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Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

R.I.P. Creative Suite, 2003-2013

You can poke it with a stick all you want but it's official — Creative Suite is out and Creative Cloud is in. Way in. Actually, make that all in. To the point where CS6 is now the final Suite and has been put on life support, with sales ending in the indeterminate future. Adobe made official yesterday what many of us had anticipated for some time, namely that its Creative Cloud service would become the focal point of its offering of tools and services to the creative and development community.

The keynote presentation delivered yesterday at the MAX Creativity Conference was notable for the sound of nails being hammered in the coffin of perpetual licenced applications, with demo after demo and announcement after announcement reinforcing Adobe's commitment to a membership-only future. Photoshop CC is the new moniker for our favorite image editing app, with it and its brethren to be made available in June for the happy few with subscriptions. So is the glass half full or half empty?

Before you jump to conclusions, I suggest you take a look at the laundry list of functionality that has been added to the new version of Photoshop. While those who believe that everything after version 7 has been bloatware won't be pleased, the rest of us who actually make a living using it will have to admit that the new functionality isn't all window dressing. Here's a tip: if you own Photoshop CS3-CS6, have no interest in the other CC applications and services, and only want to use the new version of Photoshop, you can take advantage of a single-app membership, available for $9.99 per month (with an annual commitment), a special offer that is available until July 31st, 2013. Since this includes things like a Behance ProSite membership worth a hundred bucks, it's a pretty good deal -- although less so when the price doubles at the end of the first year (hello, Adobe!). This offer also doesn't seem to be available in all countries, which is annoying and continues the Adobe tradition of sticking it to people outside the US.

So what do you think? Are we all doomed to be ground up like sausage in the evil subscription machine that is Creative Cloud? Or is this the dawning of a golden era of affordably-priced applications and services? Beats me.

You can get more info about Photoshop CC on the Photoshop.com blog and the Adobe site. The Creative Cloud FAQ is a good place to start if all this is new to you.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on July 2, 2013.

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

Single app membership is double what you've mentioned for annual commitment, and triple if you want to cancel any time. That's also in USD. I still think the consumer is getting f**ked in this and for what it's adding, it's not a motivating factor to jump towards even with all the daunting deadlines which I'm assuming will end sales.

The only motivating thing that they've added of value in years seems to be the deblur tool which is still youthful in its process and not guaranteed/ perfect.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

It looks like you didn't follow the link in the post to the blog in which the special pricing is mentioned. Here is what it says on that page:

Q: I’m a photographer, I only use Photoshop and don’t really need to use any other applications in Creative Cloud. What are my options if I just want Photoshop CC?

A: A Creative Cloud single-app membership is available at a special introductory price of $9.99 per month (with an annual commitment) for our loyal customers who currently own Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS6. Offer available until July 31st, 2013 (terms and conditions).

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

I read it well and that's if you own the program, thanks though Vootie. Seriously man, I know you think it's cool and I can also see the benefits myself but there's no need to defend it to the dire end. Nothing is perfect.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

You misunderstand, I'm not defending it or Adobe -- they don't need my help for that. I just want to keep things accurate and people can make up their own minds if CC is for them, because it is clearly NOT for everyone. I personally don't agree with more than a few aspects of how CC is being made available and make a point of sharing my concerns with Adobe. Yesterday, for example, I spent half an hour on the phone with a senior member of the Adobe marketing team and voiced my concerns about such things as the unfair higher prices for non-US subscribers, as well as how there should be a Photoshop/Lightroom package for photographers. It's only by making such grounded criticisms and suggestions that the service will be improved, in my opinion.

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

Fair enough, I'll very much agree with you there.

I'm looking at the CC as a way for Adobe to integrate new customers rather than existing into their system however by having the "low monthly pricing" instead of the large financial obligation up front. That's why I wanted to clarify as well, there's a lot of clauses if you're a new customer.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

So yesterday you were talking to a "senior member of the Adobe MARKETING team"?

Chalk one up for Art. :-)

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

I see Grandpa Simpson is continuing to yell at "creative" clouds. It's not easy being retired, is it?

