Adobe CS4 details released

Adobe have announced their new line of Creative Suite of applications with some much needed upgrades. As some of you will be aware the techAU website and podcast are...
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Adobe have announced their new line of Creative Suite of applications with some much needed upgrades. As some of you will be aware the techAU website and podcast are all produced using Adobe CS3 products, these include Dreamweaver, Premiere, Fireworks, Soundbooth, and After Effects.
One of my biggest pain points with the CS3 products is how they’re bundled, if your a content producer that does everything from web development to video editing, then your only option is to get the very pricey Master Collection.
What’s new ? There’s a very long list of updates in CS3, so I’ll focus on the ones I find most interesting. separated by product.
Adobe Premiere CS4 box
Adobe Premiere CS4

New format support
– Finally AVCHD will be supported, along with P2, XDCAM EX/HD. All these will see native support, a long overdue feature that should have really been included in CS3. Some (like myself) have had to resort to work arounds, like expensive 3rd party AVCHD plugins, these will now be rendered redundant with CS4.
Batch encoding
The current Adobe Flash Encoder has been expanded to become the Adobe Media Encoder. This should be great for podcasters and video producers in general that provide their content in multiple formats. A set and forget (likely overnight) background task will batch render jobs. Ideally this would be complimented by allowing FTP uploads on completion for the ultimate unattended render job.

Searchable Audio

If you’ve ever tried to find a specific section of the audio during the editing process, you’ve likely spent a long time srubbing through the audio, assuming this feature works as advertised, you’ll now be able to search for a word and the location(s) in the audio track will be identified. Effectively reducing editing time. Any improvements in this area are most welcome.
Apply default transitions to multiple clips
If you like to apply the same effect to multiple clips, let’s say a dissolve at the start and end of each clip, this has been a very manual task of dragging the effect to the top and tail of each clip. Something very time consuming when u have elements numbering in the hundreds. CS4 ads the ability to apply a default transition to multiple selected clip with a single command, another great time-saving addition.
Available in boxed or download (5.2 GB) versions, expected to ship late October 2008.
More about Premiere CS4 @ Adobe
Adobe SoundBooth CS4 box
Adobe SoundBooth CS4

Multi-track editing
This provides the ability to work on multiple tracks separately, so if your working with vocals, music, etc and want to apply effects and adjustments, these can now be done per layer in CS4. While SoundBooth is the baby brother of Adobe Audition, one of the key features that was left out of SoundBooth was multi-track editing, CS4 remedies this.
New ASND file format
Adobe have created a new file format to support the new multi-layer / multi-track audio format. Adobe Sound Document or ASND for short.
Searchable Audio
This works as outlined above in Premiere CS4.
Compression preview
Audio editing and especially exporting the final product is very much a trial and error process. CS4 allows users to preview how the MP3 compression will sound before exporting, saving time.. I’m detecting a common theme among these improvements – saving time.
Available in boxed or download (4.3 GB) versions, expected to ship late October 2008.
More about SoundBooth CS4 @ Adobe
Adobe PhotoShop CS4 box
Adobe Photoshop CS4
3D Painting
New to CS4 is support to paint 3D objects directly inside Photoshop. While details on format support is currently lacking, it’s listed as ‘common 3D formats’. Take from that what you will.
Content-Aware Scaling
This actually fairly impressive technology that lets you stretch images without distorting important elements in the photo. The example shown is people on a beach, the sand and sea are stretched to widen the image, yet the people are not. This lets the image scale, perhaps to fit a specific area, without visibly distorting the people (which would be very noticeable).
Available in boxed or download (1 GB) versions, expected to ship late October 2008.
More about Photoshop CS4 @ Adobe

Adobe Flash CS4 box
Adobe Flash CS4
3D Tranformation
Objects can now be rotated in the 3rd dimension. A natural evolution to being able to create and animate objects in the X and Y co-ordinates, Adobe Flash CS4 ads the Z axis. I’m assuming this can also be accessed via ActionScript. While much of the functionality of Director has been replaced by Flash, the single point of difference has been Flash’s lack of 3D tools, could this spell the end for Director completely ?
IK
Inverse Kinetics (or kinematics) relates to the intelligent connection of joints on 2 or more objects. A simply example would be the limbs of the human body. Elbows and Knee joints for example can’t rotate past a certain point, to bend the arm or leg further, rotation of another joint needs to occur. IK respects this and applies motion based on these restrictions. A great addition for those animating people or equipment.
Motion Presets
Another efficiency-focused feature, Motion presets allows commonly created animations to be applied to objects quickly, currently this requires creating the same effect each time from scratch. Created motion presets can also be shared with others.
There’s obviously a lot more products in the Adobe Creative Suite 4 than covered here, for all the info about Adobe CS4, head over to http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite
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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.