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Home > Categories > Software > Package Suites > Adobe Creative Suite 5 - Master Collection review

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Score: 9.3/10  [2 reviews]
4 out of 5
ProdID: 2672 - Adobe Creative Suite 5 - Master Collection
Developed by: Adobe Systems Inc.

Adobe Creative Suite 5 - Master Collection
Sample/s Supplied by:
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Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been provided to KIWIreviews by Adobe or their agents for the sole purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was requested, offered nor accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
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Adobe Creative Suite 5 - Master Collection product reviews

Tell your story from start to finish with one comprehensive offering. Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection software enables you to design and develop amazing work, collaborate effectively, and deliver virtually anywhere.

Key Applications:
    •  Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended - Discover new dimensions in digital imaging
    •  Adobe Illustrator CS5 - Explore new paths with the essential vector tool
    •  Adobe InDesign CS5 - Design professional layouts for print and digital publishing
    •  Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro - Deliver revolutionary digital documents and accelerate information exchange with PDF
    •  Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 - Create expressive interfaces and interactive content without writing code
    •  Adobe Flash Professional CS5 - Create and deliver rich interactive content
    •  Adobe Flash Builder 4 - Develop cross-platform rich Internet applications
    •  Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 - Design, develop, and maintain standards-based websites and applications
    •  Adobe Fireworks CS5 - Rapidly prototype and design for any device
    •  Adobe Contribute CS5 - Simplify website management
    •  Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 - Bring high-performance editing to next-generation storytelling
    •  Adobe After Effects CS5- Create motion graphics and visual effects with the industry standard
    •  Adobe Soundbooth CS5 - Create and edit audio with ease
    •  Adobe OnLocation CS5 - Shoot better and faster with powerful production tools
    •  Adobe Encore CS5 - Deliver virtually anywhere

Additional components:
    •  Adobe Bridge CS5
    •  Adobe Device Central CS5
    •  Adobe Dynamic Link
    •  Integrates with new Adobe CS Live online services

Check out Adobe onlineClick here to see all the listings for Adobe Visit their website They do not have a Twitter account They do not have a Facebook page They do not have a YouTube Channel They do not have a Pinterest board They do not have an Instagram channel They do not have a TikTok channel

acrobat   adobe   after effects   contribute   creative suite   cs5   dreamweaver   encore   fireworks   flash   illustrator   indesign   onlocation   photoshop   premiere pro   soundbooth
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Review by: kiwifi (Fiona)
Dated: 8th of September, 2010

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 9.3/10
Value for Money:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 8 out of 10
Ease of Use:
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10

My pick of CS5 productivity boosting features in a nutshell:

InDesign - variable page size in single file, text column behaviour, simple selection
Photoshop Extended - Content Aware Fill, Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips, reliable edge selection, lens distortion correction
Illustrator - stroke controls, Bristle Brush, Shape Builder, new perspective tools
Flash Catalyst - a new application for non-programmers to create interactive media
Flash Builder - inclusion in the Master Collection
Flash Professional - print-quality typographic functionality, XFL file format (XML support)
Dreamweaver - CSS enable/disable, CSS Inspect
After Effects - native 64-bit support, Roto Brush
Premiere Pro - native 64-bit support, Mercury Playback Engine
Encore - Multipage menus, search capabilities for web DVD titles, cross-platform projects
Soundbooth - improved multi-track editing, increased royalty-free sound effects and scores

Note: After Effects CS5 and Premiere Pro CS5 are 64-bit only! You must have a 64-bit operating system to run these applications.

Do I need to do to upgrade to a 64-bit operating system on a Mac?
Mac OS Leopard and Snow Leopard are already 64-bit capable (even so, some features require very recent OS release, e.g. Mac OS 10.6.3 or higher is required for GPU-accelerated performance). Native 64-bit applications can properly access and use the RAM you have installed, and more RAM means better performance - especially when using multiple applications on high-resolution projects. Adobe recommend 4 GB or more.

It's not all about 64-bit or extra RAM either...
To experience all the benefits of the CS5 applications, be sure to thoroughly check the system requirements here: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/mastercollection/systemreqs/

Is it worth the upgrade?
That depends on your primary requirements. Some of the applications in the CS5 Master Collection include new features or improvements that might offer compelling reason to consider upgrading if you are likely to use those particular features. For example:
Are you a heavy user of Photoshop and Illustrator?
Content Aware fill, Lens distortion correction, new painting tools, Beautiful Strokes and pixel perfect drawing are notable features among others for increased productivity and performance.

