back to article Adobe Creative Cloud 2014: Progress and pain in the usual places

Remember when software product upgrades were a big thing? Balloons, keyrings, parties? Today, they’re slipped under the door furtively like a pizza takeaway price list. And so it is with Adobe’s announcement today of what’s new in Creative Cloud: lots of PR singing by email, but no actual dancing seems to be taking place. When …

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I used to be a customer

I used to buy their stuff.

Started with Dreamweaver 3, then Fireworks and Dreamweaver 4 pack, then CS3 then CS4 and CS5.5 I'd upgrade every other upgrade cycle for a few hundred pounds.

Liked using their software for a few things I would do, and having access to Acrobat, Illustrator and the rest was really handy. Mainly do small levels of IT support - so being able to open a whole range of extra files to help my customers is handy.

Its not subscription, keep connected to the internet handy. I won't be subscribing. Still I still have the old 5.5 stuff which is generally pretty helpful still at the moment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I used to be a customer

Still I still have the old 5.5 stuff which is generally pretty helpful still at the moment.

I think this is the moment where the ability to resell old licenses becomes important. If we could buy older versions of software it would be much harder to force us into such stupid upgrades.

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Re: I used to be a customer

@AC

Yes and no. There are plenty of people for whom 5.5 will be fine almost in perpetuity. But then those people would likely also be fine with CS2 or 3.

Adobe does not make its money from people who use the software casually or at semi-professionally; they make their money from professionals who work with the software everyday. Those people upgrade regularly, usually skipping no more than one version. This is to get the latest features and, moreover, to make sure everything stays nice and compatible.

Yes, PSD is an open format and so largely fine; yes, Illustrator can save back a few versions and yes, InDesign can export to IDML. BUT, that all takes time and if you have to ask someone to re-save the file it might take a day to get it back and there's no guarantee that it will be identical. Worse, you'll likely end up with multiple copies of the same file.

With the potential for smaller but more frequent updates, we might find that incompatibility creeps in ever more rapidly. That's not a problem if you've got a CC subscription but if you're using CS6 then how long before it becomes a complete PITA to open a file created in CC?

The model itself is not actually that bad - it's relatively inexpensive (at least by Australian standards) and the product is a good one. New versions of the programs generally are improvements and, though some have only added minor or niche functionality, they don't usually make things worse (cf. every other vendor . . .).

What is problematic is that software delieved via an internet-activated subscription model is subject to risks based on internet connectivity and server availability. For the model to be painless, the vendor must understand that these problems WILL happen and, if not handled well, WILL result in significant inconvenience for paying customers.

Having to check in only once every thirty days is good; that day being hard-set as the 23rd of your monhtly billing cycle is not.

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Re: I used to be a customer

I don't buy the idea that pro users = users who upgrade every version. I'm a pro user but I'd be happy designing things in CS3. The software is just a dumb tool, it's the person that operates it that makes the difference.

Adobe CC is a colossal waste of cash, how often does anyone really need ALL of their apps? As a web designer I couldn't care less about Flash, After Effects, Premier, etc but there's no option to just pay for the software you need (even if I was interested in tying myself to CC). Adobe have become so user hostile it would be almost laughable if I wasn't so reliant on Photoshop / Illustrator. Unfortunately there's nothing really in the same league at present, Sketch is good but not cross-platform.

Still, I'm actively looking for alternatives. Two years ago that wasn't ever a thought I'd entertained. I long for the day that someone does to Adobe what they did to Quark.

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Re: I used to be a customer

"Adobe does not make its money from people who use the software casually or at semi-professionally; they make their money from professionals who work with the software everyday."

So fuck everyone else? They're irrelevant? On behalf of everyone else, fuck you too!

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Re: I used to be a customer

@Trevor_Pott

"So fuck everyone else? They're irrelevant? On behalf of everyone else, fuck you too!

Well, yes. Isn't that exactly the attitude that we are all complaining about?

What I am saying is that those people who are responding to this, as the original poster was, with "well, I'll just keep my old version, then - ha!" are manifestly not the people who Adobe are interested in.

Yes, they would love all the casual users to sign-up to their monthly-reaming but the reason they are able to make this rather extreme move is that the most profitable part of their userbase is more-or-less locked in.

