Adobe graphics software, particularly Photoshop and Illustrator, are mainstay software for many sign pros. In the past, you either upgraded regularly (paying about $750 to upgrade) or you skipped a few upgrades and paid a little more when you finally felt forced to upgrade.
Now, though, Adobe is converting its Creative Suite products to a subscription system called the Creative Cloud instead of the traditional upgrade system. That means you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee for either individual programs that you use or one fee for all the programs in the Creative Cloud.
Most importantly, if you own Adobe CS products from CS3 to CS6 versions, you can subscribe at discounted rates until August 31 and save up to $240. If you have any plans to upgrade your
Screen shot by Mike Jackson, Golden Era Studios, www.goldenstudios.com
Adobe software in the next year, acting now will save you money. Click here to see the details on Adobe's website.
You can subscribe to the entire Creative Cloud or just individual programs if you prefer. If you own CS3, CS4 or CS5, you can subscribe to the full Creative Cloud for
Photo of a sign by Rob Cooper open in Photoshop
$29.99 through August 31. If you own CS6, you can subscribe for $19.99 per month. Miss the deadline and it goes up to the standard rate of $49.99.
If you own CS3 through CS6, you can subscribe to single products (say just Photoshop) for $9.99 per month. After the deadline, it goes up to $19.99.
It's worth noting that the new subscription-based software can be installed on two computers--whether they are both PCs or Macs or one of each.
This subscription-based approach represents a big change in how mainstream software is bought. Time will tell how if this replaces the previous approach, but for now, you may want to consider the discounts--which can save you up to $360 per year.
Your Creative Cloud questions answered:
Mike Jackson takes a close look at all this in the upcoming September/October 2013 issue of SignCraft—including addressing some common questions about this way of delivering software. Hopefully this will answer some of your questions:
Is the software loaded on a cloud server, and do I have to connect to the Internet to use it? No, the installer is downloaded off the Internet, then the software loads on the local computer. With a yearly subscription, the software will not need to verify its license. With a monthly subscription, the software must verify itself once a month. Once verified, the software works when offline.
Will I be able to open my files if I drop my subscription? If you save your files in the latest version's proprietary format, this could be a bit of an issue. In most cases, though, you have the option of saving your files in a universal file format. For example, instead of saving as Photoshop's PSD format in the CC version, saving it in a TIF format makes it available for use in numerous programs. Also, users with Adobe CS6 programs can leave them on their computer and the new Creative Cloud version can coexist on the same computer. Saving files in CC to a previous version allows them to be opened by that previous version.
Will the software automatically update, even if I don't particularly want it to? No, you can turn that feature off. But, with a subscription, users can get access to the newest updates as they are released. No need to wait for a full suite to be developed to get the hot new features or bug fixes.
Will I have to buy a complete extra license to run the CC programs on a Mac and a PC? No, the CC subscription allows for a single license to be used on two computers—either two Macs, two PCs or one of each. It’s also possible to load the software on another computer and disable one of the other two temporarily.
Will Adobe jack up the prices after they get everyone on board? Hmmm. They've announced pricing for the next year, so that shouldn't be an issue for a while. But this argument could be made for either the old delivery method or the new one. They will have to walk the line of price and performance, or people will bail on them.