The Adobe Master Collection Guide
The Adobe Master Collection Creative Suite 5.5 (CS5.5) is the latest version (as of this writing) of tools that will provide for 99% of the needs of an indie filmmaker. In this brief guide I will outline the softwares available in this package and what they do.
Image and Page Manipulation Software
1. Photoshop CS5 Extended
Photoshop is the software that is used to manipulate and process images. It is the most powerful tool available, and it can be used for the simplest of tasks like cropping an image, changing brightness or contrast, etc, to the most complicated image manipulations manageable. It is also used by many professionals as a drawing tool. As far as still images go, it’s the only software you’ll ever need for anything. To be honest, Photoshop itself is worth the price of the entire master collection suite, and this is why it’s the most important tool you can have. Photoshop Extended includes the tools to create, edit, and paint 3D images; edit rich motion graphics; and analyse images.
2. Illustrator CS5
Illustrator is the tool most professionals use to create vector artwork. Vector, in simple terms, is what can be scaled without limit. An image that cannot be scaled infinitely is called a bitmap. Whatever you see in magazines and prints that include geometric shapes, simple and complex, was most likely created using illustrator or a similar program. Using vectors ensures these lines and shapes are sharp no matter what size they are printed to.
InDesign is the tool used to create page (print or web) layouts, and gives absolute control over typography. Whether you are creating newspapers, magazines, digital ebooks or whatever, this is the tool that will help you get the job done the fastest.
Acrobat X Pro
Acrobat Pro is the software that allows you to create PDF files from various sources.
Software for Devices and the Web
Fireworks is that tool that will help you create graphics for the web or virtually any device — from smartphones to kiosks to embedded displays. It allows the designer to rapidly prototype a web site or app, and is ideal for developers and designers of all types — web, mobile, visual, and user experience.
Dreamweaver is a web authoring and editing software that is used to create websites. The new version has support for HTML5 and CSS3. If you don’t know anything about website design and want to create one, this is the software you need.
Flash Professional CS5.5
Flash is what is used to create, well, flash websites and interactive content. If you want to embed cool moving graphics that need the interaction of the user, this is what you will use. The Impossible Murder and The Indie Farm websites were made with Flash.
Flash® Catalyst CS5.5
Flash Catalyst is used to to transform Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks artwork into expressive, fully interactive projects without writing code. This is mainly used to improve workflow between the other tools in the Adobe suite, in which Flash is the final product.
Flash Builder 4.5 Premium Edition
Flash Builder is an Eclipse based development tool used to create apps for mobile platforms, using Flash as the framework.
Contribute allows you to combine a variety of different file types from Photoshop, Flash, etc and combine them into a website; to collaboratively author, review, and publish web content — without learning HTML. It is ideal for those who want the freedom to update their own web pages.
Film, Video and Sound
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Premiere Pro has been the standard for a long time for editing professional film and video. I’ve used it and I know there’s nothing better out there. It allows native format support for almost any file type out there, and with the new GPU integration, it faster than any other editing software on the market.
After Effects CS5.5
After Effects is the gold standard in the visual effects industry. It is used to create motion graphics, visual effects, keying, compositing, you name it. There’s nothing that it can’t do. Period. In short, it is the Photoshop of video. It also has powerful tools for color grading and finishing.
Adobe Audition CS5.5
Audition is the only tool that is dedicated to sound. It allows you to layer, record, mix and manipulate sound that is vital towards adding production values to your video. It has a powerful feature set, but is not used extensively in the industry. But it’s there, just in case, and it can get the job done.
Adobe OnLocation CS5
OnLocation is used to capture footage while shooting live, or later. It allows you to log live action accurately while recording, and analyze imported files quickly. I’ve used OnLocation while shooting for my short film, The School.
Encore is the software that is used to author and create DVDs, Blu-ray discs and web DVDs, from a single project. A Premiere Pro project can be directly imported into Encore. The Impossible Murder DVD Master was created using Encore.
Bridge is a media manager that manages and organizes all your source files effectively. Think: a smart windows explorer for your video, images, sound files, etc.
Device Central CS5.5
Device Central is the tool that allows you to plan, preview, and test engaging experiences and deliver them to practically anyone on virtually any device. A virtual simulator, in other words.
Media Encoder CS5.5
It allows you to create output for any video format or device, including web, phone, and tablet, in 64-bit. This is the software that converts one video format into another, and is as versatile as any I’ve ever seen.
CS Live brings the Creative Suite online, where you can accurately test web content, initiate and manage reviews, create blueprints for video projects, and easily share information.