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Your Opinions on Adobe’s Move to the Cloud

If you've read some of the comments below my previous post, you'll see I've been called a lot of things — including an apologist for Adobe's new policies. If you've followed me a long time you know I tell it like I see it, and I've been around long enough that I don't mind people disagreeing with me. But I don't apologize for anyone. I'm not particularly nice, and you'll note it's virtually always someone hiding behind anonymity who types the pot-shots. Over the years I've agreed and disagreed with Adobe. I've given them my share of honest grief, and I've applauded them when they deserve it. This series is no different. It's too early to applaud or denigrate.

To get a feel for how people are reacting to the big shift to the sky, I asked the folks on one of Facebook's best private VFX groups to let me know how they feel about Adobe's move to the cloud and their new pricing base. Some of these good folks were willing to go on record about it.

The first to respond was my longtime friend, the legendary Ron Thornton. This pioneer has been around since the beginning and I expected Ron might go conservative and object to Adobe's paradigm shift. But here's what Ron actually said: “I've been a CC subscriber for quite a while now. I'm totally willing to go on the record for you. I have to admit I'm very pro CC. I like it a lot, and the access is really great. Teaching guys 3D modeling and texturing, we utilize Photoshop with the Quixel plug ins dDo and nDo. Also some motion graphics in After Effects. Of course Premiere Pro for editing and some Illustrator for graphics and layout." (My note…these plug-ins from Quixel are worth a look if you haven't seen them yet. Excellent for creating quick, quality 3D materials.)

Another friend of mine who would rather remain anonymous to you but whom I know well, and respect, said: “Adobe is trying to unilaterally reset the terms by which it does business with users. (Perhaps because its revenue streams are going to dry up as users just use the same, incredibly sophisticated version of Photoshop for years and years to come instead of paying for expensive new versions with sometimes dubious upgrade value.) And that's not going to sit well with people. But on a practical level, it's $50 a month. Or $80 for the team version. I have to think pro users are objecting on principal, rather than out of a legitimate fear that they can't afford the subscription.”

I think this observation has some merit. Adobe really is offering value for money even if it is radically changing the game. Personally, I think it's the loss of control that worries people. Adobe has taken full control. I've heard some fear that Adobe could, at their whim, up the monthly charges once you're fully invested in their workflow and pipeline.

Here are some other things people are saying.

John Court, technology consultant: “The 'cloud' is nothing more than a move back to the institutionalized mainframes of the 70s. Personally, I believe the cloud as a platform for content-creation computing is high-tech snake oil. The legal/contractual issues alone are scary. Is there a legal framework for distributed computing and storage with regard to production IP? Using the cloud for a month on a project? That would be logical if you could pay for a single month. But you can't. You can pay monthly. But you have to opt in to a year of payments.”

Anonymous Bosch, another industry legend whom I know personally but who wants to remain in the shadows: “I haven't formed a final opinion of the Adobe Cloud. I do, however tend to be suspicious of non-physical possession of application software and files. I suspect that that is where the future lies, and that eventually, should our species survive a global cataclysm, everything will be stored elsewhere and individuals will just have little access devices. Keeps residences and offices tidy.”

Richard Servello, visual effects compositor: "Monthly software subscriptions are ridiculous! You end up spending the same amount yearly as you would for a one-time buy. Now you have no choice on upgrading. You just keep paying until you go out of business and have nothing to show for it."

Jeff Mottle, CEO of CG Architect: “Personally, I usually only ever upgraded every other version to the Master Collection, so while the price works out to more or less the same spent, it's just being spread out evenly over that time. As others have said, though, you own nothing at the end if you stop paying. From a usability standpoint on the licensing, I do like that you can install a single license cross-platform, so I can install it on my PC desktop and my Mac laptop (as a single user). This was something that previously could only be done with a volume license, though depending on whom at Adobe you spoke to and on which day was either OK or illegal. Technically it worked, but It seemed to be interpreted differently by different employees. I also like the control panel to install or uninstall all of the applications from one point. I hated having to log into my account, download an installer, etc. Now I just open the control panel, click the app and either update, install or uninstall. Along that line, I love that you can activate or deactivate the licenses between machines if you have more machines than licenses. So far I would say, from a software-licensing and installation standpoint, I wish every vendor took a similar approach."

This instant machine shift came in handy for Jeff recently when he needed additional licenses for a seminar and was able to instantly activate two machines by deactivating two at his office. He was able to switch back as soon as he finished the seminar. But not everyone likes the new way of doing things.

Caleb J. Howard, a 25-year veteran of the VFX and games industries, does not mince words: “Personally, I'll never support either a non-local software model, nor a subscription model. I never really liked Photoshop much anyway, though … nor Adobe, to be honest. Pretty crap software. Okay, I should also clarify. Though I am a professional digital artist/R&D kind of guy for more than 25 years now, I do use crap software at work (hey, it's Windows). For my own project, I have a strict policy of using open-source software everywhere I can — painting, editing, modeling (in many cases; I do use Houdini). I am most strenuous in my resistance to companies that employ predatory business practices, rather than quality, to sell product. Olivetti had a software rental business model once. It didn't really fly. We'll see how it goes with such a hyped bit of crap as Photoshop. They have a lot of marketing dollars, a huge fan base, and a fair chunk of the market to lose.”

