Adobe: Creative Suite Is Dead, Long Live Creative Cloud

Adobe: Creative Suite Is Dead, Long Live Creative Cloud

Do you remember Adobe's Creative Suite or CS? Yes, it was that family of Adobe applications that served creatives well for quite a long time. We used to buy perpetual licenses for applications from the Creative Suite, which felt like you really owned something. You paid and it was yours. Well, Adobe says you can't do that anymore.

With the introduction of Creative Cloud, there were many complaints against the subscription model. While being cheaper to use the new software as a subscription, at the end, it's not yours forever. You can use it as long as you pay for it continually.

How I Feel About the Subscription Model

I remember when the Creative Cloud subscription was first pushed to the public. All Creative Suite products have been diligently put deeper into Adobe's website, so it was very hard to find them. At that time, I was using Photoshop Elements, and it served me quite well for my photography projects. Being a subscriber to something I use on a daily basis doesn't feel right to me. It's like paying rent to use my kitchen utensils. If software doesn't work well, nobody will buy it. If it works, the users will buy it and many will not think of upgrading to the next version unless they need something more. This was the time when I purchased a Photoshop CS6 perpetual license. I still use it. I barely use even 10 percent of the functionality it provides, and I don't need anything more. I'm happy with it, although I've paid lots of money to obtain it. It's mine. All mine. That's why I'm not a Creative Cloud subscriber. I have a piece of software that covers all my needs in terms of image manipulation. I don't want to stop working in the middle of an important photography or video project just because my bank has issues with their card-processing software, my card has not enough funds, or it has expired. Of course, this always happens on the eve of a long national holiday.

What If I Want Another CS6 Application?

I can't have it anymore. Adobe says: "Adobe creative apps are available exclusively through Creative Cloud." No more perpetual licenses. No more CS6. You are forced to be a subscriber to their software if you want to use it. That's what they say on their website right now:

The whole subscription model by Adobe is an interesting move. There are other software companies that are getting more market share in the world of photo and video processing. Some of them are even cheaper. Users are in front of the decision to be a loyal Adobe subscriber at a low monthly price or go to another software company and buy their application with a perpetual license. There were options before: to use an older full version of a product or newer subscription-based software. Not anymore.

What About Lightroom?

If you don't have raw-processing software, you can't get the newest camera and open its files in your old Creative Suite Photoshop application, because you don't have the latest Camera Raw updates. If you want to use your old Adobe Photoshop and you are loyal to Adobe, you have to use Lightroom. It was available outside the Creative Cloud so far, so users like me could upgrade to the next version without being a subscriber (hoping they've fixed their performance issues). That worked quite well for me, and I think for others too.

I just searched for "Lightroom 6" on their website and I've got a message that if I need Lightroom, I have to subscribe to the Creative Cloud. I am not able to find any link to a perpetual license purchase anymore. Does this mean Lightroom is not available for a full purchase and loyal Adobe users are forced to pay for subscriptions?

Are you a Creative Cloud subscriber? How do you feel about it after those years? What do you think about their move, especially for Lightroom? Do you care?

[via photofocus]

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Craig Staples's picture

So obviously the author of this story doesn't know how to use a scroll bar. If they did and they used it to scroll to the bottom of the lightroom page on the Adobe site they would see a link on the right side in a big box to purchase the desktop version and not CC. ('s right beside the prices shown for the CC version)

It is still on the Adobe Canadian site

Ryan Mense's picture

I'm not seeing it. Maybe you are loading a cached version of the page? I took a screen grab of the area I think you are seeing it...

Craig Staples's picture

As a correction to the author I jumped to soon, as I only went on the Canadian site and not the US. It is still there as of 2 min ago

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I checked on the Bulgarian website, nothing about Lightroom 6 there. Probably they've forgotten to remove it or deliberately left it there for your region.

Josh Shettler's picture

The subscription for Lightroom is a part of the Creative Cloud Photography plan. In that plan you get Photoshop, Lightroom, and a small number of creative cloud applications for $10/month.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes. The standalone version of Lightroom is more for those who already paid for Photoshop CS6 or just want to use Lightroom as a perpetual license app in their photography workflow.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I don't see it ether.

joe o sullivan's picture

It's gone from the Irish site too, but still on the Canadian site, looks like they just forgot about the Canadians.. lol

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

James Springle (in the comments below) found it on their website:

I hope it works for the Irish website too.

