What happens to Photoshop Elements?
And how does it compare to Pixelmator?
Photoshop Elements is one of the apps that's not included in Creative Cloud, so nothing changes there. I can't comment on how it compares to Pixelmator, though, not having used either much (or recently).
I've never used Elements, but I bought Pixelmator on sale for $15, and it's completely replaced Photoshop for my needs.
Wondering if Elements can edit 16-bit images. Seems Pixelmator doesn't. If it's a big deal for enough potential (power) users, maybe the developers can enable 16-bit editing as an in-app purchase at some reasonable cost.
Good discussion of 16-bit in Elements 11:
If you're looking for an alternative which truely supports 16 and 32 bit colour depth, PhotoLine (www.pl32.com) might be worth a look (also has Lab and CMYK modes, adjustment layers, …, probably the Mac app closest to PS as far as features are concerned). It's fast, dead stable, and a real bargain at €59. The downside: GUI is something to get used to (make sure you switch icons to grey mode), not too many tutorials, steep learning curve (like PS).
I hope my (legally purchased) InDesign CS4 keeps working for a while. I only need it for occasional things but I love the exact control it gives me. There's no way I could justify switching to CC. But people like me are going to have no effect on Adobe's bottom line. In fact, losing my demographic should help them a lot. I'm sure we incur a hugely disproportionate amount of support expense.
The folks who make Pixelmator and Acorn must be doing little jigs of joy right now. Sketch has come a long way in a short time--I'm sure this will light a fire under them as well.
What we ran into (since we had InDesign CS4 too) was that we needed to maintain compatibility with outside designers using CS6, so Creative Cloud was an inexpensive way to come up to date with InDesign and Photoshop (for which we had only CS3).
Anytime you ask "How much does it cost", and the answer is "Well, it's tricky", the answer is really "a lot"
The cost is actually pretty reasonable. It's just that the tiers are a bit complex, when you factor in business and educational pricing, and Adobe's reluctance to sell month to month subscriptions.
Before Creative Cloud, the answer to "How much does it cost?" was simple. The answer was always "A lot." :-)
Once you start the subscription, every year you will have to ask yourself "Do I want to pay another $600, or am I ok with never being able to open any of my files again?"
Only the five richest kings in Europe owned the entire Creative Suite.
That's sort of true, except for the fact that you can subscribe to a single app or the entire collection on a month-by-month basis (at least now). The question is more, "Is it worth $75 to me to open my Adobe files for a month?"
The converse is the way it was before, which was "Do I want to pay $600 to be able to open this single file that my designer has sent me?" That answer was almost always "No."
Of course, if you really think you aren't going to be renewing at some point, you'd be smart to export most everything to standardized formats where possible.
And if you needed temporary access at some point in the future because someone else wanted you to work on something, it's easier to get them to buy you a $75 monthly pass than to get them to pony up the hundreds or thousands that it would have cost before if your apps were too old to be useful
Neither is necessarily right or wrong. It's too bad that Adobe isn't still offering the boxed versions for those who want them, but Creative Cloud isn't obviously more expensive for most people.
I thought the answer was "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" ;)
Thanks for this, Charles!
I just called Adobe. They told me that I can no longer upgrade my Creative/Web Premium 5.5 to version 6. I would have to buy a new version 6 at $1800. Can you believe the arrogance of this Quarkitized company?
Ugh, I'm sorry Roger. That's no surprise, as they are pushing hard for Creative Cloud adoption.
I went to the link Charles gave above and clicked buy and you can click on the pop-up for upgrade - it's $375 + tax from 5.5 to version 6. So it's now downloading. I would have stayed at 5.5 but they claim version 6 will be a perpetual license (until Apple changes OS X majorly, I assume).
Prior to being able to order the download, I was on an online chat with an Adobe rep from India, I assume, who I had to instruct about the various versions, so finally hung up. Then I called Adobe's 1-800 number and the woman told me the upgrade was no longer available and that I would have to buy a whole new version 6. Does anybody know who is running the ship at Adobe?
P.S. If you do a search for Upgrade on Adobe's site, it will always bring you to the Creative Cloud propaganda - nowhere is it indicated how to upgrade an existing version, except for upgrading to Klunky Kloud. Is my attitude toward Adobe showing?
Glad Charles was able to help. Yeah, during my article research, I was trying to find information about the boxed copy of CS 6, but EVERYTHING redirects to Creative Cloud.
It's like when the CEO of Adobe was being questioned about Australian pricing, and he kept changing the topic to Creative Cloud. It must be their new strategy: talk about Creative Cloud and nothing else. We never sold boxed software! We've always been at war with Eurasia!
Just as a data point, I went back and checked my upgrade price paid (4 upgrades since May 2007), and averaged per year, I paid $450 a year. So the Cloud version ($600/year) is significantly more expensive for someone such as myself that upgrades version to version. Not to mention the fact that if I stop paying, my software stops working.