That part is the professionals for whom every job ad they respond to requires familiarity with Adobe products. There will always be people who have not worked with professional designers who will blurt out progams like "GIMP", "Inkscape" and "Scribus" but, while those programs are really very good*, the simple truth is that the Adobe CS applications are the industry standards and proficiency in them is ESSENTIAL for designers.

I'm sorry if that makes you or anyone else unhappy but it's not my opinion - it's the truth. Remember - it is never about which product is better; it's about which one is the standard. Refence my discussion elsewhere on this site about Libre Office; a great product which is the equal of MS Office but it is not the standard.

This is even more important in design because professional users of these programs rarely work in an isolated environment. They have to pass files back and forward between different internal designers, off to clients, across to the web team and out to printers. In those environments, time is money** and fidelity and consistency of output is paramount. If you are using a program that can't manage colour separation (Inkscape) then you are wasting time and money and risking the output.

That doesn't even go into the efficiencies of having InDesign natively understanding layers, alpha channels and clipping masks created in Photoshop.

I don't support what Adobe is doing - I am just pointing out what they are doing and why they are able to do it.

* - And I fully recommend all users take the time to learn how to use these products.

** - If time is not money for a designer then they are not in really Adobe's target market.

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Re: I used to be a customer

@Psycho Flump

Please don't take this the wrong way, because I don't know you so I have no reason to want to insult you, but I am presuming that you are a freelancer? Is that correct?

I get that from the fact that YOU are controlling the software you use and not the company you are employed by.

What you have said about Ps and Il is even more true of InDesign - especially since Quark fairly imploded. Something so simple as a hands-off way to manage hanging text saved type-setters valuable time and made InDesign and instant winner right from the start. It took Quark EIGHT YEARS to catch up but the war was won long before that. In fact, I would say that InDesign was the beginning of the end for everything that wasn't Adobe. After all, even die-hard Quark users were importing raster art from Photoshop and exporting PDFs through Adobe add-ons.

The short version is that InDesign saved people time and that justified the change. It killed-off the competition by being more valuable to those who bought it and it helped Adobe cement itself as the one-stop design shop solution.

All that is a little beside the point - Adobe are still fleecing their most valuable customers and screwing over all the others - but it is important to understand that Adobe are doing this because they can.

Maybe in a few years the landscape will change but even in the most idealistic case, it will be a long time before a professional designer can feel comfortable without Adobe experience. Until that point, it is a locked-in userbase and Adobe can do what they want.

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Re: I used to be a customer

Yes, it absolutely is the attitude we're all complaining about. You sounded like you were endorsing it.

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Re: I used to be a customer

Not my fault you can't read my mind, Pott : )

(I usually don't emote - via text or in person - but I wanted to make sure you got my meaning this time*.)

* - I would have added another approximation of a smiley face but I just don't know how that is supposed to work with a parenthesis following hot on its heels. As it is it already looks like a half-drunk wink (which is not actually that far off my current state, I suppose). Damn you, punctuation - you used to be my friend!

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Re: I used to be a customer

O_o

o_O

O_O

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Anonymous Coward

Clouds of thunder

Making yourself dependent on cloud technology means you're busy attracting lightning strikes.

Call me old fashioned, but I am a. not interested in any of the "sharing" that has become such an important feature to tout that it suppresses common sense, nor am I interested in anything that runs in a data centre I don't control myself, certainly not if it's located in the US.

Thanks but no thanks.

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Let Adobe hold you by the privates

"Putting aside the controversial financial aspects of the subscription model for a moment"

Well unfortunately to most of us, that is the whole issue. Subscription only really works if you are getting an additional service for the continual cost. Bug fixes used be factored into the purchase price. New features and upgrades could be ignored if they did not add anything to what you needed, which in turn made the developers work harder to find new improvements to continue the cash stream Now they have you locked in. If they make no major changes at all they still get their money.

Also how many features are there to add to such packages? Ignoring user interface improvements Photoshop CS2 will do 95% that Photoshop CS6 will do. How likely that a must have feature will appear in the near future? At the same time you risk Adobe making changes that will break your entire workflow or move to a new file format that locks you into the subscription mode for ever. Basically subscribe the Adobe CC and Adobe has your entire business by the balls.

