Teaching Examples

Making sense of Adobe’s CS3 bundles
April 26, 2007, 1:45 pm
Filed under: design, online, tools

Now that we have a confusing array from which to choose, a lot of us are trying to figure out which one is the best choice for our own needs.

JourneyEd (online shopping for students and faculty, with education pricing) has everything on sale now. Prices range from $600 for the “Design Premium” bundle of Adobe Creative Suite 3 to $250 for Adobe Flash Pro CS3 (that’s Flash alone, no bundle).

There’s also a licensing deal that colleges and universities can get from Adobe; it applies only to student purchases. (Other licensing plans exist.) Under the student license, “Design Premium” is only $299. Seven packages are covered:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium $299
  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Standard $199
  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Standard $199
  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium $299
  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection $499
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended $169
  • Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Professional $55

All prices are in U.S. dollars. “Each order must include a minimum of 25 units. A mixture of products and platforms may be used to meet this order minimum.”

There are a couple of things you should look at carefully before you decide on a bundle.

Dreamweaver CS3: Great for students learning to author in CSS and XHTML. But in a newsroom, depending on your CMS, maybe you don’t need this. If you use any Web authoring software, of course, this is the one to have. I’ve used Dreamweaver exclusively since about 2000. (Until then, I’d been coding entirely by hand since 1995.)

Flash Pro CS3 is included in every bundle EXCEPT “Design Standard.” Why would you buy a bundle without Flash? (Are you crazy?)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 “Extended” includes “tools for editing 3D and motion-based content.” I hear the integration with Flash is pretty interesting. Note that some bundles include plain Photoshop, not “Extended.”

“Web Standard” doesn’t include Photoshop at all. You can’t possibly live without Photoshop. That would be even crazier than not having Flash.

Soundbooth CS3 is not included in packages unless they also include Premiere. That is really stupid. Note that Soundbooth offers “tight integration with Flash CS3 Professional.” Okay, what if I do not want to do video? Or I already have another video editing application? Yes, exactly. This is Adobe’s cruelest bundling strategy: No audio software unless you buy a video bundle.

Interestingly, Adobe has not replaced Audition (which we use for audio editing in our college, and we like it very much). They even provide a comparison of Audition and Soundbooth.

Audition is not included in ANY of the CS3 bundles. Grrr …

My perfect bundle would be Flash, Photoshop Extended, Dreamweaver and Audition. (I would be willing to try Soundbooth instead.) That’s everything I use for Web production, authoring and editing. (I don’t edit video very often. I have used Premiere in the past. Now I have a Mac, and I’m learning iMovie. I also use QuickTime Pro on Windows to make fast edits on short videos.)

Anyway — make sure you check around and get the best pricing that’s available to you.

And all those stingy newspaper chains ought to get on the phone with Adobe and get some licensing deals, so I would stop getting e-mails from people who are still stuck with Flash 5 because their newsroom is too cheap to buy up-to-date software for them to use.

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