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

I'll let you know when I get there. What was your email again... Vootie @ Adobe.com? :-)

Ivan's picture

Please stop this. Play nice guys.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

Sure Ivan - no problem. Just having a little fun with the marketing guy. :)

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Please point me to your portfolio of current work, oh great and powerful self-proclaimed Art D.Rector.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

Watch the 4 videos and you see exactly why Adobe wants to lock you into a subscription - because the "new features" are really nothing more than stuff you could do 10 years ago if you know anything about Photoshop (or Illustrator or Quark... umm... I mean InDesign). You have 4 "new" features and 3 of them involve sharpening - cuz none of us are happy with multitude of sharpening options we already have... right?

Definition of "bloat"... something no one is asking for and no one really needs.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Then you should be happy that you won't be missing anything by sticking with your current version of Photoshop for the rest of your career. I hope you don't mind that the rest of us move on.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

You could be right. Perhaps I am fooling myself. Maybe 3 more sharpening tools is just the shot of energy every designer's career needs. When you really think about it - my clients would be terribly disappointed if they found out I was passing on these amazing new features - so let's just keep this between ourselves, alright?

Psssst... and Vootie? Don't tell them I never "upgraded" to CS6 either...

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Your secret is safe with me.

splitfilter's picture
3 pencils

Think this really depends on your situation/workflow.

For the freelance designer with a fairly new CS the idea of having to pay monthly for the shiniest new version is understandably maddening. However, for those that work in prepress, keeping current with the Cloud is pretty attractive. Consider, as well, the designer who can't swing a large lump sum. The buy-in is much more feasible.

However, that economic feasibility may become the dark side of this...
Consider the days when film still ruled photography. A thorough understanding of craft and experience in the field were critical to success. Once digital got a foothold, it wasn't long before the nuances of camera theory, composition, seeing the light, education, etc. became optional. Just shoot and chimp away until it looks OK, then 'Photoshop it in or out'. It's spawned a host of 'professional photographers' wielding cameras like shotguns, who don't know f-stop from ISO, devaluing the work of seasoned professionals.

I'll let you make the leap...

Parting thoughts: What it really boils down to is what you can do with what you have, be it CS2 or CS6 - D4 or D40. If you have the coin, take advantage of the benefits the Cloud offers. If not, shrug your shoulders and make meaningful art with the tools you have.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

I did prepress for years - there's two sides to that coin as well. A stable environment is even more important when it has to be done in an hour. Granted there was always Joe Schmuck bringing in his project done with whatever software came out yesterday so there is an advantage to being up to date as well.

So far as the "cheap" buy-in... oldest game in the book. The first hit of crack is free. That's not the one you should be concerned with - it's the bad habit you're forming. Just a thought. ;-)

splitfilter's picture
3 pencils

Hmm... wasn't aware that CS6 was unstable... re: the crack - I disagree that paying for the Cloud is a bad habit, especially if you work in more than one medium. Photographer? The new algorithms used in Lightroom 4 for example are noticeably better than version 3. Web Designer? Dreamweaver has added more HTML5, CSS3, etc. functionality to keep current with the web. Illustrator? I'd be amazed at anyone who doesn't think the upgrades made to the image trace tool aren't impressive. And what of the new Edge tools?

I agree with many of the sentiments on the forum that some of the changes made across the board are fluff, but I can also imagine how someone else's workflow might take advantage. The tools Adobe is implementing are intended to increase productivity and creativity. (Let me cut you off before you hit me with the old pencil and paper routine, I get it) Creativity being the realization of an idea through the use of new tools that would have been time/cost prohibitive to explore without them.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

I wasn't referring to the instability of CS6 itself. My point about instability being anytime you add something new to an established system it can (and usually does) create problems or adjustments that need to be made. If you have worked in prepress - you know this.

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

i took the pill and i kind of regret it.

financially, it makes sense as the subscription costs are right at about what i was paying with my usual upgrade practice. and this way i get to stay up to date - YAY!

