I’ve been using Photoshop since version 1.2. I’ve used many other Adobe products including their type faces, InDesign and notably (recently) LightRoom.
I’ve generally thought that Adobe products, while expensive, were worth the money. But many companies are moving to download-only solutions and it makes sense that Adobe would too. Hence their invention of the Adobe Creative Cloud.
But the Creative Cloud product has caused some confusion in people’s minds. They think they are buying a service like Google Docs that STAYS in the cloud. Not true. Photoshop stays on your computer, not in the cloud. These are not web-based apps. But unlike the old days when you had to pay big bucks to access EVERYTHING Adobe offered, now it’s just all part of the package. For as little as $30 a month (For existing Adobe CS customers) you can have the full Monty. People who are new to Adobe pay US$49.99 a month if you commit to the one-year plan. If you want to sign up for a month-to-month plan, it costs US$74.99 per month. If you just need Photoshop, Adobe is offering a subscription for point products as well. You can get individual products like Photoshop CS6 or Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 for US$19.99 a month for an annual contract.
Bottom line is that Creative Cloud is merely a software subscription, not a cloud-based solution. It allows Adobe to streamline the update process, doing away with the artificially – imposed 18 month cycle. It also allows people to pay for what they use. You can buy a one-month subscription or a yearly subscription. You don’t have to plunk down any deposit or buy-in fee. The cost of ownership is spread out so you don’t get a big hit to your budget all at once.
Other myths about Creative Cloud include the notion that you have to be connected to the Internet to use CS products purchased via Creative Cloud. Not true at all. You can work off-line as you always did. Adobe merely checks once a month to make sure your subscription is active. They aren’t stealing your data. They’re looking for a security token that says – “Yep I am legal.”
The list of software you get for the money is mind-boggling. Here’s what I get with my Creative Cloud membership.
- Photoshop CS6
- Lightroom 4.3
- After Effects CS6
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 Family
- InDesign CS6
- Flash Professional CS6
- Illustrator CS6
- Firewords CS6
- Dreamweaver CS6
- Audition CS6
- SpeedGrade CS6
- Prelude CS6
- Flash Builder Mobile
- Edge Animate
- Adobe Acrobat XI Pro
- Creative Cloud Connetion
- Touch App Plugins
And a nifty application manager that helps you keep track of what you’ve downloaded and what you haven’t. You also get automatic notice up updates. And here is where Creative Cloud shines.
Recently, Adobe added more than a dozen new features for their Creative Cloud customers. If you buy DVD’s and upgrade every 18 months on the old cycle YOU WILL NOT GET THESE FEATURES* – they won’t be available to you until the next update. But if you are a CC customer they come to you free, and right now.
The latest updates include Retina Display support, Smart Object support for Blur Gallery and Liquify, CSS support for web design, workflow improvements that include crop tool refinements, better naming of merged layers, etc., New 3D effects, image-based lighting enhancements and enhanced detail for textures.
Adobe also announced a new team-based functions for groups who work cooperatively on docs. It’s the kind of functionality I expect and want from a computer program – it just works and it always works at its best.
This solution solves lots of problems. For instance, I am about to get my first Windows Workstation. If it weren’t for Creative Cloud, I would have to buy a whole new set of discs and install from scratch and my investment in the Mac version would be worthless. With Creative Cloud you get a license to install the products on two computers. So I can de-authorize my iMac and instead, download the software to my new HP machine. That alone makes this decision seem very sound to me.
There might be some very limited cases where Creative Cloud doesn’t make sense. For instance if you don’t use many Adobe products, or use them often, or update often, then you might save money in the long run if you buy discs. But for everyone else, I think it’s a no-brainer.
*Retina display support is available now for all CS6 customers.