Funny how things pop into one’s head. In Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize winning western novel, Lonesome Dove (and the multi-Emmy-winning, Golden Globes honored mini-series based on it), Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call’s Hat Creek outfit that ran a livery stable in Texas had a sign that declared, among other things, “We don’t rent pigs.”
I have a motto, too; I don’t rent software, at least not if I can help it. I already have the power utility, telco, ISP, a daily newspaper subscription, a truck payment, and more siphoning my wallet on a monthly or semi-monthly basis, and I have no intention of adding software providers to the list.
Consequently, I’m not positively whelmed by Adobe’s announcement that they’re discontinuing development of their Creative Suite boxed software that you pay a one-time license fee for, and switching to a monthly rental-only cloud service for delivering and monetizing the functionality of the former CS applications.
And it isn’t cheap; Creative Cloud membership for individuals will be US$49.99 per month based on annual membership. Existing customers who own CS3 to CS5.5 get their first year of Creative Cloud at the discounted rate of US $29.99 per month. Students and teachers can get Creative Cloud for $29.99 per month. Promotional pricing is available for some customers, including CS6 users.
Adobe also announced Creative Cloud for enterprise and special licensing programs for educational institutions and government.
Or not. Sorry, but I won’t be signing up. I’ll be interested to see how this paradigm shift affects Adobe’s $99.00 Photoshop Elements, which has long been my favorite general purpose image editing application. Even that price has been hard to justify for non-pro users what with upstart Pixelmator selling on the App Store for 20 bucks. Or if you need more power than that, the GIMP is free, and you can put up with a lot of learning curve climbing to save fifty bucks a month in rental fees. Forever. Or at least I can.
Adobe says it will focus all of its creative software development efforts on its Creative Cloud offering going forward. Adobe’s desktop tools, previously known as Creative Suite (CS), now branded CC to reflect that they are an integral part of Creative Cloud, have been “reinvented” to support a connected creativity dynamic. While Creative Suite 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products. This update to Creative Cloud includes the next generation of Adobe desktop applications, including Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC and Premiere Pro CC.
For those willing to cough up the monthly toll, the new Photoshop CC includes a range of enhancements, including new image deblurring and sharpening features to improve design workflows, and new Camera Raw capabilities. The new Camera Shake Reduction tool analyzes and corrects for blur from camera movement to produce a better image. The new Smart Sharpen tool uses adaptive sharpening algorithms to minimize noise and halo effects while producing high-quality results. With intelligent upsampling, users can increase the size of an image large enough for a billboard without pixelating the image.
Adobe Camera Raw 8 brings three new photo-editing capabilities to Photoshop CC. The Advanced Healing brush allows photographers to heal or patch images with a brush stroke instead of a circular area. The new Radial Gradient offers powerful controls to draw attention to the focus of an image without applying a standard vignette, and the Upright tool automatically straightens horizons and applies perspective corrections without distorting the image. Camera Raw edits can also be made to any layer or file within Photoshop CC.
For designers, improvements to rounded rectangles add the ability to adjust corner radii at any time. Users can also now select multiple paths, shapes and vectors at once, providing a faster, easier workflow for working with multiple objects.
In previous releases, Adobe Photoshop Extended was released as a separate application comprising all Photoshop features as well as 3D and image analysis capabilities. Beginning with Photoshop CC, all Photoshop Extended features will be integrated within one application, providing all users with advanced capabilities for 3D image editing and image analysis.
Photoshop CC also includes all of the Photoshop feature innovation delivered exclusively to Creative Cloud members over the past year, including smart object support for blur gallery and liquify effects, conditional actions, and CSS support for faster web design.
An advantage of the Creative Cloud, says Winston Hendrickson, vice president of products, Creative Media Solutions at Adobe, is that “Our customers will no longer have to wait 18 to 24 months to access new Photoshop innovation. When a new Photoshop feature is ready—whether its the next Healing Brush or something as mind-blowing as Content Aware Fill—we’ll deliver it via Creative Cloud.” That may appeal to pro users especially.
It will be interesting to track how this massive paradigm shift pans out for Adobe and its loyal users. My gut suspicion is that there are going to be a lot of alienated former Creative Suite fans and users who will be beating the cyber bushes for a more affordable alternative. Of course, Photoshop has always been a pricy solution, selling for about $600 or maybe roughly half that amount to upgrade from a previous version. But, at least once paid for, you had it in what passes for perpetuity in the IT world without any further bleeding of your bank account.
For more information, on Adobe Creative Cloud, visit www.adobe.com.