Are you a designer who can't code to save yourself, but would like to create interactive content?
Flash Catalyst is a whole new application just for you. An elegant solution delivering more power to the designer to control the complete look and feel of the final product.

Are you a heavy user of After Effects or Premiere Pro?
Native 64-bit support and Mercury Playback engine offer a good performance boost. Make full use of any extra RAM you install. Scrub much longer sections in real time in high definition. Add to that Ultra Keyer, Native support for DSLR cameras, AE's Roto Brush, and a raft of other time-saving enhancements. We are talking about very big smiles emerging on some post production faces, a joy to use with significant increase in productivity. For some users, the new features and enhancements in these two programs alone could sway the choice to upgrade.

A broad view
The functionality between applications allows very smooth workflow. The CS5 Master Collection is frankly priced beyond the reach of most non-commercial users and even some smaller businesses. However, the collection is a bargain compared to the price of purchasing even a few of the major applications separately. And there are a formidable number of applications included in the CS5 Master Collection; this review highlights only what I find to be the most useful new features in the main applications.

On closer inspection
InDesign CS5
InDesign is definitely my tool of choice for documentation design, by a long sea mile with nothing else in sight. No fighting with the program, just power to do exactly what you want. (Alright, it was too easy to select the frame rather than the image you wanted to resize, but that's been fixed with a neat new Simple Selection feature in CS5.) There is seamless integration with Photoshop and Illustrator. A couple of very practical new features in CS5 include the ability to have different sized pages a single document and the ease of creating text that either spans or splits into multiple columns. The layers panel has been redesigned so it's more like the ones in Photoshop & Illustrator, which is nice for consistency across applications. Finding and dragging assets into your document from mini Bridge right inside InDesign is convenient. There's enhanced rich media capabilities and ease of creating EPUB eBooks - as yet I've had little requirement for these last two features, as I primarily use InDesign for print publications (might be using them soon enough though, so no complaints at seeing these improvements).

Photoshop Extended (64-bit if running MAC OS X Snow Leopard)
Some of the new CS5 features will be significant time savers. Content Aware Fill (basically advanced healing) allows removal of image elements by filling a selected area with details matching the tone, lighting and content of the surrounding area. Small or isolated elements can be removed as simply as selecting the relevant area and choosing Content Aware Fill. If the element you wish to remove is quite large or very close to other significant elements, some degree of skill and patience will be required to achieve the desired effect. Edge detection has been improved and is more reliable. There are now some decent painting tools including Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips - allowing extreme control of brush qualities including blending of colours, wetness, load and mix rates. Other very useful improvements include Adobe RAW 6 plugin and custom profiles for automatic correction of lens distortion. And if you want to have some fun, play around with Puppet warp - stick and drag those pins!

Illustrator CS5
Beautiful Strokes will boost productivity. This includes variable width control of lines using the new Width Tool (with this tool selected, just click on a line and drag to begin creating a new line profile both sides, or option+click drag to affect only one side, or for precision you can double click to open a panel and enter the precise values you want either side), also included are intelligent dashes and arrowheads. What a simple delight to have the dashed line auto-adjust to show uniform corners on shapes, and how logical to find the new improved Arrow Heads in the Strokes panel.
Shape Builder lets you simply drag over active shapes to add to your image (or option drag to subtract). An easy intuitive approach.
Perspective Grid takes a bit of getting your head around, but the possibilities definitely make it worth the effort.
Bristle Brush is for artists, preferably with pen tablets - unfortunately I am not one, but I have seen some very nice work done with this tool. You can create and save custom brushes.
Pixel Perfect drawing is handy to align a straight edged shape to the Pixel Grid for nice sharp edges with screen viewing. Doesn't really work for circles or round-cornered shapes.
For interactive designers, there is seamless round-trip editing between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst.

Flash Catalyst CS5
Flash Catalyst is a whole new application. It enables designers to create interaction interfaces without writing code. Simply import Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks artwork - all layers are preserved. Then use Flash Catalyst's reasonably intuitive menu commands to convert graphic elements into functional components such as buttons and scrollbars etc, all without writing a single line of code. Files are saved in FXP format - ready for more complex development in Flash Builder. You can publish to swf or Air directly from Flash Catalyst.
A word of caution...
At the time of writing this review, the development process is linear Flash Catalyst to Flash Builder only. Whilst Flash Builder can read the FXP files from Flash Catalyst, the same is not true in reverse! Be careful to ensure that all of your design work is complete in FC before handing off the file to an FB developer. Once the file has been saved in FB, you will not be able to open it in FC again!

