Adobe Updates its Entire Pro Software Line with Creative Suite 6

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Today Adobe announced a line-wide upgrade to all of its Creative Suite software products for Mac and Windows, which comprise about a dozen individual programs and several suites that bundle them in various combinations to form Creative Suite 6 Design Standard, Design & Web Premium, Production Premium and the omnibus Master Collection. For media artists of every description, this is of course a big announcement.

As for the individual Creative Suite programs that received updates, many of these are no doubt familiar, if not household names: Premiere Pro CS6, After Effects CS6, Photoshop CS6 & Photoshop Extended CS6, Illustrator CS6, InDesign CS6, Flash Professional CS6, Audition CS6, Fireworks CS6 and Dreamweaver CS6. But there are more—some lesser-known names. Foremost among these is probably Speedgrade CS6, available with CS6 Production Premium and the Master Collection.

SpeedGrade is a key reminder that as mature as Creative Suite is, there’s always room for brand-new tools. Color grading becomes crucial as RAW video and HDR imagery becomes more accessible to a broader swath of the professional and even prosumer video market. So Adobe was smart to realize that anyone shooting RAW video needs a good, accessible color-grading solution. SpeedGrade CS6 is a promising color-grading solution, too: The program is based on the Hollywood-level tool from Iridas, whose assets Adobe purchased last year. More about that later as we explore what’s new and what’s improved.

New Modules

The aforementioned SpeedGrade CS6 allows editors to perform primary and secondary color correction from within the Creative Suite 6 Master Collection and Production Premium suites. Layer-based color grading is absolutely crucial for those who are shooting RAW video, of course, unless the milky, low-contrast look enjoys a burst in popularity.

Since that’s not likely, the GPU-accelerated SpeedGrade CS6 is the in-suite solution for applying lookup tables (LUTs), balancing gamma and more. For any footage, you can use intuitive tools to draw and apply masks to specific objects and areas within a frame. The software works with traditional video, RAW footage, HDR footage and stereoscopic 3D clips, in formats that include DPX, Alexa, RED, QuickTime, Targa, TIFF, Phantom, Weisscam and OpenEXR.

Also added to Production Premium and the Master Collection is a workflow tool that eases the post-production process by addressing the data at the front end. Adobe Prelude CS6 is an ingest and tagging program that also allows you to perform rough cuts and send them to Premiere Pro with one click. Hobbyists might not see much utility in such a tool, but long-form documentary projects and news operations should love the new tool, which lets you log footage on the keyboard without taking your eyes off the screen. Tagging is a stitch in time that saves nine: By just entering a keyword, you can find specific objects, people, locations, dialog and more down the line. This means that by using Prelude, assistant editors can shave hours off your top dog’s involvement on the project.

Improved and Expanded

As usual, a few standout individual tools have been added to each CS6 program. (Photoshop & Photoshop Extended receive a new Content-Aware Patch, for instance, and After Effects CS6 enjoys more than 90 new or expanded effects.) But there are larger themes of this refresh: streamlining the interfaces, boosting performance, delivering to new formats and accommodating mission creep. A word about that last one: Every year, our technological expectations rise a little bit. What once astounded is now commonplace; what once was a nice added feature is now a travesty if it shows up missing. We understand this concept both as producers of creative content and as consumers of technology and media.

So it’s not enough for a magazine to have a website; it also needs an iPad app. And that iPad app can’t just be the words and photos from the website—after all, this is often a premium, paid-for item, not a free, ad-supported website. So the app needs behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot. Meanwhile, the editor wants a video trailer for the cover story. All those tasks tend to draw from a common pool of media resources, and the more an artist can accomplish from within one program, the smoother the workflow of the project will be.

That’s why, for instance, Premiere Pro CS6 inherits the Warp Stabilizer effect that was a key addition to After Effects the last time around, with CS5.5. Now editors can stabilize shaky video and repair rolling-shutter artifacts without having to boot up a second program, or worse, waiting for the house’s After Effects artist to turn around that piece of the project. For that same reason, InDesign CS6 adds small-bore capabilities such as the creation of field-laden PDF forms within the program. As our job descriptions expand, so do Adobe’s programs, which means we can keep working without booting up additional software programs—and without slamming on the brakes.

Along similar lines, media artists are now expected to be able to publish to anything with a screen. This is of course, where programs like InDesign CS6, Flash Professional CS6 and Dreamweaver CS6 shine. In Flash Professional, access to the latest Flash Player and Adobe AIR run times means your video, game and animation content will play on all the latest Android and Apple iOS smart phones. Integrated mobile frameworks within Dreamweaver allow you to publish native applications for the same mobile devices. Meanwhile, InDesign lets you create a single document with multiple layouts for various screen sizes.

