Is the Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription Model Worth It?

By now we all should know that Adobe has ditched the traditional one-time purchase for programs in favor of the new Creative Cloud subscription model. During the transition, there were growing pains and outrage amongst the creative community. People were upset that they would no longer be getting updates for the programs that they owned and the only way to stay current would be to subscribe to Adobe’s service. Now that the dust has settled from the transition, Justin Odisho weighs in with his thoughts on the subscription and if he thinks it’s worth it as a professional in the industry.

Throughout the video, he compares the pros and cons to the one-time purchase method versus the new subscription model, giving his insight as a videographer and how it has affected him. He also makes good points in terms of the cost by explaining a few things we could cut out to save the allotted amount for the Adobe programs we want. Personally, I remember the struggle in high school when I would have to download a cracked version of Photoshop just continue the work I was doing at school while I was at home. Then when I finally invested in just Photoshop my program was quickly outdated and to keep current I had to upgrade again. The subscription model makes the Adobe Suite more affordable and available to a vastly larger demographic and more people exploring creativity is always a good thing. What do you think about the new Creative Cloud?

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Jason Friedman's picture

As a creative who uses about six Adobe applications on a regular basis, I love the fact that for a monthly fee, I get access to the entire suite as well as the cloud. Updates have never been easier. And it's nice to be able to to pay a monthly fee and not worry about that $600 or $800 one time "hit" as previously when updating the entire collection. Also the being platform agnostic is nice if I have to get on a PC every now and then.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

Plus, with the platforms all your updates are in one spot!

The simplest answer - No!

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

Care to elaborate.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Personally I only have PS and LR subscription but I also own the older Adobe Suite. I used to use Dreamweaver a bit and some of Illustrator. I do not use them often enough to justify a monthly fee. However, when trying to install a couple of older components from the older suit, I had such problems I had to uninstall them. They now reside on another computer. Adobe does all they can to "convince" you to buy their monthly plan

My older suite is about 4 years old and works amazingly well. Unfortunately, I cannot use it on my new computer. I believe I paid around $1,000 for it so it made good economic sense.

Paying for it now will cost me around $800 CDN a year, almost as much as it cost me for a suite.

Adobe paying structure was not made for our benefit, it was 100% made for Adobe benefit. I do not see any advantage that the subscription has on top of the old ways so paying more does not make sense to me.

This does bring up an important point that gets missed sometimes, the cost outside the USA. $50/month is actually $65/month up here as of today.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Yes, that is correct. In Europe and Australia the cost of Adobe suit is even higher, God knows why, it's the same product...

Just glad I bought FCPX when our dollar was on par. $300 spent once, $0 for upgrades over 6 years. Now that's a software pricing model I can get behind ;)

Apple's Final Cut Pro Ten, their video editing platform.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I see. I am a PC user so I am not familiar with MAC jargon :-)

Deacon Blues's picture

I guess local sales tax plays a role in this. Here in Germany, VAT is 19%, adding almost a fifth of the original price.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Excellent point. Here in Quebec, Canada it's %15. The dollar is weak so $50 USD is now $75 CDN (after taxes)

I personally prefer the buy option. Simply because not every update is required so I did save money by waiting until there was an update I "needed". In terms of when I was a heavy photoshop user I was able to wait between CS2 and CS5 before I bothered to upgrade, had I been on the subscription model I would have ended up paying much more.

Honestly for what my workflow is in Photoshop these days, since I focus more on video and do as much processing in CaptureOne instead of Photoshop, I could still be using CS2.

Imagine if hardware was subscription only based...

Dave Coates's picture

I actually prefer the subscription based cloud version. I do most of my editing on a desktop, but, life being what it is, i can install and edit on any computer as long as there is WiFi. if i use Adobe's cloud storage, i still even have access to works in progress and WiFi is available for free at McDonald's and Starbucks.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

That's another one of the pro's for me is it keeps my workflow center on atleast 2 devices. Back when I used both a laptop and desktop it helped tremendously.

