Design insights & tutorials.

Blank Canvas: Adobe Creative Suite CS5 — Are You Upgrading?

It’s that time of year again fellow creative types. Well, actually that time of the 18-month release cycle for Adobe’s Creative Suite upgrade.

I know many users out there have a feeling of “didn’t I just upgrade?”, but in fact the release cycle is indeed every 18-months and this one is right on schedule.

Come April 12th, Adobe will be hosting a live CS5 launch announcement event where we will all find out about the new features to be added.

Some of you may already be aware of some of the sneak peek videos Adobe has released for the amazing new Content-Aware Fill feature:

This looks amazing for photo editing, almost like magic!

But our question to you, dear readers: even before knowing about what’s to come in CS5, are you considering upgrading? What’s your typical policy on upgrades?

If past pricing is any indicator, upgrade pricing for the Design Premium bundle will probably be around $500 USD.

Personally, I try to always stay current with the Creative Suite upgrades, and I have heard snippets of features to the Photoshop brush tools that make it very compelling to me.

I’ve also been told by the product Manager for Adobe Illustrator that there will be a “mind blowing” feature coming to Illustrator CS5. And no, I have no inside info as to what that feature is.

I love adding new tools to my arsenal that increase my productivity and enhance my workflow. I found the CS4 upgrade to be more than worth it, and if CS5 offers anything in the way of those features, I won’t hesitate to get me upgrade license.

So leave us your opinion in the comments section below, we want to hear what the community has on their mind about CS5.

About the Author, George Coghill

George Coghill isa freelance humorous illustrator/cartoonist specializing in mascot cartoon character design & cartoon logos. His cartooning & illustration work can be seen at and at his cartooning and illustration blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here!
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We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • betterthanhuman

    Maybe. But I primarily use illustrator and they haven't unveiled anything about it's upgrades. I'll have to see what that mind blowing addition is. I did like the idea of close integration with Dreamweaver I heard mention of. I guess we'll see on Monday.

  • Matt Bryant

    I'd like to the few feature that I'd seen are stellar (not to mention practical), but we'd need to upgrade our hardware first. Times are tough, and I'd rather have a raise than new toys to be completely honest.

  • Mike Shoaf

    I'm with you, George, on the value of CS4. Definitely worth every penny to me.

    As for CS5, ask me again after April 12th! I'm curious to see what the killer feature is for Ai CS5. And what of InDesign improvements?

    Either way, I'll have to let my wallet recuperate from the recent trauma of buying a new computer before I can swing CS5.

  • Name

    Yeah man im getting the super secret student discount

  • TomFaraci

    I never upgraded to CS4, and the content-aware fill option is pretty enticing. So, depending on the funds, we'll see. With CS4, I knew I wouldn't be upgrading because I had just purchased CS3 a few months before, but I'm leaning towards a yes for CS5.

  • Barry

    I'm on the “odd version plan” (having skipped CS2 and CS4) so it's time for me to upgrade. If the CS upgrade was $300 instead of $600 I would upgrade at every new version.

  • mckibillo

    Honestly, most likely. I agree with your comments about CS4 and I'm now eagerly awaiting to find out what this “mind blowing” feature could be.

  • Rachel

    I've not been fortunate enough to think about upgrading to CS4 as I didn't have the money for it and it was so expensive. However, as soon as I started thinking about it CS5 was announced! I'm definitely wanting to upgrade as soon as I can to it, as I'm working no CS3 currently. The features all look brilliant, but it all depends on the price!

  • Aaron Harlow

    I think they are introducing true 64bit support – I am planning on upgrading for that reason if nothing else – so I'm praying that this upgrade will provide stability and access to all of my 8gigs of ram.

  • Aaron Harlow

    if you charge by the product rather than by the hour and increase your productivity – then you just gave yourself a raise my friend.

  • roddog

    Of course I am upgrading. To those that “Can't” afford it, c'mon it's a $500 upgrade every 18 months, thats like 91 cents a day! I bet you spend more than $7 bucks a week on Starbucks or something else that could easily be removed from your life. Afterall these are the tools of your trade and if you are in business for yourself its a write off! Oh wait…did I just use math on a creative site…what the heck was I thinking…lol.

  • Jeremy Knedler

    I usually wait until I get enough files that warn me of my version being lower that the incoming files. This time it's a bit different since I am still on a PowerPC. I will have to upgrade to Intel first so it may be a bit longer this time. :(

  • Joel Glovier

    George, I agree. I always upgrade, because as a designer is usually pays to have the latest versions of the software (at least as a freelancer). We don't have much else in the way of equipment or other traditional “overhead”, so it's always seemed like a no brainer to me to upgrade.

    I will likely upgrade primarily for the benefits of how newer versions of the software have tended to have overall performance benefits, like taking better advantage of the hardware. For one, if CS5 is going to introduce 64 bit Photoshop for Mac, that's worth it right there.

