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Get creative
by Thanos Kalamidas
Issue 12
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Adobe® Creative Suite 2
Every time you are facing the name Adobe there are two programs coming to mind: Photoshop and Reader. Over the last three years Adobe followed the competition by selling the programs as a packet and selling them all together in a more economic format. Anybody who has anything to do with design or photography, Adobe Photoshop is simply a must and Adobe Reader is another must for a wider audience, since every document comes in Adobe Reader format or better in PDF format, nowadays.

As Adobe says in the introduction of the package, the biggest change in this new version is the ability for all the programs to perfectly communicate between them. Adobe Bridge is the tool that takes you through all that with its major advance: the good color settings and communication between the programs. However, since Ovi magazine is not part of Adobe's promotion team let's see the parts of this suite.

First of all, Adobe's programs have always been expensive and thanks to the competition, especially Corel Co., Adobe offers the whole suite at a pretty reasonable price. Pretty reasonable does not mean a good price. Still, the product is, without a good excuse, expensive. It becomes a must for many professionals and, in other articles in the past, I have explained why I think these programs are unreasonably expensive and how difficult it is for a new graphic designer to be equipped with all the necessary programs.

By putting all the programs in the same pack, Adobe does one thing only, it forces you to buy programs that under different circumstances you would have never choose. You would have never had inside your computer even as beta version and I'm sure many professionals haven't bothered to install them even now.

Adobe Photoshop is the flagship of Adobe. Without overdoing it I can say only one thing, Adobe Photoshop is the perfect image program. It's simple and it does nearly everything and if there is something it doesn't do, with a little imagination you can make it do it. I have used Photoshop for over ten years and even though I think I have tried everything else, nothing manages to compare.

Corel tried with Corel Photo Paint but never came even close to it. The best thing about Photoshop is the easy use of layers and the perfect tools for the path. There are tens of effects in the program and far more in the market you can buy at a very small cost, but I always thought what Adobe offers and a little imagination is more than enough to make it work.

Colors are perfect in Photoshop and if you have a well-calibrated screen you know exactly what you are going to get in the end, either in print or on the net. Anything more I write will be nothing other than a hymn to a program I consider a must to every professional.

Adobe Reader is another of the heavy weapons from Adobe. I think it must be with MS windows one of the most popular programs for users, both PC and Mac. There seems to be no document that is not in PDF format and even communication between printing companies and designers, due to digital montage and digital printing, happens with PDF files.

Acrobat professional is the key for this communication and the extra you get in the suite from the Reader you can download for free on the net. Reader is the translator to any document to PDF. Even competitive programs have to be compatible with Adobe Acrobat. Alike Adobe Photoshop, it has easy tools and is easy to navigate making it work for your needs. It is an excellent program, another must from the suite.

Adobe Illustrator has become the most popular vector program after Adobe targeted designers and architects. Ever since the beginning, the majority of designers were Mac users and the truth is that it took a long time for PCs to become equally trustworthy with the Macs and that's mainly due to the unstable MS Windows if anything else, but this is a long conversation we can have another time.

Continuing an unreasonable policy, Adobe was always publishing the Mac version of the program a few months before the PC version following the other unexplained snobbism of Macs towards PCs. This continued till Corel came out with the program Corel Draw. The PC users made the total turn to Corel Draw making it one of the most popular vector programs. Both the programs still lead the market of vector programs despite all the efforts of companies like Macromedia and their Freehand.

Personally, I like them both equally. I find Corel very easy and Illustrator useful when I want to combine Photoshop with a vector program. The competition has led them both to have nearly the same tools and effects. Before Illustrator became part of the Adobe suite it was expensive and not a good buy compared to Corel, which was much cheaper and in some things much better. For a professional, both are a must since each one can do magic, but when they cooperate you can make miracles.

Adobe In-Design is like QuarkXpress, which is the leader among the publishing programs and, like Photoshop, the rest disappear somewhere in the nowhere, which is why Adobe is forcing In-Design into the package. Adobe In-Design is a good try, good for students to learn how publishing programs work. When it comes to real life and real printing In-Design has its faults.

For example, the color from the photograph you try to recreate using the In-Design palette might look fine on the screen but when it comes to print it is a totally different story and a bad one. Adobe In-Design has a tool that makes a shadow and it is promoted as the extra thing, but if you want to make a good shadow why use a publishing program? Why not use Photoshop that specializes and is Adobe again.

QuarkXpress is an expensive program, even more expensive than Adobe's programs and that's what Adobe tried to use to earn a place in the publishing programs market. They did succeed to a certain level, but when it comes to professionals it is all about QuarkXpress. Somehow it was the market's revenge for Photoshop's prices. If your work is to make visit cards and small pizzeria menus and brochures, In-Design is perfect, if you have further demands and you want a professional result just buy QuarkXpress. Adobe's excuse that it is cheaper sounds quite stupid next to the comparisons, such as Illustrator Corel Draw or Photoshop, Photo Paint.

Adobe GoLive, I suppose they needed to add a joke because only as a joke you can deal with this program. Even MS FrontPage is better than this. I've been wondering if there are any users of this program when there is Macromedia Dreamweaver. I don't want to write anything else about this program, since I'm sure that even Adobe has realized that this is a joke.

Adobe Photoshop is a good reason to make this Adobe Creative suite a must-get for every professional. Still, and as I said earlier, the suite is not enough for any professional. You need other programs that can make your work worth printing or publishing.

A few years ago, Corel tried to enter the market of publishing programs putting in their suite the program Corel Ventura. Soon they realized that it was not only a case of price but it was what a program offers to the professional and what result you get when you have to present your work to your client, who understands nothing about Adobe or Corel. They stopped producing it and the program disappeared.

Since then, Corel has totally focused on what they are good at: vector programs. They invest in brilliant programs like Corel Painter and Corel Bryce. Perhaps Adobe should follow the example and invest in programs they know how to do and make the cost of their suite worth it because at the moment I'm not sure if the people who have Adobe Creative Suite should upgrade to Adobe Creative Suite 2!
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