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Photoshop CC

Photoshop CC (original release)

Adobe has announced the latest version of it’s software. Instead of Creative Suite 7, it’s called Creative Cloud, or CC for short. This includes major updates to all of the creative products. See this video I made on the new features of Photoshop CC.

Stay up to date with all the new features in PhotoshopCC. This free resource is updated as Adobe rolls our new features os that you can stay up to speed. Bookmark this page and use it as your goto place for Photoshop CC learning.

Some things on CC

The next version of Photoshop is called CC (Creative Cloud, instead of Creative Suite, so the CS is gone). Ok, what is this cloud anyway? There is no, one cloud, it’s a storm of clouds and Adobe’s Creative Cloud is one very large cloud that carries a lot of goodness. Basically, cloud based computing is where asserts are stored on a central computer somewhere, rather than isolated on your hard drive. All your computers and devices are in sync because they all share the files. If you have ever used Hotmail, Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook, or even Twitter, you are using the cloud right now. Creative Cloud is actually a hybrid of cloud/local computing. All the programs (apps) are downloaded to your local computer and all your working files can live there too. You can sync things through the cloud and store some of your working files there if you want give others access to them, so you can have real time collaboration on projects.

Adobe has changed their pricing model: You can no longer buy a box or download of CC. It’s subscription only. The whole cloud is $49 a month in the USA or you can get a single product (Photoshop) for $20 a month. You cannot buy it one time (perpetual license). For existing customers, the first year of Creative Cloud is $29.99 per year. ($9.99 for single product).

You can get Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 mo in the Creative Cloud Photography Program, or the full Creative Cloud here

You can install CC on as many computers as you like, but it will only run on 2 at a time. They can be either Windows, or Mac, or a combination. (1 Win and 1 Mac). You can turn off activation and active a different computer whenever you like (passing the ball kind of thing). The new application has new options at the bottom of the task bars. You can sync your preferences and presets between computers through the cloud. Some apps also let you publish directly to the web through behance, so you can quickly share your masterpiece with the world.

What’s included on the Cloud?

Creative tools
Desktop applications for photography, video, audio, and design.
Photoshop® CC Illustrator® CC InDesign® CC
Dreamweaver® CC After Effects® CC Adobe® Premiere® Pro CC
Adobe Muse™ CC Acrobat® XI Pro Adobe Audition® CC
Bridge CC Encore® Fireworks®
Flash® Builder® Premium Flash Professional CC InCopy® CC
Lightroom® Media Encoder CC Prelude® CC
SpeedGrade® CC
Edge Tools & Services
Tools and services for web designers and web developers
Edge Animate CC Edge Inspect CC Edge Web Fonts
PhoneGap™ Build™ Edge Code CC (preview) Edge Reflow CC (preview)
Other Services
Creative Cloud Files (20Gb) Story CC Plus Kuler®
Business Catalyst® Typekit® Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition
Behance® ProSite

It comes with all the Master Collection products as well as the web apps such as Muse and Edge tools, also includes premium membership of Behance as well as type kit fonts. 20Gb of storage in a “Dropbox” type desktop app.

You can however still buy CS6 (Suite or point products) for the same price and Adobe has pledged to keep these working on your computer and adding bug fixes etc, they will not drop new features in though).

With CC, there will be incremental drops of new features on an ongoing basis, so you don’t have to wait for 18-24 months for new features. No big releases like we are used to, but ongoing new features.

All the new features of CS6.1 plus CC will be in this next version that is available on June 17th 2013.

Lightroom and Photoshop Elements are still available as a perpetual license (Lightroom is also included in th Cloud subscription).

Recommendations.

You will have to do the math and look at your particular needs to decide what you need and its value to you.

I think for designers it’s a no-brainer. You get all the apps for web, print, motion graphics, app building and digital publishing. For video pros, the addition of Speedgrade (in CS6) gives you an app that used to cost $30,000 per seat, that enables you to do professional level color grading.

I have heard from a number of photographers that aren’t as thrilled about the changes, because they are only using Photoshop and maybe Lightroom. Some pros, who use other applications such as InDesign for album and marketing, maybe ever Premiere Pro and After effects for video processing feel it’s good value.

For hobbyists and photographers not using other Adobe applications, here are the options.