    I remember CS4 had a significant improvement in application load time and overall responsiveness from CS3, at least for me (thinking specifically of Photoshop).

    What I will say is that I am NOT interested in one or two novel features as a reason to upgrade, like content aware mumbo jumbo. They really billed that content aware scale as a major selling point for Photoshop last time around, along with canvas rotation, and 3D layer support. But none of them I have used more than a handful of times in the past 18 months. Hardly worth upgrading for those alone.

    I wonder if the Illustrator mind blowing feature is going to be way enhanced 3D rendering?… That would be ONE feature I'd upgrade Illy for – but not the whole creative suite.

    And on THAT note – I'm also thinking when I do upgrade, it might be from Design Premium to Design Standard. Now that I've become a very advanced web designer/developer, I'm quickly dropping Dreamweaver from my workflow altogether. It was great when I was learning, but I've come to prefer a good code editor, like Espresso, and an FTP client like FileZilla to working in Dreamweaver. (more about that to come this weekend on my blog…specifically WHY I'm not into Dreamweaver anymore).

    But the Design Premium may have lost some of it's usefulness for me. In fact, I have NEVER used Flash, so Design Standard might be the upgrade of choice for mua.

    But yeah, overall? Def gonna upgrade. This time it's just a matter of to which one, and how soon. After I get a good peek at all the features on Monday, I'll decide those questions then.

  • alanvalek

    I'm with George, I like to have the latest versions to see how they can enhance my workflow — and in a very competitive market you need any edge over the person next to you so keeping up is a good thing, don't upgrade and see how far that takes you in the long run. I've been using Photoshop CS5 for a few months now I can tell you that it good, but's that's all I can tell you ;)

  • Justin Page

    CS5 is but a must for me. The content-Aware fill sold me for photoshop. idk i like be up2date with everything, it's a bad habit-but when you get the package in the mail and the smell of new software, mmmmm.
    Any negatives to getting new software- price. and learning new features. Which both mean me sacrificing time.

  • Simon H.

    Mhmm. It's a huge expense for a just starting business. And my CS3 still does most of what I want, so… Not yet. Although, who knows…

  • Jaye Williams

    I'm actually still on CS2. I've used CS4 and planned on upgrading but found out I wouldn't get a discount. Last time I checked it was $99 to go in consecutive order, but full price if you went from, for instence, CS2 to CS5… so I missed the boat on that. CS5 does look nice though.

    But yeah, I've been on CS2 for the 7 years I've been designing and have been producing quality work ever since and I don't feel like I've been missing out.

  • Alex

    Still on CS3 at the home studio

    Running CS4 at work WORk

    Probably upgrade to CS5 for home studio

  • George Coghill

    I'm with ya there man!

  • George Coghill

    Only Photoshop is gaining 64-bit support FYI.

  • George Coghill

    Yep, the increased productivity means more free time if you bill flat-rate!

  • George Coghill

    Well, 64-bit Photoshop will indeed be the case. I too am probably going to go for Design Standard as opposed to Premium, as I rarely use Flash or Dreamweaver anymore.

    And it looks like that new Perspective tool in Ai is a 3D feature – was this something that interests you?

    The variable width brush is most appealing to me.

  • George Coghill

    Based on current/recent upgrade costs, those with the current version pay $499 for the basic suite upgrade (Design Standard), CS2/3 users pay $699. CS1 folks are left out.

    As roddog mentions above, it's less than a dollar a day if you stay current, and if you upgrade every other version you end up saving a whopping $300 over 3 years (18-month release cycle).

    I don't know about you guys, but the Rotate View & brush resizing tools in Photoshop CS4 itself made that upgrade worth every penny to me.

  • Joel Glovier

    Yeah, anything that makes 3D in Illy a little better is cool with me. It's a weird thing for me though. I know that illy's 3D is pretty ghetto, and I own C4D, but have yet to learn it enough to be really efficient with the software. So at the end of the day, if I can get what I'm after by creating a 3D smart object and importing to Photoshop where I can use brushes, clipping masks, etc. to make it look better – it's just faster for me that way.

    So yeah, I like the idea of an additional 3D tool.

    The variable width brush – is that the feature they showed where you can adjust the width of a stroke at certain areas on the fly? Yeah, that's awesome.

  • George Coghill

    I do almost no 3D, so I don't know how good/bad the tools in Ai are. But yeah, that variable width stroke is just as you described, and Mordy Golding told me I will “cry with joy” when I use it :D

  • George Coghill

    On the beta team I see… hook me up! :D

  • Amy Stewart

    The problem of upgrading for me is being in a workflow situation with other clients' art departments. I have to coordinate my upgrades with theirs, particularly in the case of InDesign. We tend to wait about 6 months after every release to make sure there are no huge problems. I've got several plugins I depend on (including PDF2ID and QXD2ID among others) which each cost about $100 to upgrade, so that bumps up the upgrade cost by a few hundred dollars.

