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Cloud cover: What Creative Cloud means to you

Jackie Dove | May 20, 2013
What's the big objection to Creative Cloud and what should you do about it?

What about the many professional and highly skilled users who only need a single packagePhotoshop or InDesign, for example? For them, a single app costs $20 a month for a year's subscription and includes a wealth of collaborative features and cloud advantages.

It was not lost on the company that over half a million people signed up for the fledgling subscription service this past year, and that most were individuals and small shops.

Choice and file access
No one likes to feel that corporate changes deny them the freedom to choose how they work, but for many users, Adobe's actions will do just that.

Ironically, in order to accommodate folks who do not want to switch to cloud services, Adobe is continuing to sell perpetual licenses of CS6 in its entirety. It promises to continue supporting CS6 with updates and bug fixeseverything but adding new featuresthrough the next major updates of both Mac and Windows operating systems. If that reassurance was designed to calm everyone down, it didn't succeed because people are viewing this as a long-term transaction.

As software ages, and operating systems advance, desktop software struggles with backward compatibility. The prospect of losing access to precious work because of not paying the cloud fee for the most recent update is scary, especially because Adobe has not worked out all the details yet. However, there is evidence that Adobe has taken this into consideration. As Scott Morris, Adobe's senior marketing director, explains on Macworld's podcast, Adobe is continuing to evaluate how to handle expired licenses and is seeking user feedback on the issue.

According to Adobe's FAQ, if you cancel your paid membership in Creative Cloud, you still have access to a free membership with 2GB of storage space. Moreover, Adobe says there will be a 99-day period between the time subscribers have to actually be online to validate subscriptions, in consideration of photographers in the field without Internet access. In response to the community's vocal opposition, it also says it is evolving on the idea of extending that grace period even more. Adobe agrees that no one should lose access to their files with this conversion.

The Lightroom and Elements
One alternative for photographers to a Creative Cloud subscription is Lightroom. Lightroom is available as part of Adobe's cloud subscription, but it is a hybrid product that is also available as a traditional license. Because so many image editing operations can be performed in Lightroom, casual users may get similar functionality to Photoshop, but at the much lower cost of $150. Competition from Apple's Aperture or Corel's After Shot Pro, could provide professional photo management.


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