BUT:

now i have the problem of being too far ahead of the curve and many colleagues and service bureaus dont have the newest versions and cant open my files.

some of the features require newer hardware. so unless you update your computer AT LEAST every two years you WILL find features you cant use.

just last week i missed a deadline because after effects CS6 (for some reason) wont render formats with alpha channels. so after a few hours of trying to address the erroneous error message diagnosis. i simply had to reinstall my CS4 version from the CD and all was immediately fine again.

i'm like most people here. i havent seen any meaningful progress from photoshop since it got the "history" feature and havent seen any real innovation from illustrator since it got layers (what was that, version 8?)

im considering canceling my subscription and just reinstalling everything from my CS4 master collection DISCS

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

its the way of the future. cloud this, online subscription that. its going to get to a point where you simply CANNOT work if off the grid. i say it's time you got used to it AND built yourself a contingency plan

what scares me about the subscription only thing is what if at renewal day (be that monthly, yearly whatever), i find myself working somewhere without internet access? BOOM! no tools. what if some terrorist activity or natural disaster leaves us without internet service for an indefinite period of time? BOOM! no tools.

to be truly bulletproof. i'm going to have to start carrying my old CS4 master collection disc box wherever i go. but wait. CS4 apps wont open files created in CS6.

oh well. welcome to the future : (

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

I think you've summed up my feelings. CC brings a lot of forward thinking to the table but I think it fails on the level of contingency largely. A service that could support a product line instead of become one has overstepped its bounds. If they wanted to fully integrate a cloud backup service into their software so that you could use images, palettes, your preferences, addons, etc anywhere by pulling them off the cloud that would be fantastic.

Q: I thought creative cloud gave you access to all the CS versions? Sounds like I was mistaken.

I even say I do like the idea of having the newest shiny thing out there but honestly, save for maybe half of the office, it's not feasible. Our industry doesn't move at that pace in software because there's no need. We haven't been given any ground breaking tools as of yet and there's no dire need to drastically change our workflow because we've upgraded to something not widely used. This always ends up being (to me) a web design compatibility debate to me about what browsers to service, and what not to. Just because all browsers can use the shiniest new code doesn't mean it should. We have to remember about everyone else.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

You were not mistaken, unless I am misunderstanding what you mean by "versions." A subscription also adds quite a bit more to what Creative Suite provided. Although of course you may not need much of that, in which case it has no value. Depends on your workflow.

>Q: I thought creative cloud gave you access to all the CS versions? Sounds like I was mistaken.<

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Not sure what you mean about not having internet access resulting in you having "no tools." Creative Cloud users download and install apps, and from then on don't require access. And why can't you open a file created in Photoshop CS6 in CS4?

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

well. by experience. after effects CS4 wont open after effects CS6 projects. photoshop seems to be okay - for now.

and on renewal date (whether in your case thats monthly or yearly), if the software doesnt get what it needs from adobe (thus requiring net access) your software wont open. learned this when i changed my accounts a few months ago. now whether or not you can get a bypass code or something by calling adobe and verifying payment - i dont know

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

All the problems you guys are having are exactly why I'm not interested. And not just when it comes to Adobe - the other products too. As ZM noted - the web and browsers are no different when it comes to upgrades. We need time to actually USE the software. To LEARN the "new" features and get some practical use out of them. I understand why Adobe wants us to upgrade every 6 months - because that's their business - selling software. And I'm just as interested in new advances to computer software as the next person - more so. I started this when the Mac was introduced in 1984 - so I've been riding the wave the entire time. But I'm not a computer geek. I'm a graphic designer. My business is creating art - not keeping up with Adobe's incessant software upgrades. The most important thing when it comes to a graphics system is NOT having the latest and greatest. It's a stable environment I can trust every time I sit down at my computer. Because when the deadline approaches - Adobe is not going to even pick up the phone if their new software is malfunctioning or conflicting with my other software or the cloud is down or whatever. They're not going to take the heat and possibly lose a client. I am.

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

its somewhat rare art that you and i agree on this subject. but this is one of those times 100%

for years, ive lived pretty happily in the "if it works. dont mess with it" model. and pretty much as soon as that changed. it bit me on the butt. yeah, maybe the price of the software works itself out. but if i now have to be aware of having the latest hardware to run it. kind of offsets the value.

