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Adobe Reveals Creative Suite 6, Creative Cloud

Adobe has announced Creative Suite 6, a major update to the company's professional digital media production suite, which includes Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and Flash. The company has also released details about its upcoming Creative Cloud offering, including education subscription pricing.

New Applications
All of the major applications in the Creative Suite have received updates in the CS6 release. As previously reported, the CS6 release of Photoshop, now in public beta, adopts a wide range of new features, from image enhancement and manipulation to 3D modeling and painting and animation. It also receives significant performance improvements with features that take advantage of the Adobe Mercury graphics engine.

On the design side, the previously unrevealed InDesign CS6 is adding new features meant to bridge the divide between print and digital formats. It includes support for designing multiple layouts within a single document (vertical for print, for example, and horizontal for tablets). Users can create alternate layouts of existing designs, with elements from the first design copied over to the new layout. InDesign CS6 also features "Liquid Layout," which includes a suite of tools for applying design rules to page elements to help position those elements in alternate layouts. Liquid Layout lets users control both the size and relative position of page elements.

Other new features in InDesign CS6 include:

  • Support for placing interactive HTML in pages, with interactivity retained when exporting to the .folio format;
  • Enhanced support for the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite;
  • Improved ePub export, such as improved tables and custom bullets and numbers;
  • A "Content Collector" tool for reusing elements within a single document or between multiple documents;
  • The ability to link content so that when an element is edited, all linked instances of that element are updated as well;
  • New improvements to text handling, such as easier access to frequently used fonts and the ability to map styles to control the appearance of parent/child text on different layouts; and
  • Enhanced PDF support, including the ability to create interactive forms directly within InDesign.

Illustrator CS6 also introduces several new features, including performance enhancements allowing for faster screen rendering of complicated vector illustrations. It also gains a new tracing image for more accurate fitting and color reproduction, improved Gaussian Blur, new pattern creation tools, and the ability to apply gradients to strokes (along the length or width of the stroke). It also includes an updated UI, with improved palettes (including in-palette element renaming), an expanded color panel, new mask tools, simplified typography editing, and streamlined transformations.

On the Web design side, Dreamweaver CS6, like InDesign CS6, adds features for simplifying design for multiple devices. t adds "fluid grid layouts," which are multi-column templates for creative "adaptive layouts" for common devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. These layouts automatically adapt the contents of a page to the device without the need for manual div creation. As Adobe described it, "Now you can use fluid grid layouts to quickly and intuitively insert and position page regions and build a responsive fluid CSS3-based layout in minutes."

It also adds real-time previews of three screen sizes simultaneously, including HTML5 and CSS3 code.

Other new features in Dreamweaver CS6 include:

  • Support for CSS3 transitions, along with a new Transitions palette for applying transitions and modifying their duration and other properties;
  • Integration with the PhoneGap Build service for packaging native mobile apps for iOS, Android, webOS, Symbian, and Blackberry;
  • Integration with the jQuery Mobile framework; and
  • W3C validation.

Adobe Flash Professional CS6 also focuses on enhancing support for a wider range of devices. It includes Adobe AIR for iOS for compiling ActionScript code into native iOS application code, as well as support for the Adobe AIR 3.2 runtime for producing elements that can run on both iOS and Android devices. Apps created within Flash CS6 can be packaged with a captive Adobe AIR runtime so that end users can start using applications without taking additional steps.

Other new features include:

  • Gesture and touch support;
  • Sprite sheet generation for producing more efficient graphics for games;
  • New pre-built native extensions for taking advantage of the features of specific devices;
  • AIR mobile device simulation;
  • Support for Stage3D-derived frameworks for taking advantage of hardware acceleration; and
  • Enhanced handling of multiple AIR SDKs using a single menu command.

Creative Suite 6 also includes new versions of the industry standard motion graphics tool After Effects and the non-linear editor Premiere Pro, as well as the audio mixing and editing tool Audition.

Creative Cloud
Adobe is also launching a new Creative Cloud, offering a new way to license and manage Adobe software. Through a Creative Cloud subscription , users can access and install the core CS6 applications and other tools, including:

  • Photoshop Extended
  • InDesign
  • Illustrator
  • Dreamweaver
  • Flash
  • Acrobat Pro
  • Muse
  • Edge
  • Fireworks
  • After Effects
  • Audition and
  • Premiere Pro.

Creative Cloud subscribers will have access to new versions of applications as they're released.

In addition, Creative Cloud allows users to publish directly to sites using Adobe's hosting service and provides 20 GB or personal storage.

Creative Cloud subscriptions will be available for education for $29.99 per month. The regular subscription is $49.99 per month, with upgrade pricing for current CS3, CS4, and CS5 users running $29.99 for a limited time.

The Creative Suite 6 Master Collection and Design and Production Premium suites are expected to be available within 30 days. Prices for the suites start at $349. Additional details can be found on Adobe's site or at Education volume licensing information can be found in Adobe's education licensing portal. Adobe is also hosting an online Creative Suite 6 launch event at 10 a.m. Pacific today.

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