Undergirding all this expanded functionality, of course, is the performance of each program. Recent versions of Premiere (CS5 and up) have required 64-bit operating systems, so that editors could take advantage of the program’s then-new Mercury Playback Engine. Supported by 64-bit architecture, the Mercury engine is able to address all your system RAM to push more streams across your screen, with more effects, in real time. The CS6 versions of Photoshop and Illustrator now enjoy analogs to this: the Mercury Graphics Engine of Photoshop and the Mercury Performance System of Illustrator similarly enable your 64-bit computer to address full system RAM in order to speed imaging and processing tasks that once slowed you down.

And that’s really the larger point of the various applications and suites that compose the Creative Suite 6 family. At this late date, there’s very little in the realm of digital media manipulation that professionals cannot accomplish. Rather, it’s a question of if they can afford to, or more likely, whether they have the time to do so. By expanding the scope of its applications and improving their performance, Adobe is ensuring that editors, graphic designers and effects artists will be able to do more, even more quickly.

Product Name
Audition CS6 Mac PC
After Effects CS6  Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Design Standard Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Design Standard (Student & Teacher Edition) Mac PC
Dreamweaver CS6 Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium  Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium (Student & Teacher Edition) Mac PC
Flash Professional CS6  Mac PC
Fireworks CS6 Mac PC
Illustrator CS6 Mac PC
InDesign CS6  Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Master Collection Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Master Collection (Student & Teacher Edition) Mac PC
Premiere Pro CS6  Mac PC
Creative Suite 6 Production Premium  Mac PC
Photoshop CS6  Mac PC
Photoshop CS6 (Student & Teacher Edition) Mac PC
Photoshop Extended CS6  Mac PC
Photoshop Extended CS6 (Student & Teacher Edition)  Mac PC

Items discussed in article

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Will PS6 support the RAW files from my new Canon 5D Mark III?  As of today, 23 April 2012, LR4 does not recognize my RAW files...very frustrating.  I do not like converting every file over to a TIFF.  Canon has changed their software that is bundled with the 5D Mark III.  I don't like it either. 

Last month I was working with my Canon 7D, the Adobe CS5 Suite, and LR3.  Everything was working well together.  After purchasing the 5D MkIII and loading that software, it screwed up the 7D Canon software.  There was one thing about the 7D software that I liked and Canon took that one thing out.  The 7D software, specifically ZoomBrowser, showed exactly whick AF points achieved auto focus.  I don't have the best eye sight any more and I found that to be a nice feature.  I should have stayed with, "if it's not broke...don't fix it". 

I do like the 5D MkIII, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the 7D.  The 61 pt. Auto Focus system that is in the 5D, especially the AF tracking, is a little over my head.  It's going to take me awhile to grasp the how, when, and why of that system.

Lightroom has RC (release candidate) 4.1 available on their website which will read your MkIII files.

Thanks for letting me know about the available LR4 update.  I had just checked a couple of days ago and it was not there, so THANKS. 

Do you know whether the CS6 will support the 5D MkIII RAW files? 

At this point, Adobe has not included support for the 5D Mark III in the RAW Plugin. The RAW Plugin is what Photoshop, and Lightroom use to read the files from all the different cameras. With a release candidate released, official support is likely not that far out. 

Where are the uprades????

Hello -

All upgrades are available through ADOBE directly:  http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite.html

Will you have an upgrade CS6 price for owners of CS5 and,  Nhif so,  what will it be?

Hello Dorothy -

All upgrades are available through ADOBE directly:  http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite.html

What is the upgrade price for owners of CS5 who want to buy CS6? When and where available? mh

Starting with CS6 Adobe is handling all upgrades directly.

Hello -

Please see the article above under "New Modules" and  "Improved and Expanded".  For a full rundown, click on this URL:  http://adobe.ly/ImuYfu.   If you have more questions  - please send us an e-mail:  AskBH@BandH.com

Any chance of Photoshop 6 being available as a stand alone purchase? 

We do have both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS Photoshop CS6 available for pre order without purchasing multiple applications.

Photoshop CS6 For Microsoft Windows

Photoshop CS6 For Mac OS

When can we expect the Student & Teacher Editiion of CS6 Production Premium to be in stock at B&H? I find it odd that every suite has this version except for one. Not even the Student & Teacher Editiion of Production Premium CS5.5 is available anymore as of this message
I already know that it is currently availible directly through adobe, but in my case I am a student and only have a gift card to B&H. 

Hello Joe -

Kepp an eye on our website as we expect to offer the  -  Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium  - Student and Teacher edition -  later this week. Any other questions? Please e-mail us:  AskBH@BandH.com