Adobe’s Creative Cloud

The news about Adobe’s new Creative Cloud model is pretty much common knowledge now; there’s been plenty of posts about it on other sites. Some of those just reiterate the Adobe PR release and others take a personal stance. If you haven’t read much about this yet, I’ve linked to the highlights after the break.  I won’t bother with a summary, since the links will cover that.  But if you want to skip the rest of this and get the 5-second version, it’s this: no thanks.

Scott Kelby does a good job explaining the new model (and dispelling some of the inaccuracies about it) in his post here: My Take on Adobe’s Announcements Yesterday at the MAX Conference 

DPReview shared an interview with the Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, where he responds to the negative backlash (mainly by telling us how good this is and not answering questions): Photoshop CC: Adobe responds to reaction

Scott Bourne of Photo Focus takes a much more aggressive (and adversarial) stance in defense of the Creative Cloud in his post (and by the time he hits the comments, he becomes a jackass): 10 Reasons The Haters Are Mad About Adobe Creative Cloud

Admiring Light shares some thoughts that fall into line with my own: Adobe Goes Cloud Only – They’re right about one thing…

And finally a poll over at that might indicate that this isn’t so bad: Stay with Adobe?

[Correction: I posted a link to the wrong poll; the correct one is here (What are you plans re-Adobe CC?) and the outcome is clearly against CC – only 1% of the 200+ voters actually like the new CC method].


It’s no secret that I’ve been at odds with Adobe for some time now. I did just upgrade to CS6 last month with the expectation that this would likely be the final upgrade that I was able (or willing) to make, given their new upgrade policy. Well, that policy is out the window now that the Creative Cloud has become the only avenue for upgrades after CS6.

Which means I’m out. I simply refuse to lease software. Like most leases, it’s an empty expense – not even an investment – because as soon as you end the lease, you’re left with nothing to show for it.

Up to this point I’ve been able to upgrade every few years for $199, which helps spread the cost out and make it manageable. Under the CC model, Adobe wants me to shell out $20 each month, forever. And if I cancel then I’m back to whatever version I owned prior to joining the CC (assuming I still have the disk/installer at that point).

Admiring Light is right – for individuals/companies who use multiple Adobe products, CC is a great deal. They’re probably thrilled. But for the lone photographer, the freelancer, the hobbyist – people like me – who only use Photoshop, it’s a slap in the face.

From a financial standpoint it’s a bad deal. From a user standpoint it’s a bad deal. And from a trust standpoint, well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t trust Adobe with a bent nickel at this point, so I certainly don’t want to spend this kind of money to trust them any further.

I believe that Adobe has become greedy. They have a near-monopoly on all manner of software, and in the photography world there isn’t really a strong, viable alternative to Photoshop. So up to now we’ve all gone along with whatever Adobe has done because we didn’t have much of a choice. But the combination of the Creative Cloud and the enormous arrogance Adobe has showed in their interviews and responses is enough.

I’m done. Whatever I buy after CS6, it almost certainly won’t be another Adobe product. (Even if Adobe rescinds the CC-only model, I still don’t think I’d trust them again.)

My sincere hope is that someone finally steps forward and challenges Adobe with a strong Photoshop alternative. GIMP, Paintshop, something new – any of them have a ready market of pissed-off former Adobe users who are eager for an alternative. Give us the tools and abilities we need and we’ll be interested. (And let’s face facts here, I probably only use 40-60% of Photoshop’s features/tools, and I suspect most other photographers are right in line with me.)

To that end, Lightroom is still available as both a Cloud option and as a traditional software purchase. I don’t care for it personally (maybe I should try it again?) but I know it does everything that many photographers need. But here’s my question: how long will it remain available as a traditional option? Do we want to trust that Adobe won’t also make it cloud-only? I don’t, not after this.

And since I’m wishing here, let’s make this Photoshop alternative Linux-compatible, so I can ditch Microsoft too.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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  1. Just a note, the poll you are linking to on FM is from 2012. Here’s a poll that related to CC…not as rosy:

    • Brent Pennington

      Major OOPS there. Thanks for pointing that out – I’ve posted a correction!

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