Spy Black's picture

I think the bigger problem is people not wanting to change their production routines. Adobe has a monopoly in graphics simply because people don't want to think outside of the box. They believe Adobe's software is the only way to achieve creative goals. They moment people and companies start thinking outside of the box, Adobe is dead.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

People are starting to use other softwares (I myself) and Adobe will become one of the many. Nothing wrong with that.

Spy Black's picture

Right. You can't teach an old dog new tricks...

Katherine R's picture

The only reason to learn a replacement (not new - just a different version of the same thing) trick is if it's somehow better than the old one...

Spy Black's picture

When you're not enslaved to one giant corporation to get your work done, I'd say that's "somehow better than the old one..."

Ryan Cooper's picture

There is certainly something said to not be wholly dependant on a single entity for your work. That said, no one really is, unwillingness to arbitrarily switch tools does not reflect inability.

Economically there is a lot to be lost from switching as you both face a large investment in effort to return to the level of proficiency that you already have but there will also be a cease to your progress while you relearn.

If Adobe is an effective workflow they should use it until it doesn't work for them. (for whatever reason). The moment this changes, THAT is the moment to begin learning the new product and ease into it.

Prematurely hopping workflows that offer no economic gain puts a professional photographer at an economical disadvantage to those who choose to invest their time more efficiently.

Spy Black's picture

I think a better option is knowing more than one way to skin a cat. As a freelance retoucher I have to deal with Adobe at gunpoint, but that doesn't mean I have to do so if the project can be done from my home workstations. Most clients just need a flattened finished product and if, say, GIMP would cut the mustard for you, than there you are.

The key really is to give yourself options. Have the escape route, you never know when you might need it. ;-) Right now I'm looking into Affinity Photo, and if it can cut the mustard it will become my home workstation go-to app. It really just requires the effort on my part to make it a part of my production workflow.

Changing workflows is akin to starting an exercise and proper eating habit routine after not doing any for a prolonged period of time, or ever. Most people won't ever start it, or will try it and give up and go back to their old routine. It's a lifestyle change most people don't want to do because there is a momentum that keeps them painting themselves right into that corner. ;-)

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

It depends. If changing the production routines would take too much time and you are paying a team to do the job, it's too expensive to invest in migrating to another software. For a small team of 1 or 2 people, it's a matter of decision whether a perpetual license is better or a subscription, or if there's a better software out there, is it well supported and does it do the job for you.

The switch is always painful but just for a short time.

Most applications are trying to keep a similar UI so users can migrate from other softwares in that category much quickly using theirs.

Spy Black's picture

That's exactly what corporations like Adobe and Microsoft count on to maintain their strangleholds on their respective industries, the momentum of the established production lines. Although I mentioned "kill Adobe" above, what I really meant is kill their stranglehold on the industry. As a freelancer I'm forced at gunpoint to know Adobe apps because when I show up somewhere to work that's what will be there to work with.

However as an independent I don't have to go that route. For instance right now I'm looking at Serif's Affinity Photo as an image editing option. That's the key, options. We don't really have any on the professional level for the most part, but that's slowly changing. However it needs to be embraced. Yes, it takes time and money to change, and it's certainly easier on a smaller and individual basis. However if enough individuals start to choose options, you slowly start to release that stranglehold.

Putting all your professional eggs in one basket is a dangerous precedent

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I agree.

Brendan Kavanagh's picture

Perhaps it's just me but I can't see any link to Lightroom 6 anywhere on Adobe's site either.
I know Adobe are deliberately making it as difficult as possible for people to avoid their rental stuff but I didn't realise that it had become, seemingly, impossible.
Any chance of a screenshot?

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Seems to be available only for some regions, such as on the Canadian site so far (a reader posted a screenshot above).

Jonathan Reid's picture

I've been using it for about two years and I love the system. I end up paying less too.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I'm glad it works for you. At the end you have to be glad with the results as this is a tool that has to do the job for you.

Adam Milton's picture

I really don't see what the big fuss is about. If there is a billing issue, they don't immediately cut off all access, they give you ample notice that there is an issue, and plenty of time to fix it before your access is revoked. I have read a horror story about a paid member who still could not access their software, however that seemed to be an outlier. The objections to the subscription model seem to be more on principle than practical concerns.

I do video projects occasionally, but certainly not enough to justify shelling out $800 for Premiere. Through the cloud, I can pay for that software when I need it.

Lightroom seems to be the only Adobe software that is getting worse over time. Photoshop has some features that are not super useful (anything 3D, weak video editor), but they have added many more useful functions that not. I think most people here know where LR falls short, and Adobe has showed us they have no intention of addressing the issues that affect pros on a daily basis.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I purchased video editing applications outside Adobe and I work with them. To me, as you said, it's a principle issue. I feel more comfortable when I have a perpetual license. I don't think they sell Premiere as a perpetual license anymore.

