Why We Should All Be Grateful for Adobe

Why We Should All Be Grateful for Adobe

You can not go on any photography-related blog these days without seeing some kind of negative post about Adobe, or an Adobe article without a comments section of people with their pitchforks and lanterns out.

Has Adobe made mistakes recently? Yes. But we are all human, we all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Imagine if you had someone following you around all day pointing out everything you do wrong, or reminding you of your failures. I think as a society we have become so entitled that we miss the bigger picture. Instead, we focus on the negatives, we create conflict because we are used to getting what we want when we want it. The internet has made talking to people so much easier, but so much more impersonal. You might look at a company like Adobe and focus on all the negatives, but that says more about you than it does them. 

What do I see when I look at the Adobe logo? I see the option to change your life. The most powerful way to change your life is to learn a skill set that can solve a problem, give you purpose, and hopefully bring in some kind of income. When I decided to learn photography and Photoshop eight years ago, I did not realize how much it would change me or my circumstances. I am honestly a completely different person now because I got up off my backside and dedicated myself to learning a program; a piece of software that at the time was very expensive. Since taking those steps my life whole outlook on life has changed for the better. I have traveled the world, I have been commissioned to create work by global brands. The people that I looked up to for inspiration, I have become friends with. All it took was that one spark of creativity, a camera, and a piece of software. That same piece of software that people like to downplay and berate. If it was not for those folks at Adobe, putting their blood sweat and tears into Photoshop, my life could have been drastically different.

One of the main issues people complain about is the subscription model. For just over ten pounds per month, you can get access to both Photoshop and Lightroom. Ten pounds people.  For literally a measly ten pounds a month you can learn a skill that has the power to drastically change your life. That is the same price as Spotify and Netflix. Except with the latter two, your life options are more limited.

Before the subscription model, the main complaint was that Photoshop was too expensive. Along came Photoshop Elements to help those who cannot afford out. People then complained about the lack of features. By bringing Photoshop to the subscription model Adobe leveled out the playing field. Pretty much anyone with a laptop and ten pounds can create art. They can have the foundations to start a creative business or enhance their quality of life through any creative means necessary. 

Before the subscription model, when the software was updated you had to pay to get the updated version. Now we get our version updated for free. Does that sometimes go wrong? Yes, but all software has its update problems. Even technology giants like Apple have their update issues. The best and easiest course of action is to just wait for a little before updating. It is that simple. No stress, no drama, and once the glitches have ironed themselves out its happy trails. Just imagine if you spent all that time complaining about how the new update does not work to your satisfaction and instead spent that time creating new images, learning new techniques. 

Next time you are sat at your workstation, pushing pixels, retouching, creating art, just take the time to think how all is this possible. Who has given you the freedom to take those crazy ideas from your head and turn them into reality? What other pieces of software have liberated so many artists, made it possible for anyone with a little ambition and creativity to change their life?

I guess at the end of the day it is a glass half empty, glass half full scenario. You may see Adobe as a large corporate body of evil masterminds trying to take your money, of which you are more than welcome not to give. Or you can be the type of person who sees a piece of software that opens up doors, creates opportunities, and has the potential to be life-changing. I know which side of the fence I am on. With the world in its current state of emergency, now is the time to learn, a time to be grateful, and a time to harness the power of being creative.

Clinton Lofthouse's picture

Clinton Lofthouse is an Advertising/Entertainment photographer, creative artworker and Photoshop expert from the U.K. Specializing in composite and photomanipulation imagery.
When he is not chained to his desktop PC editing, Clinton likes to put on Synthwave music, wear Aviator sunglasses and pretend to be in an 80s movie.

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I don't have a problem with the subscription model. I have a problem with paying for a product that continues to perform at glacier speed. That is why people are bring the pitchforks and lanterns.

It's because they have payment locked in that they sit back and only throw out a new selection tool every year. Instead they work of crap like how to detect if a photo has been retouched which basically defeats the purpose of using their software. Real smart guys working there.

Gratitude is a bridge too far.

