Adobe’s Stormy Cloud

Guest post by Alisa Steck of Rocketroom

For those in the creative community, Photoshop is a critical tool. It’s been traditionally sold with a perpetual license, enabling users the freedom to upgrade as needed (and as funds allowed). Adobe has recently made the decision to move to a subscription-based model for all future upgrades to their Creative Suite products. In order to upgrade past CS6, users will need to pay an on-going monthly fee. For some users, this may allow them to get their foot in the door for a small price point, rather than paying a large chunk all at once.

The problem is, however, that monthly fees will never disappear in order to keep using the software. It will be yet another monthly bill in a debt-based society, but this time completely tied into a person’s livelihood; akin to leasing a new car with all the bells & whistles, but without the option of purchasing at the end of the lease term; forever upgrading to a new car as long as you want to drive, even if your current car suits you just fine.

For the CS user that’s always procuring the newest upgrade, this isn’t an issue. But for many, upgrading isn’t always an immediate necessity. It can often wait, allowing other business expenses to be tended to, and upgrading as budget allows. There’s also the issue of Internet access: annual subscribers will need to check in with the mothership every 99 days by going online to verify the subscription, in order to keep using the software. Monthly users will need to check in even more often, requiring Internet access once a month. For most users this isn’t a problem, but for adventure-based or wildlife photographers, it may prove to be difficult, if not impossible. So, a dilemma is presented: after years of mastering all the nifty tricks Photoshop is capable of (not to mention the keyboard shortcuts) is it best to stick with a familiar product and go with the flow? Or, is it time to give some other products in the marketplace a try?

After recently speaking with a graphic designer well versed in the creative suite, the proverbial ship is about to be jumped. Having investing thousands in upgrades, ever loyal to the Adobe creative offerings, the subscription plan seems to be a slap in the face. It’s understood that Adobe continually invests as well. Countless hours are spent developing & programming the coolest new tools, assisting the creative community in making beautiful end products. There’s no doubt that the Creative Suite is an amazing, powerful tool. But, Adobe should never forget their client base. The tools are developed for the creative community. Yes, they’re geared towards professionals, but what happens when a professional runs into the occasional financial difficulty? Will they lose their ability to use the main tool that will enable them to make a living?

Imagine a construction worker having to continually upgrade their hammer, even it works perfectly; having to upgrade that hammer even when there’s no construction work? Not being able to update a house previously worked on, as their hammer will only work with the iteration of the house that was constructed with their oldest hammer, if they’re unable to swing the fees one month? Some might argue that a professional who can’t make a monthly payment isn’t worth hiring. For young creatives, just hitting the professional world, saddled with large student loans in conjunction with stagnant pay scales, a never-ending monthly fee could be crippling. How will up & coming new talent be able to compete? Will the creative field become prosaic and old without enough new blood coursing through its veins?

With so many questions & users conflicted about the new licensing model, it seems Adobe may have moved too quickly. A roll out offering of both the perpetual licensing & monthly subscription models may have allowed for a smoother transition, enabling the user to make the decision best suited for their business needs. Instead, Adobe has alienated much of their client base. A loyalty broken.

Depending on the complexity of retouching needs, there are several alternative image editors worth researching:

http://www.pixelmator.com/

http://www.gimp.org/ (Open source)

http://www.phaseone.com/en/Imaging-Software/Capture-One-Pro-7.aspx

http://www.serif.com/photoplus/

http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4900067

https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-elements.html (Elements still offered as perpetual license)

In addition to researching alternative image editors, peruse Adobe’s FAQ’s regarding the Creative Cloud: https://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/faq.html#purchasing-availability.

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