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

for those of you who might appreciate. somebody started a petition against this...

http://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-incorporated-eliminate-the-mandatory-creative-cloud-subscription-model

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

Thanks for the link. Somebody posted this in the reply section at the bottom...

www.pixelmator.com

Looks a little thin now - but in a few years when my current version of Photoshop is obsolete? It will probably have all the features I need (and less Adobe bloat).

In the meantime - let the backlash begin!

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

Pixelmator is actually quite robust at this point and is popular as a Photoshop replacement..

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

Signed. I have a feeling. Call it a hope but it seems more like a feeling given how many are speaking out against this that Adobe will eventually revert. It might be a year, it might be 5. They need time to evaluate this new system but they're starting to forget where they came from and really work for their shareholders and not for their customers. The largest issue, I think, is they've started to hit that ceiling of technology for their main client base (the design market) where people no longer need to upgrade unless its for file conversion, and that might be one computer out of 100 in a design firm. There's less and less crucial, progressive upgrades as each version is released that increase workflow ability and actual toolset for designers.

I think people are slowly growing weary of Adobe trying to constantly polish and rebrand the same turd. The worst part is, they seem to not know their audience well enough to know that we'd be the first to recognize giving something that hasn't changed a new face.

All this to try and combat the piracy of those that have never paid a cent for Adobe products anyways. Great way to punish (as always when it comes to piracy and DRM) your actual customers.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

From my perspective the Cloud offering provides value and makes sense for many Adobe customers. But definitely not all of them. Those in the middle, who just use a few apps, and sometimes those only occasionally, and are happy using old versions with reduced functionality, are those most left out of the picture. They're mostly Photoshop users, and some have been using it for decades, so they feel betrayed by Adobe. Adobe greatly miscalculated how pissed off those foks would be by forcing them into Cloud subscriptions. As I indicated above, I mentioned that to one of my Adobe contacts earlier this week and was told they were looking at how to better treat such customers. And more recently there seems to be confirmation of this. Hopefully, such an offering will take their needs into account. But no matter what they come up with, some will simply choose to not subscribe and of course, why should they? Regarding piracy, I think forcing people into a subscription service will turn CS6 into the most pirated software in history, since people will find moral justification in using pirated copies.

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

single app = US$19,99/month for brazilians
complete/anual = US$49,99/month

yes I'm brazilian xD

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

at the end of the day here, we all need to think like grownups. i dont think this is adobe being innovative or thinking of their customer base. i think this is adobe being scared and trying to maintain ANY customer base in the face of a changing marketplace. the changes in the marketplace may not be positive, long-term ones. but adobe has to attempt to stay afloat regardless.

might it be smarter to reduce in size and stay focused on what got them where they are? maybe. but their shareholders certainly wouldnt say so.

im not so sure that some petition is going to have any real effect. want to change the beast? stop feeding it. use your existing software and quit updating. i mean really. how many of the new photoshop features are going to make you a better or more efficient designer/photographer? probably quite the opposite. they're just going to make it easier to make shitty work less shitty.

and then there is always corel and pixelmator... i wonder if either of them know what a tremendous opportunity this could be for them?

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

+1

And @ Vootie, I'm not talking about legacy copies of Photoshop 6, I'm talking about relatively new (CS4+) copies that are operable and functional for professionals in quite a serious context. I'm talking about ground breaking innovation and workflow improvements that inspire people to want to upgrade, not do so because of a couple tweaks. I don't think a large part of Adobe customers do actually use more than 5 suite programs, that's why I refer to it as bloatware. There's no designer packages anymore, any web or photographers suite, it's 26 mainly irrelevant programs. Adobe has always been propped up by InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Lightroom and Acrobat. Everything else are just extensive addons. I'd even count Flash and Dreamweaver but neither are on the rise. Any respectable webdesigner stays far away from DW and html5 is taking chunks out of Flash markets.

Vootie's picture
1598 pencils

I would be delighted to see Corel, Xara, Pixelmator and other competitors step up and give Adobe a run for their money. None provide a cross-platform solution at the moment, however, and all have their shortcomings. Pixelmator, for example, is promising but falls short for pros in many ways. It's a dilemma -- but we made Adobe the monopoly it is today. Collectively perhaps we can find an alternative.

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

my contribution

yes I'm brazilian xD

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

: )

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