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Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium PC Review - -

Installation 9.2
Ease of use 8.9
Usefulness 9.5
Value 9.5
Distributor: Adobe
Review Date:
August 2007
Andrew Bistak


Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium

Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Web Premium software offers a complete solution for creating interactive websites, applications, user interfaces, presentations, mobile device content, and other digital experiences. Get everything you need to prototype your project, design assets, build web experiences, and efficiently maintain and update content. Work on your choice of Mac or Windows®. Combines Adobe Dreamweaver® CS3, Flash® CS3 Professional, Photoshop® CS3 Extended, Illustrator® CS3, Fireworks® CS3, Acrobat® 8 Professional, Contribute® CS3, Bridge CS3, Version Cue® CS3, and Device Central CS3. [From the developer]

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium is the penultimate design software package that contains everything you need to create designs, websites, applications, presentations, mobile device content and just about anything else to do with digital entertainment.

Probably the most noticeable difference in this current incarnation of the Adobe range of design products is that new CS3 interface that has a more streamlined interface which allows for more logical navigations without getting bogged down in complicated menus.

Apart from the new look, Adobe have successfully allowed almost total integration throughout the software packages such as users being able to open PSD files in Flash CS3 which even keeps the original layers of the file that really assists in your designs. Adobe have also optimised all the programs in this package, ensuring that this software package runs extremely well on current computer configurations and of course dual-core and quad-core processors without a hitch.  

Although this review is solely based on the PC version of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium, the software is also available for the Mac OS which also include Intel based Macintosh computers. For PC users, the software supports both Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista. (See the end of the review for System Requirements)

So what exactly does Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium come bundled with? Well... for a recommend retail of $2,499AUD as July 2007, this powerful design software package contains a plethora of programs which include: 

  • Dreamweaver CS3

  • Flash CS3 Professional

  • Photoshop CS3 Extended

  • Illustrator CS3

  • Fireworks CS3

  • Acrobat 8 Professional Contribute CS3

  • Adobe Bridge CS3

  • Version Cue CS3

  • Adobe Device Central CS3

  • Adobe Stock Photos

  • Adobe Connect

From Macromedia to Adobe

The Macromedia products have always been one of the best programs available on the market and when Adobe acquired Macromedia, nothing major has changed with these programs except for new features, updated interface and Adobe integration which easily makes this package your one stop shop. Definitely a bonus to designers!

So what do users except from the installation of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium? Depending on your computer configuration, the installation of this product is definitely influenced by the architecture that you are running. On our Intel Quad-Core CPU, the installation of Adobe took around 30 minutes on Windows XP, whereas our Intel Dual-Core CPU with Windows Vista took around 35 minutes to install. Although some may think believe this is time consuming, considering the size of the programs and the additions its to the system, the installation was quite acceptable.

Top features of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium
[From the developer]

  • Best of the best
    Get all the fundamental tools to prototype, design, develop, and maintain websites, applications, interactive experiences, and mobile content. Enjoy new features and integration across Adobe® Dreamweaver® CS3, Flash® CS3 Professional, Fireworks® CS3, and Contribute® CS3.

  • Powerful integration Leverage integrated workflows that enable fast, efficient exchange of assets so you move from design to delivery efficiently. Roundtrip editing between Fireworks, Flash, and Dreamweaver enables speedy prototyping, graphics creation, and optimization. Import files from other Adobe creative tools.

  • Professional interactive design Discover the powerful, expressive Flash authoring environment. Add life to graphics with acclaimed animation tools, high-quality text rendering, filters and other effects, and the popular FLV tools, complete with alpha channel support and batch rendering.

  • Latest technologies and standards Keep pace with evolving technologies and standards. Design with CSS and XML; integrate with development environments such as HTML, XHTML, XML, Adobe ColdFusion®, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, or PHP; test content across myriad browsers and operating systems; and prepare for the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

  • Easy web maintenance Free yourself from simple web edits. With Contribute CS3, enable individuals or workgroups to easily edit and publish content to websites and blogs from a controlled, permissions-based application or from within Microsoft applications.

  • ActionScript 3.0 development Go farther with ActionScript™ 3.0, the high-performance, object-oriented programming language for Adobe Flash Player. Explore a whole new world of customization using the rich language, API, libraries, and expansive community support services.

