Is Adobe CS4 worth it?

cs4 (Adobe)On Wednesday, Adobe began shipment of their flagship software bundle, Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4). The new product lineup, used by design professionals and web developers, shares many of the same features with its predecessor Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3). Nevertheless, it also provides plenty of new, robust features for improving workflow, efficiency and creating rich media content.

So the question is: does CS4 offer enough to give corporations a good reason to upgrade? Here’s a quick run down of significant features:

Photoshop CS4 will now, for the first time, utilize your computer’s graphics processor to boost performance. This feature is most noticeable when using the “zoom” feature, which is now super smooth and animated. Additionally, Photoshop CS4 provides better integration with Adobe’s Kuler color harmony palette website (a feature designer will be particularly happy about) and more robust 3-D rendering tools.

Users can now import Adobe After Effects files directly into Flash. This means designers can animate objects with greater ease and control; and in less time. You can check out a demo here. Illustrator CS4 now allows you to work with multiple art boards, allowing you to view your work in varying sizes and displays, side by side. Dreamweaver and InDesign are also better integrated and stocked with helpful features such as thoughtfully placed CSS shortcuts and as-you-go compatibility checks.

My guess is most companies who already own CS will wait until the next rendition of CS to upgrade, when more dramatic improvements are likely to occur. Those running CS2 and older will want to upgrade because of CS4’s polished features and improved work flow, while those running CS3 will consider CS4 an improvement, rather than a revolutionary new product. Regardless, Flash’s enhanced animation capabilities and Illustrator’s improved workflow makes Adobe CS4 worth taking a look at.