My Take on the Creative Cloud

Most likely you’ve heard some news about Adobe Creative Cloud now. As with any big change there are those who love it and those who swear to never support the company again. I’ve been using Adobe software for over a decade, and I subscribed to the Creative Cloud about 8 months ago, that is, before it became the only option. That being said, here are my thoughts on the matter.

Cost Analysis:

Adobe has always been ambitiously upgrading their software and lowering the price. Creative Cloud (CC) follows the same pattern except at a scale previously unheard of. In the past you would have to cough up at least $600 just to get in the game (I’m talking about Photoshop here; I know Lightroom and some other products are cheaper, but Photoshop is the backbone of Adobe in my opinion.) Of course if you needed a whole suite of programs then you would have to pony up roughly $1,500 from the get-go.

Now take a look at the current prices of CC: $20/month for an individual program, or $50/month for every program they offer. It would take you 30 months of paying the monthly price before you break even. That’s two and a half years, my friends. Here’s the kicker; the software doesn’t stay the same during that time. They typically release a major update every 12 – 18 months meaning that your software is suddenly obsolete and unsupported. If you were to buy the software itself, you’d not only pay a heck of a lot more up front, but you’d be stuck with the same old software 2.5 years later when everyone else is talking about how awesome the latest features are.

Look at it another way, for $50/month you have access to all the latest bells and whistles. No more wishing you had the newest features. No more saving up for a big purchase. No more excuses.

Both/And:

Possibly the biggest factor for me in deciding to switch to CC was that it is platform independent. My desktop computer is a PC and my laptop is a Mac. In the old days of purchasing software you had to buy a disc that was compatible with either Windows or Mac. If you decided to get a new computer you had to purchase the software again at full price for the other platform. With CC I have the apps installed on both my PC and my MacBook at no additional cost.

Other consierations:

Let’s be honest, pretty much everyone has had a bootlegged copy of some Adobe product at some point. I learned Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere all on pirated copies. I did, however, make it a point of honor to purchase the programs from Adobe before I started using the products to earn a living. Anyway, it seems like CC will make piracy much more difficult, which is great for Adobe. However I’m confident that pirated versions will still exist, but seriously, anyone who is too cheap to drop $50 a month for world-class software probably doesn’t have enough sense to make it in this industry in the first place. Go mow a couple yards and stop complaining about having to pay for software.

Don’t be confused by the term cloud-based. You still install the software on your local machine exactly like you would if you were installing from a disc.

I can understand the concern for accessing old files in the future should you decide to cancel your CC subscription. If you no longer have Photoshop, how do you work with a .psd file? What I’d like to know is why you would cancel your subscription if you still need to work with .psd files? I think a lot of people are put off by this notion of a long term commitment. I personally have no problem with it. Adobe’s software is the one thing I have been using in my business longer than everything else. …actually, my keyboard is older, but I’m shocked it has lasted this long. Face it, we don’t know what technology will look like a decade from now. You can worry about the future when it comes. For now, subscribe to CC and enjoy the benefits.

Speaking of which, there are some nice perks such as CC for teams, online storage, and collaboration tools.

By the way, I’m curious how many of the people complaining about CC already pay for Netflix or a cable subscription… I bet they’re still bitter they can’t buy VHS tapes to record episodes of Cheers any more.

Conclusion:

I’m clearly a big fan of CC, and I think you’ll reap the benefits as well as long as you don’t get hung up by the notion of change. From where I stand it’s a no brainer.

Honestly I could probably get by with Photoshop 7 for most of the editing I do on a daily basis. Give me the healing brush, layer masks, and blending modes and I’m set. But the problem is that I don’t merely want to keep doing what I’ve always been doing. The very essence of creativity involves trying and learning new things. To me that’s exactly what CC represents; it gives me room to grow rather than maintaining the status quo.

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3 thoughts on “My Take on the Creative Cloud

  1. I agree with your thoughts in this blog. I think CC is a great option for professionals and serious amateurs. In my world of academic technology, there is a lot of apprehension regarding the switch from CS to CC. Adobe hasn’t figured out a good plan for handling open-access university/school computer labs. You can install the CC software on lab machines, but only people with CC accounts will be able to use the software. In the CS model, we could buy software for each machine, and anyone could use it as long as the machine was available. One of the benefits of open access labs is being able to use software that you normally couldn’t afford or only need every once in a while. There is a push from Adobe to get schools to sign site licenses for the software, but most universities are not going to license this type of software for all students. Access to CC is currently managed by individual Adobe accounts, so there is no way to make the software available to the masses. I am sure they will eventually figure something out, but for the time being, Adobe has a lot of “haters” in the higher education space.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jared. I hadn’t even thought of it for school licensing. …On the other hand, it causes me to re-think the role of computer labs. The way I see it, computer labs give students access to tools that are otherwise out of reach –like Avid or Pro Tools. It seems to me that Adobe wants their software to be very much within reach. Perhaps the big upset isn’t the licensing issue but rather the fact that it weakens the advantage of computer labs in the first place.

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