Just a warning, dekeOlytes, if you’re feeling sentimental on this penultimate day of the year, this show starts on a bittersweet note. Yes, as you’ve no doubt surmised, Martini Hour will be coming to a close with Episode 101. Bottom line, we love this show and are grateful to those who’ve supported it, but we’re not ready to don leather jackets and waterskis at the same time. No, we’re going out strong, like when Fonzie really was still cool and had a girlfriend named Pinky Tuscadero. That doesn’t make any sense to you, how about this: This week Deke and I conduct a “CS5 Post-Mortem,” in which we consider which of the shiny new Creative Suite features were useful, which were not quite so, and which we couldn’t live without. By the way, if you found a feature more useful than we did, explain in the comments and there may be “collecter’s edition” martini glasses in it for you.
Here’s a list of new features considered after actually working with them for several months:
Bristle Brushes: Deke’s finding that he doesn’t really use the new bristle brushes, but that’s increased his appreciation of the existing brushes in both Photoshop and Illustrator. Of course, the Mixer brush still kicks ass.
Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop: Cool but leaves tell-tale traces. Great for filling in corners from rotate crops, but is not the healing panacea that we thought it might be. Bottom line, good healing still requires manual labor.
Width tool in Illustrator: Make your lines thicker and thinner as you see fit. Drag out transitional changes in your line width. Big thumbs up from Deke on this one!
Puppet Warp in Photoshop: We’ve enjoyed the stretching, bending, and knot-tying capabilities that this new feature supplies, but Deke can’t get over the lack of a real envelope distortion tool.
Creating Grids on the fly in InDesign: I think it’s pretty darn cool that you can create rows and columns on the fly as you drag out text and shape boxes. (And then use the Gap tool, which totally eluded me at first, to adjust the grid dynamically.) I don’t do this, but I can easily imagine someone having to make catalog pages and thinking they can’t live without this tool now that they’ve seen it.
(Then we break for an interlude in which Deke worries retroactively about something that didn’t happen involving InDesign CS5 backward compatibility, after which Deke shares one of his vast conspiracy theories.)
Artboards panel in Illustrator: The magical Artboards panel in Illustrator CS5 actually admits that “artboards” might be pages, and lets you move the “pages” around. One of Deke’s favorites.
Shapebuilder in Illustrator: Deke’s still not sure why you wouldn’t just use Pathfinder and thus get more control. Maybe we should discuss this with Mordy before making a final thumbs up/down decision.
Track Changes in InDesign: Anyone who’s ever listened to me on this subject knows that this feature was created especially for me so that I would stop nagging Michael Ninness about it. However, until the whole team is using CS5 (ahem), the tracking changes doesn’t really get to shine. Someday. Sigh.
Presentation mode in InDesign: You would think for a girl like me, who does everything possible in InDesign, would find this a godsend. But I don’t understand why the animated effects don’t work here. But then, animated effects are overrated.
Improved Refine Edge in Photoshop: Deke’s darn enamored of the improved auto-tuning for masks and selections. You can also use it multiple times to improve the goodness. It’s a success.
HDR in Photoshop: Moving in the right direction.
Perspective Grid tool in Illustrator: My theory was that most people who are illustrators know how to draw in perspective, Deke disagrees but nonetheless does not find this tool particularly intuitive.
At the end, we have to toast the Adobe Engineers who make this stuff so that people like us can sit around, drink cocktails, and evaluate their hard work. Thanks for making us great tools and putting up with our whining.
Won’t you join us for this, the start of the final countdown to Last Call in the dekeLounge? Here’s the regular-quality audio file. You can stream, or for best results, right-click and choose Download or Save. Here’s the high-res version; you’ll want to download rather than stream. And don’t forget our usual plea to subscribe via iTunes.