The Creative Cloud. Loved by many, hated by even more. At least, that’s the impression we’re getting from all the commotion over the last few days. For the most part, I’ve kept my opinions to myself, but as the response has been quite overwhelming, here I go.
Disclaimer: As an Adobe Community Professional, I receive my Creative Cloud membership at no charge. This does not influence my views in any way.
What is Creative Cloud
In a nutshell, the Creative Cloud is a subscription service that offers all of Adobe’s creative software, 20GB of storage, and a slew of other benefits such as syncing and web/app publishing. All of this comes with a monthly fee, which can vary depending on a few factors.
This is where things get confusing. Adobe is offering the Creative Cloud at a few price points, which are outlined below.
Complete (All Apps)
- New Subscribers: $50/month
- Current CS6 Owners: $20/month for the first year
- CS3 and later customers: $30/month for the first year
- New Subscribers: $20/month
- CS3 and later customers: $10/month for the first year
No More Perpetual Licenses
Starting in June, Adobe will no longer be offering perpetual licenses for their new software. If you want to remain up to date, a Creative Cloud subscription is required. When Adobe announced this change, the Internet went on defense. Customers complained that they don’t want to be ‘renting’ software, they’d rather ‘own’ it.
To an extent, I agree. Just like my Internet service, I don’t want to worry that, if I miss a monthly payment, my connection will shut off. The same goes for the Creative Cloud. Customers don’t want to lose their software if they miss a payment, or if their subscription is cancelled.
Understandable, but Adobe is offering a 99 day grace period for annual subscribers who may not have access to the Internet every month.
However, I do agree that once a subscription is cancelled, the software shouldn’t just cease to exist (in some situations). Customers who have made ‘x’ amount of on-time monthly payments should have the option to keep some or all of their software if their subscription is cancelled (depending on how much has been paid). This would mean no new updates until payment is resumed, but at least you wouldn’t be without your work tools.
“I Don’t Own My Software!”
You never really ‘owned’ previous versions, either. But this goes back to my previous point that I feel Creative Cloud subscribers should have the option to keep their software once they meet a payment threshold.
“It’s Too Expensive!”
This is another common complaint, which can go in either direction. Let’s take a look at some math to figure out if this is true or not.
Assuming you’re a current CS6 Master Collection owner who keeps up to date, the upgrade price would be $525, every approximately two years ($1050).
With the Creative Cloud, at $30/month (for the first year), you’re out $360 for the first year, and $600 for the second year when the price goes up to $50/month.
To some, that may seem like a $435 loss, but amongst all the benefits of being a Creative Cloud member, you’re getting frequent updates and new features. You’ll no longer need to wait until Adobe releases the next ‘big’ paid update. When new features are ready, you’ll be able to download them right away.
Plus, if you’re one to jump on every new release, at the end of the second year, when “CS8” would have come out, that’s another $525 hit for a perpetual license, which brings you $90 in the green by subscribing to the Creative Cloud!
“I Only Want Photoshop! Rawr!”
Okay, fine! You can! If you’re only looking to use Photoshop and nothing else, as mentioned in the pricing plans above, users can subscribe to individual applications starting at $10/month, which also includes the 20GB of storage!
“I Don’t Want to Upgrade!”
So don’t! If you ‘own’ CS6 or lower, no one is forcing you into the Creative Cloud. If the new features in Photoshop CC aren’t attractive to you, don’t upgrade. Stick with your current version, and be happy. Of course, once an attractive upgrade is available, the Creative Cloud is waiting for you.
Listen Up, Photographers!
Photographers have been one of the heavy hitters in this debate, but Adobe has some answers!
Adobe has confirmed that, in addition to being part of the Creative Cloud, Lightroom 5 will also be available as a perpetual software license, which means you’ll be able to purchase it at full price, and use it forever.
Why I Prefer The Creative Cloud
- Assuming that I was a paying customer, which I was before I became an ACP, paying monthly for my software allows me, as a business owner, to not only plan my expenses, but factor my payments into my invoices. It also allows me to spread out the once expensive upgrade price.
- No more do I have to search the planet for my serial number, which was usually on the back of the DVD case. Simply log into your account with your AdobeID, and you’re in!
- Updates galore! When a new feature is ready, it’s in your hands. Waiting 2 years for an upgrade was boring!
- In the rare case that I have to use a Windows machine, my Creative Cloud membership allows me to install Adobe software on both the Mac and Windows.
- As I use Adobe software for my business, I have no intentions of canceling my subscription.
- You do NOT need to be connected to the Internet at all times in order to use Photoshop. You only need to be connected to download the software, and once every 99 days (for annual subscribers) to validate payment.
- You do NOT run applications in your web browser. All software is downloaded and installed on your computer, just like before.
- Your work is NOT stored in the cloud. All of your work remains on your local hard drive, with the option of saving a COPY to your Creative Cloud account.
Get Used to It
Whether you like it or not, subscription models are here to stay. Adobe may be one of the first to offer such an extensive subscription, but more will follow. Software companies, gaming platforms, and so on. It may not be this year, it may not even be next year, but this will be common practice very soon.
Sure, the Creative Cloud model isn’t perfect, and it isn’t right for everyone. Here are some ideas which I think will make it a more attractive service.
- The option to keep software after a payment threshold is met. This would allow users to safely cancel their Creative Cloud membership, but still have access to their work tools. However, once the subscription is cancelled, the user would no longer receive ‘new feature’ updates until their subscription is renewed. Think of this idea like leasing a car. Once the lease is paid off, many car companies allow you to take ownership of the car. You just wouldn’t get the new model without a new lease.
- More specific ‘bundles’. Photographers would love a Photoshop/Lightroom bundle instead of subscribing to the whole suite of software.
- Loyalty pricing. If you’ve been a CS user for many years, monthly pricing will remain at the ‘introductory’ rate.
- More storage. 20GB seems like a nice amount of space, until you start uploading your elaborate designs to the cloud. Considering that Dropbox offers 100GB for $10/month, a bump in storage would be nice to see for Creative Cloud members.
If you have more questions about the Creative Cloud, please refer to this article by Chief Customer Advocate, Jeffrey Tranberry.