Flash CS3 now takes absolutely animated elements in your movie into account, rather than relying simply on what's going on in the main Timeline. If you have animation generated by ActionScript, you're set.
Nested clips, check. Filters or blend modes applied, bingo. Basically, everything that the Flash Player would play is translated to QuickTime, which addresses an ancient Flash annoyance. And just to wrap up our all-star Flash CS3 new features tour, let's take a look at a few of the new drawing and design improvements.
First, we have the improved Pen tool, which now looks and acts like the one found in Illustrator, right down to the same keyboard modifiers. Flash CS3 also adds the oval and rectangle primitives, which allow you to create things like rounded rectangles and arcs with ease.
Lastly, the live Scale-9 preview gets a mention. For those not familiar, Flash 8 introduced 9-slice scaling, allowing you to draw 3x3 grids inside a Movie Clip. Those grids dictated which parts of the clip would scale, which parts would scale in one direction, and which parts would stay unscaled, which was especially useful for being able to use a single Movie Clip of for example a rounded button while retaining the ability to gracefully resize individual instances of that button.
However, Flash 8 did not offer live previews of scaled instances, so it required testing the movie to visually confirm changes on the Stage. In Flash CS3, Scale-9 objects now display correctly on the Stage during development, which is a huge time and sanity saver for those who make extensive use of Scale-9 objects. That's a pretty good helping of new stuff, and taken all together, Flash CS3 is a solid version.
It's obvious that Adobe wanted to make sure Flash put its best foot forward as the new adopted child of the family, and Flash CS3 doesn't disappoint. So is there anything wrong here? Sure--there's always something to complain about, though in this case everything falls into the category of relatively minor nits. First, as a designer and intermediate ActionScripter on my best day , I'm not nuts about the changes in ActionScript 3.
Yes, I know AS2 is available, but you can't use AS2 with the new streamlined components, so it kind of forces your hand. It's also not trivial to port legacy projects to AS3; basic things like button clicks have to be completely re-written to conform to the new language.
I'm also not thrilled about Adobe's approach to playback of FLV content. Straight FLV playback has never been a trivial task, and while a simple "double-click to view" FLV player would have sufficed, apparently we must collectively wait for the advertiser-friendly Adobe Media Player later this year to "officially" handle FLV playback.
Overall, however, between Flash 8 and now CS3, most major gripes have been addressed, and thoughtful and worthwhile new features have been introduced. Flash CS3 works well across platforms; the Mac version is every bit as fast, as responsive, and as "quirk-free" as the Windows versions XP and Vista , especially on Intel Macs for both Flash 9 content playback as well as the authoring environment.
The CS3 upgrade seems to mostly be about refinement, compatibility, and integration, and, on those points, Flash CS3 is a complete success. So now that you've been buttered up by the new and cool stuff in Flash, it's time to throw some cold water on this party. In a nutshell, the other three former Macromedia Studio products range from "ho-hum" to disappointing, yet in the midst of all the "meh" I'm about to spew forth, a few nuggets of excellence still stand out.
Let's start with Dreamweaver and work our way ahead from there. No real shock there, since Dreamweaver is very widely used. But for all the effort put into making Flash CS3 look and behave like an Adobe product, Dreamweaver seems to be left holding the bag.
The CS3 interface is nowhere to be found, save for the "periodic chart" icon and splash screen, and the latest version has very limited new features. Unfortunately, this approach has been the norm for the last several Dreamweaver updates, and a new corporate parent hasn't seemed to change things much. Let's cover what few additions there are to Dreamweaver CS3 because, while there aren't many, some are at least significant.
In practice, the integration with the Spry Framework performs marvelously. While it's not "dead simple" to connect to and parse XML, the process should be within the grasp of those new to Web design in general, which is no small feat. Widgets and Effects are also easy to add, and everything I tested worked well across modern browsers, which for the purposes of this piece though not normally includes IE6.
So if you're looking for a relatively painless way to start creating Ajax-based sites, the Spry Framework integration in Dreamweaver CS3 is a compelling option. As for CSS, Dreamweaver continues its proud tradition of supporting Web standards and respecting the way you code, and the new CSS features are an extension of that.