Caleb, don't hold back. Tell us what you really think (grin). I appreciate your candor. I personally find Adobe software excellent — Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition.

C. Campbell, freelance VFX artist: “Read your licensing agreements carefully. Especially for storage agreements. Adobe will claim usage/ownership of materials you store on their cloud. I have it under good authority from a fellow VES board member who is very familiar with Adobe products. It's apparently in the fine print." (Note: not being a lawyer, this one worries me.)

Steve K., VFX director/supervisor. “Adobe moved into the cloud merely as a way of trying to gain control over piracy and, for that, their shareholders are glad. However, they moved into this new cloud-space idea without fully thinking through all the upgrade issues.” (It has been reported that Adobe products are among the most pirated of all software)

Scott S., VFX artist/teacher. “In terms of companies offering (or coercing you into) storage of your data, it can give them an inordinate amount of leverage and create a situation of extorted brand loyalty. To a certain degree, closed-standard file formats can do this also, but having an unopenable file on your computer seems better than having an inaccessible file in the cloud.”

Erica Hornung, VFX artist and stereo roto artist: “I've actually been thinking about this a lot, for a while. I think it boils down to [thinking], 'The second I can actually pay for AE I will!' And for me, the monthly thing makes that personally possible and I'm happy. But I can see other sides, too. If you amortize whatever the package costs over two years I imagine it works out pretty favorably. I seem to remember production suite coming in around $1600, or 66 bucks a month. I think it's a smart move personally. Actually using their cloud, though? No thanks.”

Angie Jones, VFX artist/character animator/teacher: “If you are an instructor, you only pay $19.99 a month for the entire CC contents. It's a great deal in my book. I am doing the same with Microsoft PowerPoint at $10 a month.”

Jennifer Lynn Hachigian, CG artist/animator/illustrator: “I'm keeping my Adobe subscription. I used to pay about the same for my cell phone bill, so I treat it as a utility.” There was also a discussion of how the new pricing put Adobe products out of reach of casual users and Jennifer responded, “I think the software's original price point put it out of reach for casual users, too, unless they could nab educational copies." And Erica H. responded, “Agreed, unless they got pirated software—which I assume no one is advocating.”

I thought the following well-considered point of view is worth the space to air it in its entirety. It's from Rohin Aggarwa, founder and CEO of Scarecrow Visual Effects. I'm going to be taking more about Scarecrow in a separate post. They are a VFX house based in a cloud. I asked Rohin if he would tell me how he feels about Adobe moving to the cloud and I find this input well-stated and thought-provoking.

“Peter, I'm a strong proponent of Adobe's Creative Cloud. Just as the music industry migrated to song rental with Spotify and Pandora, the movie industry migrated to VOD with Amazon and Netflix, and even hardware migrated to a rental model with AWS and render farms, there's definitely demand for creative software to do the same. I think vendors are understandably hesitant, since a rental model means a longer play in reaping rewards for their not-insubstantial investment. That said, both companies and individuals are demanding a shift away from purchasing. Our focus is on individuals, and for freelancers it is viable only if fixed costs remain low. In both cases, the peaks and troughs of creative work are better managed through flexible licensing schemes. The alternatives, if flexible licensing does not exist, are piracy, under-utilized licenses (during troughs) and license-sharing. The first is bad for the software vendor and the other two are bad for their clients and not sustainable in the long term.

“Do I think Adobe's implementation is perfect? No. Monthly membership is still not flexible enough when most projects may be done in hours or days. But it is a great step towards combating piracy, making it more accessible to freelancers, and helping them navigate business cycles by reducing fixed costs. Adobe is not alone here. The Foundry (quarterly for software, daily for plugins), Autodesk (monthly) and Side Effects (monthly) have all recognized this market need and migrated to it.

“Our company relies precisely on this shift. We're in talks right now with some of these vendors to get daily license rentals that we can offer our artist contractors. While there has been some pushback about what essentially amounts to them modifying their entire business model, they also recognize that this is a market need and a sign of a larger shift in the market.”

Thanks for bringing up some interesting ideas, Rohin.

I want to thank all of these brave people who tell it like they see it. This discussion has broadened my perspective on the subject. I now have a subscription to the Creative Cloud and I have to say so far, so good, except that their servers are so slow downloading the apps and installing them. Sheesh. But actually using them, I find myself very happy. I like a lot of the new features and the fact that the apps are continuously kept up to date. For the time being, I still have my old local versions as well. What I wish is that Adobe could leave us with static versions of our most used software when we can no longer pay. We know we can't update it, but we can at least have it on our computer for future messing around. Perhaps they would allow this after one year or 18 months of contribution. Seems fair to me.