Premiere and After Effects are still industry standards but lots of other software companies are catching up quickly.

Christophe M's picture

Same song on the Adobe French site :-(

Christophe M's picture


On google, i enter « lightroom licence », from the french page of google, and here I find this :
(first screen shoot)

This can be quickly translate as « You can purchase Lightroom 6 as a single-license product (without a Creative Cloud formula), and then download and install it on your computer. ».
And if I follow the link, I have this (second screen shoot), where you have for Photoshop CC « S’abonner «  (Subscribe in french) and for LR « Acheter » (Buy in french).

Maybe the old page still in the cache . . .

Could you check on the US/Canadian side ?


Tihomir Lazarov's picture

No luck on the US site. At least I can't find such info anymore.

Adam T's picture

At this point, Adobe can go F#ck themselves. You still need Cs 6 for encore, which by the way should have never been canceled.
Ever since they went to CC there is no need for them to advance and fix their bugs in a timely fashion. Instead, every update is a very small advance and or terrible issues( take the refine edges issues in the latest PS update).

Since the removal of having to sell you a worthwhile upgrade they no longer have a need for rewarding the pay.

I used to buy the collections and then I would only update when the need was there, there was no reason to buy an upgrade from cs3 to cs4 but cs5 was 64 bit so that was a worthy upgrade. Now they just suck money every month with no real payoff.

After Effects - 2017 huge playback and memory issues, bugs in GPU, old cs3 bugs about allocation and effect invoking errors for AVCHD are back

Photoshop - Built on 25-year-old hardware, Refine edges is replaced with terrible, bugs with tables and user pref. for the last 3 updates

Premiere- 2017 crashing on file linking bugs, still slow as balls(even compared to final cut).

Flash/Animate - they've never fixed any of the UI and terrible preferences since they bought it from Macromedia

Bridge - slow as hell( the worst file exploring program ever made), effect presets have had linking errors for the past 5 updates with AE

Illustrator - all they do is move the damn buttons and sliders and call it an upgrade

It's not a computer issue, I run the top of the line Macs and PC's on a daily basis.

I'm waiting for the day I can leave Adobe behind but I'm stuck because several contracted client need it

The only other company that is worse is AUTODESK, which I did wind up leaving because their cloud service is way to expensive for small Indie shops and their updates are so minimal it isn't worth it

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I've never used the CC but if what you say is true, doesn't sound good at all. I hope you at least skip the upgrades if they are so unstable.

David Bengtsson's picture

I like the Creative Cloud. Sure I have to pay monthly (or one year at a time, I chose that as it feels easy to pay everything one year in advance.) The perks I see are that bugs in the programs gets fixed with frequent updates (that can be annoying at times though) and you will always get the latest and greatest software.

But my main reason for liking it, as a young person with limited funds its way cheaper with Creative Cloud. Sure in the long run it may cost more (6 years+) but if not for creative cloud I wouldn't have been able to get my hands of the programs as that would have meant dropping 600US+, now I pay 100 for a year for both photoshop and lightroom. So for us students and young people without a steady income (yet) the Creative Cloud is a lot better in my opinion.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes, pricewise it's worth it, but it's still good to have an option fo a perpetual license for those who want it.

David Bengtsson's picture

I can agree with that. As both options would be good suited for different people. I don't use anywhere close to all Ps features but the price of CC makes it worth it. But I can see the people that wants to buy one stand alone license they can use for a few years. (I think they removed that option because it took to much time to keep those licenses updated and make sure those programs where bug free and also where kept to date to their "standards".

Rikk Flohr's picture


I am happy to provide you with assistance. On the US Site. Go to Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Products. Lightroom Perpetual License is the 8th icon down. Click the Buy link then decide on full or upgrade.

Actually, there is no need to upgrade software to obtain new-camera compatibility. Adobe provides the free DNG Converter for Mac and Windows. This free software provides backward compatibility back to Photoshop CS2 and Lightroom 1.x by converting raw files from newer cameras to DNG format so that it can be read by Adobe's previous versions of its software.

The free DNG converter is available for Mac:
and Windows:

Disclosure: I am currently staff at Adobe.

Brendan Kavanagh's picture

Your link to defaults to the UK site here.
By changing the "UK" to "USA" in the text box, it does indeed take me to the products page where Lightroom is the eighth one down.
Sadly, when I click on that, It opens Lightroom's UK page where the option to buy is still missing.
If Adobe are going to remove the perpetual version, wouldn't it be refreshingly responsible of them to tell people what they're up to instead of sneaking it out of the back door.

