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Accumeasure Fitness 3000 Body Fat Caliper (Just pinch, click and read)
Accumeasure Fitness 3000 Body Fat Caliper (Just pinch, click and read)

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All Good So Far, 17 Nov. 2011
Having read other reviews of this product I was in two minds about it, but because of the low cost and the wildly erratic and obviously incorrect results my Salter electronic scales are giving me, I decided it was worth a shot.

I'm glad I did, because these callipers are pretty good and very easy to use! The only issue I have had with them is remembering exactly where I sampled last time, as you need to do it in pretty much exactly the same place each time to track your body fat changes accurately. I imagine it will help if you have a tattoo or scar above your right hip, because you can then remember where you sampled relative to a feature on that.

The one concern I had prior to buying these was the material and construction quality, since the callipers look flimsy and it would appear that the "click mechanism" used to tell you when you've squeezed enough might be prone to wearing down. However the manufacturer states that the callipers are made of a DuPont material called Delrin which has been tested to withstand thousands of samples. Assuming you're testing once a week, this should mean the callipers last for quite a long time! I can confirm that once they're in your hand they don't feel flimsy at all.

I'd recommend these to a friend (in fact I already have). They only lose one star because that uncertainty of "have I sampled the same place I sampled last time?" introduces a slight element of doubt into any body fat tracking.


ACID Music Studio - ( v. 8 ) - complete package - 1 user - DVD - Win
ACID Music Studio - ( v. 8 ) - complete package - 1 user - DVD - Win

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 17 July 2011
I bought this package because I needed to combine the audio from several videos into a single audio track (basically combining people singing solo into a chorus). Although I could have done this with the excellent Vegas Movie Studio HD 10, that would have required a lot more time and effort since Movie Studio only supports a maximum of 10 audio channels at once. I have to admit that I resented paying about the same for this one package as I paid for the entire Vegas 10 Studio, but having used it I'm now glad that I did.

If you visit the Acid Software pages on the Sony Creative web site you will see that this is the middle of three offerings. There is a free version of Acid called Xpress 7 which will suit many home users who just want to add music to their videos (or create standalone tracks) with some simple edits. Like Movie Studio 10, Xpress 7 is limited to 10 audio tracks - for some people this will simply not be enough. There is also a professional edition called Acid Pro 7, which costs considerably more and has a raft of additional pro-level features. Both Music Studio 8 and Acid Pro 7 allow unlimited audio tracks.

Packaged on the CD are the following extras:
- "British Valve Custom" from Studio Devil, this is a freeware add-on to emulate an amp so you can totally rock out;
- "Amber Lite" from TruePianos, a free Soft Synth module for grand pianos;
- A folder called "Content" which contains over 3,100 loops, sounds, music, project files and DLS instruments.

Bearing in mind I purchased this software to edit together several files into one, I was impressed with the simple philosophy behind the working area. The asset browser (the panel is called "Explorer") in the lower left of the Studio window allows you to locate sound files which can then be previewed, and when files are added to the current project a new channel is automatically created in the work area. The one criticism I would have is that the space allotted to the asset browser is not very generous and you might need to un-dock it to a second monitor to improve your work flow. All the panels in the working area can be dragged to move them elsewhere and can be "ripped" off the dockable area and dragged outside the application window to be placed elsewhere on a desktop, which is very handy. Music Studio shares a considerable portion of its interface design with Vegas which meant that I was able to pick up a lot of how it works very quickly indeed without having to use the help system or tutorials.

Music Studio allows the use of VST plugins and ships with the Sony Preset Manager (the version that was shipped to me is 2.0i, whereas I was able to download 2.0k from the web site so it is clearly superseded already). In terms of actually making music you really have - very broadly speaking - two options: loop editing and DLS composition. Any audio file can be "drawn" onto a channel in the main editing panel as a loop and can then be repeated endlessly, chopped and changed, or exposed to a variety of effects from graphical equalisation to autotuning (google "GSnap" for a free autotune plugin).
DLS (downloadable sounds) instruments allow you to essentially compose music with industry standard virtual instruments. I personally found this tiresome and laborious using a keyboard and mouse but I can see how it would benefit people who want to digitally compose with a MIDI keyboard controller or drum pad set, and I can envision situations where I won't be able to find a sound sample that meets my needs and might elect to construct one from DLS sounds instead, so it's great to have that option of software synthesis available at such a low cost. There is a separate manual provided on the Music Studio CD which gives a brief introduction and quick starter tutorial for DLS Instruments.

One of the best things about this package is similar to the major strength of Vegas Movie Studio - namely, that it really doesn't care what your source is or how you want to use and abuse it. Too many software packages demand source files be provided in a particular format and get treated in a particular way, Music Studio however has a very laid back attitude and as long as it's physically possible you can pretty much do what you want, which obviously has implications for your ability to express yourself creatively. You're not encumbered by arbitrary restrictions in the software, which is exactly how all creative software should be built.

In summary, Music Studio is very similar to Vegas Movie Studio in that it has a massive range of usefulness. Although it is not the most appealing or intuitive thing for a novice to get to grips with I would recommend it to everyone from newbies to enthusiasts simply because as your knowledge and capability grows, you'll find that you don't outgrow Music Studio. It is very much a software package with hidden depths.


Sony ACID Music Studio 8 2011 Release (PC)
Sony ACID Music Studio 8 2011 Release (PC)

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 17 July 2011
If you visit the Acid Software pages on the Sony Creative web site you will see that this is the middle of three offerings. There is a free version of Acid called Xpress 7 which will suit many home users who just want to add music to their videos (or create standalone tracks) with some simple edits. Like Movie Studio 10, Xpress 7 is limited to 10 audio tracks - for some people this will simply not be enough. There is also a professional edition called Acid Pro 7, which costs considerably more and has a raft of additional pro-level features. Both Music Studio 8 and Acid Pro 7 allow unlimited audio tracks.

There is no obvious significant difference between Music Studio 8 '2011 Release' and the 2010 version, other than the way in which they are marketed.

Packaged on the CD are the following extras:
- "British Valve Custom" from Studio Devil, this is a freeware add-on to emulate an amp so you can totally rock out;
- "Amber Lite" from TruePianos, a free Soft Synth module for grand pianos;
- A folder called "Content" which contains over 3,100 loops, sounds, music, project files and DLS instruments.
Sony now also provide a voucher code in the box which allows you to download a "Sony Sound Series" loop library.