Dave Coates's picture

Exactly! I think in today's world, mobility is one of the most important things to have. Also - down the rabbit hole, is a NAS. A decent NAS with 4 hard drives is much more cost effective currently than it was some years ago. I can upload everything to it and access it anytime without having to worry about my laptop dying or virus or some malware infecting my work folders.

Kirk Darling's picture

I didn't like the concept initially. But Adobe kept the single-app price low enough that it did compete with the cost of routine upgrades. Moreover, I'd had the experience after a hard drive crash of trying to convince a guy in India that because I hadn't planned for my hard drive to crash, I hadn't deactivated Photoshop beforehand, and I wasn't really trying to install a pirate copy. With CC, it's merely a matter of making an online switch from one computer to the other, easy and clean. First time I did that, I realized I never wanted to go home again.

Now that I'm also doing video, I'm also using Premiere Pro, After Effects, Media Encoder, Speedgrade, and Audition. Once you get past the basic Photoshop/Lightroom combination, it's all one price and it becomes absurd to want to stick to box product.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

Yep, being someone who does work across multiple programs the $50 a month is more than worth the cost.

Personally I'm still on CS 6, I've never felt the need to upgrade and CaptureOne handles all the RAWs just fine (in fact better than Lr/ACR) also I refuse to have my files held to ransom if I choose to stop my subscription (which is $50 for the full suite). I regularly use InDesign, Illustrator, PS/Bridge and other tools but some others only infrequently.

Kirk Darling's picture

"Files held to ransom?"

You can't access or use the files if you cancel your subscription unless you export in a lesser format defeating the point for many of Adobe's features found in the PSB format or EPS.

Kirk Darling's picture

That's not "my files held to ransom." My files are my RAW, JPEG, and TIFF, and those are application-independent. If you're concerned about saving your layered interim products, then save them as layered TIFF.

More of a concern for the video editing and motion graphics apps.

Kirk Darling's picture

I've got some old manuscripts originally written with WordStar. At least the final output of modern image files can be output to a non-proprietary format. If that's your worry, it's a fatal illusion that box software any safer than subscription software. If anything, it's less safe. If I still had a copy of WordStar, it still would not run on Windows 10, and I'm not sure DOS 3 would even run on a Windows machine anymore. A better solution would be to use subscription software to continually render those files in each generation.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

Couldn't you just save your files that are on the cloud prior to canceling your subscription?

Spy Black's picture

My experience has been with more dysfunctional software since the subscription model. Seems a new version fixes one or more bugs while introducing others. Although this happened to a degree before, it's standard operational procedure now. For instance, an earlier version of Photoshop I'm on now requires me to select a tool (any tool) in the tool bar before hotkeys work. No hotkeys will work until I do this. Now, I had updated to a newer version which fixed that issue, but the new version reset all tools to their default values every time I started Photoshop. For example if I set the lasso tool to polygon lasso, it would revert back to standard lasso next time I started Photoshop. It did that to ALL the tools. It would piss me off to no end. So I reverted back to the version that requires me to select a tool in the tool bar in order to activate the hotkeys, which I find less annoying. However I never had issues like this in Photoshop before the subscription model.

There are other quirks too, but you get the idea. Because Adobe is now a giant corporate monstrosity, stuff like this falls on deaf ears. Logging bugs and anomalies with Adobe is essentially like buying a lottery ticket and hoping that you hit. Unless your bug or anomaly is logged sufficiently, good luck ever seeing it corrected.

I don't mind the subscription model. I like how I can sign into different computers at home and at work and I have access to everything.

What I DON'T like is the quality Adobe has been lacking in the last 2 or so years.

I use a completely specced out late 2016 iMac and:

Editing RAWs in Lightroom is painful.

Premiere can barely handle 4k footage without me having to spend an afternoon creating Proxies. Final Cut is 100x faster and barely lags with playback.

After Effects is so buggy, I usually have to clear the cache and restart several times a day.

I'd be completely willing to forgo a year of features I barely use for them to focus on making these apps actually useable.

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