In May 2013, Adobe, the creator of Creative Suite and the Creative Cloud, announced that it will no longer offer the Creative Suite package. There are numerous articles about this subject, but in short, you need to sign up for the creative cloud subscription model in order to use and update your favorite programs such as Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop… The idea of not “owning” the software, and needing an internet connection at specific intervals to authenticate the software, are issues brought up on various forums, websites, and tweets around the web. My goal is to add to the discussion and give an understanding of my ideas of about software upgrades, how this affects different professionals and the monetary variances between the two paradigms.
First and foremost I’ve been using Adobe products for at least half of my life, starting with Premiere and Photoshop back in mid 90’s to the current creative cloud package. Even though I have a long history with Adobe products I am not a proselyte for their products. I started my professional career using the Final Cut Studio package: FCP, Motion, Color, DVD Studio… Additionally, I use Cinema 4d for 3d Motion graphics. So my past is littered with various packages from various vendors. But, enough of my history, lets get into my main topic.
I have personally been using Creative cloud for the past year and we at 522 have been using it as a company for the past 8-9 months. Fortunately this give me two perspectives with which to talk about. As a video professional, and I don’t know if I am special case but I typically need programs beyond what the Production Premium offers, because like other video professionals, I do more than just edit and create motion graphics. I also create storyboards and mood boards, and having a print layout program such as indesign is invaluable, because I also need to put production packages together and Acrobat allows me to do this efficiently. In short I use a large portion of the programs that are typically included in the master collection on a regular basis.
The Master Collection was expensive, with the CS6 version costing about $2500. Honestly, that is outside of my personal price range to purchase the software. Yes, I could borrow the money to purchase the software. But lets look at it this way, Creative Cloud costs right around $600 per year to use the software if you’re getting the full suite. It would take 50 months to equate the cost if you were to purchase the software. This is over 2 product cycles. This would take you from the launch of CS4 to the mid cycle of CS6. Moreover, this initial number does not take into account the three upgrades in between, which if you did a $600 upgrade for each of the versions it would increase the cost to $4100. That is 82 months, almost 7 years!
In my opinion, I am not even sure holding out on upgrades is beneficial. With every product cycle, the cost to upgrade to the current version from every successive older version, becomes increasingly more expensive. So I doubt you will ever get to a break even when comparing with those who don’t need Master Collection.
Those who would typically use the master collection would seemingly be satisfied by the price of the creative cloud. But, the real issue comes from those people who only need a few of the programs. Yes, Adobe had options for single programs, but at $20 dollars for a single program, this may be difficult to swallow, unless you only need a single program like Photoshop.
Finally, Creative Cloud’s only cloud feature is its ability to save your data online. You download and install the software from Adobe, which means you only need an internet connection to download the software and to authenticate the software. Other than those two purposes, you won’t need to be on the internet. I understand that this is a paradigm change for post houses who keep their computers off the internet, but because the internet connection is not a persistent requirement, the amount a computer needs to be online is minimal. So, enable that wifi, or plug in that ethernet cable, and authenticate, and disconnect. I wanted to also quote Adobe’s faq about how long you can go without needed to authenticate. “You will need to be online when you install and license your software. If you have an annual membership, you’ll be asked to connect to the web to validate your software licenses every 30 days. However, you’ll be able to use products for 3 months (99 days) even if you’re offline.”
Check out adobe’s FAQ and see if the questions that you have are there, because the Creative Cloud seems to be the future of Adobe, and like it or not we have to deal with it.