Bearing in mind I purchased this software to edit together several files into one, I was impressed with the simple philosophy behind the working area. The asset browser (the panel is called "Explorer") in the lower left of the Studio window allows you to locate sound files which can then be previewed, and when files are added to the current project a new channel is automatically created in the work area. The one criticism I would have is that the space allotted to the asset browser is not very generous and you might need to un-dock it to a second monitor to improve your work flow. All the panels in the working area can be dragged to move them elsewhere and can be "ripped" off the dockable area and dragged outside the application window to be placed elsewhere on a desktop, which is very handy. Music Studio shares a considerable portion of its interface design with Vegas which meant that I was able to pick up a lot of how it works very quickly indeed without having to use the help system or tutorials.

Music Studio allows the use of VST plugins and ships with the Sony Preset Manager. In terms of actually making music you really have - very broadly speaking - two options: loop editing and DLS composition. Any audio file can be "drawn" onto a channel in the main editing panel as a loop and can then be repeated endlessly, chopped and changed, or exposed to a variety of effects from graphical equalisation to autotuning (google "GSnap" for a free autotune plugin).
DLS (downloadable sounds) instruments allow you to essentially compose music with industry standard virtual instruments. I personally found this tiresome and laborious using a keyboard and mouse but I can see how it would benefit people who want to digitally compose with a MIDI keyboard controller or drum pad set, and I can envision situations where I won't be able to find a sound sample that meets my needs and might elect to construct one from DLS sounds instead, so it's great to have that option of software synthesis available at such a low cost. There is a separate manual provided on the Music Studio CD which gives a brief introduction and quick starter tutorial for DLS Instruments.

One of the best things about this package is similar to the major strength of Vegas Movie Studio - namely, that it really doesn't care what your source is or how you want to use and abuse it. Too many software packages demand source files be provided in a particular format and get treated in a particular way, Music Studio however has a very laid back attitude and as long as it's physically possible you can pretty much do what you want, which obviously has implications for your ability to express yourself creatively. You're not encumbered by arbitrary restrictions in the software, which is exactly how all creative software should be built. Supported formats are as follows:
Import: AAC, AIFF, AVI, BMP, FLAC, GIF, JPG, MIDI, MP3, OGG, PCA, QuickTime®, SFA, TGA, TIF, W64, WAV, WMA, WMV.
Export: AAC, AIFF, AVI, FLAC, MP3, OGG, PCA, QuickTime®, RealAudio(tm), RealVideo(tm), W64, WAV, WMA, WMV.

In summary, Music Studio is very similar to Vegas Movie Studio in that it has a massive range of usefulness. Although it is not the most intuitive thing for a novice to get to grips with I would recommend it to everyone from newbies to enthusiasts simply because as your knowledge and capability grows, you'll find that you don't outgrow Music Studio. It is very much a software package with hidden depths.


Canon 2737B016 PR201 Photopaper A4 (Pack of 20)
Canon 2737B016 PR201 Photopaper A4 (Pack of 20)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treat Your Main Prints, 15 July 2011
If you want to print an example of good work, and have it look its very best, you will be hard-pressed to find a better paper that does not cost the earth.

PR-201 is A4 in size (210x297mm), and at 245g/m^2 is a bit less heavyweight than the flagship PT-101 Pro Platinum paper. It has a 6 star quality rating from Canon, which puts it below the 7 stars of PT-101 but above the 5 stars of the "standard" photo papers such as PP-201. The paper has a great feel to it, and it has a Super High Gloss finish which really helps make your prints look professional, even behind glass. The paper is ChromaLife100 compatible, with the proper Canon inks, which means that Canon claim it will be fade-resistant for decades.

I use the paper with a PIXMA iP4700 printer and original Canon inks, and I have to say the results are consistently impressive. For most Canon printers the ICC profile you would select for this specific paper is either PR1 or PR2 (with 1 being the highest quality print).

For showing off great photos in the best form I can afford, I will now only use Canon's A4 sized Photo Paper Pro II. I am very pleased with this product, I would definitely recommend it, and I certainly won't go cheaper!


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upsell from point product CS2/3/4/5 of Production Premium (Mac)
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upsell from point product CS2/3/4/5 of Production Premium (Mac)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Package Grommit, 14 July 2011
Although I am well-accustomed to writing product reviews on Amazon, I have to admit I balked at the prospect of writing one for Adobe Production Premium CS5.5. Mainly because there are just so very many features that no review of it will ever be complete. However the more I use it, the more I want to SHARE it with everyone.

Bearing in mind I have upgraded from Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, to CS5.5 Production Premium, you can imagine that it is very much a quantum leap for me in terms of functionality and work-flow. Although Production Premium does not include Dreamweaver, my interests have moved from web authoring to video content since MX was the daddy, so Production is a much more suitable suite for me now.

Compared to Production CS4 and earlier, in terms of functionality, CS5.5 adds the following features:

- AFTER EFFECTS: Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte, AVC-Intra import, improved RED support, improvements and new plug-in tools for Mocha, Auto-keyframe mode, Apply Colour LUT effect, Align panel improvements, bundled Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, bundled Digieffects FreeForm, Warp Stabiliser effect, Camera Lens Blur effect, source timecode support, improved stereoscopic 3D work-flow, light falloff, improvements to RAW work-flow, XDCAM EX support, and a whole bunch of other tweaks and improvements.

- PREMIERE PRO: Mercury Playback Engine, improved native tapeless work-flows, "script-to-screen" work-flow path when used with Adobe Story and OnLocation, round-trip editing with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, various metadata features, CS Review for sharing dailies etc, revamped Adobe media Encoder, Ultra Key realtime HD footage chroma key, native support for DSLRs, integration with Encore DVD/Blu-Ray authoring suite, round-trip audio editing in Adobe Audition, closed captioning, improved speech analysis, and more.

- PHOTOSHOP: New and awesome refine edges module, content-aware filling and healing, rebuilt HDR merge/tone features, new "bristled" paint brushes, puppet warp, lens distortion correction profiles, 3D repoussé extruder, many 3D enhancements, CS Review integration, improved interactions with Bridge 5, ability to use newer versions of Adobe Camera RAW, GPU acceleration, 64-bit and 32-bit versions supplied.