It's a PR and user relationship problem - simply put Adobe is like Microsoft of graphics/video world. We all know it, need it, are essentially grateful, but we don't like many of the ways-of-Adobe, are slavishly dependent and we often feel like the quality, features/programs limits, bugs, user interaction and price/packages options are not on the level of multi-billion-revenue/worth company, that's all.

Before the subscription model, I upgraded PS when new versions came out because each of them had new tools/features that I used to improve the quality of my work, my workflow and to reduce my editing time. Adobe seemed to be one of the very few companies that I dealt with that was focused on meeting my needs. Today, with the subscription model, I get the new features and tools as they are released and no longer have to wait for them during the 18 - 24 month refresh cycle. The cost of using the program for a user like me is almost the same. But the added value of having Lightroom in the photographers package makes it a bargain.

Sure unless the new features they are barely adding every year don't mean nothing to your work flow and are just small shiny things to take our attention away from the old code bloatware they keep running with. Before the subscription if they wanted people to upgrade they actually had to do real work. They just got tired of having to work for it so they forced everyone into this "pay me no matter how little I do or how well I work" mentality.

I do not think that you see the issue, here. To many of us who do not use Adobe products, it is not about the money, but the value, (or lack thereof).

I used to use Windows up to WFW 3.11. I got my first experience with *NIX shortly before that time —during Windows 2.0. While using WFW 3.11, I got the opportunity to use OS/2 Warp3. It was a game-changer for me, but it required more memory than Windows typically needed at that time, (about 8 MB or more). I had a 16 MB system, so I had no trouble. It was the best thing since sliced bread. It was 32-bit, it was multi-threading, it handled Synchronous Multi-Processors, (SMP), it ran all applications in a virtual machine, it had TCP/IP, and Java, integrated into the OS…. IT was BEAUTIFUL!!! OS/2 Warp4 was even better, with voice recognition integrated into the OS.

Then Microsoft shut it down! [ASIDE] OS/2 was originally developed by IBM, up to version 2.0. Version 3.0 was developed jointly with Microsoft. When MS developed Win 95, they violated the agreement with IBM, who went ahead and developed OS/2 Warp4 without them. MS then reneged on the full deal, telling IBM that they can no longer use any of the technologies that MS had shared with them, and threatened to sue. IBM stopped development of OS/2. [/ASIDE]

When I upgraded to a 64-bit system, I also wanted to upgrade to a 64-bit OS. MS promised a great deal of things in Win95 which never came to be. They delivered a handful of those promises in WinXP, but they also made a great many promises of WinXP which never came to be. Again, they made many unfulfilled promises about Vista, Win7, Win8, and Win10, each one finally delivering on some of the promises of Win95, but none of them delivering the pre-release promises, (coming in the next update…. Yeah, right). Windows10 finally has almost all the things promised in Win95, but still does not have most of the things OS/2 Warp3/4 had, to make it stand out, except 64-bit processing.

Well, about twenty years ago, I jumped ship to Linux, and never looked back. Sure, it was not as great as Warp3/4 was, but it has always been a great leap ahead of the prevailing Windows product in simplicity, ruggedness, security, functionality, speed, reliability, and usability. I never had a problem with a 4MB or 4GB memoy limit. I never had an issue with a 20GB HDD limit. Never had an issue with needing more partitions, nor partition size. Never had an issue with anything, (except, for a little while, with getting full GPU acceleration on certain GPUs. That issue barely lasted 6 months, if at all that long).

I did not even have issues with “interoperability” with users of MS/Adobe products. Ah, …Adobe! This is all about Adobe, is it not? So why the rant about MS? Because it is the same story.

I do not use Linux because it is free, (as in wine), but because it is free, (as in France), and all those other things I mentioned. My primary reason to stop using Ps, was that I had discovered JASC's PaintShop Pro, (PSP). It was better, faster, more stable, more usable, etc, than Ps. (It was also less expensive, but that was NOT an issue, just an observation).

