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:

Notice that Adobe Creative Suite is not available anymore

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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81 Comments

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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".

Tihomer,

I am happy to provide you with assistance. On the US Site. Go to http://www.adobe.com. 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: http://supportdownloads.adobe.com/product.jsp?product=106&platform=Macin...
and Windows: http://supportdownloads.adobe.com/product.jsp?product=106&platform=Windows

Disclosure: I am currently staff at Adobe.

Your link to Adobe.com 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.

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

Rikk,

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?

We are investigating but it is showing up here: https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/catalog/software._sl_id-contentfilter_... (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?

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

Adobe claimed they did this to prevent theft of the programs - unauthorized copies. Those who think all others are thieves are usually thieves.
One can't use the newest subscription stuff on a computer that does not go online so we will use something else if we need more than CS6 on the disc provides.

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.

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.

Lightrom 6 is still not available via Adobe's UK site.
Are we to assume, therefore, that the perpetual version is no more?
Adobe aren't exactly forthcoming.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I'm still waiting for an answer from their staff member, Rikk, who took part of the conversation too. It's not clear if the missing Lightroom 6 option is a mistake or a deliberate move.

I was upset since I had bought the cs6 master suite 3 months before creative cloud came out. But the upgrades they have made to PS, AE, PP and Lightroom are so amazing that I would have upgraded all these years so the price, for us as a business, is just the price of doing business. I do events and my wife does portraits and headshots. The edits I can do in Lightroom and PS saves me hours of work. A few hours of one job pays for the whole year so it doesn't bother me at all. If they stop making significant upgrades then I'll re-evaluate our decision.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes, for people who use it for business price is an issue if there are more computers they have to buy licenses for. Otherwise for smaller businesses it's not the price but the model as well as the need for the newer features.

william mitchell's picture

Maybe Affinity will put the DAM program out this year instead of 2018. Having a desktop page layout program would be nice, but there is a real need for a lightroom replacement. Adobe has gotten greedy and the QC is not what is was with CS programs.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Capture One is one of the options. There are other players in the field too.

Making a software such as Lightroom is not hard as UI. The hard thing is keeping up with the latest camera raw file interpretation.

The link isn't easy to find on the US website, but it is there. Go to http://www.adobe.com/products/catalog/software._sl_id-contentfilter_sl_c... and click on the Buy button to the right of Lightroom where it displays the price of $149. I've included a screenshot so you can see where to go.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Great catch! The readers will be thankful.

Fantastic!! When CC came out the first thing I did was switch from Lightroom to Capture one! I have not looked back since! Now that Affinity Photo has a PC version I dumped Photoshop as well, it's not as good as Photoshop yet, but it does what I need, and it will get there! Sorry but I just can not see my self ever renting software

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