First and foremost are the inclusion of an enormous amount of CSS-based templates. If you're new to Web design, these alone might be a reason to purchase Dreamweaver CS3, as not only do the templates offer an insane number of table-free layouts, they also are meticulously commented to show you what's going on.
It's a pretty amazing resource, though it's not hard to imagine that over time the commenting may get in the way once you find your sea legs. You run the compatibility check, and Dreamweaver audits your code to see if you have any areas where certain browsers may render your pages differently than you planned. It's very handy, and on some pages where I knew IE6 for example was going to have problems with certain styles, Dreamweaver caught the problem and located the correct solution page online.
Web folk know that there are many options for stashing styles: Dreamweaver CS3 aims to make converting and moving your CSS code relatively painless by offering several options of its own, including drag-and-drop reordering of styles, options to relocate inline styles elsewhere, or move rules into external stylesheets.
This feature also worked well in practice; as my pages grew and styles were strewn about like so much confetti, the management features really helped with overall organization.
And in the miscellaneous category, one feature I'll mention is the token nod given to the pervasive mantra of integration that's so prevalent in Flash, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I'm speaking of Dreamweaver's cut-and-paste integration with Photoshop, which is billed as "advanced integration," but is simply a fancy link back to a Photoshop source document even if you've copied just a small area of the source file.
However, I found that the feature simply doesn't work correctly. I had no problem copying merged layers out of Photoshop and pasting it into Dreamweaver, but when the time came to edit the source PSD file, Dreamweaver could never locate it. So much for advanced integration. As for the overall product itself, the main issue isn't so much what's wrong with Dreamweaver CS3, it's that so much is still wrong with Dreamweaver after all these years and versions.
One would have hoped that the move to an entirely new programming environment XCode to enable Universal Binary compatibility on Intel Macs would have fixed some of the strange and long-standing quirks and display bugs that have plagued prior Mac versions, but it appears that whatever Dreamweaver 8 was is apparently still good enough.
However, one bright spot I did notice is that at least on the Intel Mac version, the overall sluggishness redraw lags, choppy scrolling, etc. Of course, on Windows, application performance has been much less of an issue, and fortunately, the same holds true for Dreamweaver CS3, even on Windows Vista. It's a shame that Dreamweaver wasn't given a makeover the way Flash was because it is long overdue for a refresh. However, if you look at the overall product with "fresh" eyes, just because Dreamweaver CS3 isn't significantly better than Dreamweaver 8 or MX or MX, for that matter doesn't mean the product is a bad one; it just means that we're collectively left waiting on long-overdue changes for yet another revision.
And while there aren't very many new features, the ones that are present could each represent a strong reason to upgrade, even as the overall presentation of Dreamweaver CS3 as an upgraded product seems very incomplete. Fireworks CS3 Fireworks, like Dreamweaver, has also received its share of jeers over the last few versions for essentially standing pat, and even though Adobe is attempting to re-focus Fireworks CS3 as a prototyping tool, the same criticism applies: Fireworks CS3 just doesn't offer very much.
And despite muscling out ImageReady as the Web image helper app of choice, very little effort seems to have been made to bring Fireworks CS3 into the CS3 family. In fact, if it weren't for three very visible new features, one may be tempted to think that Fireworks 8 was being bundled into the CS3 product line. First off, let me preface things by saying that Fireworks' traditional strengths--its uncanny ability to mix vector with bitmap images, its excellent batch processing and image compression tools, and its penchant for helping to create HTML and CSS-based sites out of source images--still remain.
In essence, all the things that made Fireworks an excellent Web image production tool in previous versions are still evident in Fireworks CS3. Unfortunately, the interface to harness all this power is unchanged as well; Fireworks CS3, like Dreamweaver, eschews the CS3 interface in favor of the old-style, turn-of-the-century Macromedia panels. Now, on a Windows machine, it's not too terrible, as the single-window application paradigm in Windows evens things out a bit.