Rikk Flohr's picture

I checked the UK site and see what you seeing as well. That is not correct. I will have the team look at it. Thank you for directing me to the issue.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture


Does it mean Lightroom is still sold as a perpetual license but is currently not visible due to a website bug on some of the regional websites?

Rikk Flohr's picture

We are investigating but it is showing up here: (8th Icon down)

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Thanks Rikk.

This means the readers can download this converter and still be able to edit in Photoshop the raw files from their newest cameras, but now converted to DNG. Is that correct?

Rikk Flohr's picture


Christophe M's picture

Sorry, but I don't find the "8th icon down" :-(
Could you olease add a screen shoot ?

Alex Armitage's picture

"Being a subscriber to something I use on a daily basis doesn't feel right to me. It's like paying rent to use my kitchen utensils."

This isn't a good analogy. Kitchenware isn't an ever evolving medium. If Kitchenware is a perpetual license; a monthly subscription is kitchen ware that never dulls, and suddenly has the ability to do more in your kitchen.

Are you also someone that only buys their music and doesn't pay for a streaming service? I realize that comparison is a stretch mostly considering music is essentially endless, where as Creative Cloud isn't. However, under that same breath, just like discovering new music you have access to learning new software or features.

For me, it just makes logical sense to use Creative Cloud based strictly on cost. I tend to enjoy updates and new features, ones that I have used immediately when they came out. That said, if I had bought a perpetual license, I could see myself waiting for 1 or 2 major releases until justifying the upgrade. Following that model, it's still less expensive. A great example is when content aware was released in photoshop. A feature I use all the time in my workflow now. If I had been on a previous version, I definitely would have had desire for that specific feature considering how useful it is. Adobe releases features like this quite often.

Off the top of my head things that have made my life easier that I've been able to use instantly because of CC:
- Content Aware brushes in PS
- Face detection Liquefy in PS
- Warp Stabilizer directly in Premiere
- Morph Cut in Premiere
- Lumetri integration in Premiere
- Noise removal in Audition (can't remember the tool name)
- Perspective shift in Lightroom

That's just what I can recall off the top of my head. These were all things that changed and improved my workflow as they came out. The ability to stay up to date so easily is really convenient.

I will say one of the other perks that isn't actually subscription based is being able to buy and install software easily. When I get a new computer, or am using a second computer. The ability to just login and hit install saves me a lot of time. I think this improvement applies to all of their software though, which is great. Sometimes I work from 3-4 different computers and being able to pay for one subscription for all of them is awesome.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Alex, you are right from your perspective. These are tools we use and if we need them, we buy from whoever makes them so we can do our job better.

What if you had those features in your perpetual licensed CS6 software? You would be happy about them and then some other Alex would come and tell you they can't live without
- Feature 1 (you've never heard of)
- Feature 2 (you've heard but you've never thought you'd use)
- Feature 3 (a feature you never cared for)

:) That's my perspective. All those you mention are something I either don't need or I have it in other pieces of software I bought. For example I work with professional audio software for noise removal. I don't use Liquify, etc. But for example I've been using Photoshop Elements in the beginning and Curves was the tool I desperately needed, so I bought Photoshop CS6. If there wasn't a CS6, I would probably become a subscriber to CC. Now there's Affinity photo too.

Software is software. It evolves regardless of the pricing model. I'm not arguing about the need for updates. We need them. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Having more computers justifies the subscription model too. I agree.

Currently I'm satisfied with Photoshop CS6 and I don't think to switch to another version or another type of software. It does the job for me. If I had your needs, I'd probably use the CC.

Palmer Woodrow's picture

Illustrator is abandonware. Years-old, glaring bugs still plague Photoshop. And now Affinity is SELLING (not renting) high-quality alternatives to Adobe's moribund offerings... at much lower prices.

Go ahead Adobe... your rental scam may work for a little while longer, but once we've migrated away to better value, we're not coming back.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

A friend started using Affinity's software (Photo, Designer...) and is very happy about it. It's maybe a good alternative to have in any case. I'm not sure about the compatibility of layered TIFFs and PSDs.

Osman Merdan's picture

I think adobe needs to let people chose between 2 worlds. As an examaple , I am a student in med school ,and I dont have the money to buy any of adobe product so subscription based model works for me. I can use ps+lightroom for a price of 3cup of coffee for a month.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes, you are right about this.

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