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Adobe CS4 Announcement Recap

As one might have guessed, the blogosphere and twitterverse have both been overwhelmed with CS4 info about today's official feature announcements (note: NOT release!). I semi live twittered the event while watching it, and you can check out all those tweets at twitter search.

Despite the let down of non-US pricing being 1.6 times the US cost once again, and also some comments on the CS4 logo, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I'd have to agree, but I also think that not too much new information was provided today other than pricing. At least for Flash CS4, I had seen and/or heard about all but one of the features discussed today at various conferences over the past year or more. The one new feature to me: Procedural modeling with Deco and Spray Brush. Nice small surprise feature addition.

While the enhancements across all of the CS4 apps are worth noting, I mainly work in Flex and Flash, so the rest of this post will focus on Flash CS4. There are some great posts out there already this morning, so I'll link to those instead of regurgitating the same content:

Keith Peters - I like Flash CS4
Keith does a great job going over some features as it applies to developers, and describes how some minor changes (aka the not-hyped ones) have really solved some of his pain points while working in the IDE. Keith has also posted some screenshots of the new interface.

Jen deHaan - Flash CS4: The photo tour of features
Jen has re-started her blog, now focusing it on Flash CS4 and the new motion model for animation. This post has the most thorough collection of Flash CS4 screenshots. I would also say the most official seeing as how Jen works for Adobe. If you can't wait until the release to check everything out, this is the blog post to read.

Jen deHaan - The new way of tweening in Flash CS4 (or: New motion in Flash CS4 makes your animations better, faster, stronger)
Winner of the longest blog post title, this post does a very good job of describing everything that has changed in the new animation model. If you are a designer and/or animator and work with the timeline much, you should read this post. Good for developers too, as we all end up working with the timeline a bit at some point in a project.

With that, let the waiting until the -actual- release begin!

Adobe to announce CS4 on September 23rd

According to Flash Platform Evangelist Lee Brimlow, Adobe will announce the CS4 suite on September 23rd via a web broadcast that you can register for today. The news is also posted on Adobe.com, so it is safe to say this is official.

Lee is careful to mention, however, that this is not the release date for CS4 -- just the announcement of new features and what one can expect when CS4 is available for purchase. I'm guessing that, like Adobe did with CS3, they will post additional betas such as Flash CS4 to Adobe Labs for everyone to play with after the announcement on the 23rd. Dreamweaver CS4, Fireworks CS4 and Soundbooth CS4 betas are already available for download on Adobe Labs.

You can’t spell crash without CS

Came across http://unexpectedlyquit.com today and found it somewhat comforting. The premise: "Every time an Adobe application misbehaves I upload the error message."

I'm not one to bash Adobe Creative Suite - it does after all make me a living. But this site, in all its simplicity, makes for some great humor. Especially when, as someone who spends most of their working day in Flash and other CS3 applications, I have seen my fair share of CS error messages.

SWFObject 2 To Be Default Publish Method in CS4

This weekend I was catching up on my unread email when I came across an interesting quote from the June 2008 edition of Adobe Edge, specifically, an article on the new features of Dreamweaver CS4:

When your projects include SWF files created with Adobe Flash or Flex, the newly updated Insert Flash feature in Dreamweaver, which now uses the open source SWFObject 2.0 codebase, enables you to visually preview your SWF file in context using Live Preview and even design the static, alternative HTML/CSS content right in Design view, too.

The thing that struck me most here was that SWFObject 2 will be used as the default for embedding Flash content in HTML pages, which is very cool. For those who don't know, Adobe has always rolled their own embedding code which was cumbersome at best. Every developer I know would end up creating their own HTML files and using SWFObject to embed Flash - in essence redoing what Dreamweaver had already done for them, albeit poorly. It is nice to see Adobe yet again making great use of the open source contributions of the community.

What is more exciting to me, however, is that one can assume Flash CS4 and the next version of Flex (either Flex 4, or an update to Flex 3) will use SWFObject to embed the SWFs they publish as well. A quick search of the SWFObject Google Group confirms this as well.

Adobe CS3 Trials Available for Download

I had previously posted about the CS3 trials not being available, and according to Google Analytics, it is one of the most popular posts. So I thought I would let those coming from Google and MXNA know that it looks like the wait is finally over! Adobe CS3 package trials are now available for download on Adobe.com (http://www.adobe.com/products/#creativesuite_family). This includes Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, InDesign, etc. Enjoy!

Link Round-Up: Adobe’s Treasure Trove of CS3 Information

I have been spending a lot of time on Adobe's website going through their treasure trove of tutorials, videos, and white papers on CS3 while I impatiently await shipping of my Web Premium CDs (I knew I should have gone with the download edition!).

In particular, Adobe has put a lot of effort into a short, topical video training series, and then put the videos out there free for all of us. In the past I always found the articles on their website lacking relevance or just plain outdated. These short videos are about one particular topic and there are almost 300 of them, so chances are that the feature you want more details on is covered. It is also worth noting that Lynda.com produced the videos. Thanks, Adobe - you hit a home run with this one.

When I was at Via I ended up taking on the role of "early adopter", which usually resulted in me being the knowledge holder for the likes of Studio/Flash 8 and other new software at the time. I've tried to continue in that role at XPLANE as much as time allows. That said, a lot of friends and colleagues have been asking me about CS3, knowing that I actively pursued becoming a beta tester and placed my order the day it was released. So I've compiled a list of the CS3 (mostly Flash-oriented) articles and videos I have been reading and viewing over the past few weeks:

+ Article: Migrating from Flash 8 to Flash CS3 Professional, by Jen deHaan
This is a great writeup giving you an overview of the major new features in Flash CS3. It is written for those who use Flash on a day-to-day basis, so the write-up is a bit long (8 pages), but you'll enjoy the details of each new feature followed by a short how-to.

+ Video: Importing Illustrator Files into Flash, by Mordy Golding
Mordy has his own great video podcast, so he knows what he is doing when it comes to a short training video.

+ Video: Using Symbols Effectively Between Illustrator and Flash, by Matthew Richmond
With about 90% of the design files coming to me at XPLANE as Illustrator files, finding the best workflow between Illustrator and Flash is essential. Learning about symbols and when to use them in Illustrator should help to reduce the amount of time I spend converting graphics for use in Flash.

+ Video: Exporting QuickTime Files (from Flash), by Abbas Rizvi
At XPLANE one of the projects we're currently working on is a new version of the wildly popular "Did You Know" video from Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod. In addition to updating the content and graphics, we're taking what was a PowerPoint presentation and turning it into a video. With CS3 the designers can hand me Illustrator files (which I can now import flawlessly) and then I can work my animation magic (on the timeline or through code) and output to QuickTime with ease, without any nasty Flash 5 workarounds.

+ Video: Understanding the Fireworks and Flash Workflow, by Alan Musselman
Fireworks is now a great design comp tool complete with multiple "pages" and a shared component set with Flash and Flex. This video shows you how to take the best advantage of the more integrated apps.

+ Video: Copying and Pasting ActionScript from an Animation, by Chris Georgenes
Now a designer can animate on the timeline and developers can copy it to and for use in ActionScript 3 code!

+ Adobe Flash Design Center
Don't forget this page with links to some additional helpful tutorials, articles and launching points to additional materials.

Like I noted above, there are almost 300 videos in the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Video Workshop, so I suggest you dive in and find the ones most relevant to your daily work flow. The interface makes it a breeze to sort and find the videos that best suit each user, and taking advantage of the tool nets some interesting topics that you might not have known about.

I'm interested to hear what your favorites are as well - I'm sure I am missing some good ones with all the choices - so comment on what you've found!

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