But on a Mac? Again, there really isn't much to talk about in terms of new features; as I mentioned, there are really only three worth discussing in any detail. The first is the concept of pages. In keeping with Fireworks' new-found focus on prototyping, Fireworks CS3 adds a Pages panel, which allows you to create multiple page layouts in a single document.
Each page can contain either its own layers or those that are shared across multiple pages, and you can designate a master page with elements that will apply to all pages.
You can also assign hotspots to specific page areas which link to other pages, and then Fireworks will export the whole shebang to HTML for easy review and perusal through a Web browser. That sounds nice, and the pages feature and HTML export work as advertised. However, the process to actually share layers between pages is extremely clunky and convoluted, often requiring multiple frustrating steps to ensure that a particular layer is, in fact, shared correctly.
It does work, and work well once you figure it out, but the process is so strange that one wonders how any time and effort savings are possible, especially when you bring images over from Photoshop to begin with.
Rich symbols are actually enormously useful and have the potential to save a lot of time and aggravation when mocking up interfaces.
The same goes for Illustrator; now that Fireworks is part of the Adobe family, it figures that with access to the Illustrator file format comes the ability to import Illustrator artwork with greater fidelity than before.
To test it out, I opened a slew of both Photoshop and Illustrator images with Fireworks, and it handled everything I threw at it with ease, though certain features, like Adjustment Layers in Photoshop, were not retained.
Others will note that FreeHand is conspicuous by its absence Adobe claims that both FreeHand and GoLive are still being developed, but we wouldn't hold our breath.
On the plus side, upgrading Studio users will benefit from Adobe's wider graphics and design expertise in the form of Bridge CS3's media management and Device Central CS3's dedicated development capabilities for mobile devices. Most significantly, Adobe is in the position to offer Macromedia users a new upgrade path, which it does with its CS3 Web Premium edition.
The integration of Illustrator and Photoshop into Flash and Dreamweaver based workflows via the new support for AI and PSD files and simple cut-and-paste enables both page- and application-based web design to be made richer than ever.
It isn't just existing Macromedia users who stand to benefit. Adobe's previous web offering, GoLive, was bloated and underpowered, so users upgrading to the CS3 Design Premium edition will profit hugely from its replacement by the streamlined productivity of Dreamweaver CS3.
However, the inclusion of Flash Professional is less convincing. While traditional designers are increasingly multiskilled at publishing online and in print, there are still comparatively few that will be producing Flash-based web applications, so it would have made more sense from the end-user perspective to drop Flash or replace it with Fireworks and cut the price. The same is true of the Web Standard edition. Page-based web authoring is massively more prevalent than Rich Internet Application development and, if the options were provided, there's little doubt that the most popular suites would be cheaper, Flash-less versions of both the Design Premium and Web Standard editions.
Adobe hasn't offered these for very good reasons:
Availability of services is subject to change. Use of online services is governed by terms and conditions of a separate agreement and may be subject to additional fees. For details, visit www. Install your software Before you install, close all applications currently running on your system;including other Adobe applications, Microsoft Office applications, and browser windows.
Do one of the following: Insert the DVD in your drive, and follow the on-screen instructions. If the installer does not launch automatically, navigate to the Adobe CS3 folder found at the root level on your disk and double-click Setup. If you downloaded the software from the web, open the folder, navigate to the Adobe CS3 folder, double-click Setup.
If the installer does not launch automatically, navigate to the application folder found at the root level on your disk and double-click Setup Mac OS to start the installation process. If you downloaded the software from the web, open the folder, navigate to the application folder, double-click Setup, and then follow the on-screen instructions. In order to install additional components or reinstall your software after your original installation, you will need access to the original installer CD, DVD or the download from the web.
Before you begin additional installations or reinstallations, please make sure the installer is in the same drive or location it was during the original installation. Uninstall your software Before you uninstall, close all applications currently running on your system;including other Adobe applications, Microsoft Office applications, and browser windows.
