Adobe Ends the Creative Suite Era and Embraces the Cloud


One of the key questions in this digital age is that of ownership or access. Would you like to own a few applications outright and forever, or would you rather have instant access to a much larger toolset than you could otherwise afford?

The same question confronts us in many places. Would you rather buy a DVD a month or have access to thousands of movies via Netflix? Would you rather buy a CD or two per month or have access to millions of songs via Spotify? And with the coming of Adobe's Creative Cloud last year, creative pros had to ask themselves if they preferred to invest in a traditional perpetual license for CS6 apps, or pay a monthly fee for access to everything Adobe offers. 

Well today, that choice has become a very different one, as Adobe announced the end of perpetual software licenses for new products. If you want to use the latest versions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and other key applications going forward, you will have to be a cloud subscriber. Otherwise you'll have to make do with older versions of the software or find alternatives. Indeed, there will be no “CS7”, as the apps have been rebranded as CC for Creative Cloud. 

This development certainly won't make every customer happy, but the value that Adobe has packed into the Creative Cloud is undeniable (if not amazing), and the choices of subscription plans offered attempt to accommodate users of all kinds. 

Here are a few key points from today's announcements at MAX:

What's Coming

All of Adobe’s most popular desktop apps have been updated: so in about a month (June 17th to be exact) subscribers will have access to Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Muse CC, and more.  

In total, the Creative Cloud will offer more than 30 tools and services.

Cloud subscribers will also retain access to versions of applications from CS6 and above. 

Typekit Fonts will be available for use in your desktop applications.

Besides the all-you-can eat access to a smorgasbord of software, another key advantage of subscribing is continuous updates. New features and fixes will be rolled out as soon as they are ready, and can be installed via the new desktop app. 

Files and settings can be stored, synced, and shared, via 20GB of storage. And subscribers can set up shared folders to collaborate with others.  

Behance is now integrated with Creative Cloud, so subscribers can showcase their work, get feedback, and gain exposure.

Subscription Options

A subscription to the Creative Cloud costs $50 per month with a one year commitment. For $75 per month you can have full access without the annual commitment.

Discounts are also available for owners of CS6 apps ($20 per month), and owners of older versions of CS ($30 per month). 

Students and teachers are eligible for a rate of $30 per month.

There's also a Team option for $70 a month, which allows multiple employees at a business to use the software, and have 100 GB of online storage.

And finally, if all you need is a single application, a la carte subscriptions are available, for just $10 per month.

New Features

Among the new features in Photoshop CC are new sharpening technologies. Camera Shake Reduction can deblur images that lack sharp focus due to camera movement. Smart Sharpen has been reinvented to work better than ever. Adobe Camera Raw 8 adds controls to straighten images and fix perspective problems. Photoshop CC will also offer users the ability to post files directly to Behance from within the application.

In Illustrator CC, a new Touch Type tool offers users the ability to move, scale, and rotate characters in editable live text. The Touch Type tool works with a mouse, stylus, or multi-touch device. Illustrator users can also create brushes directly from photos. Art, Pattern, and Scatter brushes can now contain raster images. 

The first thing InDesign CC users will notice is the dark UI to match Photoshop and Illustrator. The next thing Mac users may notice is faster performance, as the application has been completely re-written as a 64-bit application (like Illustrator was in CS6). A few other features have been added as well, including QR codes, Retina (aka Hi-DPI) support, and a searchable font menu.

Much More to Come

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. Here at CreativePro we'll continue the tradition of having our expert authors weigh in with first looks at Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, as well as full in-depth reviews of the software after it is available in June.

Update: Here is the link for the discounts mentioned above (like $20 per month for CS6 owners). Note that they expire July 31, 2013.

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