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wundayatta's avatar

What's the difference between the Photoshop Creative Suites?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) December 9th, 2011

I’m looking at Adobe Creative Suites with Photoshop, and going crazy. Photoshop Creative Suite 5. Photoshop Creative Suite 5 Extended. Creative Suite 5.5.

The first two seem to be just Photoshop, but what does “extended” add?

The third seems to have Illustrator and Acrobat and a few other pieces of software. Also it’s 5.5. What the difference between 5 and 5.5? Why does Adobe Photoshop 5 extended cost the same as Creative Suite 5.5?

Then there are teacher and student versions. And a bunch of other versions that cost even more. Some have more software. Some seem to be the same thing. Help!

My son wants Photoshop, and at first we were,like, “no way” because it costs $800, but then I discovered we can get the student pricing, which cuts the cost to a quarter the official price. We haven’t told him this. But I can’t figure out what version is best and whether it’s better to get all the software you can, or if the suite leaves out things and so we should get version 5 with only photoshop or what.

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6 Answers

GladysMensch's avatar

If your son qualifies for a student version, then go for that. The student versions will have the same software as the non-student versions, and the price difference is huge.

Adobe suite 5.5 has more functionality for mobile devices (Android, Iphone) than 5.0.

The differences between Design, Web, Production, and Master suites are the included programs. Here is a chart of the included programs. If your son is interested in video production as well as other design essentials, then go for the Master Collection, as it includes Premier and After Effects. Consider getting it even if your son only has an inkling of interest in video. Otherwise I think Web Premium has the most bang for the buck.

On a semi-related note: Lynda.com is a great site for learning every Adobe program and a whole lot more. Highly recommended if he wants to learn a lot in a minimal amount of time.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If using Mac, and video production is a concern, then consider using Final Cut instead of Adobe Premiere.

This allows for a great Print and Web functionality from the Web Premium package, and video can be handled later with anything from iMovie to Final Cut on Mac. For PC, Premiere may be the best fit for video editing.

Much of what you should consider is based on primary desire for print or web. If just print is the main focus, then the Design Standard package should give all that’s needed.

I have the Master Collection and there are numerous things that I’ve never used.

wundayatta's avatar

He’s mostly interested in print, I think. No mention of web production, anyway. Also no mention of video, although I could use some video production software that is better than what I have. But my needs are probably far simpler than Premier.

cookieman's avatar

Your son will be best served with the student version of the Adobe CS5.5 Design Premium Edition.

This is the version I teach from. All the industry standard software for print, web and more.

hint: in the real world, there are no more print or web designers. We create content that will likely end up in both places (not to mention mobile).

JourneyEd.com has great student/teacher prices. See here for the suite I mentioned.

Photoshop is primarily for image creation and editing. Even just starting with print projects, he’s gonna have to learn Illustrator and InDesign too.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I have CS5 Design Premium, and I love it. It’s mainly for print (includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, DreamWeaver and some others that I don’t care about). I think Photoshop Extended version has some animation tools that are okay, but don’t compare to Flash.

@cprevite is right about design: it’s all dual print and web these days. That’s one of the problems of my school’s Graphic Design department; it mostly focuses on print, which is all well and good, but most GD students (versus Digital Media students like me) end up without very much web knowledge at all, which is a huge inconvenience in the job search.

A note about the student edition: When I got CS5 last summer, they sent the disks without a serial number. You obtain the serial number by completing some forms that prove you’re a student (a dated student ID, tuition bill, etc) and they e-mail you the serial number. The first time I did this I didn’t get my serial number e-mailed back to me for quite some time until I sent some frustrated e-mails, but I think that was a mistake. Hopefully you won’t have that much trouble!

wundayatta's avatar

I had no problem with the serial number. My son is busy working on project after project. This is fine, although he does keep asking me for ideas, and I’m not so good about that.

Anyway have some ideas of some challenging projects I might propose to him? He’s pretty much using what he knows from some online lessons and some lessons he’s had at school. He’s morphed a snake into a banana. He has added a rather fancy beard to my face. He has overlaid a flag on a hand. I’m thinking he should put my brother’s face on a dust storm. I have this weird picture of my brother where he looks like some kind of mythical creature that is about to devour something… just imagining it as the face of a dust storm about to devour the countryside (we just just saw the latest Mission Impossible movie).

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