- FLASH PRO: Share assets while authoring, copy/paste whole layers, scale content on stage resize, export as/convert to bitmap, code snippets panel, AIR for Android support, AIR 2.6 SDK, debug on-device via USB, new "Text Layout Framework", round-trip bitmap editing with Photoshop, new decorative drawing tools, physics in bone animations, XFL internal file format exchanges data with other Adobe applications, and a whole host of other tweaks and improvements.

- ILLUSTRATOR: Perspective drawing grid tool, variable width strokes, dashed line alignment, defined stroke arrowheads, brush stretch controls, bristled brush tool, shape builder tool, round-trip editing with Flash Catalyst, and more.

- ENTIRE SUITE: Adobe Audition (believe this replaces SoundBooth), Encore, Flash Catalyst, Bridge 5.5, Device Central, ExtendScript toolkit, Mocha for AE, Extension Manager 5.5, Pixel Bender Toolkit 2.6, and Media Encoder 5.5 are all included.
Dynamic Link connects assets between different applications, for example you can link an After Effects composition as a sequence in Premiere Pro, without having to render an output file from AE first. You can take this further by opening the Premiere project in Encore and building a Blu-Ray from your project and linked AE assets... delay rendering right till the point where you're about to burn a disc!

I actually found the new 3D Repoussé tool in Photoshop to be a little underwhelming, at least in terms of integration with After Effects, but as I said I have come from PS-CS3 so the rest of the upgrade more than makes up for it! Content aware fill has made my month.

The Roto Brush and Warp Stabiliser tools in After Effects are two of the biggest time savers I have ever seen in a software package, and the metadata integration between Adobe Story, OnLocation, and Premiere Pro is an independent content creator's dream. Being able to round-trip audio from Premiere to Audition for cleaning, and then sending it back again, is also really quite nifty.

Flash Professional I have only used so far for authoring a simple iPhone app. Taking advantage of ActionScript, and using the built-in animations and code snippets, makes it a breeze to create apps; much easier than learning object-oriented programming if you just want something simple. The exporter included with Flash also allows you to export your app to the Apple .ipa format along with all the correct metadata and icons bundled, which saves you from having to package up lots of resources yourself to make the application ready for Apple.
Just a word of warning: you WON'T be buying a copy of Flash and then making your fortune developing apps with it; many of the most crucial APIs for platform-specific Apple integration are missing from the ActionScript reference, for example iAds and in-app purchasing.
Another caution: you now MUST have an Apple Macbook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini in order to upload an app to the iTunes Connect service. The uploader on the Connect web site has been removed and apps can now only be added via the Application Uploader that ships with Xcode. You cannot upload an app from an iPhone, iPad, or PC.

I am unlikely to use Illustrator or Flash Catalyst, but having them in the package means that should I need to do some quick vector-based web or screen work, I have the means to do it. Which is nice. For me, the package was worth the money for Photoshop, AE, and Premiere - the other programs are nice bonuses!

CS5.5 has drawn some negative feedback regarding the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) and its support for CUDA graphics cards. After going nuts trying to find reliable information on this I should probably share what I found: the MPE incorporates a software renderer which will work with any 64-bit computer regardless of whether the graphics card is CUDA-enabled. However, when one of a steadily-growing list of certified CUDA cards is present, MPE also uses hardware rendering to give a highly significant increase in rendering performance. This applies only to Premiere Pro rendering, NOT to After Effects. The list of certified CUDA cards is on the Adobe web site at /products/premiere/tech-specs.html.

Unfortunately for Mac users, the list of certified CUDA cards that are also Mac-compatible is really quite skinny compared to the list for PC-compatible cards. At the time of writing there are just three, one of which is a retired line and the other two of which are horrifically expensive. So nothing new there then! Also note that on Mac OS, CUDA acceleration features require Mac OSX v10.6.3 or later.

This release represents Adobe's big push to get most of its production software (a) 64-bit native, and (b) suitable for tapeless camera technologies, such as HD-DSLRs. The performance improvements from the 64-bit components such as AE, Photoshop, and Premiere are very noticeable indeed, and having presets and templates that I don't need to keep changing to match footage from a DSLR is one of those many little time savers that gives the whole experience a different kind of flavour.

All in all I would say that if you need to take projects from inside the camera to screen or disc, with any kind of professional editing and/or compositing, this package represents great value for money. As I delve more deeply into the software I will return to update this review if I find anything of note, particularly anything that might be a problem for prospective buyers. I hope this has been useful for people considering an upgrade or a switch!


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upgrade from any CS2 / CS3 Suite, Studio 8, Production Studio (Mac)
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upgrade from any CS2 / CS3 Suite, Studio 8, Production Studio (Mac)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Package Grommit, 14 July 2011
Although I am well-accustomed to writing product reviews on Amazon, I have to admit I balked at the prospect of writing one for Adobe Production Premium CS5.5. Mainly because there are just so very many features that no review of it will ever be complete. However the more I use it, the more I want to SHARE it with everyone.

Bearing in mind I have upgraded from Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, to CS5.5 Production Premium, you can imagine that it is very much a quantum leap for me in terms of functionality and work-flow. Although Production Premium does not include Dreamweaver, my interests have moved from web authoring to video content since MX was the daddy, so Production is a much more suitable suite for me now.

Compared to Production CS4 and earlier, in terms of functionality, CS5.5 adds the following features:

- AFTER EFFECTS: Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte, AVC-Intra import, improved RED support, improvements and new plug-in tools for Mocha, Auto-keyframe mode, Apply Colour LUT effect, Align panel improvements, bundled Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, bundled Digieffects FreeForm, Warp Stabiliser effect, Camera Lens Blur effect, source timecode support, improved stereoscopic 3D work-flow, light falloff, improvements to RAW work-flow, XDCAM EX support, and a whole bunch of other tweaks and improvements.

- PREMIERE PRO: Mercury Playback Engine, improved native tapeless work-flows, "script-to-screen" work-flow path when used with Adobe Story and OnLocation, round-trip editing with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, various metadata features, CS Review for sharing dailies etc, revamped Adobe media Encoder, Ultra Key realtime HD footage chroma key, native support for DSLRs, integration with Encore DVD/Blu-Ray authoring suite, round-trip audio editing in Adobe Audition, closed captioning, improved speech analysis, and more.

