Adobe CS5.5 Launched!

Adobe has launched version 5.5 of its Creative Suite of design and art applications across print, digital and motion media – and it should be out by the end of April. Users of Photoshop and Illustrator will be disappointed with a lack of new tools as these have been barely upgraded – they’re still called version 5, not 5.5 – but there’s a lot to like on the interactive and video side.

The primary focus of the 5.5 upgrade, says Adobe, is to build in support for technological developments in the wider world – such as tablet-based digital magazines, HTML5 on the web, and stereoscopic video production. The company is moving from a 18-month release cycle to releasing ‘.0’ upgrades every two years or so – with interim releases allowing them to more quickly respond to new technologies, it says.

The only addition to Photoshop CS5 is that now it can communicate with other devices over a network. This offers some intriguing possibilities, and Adobe has showed us a series of iPad apps that take advantage of this. They’re different from the ones shown by Adobe last week at Photoshop World. That was a creative tool similar in some ways to Photoshop on an iPad, while these are less complex and require access to a full version of Photoshop on Mac or Windows to function properly.

Easel is a simple painting app similar to the Brushes app, but from which you can send ‘sketches’ directly to Photoshop. Color Lava is a colour palette creation tool similar in principle – if not in interface – to Adobe’s Kuler system. It can send schemes over a network to Photoshop. Nav allows you to use the iPad as a control surface for Photoshop, enabling you to quickly jump between tools.

Adobe has also brought back Audition, a sound editor that was dropped in CS5 in favor of Soundbooth, but now it makes it’s return.

The other MAJOR introduction to CS5.5 is the idea of a subscription service. For those designers starting out who cannot easily drop the $1,700 for the whole Creative Suite, Adobe now offers a subscription service.

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