Adobe CS3: What's New?

Adobe CS3 (Creative Suite 3) is a suite of products that combines traditional Adobe programs with programs that Adobe acquired and has since rebranded from Macromedia. The suite includes Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks, as well as Illustrator and Photoshop. All of the programs in Adobe CS3 that were formerly Macromedia have been streamlined and given Adobe-like functionality. The entire suite now works seamlessly as a complete family of Adobe programs for designers and developers.




Adobe CS3 includes an upgraded version of Dreamweaver, formerly a Macromedia program. Not only is Dreamweaver now more readily compatible with other Adobe programs, but it also has the addition of the Spry framework providing Ajax capability. This enables designers to incorporate sophisticated functionality without the need for complicated programming skills by simply taking advantage of the built-in features of Dreamweaver CS3. Dreamweaver CS3 also has new standards capability with cascading style sheets.


In addition, Dreamweaver CS3 now has Adobe Device Central incorporated within the program. This allows users to preview and test Web pages on multiple devices with ease. The Adobe CS3 program also has advanced integration with Photoshop CS3 and can support multiple layers. Finally, designers and developers using Dreamweaver CS3 can perform easy browser compatibility checks and can check for cross-browser cascading style sheet rendering issues.




Another one of the new Adobe programs acquired from Macromedia is Flash. Flash CS3 is now using Action Script 3.0, an update and modification of Action Script 2.0. While 3.0 is backwards compatible, this portion of Adobe CS3 is also 30 times faster and has more object-oriented capabilities than 2.0, which is of great benefit for developers.


For designers, Flash in Adobe CS3 is easier to work with and has more streamlined panels. The program incorporates new drawing tools, including a new and enhanced pen tool that is more like that used in Illustrator. Flash CS3 also allows more control with corners when creating rectangular objects and easier creation of pie and donut shapes. The program as a whole is more intuitive and is easier to control with new object primitives. Additionally, Flash CS3 works with other Adobe programs and allows designers to copy and paste filters and motion tweens from one object to another without the need to reapply them. Flash CS3 also offers nine-slice scaling, offering users the ability to scale objects more intuitively and without distortion.


Finally, Flash CS3 incorporates Adobe Device Central and allows users to check applications on different devices. And Flash now has import support for Adobe programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, which can lead to enhanced image fidelity and editability that designers may have wished for in the past.




Fireworks has also been given a makeover as one of the new Adobe programs. The new Adobe CS3 version makes it easier to control and share symbols, to give them more robust attributes with Javascript, and to swap them. Plus, scaling has been enhanced in Fireworks CS3 so that you can now intelligently scale symbols with a nine-point system.


Additionally, in Fireworks CS3, you can add multiple pages to a single document for ease in mocking up Web sites. You can also have hierarchical layers in much the same way as is allowed in Adobe programs such as Photoshop. And it is much easier to bring files between Fireworks and Flash or Illustrator and Fireworks than ever before.




Photoshop CS3 has also been given a makeover and upgrade. The new version of one of the best-known Adobe programs now offers the ability to export an HTML file that the user can zoom in and out of (the "zoomify" feature). It also has new smart filters that can preserve data integrity and allow for nondestructive flexible modification of the images. Designers using Adobe CS3 can also convert images to monochrome with more control than before.


Plus, Photoshop can now analyze images and make recommendations for settings. It also offers an enhanced version of cloning and healing and also has updated color correction options. And there are many new tools in Adobe CS3 that designers can use to more finely tune images, from photo merge with advanced alignment bleeding to a refined edge feature. Photoshop also now has DICOM support and allows users to open, edit, and annotate single frames of radiological images. Finally, as with other Adobe programs, Photoshop also incorporates Adobe Device Central for easy previewing and testing of images on other devices.




Last but not least, Adobe CS3 includes an upgrade of Illustrator that offers important new features for designers and developers as well. As previously mentioned, Illustrator CS3 now has seamless integration with Adobe programs such as Flash CS3 and includes Symbols for easy animation. The program also offers new, upgraded drawing tools and a new vector tool. Illustrator CS3 also features "Live Color," which allows the designer or developer to edit colors directly within the image.




Adobe CS3 is an important upgrade for designers and developers who were users of previous versions of Macromedia and Adobe programs. It brings all of these well-known programs together in a single package under a single brand. Users are likely to see immediate benefits with Adobe CS3, and the new features of the individual programs add even more functionality than existed in previous editions.


About the Author


Ramon M. de la Paz is a full-time instructor of information technology training courses for WestLake Training and Development. In his 20-year career in the computer industry, in addition to delivering training, he has handled Web design and multimedia production for a number of government and non-government agencies. For more information, please visit 

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