I’ve had great sport taking Adobe to task for their miscues and missteps. Legions of people have been in an uproar since Adobe announced they will no longer sell perpetually licensed versions of their most popular software – Photoshop, in particular. And while I still think that for the hobbyist, those with miserable or expensive internet access, and those people who are far less than thrilled knowing that the plug can be pulled (or made more expensive) at the whim of Big Brother Adobe, I think it’s also worthwhile to note some aspects of Creative Cloud that don’t see much press. Things that may sway you toward the software rental model.
Much of what I write here I learned “from the horses mouth” Terry White, Adobe Evangelist, who flew to Adobe headquarters in San Jose to address the local Creative Suite User Group headed by Sally Cox.
Unfortunately since I original released this article in early June, 2013, I have discovered that 3 of the “10” benefits are either not delivered or were mis-represented. Still, there are some advantages you may not have thought about.
Some of the things you get with a Creative Cloud perpetual payment that you may not have considered include:
Access to Lynda.com media – an online training site with some pretty great content. This is through “Adobe.TV” and is roughly a $20/month value assuming the whole of Lynda content is available, but likely not. It’s also not clear if the CreativeCloud access is equivalent to the Lynda normal or premium plan.I discovered, unfortunately, the there is only paltry amount of content from Lynda.com available through the Cloud. Serves me right for believing the Adobe evangelist and repeating what he said without thoroughly checking first. For example, there is a 13 hour series by Ian Robinson covering After Effects CC. It’s on Lynda, but NOT available through Adobe.TV – and worse, what IS available appears to be a mish-mash of promotional videos and deep details on specific things. No After Effects CC tutorial (i.e. for those just starting) seems to exist.
- Creative Cloud storage. 20Gb. Think Dropbox only more primitive and more featured, too! It’s more primitive in that sharing of files and folders is a bit less functional, but what is possible is optimized in a way that allows e.g. viewing and editing of your Cloud content from iPhones, iPads and similar devices as well as allowing browsers to see layers in a layered document. A “coming soon” application will allow syncing files between your desktop and the cloud. Approximate value $2/month (DropBox charges $8/mo for the 100Gb plan)
- Behance – I don’t get why this is such a great thing, but it’s a sharing site for creatives. Think 500px or Flickr or Pinterest with a few features specific to attracting attention. Approximate value ~ unclear there is no cost listed. But it does look like another way to get “liked” and perhaps attract some business and it’s easy to share to Behance.
- 5 free websites. They must be on “Business Catalyst” – you’re not going to plop down a WordPress site there, but apparently it’s viable for many purposes including commerce. Approximate value $5/month – the going rate for economy webhosting. I see both praise and horror stories regarding Business Catalyst which tells me it’s about equal to other offerings.
- “All photoshop settings upgrade over the web” – That’s what Terry said, though I know this is far, far from accurate unless what you mean is “color palettes and brushes”. Actions and scripts don’t synchronize, for example. Still, anything that helps keep two configurations up to date is an improvement. Approximate value… not clear, but could be time saved.
- More than two installations. This isn’t the official policy, but the strong hint was “if you’re not using more than two at a time you can have as many installations as you want.” For the permanent license, 5 installs was all that is allowed before you have to “invalidate” licenses. You’re still going to have to double pay if you use more than two systems at a time. Approximate value – potentially significant because you can install on both a Mac and a PC. The perpetual plan allowed 5 installs.
- 99 days of off-net usage under the annual plan. I suspect there are many ways for this to blow up and lock down unexpectedly, but I’ll give Adobe the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty. No additional value here.
TypeKit Fonts (also called WebFonts, usable on your website). This is pretty cool – THOUSANDS of downloadable and installable fonts – if you can find the ones you’re interested in, that is – the search mechanism is pretty anemic. The implication is that the license for these is perpetual. Unfortunately it is listed as “coming soon” not available now in my Creative Cloud app. Approximate value – significant, could save substantial money over font purchases, perhaps $200 a year or about $15 month.Still undelivered after 3 months. A beta for this apparently just started in mid August, 2013.
- New, continuously updated content. This remains to be seen, of course. After all it has been a year since the last Photoshop release.
- Endless hours of learning patience while waiting for the behemoth packages to download. Photoshop CC took 35 minutes to get to 35% complete, and over an hour and 10 minutes to install on my reasonably fast DSL connection. It seemed to hang at “95% installed” for a LONG time.
The net is you may find that the Creative Cloud plan adds about
$40 $20 $10/month of value beyond the obvious access to the Adobe products. Your mileage will vary of course and you have to compare against what you might have spent in your normal upgrade process on a perpetual license.
What’s not clear to me is whether the “one application only” plans include some or all of the above. If the $9.99 first-year plan for Photoshop includes Lynda, and you want Lynda, that would be a great deal. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. That’s one of the frustrating things about the whole cloud business. Nothing is well defined anywhere. For example the official Adobe FAQ doesn’t say how much storage you get with an account, and as best I can tell doesn’t mention Lynda at all.
One thing that Adobe pointed out in the discussion is that they are well aware that raising prices may cut their own throats. It’s not clear to me that the disincentive is that much to assume that Adobe won’t become like the cable TV providers. The difference, of course, is that you probably did not build your business on the TV channels you get.
Don’t worry, if this hasn’t swayed you. We’re buying up a number of Photoshop alternatives to evaluate them and let you know where you can get photomanipulation satisfaction without fear of inclement weather from the cloud.
On the other hand, maybe realizing that the websites, fonts, and online instruction rolled into that monthly sum, may make it a bit easier to swallow. What do you think? Does this make the picture reasonable for you? Or are the benefits not worth the cost?