Then Corel —a great, and respected company, (in my eyes, anyway)— bought PSP and sat on it for years, as Ps continued to improve. When they finally did re-release PSP, it did not —at first— live up to its legend. So I moved on. I could have moved back, but there were compatibility issues with PS under WINE, and Adobe refused to make a native Linux version, despite 10,000 Pro photographers, and 1,000,000 amateurs, requesting a native version.

So I went to The GIMP at first. It did all that I needed, and more. …At first. Eventually, I went to Digikam, Lightzone, RawTherapee, Krita, and finally, Darktable. The funny thing about all of these programs, is that they all were started by people who needed something done, and had no way of doing it, on Linux. So they made a way. They stood on the backs of giants such as Dave Coffin, et al, and, instead of re-inventing the wheel, they built a Tesla Model X, P100D, around it.

Not right off the bat, mind you, but eventually. They took out what was not necessary, and put in what was needed, (or in the process of doing so), and voila! I am set. I currently use Dt for about all I ever do with photography, and on rare occasions, I use Krita/The GIMP, on even more rare occasions, I use Hugin/Siril. When The GIMP version 3.x comes out, I might drop Krita as a photography tool, (but it is a great digital painting tool, for sure).

I do not often make videos, anymore, but when I do, I find KDENLiVE more than I need, with the assistance of Blender, for 3D augmentation, and 2D illustration, and the occasional use of Openshot, (for the few things at which it excels).

Back in the day, I bought Ps with money. I also bought Paint Deluxe, Corel Draw, JASC's PSP, Corel's PSP, WordStar, WordPerfert, StarOffice, (before they went to the free model), Borland's C++, Turbo Pascal & Paradox, Ashton Tate's DBase IV, IBM's Lotus Smart Suite, MicroProse's Flight Simulator, (later MS's Flight Simulator),MSOffice, MS IIS, and many other programs. I cannot begin to enumerate the amount of software I had purchased over the years.

Now, I mainly use Ubuntu Linux with, Google's G-Suite, (which I pay a subscription to use), on Chrome/Chromium browser, but I also use FireFox, LibreOffice, Scribus, Inkscape, GCC+, FreePascal, Python, PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Apache, Redmine, WordPress, FrontAccounting, FreeMind, FreePlane, FlightGear FlightSim, GoldenCheatah, PowerMeter, OpenHab, Ardour, Audacity, LilyPond, RoseGarden, and Virtual Box, in addition to what was previously mentioned. Then there are those which I have tried, and eventually let go. [ASIDE] My wife uses a Lenovo Chromebook, (upgraded from an Ace Chromebook), with our family's free G-Suite account, (grandfathered in, from when it was free), and nothing more. [/ASIDE]

What do all of those have in common? Aside from the fact that they can all be had for free, they all run on Linux/Android/LAMP, work with G-Suite, and are inter-operable with all the major commercial/proprietary offerings. Why do I not just use the “de-facto” tools? Because most of them do not run on Linux/LAMP/Android, or they are bloated, or they are not as good.

Speaking of, “not as good,” Ps does not use a 32-bit floating-point pixel pipeline, GPU acceleration, multi-threading, SMP, CIEHSL colour, etc. All my other tools, for the most part, do, or are actively working towards those goals. They are fast, robust, secure…. I think I covered that.

Most of us in the *NIXsphere do not dislike Adobe for their pricing model. The subscription model is not new to us. The difference is that we get the product and the upgrades for free, for life, (for the most part), and subscribe to support, (if we so choose). We also get to try every program we want, then give money to the projects which we use, (if we so desire), to keep them improving. It is a meritocracy, which does not milk the curious, or occasional user.

Why we do not like Adobe products, is, just like Corel's PSP at first, they allowed all the competition to outdo them. It is that simple. Trying to justify the software subscription model is not addressing the problem, (particularly for those who do not need support, or who are occasional users). The problem is that they are made by a publicly traded company who is focused on profit, while F/LOSS tools are made by people like me, who needed a tool to do what we want it to do, when we need it to do it, and do it well, and are focused on usability for a purpose, and who depend on making people like me happy, to keep them going.