  • Best practices Easily apply best practices of web design and development. Create consistent CSS-based designs with the CSS layout and visualization tools in Dreamweaver. Drag and drop an XML feed onto a web page. Use the industry's first integrated tool for Section 508 and WCAG Priority 2 checkpoints.

  • Mobile content authoring Use Adobe Device Central CS3 to design, develop, preview, and test content for a wide range of mobile and consumer devices. Easily showcase your work in numerous mobile device skins through built-in and regularly updated device profiles.

  • Macintosh or Windows Pick your platform. Adobe Creative Suite® 3 Web Standard is available for Mac OS — including Intel® based Macintosh computers — Windows® XP, and Windows Vista™. Design in your preferred platform, and then deliver across platforms with consistent results.

  • Produce for today and tomorrow Whether you’re updating a website to support the latest standards and technologies, integrating interactive video, migrating to CSS-based designs, conforming to accessibility governances, or experimenting with mobile content development, Creative Suite 3 Web Standard software lets you get it done today yet scales to support new web or device projects in the future.

Photoshop CS3 Extended

I have been an avid user of Adobe Photoshop for quite some time now and I’m was extremely impressed with the latest version of Photoshop which truly allows you to do almost anything with a digital image. Without making this review bigger than Ben Herr, Photoshop CS3 Extended has a plethora of options and functionality that is not just suited for graphic and multimedia designers but also professionals such as engineers and architects.

Even though Photoshop is still the definitive software package for photo manipulation and creation, this latest incarnation now allows users to import 3D models into the program such as popular file formats as 3DS and OBJ. What is really impressive about opening 3D models is that all you need to open these files is click on "open" and the file will be loaded on a separate 3D layer. You can even superimpose these files on 2D environments that will assist a variety of professions. There are a variety of 3D tools available and camera options such as orbit, zoom and walk.

Although the interface has received a slight upgrade, the program has never been easier to use and Adobe have ensured some new and creative options such video and film layout. The workspace has also been revamped and allows for greater productivity by giving more space to the user and a streamlined menu and tool system. This is done by expanding certain menus and tools and once the user clicks on them, they are expanded to give the user a variety of options. Professional users will be pleased to know that the program still performs all the previous functions.

Another new feature allows you to import any sequence of photographs that you want into an animation. PCS3 Extended will then automatically lay all your pictures into a timeline with every picture located on a different layer. This is a very easy and very fast way to make a stop motion animated films.

Adding to this, is a new feature called Movie Paint which works with video layers and enables you to paint and retouch each individual frame with optional Onion Skinning which allows you to see the frames before and after those you are currently working on.

Best of all is the ability to enhance and modify your videos, whether its adding text or cloning certain frames in a video, the program gives total control. Wish to produce or change high quality animations? Simple! Photoshop CS3 Extended has a new animation palette that gives you a wide myriad of options and special effects to woo your viewers or competition.

Photoshop also contains some new filters for the end-user, however what is really noticeable about this section of the program is the addition of re-editable Smart Filters that allow you to chance your and tweak your work, without losing your early work.

Photographers will still be pleased to know that the program still assists with photo manipulation such as the new and improved black and white tool which gives you total control over your images by mathematically calculating the colour and converting it to the correct shades of black and white.

Dreamweaver CS3

Dreamweaver CS3 is the ultimate website design package that allows you to design, build and maintain your websites in one powerful program. Dreamweaver has also received a CS3 facelift, although the program still has its original Macromedia feel to it so long-time users will have no issues in using this program from the onset and new users will feel as equally comfortable with its professional layouts and streamlined interface.  

I must admit that the integration of Adobe programs into Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium truly makes for sensible design options and Dreamweaver 3 is no exception to that rule which easily allows you to drop in SWF files and even Photoshop images without worrying about conversions.

Programmers interested in widgets will be pleased to know that the program also contains self-contained preset components of CSS which will save quite a large amount of work as users now have access to a variety of these interesting Spry widgets. With the inclusion of the Spry concept, the Ajax programming language is definitely easy to use and even though I have not programmed for quite some time, I found the interface extremely versatile and in a little more than a few minutes, I had my own widget created.

The addition of the Browser Capability Check basically calculates what your code may appear like on other browsers and if any issues occur, the program will access the CSS Advisor site which may assist with any conflicts and give some solutions to the user.

