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Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

New Photoshop Functionality You Won't Have

Or will you? It all depends on whether you're a member of Adobe Creative Cloud. Is you in or is you out, as they say? Because if you're out, you'll increasingly have to watch helplessly as new functionality is added to your favorite image editing app -- functionality which you simply won't have access to, even if you upgraded to Photoshop CS6.

It's all part of Adobe's plan to move its user base to a subscription model by providing access to a huge pile of creative tools for a flat monthly rate. Seductive enough but what really makes this "an offer that you can't refuse" is that Adobe is now adding new functionality to the Creative Suite programs at a fairly steady rate. We've seen Creative Cloud-only upgrades to Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Acrobat. And now it's Photoshop's turn.

Beginning at 10:00 PST, in a Create Now Live event being streamed December 11, Jeffrey Veen, Vice President, Products, Adobe, will demonstrate not only new Photoshop features but the upcoming team version of Creative Cloud, as well as how to "explore ways to take your design skills from print to online and mobile." This will be followed by several hours of presentations that include the likes of design agency Karlssonwilker, animation director Justin Weyers and Mr. Photoshop Tips himself, Scott Kelby.

Still holding out on that Creative Cloud membership? Well, you've got just until the end of this year to take advantage of the special upgrade rate. Resistance is futile.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on January 9, 2013.

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Kind of ironic that Adobe - the company that has brought new meaning to the term "bloat" - is now threatening us with LESS bloat if we don't sign up for their monthly billing program.

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

Quarks business is either bound to sky rocket or drop like a pancake with this service. Personally because I'm currently a freelancer upgrading to a monthly subscription makes absolutely no financial sense.

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

"This Friday" is November 16, and December 5th isn't a Friday at all - it's a Wednesday. Might want to make a quick correction.

As for the "added features" Adobe is throwing in, its not going to be enough to make me pony-up cash on a monthly basis—especially if the last freebies for Illustrator and Dreamweaver are any indication of what they'll be.

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Thanks, I've made that correction.So you're saying that you might be tempted if the added functionality was significant enough?

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Adobe emailed me some kind of opinion poll on the cloud service. It's basically a push poll type of thing - trying to sell me on the benefits while simultaneously asking why I haven't signed up. There are a couple pages about a 1/4 of the way in that have every Adobe product with all the different pricing schedules (confusing as can be, imho), etc... and they wanted me to go thru everything and comment on it. That's where I bailed out. Maybe I'll go back later because there are a couple pages where they allow you to give your opinion in your own words. Looks to me is this service is not going over very well and they're trying to figure out why.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

There's no evidence Creative Cloud isn't meeting Adobe's objectives. According to Zacks in September:
"The company added more than 100,000 net new subscriptions, and ended the third quarter with approximately 200,000 total paid subscriptions for the Creative Cloud software suite. Management was quite optimistic about Creative Cloud adoption and expects to build a healthy pipeline for potential Creative Cloud paid subscribers through marketing programs, trial downloads and free memberships."

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

200K compared to the worldwide photoshop user base (I've seen estimates as high as 20 million) is not that much. This article seems to coincide with the responses I've gotten from all the industry people I've asked about this service...

"Here's an indicator of how hard the change will be: A CNET survey in March showed a frosty reception, with 41 percent of respondents viewing Creative Cloud negatively, compared with 32 percent who viewed it positively.

And 62 percent reacted negatively to its price: Creative Cloud costs $50 monthly with a year's commitment or $75 monthly with an month-to-month option that's easier to switch on and off."

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57418092-92/five-reasons-adobes-cs6-subscription-is-smart/

But hey - I have no dog in this hunt as long as Adobe continues to offer the BUY option as well. But knowing them - and how they operate - I'm sure the next step in their plan is to eliminate the purchase option. THAT'S the real problem here and why everyone (imho) should NOT sign up for the service.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Well, a Creative Cloud subscription gets you a lot more than Photoshop, so you're comparing apples and oranges. A better comparison would be between CC and the Master Suite -- although CC adds quite a bit more value. Regarding the CNET piece you quote, that survey was taken before CC launched. At that point, people really weren't sure what the deal was. Eight months later, the value proposition is clearer. But we'll see. Membership isn't for everyone, that's for sure. And I'm with you on the importance of maintaining the traditional purchasing model. Adobe should prove the value of CC, not force people to adopt it.