1. Purchase Lightroom and Photoshop Elements, which are regular one time purchases as before.

2. Subscribe to Photoshop only, as a single app subscription

3. Stay on Photoshop CS6 as long as possible.

4. Get the cloud and utilize some of the other applications that haven’t been available to you before.

5. Find an alternative program for Photo editing 🙁

Barriers to Creative Cloud Subscriptions, the facts and myths.

Since Adobe’s announcement about the Cloud, there have been mixed reactions. Some of the concerns have been based on misinformation. Some are valid concerns. Based on hours and hours of reading emails and comments from all over the web, sitting in press conferences and personal research, here is my thoughts on the most common concerns and myths.

I have to be connected to the internet the whole time.
Myth: You download the apps to your computer and install and run them locally, as before. The apps don’t run from the cloud, only the licensing does. Once a month, it dials home to make sure that the bill has been paid. If you don’t have a connection, you have a grace period where the software will continue to work (30 days last time I checked). Now if you live in a country with slow internet, this could be problematic as far as downloading the apps, the licensing server won’t be an issue because it’s quick. I have heard rumors that a disk is available for companies with non-Internet Firewalls, perhaps this option will be available for slow internet users? You will have to contact Adobe support on that one.

I don’t want Adobe having access to my files.
Adobe won’t have access to your files unless you want them to. You don’t have to share files on the Cloud, you can store them locally and use sneaker net (AKA jump drives) just like always. Also Adobe has no interest in your files and can’t use them without your permission anyway.

Adobe has me by the B***s. No exit strategy.
This is the big one that’s causing a lot of discussion on the web. There are 2 parts to this. The first is that Adobe will up the price as soon as everyone is signed up. While I believe that Adobe could increase the price, I don’t think it will happen in a drastic way for the reason, that people can leave and use other products if they aren’t happy.

But, wait. Doesn’t Adobe have you held hostage with the file formats and don’t you have to keep your subscription active in order to open your files? Now this really depends on what apps you are using and what you are doing. For programs like Flash, it’s not been the case for a while. Decompilers are available to strip out your Actionscript, but also Flash has gone to a more open XML file format. But what would you do with the files? There are no other programs out there that really do what Flash does. For Dreamweaver, it’s a moot point as it’s just HTML and any editor can read the files or modify them in notepad. What about Illustrator and Photoshop? There are other programs that can open ai and psd files., they have been able to do that forever. Sure, you will lose some of the options such as Smart Objects and other advanced functionality, but you will still be able to open and edit the files. If you are worried about losing the advanced functionality then you shouldn’t be leaving Photoshop and Illustrator in the first place because these features are unique to those products. Premier Pro has been able to open Final Cut files through and XML interchange and it wouldn’t be impossible for a future competitor to create a converter for Premiere. This also goes for InDesign as well (currently Markzware makes a converter for InDesign to Quark). Ok, I think you get the point. There is no hostage scenario; it’s hype and paranoia.

It’s going to cost me more money
Now this is quite possible. If you are only using Photoshop and upgrading every second cycle (3-4 years) than this is true. Yep it will cost you more, sorry. If you are just getting started in Photoshop and making the comparison between buying and subscribing (renting), I have done the calculations (in the USA) and it will take 7 years for the pricing of the subscription to match what you would have paid, (see chart).

YEAR Creative Cloud (single product) Photoshop Extended
1 120 1000
2 360 1100
3 500 1200
4 740 1300
5 980 1400
6 1220 1500
7 1460 1600
8 1700 1700

Now,the worst case scenario is that you will be paying $20 per month for Photoshop. That’s about 4 cups of fancy Starbucks coffee. If you can afford it, it’s not too bad. If you are retired, injured or unemployed, it’s a tough pill to swallow and you may need to look at Photoshop Elements ($79 at Costco). Elements is surprisingly powerful. (Students get an educational discount at $29.99 per month for Creative Cloud).

For those who are using multiple products, it will be good value for money and also gives you the opportunity to use other Adobe products that have been out of reach in the past. With the addition of a Prosite (Behance pro) you get an additional $100 per year value. They have just included several thousands of dollars worth of fonts and you also get Business Catalyst for building and hosting no-code e-commerce sites. You also get the Single Edition Digital Publishing Suite for building interactive magazines that can be sold on the app store. This used to cost several hundred dollars each time you published an app.

It’s because of piracy
I’m not sure how this one even got going. There is no effect on piracy. Pirates have always cracked encryption keys and activation server pings. I’m quite sure they have probably already cracked the Cloud verification servers, if not, they will. Pirates have been around since software costs money and they always will be.

