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Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Adobe Creative Cloud: Weighing In

So a couple of days ago, Adobe announced that the next release of Photoshop (as well as almost all of its other applications) would start being offered as part of a monthly subscription to the Creative Cloud. I'm still stewing on this, but I thought I would weigh in anyway, because I really want to know what YOU think, and what your plans are.

What it Is

Essentially, what will happen is that the next version of Photoshop (coming in June) will be called Photoshop CC, and will only be available through the Creative Cloud. It will still be the desktop application we all know and love, BUT access to it will only be through paying for a monthly subscription ranging anywhere from $10/month for JUST Photoshop to $50/month for everything.

As for Photoshop Elements, the only information I have been able to find is a year old, so I don't know whether Photoshop Elements will continue being released under (as Adobe calls it) a "perpetual license" or whether it will join the Creative Cloud, or whether it will go away forever at some point. So far, Adobe isn't saying.

Adobe has gone to great lengths to tell us how awesome it is, that it's the wave of the future, and that really, this benefits US much more in the long run. They've created a lot of articles, and FAQs to that effect. Adobe execs even say that they've surveyed their customers and the reaction is overwhelmingly positive:

"Overwhelmingly, when you compare the people who've complained about the new model to the people who loved it, it definitely skewed heavily to the new model," he said. "Obviously we would not be making a decision this big if the percentage of people in that category was so big it was the wrong thing for us to do."

But wow. WOW. I don't know where the people are who loved it - maybe they don't have internet. Because every Adobe article, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, basically anywhere anyone can post, is brimming with outrage. Just read to the bottom of any of the articles I've just linked for a little taste. And despite the good things Adobe says we're getting, it seems that regular users aren't the only suspicious ones with regard to motives here. 

Most of the arguments I've seen take one of a few different tacks:

  • Never Get Ahead. With a monthly subscription, you pay x, which is a lot smaller than the outlay for a new version (Y), but in the long run (say ~3 years), you'll have ended up paying Y+, and still not own anything. Rinse. Repeat. Forever.
  • You Own My Ass and I Don't Like It. Adobe has been the industry standard for so long, that there aren't any other products even close to the level of implementation and acceptance. We have no place else to go, and that bites.
  • No Way Out. Adobe hasn't said this out loud, but if you subscribe and then choose to discontinue your subscription, you'll lose access to all of the files you've stored in the Creative Cloud - AND depending on how long you've subscribed for, who knows whether your crusty old version of CS6 will even open anything anymore? Locked in forever.

To give you a completely irreverent (and also hilarious) idea of what the reaction has been, take a look at this YouTube video called "Hitler Learns About Adobe's New Creative Cloud Model". There are several swears in the "subtitles" You have been warned.

This reaction video on YouTube is hilarious and also has swears in it. You have been warned.

This reaction video on YouTube is hilarious and also has swears in it. You have been warned.

My Take on The Outcry

They make it sound entirely reasonable - like a car lease (they don't make that comparison). You essentially rent a car for a set period of time, and then return that car and get a newer car in exchange, which you then rent. I do think that leasing cars is probably a very acceptable way to roll (ha!) for many people, the people who prefer shiny and new over the security? satisfaction? victory? of owning the title to the vehicle. I just don't know any of those people.

I think there's a very strong sentiment toward ownership in America. It's been the American Dream for 60 years to own a neat little home in the suburbs. (n.b. I own a neat little home in the suburbs). We like HAVING.

We're used to BUYING things and having the knowledge that at least this is ours forever - especially something we need for our jobs. And barring that, we at least enjoy having a few choices - if I don't like my internet provider, I have the option to switch. What makes this move of Adobe's particularly scary is that there really is nothing that any of us can do. I think this is the driving force behind the level of outcry.

True Confessions: I've Already Joined Creative Cloud

I haven't actually participated in any of the posts/rants/mobs, because for me, it hasn't made much sense NOT to go along. Two weeks ago, I signed my whole team up for the Creative Cloud for Teams for $40/mo per seat. In my line of work, 5 of us have to be on the most current version of Photoshop, and we use Illustrator and InDesign regularly. I've been buying upgrades of the Creative Suite at every release for years, so spreading out the pain is fine with me, and if I want to be in the business I'm in - teaching people how to use this stuff - it will always be this way.

But What About Photoshop Elements?

But the main question in my mind - and in the minds of every hobbyist who uses Photoshop Elements (which at this point still makes up about 75% of the students at JessicaSprague.com), is what is going to happen to PSE?

I know it doesn't pay to speculate, but I can't help it. There are really three ways this could go:

  1. Adobe continues releasing PSE like it always has - as a downloadable or boxed single product that you license and own. Typically these are released in September/October every year.
  2. Adobe folds PSE into the Creative Cloud, so it becomes PSE CC and part of the full subscription or as a single-app subscription
  3. Adobe kills PSE altogether, essentially forcing everyone who uses it to switch to the Creative Cloud and Photoshop CC or ... nothing?

In this specific regard, I don't have any insight into what will actually happen. In the long run (2 years? 3?), I think Adobe will move toward offering everything as part of Creative Cloud. Lightroom 5 will be sold as a standalone AND part of the Cloud, which might give us a clue as to what will happen with Elements. 

So - your turn: What do you think will happen with Photoshop Elements? What's your plan with regard to the Creative Cloud? If Elements goes away, will you join the Creative Cloud at the single-app price? Or will you dive in to the whole Cloud? Or walk away completely?

I am anxious to hear what you've got to say!

Happy Mother's Day!

In Which Acrylic Paint Turns Me Into My Mother