Creative Cloud Reaches Maturity

Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge:

Adobe is making a major move into the cloud. The company has just announced the next version of its flagship digital editing tools, Creative Suite, and for the first time the new products will only be available through the company's online subscription service. Adobe previously offered standalone editions of each product, which users could choose to keep or upgrade as new editions were released, but now the only way to receive major feature updates to the product series will be to remain subscribed to the $49.99 per month service.

I've been a Creative Cloud user for almost precisely one year and I couldn't be happier.

In fact, just ahead of the service's release last year, I wrote the following:

In building an accessible and affordable backbone for Adobe services, the likes of Photoshop and Illustrator are no longer relegated to the confines of the elite, but rendered open, seamless, and even affable to the average consumer. Although I have long been willing to pay for the full Creative Suite offering, I eagerly await the arrival of Creative Cloud this Friday. If the backbone works effectively, I imagine Adobe will find itself winning over a great many people in the coming months.

Creative Cloud has clearly succeeded in having an impactful introduction into the creative world and is doing plenty to democratize and distribute the tools necessary to create the best work.

Many have been apprehensive over the pricing of Creative Cloud and what impact this might have on Adobe's long-term dedication to its software and innovation. Although I can certainly recognize and appreciate the concern, I tend to think it overlooks much of the value of the service for an enormous volume of users. 

Simply put, although it removes a large cash influx each year from a minority of dedicated customers, Creative Cloud ensures an ongoing revenue stream, whilst also increasing the potential customer base.

I suspect Creative Cloud appeals to a much larger demographic than a full $1,000+ Creative Suite package. Accordingly, I'd argue that Adobe has opened the door to much higher revenues, whilst also reducing the viability and attractiveness of pirated copies.

In other words, Creative Cloud renders Adobe software a mainstream and accessible suite of tools for those interested in all manner of creative endeavors. And, with this pricing scheme, the usage of Adobe's software becomes incentivized and attractive for a huge number of users. Adobe will no longer have to sustain multiple versions of its software, but instead focus upon iterating and improving upon its core products at all times.

If you ask me, this is an unprecedented opportunity for innovation, particularly as Adobe now must worry itself over actively losing subscription income. Customers are no longer distant, veiled entities, but engaged, active, and important elements of Adobe's success.

In my eyes, this makes Creative Cloud one of the most useful and reliable services to which I subscribe. And I fully intend to continue my subscription for the coming year. I suspect it'll only continue to impress.

Adobe Acquires Behance

The Behance Team Blog:

Our mission to connect and empower the creative world is getting a big boost today. Our team is thrilled to join Adobe and take Behance to the next level. We’ve been given an opportunity to influence creative work, careers, and the creative industry on a grand scale, and we intend to do just that.

As a Creative Cloud subscriber, I find this news to be very encouraging, indeed.

Creative Cloud has gone from strength to strength since its introduction. Although I was somewhat skeptical as to how long I'd sustain a membership at the outset, I've enjoyed each and every month since. With the recent introduction of the Dropbox-esque Creative Cloud Connection, the service is inching toward all that I'd idealistically hoped it might become.

Now, with the acquisition of Behance, Adobe clearly has its eyes set on the increased socialization of its cloud subscription service. And, if implemented tactfully, that could prove to be an extremely useful feature.

With Creative Cloud, Adobe is steadily moving its historically clumsily interconnected products into a tight-knit grouping of collaborative and communicative software. The Creative Suite is beginning to feel much more akin to a thriving ecosystem, rather than a stand-alone product-line. Where being on the cutting-edge of creative software once felt prohibitive, Creative Cloud now contributes a feeling of facilitation and enablement. And, in my opinion, that's an invaluable thing.

For a company that I was so well-trained to dislike, Adobe continues to impress me with Creative Cloud. It's a forward-thinking initiative — one that I'm pleased the company has chosen to throw all of its weight behind.

Adobe Adds Lightroom to Creative Cloud Subscription

Creative Cloud

Adobe PR:

Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) today announced Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 4 software is now available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud™ membership. Lightroom is the essential digital photography workflow solution helping amateur and professional photographers quickly import, manage, enhance and showcase images. A new membership-based offering centered around the company’s design, Web, video and digital imaging tools, Adobe Creative Cloud is a hub for making, sharing and delivering creative work.

The amount of publicity and praise for Lightroom has been steadily increasing in direct correlation with the number of writers with babies. Although I don’t quite fit this prerequisite, I am rather excited to try the app.

For all Creative Cloud subscribers, Lightroom simply appears within the Cloud Client app.