For us, it was never about the money.

Hooray for Darktable Hooray to the creators of Darktable.

Adventure Photo , you voted down my explanation on why my issue with Adobe is not the pricing model. I do not mind a down-vote on anything I say, but, to help the full discussion, it would be nice to know why.

In other words, what was said in my dissertation which prompted the down-vote, and what made the statement(s) so deserving of it?. (This is a genuine question, being asked out of curiosity).


"You may see Adobe as a large corporate body of evil masterminds trying to take your money, of which you are more than welcome not to give. Or you can be the type of person who sees a piece of software that opens up doors, creates opportunities, and has the potential to be life-changing."


It is NOT that black and white -- and the idea that the author thinks it is destroys his credibility.

I remember 2010, when Lightroom was slow. And it still is. Yes, we all make mistakes, but the most important thing is to recognize the mistake and don’t give a f...t about it.

Oooh! You're gonna get lambasted for not talking trash about Adobe. LOL

Sorry to be negative, but this is rubbish. It doesn’t cost ten pounds. It costs ten pounds *every month*. For as long as you use it. It was far cheaper before, unless you only want to use it for a year or so. Not all of us care about tiny incremental updates. Photoshop is not cheap, it is still very expensive.

No no, it cost $52 a month if you need more than just Photoshop and Lightroom. I still have the CS6 Masters edition and the only reason I went to subscription was camera support and they finally added responsive layout for 4k monitors. Other than that I can't think of one thing that blows my mind that they've done since then. Lumetri in Premiere? Buggy, crashes, dropped frames. Photoshop? New magic cut out auto crap for cool jagged edged cutouts. Lightroom? Nothing. Still the same as when it first came out when they said it would never just be a subscription model. They have no reason to care because nobody is going anywhere.

And if you thought about just using old versions they decided to threaten that you could be sued for doing so. Nice.

Awesome software that’s changed the face of photography.

And I don’t use it, just appreciate what they have done, regardless of my thoughts on monthly subs for computer software.

One of the issues I have with their subscription fee is that they charge in US. And because of currency fluctuations, I was paying a different cost every month. When I first started with a subscription and when I quit their service years later, I was paying about 30+% more because of the currency fluctuation. And even though they forced me to pay in US funds, they charged me my countries TAX. Which, again fluctuation from month to month.

For me the BIGGEST objection is price. I don't mind paying once, upfront, to buy use of the program. But to pay yearly pains me, especially in these times of Carona. I'm an amateur. I subscribed to whole set because I use Premiere, PS, Illustrator. Cost me A$80 a month, 960 a year. subscribed since we all had to. I think 3 years. That's A$3000. I used to buy the full set every few years and it cost me a lot less buying when I thought there was a feature I couldn't live without. The software does the job BUT the I use CapOne instead of LR. I bought CapOne and upgrade when I can afford it or need it. Outstanding software! Been using it for at least 10 years, since version3. I have now cancelled my subsc for the full adobe set. Subscibed to PS only but I also get LR which I don't use. Cost A$171 per year. Then realised I couldn't read nor edit PDF so had to subscribe to Acrobat A$264 per year. EVERY year!! Total A$435 Per year! Use for 3 years cost is A$1300.00!!!!!!! I am looking for free or cheaper alternatives TODAY. AND if I stop my subscription ALL my adobe programs stop working, even though I have paid 1300 bucks. LOUSY system!!

TOO expensive!!

Don't worry they have a new auto selection tool coming out soon so will be worth it. Also they promise at least a .25 percent increase in speed (but only if no other programs are open and you are using a super comuter. Don't worry about GPU cause they don't bother with that.)

Try Affinity Photo to replace PS. On sale 50% off @ $24.99 USD (reg $49.99). Freakin' good deal.
--- https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/

They also have other products Designer and Publisher. To be honest, I don't know what they do. Also on sale 50% off @ $24.99 USD.
--- https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/

Try Davinci Resolve to replace Premiere. They have a Free and Studio ($299) versions.
--- https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/

Thanks. I'll look at them

My full year of Adobe is the exact same cost as just one month of my cell phone, which I pay 12 times a year without complaint. It's fine.