Mac OS has new uninstall functionality. DO NOT drag applications to the trash to uninstall them. Authenticate as an administrator, then select Remove Components and follow the on-screen instructions. Purchase from a trial Choose Activate from the Help menu and follow the on-screen instructions. If you decide to purchase a different product than you installed for the trial, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the software. For example, if you download and install a trial of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium, but you decide to purchase only Adobe Illustrator, you will need to uninstall the trial version of the Suite before installing the standalone version of Illustrator that you purchased.
For more detailed information, visit www. After evaluating a Creative Suite 3 product, you must uninstall the trial and install the product using the volume licensing media and serial number. Refer to the Uninstall your software section of this document for instructions.
Please contact your reseller or authorized Adobe licensing center to place an order for a volume license. To find a reseller in your area, go to http: Electronic licensing Adobe software may include electronic license e-license management technology to ensure compliance with the Product License Agreement. When present, this technology prompts you to verify the license of your product within 30 days after you start it for the first time. If prompted, verification is mandatory.
The on-screen prompt may ask you to activate the software. This verification process does not collect, transmit, or use any personally identifiable information. To learn more, visit the Adobe web site at http: Activate software: Follow the on-screen instructions. If you want to install the product on a different computer, you must first deactivate the software on your computer.
Registration information When you install your software, be sure to register to get up-to-date product information, training, newsletters, and invitations to Adobe events and seminars. You will also receive a complimentary benefit such as the new Hypatia Sans font and a Dreamweaver Plug-In. Font installation There are additional fonts on the installation disk. For information on installing these fonts, see http: Known issues Please refer to Adobe Support for additional late-breaking information and known issues for all Creative Suite 3 applications.
In addition, this site will include additional information about some of the known issues listed below. If Acrobat 3D 7 is currently installed and you install Acrobat Pro 8 it will be recommended you auto uninstall, however you can disregard this and both will be installed. If you try to install Acrobat 3D 7 afterwards you receive a message that a later version is already installed and you cannot re-install. This means you have to decide whether you want Acrobat 8 or Acrobat 3D 7. If you launch Acrobat 8 as the first application following the installation of Creative Suite 3, you will receive the message, You must launch another Creative Suite application.
Launch any other program included with Creative Suite 3 to successfully activate. The Creative Suite 3 applications can not be installed to external flash-based drives. Mac OS only. For a complete list, please refer to the Adobe Support site. If you cancel out of the installation then try to install again immediately after you canceled out of the first attempt, you will receive the following message, Setup has encountered an error and can not continue.
Contact Adobe Customer Support for assistance. Go to Task Manager and Exit the installation. Then attempt the install again. If the profile is installed again, the entry will not be restored. The profile must be manually installed. Find the file in the system location, right click on the file and click on install profile.
Windows only. Rename the file with a. During installation of Version Cue CS2 a warning appears that the port is already taken, and the system should be adjusted. Image Stacks are local and cannot be shared in Version Cue projects. Image Stacks created on local drives will not be lost when Bridge CS3 is closed and re-launched. This only happens if you use the Control Panel to move the data and backup folders from the default location to somewhere else. In this case to fix the issue you can manually copy from your moved location to the default Version Cue Server install location.
For additional details on this issue, please refer to the Adobe Support site. If there are no local project files, you are unable to drag and drop directly from Version Cue projects to the local file system. You must first synchronize the files or from within Bridge, drag and drop the files to the local system short-cuts found either in the Favorites panel or the Folders panel.
Synchronize, and then use the replicas. Customer care Customer Service Adobe Customer Service provides assistance with product information, sales, registration, and other non-technical issues.
To find out how to contact Adobe Customer Service, please visit Adobe. Support Plan Options and Technical Resources If you require technical assistance for your product, including information on free and paid support options and troubleshooting resources, more information is available at http: Outside of North America, go to http: Free troubleshooting resources include Adobes support knowledgebase, Adobe user-to-user forums and more.
If you are having any issues with installing or uninstalling any of your Creative Suite 3 applications, please try rebooting your system prior to contacting Support. Other resources Order printed documentation at www. Online Resources.