Of course you could arguer that Adobe have nothing to gain by being evil. But this is the same company that moved to a entire subscription model when their user base asked them no to.

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Re: Let Adobe hold you by the privates

+1

The subscription model was to save Adobe revenues. People weren't upgrading because the new versions had so little new features people wouldn't pay to upgrade. This is the second major cc release for photoshop and there still aren't any features worth upgrading for over CS6.

Glad I bought a real license when I had the chance

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let Adobe hold you by the privates

People weren't upgrading because the new versions had so little new features people wouldn't pay to upgrade.

Yup, that's why MS went the online route too (well, is trying, MS doing something new normally tends to end in disaster)

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"No longer do users have to wait 18 months for major upgrades and core-code updates nor keep their eyes open for minor bug-fixes to appear on obscure support pages. With Adobe CC, the various fixes, updates and upgrades just turn up whenever they’re ready."

That hasn't been the case for software for at least a decade - everything has auto update checking including Adobe apps.

"On the surface, there is nothing new in flagship Photoshop CC or heavyweights such as After Effects and Premiere Pro that would have convinced anyone to invest in a traditional package upgrade."

That's the reason for the subscription model - Adobe no longer have to produce new versions with features worth paying for - they can just trot out the occasional tweak knowing that customers have to pay up regardless.

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Lightroom

I just thank Christ that the only Adobe product I use (Lightroom) is available standalone without any of the CC / cloud authentication 'ball ache'.

I'm sure they'll lock it down at some point and that's the point that I'll abandon Adobe altogether but it'll be a crushing shame as for photographers, Lightroom is genuinely great at what it does...

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Re: Lightroom

I agree.

About the best you can do if you don't want to pay Adobe Tax for life is do most of your processing in Lightroom (probably using few extensions like the Nik collection) and if you need more tweaking after that, import the Jpeg/Tiffs into something like Photoshop CS2 (which I believe is very reasonable priced at present)

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Anonymous Coward

quarkxpress

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/01/quarkxpress-the-demise-of-a-design-desk-darling/

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I need to get this to my client right away.

I can knock this out in 1/2 hour and be a hero by meeting my customer's deadline.

Log into cloudy tethered software.

Hey! What's this? "Please wait for your update to download"

Please restart your computer to complete the update.

Log into cloudy tethered software again.

Open file.

Hey! What's this?

Completely revamped user interface.

Where did that button go?

Oh crap, all of my custom keyboard shortcuts have be reset to factory default.

Oh great, the drop down menu's have been reworked.

… 2 hours later I have figured out where enough things are in the new UI to finish the document.

F**K, it won't print correctly on my printer.

Welcome to the Push model of software. You're getting updated whether you want to or not.

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

That is pretty much FUD.

I have been a subscriber to Adobe CC for almost a year now, and have never been denied access to the installed programs because of server downtime or new updates. Sure, this is theoretically possible, but so are many other things that don't happen all the time.

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

I have to pretty much agree with localzuk, though I wouldn't necessarily claim FUD. We have had 18 people using CC for just over a year now and have had no problems. I was very wary going in, but we had little choice. After a year I am much more comfortable. I still don't like the philosophical implications of rented software. But it has worked for us and I think it will continue to be a good choice for the foreseeable future.

As for the upgrade cycle of "professional" users, we had to stay current. In house, only a couple of our users would be considered professional. We primarily use other peoples graphics. We do about 300,000 sales order a year, nearly all of which generate a purchase order for graphics. We do business with hundreds of graphics houses. It gets tedious and impractical to not have the latest versions. We can and did lag six months or more before upgrading to the latest versions. But it got more and more difficult to conduct business. This is just for Adobe Illustrator. We do use Photoshop and other Adobe products, and we have other brands such as Corel. But Adobe Illustrator is the most common by far and the one that had to be kept near current.

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

"have never been denied access to the installed programs because of server downtime"

Well others have - there was a pretty widespread issue not long ago where all the authentication servers went down and people were locked out of their CC software.

The point is with CC there is another point of potential failure in your work flow that is completely out of your control which was never there before and that aint FUD no matter how you slice it.

Maybe your clients will accept "Adobe ate my photoshop" as an excuse for not meeting a deadline but I doubt mine would and nor should they have to - hence I'm sticking with CS6.

