Adobe CS4 Design

The Good Adobe CS4 Design Premium bundles a great Flash update, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat 9, at a relative discount; features improved integration among similar interfaces.

The Bad Updates to Photoshop and InDesign don't justify the upgrade for most users; excludes audio editing; heavy-duty applications take long to install, are hard to learn, and hog resources; costly personal tech support.

The Bottom Line Adobe CS4 Design Premium contains nearly every tool for editing digital images and layouts for print and the Web, as well as for crafting interactive animation and desktop apps. If you don't need video editing, pick this over the Master Collection and save $700.

Editors' Rating
  • Setup 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Support 8.0
8.0 Overall

Compare

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium
Adobe CS4 Design
Acrobat 7.0 Standard for MAC
Adobe Acrobat 7.0
Adobe Lightroom 6
Adobe Lightroom 6 / Lightroom CC
Adobe Photoshop CS2 - media
Adobe Photoshop CS2
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4
Price ... $136 Amazon.com $149 Amazon.com ... ...
Setup
8
8
7
8
8
Features
8
8
8
9
9
Support
8
7
...
7
8

Review

Adobe CS4 Design

The $1,799 Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium package (between $599 to $799 to upgrade) is built for print and Web page designers, animators, and graphics pros. Key components include the updated InDesign for print, Dreamweaver and Fireworks for dynamic Web design, Flash for animation, plus Photoshop and Illustrator for pixel and vector graphics. Acrobat Professional 9, which now integrates Flash content, is also here. This is a terrific toolbox for those who don't need video tools enabled by Premiere, AfferEffects, and Soundbooth in the $2,500 Master Collection. The charts below detail the contents of and pricing for this and other CS4 suites; please click on the images of individual applications to learn what's new inside each of them.

With Creative Suite 4, Adobe has unified the interfaces of all the applications for a more seamless experience. Work-space adjustments to CS4 include panels that are more nimble than its predecessor's, and handy pull-down menus with preset styles that enable you to shift among work space layouts quickly. A corporate ad department, for instance, could use this software to create a campaign that repurposes the same images and layouts for formats as varied as magazines, posters, t-shirts, Web sites, online games, desktop apps, and mobile devices.

Setup and interface
The Web abounds with complaints about Adobe's installer and updater, and most are justified. Every Windows application installer suggests you close any running applications, but you can usually ignore it and 99 percent of the time everything works out fine. Adobe forces you to close your browser and all Microsoft Office applications, because many of the programs in the suite--primarily Acrobat--spread octopuslike tentacles throughout your working environment. That's pretty appalling in and of itself, but in addition to wasting a large chunk of time installing, you can't do anything else but play Solitaire while it's happening. And as before with the updater, you'll get to relive this delightful close-your-apps-or-else experience on a regular basis. Plus, the installation "progress" bar bears no relation to reality whatsoever, with its two steps forward and one step back movement.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Adobe
  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC
  • OS Family Windows
See full specs
model Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium

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