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Available Today, Creative Cloud Arrives Friday

Creative Cloud

Adobe PR:

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the immediate availability of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 software. The CS6 product line includes powerful new releases of Photoshop®, InDesign®, lllustrator®, Dreamweaver®, Adobe Premiere® Pro, After Effects®, Flash® Professional and other products as well as four suite versions – Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium; Creative Suite 6 Design Standard; Creative Suite 6 Production Premium; and Creative Suite 6 Master Collection.

Adobe Creative Cloud™, a radical new way of providing tools and services* for creatives worldwide is expected to be available on Friday, May 11. A subscription-based offering, Adobe Creative Cloud is a hub for making, sharing and delivering creative work and it is centered around a powerful release of Adobe Creative Suite® 6 software, packed with innovation across its industry-defining design, Web, video and digital imaging tools. CS6 point product subscriptions will also be available May 11.

Despite significant improvements across the Creative Suite product line, I find myself most excited about Creative Cloud. Available on Friday for $49.99 per month ($29.99 for existing users and students), Adobe’s Creative Cloud is an admirable attempt to utterly reshape the nature of Adobe’s creative products.

Shedding laughably enormous pricing, Creative Cloud is not only financially accessible, but it also offers 20 GB of cloud storage. Although many own Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive accounts with added space, such platforms are dogmatic to certain workflows. SkyDrive and Google Drive, for instance, excel when dealing with Microsoft and Google documents, respectively. Dropbox, although platform agnostic, lacks such power without manual intervention and dependent third party implementations.

Accordingly, Adobe’s introduction of a novel and powerful new cloud service — particularly for sensitive work like design — strikes me as utterly shrewd. Keeping files safe and devices in sync is an endlessly important cornerstone of the computing experience. And yet, despite this, the vast majority of manufacturers and developers are just coming to grips with such a basic tenet of the end-user’s routine. As a company well known for such poor responsiveness to its user-base, Adobe has shuttered the poor expectations of its users.

In building an accessible and affordable backbone for Adobe services, the likes of Photoshop and Illustrator are no longer relegated to the confines of the elite, but rendered open, seamless, and even affable to the average consumer. Although I have long been willing to pay for the full Creative Suite offering, I eagerly await the arrival of Creative Cloud this Friday. If the backbone works effectively, I imagine Adobe will find itself winning over a great many people in the coming months.

Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6 are available from Adobe.

Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad

Yesterday evening, Adobe formally released Photoshop Touch for iPad. Available for $9.99 from the App Store, Photoshop Touch provides a condensed touch-centric version of its desktop counterpart.

In an early review for MacStories, Graham Spencer writes:

The simplified, tablet-ised UI of Photoshop Touch also means it is a great entry point for those who want to learn about Photoshop, as I touched on in the tutorial section. When I first started learning how to use Photoshop, I was overwhelmed with not only the wealth of tools, options and effects but also all the new terms I had never heard of. With Photoshop Touch, a beginner will be eased into learning the important tools and effects because not only are there less, but things are much more visual. Take a look at the Adjustments menu in Photshop Touch and compare it to Photoshop on the desktop. But I don’t want to send the impression that Photoshop Touch is only for beginners — it isn’t. More advanced users will be able to take most of their knowledge of Photoshop and use it in Photoshop Touch, because most of it is still there.

Photoshop Touch is strikingly analogous to the world of iOS and OS X. The touch-centric version of the software provides a great deal of powerful features, but foregoes excessive complexity in favor of an accessible environment for the end-user. The desktop version of Photoshop, on the other hand, allows the end-user to delve into a robust world of settings and excess, all the while attempting to sustain a basic level of accessibility for all users - not just power users.

The unifying entity between the two is Adobe's Creative Cloud. Much like iCloud, the Creative Cloud provides an underlying backbone between the two pieces of software, allowing the end-user the flexibility to move from one app to the other - to shift from the simplistic touch world into an environment characterized by increased flexibility and power.

And yet, the two can exist wholly and unquestionably apart.

For the average user, Photoshop Touch is a fantastic opportunity to gain the power of Photoshop but without the cost. For the advanced user, Photoshop Touch, coupled with the Creative Cloud, offers a unified and portable working environment. Furthermore, with Photoshop and Photoshop Touch's ubiquity across most modern platforms, Adobe's creative ecosystem knows few bounds.

Such is the goal of the modern working environment and such is the nature of Apple's latest software innovations.

The unification of complexity and simplicity is the key to the modern computing equation. Cloud services provide an effective and important bridge between the worlds of the traditional desktop and the simplified touch world without harming the integrity of either one. There is no need for compromise as both integrate fully and simply.

Honestly, Adobe deserves a great deal of credit for making such an important recognition.

Photoshop Touch is available in the App Store for $9.99.