When I first joined Adobe Creative Cloud a little over a year ago it contained the CS6 suite of apps, no Fontkit, or Behance and a link to your storage that, at best, was sporadic. I was as surprised as the next man to hear that the new Photoshop would only be available as part of the Creative Cloud and was stunned by the backlash this caused.
Like many bloggers and trainers I fielded questions the best I could and it soon became clear this was an unpopular move. But a move it was, what’s done is done. So was it bold? Crazy? Insightful? I guess time and experience will answer that one. Right now, I’m very comfortable with CC, but I have my niggles.
The Creative Cloud Today
The Creative Cloud comprises of 37 apps, some powerhouses of creativity like Photoshop, others might sit on your desktop until you need to test, tweak, update or add to your mobile device.
There’s also some online storage, 20 gigabytes to be precise. This is a nice amount, I’m not going to rave about it, I know a few people that would fill it in a thrice, but for getting your files from device to device, or to share with others it works well. For a little while CC users couldn’t sync and this was a frustration. Now though, its pretty seamless and works as expected.
Part of this cloud mentality is the ability to synchronise settings. Sounds simple and a small detail, but being able to sync your Actions, Brushes, Shapes etc has already saved me a few headaches. Now you can sit on a completely new machine, sign in and BAM, its exactly as you like it.
On the whole synchonising approach though, there’s still a little way to go with Kuler. I love the new Kuler mobile app, available to non CC members too, but not the steps needed to collect the swatches from the web and pop them into Photoshop, surely this could be automated a little better?
What’s In It For Me?
Where the beauty of the Creative Cloud comes through isn’t in these tweaks to Photoshop, but how one can explore previously alien apps. With video available to DSLR users many photographers are looking to Premier and After Effects to enhance and build on their repertoire. One click from the CC sidebar and they’ll download and install automatically. Very nice and extraordinarily easy.
Then there’s the apps you’ve never thought of. Making your own website is now a possibility. Start with Muse, a beautiful drag and drop WYSIWYG editor and if you’re feeling bold have a go with Dreamweaver! There’s also an app that allows you to adjust and tweak your site for various mobile devices and platforms.
If you’re serious about photography, and your photography business, then CC really is all the tools you’ll need to do all you need to do and, one may argue, all you need to expand your business?
If you’re interest lies solely with Photoshop or Lightroom then you do have the option of the single app plan. This works well for some, but I can’t help thinking that the grass is greener for those with more apps. I might suggest the Photoshop Elements / Lightroom combo.
Some of the things I’ve heard for the last few months that I feel I should answer here;
“You have to be connected to the net to use the apps”
Not at all, you’re required to log on once a month to pay your subscription, that’s all. Although not being connected to the net means no synching and no notification of updates.
“If I decide not to have CC anymore I loose my work on the cloud”
Nope. Adobe give a 30 day grace to go and collect your work.
“Once they have you they’ll hike the price up”
Maybe, but that’s not good business sense. Adobe have worked hard to build up a customer base, why risk it now?
“There’s no teacher and student edition”
Yes there is, and it is an amazing deal. (When talking to students I compare it to their mobile phone bill)
“You can’t use a Windows and a Mac version”
Just like Photoshop pre CC you can install on two machines. You can deactivate one and move to a different machine and sign in there too. It is incredibly flexible.
Like so many other software apps and bundles, it really is horses for courses. If you really don’t think you’ll use the complete suite, or a good portion of it, then CC isn’t for you. If you’re a serious creative that wants the best of the tools out there with unrivalled compatibility, then I might argue you should see CC as an investment and you should talk to your accountant about the benefits of renting software, you might be pleasantly surprised!
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