How much are you paying for a phone like? My contract is £11 a month.

Just to put into perspective, I paid £110 for capture one pro 12, then £50 for Affinity, I’ve since upgraded to pro 20 for another £110.. I now have all I need for the next few years for £270 in total. That’s where monthly subs fall over.

That’s some expensive cell phone! My yearly subs for Adobe is a few pence shy of £120. You pay that every month for a phone? Is it encrusted with precious stones 😀

$70 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max (24 months) and $50 for the AT&T plan.

For me the biggest disadvantage is that if you at one point decide to stop paying for PS/LR, you then cannot go back to your previous edits and make any RAW adjustments. Compared to Affinity Photo or On1 Photo Raw for example, which are softwares that you can use forever with 100% functionality even when you no longer pay for any updates. So PS/LR keep you locked-in, which is not acceptable for me. Regarding price itself, one year of PS/LR subscription is roughly the same like one payment for On1 with one/year Plus membership. So this is not a big issue for me.

The problem with this article is you're headlining Adobe but only talk about the CC Photography plan.

The real issue people like me have is that we want more subscription options. I absolutely wouldn't mind paying $20 per month for just Premiere + After Effects but that option doesn't exist and they cost $24 per month each. Expensive right? So let me buy them with a once-off licence with updates for 1 year then? Wrong - that option doesn't exist either

So its absolutely got to do with pricing. No one makes a perfect product, but Adobe sure makes expensive ones. I have a month left on my CC plan and have no plans on renewing.

What do you plan to use once the CC Photography subscription lapses? Curious what you find most promising.

I went back after 2 weeks, but on a monthly plan for the time being.
I can't find an alternative to After Effects, and I've looked. Everytime I get close to one I realize that I've spent a lot of money on a lot of assets that are mostly only compatible with Ae.

We're victims of a monopoly.

I wouldn’t say I was grateful to Adobe but I do find photoshop and Lightroom to be excellent products which have helped me to improve the quality of my images. If it weren’t for the subscription model then I wouldn’t be using them as there is no way I would have spent several hundred pounds on photo editing software that I was previously unfamiliar with.

As a software engineer by trade, I will say that professional tools need professional kit to run on. I run them on a Windows 10 Pro box with fast SSD boot drive and large secondary data drive, 32 gb of RAM and good GPU. I have no performance issues whatsoever. If you’re having performance issues then perhaps you need to better kit? Professional software development tools have always needed top notch hardware to run on and that’s been so since the 1980s. Why should Photoshop be any different?

The power provided by Photoshop and Lightroom is massive and undeniable. The people that have created it are brilliant and deserve praise for that. For me though the problem with those two programs is that they force you to think like the developers of the software think, instead of designing it in a way that is more intuitive to learn. They tried to address this with Elements which is better, but it only goes halfway in my opinion.

That’s a fair point. The workflow of creative software is likely to influence the choices you make. But it’s nowhere near as corrosive an influence as PowerPoint has had, which seems to put a straight jacket around most business presentations.

Gratitude is a quality that is in short supply in our world. Adobe is a corporation, therefore unable to care or love. It will not respond to the individual, similarly Apple and Microsoft won't without a catastrophe. Adobe's engineers were well paid to create software that so many people have been gaga about. My mom, lives on PS and she's in her 80's, but she has pre-subscription CS and updates aren't being issued anymore. Most of Adobe's revenue is from government and commercial contracts so the updates are designed for those clients. Adobe hasn't made mistakes; they have miscalculated that people would not live without paying a monthly subscription for their product. I can make a single payment (less than an annual CS subscription) and get Affinity by Serif, that plays well with all of my editing programs. When you rent Adobe, you're paying for a humongous corporate overhead, that only responds quickly to a declined credit card, which locks you out of work.