Loading our websites was a breeze with Dreamweaver and whether it's using the WYSIWYG interface or for programmers who use HTML and the like, Dreamweaver CS3 is still the definitive web builder. Definitely a first class program!

Flash CS3 Professional 

The Flash franchise by Macromedia is probably the most definitive software package to create animation and interface development environments and even though Adobe have acquired this powerful program, the only thing that has really changed is the improved interface, cross compatibility and increased productivity. Needless to say, not a easy feat!

Flash CS3 has not only received the CS3 facelift but Adobe have redesigned the way this program handles drawings. The most noticeable difference in this current incarnation of Flash CS3 is the new Adobe CS3 look which not only features the palettes but also layers, alignment, switches and a library which makes this the most comprehensive version to date.

Given that the program has received a facelift, the software is still solely focused on multimedia and using the timeline and ActionScript programming language has also been improved and offers the user an enormous amount of power. Another improvement in Flash CS3 is the ability to convert timelines between animations to ActionScript 3.0 which increases productivity.

Novice users will also be pleased with the various pre-built functions that truly simplifies creating multimedia content from buttons to checkboxes, making your flash documents extremely interactive with a minimal learning curve.

The Device Central also allows users to test their Flash files on a variety of different devices and scenarios such as different operating systems and even mobile content such as mobile phones. As with the other program in this software package, Flash has the ability to not only open Photoshop and Illustrator files but also convert them to Flash files which makes this incarnation the easiest to use to date.

Programmers may be interested to know that Flash CS3 Professional allows for both ActionScript 2 and the improved ActionScript 3 scripting language, depending on your own preferred style and programming experience. To assist with programming, Adobe have included code folding which allows you to expand and collapse certain blocks of text.

Flash CS3 is recommend to both existing users and new users who wish to create their own animated content for the web.

Illustrators CS3

Adobe continues its market dominance with Adobe Illustrator CS3 which is still the best vector drawing program on the market. The most noticeable inclusion into Illustrator CS3 is the Live Colour feature which offers the user a variety of functions such as the new Colour Guide palette.

This allows the user to select a base colour and the Colour Guide palette will mathematically calculate a range of colours to match the original choice. There's a Live Colour window which allows the user to adjust the colours of their documents and even apply them to certain selected objects. Definitely a bonus feature for those in the creative doldrums.

Creating new documents has also been made easier with the New Document Profiles which contain important document settings  such as document size, colour mode, preview mode, measurement settings and even raster effects resolution settings.

As the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium software suite is almost totally integrated, users familiar to Flash will be pleased to know that creating symbols is almost identical to Flash CS3. Illustrator CS3 also allows you define a symbol as a graphic and even movie clip which allows for nine-slice scaling.

Freehand designs have also received a facelift and Illustrator CS3 contains a new import filter which allows the user to open native FreeHand MX files. Setting anchor points is also simpler as you can now use the Direct Selection tool to modify your designs which was a little bit more tricky in previous versions.

The new vector eraser tool is great for removing unwanted vector objects across all layers of your designs and is reminiscent of Photoshop's eraser tool.

Adobe Illustrator CS3 is definitely a vast improvement over its predecessors which is extremely fast and user-friendly. For impulsegamer, the most noticeable inclusions were the Live Colour tool and the new vector eraser tool.

Fireworks CS3

Probably the most noticeable difference to the latest incarnation of Adobe Fireworks CS3 is the ability to open Photoshop PSD and Illustrator AI files which also allows a variety of effects such as layers, bevels and even shadows which can be transformed into live effects.

Fireworks CS3 also contains a variety of new auto shapes which allows you create a variety of layouts from calendars to flowcharts with just a click of the mouse button. The program also contains a plethora of items in the new Common Library palette such as flowchart symbols and even flex widgets which are also shared with Flash CS3 Professional. I must admit that the inclusion of a variety of new pre-built user interface components are a bonus to the end-user and creating buttons, panels and combination boxes has never been simpler.

Another interesting feature is that Fireworks introduces a new enhanced symbol feature which allows you to create graphic symbols that can be scaled and even given certain attributes via a JavaScript file. For those a little unsure of this functionality, the pre-designed library of graphic symbols can also be customised for any website or user interface which will dramatically reduce working times.