I'd like to see more tiers of Creative Cloud. Right now it's one app or everything. There's no designer package with a handful of apps like there was with the boxed copies. Hopefully that will change sooner than later.
I never like it when anyone limits options. Fortunately, I don't need the Creative Suite and all its apps/options, not being that type of user. I will regret the loss of Photoshop Elements however, which I'm sure is coming. Regarding price, Adobe has always disdained the small business market, as has Microsoft. This latest decision doesn't endear us any better to those programs.
Would I be able to use my Photoshop plugins with the cloud?
You should be able to. These aren't Web apps; right now Creative Cloud nets you the same CS6 apps that you can buy in a box.
Q: What is the definition of "monopoly"?
The problem with Creative Cloud isn't the cost, which will work just fine for many people. Those who find it daunting will stick with the version of CS they currently have as long as they can. Then they will switch to some other applications, if viable alternatives are available. Of course "viable" in this context is a very flexible term, depending on an individual's needs and preferences. Bear in mind, though, that current prices for CC are generally for the first year only. Past that you can count on them going up. At which point those favorable comparisons with the cost of CS will evaporate like morning dew under a summer sun. So take those favorable comparisons with the grain of salt they're really worth. If you have a business and your business makes enough of a profit to pay taxes on, you will undoubtedly be able to write off the cost of CC. For anyone less prosperous the cost of CC will be problematic.
No, the real problem with Adobe's cloud only policy is the element of coercion involved. They're giving us no choice in the matter. It's an incredibly high handed and customer hostile policy. Many people already consider Adobe to be too full of themselves. The numbers of those who feel that way will be growing up exponentially now. Nobody likes a bully. And this one's flipping us all off big time.
Jeff's point regarding coercion is spot on. But I take issue with your dismal of the cost of doing business with Adobe: yes the purchase will be tax deductable, not a tax credit. In other words I would get 20-30% tax break as usual on such a purchase, but the cost difference will still be considrable. I pay a fair amount of tax on my business income but I still look at all the dollars I can possible save to maximise my net income. Do you not?
There is the fear that Adobe will jack up prices, but at the same time, if Adobe pushes too hard, the market will answer.
Of course, the problem is that Adobe is the standard. So while "small-time" users can use alternatives like Pixelmator and Sketch, they won't be able to easily trade files with other designers like they can now with PSD and AI.
Which may be good news for established design firms, as it raises the bar to entry and keeps the little guy out.
I'm surprised to see price comparisons to the retail suite when I suspect that the majority of your audience already owns CS3, etc. When the price of a subscription is compared to the former/current UPGRADE pricing, a different picture emerges: as an example I purchase PS CS6 as an upgrade from my PS CS5 for $170-200. And I don't need to upgrade every year. So a subscritption will cost me $240/year - or more since Adobe hints that the one year price is a "special" - and while I'm not forced to upgrade, I still have to pay my monthly subscription. I was waiting to upgrade to CS7; with that goal in mind, my per year cost would closer to $100, vs. $240 just for PS. Ouch!
That's a good point, Chuck, and indeed something we failed to take into account (partly because it's harder to determine from online resources).
So here's the question. Say it's $150 to $200 for each upgrade to Photoshop. What's the price then, if you also need to upgrade InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat? Are we in that $600 range where it feels comparable?
I suspect that Adobe is looking at the fullness of the Creative Cloud package when they consider the upgrade comparison, since once you have a certain number of those programs, Creative Cloud will seem like a good deal.
Your right Adam. Of course it's going to depend on ones needs and situation. If one needs to stay "up-to-date" more than one or two programs, then CC makes sense.
I'm one of those more "casual" users, retired from Design, but using the programs for MANY things, including designing my fine art paintings. This will be extremely painful to someone like me living on retirement and supplementing income with art. PLUS, YEARS of files will become unavailable to me without great expense, based on how I think I'd use the products. Sickened and nervous. Praying the competition comes through with options that will open my files.
I hope so too! We need more competition in this space.
To be clear, if you have CS6 now (or buy it while it's still available in box form) it's not going away. So for casual use, where you're probably not trying to keep up with the latest versions at all time, nothing much should change from where you are now.
A few problems. There is no lock-in or price guarantee. Next year they can double the price, and the year after double it again. Since access to our files is dependent on the subscription, and our livelihood might depend on it too, we agree. Or some of us do. If they quadruple the price and lose half their customers, they come out far ahead.
The nature of the rolling upgrades mean that deciding what software to run on our computer is not necessarily in our control. This is spelled out clearly in the CC EULA. Having the sand shift under our feet in the middle of a project is not a good thing.
Also your article failed to mention that a LOT of people are very very unhappy with this. The comments on John Nack's blog, or this DPReview forum show that most people are very unhappy. Too bad for them.
