On May 11th, Adobe finally released the much-anticipated Adobe Creative Cloud. Offering the full Creative Suite across their “cloud” servers (I use the inverted commas for a reason that I’ll get into in a moment!), for a mere €40 a month is a very exciting concept. I’ll get into the nitty-gritty negative aspects below, but overall Adobe Creative Cloud have essentially provided the Creative Suite for the average user who couldn’t afford to fork out over €2,000 for a Creative Suite that will be classed as an inferior product in a year or two when Adobe bring out CS7 (or even CS6.5 to add insult to injury!).
That’s the brilliance of Creative Cloud for me. Straight up, I can afford to own the entire Creative Suite for €40 a month, or just a bit over a tenner a week. Sure, it’ll end up costing more in the long-run, but I can’t afford the long-run. Plus (and here’s the real benefit), you get free upgrades when they happen. That’s huge! That means that as soon as CS6.5 or CS7 or CS8 or even CS2000 (after I wake from a cryogenic sleep and resume work as a VFX artist for our cyborg overlords) comes along, you get upgraded without forking out the extra money. I did the maths and it does work out better. But for me, personally, it’s being able to afford the Creative Suite without the huge lump sum crippling my bank account.
Here’s the full range of products available under the Creative Cloud Suite. Lightroom is apparently going to be added to the list very soon.
Great to see Speedgrade here. I’ve already tried out the new Premiere Pro and After Effects CS6 and the performance increase since previous versions are huge. Photoshop CS6 has jumped up massively in it’s features with some amazing stuff around 3D layers (more on that later).
Now onto the controversial “Cloud” element of Adobe’s new venture… Actually, no. Let’s not bring the mood down just yet. First of all look at this exciting video telling you how great Creative Cloud is. It’s all bright and shiny and everyone’s in New York and everyone has a tablet…
Wasn’t that exciting?? I loved the part where Jeffrey Veen said that “This is a way of connecting all of your devices in your work and everything that you do with all of your applications, so that you can do your work… wherever you are”. Very exciting. Very well-written. I know I’m being a tad over-sarcastic here, so I’ll stop.
What Veen said isn’t untrue, it’s just vague enough to cover up the fact that Adobe Creative Suite isn’t exactly Cloud technology when it comes to their applications. Instead it’s Cloud technology in that you can save and upload your project files to the Cloud server and access something you did on the road at home on your desktop and provide the finishing touches to your masterpiece.
Here’s the big downside: with Adobe Creative Suite, you’re limited to install on two machines only. The bold text signifies the ominous music playing in the background. You can download on your desktop and your laptop. That’s it. Problem is, you might have a desktop and laptop at home and a desktop and laptop at work. That’d be 4 installations. On top of that, it’s common for many editors and artists to have a Windows desktop, Windows laptop and a MacBook for cross-platform compatibility for clients. That’s 3 installations. The worst part is, you can’t spread installations across workstations either. You can’t have a laptop with only Photoshop on it, then use your desktop for everything else without Photoshop. One application downloaded to one machine counts as one installation. Worse again, if you have one device and use something like Bootcamp to use multiple OS (say you have Windows and OSX on one device), if you were to install to both OS – yep, that’s used up both of your installations…
Now, I completely understand that Adobe have to be able to make sure users aren’t pooling together to use multiple instances of their software. But isn’t that as simple as only being able to access one instance of your app at a time? I.e. if one computer is using After Effects and a second computer goes to use it, it wouldn’t be able to until the first logs out? Some users might accidentally leave After Effects on at home and then go to use it at work you say? That could be solved by a remote logging off feature. All password protected of course.
Now, there is a loophole to get around this, but not a perfect one. You can have more than 2 installations of the software, however only 2 activations. This means that, to use that third computer, you need to deactivate one previous installation and activate the third computer’s installation. This, of course, is a loophole and one that you shouldn’t have to go through when dealing with a software package with the word “cloud” in the title. And then we meet Big Brother…
…or the Adobe Licence Police as they’re known. There isn’t such a thing as unlimited activations and deactivations. You’ll be flagged. I’m sure it’s not going to cost you your licence, but it might cost you a lot of time and effort being flagged and trying to prove yourself and getting reactivated. A lot of hassle. To be fair, it’s still early days yet to see how strict this operation is, but all in all, it’s something you shouldn’t be worrying about in a cloud technology. Adobe need to stop “policing” everyone who uses their products and accept that the majority of users who are willing to pay the large prices of their products, won’t be abusing their licences. Sure, there’ll be some, but why should the rest of us suffer for Adobe’s trust issues?
Some day Adobe will come to trust us and we’ll be let go out for drinks with the lads without the intrusive phone calls and text messages every couple of minutes. But even while they keep badgering us and checking up on us with private detectives and GPS-enabled mobile phones, we’ll still always come home for some lovin’.
Sheesh, that analogy took a turn for the worst at the end!! Basically, the multiple licencing thing is annoying. It’s nice to think that you’re getting Creative Cloud as a Cloud technology – that you could log on to After Effects or Premiere Pro in your parents house to finish off something without deactivating and reactivating headaches. But, overall, Creative Cloud is worth the licencing headaches. It’s Adobe’s Creative Suite for a low monthly payment. That suits me.