    Since InDesign is the main tool I use in collaboration, I purchase InDesign as a standalone product, and then get the Web Premium suite to get all the rest of my apps minus InDesign. That means I don't have to upgrade InDesign when I upgrade the other stuff and I have a bit more flexibility.

    Compounding my upgrade path problem has been switching platforms from Win to Mac. In crossgrading my Adobe software, they disabled my old serial numbers, so now I can't access any old Windows versions of my Adobe apps. So I have access to CS4 and CS4 only right now.

    If I do upgrade, I'll keep CS4 loaded as well.

    I've been a beta tester for Fireworks CS5, and I can vouch for the fact that it's a HUGE improvement over CS4 (much, much faster, more stable, and several very useful new features), so it's worth upgrading for just the improvements to my favorite web graphics app.

  • syrious

    actually CS4 already utilizes 64 bit support I'm able to use my 8gb of ram, however it is Illustrator that lacks the 64 bit support, that is the problem, I'm hoping they added support for AI, not just PremPro and AE.

  • George Coghill

    Photoshop product manager John Nack states on his blog that the CS5 version of Photoshop is the first time it's 64-bit on the Mac:

    I've spoken with Adobe gurus, and the only 64-bit software in CS5 is Photoshop.

  • George Coghill

    Interesting, that indeed does complicate the upgrade process. And yeah the plugin factor does add to the cost if you rely on those in your workflow.

    You might consider going for the Design Premium Collection, it's the same price of your current upgrade method, and the only thing left out is Contribute and Flash Builder 4. If you need Flash Builder, it's only a $100 upgrade. Contribute is another $100 if you need that too, which negates my money-saving idea :)

    I usually leave the previous version of Creative Suite on my drive anyways, and you can use them alongside the newer versions without any issues as far as my experience goes.

  • syrious

    Ah, sorry for the miscommunication – win7x64 here… Still I think they need to make improvements to the memory resources for illustrator, outside of scratch disks….

  • George Coghill

    Ah yes, PC users have had 64-bit Photoshop for some time now.

    And agreed, Illustrator needs some attention besides ancient scratch disk optimization. CS4 doesn't even utilize multiple processors on the Mac.

  • Robert

    Not yet. I mainly use Illustrator of the DP CS4 Suite.
    I had decided to upgrade when both “The Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow! Book” and “Real World Adobe Illustrator CS5″ books are available.
    And let Adobe iron out the initial problems first. I do not have a real need to upgrade.
    Although the new Perspective Drawing feature is a real teaser to me, because in college I learned perspective drawing with Robert W. Gill's “Rendering with Pen and Ink”. And the new feature looks like it can do all of it much easier. Bloody Adobe, damn you! =D

  • video izle

    Compounding my upgrade path problem has been switching platforms from Win to Mac. In crossgrading my Adobe software, they disabled my old serial numbers, so now I can't access any old Windows versions of my Adobe apps. So I have access to CS4 and CS4 only right now.

  • Robert

    The “comment” by video izle above, is an exact copy of a paragraph in Amy Stewart's comment. Looks like someone created a spam backlink to an unrelated website.

  • Amy Stewart

    Thanks for pointing out that now the cost to upgraded the Design Premium suite, which includes InDesign, is more advantageous. That's a great idea and I will definitely be doing it that way. I'm glad Adobe simplified this whole upgrade process. It used to be a real headache.

  • George Coghill

    Glad to help!

  • Robert

    Let's do the math again with European prices :

    Design Premium CS4 to CS5 upgrade (boxed), English
    EUR 772.31 incl VAT = USD 1,029.81
    EUR 649.00 excl VAT = USD 865.46

    Design Premium CS4 to CS5 upgrade (download), English
    EUR 785.29 incl VAT = USD 1,047.20 (also includes weird EUR 13 extra)
    EUR 649.00 excl VAT = USD 865.46

    Design Premium CS4 to CS5 upgrade (boxed), Dutch
    EUR 891.31 incl VAT = USD 1,188.55
    EUR 749.00 excl VAT = USD 998.76

    Design Premium CS4 to CS5 upgrade (download), Dutch
    EUR 906.29 incl VAT = USD 1,208.46 (also includes weird EUR 15 extra)
    EUR 749.00 excl VAT = USD 998.76

    Why the English language version is twice as expensive in Europe is beyond me.

  • George Coghill

    Good point. The US dollar is definitely not half the value of the Euro right now.

  • Robert

    Adobe sometimes has some weird ways of doing things. And without explanation, nor reason.
    Nevertheless, most of the time their upgrades are well worth it, even at the European price point. But I always wait a bit to avoid early adopter gotchas.

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  • Dan

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  • oyun indir

    thx 4 the informations, good to know.

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