|Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium |
Mac (Image via Amazon aStore)
The software is quite large and needs a fairly heavy-duty machine to work best. My 27" iMac with a 3.4Ghz quad-core i7 processor, 1TB solid-state drive and 16GB of memory is blindingly fast with most apps, but only "okay" with some of the more complex PhotoShop filters. Some of the blur and sharpen algorithms can take 15-20 seconds on my system. I do a lot of serious photography, and driving my Epson R3000 with PhotoShop seems to produce (very) slightly better looking prints than any other app I've used, including older versions of PhotoShop - I guess this makes all the resources worth it.
I tend to use PhotoShop and Dreamweaver more than the other apps, and the CS6 upgrade was a major difference for me and definitely worth the upgrade from CS5. I admit to having a bit of a "love/hate" relationship with PhotoShop - I know what it can do, but I tend to spend way too much time searching for just the right tool and outcome I want. No different from previous versions of PhotoShop, for all the power of these products, Adobe certainly could use a few lessons in user-experience design.
There's a whole community of add-on apps for PhotoShop, and I'm happy to report that most of the ones I tried, especially the Nik Software ones, worked flawlessly with CS6. To me, this would have been a deal-breaker, so I'm glad things just seemed to work.
To be clear, while these are some of the industry's most powerful apps for web design, they aren't really best for the casual user. It can take months to master each of the capabilities in this suite, and unless you're willing to put in the time, you'll probably find yourself overwhelmed. Adobe has a very good trial program where you can try before you buy - definitely take advantage of it if you're not sure what you're getting into.
Still, with the right commitment, the rewards can be stunning, world-class web sites, beautiful photographs, compelling documents and so forth...