Yesterday Spitting Images upgraded to Adobe Creative Cloud. This gives us access to all the latest software from Adobe’s Master collection for a reasonable monthly fee. Because we had a license of Photoshop Extended CS3 in studio, we we’re eligible for a discounted monthly rate based on a 1 year subscription to the product. For all the details on what’s included and pricing options or to purchase and save up to 40%, visit their website
In a small series of blogs I will share my initial impressions of the software, what I like about the update and what I miss about my previous version, Creative Suite Design Premium CS4.
I should note that we skipped out on upgrading to CS5 and CS 5.5. Upgrading Adobe software is expensive and the tools we use regularly really don’t justify every software upgrade. Some of the changes I notice might have been included in 5 or 5.5, but this should give you a good idea if you are upgrading from an older version of the software.
Purchasing, downloading and installing
Purchasing the software was relatively painless. I went here to view a special offer available to current Creative Suite users. As I mentioned, we had an unused license of Photoshop Extended CS3. From there I logged in with my AdobeID, entered the serial number, entered my credit card credentials and the purchase was complete.
A small application called Adobe Application Manager is required to download and install the programs. I was prompted to download and install this right after purchasing. Adobe Application Manager is something like an app store where you can see all the programs available to the Creative Cloud and offers a 1 click install process. To install CS6 programs, simply click install next to the name of the app. The download starts immediately and installation is seamless. There’s no rebooting required at any time of the installation and once the install is finished, you can click on the app from within the Manager to launch the software. Very easy to use. When updates and new titles are available to Creative Cloud, they’ll show up here for easy installing or updating.
Splash Screen and user interface
The new introduction splash screen is very slick. A huge leap forward compared to the solid coloured rectangles in CS4. The colours of the user interface of the programs are basically inverted. All dark greys with reversed icons. This new colour scheme makes it feel like more of a professional and expensive polished application suite. It also matches better with the paint colours of our studio and visual identity. For those who don’t like the change, I quickly checked the preferences and there’s many options for the colours of the interface. I’m trilled with the choices and customization available to the interface. Another welcome addition.
The first job I ran through the software was to finish setting the new Spitting Images Canvas Studio business cards. Nothing much to note for changes to Illustrator. One issue i had was when pressing esc, it exits the full screen mode. I work primarily in full screen mode and use escape to exit from isolation modes when navigating through groups of objects. I found this to be annoying and will be looking for an option to turn this off in the preferences later.
Other than that I noticed the option to save multiple art boards as individual Illustrator AI files. This was helpful as the printer we’re using for the cards insists on having individual files supplied for the front and back of the card. Also, the card features spot gloss on the front and back, which needed their own files as well. This feature made quick work out of saving individual files for submission to the printer.
Although I haven’t noticed much new in illustrator so far, Photoshop on the other hand has a couple of new features that I really like. First is the new crop tool. How do you improve on something so simple and easy to use? As soon as you select the tool, the whole canvas is automatically selected with the crop tool. Images outside of the canvas become visible which helps a lot if you use multiple layers of varying sizes outside of the canvas area. As you drag the bounding box to suit your crop, the image moves so the cropping boding box is always centred on-screen. it’s a fresh approach to cropping that i find really nice. Also, Photoshop overlays a fluid grid on top of the bounding box based on the rule of thirds, triangle grid, golden perspective grid and more, you are also able to set viewing preferences for the grid. Very nice update to this old tool.
Second is the transforming tool. Now you are able to set the interpolation method in the tool bar when you are Free Transforming objects. With text or vector smart objects, this doesn’t mean much, but for traditional bitmaps, this helps you choose the right interpolation method whether you are scaling up or down without having to modify your main Photoshop preferences every time. Again, a welcome feature in the new software.
This wraps up my first day with Photoshop and Illustrator CS6 and Creative Cloud. I’ll be downloading more applications and will continue my review as more features come up. Overall I’m happy with the upgrade. Definitely feels like some genuine thought was put into the new features and old tools. Also for the price, it sure beats an old copy of CS3 that we had lying around the studio. Stay tuned for more reviews soon.