LevelUp For Photoshop Turns Work Into Play

LevelUp For Photoshop Turns Work Into Play

We live in a gaming culture, where everything is marked with achievements, badges and trophies. Not only has this service been brought into video games everywhere, but websites such as reddit, eBay and various forums everywhere have a scoring and achievement system that encourages interactivity. It was only a matter of time until programs such as Photoshop got on board with this idea.

The concept is called gamification, which brings incentification into design by encouraging users to engage with the system, while learning the ins and outs of how it works. Adobe began implementing this service quietly into Photoshop and hopes to have it rolled out for its other services sometime soon.



The idea is simple, by having their users to compete on an educational level, Adobe is making learning the tools and features in Photoshop a fun experience. Equipped with badges to earn and a scoreboard, LevelUp hopes to encourage learning of its tools while introducing a competitive nature so popular in a gaming culture. Currently the badges and missions do not have any real value, but if we've learned anything from websites with karma systems, rewards are hardly important anyway.

While the amount of badges and missions are limited right now, one can only hope that Adobe will continue to introduce new lesson plans and badges to the system to make the chore of learning new techniques fun again.

LevelUp is a free plugin available from Adobe for Photoshop CC, and I know personally, I'm hoping it comes to other services like Illustrator and Premiere Pro very soon.

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Maybe Adobe is looking for new ways to convince people to get screwed over by CC...

Zach Sutton's picture

It's easy to assume something when you know nothing about it. ;-)

The fact remains however, that CC is wonderful. Believe me, I was a huge skeptic at first as well, but upon giving it a try, I really found the true innovation behind the cloud system. It's not designed to screw you over, it's designed to increase productivity. Don't let your shortsightedness fool you into thinking otherwise...

I'm sure that CC is every bit as good as you say, Zach. It's the monthly fee that pisses off the majority of us. Particularly free lancers such as myself who never know when the next job is coming in. That is why I'm still on CS6, which quite frankly does everything I need it to do.

Zach Sutton's picture

I'm a freelancer as well, and don't have the slightest clue when the next job is coming in. That said, Photoshop is the one program that makes me money, so the $50 is a worthy price. If anything, its much easier to commit to $50 a month over the $600 for each release.

I find your argument slightly disingenuous. $50 monthly = $600 annually.

Most people skip releases since the difference from say CS4 to CS5 was minimal. The upgrade price was never $600 either, more like $299 or less and you might stay with that program for as much as four years. That comes to under $5 per month.

Lastly, Photoshop as a single app may be very reasonably priced as an introductory fee at the moment (we got you now sucker), but soon enough it will be much higher and like a cell phone bill, we will all be stuck with it.
At least with cell phones there is reasonable competition... What are we supposed to do, all jump to GIMP?

If Adobe had a contract situation where we could sign up for three years at $6 a month or so and lock in that rate for the contract duration it would be much more appealing.

Zach Sutton's picture

For $50 a month, you get every single product Adobe makes. The price point for something similar to that would be around 1800 at its cheapest. That $50 a month will keep you up to date on all those programs. Photoshop alone can be had for $20 a month...

In terms of a contract, they do. I believe you can prepay for the cloud for up to 2 years. However the price point you're looking at would never happen. This is a company that loses more money to piracy than they make from sales...as long as people keep pirating the software instead of buying it, the price will never come down.

for me who has always been an adobe user, $50 is very cheap and AN AMAZING VALUE for someone who uses MULTIPLE adobe programs. and as you've said, $50 is VERY cheap for ALL the adobe programs. I use Adobe After Effects, Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Audition, Premier Pro, and Acrobat. So for me it's too good to be true.

I can see why a person who only uses ONE program would see it as bad value, but hey, for those kinds of people Adobe also has a $20 a month plan for those who only use ONE program. So yeah... I don't get what there is to complain about?

Shortsidedness? Naivety? Not knowing anything about it because I haven't been suckered into renting my professional software? Pretty strong words, bro.