- PHOTOSHOP: New and awesome refine edges module, content-aware filling and healing, rebuilt HDR merge/tone features, new "bristled" paint brushes, puppet warp, lens distortion correction profiles, 3D repoussé extruder, many 3D enhancements, CS Review integration, improved interactions with Bridge 5, ability to use newer versions of Adobe Camera RAW, GPU acceleration, 64-bit and 32-bit versions supplied.

- FLASH PRO: Share assets while authoring, copy/paste whole layers, scale content on stage resize, export as/convert to bitmap, code snippets panel, AIR for Android support, AIR 2.6 SDK, debug on-device via USB, new "Text Layout Framework", round-trip bitmap editing with Photoshop, new decorative drawing tools, physics in bone animations, XFL internal file format exchanges data with other Adobe applications, and a whole host of other tweaks and improvements.

- ILLUSTRATOR: Perspective drawing grid tool, variable width strokes, dashed line alignment, defined stroke arrowheads, brush stretch controls, bristled brush tool, shape builder tool, round-trip editing with Flash Catalyst, and more.

- ENTIRE SUITE: Adobe Audition (believe this replaces SoundBooth), Encore, Flash Catalyst, Bridge 5.5, Device Central, ExtendScript toolkit, Mocha for AE, Extension Manager 5.5, Pixel Bender Toolkit 2.6, and Media Encoder 5.5 are all included.
Dynamic Link connects assets between different applications, for example you can link an After Effects composition as a sequence in Premiere Pro, without having to render an output file from AE first. You can take this further by opening the Premiere project in Encore and building a Blu-Ray from your project and linked AE assets... delay rendering right till the point where you're about to burn a disc!

I actually found the new 3D Repoussé tool in Photoshop to be a little underwhelming, at least in terms of integration with After Effects, but as I said I have come from PS-CS3 so the rest of the upgrade more than makes up for it! Content aware fill has made my month.

The Roto Brush and Warp Stabiliser tools in After Effects are two of the biggest time savers I have ever seen in a software package, and the metadata integration between Adobe Story, OnLocation, and Premiere Pro is an independent content creator's dream. Being able to round-trip audio from Premiere to Audition for cleaning, and then sending it back again, is also really quite nifty.

Flash Professional I have only used so far for authoring a simple iPhone app. Taking advantage of ActionScript, and using the built-in animations and code snippets, makes it a breeze to create apps; much easier than learning object-oriented programming if you just want something simple. The exporter included with Flash also allows you to export your app to the Apple .ipa format along with all the correct metadata and icons bundled, which saves you from having to package up lots of resources yourself to make the application ready for Apple.
Just a word of warning: you WON'T be buying a copy of Flash and then making your fortune developing apps with it; many of the most crucial APIs for platform-specific Apple integration are missing from the ActionScript reference, for example iAds and in-app purchasing.
Another caution: you now MUST have an Apple Macbook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini in order to upload an app to the iTunes Connect service. The uploader on the Connect web site has been removed and apps can now only be added via the Application Uploader that ships with Xcode. You cannot upload an app from an iPhone, iPad, or PC.

I am unlikely to use Illustrator or Flash Catalyst, but having them in the package means that should I need to do some quick vector-based web or screen work, I have the means to do it. Which is nice. For me, the package was worth the money for Photoshop, AE, and Premiere - the other programs are nice bonuses!

CS5.5 has drawn some negative feedback regarding the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) and its support for CUDA graphics cards. After going nuts trying to find reliable information on this I should probably share what I found: the MPE incorporates a software renderer which will work with any 64-bit computer regardless of whether the graphics card is CUDA-enabled. However, when one of a steadily-growing list of certified CUDA cards is present, MPE also uses hardware rendering to give a highly significant increase in rendering performance. This applies only to Premiere Pro rendering, NOT to After Effects. The list of certified CUDA cards is on the Adobe web site at /products/premiere/tech-specs.html.

Unfortunately for Mac users, the list of certified CUDA cards that are also Mac-compatible is really quite skinny compared to the list for PC-compatible cards. At the time of writing there are just three, one of which is a retired line and the other two of which are horrifically expensive. So nothing new there then! Also note that on Mac OS, CUDA acceleration features require Mac OSX v10.6.3 or later.

This release represents Adobe's big push to get most of its production software (a) 64-bit native, and (b) suitable for tapeless camera technologies, such as HD-DSLRs. The performance improvements from the 64-bit components such as AE, Photoshop, and Premiere are very noticeable indeed, and having presets and templates that I don't need to keep changing to match footage from a DSLR is one of those many little time savers that gives the whole experience a different kind of flavour.

All in all I would say that if you need to take projects from inside the camera to screen or disc, with any kind of professional editing and/or compositing, this package represents great value for money. As I delve more deeply into the software I will return to update this review if I find anything of note, particularly anything that might be a problem for prospective buyers. I hope this has been useful for people considering an upgrade or a switch!


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upgrade from any CS2 / CS3 Suite, Studio 8, Production Studio (PC)
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upgrade from any CS2 / CS3 Suite, Studio 8, Production Studio (PC)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Package Grommit, 14 July 2011
Although I am well-accustomed to writing product reviews on Amazon, I have to admit I balked at the prospect of writing one for Adobe Production Premium CS5.5. Mainly because there are just so very many features that no review of it will ever be complete. However the more I use it, the more I want to SHARE it with everyone.

Bearing in mind I have upgraded from Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, to CS5.5 Production Premium, you can imagine that it is very much a quantum leap for me in terms of functionality and work-flow. Although Production Premium does not include Dreamweaver, my interests have moved from web authoring to video content since MX was the daddy, so Production is a much more suitable suite for me now.

Compared to Production CS4 and earlier, in terms of functionality, CS5.5 adds the following features:

- AFTER EFFECTS: Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte, AVC-Intra import, improved RED support, improvements and new plug-in tools for Mocha, Auto-keyframe mode, Apply Colour LUT effect, Align panel improvements, bundled Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, bundled Digieffects FreeForm, Warp Stabiliser effect, Camera Lens Blur effect, source timecode support, improved stereoscopic 3D work-flow, light falloff, improvements to RAW work-flow, XDCAM EX support, and a whole bunch of other tweaks and improvements.

