Adobe CS4: Bridging Print & Web

Like many content creators, our business relies on computers and creative tools to collate and publish products. Though still amazed at how far we’ve come since the desktop publishing revolution in the mid-1980’s, I’m also clear about how far we have to go to truly bridge the print publishing world with the web…especially now that the web is becoming more interactive, richer with media, and the audience for content more participative and sophisticated.

Adobe just released their Creative Suite 4, available in six different bundles of tools. While it’s always interesting to see how new versions of software streamline stuff we’ve always done with these tools, what’s more intriguing is to see completely new capabilities delivered.

This is certainly not an exhaustive review (and you can see some well done videos by the respective product managers at AdobeTV here), but a few things leapt out at me worth noting:

  • Acrobat Pro 9 has been out awhile, but allows Flash videos and animations to be played inside the PDF container, as well as being able to deliver “portfolios” of any digital file (e.g., spreadsheets, images, other PDF’s, videos, etc.)
  • InDesign can output in SWF format so a layout can be made interactive and embedded on the web or inside a PDF (watch the brief overview here) or a creation can be handed off to a Flash designer in the new interchange format called FXL
  • Creating Adobe AIR applications is supported with capabilities delivered with various tools in the Creative Suite. Watch this six minute video as one aspect at how they’re delivering on the promise of AIR apps.

Any downside? Yep. With deep knowledge of both InDesign and Photoshop, I’m still only half as capable as designers I know who make their living with these tools. As I watched the videos for each of the packages within CS4, I was struck by the learning curve of each one in order to be able to create either web, interactive PDF or AIR deliverables, all of which we’re striving to do within our small business in order to deliver interactive, richer content for that participative and sophisticated audience of today.

The tools in CS4 are incredibly powerful and combined with all the other applications at our fingertips on our Macs (e.g., Final Cut, ProTools, Screenflow) we can create and deliver amazing content. Upgrading to CS4 will be expensive for our business, the learning curve and workflow changes fairly formidable for the team, but we’ll do it to achieve a superior experience for our customers.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.