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Actually Adobe offers a lower priced cloud subscription for Photoshop-only users too so the comparison is valid. But - to be fair - the best sales comparison (imo) would be to Suite users in general - not Master Suite users - but I couldn't find a number for them. Either way - they've been pumping the heck out of that offer and it's not going over well from everything I can see - even the 200K number which has to be taken with a grain of salt since it came from Adobe.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

I'm aware that subscriptions to individual applications are available but a Creative Cloud subscription doesn't refer to that -- a subscription to Creative Cloud includes a massive amount of software and services beyond Photoshop. As I indicated earlier, there is no evidence that Creative Cloud isn't meeting Adobe's sales objectives. The fact that they are promoting it agressively doesn't mean it's doing badly -- that's not how sales and marketing works. By the way, we're running a giveaway of a year of Creative Cloud on the Graphics.com Facebook page. If you don't want to pay for it, perhaps you could win it!

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Ha! No thanks. I have the Design Suite which is fine for me - don't need any more Adobe spam.

And yeah I think we all have some marketing knowledge on this board. ;-) So we're all aware when a product launch is not going as expected - a company will sometimes put a big push behind it right before they give up. And Adobe? They're the kings of canceling projects they pretend to support 100%. Muse is what? Their FOURTH web creation program? Pagemill, GoLive, Dreamweaver, Muse... Yep - #4. When it comes to the Cloud... caveat emptor, my friend.

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

As I keep saying, currently priced and considering its plan the creative cloud leaves most consumers and studios to not actually act on the service. These are unlocks based on one license and the price vs. service trade is not at all worth it the extra little gimmicks.

The entire adobe line can be purchased and paid off with the same cost as the first year of most creative cloud services and be used for a decade- those not directly interested in using only the extra features are not going to shell out the extra cash because it doesn't make good business sense what so ever. It's like EA trying to push its Origin services in gaming or UPlay for Ubisoft (far off market reference, I know but the main gist is pushing consumers into one sort of option they have no use for is not somewhere a successful business will go).

I'd also like to mention on a side note that with-holding updates to people who bought full versions of CS6 is as unethical as it gets as Adobe has always publicly offered future updates for free as long as the suite was supported. Suddenly changing that before consumers knew the creative cloud would become a large player is bogus. I can guarantee you this will encourage people to pass on CS7 if that ever hits retail for the same fears. People should want your service because of the overabundance of quality features, not because you have the proverbial gun to their head.

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Bingo. During the "dead ball years" when Jobs was not with Apple, they used to dump crappy computers on unsuspecting consumers and then bring out something better a week later - but they never really got away with it. Somebody always called them out publicly. I find it interesting that Adobe does basically the same thing with their software and they always manage to stay under the radar somehow. I know one of the things they do is basically buy good pr from publications by spending a lot of advertising dollars with them. The aforementioned Scott Kelby is a good example of that. His "Mac" magazine was basically a big wet kiss to Adobe - at one point he even stated publicly he wasn't going to feature Quark products anymore for some ridiculous reason (they probably refused to buy ad space in a mag dedicated to Adobe). I'm guessing so many people caught onto the ruse that Kelby eventually just threw the towel in and changed the name to "Adobe Magazine" (or maybe Adobe paid him to do it - I don't know).

Alex's picture
397 pencils

I've yet to work with a studio or freelancer who has upgraded to the cloud or CS6. I spoke with a fellow freelancer yesterday who was just about to upgrade to 5.5 (for InDesign compatibility with most of the studios they work with). Most of the concerns I've heard about creative cloud fall into one of three camps:

1) I upgrade every two or three generations - the monthly fee across two or three years is more than the upgrade fee

2) I use less than half of the creative suite apps - I don't need to subscribe to or pay for the full suite service

3) What if I stop subscribing but need to open a file? Do I have to re-subscribe just to access my archive?

I've avoided the upgrade for all three reasons.

After some thought, what might fix things for me and for most of those I work with would be:

* A more complex subscription system where you just subscribe to and pay for the applications you want (in my case, and that of a lot of people, just PS, Illustrator and ID).

* A year (or certain, set, amount of time) at which you get to 'keep' the applications you've previously subscribed to even if you stop your subscription (though they don't get upgraded until you re-subscribe/upgrade).