- PREMIERE PRO: Mercury Playback Engine, improved native tapeless work-flows, "script-to-screen" work-flow path when used with Adobe Story and OnLocation, round-trip editing with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, various metadata features, CS Review for sharing dailies etc, revamped Adobe media Encoder, Ultra Key realtime HD footage chroma key, native support for DSLRs, integration with Encore DVD/Blu-Ray authoring suite, round-trip audio editing in Adobe Audition, closed captioning, improved speech analysis, and more.

- PHOTOSHOP: New and awesome refine edges module, content-aware filling and healing, rebuilt HDR merge/tone features, new "bristled" paint brushes, puppet warp, lens distortion correction profiles, 3D repoussé extruder, many 3D enhancements, CS Review integration, improved interactions with Bridge 5, ability to use newer versions of Adobe Camera RAW, GPU acceleration, 64-bit and 32-bit versions supplied.

- FLASH PRO: Share assets while authoring, copy/paste whole layers, scale content on stage resize, export as/convert to bitmap, code snippets panel, AIR for Android support, AIR 2.6 SDK, debug on-device via USB, new "Text Layout Framework", round-trip bitmap editing with Photoshop, new decorative drawing tools, physics in bone animations, XFL internal file format exchanges data with other Adobe applications, and a whole host of other tweaks and improvements.

- ILLUSTRATOR: Perspective drawing grid tool, variable width strokes, dashed line alignment, defined stroke arrowheads, brush stretch controls, bristled brush tool, shape builder tool, round-trip editing with Flash Catalyst, and more.

- ENTIRE SUITE: Adobe Audition (believe this replaces SoundBooth), Encore, Flash Catalyst, Bridge 5.5, Device Central, ExtendScript toolkit, Mocha for AE, Extension Manager 5.5, Pixel Bender Toolkit 2.6, and Media Encoder 5.5 are all included.
Dynamic Link connects assets between different applications, for example you can link an After Effects composition as a sequence in Premiere Pro, without having to render an output file from AE first. You can take this further by opening the Premiere project in Encore and building a Blu-Ray from your project and linked AE assets... delay rendering right till the point where you're about to burn a disc!

I actually found the new 3D Repoussé tool in Photoshop to be a little underwhelming, at least in terms of integration with After Effects, but as I said I have come from PS-CS3 so the rest of the upgrade more than makes up for it! Content aware fill has made my month.

The Roto Brush and Warp Stabiliser tools in After Effects are two of the biggest time savers I have ever seen in a software package, and the metadata integration between Adobe Story, OnLocation, and Premiere Pro is an independent content creator's dream. Being able to round-trip audio from Premiere to Audition for cleaning, and then sending it back again, is also really quite nifty.

Flash Professional I have only used so far for authoring a simple iPhone app. Taking advantage of ActionScript, and using the built-in animations and code snippets, it really is a breeze to create apps; much easier than learning object-oriented programming if you just want something simple. The exporter included with Flash also allows you to export your app to the Apple .ipa format along with all the correct metadata and icons bundled, which saves you from having to package up lots of resources yourself to make the application ready for Apple.

Just a word of warning: you won't be buying a copy of Flash and then making your fortune by developing apps with it; many of the most crucial APIs for platform-specific Apple integration are missing from the ActionScript reference, for example iAds and in-app purchasing.

Another caution: you now MUST have an Apple Macbook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini in order to upload an app to the iTunes Connect service. The uploader on the Connect web site has been removed and apps can now only be added via the Application loader that ships with Xcode. You cannot upload an app from an iPhone, iPad, or PC. PC users can develop and export their app under Windows, then send the .ipa file to a Mac by email, thumb drive, or Dropbox to be uploaded. You just need your iTunes Connect login details to upload an app so there's no reason why you cannot borrow someone's Mac for half an hour to do that stage.

I am unlikely to use Illustrator or Flash Catalyst, but having them in the package means that should I need to do some quick vector-based web or screen work, I have the means to do it. Which is nice. For me, the package was worth the money for Photoshop, AE, and Premiere - the other programs are nice bonuses!

CS5.5 has drawn some negative feedback regarding the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) and its support for CUDA graphics cards. After going nuts trying to find reliable information on this I should probably share what I found: the MPE incorporates a software renderer which will work with any 64-bit computer regardless of whether the graphics card is CUDA-enabled. However, when one of a steadily-growing list of certified CUDA cards is present, MPE also uses hardware rendering to give a highly significant increase in rendering performance. This applies only to Premiere Pro rendering, NOT to After Effects. The list of certified CUDA cards is on the Adobe web site at [...]

This release represents Adobe's big push to get most of its production software (a) 64-bit native, and (b) suitable for tapeless camera technologies, such as HD-DSLRs. The performance improvements from the 64-bit components such as AE, Photoshop, and Premiere are very noticeable indeed, and having presets and templates that I don't need to keep changing to match footage from a DSLR is one of those many little time savers that gives the whole experience a different kind of flavour.

All in all I would say that if you need to take projects from inside the camera to screen or disc, with any kind of professional editing and/or compositing, this package represents great value for money. As I delve more deeply into the software I will return to update this review if I find anything of note, particularly anything that might be a problem for prospective buyers. I hope this has been useful for people considering an upgrade or a switch!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2014 6:46 PM BST


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upsell from point product CS2/3/4/5 of Production Premium (PC)
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upsell from point product CS2/3/4/5 of Production Premium (PC)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Package Grommit, 14 July 2011
Although I am well-accustomed to writing product reviews on Amazon, I have to admit I balked at the prospect of writing one for Adobe Production Premium CS5.5. Mainly because there are just so very many features that no review of it will ever be complete. However the more I use it, the more I want to SHARE it with everyone.

Bearing in mind I have upgraded from Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, to CS5.5 Production Premium, you can imagine that it is very much a quantum leap for me in terms of functionality and work-flow. Although Production Premium does not include Dreamweaver, my interests have moved from web authoring to video content since MX was the daddy, so Production is a much more suitable suite for me now.

