
menus, but the first hint that you’re in new territory
is a new menu, Analysis.
Image Analysis—If you’re a medical researcher
who needs to count the bacteria per square inch
in a slide, you’ll love the Counter tool. Just click
away, and Photoshop numbers each click on screen.
Photoshop Extended can even open DICOM (medical
imaging) files for manipulation. An architect? Set
your own scale for measurements and determine the
area of a parking lot from an image.
3D compositing and texture editing—Import
U3D (Universal 3D), 3DS (3D Studio MAX) files,
rotate them, modify built-in textures and render 3D
content for web or print use. (Note: to edit the original
3D object information, you need the originating
application, such as 3DS MAX, Autodesk Maya or
After several versions whose added features were
geared toward painterly effects that didn’t even look
like vector artwork, Illustrator CS3 focuses on vector
finesse. The glows, shadows and fancy brushes
are still there, but the drawing enhancements will be
good news for artists.
As you explore, you’ll discover numerous new controls
for manipulating content. Here are some of
Easier selections—Anchor points swell up as
your cursor approaches.
Align/distribute selected points—At last, select
multiple points on an object (or on multiple objects)
and align or distribute them just as you would align
and distribute objects.
Convert to corner or curved point—Changing
the species of a point isn’t new, but with this
enhancement you can perform that conversion on
multiple selected points simultaneously.
Eraser tool—Drag it across an object (or multiple
objects) to create a gap. You can specify the
diameter and angle of the eraser brush (figure 7).
Live Color—Colors in harmony
Perhaps you’ve seen the Kuler project from Adobe
Labs (http://kuler.adobe.com—pronounced, appropriately,
“cooler”). It’s a Flash-based rich internet
application that provides an intuitive—and fun—way to generate harmonious color palettes. If you
enjoy Kuler, you’ll love the Live Color features in
Color Guide panel—To start playing with
Live Color, open the Color Guide panel (Window >
Color Guide). Create a fill color (or select an object),
and then select a Harmony rule from the panel’s
drop-down (figure 8). Apply the generated colors to
selected objects or add them to the Swatches panel.
Recolor artwork—Dynamically apply colors to
selected objects by mapping the objects’ existing colors
to new colors (figure 9). If you want to keep color
relationships, link the nodes together as you grab
and swing them around the color wheel. Use Hue/Saturation controls as well as CMYK/RGB sliders to
manipulate the remapping. (Note: If any of the colors
are spot colors, your options are limited to just those
colors, which may cut down a bit on the fun factor.)
Integration with Flash—Now that they’re
in the same stable, Flash and Illustrator are closer
friends than ever. As before, you can export to SWF,
and you can now copy/paste from Illustrator to
Flash. New is the “Save for Web & Devices” option,
which provides previews of exported art in chosen
browsers and on selected phones.
Most of the hot new features in InDesign CS3 are
true productivity enhancements, but you’ll probably
be hearing most frequently about the added transparency
Move beyond the ubiquitous drop shadows. Now
you can specify separate opacity- and blendingmode
settings for a frame’s fill, stroke and content.
And there’s more …
Bevel & Emboss—No need to jump to
Photoshop for dimensional effects. They’re just a few
clicks away in InDesign. The dialog box (figure 10)
will look familiar to Photoshop users.
Gradient feather—Fade an element from full
strength to fully transparent, controlling the transition.
Directional feather—Add a feathered effect to
an edge of a frame, or create an angled feather effect.
Perhaps these aren’t as sexy as transparency, but
these features save you so much time that you can
afford to play in Transparency World.
Place InDesign files as artwork—No need to
make PDFs or EPSs—just place one InDesign file
directly into another InDesign file. Make a change
in the original file, and it’s reflected in the placed file
Place multiple files—Choose File > Place, then
select multiple files. Your place “gun” carries them
all. Use arrow keys to cycle through the multiple files
before you click in the page, or press the Escape key
to discard an image without placing it.
New fitting options—Set the fitting options
(including reference point and crop options) for content
in a placeholder frame before placing art. Great for catalog and yearbook use. Double-click a frame
handle to fit the frame to its content.
Quick selection tool toggle—Double-click a
frame to toggle between the Selection/Direct Selection
tools. This may not sound exciting, but you’ll
prize how much time and aggravation this saves you.
Table and cell styles—Save table formatting as
a style that can be applied to multiple tables without
purchasing an extra plug-in.
InDesign is more than just a pretty face. With each
release, technical aspects are bolstered.
Export for web—Finally! (Well, again: InDesign
2.0 had “export to HTML,” but the option was missing
in InDesign CS and CS2.) Choose File > Crossmedia
Export > XHTML/Dreamweaver. Despite the
designation, the export is not Dreamweaver-specific.
You can use any HTML editor (including a text
editor) to manipulate the exported file. InDesign
even generates web-optimized images from graphics.
(Don’t expect the HTML page to be identical to
your print page, however—you’ll have to massage the
content in your web editor.)
Variables—Sound scary? They’re not. A variable
is just content that varies with context, such as “page
1 of 24.” Set up variables, and if you end up with
16 pages, the generated text automatically becomes
“page 1 of 16.” Use variables to express the current
date or file name (great for slugs). Create running
headers and footers whose content is picked up from
text in the page, and even create custom variables.
Numbering options—Now you can number
paragraphs, captions, lists and even chapters in a
book. A numbering format can include more than
just numerals: For example, a list of questions can be
numbered “Question 1, Question 2” and so on.
Find/change on steroids—Search for objects
using a specified fill or stroke, search for glyphs and
use GREP (pattern-based) searches. While GREP
sounds alien, it’s a powerful function: For example,
search for content such as phone numbers and
change their format globally (and the Help file has a
Now that Adobe has absorbed Macromedia, the new
versions of Dreamweaver and Flash are CS3 products.
You’ll see more Adobefication of the interface, as well
as tighter integration with other Adobe products.
Dreamweaver CS3—Adds the ability to place
native Photoshop and Illustrator files, creating webappropriate
versions for you. You can even perform
rudimentary color corrections to placed images
Flash CS3—Copy/paste between Illustrator
and Flash. Import native Illustrator files into Flash. Export for cross-media devices such as phones and
PDAs, using Device Central.
GoLive—While GoLive is not included in any
of the CS3 suites, it has not been discontinued. But
given that Dreamweaver is the predominant visual
HTML editor in the market, don’t expect GoLive
to be updated (or marketed) as aggressively as
Dreamweaver. Note that there are resources on the
Adobe site to help users transition from GoLive to
Dreamweaver, which gives you a hint as to GoLive’s
place in the constellation of Adobe web tools.
Device Central—Actually a “cross-media” application,
Device Central allows you to preview content
on alternative devices.
ACROBAT 8.0 PROFESSIONAL
Acrobat marches to its own drummer. So, confusingly,
the Acrobat 8.0 that comes in CS3 Suites is
exactly the same Acrobat that shipped as part of
CS2.3. Confused? You’re not alone.