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

I would agree that one of the biggest downsides to subscribing is what happens when/if you stop. Your last suggestion, to somehow freeze the state of the applications when you stop, is interesting. But consider that a Creative Cloud subscription includes the equivalent of the Master Collection, which sells for $2,600. If I upgraded today to Creative Cloud, that would cost me $360 for a year. If I stopped my membership at that point, and froze the software, I'd save $2,300 on the purchase price of the Master Collection. So I can't see Adobe going that route. Same problem with individual applications like Photoshop, which I believe costs $20 per month. I'm not sure what Adobe can do about this, but some kind of escape hatch would take the stress out of signing up, that's for sure.

Alex's picture
397 pencils

Absolutely agree that you shouldn't just get the applications when you cancel your subscription. What I was suggesting was more of a 'rent to buy' system.

For example: Lets say that If you've subscribed for around the two year mark you've paid the equivalent of an upgrade (not for master suite perhaps, but certainly for design premium). At this point, under my suggested system, you get to keep the suite 'frozen' as is, no cost, no fuss, no more payments.

If, however, you've only subscribed for six months and you choose to cancel, you get the option to cancel now and keep nothing, or to pay the remainder (18 more months in the example above) and keep the suite 'frozen' as is.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Okay, I get you now -- interesting idea.

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Honestly, I see two advantages to the program - continual updates and access to all their software. OTOH, those two advantages really only favor large production facilities. Most of us are like Alex - we use about half the apps in our Suites on a regular basis. Maybe we tinker around in the others in our free time - but they're not really core apps for our businesses. Speaking only for myself - I don't need the updates as fast as Adobe can create them. I want to learn the programs and get familiar enough with them to work comfortably. The way Adobe likes to move things around and change the way tools work, etc... I'd rather NOT have continual updates because what happens is I end up wasting precious time relearning things I've known for years because they altered it in some way (usually for no good reason).

Imho, Adobe finally figured out what Alex just said - that MOST users upgrade every two or three generations. The company doesn't like that and this is their way to try to get everyone on the permanent upgrade treadmill. Again... jmho.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Good points, although some of what's included in Creative Cloud may open new possibilities for members. For example, the Digital Publishing Suite is priced at $395, which lets you publish a single app. CC members can publish an unlimited number of apps, so if app creation is even slightly a part of your service offering, a CC membership pays for itself almost immediately. And if you're not creating apps, the fact that you can do so for no extra charge as part of a membership I think encourages designers to give this a try. You could say the same thing for the included Typekit access. Or using the 3D capabilities of Photoshop Extended. People can give all these tools and services a really deep try, without the hassle of limited functionality or short trial periods.

Art D. Rector's picture
3165 pencils

Sorry still no sale, Vootie - hope I'm not cutting into your monthly commission. ;-)

BTW - buy Quark, make all the apps you want. Or upgrade from any version for only $349.

THAT'S the kind of customer service I want to see from Adobe.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

No commission here, alas. Last time I checked, Quark was charging quite a bit per app, via its App Studio Issue License Pack.

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

I still think Adobe isn't doing nearly enough in the last few years in providing free quality updates to their software. Rather than having the same familiar and helpful infrastructure Art is talking about they would rather remodel and rebrand it on a yearly basis to polish the turd rather than focus on making it a self sustaining machine.

Adobe has two options if they want to make money. Inspire innovation and create programs their markets will want to stay on top of and utilize (lets face it, the media industry [gaming, print, web, motion] is its only focus) or appeal affordable copies to the masses and increase their sales that way. I can first hand say that my first copy of anything Adobe used to be pirated and that was strictly because I couldn't warrant the expense as a general consumer before I turned professional and started to respect its power.

Really, I think Adobe has gotten too big and tried to be the jack of all trades, master at none. If they focused on the core system they started with and did better at encouraging their development teams the results we'd be seeing would be mind blowing.

One thing I can respect to some extent is their attempt at combatting piracy, that is probably one big factor to why Adobe is pushing this, but as mentioned above- they're going about it wrong. Anti-piracy combat seems to ever only affect customers rather than those they mean to tee-off with.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

The date of this event has now been shifted to December 11.

Creativebits is a blog about Creativity, Graphic Design, Adobe, Apple and other related subjects.

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