Compared to Production CS4 and earlier, in terms of functionality, CS5.5 adds the following features:

- AFTER EFFECTS: Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte, AVC-Intra import, improved RED support, improvements and new plug-in tools for Mocha, Auto-keyframe mode, Apply Colour LUT effect, Align panel improvements, bundled Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, bundled Digieffects FreeForm, Warp Stabiliser effect, Camera Lens Blur effect, source timecode support, improved stereoscopic 3D work-flow, light falloff, improvements to RAW work-flow, XDCAM EX support, and a whole bunch of other tweaks and improvements.

- PREMIERE PRO: Mercury Playback Engine, improved native tapeless work-flows, "script-to-screen" work-flow path when used with Adobe Story and OnLocation, round-trip editing with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, various metadata features, CS Review for sharing dailies etc, revamped Adobe media Encoder, Ultra Key realtime HD footage chroma key, native support for DSLRs, integration with Encore DVD/Blu-Ray authoring suite, round-trip audio editing in Adobe Audition, closed captioning, improved speech analysis, and more.

- PHOTOSHOP: New and awesome refine edges module, content-aware filling and healing, rebuilt HDR merge/tone features, new "bristled" paint brushes, puppet warp, lens distortion correction profiles, 3D repoussé extruder, many 3D enhancements, CS Review integration, improved interactions with Bridge 5, ability to use newer versions of Adobe Camera RAW, GPU acceleration, 64-bit and 32-bit versions supplied.

- FLASH PRO: Share assets while authoring, copy/paste whole layers, scale content on stage resize, export as/convert to bitmap, code snippets panel, AIR for Android support, AIR 2.6 SDK, debug on-device via USB, new "Text Layout Framework", round-trip bitmap editing with Photoshop, new decorative drawing tools, physics in bone animations, XFL internal file format exchanges data with other Adobe applications, and a whole host of other tweaks and improvements.

- ILLUSTRATOR: Perspective drawing grid tool, variable width strokes, dashed line alignment, defined stroke arrowheads, brush stretch controls, bristled brush tool, shape builder tool, round-trip editing with Flash Catalyst, and more.

- ENTIRE SUITE: Adobe Audition (believe this replaces SoundBooth), Encore, Flash Catalyst, Bridge 5.5, Device Central, ExtendScript toolkit, Mocha for AE, Extension Manager 5.5, Pixel Bender Toolkit 2.6, and Media Encoder 5.5 are all included.
Dynamic Link connects assets between different applications, for example you can link an After Effects composition as a sequence in Premiere Pro, without having to render an output file from AE first. You can take this further by opening the Premiere project in Encore and building a Blu-Ray from your project and linked AE assets... delay rendering right till the point where you're about to burn a disc!

I actually found the new 3D Repoussé tool in Photoshop to be a little underwhelming, at least in terms of integration with After Effects, but as I said I have come from PS-CS3 so the rest of the upgrade more than makes up for it! Content aware fill has made my month.

The Roto Brush and Warp Stabiliser tools in After Effects are two of the biggest time savers I have ever seen in a software package, and the metadata integration between Adobe Story, OnLocation, and Premiere Pro is an independent content creator's dream. Being able to round-trip audio from Premiere to Audition for cleaning, and then sending it back again, is also really quite nifty.

Flash Professional I have only used so far for authoring a simple iPhone app. Taking advantage of ActionScript, and using the built-in animations and code snippets, it really is a breeze to create apps; much easier than learning object-oriented programming if you just want something simple. The exporter included with Flash also allows you to export your app to the Apple .ipa format along with all the correct metadata and icons bundled, which saves you from having to package up lots of resources yourself to make the application ready for Apple.

Just a word of warning: you won't be buying a copy of Flash and then making your fortune by developing apps with it; many of the most crucial APIs for platform-specific Apple integration are missing from the ActionScript reference, for example iAds and in-app purchasing.

Another caution: you now MUST have an Apple Macbook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini in order to upload an app to the iTunes Connect service. The uploader on the Connect web site has been removed and apps can now only be added via the Application loader that ships with Xcode. You cannot upload an app from an iPhone, iPad, or PC. PC users can develop and export their app under Windows, then send the .ipa file to a Mac by email, thumb drive, or Dropbox to be uploaded. You just need your iTunes Connect login details to upload an app so there's no reason why you cannot borrow someone's Mac for half an hour to do that stage.

I am unlikely to use Illustrator or Flash Catalyst, but having them in the package means that should I need to do some quick vector-based web or screen work, I have the means to do it. Which is nice. For me, the package was worth the money for Photoshop, AE, and Premiere - the other programs are nice bonuses!

CS5.5 has drawn some negative feedback regarding the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) and its support for CUDA graphics cards. After going nuts trying to find reliable information on this I should probably share what I found: the MPE incorporates a software renderer which will work with any 64-bit computer regardless of whether the graphics card is CUDA-enabled. However, when one of a steadily-growing list of certified CUDA cards is present, MPE also uses hardware rendering to give a highly significant increase in rendering performance. This applies only to Premiere Pro rendering, NOT to After Effects. The list of certified CUDA cards is on the Adobe web site at /products/premiere/tech-specs.html.

This release represents Adobe's big push to get most of its production software (a) 64-bit native, and (b) suitable for tapeless camera technologies, such as HD-DSLRs. The performance improvements from the 64-bit components such as AE, Photoshop, and Premiere are very noticeable indeed, and having presets and templates that I don't need to keep changing to match footage from a DSLR is one of those many little time savers that gives the whole experience a different kind of flavour.

All in all I would say that if you need to take projects from inside the camera to screen or disc, with any kind of professional editing and/or compositing, this package represents great value for money. As I delve more deeply into the software I will return to update this review if I find anything of note, particularly anything that might be a problem for prospective buyers. I hope this has been useful for people considering an upgrade or a switch!


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upgrade from any CS4 Suite (Mac)
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Upgrade from any CS4 Suite (Mac)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Package Grommit, 14 July 2011
Although I am well-accustomed to writing product reviews on Amazon, I have to admit I balked at the prospect of writing one for Adobe Production Premium CS5.5. Mainly because there are just so very many features that no review of it will ever be complete. However the more I use it, the more I want to SHARE it with everyone.

Bearing in mind I have upgraded from Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, to CS5.5 Production Premium, you can imagine that it is very much a quantum leap for me in terms of functionality and work-flow. Although Production Premium does not include Dreamweaver, my interests have moved from web authoring to video content since MX was the daddy, so Production is a much more suitable suite for me now.