DP Review forum link didn't post, above.
I am a graphic artist 3 years from retirement. I will be doing personal creative projects in retirement, but there is no way I will be able to spend $50 per month for the next 25 years for software for a non-business purpose.
Irritating and not pro-customer at all.
Adobe has always been aggressive, but I'm sure there are and will be other softwares out there for my needs.
It makes me nervous that files I've saved for 20 years may not be able to be opened.
I'm guessing you put it in angle brackets, which makes it seem like a tag and deletes it. Just paste it in as normal text and it should work. (I can edit into the original post once I know what it is.)
The real kicker is that if you cancel your subscription you loose access to your documents, which Adobe are essentially holding hostage: "If you want to see your digital 'babies' again, keep paying the subscription sucker!"
To be fair, this isn't much different than before. If Apple broke your outdated version in a new version of OS X, or changed platforms yet again, you'd be stuck having to upgrade eventually.
I will play devil's advocate, new managing editor, and say that before, you could conceivably run old hardware and an old version forever. Some people (including my dad, I think) are running 10-year-old versions of Photoshop.
Adobe is breaking the notion that you are buying something with which you make proprietary format documents that will work as long as the hardware works if you don't change anything on your end. Especially with TidBITS readers, as we and they tend to keep hardware for a while, it's different.
Flip side, though is that Adobe is making a broad range of tools available more cheaply to more people, even as it frustrates those who just need one tool or would be happy with an old tool. (Buy copies of CS6 now! Quick!)
There are ever-better competitive tools for Photoshop and many other packages that Adobe makes that should ostensibly keep them from just jacking the price up lest they lose all but their most-dedicated professional customers who can't choose any alternative.
Ah, but contributing editor, I am already playing devil's advocate! I generally dislike Adobe. Their consumer products, like Acrobat Reader and Flash, are subpar, and their professional products are way out of my price range.
I'm uneasy about subscription-based software. But, regardless of how I feel, this is the way Adobe's going, it's what they've been pushing for, and I don't see them turning back unless this is an epic disaster, and even then they'd be hesitant to do so.
But, for now, Creative Cloud is not a bad deal. I hope that this move makes room for competition, because Adobe sorely needs some.
Adobe's decision, like a number made by Apple recently, move us all closer to the walled-garden, keeping more and more under their control and caprice. Especially, connection speeds in the US in most places are not fast enough (under $100/mo.) to support this brave new world Adobe, Apple, and others are touting. Even for a serious amateur photographer, you are bottlenecked by your connection, trying to feed batches of dozens of 20MP+ RAW and TIFF files upstream. The price is secondary when your workflow slows down this much. I'd need 50 Mbps at least upstream to equal it done locally. If I lived in many countries in Europe and East Asia it would be a non-problem, but Adobe's new policy is just going to be a dog for us without enterprise-speed connects, and is not an enhancement or progress, it is a piracy-control measure, pure and simple. I will stay with PS 12/CS 5.1 as long as possible, then perhaps migrate to GIMP (at least Lightroom is outside the pale, for now)
I'm not clear on how Internet speed is related here. Yes, you need an Internet connection for the initial download, which is large, but if you want to upgrade a modern Mac, you already have to download OS X, which is much larger. But after that initial download, there's no difference in Internet reliance than with a boxed product that you're updating. You don't have to use the cloud at all for data storage if you don't want to.
Adobe seems to making sure pros are paying top dollar for Photoshop (and not using pirated copies) and herding the rest of us toward Elements. I like and use Elements, but hope some of the new features in Photoshop will migrate eventually into Elements, as many have in the past.
I guess Adobe hasn't watched what Google is doing to Microsoft with Google Docs. Have they missed what's going on in the world of making and building things with Sketchup? Duh?
I admit I tend to consider only Photoshop and photography when thinking about things Adobe, but mostly this will be an issue for pros, even more so outside the metier of still photography. Non-pro photogs, and some pros who do not live under heavy deadline pressure will be able to continue to be fully productive using Photoshop CS 6 or less. Also, where photography intersects with the web, books, magazines, and other media in an all-Adobe universe, things will change (slower, and/or more expensive). I count 3 friends as pro photogs, and more than a dozen acquaints whose workflow I know, and can say that provided CS6 and earlier, and the file formats they use continue to be compatible with those of the new CC model, the photographer need not change a thing. And if those formats do kill any backwards compatibility, then shame, shame, shame on Adobe, who brought us PDF and DNG, in the spirit of universality!
It's interesting in all of the forums I've read where this shows up, that the weight of the comments are against this move. In the DPreview forum I mentioned above, there was a survey, with over 95% of over 6000 photographers responding negatively. Just over 4% responded with "Actually, I think this might work for me."
In my case, I "own" the CS6 apps I will use, and I'll keep them as long as I can. If this does end up seeming benign instead of malignant for use creative professionals, and I end up subscribing, I will do it with a very different attitude toward Adobe.
