Adobe Creative Cloud Review
Our photography studio upgraded to Adobe Creative Cloud about a month ago and I thought its time to offer a quick Adobe Creative Cloud review of our experience so far.
Out of the Adobe Creative Suite CS6 applications, we use Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4 and Acrobat X Pro all the time. We also use Premier Pro CS6, After Effects CS6 and Media Encoder CS6 on a regular basis. Now that we have access to them, we will probably also use InDesign CS6, Adobe Audition CS6 and possibly Adobe Muse (only available with Creative Cloud) on occasion.
In order to outright purchase the core applications we need to run our studio (Photoshop, Lightroom, Acrobat, Premier Pro, After Effects and Media Encoder), we would have to invest in Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium ($1,899), plus stand alone copies of Lightroom 4 ($149) and Acrobat X Pro ($449) for a total cost of $2,497. Or upgrades of all of the above would cost $653 in total.
Its a little convoluted – like trying to decode a cell phone plan – but Adobe has a buying guide that compares the various products and suites available, so you can figure out specifically which collection you’d have to go with to meet your needs.
Alternatively, Adobe Creative Cloud costs $49.99 per month ($74.00 per month if you don’t want to commit to a whole year at a time). Or you can upgrade at $29.99 per month for the first year. A summary of the available Adobe Creative Cloud plans is here.
So, at full price, we could pay for just over four years of Adobe Creative Cloud for the price of Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium, Lightroom and Acrobat ($2,497/$49.99 per month). Or, as an upgrade we could pay for about a year and a half of Adobe Creative Cloud ($29.99 per month x 12 months + $49.99 per month x 6 months = $660).
One big big big money saver would be if you have a mixed computer studio as Creative Cloud apps can be installed on both PC and Mac. If you wanted to install Creative Suite on your desktop Mac and your laptop PC – you would have to purchase two copies (one for Mac, one for PC).
If you were eligible to upgrade all of the applications you use – and considering that Adobe traditionally releases upgrades every 1 – 2 years, it would probably be more cost effective to purchase upgrades as you decide you need them.
But, if you have to buy one or two applications as a new user, Creative Cloud becomes much more economical.
Cloud computing is by definition a subscription service. Generally, I HATE subscriptions (thank-you cell phone and cable companies). Like drug dealers, it seems that every company is trying to get their customers hooked onto a subscription by offering a free trial and then billing you every month until you remember to cancel.
I have had subscriptions for movie streaming, online training, accounting apps, job management apps – even razors at one point. The reason businesses love subscriptions is that like drugs – once you’re hooked, you happily make your monthly payments until you finally make an effort to quit (usually years after the subscription has ceased to be useful to you).
However, I know that I will be using an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription daily – unlike say…random accounting apps that I forgot I even signed up for but billed my credit card every month for years.
I am not one to always use the latest and greatest. If it works – I tend to stick with it. I still use Microsoft Office 2003 (sorry Microsoft – but Word is Word is Word – even if its almost 10 years old). However, when it comes to the software that we rely on to make money – its a bit more important to always have the most recent and up to date versions.
With, Adobe Creative Cloud you get access to 20 gigs of online storage. 20 gigs is an awkward amount of storage space. Its more than enough room for saving a portfolio and maybe a job or two that you are currently working on. But throw in a video and some Nikon D800 raw files and you run out of space pretty fast. Never mind fantasies of hosting your entire catalog in the cloud (we’d need a few terabytes).
And, while you can technically share files stored on Creative Cloud (by setting the file permissions and sending an email link) – sharing isn’t managed. Meaning, you don’t know if your client has actually downloaded the file you shared with them, you can’t set password controlled access, you can’t set expiration dates and you can’t even share directories of files. We currently use Dropbox (free) and WeTransfer (also free) to share large files, but I was really hoping for something better from Adobe Creative Cloud.
There isn’t a proofing gallery option either – so you can’t create a proofing gallery and share it with a client – which would be very useful.
One nice feature is that clients can comment directly on photographs that you have shared with them. No more emails from clients along the lines of “I like the one with the guy doing the thing – but I hate the one of the other guy”.
Finally, Adobe’s cloud storage is not synchronized with any local files stored on a physical computer. Meaning that you have to actively manage your Creative Cloud storage, which makes it much more of a pain to use – as opposed to a service like Dropbox which automatically synchronizes a local folder across all of your physical computers, and is available on your phone or tablet, and is available from the cloud via any web browser.
Adobe is planing to update the storage and sharing features included with Creative Cloud in the future – but frankly its not that useful right now (sorry if I sound like a Dropbox fanboy – but I find Dropbox super useful).
There are a few other features of Creative Cloud that photographers may find useful. You can host a website as part as your Creative Cloud storage. Not something that we intend to use, but I can see how it would be useful to some users.
Adobe is also developing a Creative Cloud based Community where users can create galleries and share their work. I’m personally not that excited about having ANOTHER social media type outlet for my work – we already manage image collections on Facebook, Google+, 500px and Flickr – enough already.
Here is video from Adobe outlining their vision for the evolution of Creative Cloud.
Essentially we decided to upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud because we calculated that it would be the most economical course of action for out studio.
It is important for our production software to be relatively current and with Creative Cloud, we know we are always working with the most up to date versions.
Right now I am disappointed with the functionality of Adobe’s cloud storage – but hopefully we’ll get (a whole lot) more storage space, better sharing controls, password controlled client galleries and file syncing in the future (however, I’m still waiting for Blackberry to release Flash compatibility…RIM? RIM? Ahhhhh, never mind…).