Compared to Production CS4 and earlier, in terms of functionality, CS5.5 adds the following features:

- AFTER EFFECTS: Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte, AVC-Intra import, improved RED support, improvements and new plug-in tools for Mocha, Auto-keyframe mode, Apply Colour LUT effect, Align panel improvements, bundled Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, bundled Digieffects FreeForm, Warp Stabiliser effect, Camera Lens Blur effect, source timecode support, improved stereoscopic 3D work-flow, light falloff, improvements to RAW work-flow, XDCAM EX support, and a whole bunch of other tweaks and improvements.

- PREMIERE PRO: Mercury Playback Engine, improved native tapeless work-flows, "script-to-screen" work-flow path when used with Adobe Story and OnLocation, round-trip editing with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, various metadata features, CS Review for sharing dailies etc, revamped Adobe media Encoder, Ultra Key realtime HD footage chroma key, native support for DSLRs, integration with Encore DVD/Blu-Ray authoring suite, round-trip audio editing in Adobe Audition, closed captioning, improved speech analysis, and more.

- PHOTOSHOP: New and awesome refine edges module, content-aware filling and healing, rebuilt HDR merge/tone features, new "bristled" paint brushes, puppet warp, lens distortion correction profiles, 3D repoussé extruder, many 3D enhancements, CS Review integration, improved interactions with Bridge 5, ability to use newer versions of Adobe Camera RAW, GPU acceleration, 64-bit and 32-bit versions supplied.

- FLASH PRO: Share assets while authoring, copy/paste whole layers, scale content on stage resize, export as/convert to bitmap, code snippets panel, AIR for Android support, AIR 2.6 SDK, debug on-device via USB, new "Text Layout Framework", round-trip bitmap editing with Photoshop, new decorative drawing tools, physics in bone animations, XFL internal file format exchanges data with other Adobe applications, and a whole host of other tweaks and improvements.

- ILLUSTRATOR: Perspective drawing grid tool, variable width strokes, dashed line alignment, defined stroke arrowheads, brush stretch controls, bristled brush tool, shape builder tool, round-trip editing with Flash Catalyst, and more.

- ENTIRE SUITE: Adobe Audition (believe this replaces SoundBooth), Encore, Flash Catalyst, Bridge 5.5, Device Central, ExtendScript toolkit, Mocha for AE, Extension Manager 5.5, Pixel Bender Toolkit 2.6, and Media Encoder 5.5 are all included.
Dynamic Link connects assets between different applications, for example you can link an After Effects composition as a sequence in Premiere Pro, without having to render an output file from AE first. You can take this further by opening the Premiere project in Encore and building a Blu-Ray from your project and linked AE assets... delay rendering right till the point where you're about to burn a disc!

I actually found the new 3D Repoussé tool in Photoshop to be a little underwhelming, at least in terms of integration with After Effects, but as I said I have come from PS-CS3 so the rest of the upgrade more than makes up for it! Content aware fill has made my month.

The Roto Brush and Warp Stabiliser tools in After Effects are two of the biggest time savers I have ever seen in a software package, and the metadata integration between Adobe Story, OnLocation, and Premiere Pro is an independent content creator's dream. Being able to round-trip audio from Premiere to Audition for cleaning, and then sending it back again, is also really quite nifty.

Flash Professional I have only used so far for authoring a simple iPhone app. Taking advantage of ActionScript, and using the built-in animations and code snippets, makes it a breeze to create apps; much easier than learning object-oriented programming if you just want something simple. The exporter included with Flash also allows you to export your app to the Apple .ipa format along with all the correct metadata and icons bundled, which saves you from having to package up lots of resources yourself to make the application ready for Apple.
Just a word of warning: you WON'T be buying a copy of Flash and then making your fortune developing apps with it; many of the most crucial APIs for platform-specific Apple integration are missing from the ActionScript reference, for example iAds and in-app purchasing.
Another caution: you now MUST have an Apple Macbook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini in order to upload an app to the iTunes Connect service. The uploader on the Connect web site has been removed and apps can now only be added via the Application Uploader that ships with Xcode. You cannot upload an app from an iPhone, iPad, or PC.

I am unlikely to use Illustrator or Flash Catalyst, but having them in the package means that should I need to do some quick vector-based web or screen work, I have the means to do it. Which is nice. For me, the package was worth the money for Photoshop, AE, and Premiere - the other programs are nice bonuses!

CS5.5 has drawn some negative feedback regarding the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) and its support for CUDA graphics cards. After going nuts trying to find reliable information on this I should probably share what I found: the MPE incorporates a software renderer which will work with any 64-bit computer regardless of whether the graphics card is CUDA-enabled. However, when one of a steadily-growing list of certified CUDA cards is present, MPE also uses hardware rendering to give a highly significant increase in rendering performance. This applies only to Premiere Pro rendering, NOT to After Effects. The list of certified CUDA cards is on the Adobe web site at [...]
Unfortunately for Mac users, the list of certified CUDA cards that are also Mac-compatible is really quite skinny compared to the list for PC-compatible cards. At the time of writing there are just three, one of which is a retired line and the other two of which are horrifically expensive. So nothing new there then! Also note that on Mac OS, CUDA acceleration features require Mac OSX v10.6.3 or later.

This release represents Adobe's big push to get most of its production software (a) 64-bit native, and (b) suitable for tapeless camera technologies, such as HD-DSLRs. The performance improvements from the 64-bit components such as AE, Photoshop, and Premiere are very noticeable indeed, and having presets and templates that I don't need to keep changing to match footage from a DSLR is one of those many little time savers that gives the whole experience a different kind of flavour.

All in all I would say that if you need to take projects from inside the camera to screen or disc, with any kind of professional editing and/or compositing, this package represents great value for money. As I delve more deeply into the software I will return to update this review if I find anything of note, particularly anything that might be a problem for prospective buyers. I hope this has been useful for people considering an upgrade or a switch!


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Student & Teacher version (Mac)
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium, Student & Teacher version (Mac)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Package, 14 July 2011
Although I am well-accustomed to writing product reviews on Amazon, I have to admit I balked at the prospect of writing one for Adobe Production Premium CS5.5. Mainly because there are just so very many features that no review of it will ever be complete. However the more I use it, the more I want to SHARE it with everyone.

