3. Looking At Final Products
Creative Suite includes such a large number of applications that it cannot be reviewed by only looking at each product individually. Oftentimes designers need to use multiple applications to produce their final export file.
There are four essential types of documents that Creative Suite can deliver. All exported documents contain one or more of the following:
-still (raster or pixel) images
-moving images (movies)
-programming code3.1 Still images
Apple introduced Retina display devices for a reason. Created for print or screen, still images still dominate user interfaces, the World Wide Web, and the vast majority of printed content. As long as our data outputs remain defined by clusters of pixels and ink drops, that is the way it is going to be. The types of containers may vary (JPEG, TIFF, PNG etc.) but the basics are the same: a raster image is made of a defined set of pixels that have individually defined color values.
As still images are essential to every workflow, almost all Creative Suite applications are capable of delivering still images, but Photoshop (and to some extent, Fireworks) excel in this area. 3.2 Vector Art
What a raster image does by defining each individual pixel, a vector-based document does by assigning points, connections, and properties in a scalable two-dimensional space. The final product might be very similar or vastly different to what a raster image might provide, depending on many factors. Vector art is infinitely scalable in both directions, which makes it ideal for displaying content across multiple media. Theoretically, a single vector file would be of the same visual quality whether it is viewed on a small mobile device or on a billboard covering the visible surface of the Moon.
Vector documents are not images. They are programming code, merely interpreted or rendered by our software. There is not much difference between how Adobe Reader or Adobe InDesign visually display vector documents, even though we know that Adobe Reader is just that - an interactive reader of PDF documents. I guess one might say that a vector document becomes a raster image once it “hits the screen”.
Vector art is of tremendous benefit to designers and almost all CS applications use it. Graphics designers use vector documents (AI, PDF, EPS and PS files) to as both a creation platform and as means of delivery to colleagues, consumers, and printing presses, while animators and software developers use vector art to create scalable animated elements and movies. Flash is a prime example of the latter.
One of the reasons why designers favored Apple over Microsoft in the early days of personal is that PCs had a terrible PostScript (vector language) interpreter. Overall support for vectors was terrible on PCs. It had unusable fonts, unreadable PostScript documents, a lack of proper software. This contributed to many - if not all - graphics design studios sticking to Macs until this very day.3.3 Movies
From simple animated GIFs to Blu-ray quality videos, the essence is the same: Pictures moving quickly.
Many principles of cinematography are identical to those of photography, but there is a third dimension - time. When you look at Adobe’s applications that work with videos, the same logic and structure that their other applications use is there, embedded into everything from user interface to content manipulation. If one understands Photoshop and its layers, it becomes easier to open up Premiere Pro and understand effects and multiple video streams being presented as “layers”. Throughout the Creative Suite, animation can be found in many applications, from Photoshop to After Effects, one can create anything from stop frame animation and vector transformations to blockbuster 3D multi-angle 4k video productions. 3.4 The Code Layers
If the rasters, videos, and vectors make up the base, the code provides the higher level meaning. There are many design applications on the market, but none provide such a vast amount of code embedded into these core elements. That is what the evolution of Creative Suite is all about, and it is why it is worth upgrading to follow Adobe on its journey to perfection.
Humans are not creatures that fully understand 3-dimensional space. People understand 2 dimensions well, but to deal with the third dimension, people slice it up into comprehensible parts. This is true for computer programs as well. What Adobe did with Photoshop 3 in 1994 was it introduced image layers. This started a very different evolution of design software. Suddenly objects did not have only properties, but whole images were consisting of multiple layers that interacted with each other in different ways. After a while, this “layer concept” started to take form in other applications as well, and today it is integrated into all Creative Suite applications.
Image color profiles and compression are code, InDesign layers are code, and interactive elements in PDFs are code. The Adobe Creative Suite has many strong points, but this is its spearhead. This is where most of the new features of CS6 lie and they are darn important.
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