Software Review: Adobe CS5.5
By Daniel Kosir | July 29, 2011
The release of Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 (CS5.5) marks the first mid-cycle update by the company, who has changed the release strategy of their milestone products (the next being CS6) to a two-year cycle.
Though essentially a product update, the software offers some significant upgrades from the last version of Creative Suite, many of which have been geared toward mobile app development and improved digital publishing and video production.
This version of Creative Suite is focused on providing software that can be used to produce content meant for multiple devices, and particularly for optimizing content for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
With CS5.5, you can expect the same quality of software typical of Adobe Creative Suite products, with some modifications and improvements added to the latest version.
The following is a brief overview of all the new features, components and pricing options associated with CS5.5. It will not provide an in-depth description of every single program offered in the software packages, but program-by-program reviews are available on the Adobe website.
Top New Features
Enhanced multi-screen preview panel (Dreamweaver): This feature allows you to view website designs as they would appear across multiple screens, including desktops, tablets, smartphones and televisions. Three different screen sizes can be previewed at any one time, each with its own separate style sheet catering to the device the design in geared toward.
Robust jQuery support (Dreamweaver): This feature helps the user take advantage of mobile templates, contextual code hinting, and fast insertion of objects into a design. Its purpose is to ease interface design for mobile devices, allow interactive elements to be added more quickly to web pages, and speed up the coding process.
Expanded support for platforms and devices: CS5.5 aims to optimize content delivery across multiple platforms including desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and internet-enabled televisions.
More efficient video editing (Premiere Pro): The CS5.5 version of Premiere Pro allows the user to assign and customize keyboard shortcuts and match audio and video tracks taken on different devices with dual-system sound support.
Warp Stabilizer (After Effects): This feature allows users to smoothen handheld camera shake without a professional camera stabilizer. With warp stabilizer you can stabilize camera position and correct camera rotation, rolling shutter artifacts and parallax effects.
Designer-developer workflow (Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder 4.5 Premium): This feature allows designers to work in parallel with developers on the same project.
Packages and pricing
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 offers five different packages that include different combinations of programs, depending on the needs of your business.
|CS5.5 Design Standard||$1,299||Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat XPro, Bridge, Device Central, Media Encoder|
|CS5.5 Design Premium||$1,899||Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash Catalyst, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat X Pro, Bridge, Device Central, Media Encoder|
|CS5.5 Web Premium||$1.799||Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder, Fireworks, Business Catalyst, Contribute, Bridge, Device Central, Acrobat X Pro, Media Encoder|
|CS5.5 Production Premium||$1,699||Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Flash Catalyst, Flash Professional, Audition, OnLocation, Encore, Bridge, Device Central, Media Encoder|
|CS5.5 Master Collection||$2,599||All products|
The prices listed above indicate the costs of buying the entire package from scratch, and do not take into account upgrade or subscription prices.
Upgrade prices work differently depending on what you are upgrading to and what version of Creative Suite you are upgrading from.
For example, if you currently own a CS5 package and plan to upgrade to a CS5.5 package, it will be cheaper than upgrading from a version of CS4. Unfortunately, you cannot upgrade from products within a suite edition to individual products. To get the latest version of an individual product, you must purchase the full product.
This means that if you want to move from Photoshop to Photoshop Extended, you would have to purchase Photoshop Extended rather than paying an upgrade price. For a comprehensive list of upgrade options and prices, consult the Adobe CS5.5 Buying Guide.
Depending on your needs, purchasing CS5.5 on a subscription basis may be something to consider, particularly if you only need the software for a short period of time. The costs associated with subscribing vary, based on the length of the subscription and the package you are paying for. Subscription prices are as follows:
|Packages||One year ($/month)||Month-to-month ($/month)|
|CS5.5 Design Premium||$95||$139|
|CS5.5 Design Standard||$65||$99|
|CS5.5 Web Premium||$89||$135|
|CS5.5 Production Premium||$85||$129|
|CS5.5 Master Collection||$129||$195|
There is also the option to subscribe to a single program within the CS5.5 collection.
|Program||One year ($/month)||Month-to-month ($/month)|
More information about CS5.5 packages, individual programs, pricing and features can be found on the Adobe website.