The most impressive feature of Fireworks CS3 in our opinion is the dynamic new feature called 9-slice scaling which basically allows you to intelligently scale vector and bitmap symbols with no size constraints or loss of quality. Needless to say, any nine different regions of your graphic can be scaled in a variety of ways, depending on your imagination.

Fireworks CS3 new create slideshow command is also a godsend that is once again targeted for both new and experienced users through the use of inbuilt templates which allow you to create professional Flash and non-Flash slideshows or for those wishing to use their own programming skills to create their own masterpieces.

Fireworks CS3 has definitely received a much needed overhaul by Adobe and the cross compatibility between applications will really increase your productivity and will reduce your production times.

Contribute CS3

Contribute CS3 will definitely be a bonus to bloggers which offers a WYSIWYG interface which can easily allow you to connect to a blogger site with just a few clicks on your mouse. Once connected to a blogger, Contribute CS3 will offer the user a variety of lists via a pull down menu and allows for preview modes before publication. Although still in its infancy when compared to the other powerful programs in this suite, Contribute CS3 is brilliant for connecting with existing websites and even supports Firefox.

Adobe Bridge CS3

Adobe Bridge CS3 is an interesting aspect of the suite which allows you to browse and view your creative content in an impressive design interface. Not only does this program assist developers centralize their files, it also offers XMP metadata tagging and search capabilities. It quite easy to group certain design files and by accessing the filter panel in Adobe Bridge CS3, you can sort by a variety of ways such as colour profile, resolution or standard modes such as date and size. Bridge also contains an extremely fast preview panel which also allows the user to open the file to full screen.

A nifty feature of Adobe Bridge CS3 is that the program supports Adobe Acrobat Connect which is web based conferencing and allows designers, customers and the like to view designs in real-time and communicate without the need to commute.

What more stock photos? Browse through over one million images for high quality royalty free stock photos with advanced searches to ensure that your business or designs find that missing piece of the jigsaw. Once purchased, these files are automatically loaded in Photoshop to start your modifications for that first class designing experience.

Adobe Version Cue CS3

Adobe Version Cue CS3 allows users to add a variety of attributes to your files such as comments and rating in order to centralize your project files.

Adobe Device Central CS3

As mentioned earlier, Adobe Device Central CS3 is a great asset for those programmers wishing to create mobile and portable content which features a regularly updated library of device profiles, ensuring that your designs are in line with the latest technological devices.

Adobe Connect

From the purchase of Macromedia by Adobe, Adobe Connect is basically a new version of Macromedia Breeze which as briefly mentioned is a secure communication package that allows professionals to communicate through web conferencing and a perform a variety of other features such as solutions for marketing and training.

These mini-programs in Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium are flawlessly incorporated into the various programs which not only increases productivity but assists developers in not only centralizing their files but allowing for inter-company communication.

Final Thoughts

This review was definitely difficult to write without it being too verbose but we hope we touched on the main points of this current incarnation without being bogged down by the complexities of the program. Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium is a brilliant software package that contains everything you need to design websites, multimedia and the like. The price may be a little steep for some users but the investment in this package allows for almost total cross compatibility which will allow for an easier work environment. Amazing stuff by Adobe!

System requirements


  • Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Intel Core™ Duo (or compatible) processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™ Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (certified for 32-bit editions)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
  • 1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7.1.2 software required for multimedia features
  • Some 3D features in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended require a Microsoft DirectX 9 capable graphics card with at least 64MB of VRAM
  • Internet or phone connection required for product activation
  • Broadband Internet connection required for Adobe Stock Photos* and additional services


  • PowerPC® G4 or G5 or multicore Intel processor
  • Mac OS X v.10.4.8; Java™ Runtime Environment 1.5 required for Adobe® Version Cue® CS3 Server
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 7GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
  • 1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7.1.2 software required for multimedia features
  • Some 3D features in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended require an OpenGL 1.4 capable graphics card with at least 64MB of VRAM
  • Internet or phone connection required for product activation
  • Broadband Internet connection required for Adobe Stock Photos* and additional services

*Online services, including, but not limited to, Adobe Stock Photos and Adobe Acrobat® Connect™, may not be available in all countries, languages, and currencies. Availability of services is subject to change. Use of online services is governed by terms and conditions of a separate agreement and may be subject to additional fees.


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