Flash Builder CS5
Formerly known as Flex Builder, this application is new to the Master Collection. It is a professional development tool built on the Eclipse platform and using the open-source Flex framework. Flash Builder is intended for developing rich internet applications and content, as well as cross-platform desktop applications. Some Flash Pro developers might prefer to take advantage of the powerful Action Script 3 development features in Flash Builder. There is improved integration with other Adobe applications, but as noted above, Flash Builder files (including Flash Catalyst files that have been worked on and saved out of Flash Builder) currently cannot be opened in Flash Catalyst, even though both applications save in FXP format! If you have never used Flash Builder (or Flex Builder) before and would like to know more about it have a look here:

Flash Pro CS5
As ever, Flash Pro is a delightful rapid development tool for web, games and other applications. Thanks to the Adobe Air platform, content distribution is opened right up. New and of note is a code snippets panel, integration with Flash Builder, and advanced animation effects. The Deco tool has been improved to include new shapes and functions, and new motion attributes have been added to the Bones tool - allowing for more realistic inverse kinematic effects.

Dreamweaver CS5
There are a number of new or enhanced features in CS5 that allow for smoother workflow and save a lot of time. Some of these are:
Site Setup
Site Setup has been simplified. Instead of the old Basic vs Advanced panels, a small window opens with a simple list of categories on the left side and on the right a requirement for you to supply only two pieces of information: the Site Name and the location of the Site Root folder. This is all DW needs initially for you to get underway. As you continue to work, DW prompts you appropriately when additional information is required. Alternatively, you can access the Site Setup options at any time by double-clicking your site name in the Files drop-down menu.
CSS enable/disable
This seemingly minor new feature assists you to make fast visual formatting decisions. Go right ahead and change properties in your CSS Rules, but don't overwrite them to try out different ideas - you might decide you liked it better the way you had it two changes ago, or was it three... In the CSS style panel, you can click to the left of a property description and toggle enable/disable to see the visual impact of a change you have made. If you are undecided, just disable that change and try a new one. Once you are happy with the final appearance and want to make your changes permanent (and clean up your code), simply Control+Click (or Right Click a multi-button mouse) on the targeted Rule(s) and choose 'Delete All Disabled in Selected View'. Very quick, very clean.
When you disable a property using the CSS enable/disable switch it places the code inside a comment (take a look in code or split view as you toggle the switch), but it also adds a [disabled] tag that lets DW know this was commented out using the CSS toggle. If you decide you actually want to use that property, use the CSS toggle to enable it again. If you just uncomment it from the code toolbar, the [disabled] tag remains. This is not good. So, the moral of the story is always enable/disable from the CSS panel.
CSS Inspect
Another very handy time saver is the CSS Inspect feature. First check your workspace settings - ensure CSS panel is open in Current view, main window is in Split view, click Live View, then click Inspect. Now mouse over the different elements to see the exact margins and padding of each element. You also get to see precisely where that is in the code. Click on any element that you want to change properties for, then you can simply make those changes over in the CSS style panel. This workflow is brilliant to use and very efficient.

Fireworks CS5
I don't use Fireworks a lot, but it is excellent for creating highly optimised graphics for web and other devices. You can see what your design is going to look like on screen and get an indication of how long it would take to download over the web. A new feature in CS5 is 'Snap to Pixel' for pixel-precise rendering. CS5 Fireworks FXG files can be taken directly into Flash Catalyst to add interaction.

Contribute CS5
For collaborative website authoring, reviewing and publishing. New and useful in CS5 is the ability to edit XML content without opening an XML editor. Using predefined content types (defined by you, of course), you can control which design template and review process will be used whenever a new page is created. There is now support for Subversion, offering more effective file management in collaborative environments that exercise version control.

After Effects CS5
I especially enjoy using After Effects. It has long been a versatile and fun-to use application and it just keeps getting better. There is a welcome power boost with native 64-bit support. One of the most dramatic production time savers would have to be the Roto Brush tool, which lets you isolate specific foreground elements in a scene. Other goodies with very practical benefits include Digieffects free-form plugin (turns flat objects into almost any 3D shape); Colour lookup tables support; auto keyframes; refine matte effect; new Mocha for AE release with motion tracking for hand drawn masks, as well as Mocha shape plugin; Color Finesse LE 3.