I'm already keeping my eye on the door. One of my summer projects will be going through all photos saved as PSD, and re-saving them in flat or simple formats. I will eschew some of the new features like Smart Objects, which are very nifty. But they will interfere with open compatibility.
I just bought and tried Pixelmator because of this. For the heck of it, at $15. While I know it's no substitute for PS, it's good!
The price mentioned in your article, isn't completely accurate, because it applies only when you buy a new version for the first time. Once you bought one, all new versions' upgrades will cost only around 189-198$, every 18-20 months, so you can calculate the monthly cost., being lower than 10$... Therefore, this new policy will harm photographers like me, who use only Photoshop and are happy to upgrade whenever a new version is published.
Thanks for all the kind words about my previous post of the upgrade link.
A follow-up on opening documents created in CC if you end your subscription: It's always been possible to open Photoshop files in an old version that were created with a newer version. Not sure if this will be possible with CC files, unless you save them in an old format; e.g., CS5. Illustrator is another matter entirely. Even before CC, when saving in an older format you get a warning that objects created with features not supported by the old version may be lost.
The link that Charles provided for buying CS6 without subscribing to CC goes to a page for students, teachers and institutions. Am I missing something? Has anyone been able to buy a standalone non-educational CS6 package today? I don't qualify for educational, although in the past, it's been cheaper for me to enroll in a class at the community college and buy the educational version, than to buy the regular upgrade. CC has many of us professional designers--sole proprietors--very suspicious of what Adobe has up their corporate sleeve in the near future. I used to think they were pretty cool in 1987 when they turned the design business upside down with Postscript code (yes, I remember that), but not now.
What about the "Poor Man's PhotoShop", GraphicConverter?
Have you looked at Pixlr? Most of what anyone uses Photoshop for in a free online app.
Good thought Dennis. Also, although the name(s) escape me, the open source group has there version of an image editor about which I've heard good things. GNU?
I've used Photoshop since version 1.0, mostly updating every 2 or 3 versions. I'm at CS6 after updating from CS3. I don't use it a lot but when I need it, it's great. It's simply not worth $240 a year to me. I'll use CS6 as long as I'm able: presumably, though, Adobe will stop issuing updates for Raw camera formats, so next new camera I buy, I'm out of luck. One of the most valuable features in Adobe is the ability to automate: there's a set of actions I do for photos I post on my blog and it saves me a ton of time. Do any of the alternatives out there allow for automation? Is there another alternative for automating a whole sequence of actions, from open to close? (Please, not Applescript!)
OK, suppose it's five years from now. I have files built in Creative Cloud, but unless I have recent hardware, I can't run the current version. (The 2013 Creative Cloud requires OSX 10.6; the 2018 will require something later.) So in that case I'm completely stuck. My hardware could run software that would open the files, but Adobe won't let me use that software. And the software they will let me use won't run on the hardware.
Note that this isn't a problem if the apps are purchasable. Adobe has invented a new, insuperable problem for future users because they're greedy for monthly cash flow. Not only are they obsoleting my files, they'll also be obsoleting my hardware. For no good engineering reason.
Another aspect of the monopoly, which I haven't seen mentioned in this thread, is that the cloud model eliminates all retailers and distributors. That effects consumers directly, in that retailers deal in a world of competition, and sometimes provide discounts, service and support. It affects us more generally, in that it eliminates jobs, businesses, options, and the resulting local bits of the economy. It is a part of a disturbing trend of concentrating all wealth and power into a very small number of companies.
That's a good point Derek, but I understand that Adobe will actually be selling Creative Cloud subscription cards in retail outlets, so they're not entirely cut out. Also, as I mention in my upcoming followup to this piece, there are resellers of Creative Cloud.
I've been an Adobe customer since Illustrator88. My last Adobe boxed upgrade was the CS3 Web Designer package. When I got the notice last year that Adobe was offering the CC for an affordable $30/mo for those who owned a CS3 product or above. I drank the kool-aide. Yesterday I tried to open a PS file and got a notice that I needed to renew my subscription for $50/mo. I called and complained and was told that the $30/mo price was only good for the first year, that I should have read the Terms & Conditions. If I wanted to continue using the product I'd have to pay the price. I pulled up the T&C & told them that nowhere did it say that after the first year I would have to pay $50/mo. I insisted on talking with a supervisor (Harmeed) who finally agreed to let me continue my subscription for another year at $30 but warned me, "Next year you will have to pay at least $50/mo. or higher." I'm happy that I got another year at $30/mo but not happy w/Adobe and pissed that I drank the kool-aide.
Took some digging to find the link for signing up for the $79 Month to Month account so here it is: http://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/html/index.cfm?event=displayProduct&categoryOID=7240518&store=OLS-US