Thursday, September 25, 2008

Melbourne CS4 Launch Debrief

I've just left the Melbourne Adobe Creative Suite 4 launch. I have to say I'm a bit surprised. It was unlike any product launch I've been to in the past. Essentially it was a half hour tour of the top new features followed by an open bar. Some were disappointed by the brevity of the presentation hoping for a more detailed overview of the release. Personally it seemed a clever idea. Everyone there was web savvy enough to go hoem and look up the features that caught their eye and at the end of the day you only need one killer feature that saves you enough time between release cycles (about 18 months?) to justify upgrading. For graphic designers I imagine having multiple artboards in a single Illustrator file could be enough to justify the upgrade. For web developers Fireworks ability to export standards friendly CSS (surely that is too good to be true) or Dreamweaver's many workflow improvements may clinch the deal. For Flash developers the killer feature is less clear. Inverse kinematics and 3D transforms will probably be a selling point for animators. Both of these features will be useful for programmers but hardly killer features. The improved integration with Flex (while not featured during the launch) will definitely be of interest to this group. I was most interested in a feature in Premiere and Soundbooth that was able to create transcriptions from the media audio. This transcript could then be included into the video as metadata with Premiere outputing a player with search capabilities (i.e jump to the point in the video where a word or phrase appear). There were options to customize the size of the text chunks and to choose Australian English (or Korean, or Japanese etc) as the basis for the transcription. Soundbooth was also able to export the transcription as xml (TimedText I think) which will be really useful for creating closed captions in Flash. If this works even half way then it will be of enormous benefit to anyone trying to achieve basic accessibility standards.

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