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

There are *always* factors outside of your control which can prevent your being able to work. Thing is, if you're in a business environment using CC software, there's no reason you would be locked out of your software. Once you've logged in, there is a grace period of "up to one month + 99 days" for individual licenses, or "up to 2 months + 99 days" for team licenses bought through resellers. If you're using it so rarely that you don't use it within that period, then you are not really someone who screams "spend £600 a year" on software...

As I said, FUD. Fear, uncertainty and doubt, based on perceptions that make little sense.

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

As funny as it is, it's also wrong.

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

It's probably a bit of an exageration (but given my own experience of Adobe software not a big one).

What's not FUD is that if Adobe's cloud dies, so does EVERYBODY'S copy of the software. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/05/outage-of-adobe-creative-cloud-more-than-a-day-old-locks-out-app-users/

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Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

The link you just posted @PassiveSmoking contradicts your statement that "EVERYBODY'S copy of software" stops working. Only people who were not logged in, or those who updated during the outage, were denied access. Those of us who were logged in during the time were not denied anything. It carried on working just fine for me.

You're extrapolating one piece of downtime and declaring it reason not to use the software. Microsoft have regular license checking on Windows, complete with grace period when it fails, yet people no longer complain about that. Gmail has had downtime, yet people still use that - and many pay for it in businesses too.

Do those people who are so anti-subscription run their own mail servers, and use Linux too?

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Anonymous Coward

I use CC products daily and there is no need to log in to use them. Occasionally I need to renter my password, no different from Office 365

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no longer a paying customer of Adobe

Been a professional user of Photoshop since 4.0. Normally upgraded every major upgrade (not the .5 versions). Effectively this pretty much worked out the same cost as CC is now. However for my needs there is just no compelling reason to upgrade to CC and many disadvantages:

- I can (and do) use CS6 completely offline for landscape photography trips to outer nowhere.

I am never worried that I am dependent on Adobe staying up and no threat that I can't open files

because I'm away from the webs or Adobe is titsup or ...

- The much vaunted smaller incremental updates hasn't happened, we still have had the big bang

for CC 18 months after the initial release.

- I don't really see anything in CC that is a compelling feature.

- Eventually the updates to camera raw may become an issue but there are plenty of excellent 3rd party tools that are way cheaper than CC.

- I don't want/need the additional software in CC and I ain't going to pay for stuff I won't use - that's why I only bought Photoshop and not one of the suites

Sorry Adobe but you are still not selling CC to me. The recent complete titsup episode hasn't helped your case.

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New windows versions will force the issue

At some point, Windows 9 or some other future version will be incompatible with CS6 forcing a move. Either stay on the legacy OS (security issues) or take whatever latest version of the product suite Adobe is offering at that point in time.

I used to be an annual license customer with the retail products and stopped renewing my maintenance agreement when CC came out. They had my money each and every year and stopped getting it now. I hope they are watching their annual revenue go into steep decline so that they bring back the boxed/licensed product.

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Childcatcher

Really?

Adobe + the Cloud + Big brother + outrageous fees, what could go wrong?

Adobe is one of the most intrusive and overwrought corporations on earth...their spymanship on users makes Five Eyes cry with envy. And then there is the cloud advertised as so ultra dependable, but still runs on electricity, wires, tubes and gizmos that break regularly, just like your cheap notebook. Frost cake with BB everywhere an into everything. Now pay outrageous fees for the inconvenience...is there any wonder there are aches and pains in sensitive body parts?

(My comments never seem to get posted. That's OK. It's good humility training and reality based reinforcement that no one cares.)

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Rapid update is a problem for schools

I work in a college and having the software update quickly can be a problem. Software textbooks are usually written six to twelve months before the "official" release of a program. Teachers design classes based on the texts. I hate the thought of a major revision being pushed out in the middle of a semester.

Adobe just announced its academic licensing program in May. There are new tools that I am now going to need to implement in order filter what software will be installed, where it will go and how it will be updated.

There is a dual structured licensing in place now with different price points and capabilities. A per individual licensing schema and a per seat licensing schema. The individual licensing is what the standard user gets. A personalized account, cloud storage and access to Adobe tech support. The per seat license gets the software and allows for multiple users to use the same software. In order to do this you cannot have individualized cloud storage or any of the cloud collaboration tools. It is also cheaper.

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