Adobe Creative Suite 2

With Creative Suite 2.0 (CS2), Adobe integrates its photo and design environment components into one neat package so that graphic designers can share files more easily among applications. Included are updated versions of Photoshop (photo editor), Illustrator (graphic illustrator), GoLive (Web designer), InDesign (layout designer), and Acrobat 7.0 Professional (Web publisher)--all of which are available separately. The main advantage of this suite, however, is its ability to share images produced in one app with another app. Version Cue 2.0, a file management app, maintains version control, while Adobe Bridge, a new app, allows designers to synchronize color settings throughout the suite and preview images from within any Creative Suite program, whether or not they were created by that app. The suite also includes access to Adobe's library of stock images.

Upside: New to Photoshop CS2 are Vanishing Point, a visual adjustment tool; Smart Objects, a feature that allows for nondestructive editing of images; and Camera Raw 3.0, a plug-in that provides access to a variety of native digital camera standards. Illustrator CS2 ships with Live Trace, a tool that coverts scanned line art or bitmap images into vector-based drawings for editing. InDesign CS2 features better control of rich black and CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta, black) values. GoLive CS2 offers more Web standards support, including XHTML and SVG-t for mobile-enabled pages. And Acrobat 7.0 Professional enables comments within PDF files for team collaboration.

Downside: Unfortunately, Adobe still hasn't fully integrated ImageReady CS2 within Photoshop CS2, an obstacle for some. As in Photoshop, you can set customized work spaces within Illustrator CS2, but unlike Photoshop CS2, no preset work spaces are provided within Illustrator CS2, so you'll have to create them all from scratch. We noticed a slight file incompatibility between InDesign CS files and InDesign CS2 files. We feel there are too many pallets floating around the GoLive interface. And, overall, the Creative Suite 2.0 package is not for old hardware; you'll need a pretty powerful PC to run everything.

Outlook: Despite its overall size and few misses here and there, by providing better integration of all the suite's applications, Adobe gives current users and newcomers a reason to purchase Creative Suite 2.0: more efficient work flow. Even if you're not part of a network or a collaborative team, the ease of accessing files within apps other than the one that created them is still worth the price. Check back shortly to read our full review of each app within this suite.

  Premium edition Standard edition The scoop

Photoshop CS2
Yes Yes Digital photo-editing app supports Camera Raw 3.0 and non-destructive editing

Illustrator CS2
Yes Yes Vector illustration app now converts scanned or bitmap images to vector-based drawings

InDesign CS2
Yes Yes Layout and design app offers better rich black and CYMK control

GoLive CS2
Yes No Web and mobile page-authoring app

Acrobat 7.0 Professional
Yes No Document-publishing app
Adobe Bridge Yes Yes Visual file manager for Creative Suite
Adobe Version Cue CS2 Yes Yes File version management system for Creative Suite