Adobe CS4: State of the Art but Pricey

Adobe Creative Suite 4 is a must-have package for professionals who are involved in serious multimedia production work involving graphic design, video editing and web development. Officially released in October 2008, it comes in six different editions to suit the user’s taste and budget.

Apart from the Master Collection, Adobe CS (Costly Software?) 4 comes in the following packages:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium and Standard
  • Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium
  • Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium and Standard

The difference between the Design packages is the Premium version includes Dreamweaver CS4 , Photoshop CS4 Extended and Flash CS4 Professional.

The Production Premium package carries applications suited for video post-production work whether it’s film, broadcast or DVD production. Eight applications are thrown in:

  • Adobe After Effects CS4
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS4
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended
  • Adobe Flash CS4 Professional
  • Adobe Illustrator CS4
  • Adobe Soundbooth CS4
  • Adobe Encore CS4
  • Adobe OnLocation CS4

The Web Premium package has applications such as Photoshop CS4 Extended, Illustrator CS4, and Soundbooth CS4 (for audio editing) which are omitted in the Standard package. All packages come with free 30-day trials.

You must have a powerful system to run CS4 – Windows XP with at lest a 2 GHz processor or Vista with at least a 3.4 GHz processor, especially if you’re working with high–definition video. You will also need a powerful graphics card which can support a 1280 x 900-pixel display. 2GB of RAM is recommended.

If you’re working with a 64-bit or multi-core platform you’re in for a treat with Adobe CS 4. Provided you have the necessary hardware setup, processing speed is improved by leaps and bounds especially when dealing with large files.

One notable feature in CS4 is the tabbed interface which works seamlessly with other applications in the CS4 family. You can open, in a single window, multiple programs within the many tabs contained therein.

If you have been working with CS3, you would note that in CS4 Illustrator has now the capability to handle multi-page documents. Flash has minimized the steps usually taken to build animation. Premiere can now handle footage from tapeless camcorders and manage batch encoding. Soundbooth can now convert speech into text. On the other hand, if you’re a Photoshop user and don’t work with 3D content, there’s isn’t much for you in CS4.

Installing CS4 is time consuming and you are warned not to run any other applications in the background. You’re also not to work with your web browser and any Microsoft application. So, you’ll just have to wait until the installation process is complete.

If you’re new to Adobe CS family, be prepared to undergo a steep learning curve. Adobe provides tutorials and training videos. For online help, you will need to log in with a password. Don’t expect live support though without burning a hole in your pocket. For example, you would have to fork out up to $1200 for unlimited support.

Adobe CS4 is not an ideal solution for multimedia practitioners on a budget or working with low-end systems. Unless the new features are indispensable for your work, you could do well to stick to earlier Adobe versions or seek alternatives outside of Adobe.


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