I don't have to put my bare hand on the stove to know it's hot. I don't have to hop on board to know that Adobe has a full-blown monopoly of the market and they're taking full advantage of the drooling lemmings who lap up whatever they put out.

If CC weren't a monthly subscription model that couldn't be used offline, I might feel differently about it. But if it weren't, then it wouldn't be CC.

Zach Sutton's picture

But someone had to put their bare hand on the stove to know its hot....or someone told you that at a young impressionable age.

Furthermore, naivety is shown in your response. You do not have to be connected to the internet to use Creative Cloud. So, do you feel different about it now?


Von Wong's picture

I'm with zach on this. I use & love Creative Cloud.

Von Wong's picture

lol this is awesome I love what CC is doing

How juvenile our world has become. Achievement is its own reward. I for one don't need "no stinking badges" (pat yourself on the back if you know that quote).

Zach Sutton's picture

Reward systems have been around as long as the populated world has....so I don't think its juvenile to put it further into our daily lives.

We have raised a generation that has been given certificates and medals just for showing up. Now, everyone thinks they are a 'winner' even without putting in any real effort. Here is an example: I recently rode an organized 100 mile bicycle ride. At the end they draped a medal over my neck! What the heck, just for finishing the ride? I tossed it.

Here is another example: Graduation ceremonies for kindergarten, 6th grade middle school.... By the time you reach High School or college graduation it no feels like anything special.

Real accomplishment is its own reward. Getting a badge, medal, certificate etc. etc. for every little thing we do cheapens the experience.

Zach Sutton's picture

The same culture that cleaned their bedrooms for a piece of candy when they were 8. The same culture that mowed the lawn for $10 when they were 12. The same culture that worked hard at their mundane job 40 hours a week for that 50 cent raise every six months.

Incentive systems have never been new.

Money (no matter how little), buys tangible things. That type of incentive makes much more sense.

It's only a matter of time until Worth1000 has their own plugin...

I was going to Ps a carrot hanging over my WACOM... but what's the point.

You either have it in you to take your time and b the very best at what you're trying to attempt, or you don't. The mentality of awards and points reminds me of the fat kid sitting in a dark basement swearing at his TV.. Or the angry German kid video.. Just ball-up and be a freekin normal human. Achievement is it's own reward.

Jason Ranalli's picture

They're only following what the rest of our culture is doing I suppose.

The basic formula for engaging the public now is taking an idea and make a competition out of it. Sticking your hand in a mud-hole to catch a fish? Let's make a competition out of it!! Deep frying foods? Let's make a competition out of it!!! Turning young girls into professional models?? Let's make a competition out of it!!!

Don't like Creative Cloud? Don't subscribe. It's not that hard to see that this business model (Adobe is a business after all) will provide monthly infusions of capital that will allow them to develop their applications, add new features, and create new applications, even faster and thus push those innovations to subscribers faster. Now that being said, for professionals it's a no brainer, we make the money to pay for the subscription doing even one job a month. We use this software to make our living. Has no one ever spent $50 on gas, entertainment, even just one dinner in a month let alone one week? How is this any different? I find it funny that people would rather pay nearly quadruple the price to "own" rapidly outdating software than to pay a small fee to have the latest innovations automatically. How much money has your Netflix, Hulu, Xboxlive, Dropbox, World of Warcraft, and other subscription accounts made you? Add those all up and then look at the value Adobe is letting go at a steal (The whole suite of creative applications, 20GB Online storage, training, Behance, free websites, etc.) The subscription model is here to stay for now I am afraid but I for one am glad to pay. I get the latest innovations using the software I have grown to love and can make a living with, all for the price of one family dinner. For hobbyists, there are cheaper options you can go with: GIMP, Pixelmator, etc. Ultimately, it comes down to choice. Some may like it, some may not. I am voting with my dollars. Keep those innovations coming!

Mariia Kravtsova's picture

I think this is a great way to engage and motivate people. If someone is not familiar with gamification term or thinks it is a recent marketing term, there is a great course on gamification at Coursera.org