Premiere Pro CS5
Premiere has undergone a steep improvement profile, especially since the total program code rewrite after Premiere 6.5. That gave us the first Premiere Pro version. Originally, Premiere was available for Mac, then only Windows for a while, then back again on the intel-Macs with CS3. The application packed a huge number of new features for the CS4 upgrade, all of which have now been enhanced in CS5. Conveniently, the CS5 version is better at opening and exporting Final Cut Pro and Avid projects. Users of CS4 version will experience a rocket boost in power performance when shifting to CS5 (as long as appropriate RAM and other hardware is available). With native 64-bit able to access all installed system RAM and Mercury playback engine offering 64-bit GPU accelerated playback, editing in CS5 is a whole new experience.

Click here to read the profile of kiwifi

Review by: kiwifi (Fiona)
Dated: 8th of September, 2010

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 9.3/10
Value for Money:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 8 out of 10
Ease of Use:
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10

Admin Note: This is the remaing sections of the previous review, which was too long to fit as a single entry and has been broken up for readability. We appreciate your understanding.

Soundbooth CS5
Personally, I find Soundbooth to be a weaker member in an otherwise powerful lineup of world class professional applications. I recently checked out Soundbooth CS5 for scoring a small animated movie. I was surprised that I couldn't do a simple 'reverse sound' - a basic feature that I would have expected to be there. You can't record or edit audio at 192 kHz sampling either. Soundbooth appears to be Adobe's 'simplified' sound production tool, they recommend Audition if you are serious about sound engineering⦠I would rather it was Audition that was included in the Master Collection. On a positive note, Soundbooth is fairly intuitive to pick up and it is convenient for editing sound to video. The improved multi-track editing in CS5 is great. You can click drag the track divider to resize if necessary. It's handy to position the cursor at appropriate spots in the timeline and roll the mouse-wheel in or out as required to zoom in for precise sound placement or zoom right out to see the entire soundtrack if necessary (perhaps I should mention I do NOT use a Mac mouse!). Another bonus with the CS5 version is a truly generous increase in royalty-free sound effects and scores (over 130 customisable Soundbooth scores).

My test project was a 5 minute 3D animation around 1.53 GB, 48000 Hz samples, imported mp3 and wav files, used 8 tracks, edit to video. File loading took around 1 minute 30 sec. I experienced one instant application shut-down on import of a sound - the file opened no problems subsequently. There were a couple of other random application crashes during the project, in each case the file opened without further issue on restarting the program. (Happily, I save often - so the crashes did not set me back.) File saves seemed to take a while, up to a couple of minutes. Overall, Soundbooth CS5 is an easy-to-use sound editing tool. There are a few useful improvements from CS4, but there are still a number of features the application really needs to

Acrobat 9 Pro
Well, this is Acrobat 9 Pro (note this is NOT the extended version). Somehow not really part of the whole 'CS5' upgrade group - more of a stand-alone app that just happens to get invited to the party with all of the 'Collection' suites except for CS5 Production Premium. For more details see the individual Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro product review.

Additional components:
Bridge CS5
A media manager providing central access to all media assets. New to CS5 is 'mini bridge' - a customisable panel in PS and InD allowing drag n drop between apps.
Device Central CS5
Use Device Central to simplify content production for mobile phones and consumer electronics. Includes support for html and the latest versions of flash player, also advanced device input emulation such as location and movement.
Dynamic Link
For moving assets between AE, En, Pr. You can send sequences directly from Pr to En without rendering first - including using Pr markers as DVD chapter stops.

CS Live (online services)
Complimentary for a limited time. Sign up before April 30, 2011 - either by registering your CS5 product, or by signing up online, and you will get one year of complimentary access to CS Live. There are five components of CS Live. These are: Adobe BrowserLab for previewing dynamic web pages and local content Adobe CS Review for creating & sharing design projects and getting feedback inside your CS5 application Acrobat.com for web conferencing, file sharing and collaborative document authoring Adobe Story for pushing your script data into your video production SiteCatalyst NetAverages reporting service offering insight to latest internet trends - useful for optimizing web and mobile projects

Other comments
CS5 Master Collection for Mac compared to PC Other than the lack of LiveCycle in Acrobat 9 for Mac, I have not yet noticed any significant difference in functionality and performance of the applications on Mac or PC.

Comment on price
Will give 10 on 'value for money' when everyone in the world can download the SW from the Adobe store for the exact same US dollar price. Just the same way you purchase from Amazon.

Test Computer
    •  MacBook Pro,
    •  2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo,
    •  4 GB DDR3 RAM
    •  MAC OS X 10.6.4

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