Adobe isn’t going to do anymore decent upgrades
The official word from Adobe is this (my summary): The purpose of the shift to the cloud is to concentrate development efforts and focus on one product. Instead of huge updates every 18 months -2 years, now the new features and bug fixes can be deployed to the cloud whenever they are ready. In the past, if a feature wasn’t ready when the big train was leaving the station, it was deferred till next time. This would put pressure on developers to rush features or drop them. Also with the sales depending on new features there was pressure on features that would sell product at the neglect of more practical features and stability and modernization (often having to completely recode software from the ground up). See John Nack’s Blog Post on CC

My thoughts? It comes down to a few things. There is still competition out there for Adobe and new competitors will crop up and gain ground if the feature set isn’t modern and cutting edge. It’s in Adobe’s interests to keep building a top-notch product. All the Adobe developers and product managers I have met aren’t at the company just because of money. They are passionate about the tools that they build and want to develop the best tool set that they can. They are very excited about the future.

I want to own my software, not rent it
This is where I’m going to get a bit philosophical and let my personal opinion run wild.

Technically, you never did own it. You paid a licensing fee to use the current version. The software has always belonged to Adobe and they have always reserved the right to cut you off if you violated the EULA (End-User Licensing Agreement). This is no cause for alarm, because it’s the same for any software, movies, music CDs etc.

Now the shift from a Perpetual license (one time purchase cost) to subscription (monthly payment = rent) is real. This does signal a paradigm shift in thinking and business model. I think the writing has been on the wall for a long time, good or bad, eventually the entire software industry will move in this direction. A lot of people (myself included) prefer ownership over renting. (This is why our training is a one time purchase and yours forever, vs a cheaper “monthly” fee that ends up costing more over the long run. You pay if you use it or not, plus when the meter runs out, you are left holding an empty bag). There is a fundamental difference in philosophy. In the United States, people are used to living on credit and spending power (accrual) and are used to paying for everything as a monthly payment (credit cards, car loans, mortgages etc). People in many other countries have the philosophy: If you can’t afford it, save up and buy it (cash is king). It’s an “enjoy now, pay later” or “pay now and enjoy later” mentality. Which is better? Neither. It depends on where you grew up and your personal and cultural value system. It’s difficult for someone from one system to see the benefit of the other, or to even understand it. Note: This isn’t to say that everyone from US thinks this way, or others think a different way, It’s entirely personal, so no stereotypes are intended nor implied, I’m merely making a broad generalization.

Adobe is a For Profit Corporation and is in business to make money. They aren’t a foundation or charity. They aren’t doing anything immoral or illegal. Now is it fair? For some people it’s fairer than others. Sadly, there will be casualties and winners with every change of a business model.

What could they have done better or differently? In my opinion (just my opinion, remember that I’m not an Adobe employee, just an independent voice) I think that they could have waited a bit longer before making a mandatory subscription. The majority of people had no idea what the Creative Cloud even was until the recent announcement. I think Adobe could have invested more time educating users about the value and benefits of Creative Cloud and developed the product more. You know, entice people into a subscription because of the great value and functionality (which it is), not force a single option on users. The one thing I wish they would do right now, is allow Photoshop to continue as either a subscription or a perpetual license because of the fact that so many industries rely on it and use it. The majority of Photoshop users, also use other Adobe products and will get good value from the Creative Cloud, but there are some fringe users, such as hobbyists, photographers, digital painters and 3D artists who’s only interest is in Photoshop

To conclude: Should you subscribe to the Create Cloud or not? It’s a personal decision and it depends on who you are and what you use the software for. For the majority of users, absolutely! I have used the Creative Cloud for over a year and I personally love it! I always have the latest version of everything, my preferences can all be in sync and it represents good value for my needs. For the fringe users, you have to decide. When you think about how wonderful Photoshop is, $20 a month isn’t that bad, even for a hobbyist. Think about how much other hobbies cost, like golf, etc. How much do you spend on Internet and smart phones? We need to decide if the cost of Creative Cloud or Photoshop represents good value for money or not. If so, make the purchase. If you genuinely can’t afford it, or stomach it, look for alternatives that do represent good value to you. If these alternatives are Lightroom and Photoshop Elements, sticking with CS6 for now, or something different, don’t forget, these are only your tools. Your creativity and passion are what drive you and we will always be here to help you on your creative journey.

I think that about covers it? Ask any questions, sing praises or raise gripes here.

Colin Smith

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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Colin Smith

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe