Brian's Photo Blog — Article 313
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Pulling My Head Out Of Adobe's Creative Cloud
Monday 21 April 2014   —   Category: Processing
It was nearly two years ago that I took the plunge into Adobe’s Creative Cloud. During the eight years before that, I had been the happy owner of various versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite. But when Adobe starting moving its creative offerings to a software as a service model, I was faced with the choice of either moving with Adobe, or else abandoning their software altogether.

In the first decade of the 2000s I had done a lot of video production, both as a hobby and as part of my work. Therefore, I was used to having quite a bit of expensive Adobe software at my fingertips, including: However, as the years have slipped by I have done less and less video production, so that these days I’m doing practically none at all. In fact, out of the twenty-plus applications which are a part of Creative Cloud, the only ones I am using on a regular basis are Photoshop and Lightroom. Everything else that I’m paying good money for each month is just going to waste.

It wasn’t too bad the first year of my Creative Cloud membership, because Adobe was offering a special introductory price of “only” $30 per month. For a $2,000 collection of software, that wasn’t too bad of a deal. But after that honeymoon period ended, the price was raised to the normal $50 per month, which if you do the math is $600 per year. Ouch! For that amount of money you had better be making good use of what Adobe is providing.

And that’s exactly where the problem is. I’m NOT making good use of the twenty-plus programs that I am paying for each month. Photoshop and Lightroom are pretty much it. Spending $50 per month to use only these two programs is a real waste of money, and does not make sense at all!

From what I have read, many other photographers have felt the same way. There’s been a lot of complaints and criticism of Creative Cloud. Apparently Adobe has been taking this to heart, because in September 2013 they launched a special Photoshop-Lightroom subscription for a greatly reduced price of “only” $10 per month. Even though this “special offer” was supposed to last through only the end of 2013, it seems to have been extended at least once, with the latest cut-off date being 31 May 2014.

My current $50-per-month Creative Cloud subscription, which requires an annual commitment, expires/renews at the end of June. As I have been contemplating my creative software needs and the various options for meeting those needs, I came to realize that, after two years, it was high time to start pulling my head out of Adobe’s Creative Cloud. By switching to Adobe’s “special limited offer” of Photoshop and Lightroom for “only” $10 per month, I would be saving myself $40 per month, or $480 per year. Such savings is nothing to sneeze at!

Therefore, today I got on the phone with Adobe customer service and worked out a new arrangement. Starting immediately, my $50-per-month access to the full suite of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software is canceled. In its place, I now have access to Photoshop and Lightroom only — officially called their Photoshop Photography Program — at $10 a month for the next twelve months.

The customer service rep was a bit vague about what will happen a year from now. Perhaps the same software package will be offered for the same price, or for a different price. Or else this special “photographer’s bundle” will not be offered at all in the future. Well, I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

OK, but what about when I have that rare video editing or audio editing project? Or that even rarer occasion when I need the muscle of After Effects? Who will I turn to then? After ten years in the Adobe Creative Suite fold, this is kind of a scary prospect! Obviously, Adobe is not the only producer of creative software. Because I’m a committed Mac user, I’m thinking that Apple’s offerings in this area may end up being the best alternatives.

For video editing I've used Final Cut Pro before, when I was studying video production at Allen Hancock College. I think that the current version of Apple’s Final Cut Pro would be a more-than-adequate replacement for Adobe’s Premiere Pro. And Apple’s Motion can handle some of the tasks I used to throw at Adobe’s After Effects.

For audio editing, Apple’s Logix Pro X seems like a very capable program that can compete head-on with Adobe’s Audition. For basic DVD and Blu-Ray disc creation, it looks like Apple’s Compressor will be able to substitute for Adobe’s now-discontinued Encore.

Of course, these programs from Apple are not free, but with the money I will be saving from downgrading my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, I will just about break even for the year. The advantage is that I will be purchasing the software from Apple and not renting it. Therefore, in future years I will definitely be saving a good hunk of dough.

So is this the beginning of the end of my love affair with Adobe software? Is there a divorce looming in the future? At this point it is hard to say for sure, but it is a realistic prospect. If at the end of twelve months Adobe cancels their special “photographer’s bundle” offer, and forces me back to a $50 per month Creative Cloud subscription, then I think that would be the last straw.

Even though I love Photoshop and Lightroom, they are NOT the only games in town! In the past I used to rely on Corel Photo-Paint, so it could be within the realm of possibility to renew that relationship. Apple’s Aperture is a worthy alternative to Lightroom. And I know that there are additional alternatives out there which I have not yet researched. We shall see.

No matter how things turn out in the future, today is a momentous day to remember: I've taken my first major step in ten years away from the Adobe fold. It will be fascinating to see which creative software I am relying on ten years from now!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 313
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