Bearing in mind I have upgraded from Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3, and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, to CS5.5 Production Premium, you can imagine that it is very much a quantum leap for me in terms of functionality and work-flow. Although Production Premium does not include Dreamweaver, my interests have moved from web authoring to video content since MX was the daddy, so Production is a much more suitable suite for me now.

Compared to Production CS4 and earlier, in terms of functionality, CS5.5 adds the following features:

- AFTER EFFECTS: Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte, AVC-Intra import, improved RED support, improvements and new plug-in tools for Mocha, Auto-keyframe mode, Apply Colour LUT effect, Align panel improvements, bundled Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, bundled Digieffects FreeForm, Warp Stabiliser effect, Camera Lens Blur effect, source timecode support, improved stereoscopic 3D work-flow, light falloff, improvements to RAW work-flow, XDCAM EX support, and a whole bunch of other tweaks and improvements.

- PREMIERE PRO: Mercury Playback Engine, improved native tapeless work-flows, "script-to-screen" work-flow path when used with Adobe Story and OnLocation, round-trip editing with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer, various metadata features, CS Review for sharing dailies etc, revamped Adobe media Encoder, Ultra Key realtime HD footage chroma key, native support for DSLRs, integration with Encore DVD/Blu-Ray authoring suite, round-trip audio editing in Adobe Audition, closed captioning, improved speech analysis, and more.

- PHOTOSHOP: New and awesome refine edges module, content-aware filling and healing, rebuilt HDR merge/tone features, new "bristled" paint brushes, puppet warp, lens distortion correction profiles, 3D repoussé extruder, many 3D enhancements, CS Review integration, improved interactions with Bridge 5, ability to use newer versions of Adobe Camera RAW, GPU acceleration, 64-bit and 32-bit versions supplied.

- FLASH PRO: Share assets while authoring, copy/paste whole layers, scale content on stage resize, export as/convert to bitmap, code snippets panel, AIR for Android support, AIR 2.6 SDK, debug on-device via USB, new "Text Layout Framework", round-trip bitmap editing with Photoshop, new decorative drawing tools, physics in bone animations, XFL internal file format exchanges data with other Adobe applications, and a whole host of other tweaks and improvements.

- ILLUSTRATOR: Perspective drawing grid tool, variable width strokes, dashed line alignment, defined stroke arrowheads, brush stretch controls, bristled brush tool, shape builder tool, round-trip editing with Flash Catalyst, and more.

- ENTIRE SUITE: Adobe Audition (believe this replaces SoundBooth), Encore, Flash Catalyst, Bridge 5.5, Device Central, ExtendScript toolkit, Mocha for AE, Extension Manager 5.5, Pixel Bender Toolkit 2.6, and Media Encoder 5.5 are all included.
Dynamic Link connects assets between different applications, for example you can link an After Effects composition as a sequence in Premiere Pro, without having to render an output file from AE first. You can take this further by opening the Premiere project in Encore and building a Blu-Ray from your project and linked AE assets... delay rendering right till the point where you're about to burn a disc!

I actually found the new 3D Repoussé tool in Photoshop to be a little underwhelming, at least in terms of integration with After Effects, but as I said I have come from PS-CS3 so the rest of the upgrade more than makes up for it! Content aware fill has made my month.

The Roto Brush and Warp Stabiliser tools in After Effects are two of the biggest time savers I have ever seen in a software package, and the metadata integration between Adobe Story, OnLocation, and Premiere Pro is an independent content creator's dream. Being able to round-trip audio from Premiere to Audition for cleaning, and then sending it back again, is also really quite nifty.

Flash Professional I have only used so far for authoring a simple iPhone app. Taking advantage of ActionScript, and using the built-in animations and code snippets, makes it a breeze to create apps; much easier than learning object-oriented programming if you just want something simple. The exporter included with Flash also allows you to export your app to the Apple .ipa format along with all the correct metadata and icons bundled, which saves you from having to package up lots of resources yourself to make the application ready for Apple.
Just a word of warning: you WON'T be buying a copy of Flash and then making your fortune developing apps with it; many of the most crucial APIs for platform-specific Apple integration are missing from the ActionScript reference, for example iAds and in-app purchasing.
Another caution: you now MUST have an Apple Macbook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini in order to upload an app to the iTunes Connect service. The uploader on the Connect web site has been removed and apps can now only be added via the Application Uploader that ships with Xcode. You cannot upload an app from an iPhone, iPad, or PC.

I am unlikely to use Illustrator or Flash Catalyst, but having them in the package means that should I need to do some quick vector-based web or screen work, I have the means to do it. Which is nice. For me, the package was worth the money for Photoshop, AE, and Premiere - the other programs are nice bonuses!

CS5.5 has drawn some negative feedback regarding the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) and its support for CUDA graphics cards. After going nuts trying to find reliable information on this I should probably share what I found: the MPE incorporates a software renderer which will work with any 64-bit computer regardless of whether the graphics card is CUDA-enabled. However, when one of a steadily-growing list of certified CUDA cards is present, MPE also uses hardware rendering to give a highly significant increase in rendering performance. This applies only to Premiere Pro rendering, NOT to After Effects. The list of certified CUDA cards is on the Adobe web site at /products/premiere/tech-specs.html.

Unfortunately for Mac users, the list of certified CUDA cards that are also Mac-compatible is really quite skinny compared to the list for PC-compatible cards. At the time of writing there are just three, one of which is a retired line and the other two of which are horrifically expensive. So nothing new there then! Also note that on Mac OS, CUDA acceleration features require Mac OSX v10.6.3 or later.

This release represents Adobe's big push to get most of its production software (a) 64-bit native, and (b) suitable for tapeless camera technologies, such as HD-DSLRs. The performance improvements from the 64-bit components such as AE, Photoshop, and Premiere are very noticeable indeed, and having presets and templates that I don't need to keep changing to match footage from a DSLR is one of those many little time savers that gives the whole experience a different kind of flavour.

All in all I would say that if you need to take projects from inside the camera to screen or disc, with any kind of professional editing and/or compositing, this package represents great value for money. As I delve more deeply into the software I will return to update this review if I find anything of note, particularly anything that might be a problem for prospective buyers. I hope this has been useful for people considering an upgrade or a switch!


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