Now it's Adobe's turn. I've asked Bill Roberts, Adobe's director of video product management, to keep an eye on this blog and give us some straight-talk responses to some of the statements and to clear up some misconceptions. I'm particularly interested in the comment about Adobe claiming ownership of what you save in the cloud, though I, personally, save everything locally.

76 Comments

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  • Kelly Jones

    Thanks for going to the cloud and then delete Encore. Not so happy with it. They love the idea that you should pay and pay and pay… Then they can change things and we have no say. I have no way of going back and redoing any encore projects. Not that they really had good support for encore anyway. Or a class room in a book for encore. So Cloud not so happy.

    • Peter Plantec

      A valid point Kelley.

  • Anonymous

    After leaving NYC the only way I can afford Adobe Apps as a freelancer is because I can afford an adobe cloud subscription. I believe the community of software pirates may find adobe cloud is so affordable they can no longer excuse the piracy to themselves.

    I hope the cloud is profitable for adobe because the subscription price point is democratizing access. i hope the software doesn’t get too bloated with the constant updates – but smartly cs6 is still available if the cc version sucks for you.

    • Peter Plantec

      Its nice to hear something positive MYK5. You bring a valid point of view. Software pirates really do hurt hurt the legit pros by sponsoring cheap competition.

    • Anonymous

      As for reviewing the apps…. I’m a cartoonist, graphic artist and web designer. I find manga studio pro better for drawing comics digitally (with a Wacom). Photoshop is better for coloring, and is king of color correcting for process prints. I much prefer Illustrator to Coreldraw. Dream weaver is very good – but I’ll be using a text processor to learn better CSS and JavaScript/jquery – dream weaver still great for productivity! Those are the apps I use most.

      The Indesign I need to relearn because the current version doesn’t default to inches.

      For accessable websites, blind people would prefer a recorded reading of site content, and I’m happy the adobe cloud includes audio software to do that well. I’m also happy with the program to create CSS based animation because Linux and iPhones do not support Flash.

      50$/month is not super cheap – but the expense is a reminder to market my skills!

  • Scott MacDonald

    From my perspective, I have no issue with the move to the cloud but I should be able to pay a lesser amount for the three applications I actually use and not the dozen+ that are part of the price. It’s just like cable, I don’t necessarily want to pay for channels I never use.

    • Peter Plantec

      I have an issue with that too, Scott. I only use four apps…maybe if they had tier pricing … They do…two tiers: One or all. They could have packages priced with 1,2,3,4 apps, and so forth.

  • Ed Rogers

    It certainly saved me dollars and angst, debating whether to upgrade. I will make do with my current version of the Master Collection…

    • Peter Plantec

      There you go Ed…you’re set for at least five years. Its more about the artist than the brush. Adobe merely provides good brushes.

  • Jean-Sebastien Dussault

    First of all, let’s call things as they really are : it’s not a move to the cloud, but rather a move to a subscription-only model.

    We’ve been cut off from the possibility of owning our tools instead of buying them. Moreover, the cost of subscription costs more than owning a Master collection and upgrading it.

    It’s one thing to want to regularise the revenue stream, but this is obviously a money grab. Only shareholders are winning with this, which is the modern American view of a clientele, I guess.

    • Peter Plantec

      JS, I respect you position, but clearly many people prefer this new arrangement. As I’ve stated elsewhere, i believe that at some point certain software rights should vest to loyal users. In that case when you choose to no longer come up with Adobe’s annual nut, you would still retain use of the last level of your most used software with updates, but not up grades. I visualize points vesting over time.

      • jeff

        So many people prefer this new arrangement that articles still have to be written showing why some people prefer it/defend it. No – I’m not, along with many others, not drinking the Adobe kool-aide anymore. Customers want choices which Adobe no longer offers.

      • Anonymous

        (note : it’s still me, I just signed up with a different service)

        Wait, I haven’t stated my position, yet. CC is actually better for me at the time, being mostly starting up (or looking for a job)—meaning sparse contracts—I can put an occasional monthly fee (which is closer to 70$ than 50$, btw) when I have the cash to do it.

        On the other hand, I’m also a happy owner of a previous CS version, which means I can still do stuff when no contracts are around, or at least begin work before payments arrive (quirk of 30 days terms). I also know that the average length of life for a version in a typical design studio was about 3 years, sometimes 4 (often skipping a version). All in all, it costs more.

        Sure, people are happy. Being in credit-card nations, we relish in paying regular « small amounts » (everything is relative) even if we end up pay more in the end. As long as everything goes well, there’s no problem, but the moment people will be in trouble, they’ll realize they paid up a lot for not owning anything in the end.

        I doubt Adobe would go for such a solution as the one you suggest. Offering this would essentially give the same result for clients as the software as a purchase option while giving less money for Adobe (without saying a buy would be way less complicated a point based scheme).

      • Anonymous

        I’ve been thinking a bit more about the solution you propose, and I thought about something that might just work.

        What I would do, were I Adobe, is to continue to offer a buy-able CS thus:

        Continue CC as is (i.e. with very competitive pricing), but also release milestone versions of CS (Master version—forget the vertical marketing) at fixed intervals (ex. 3 years) for a price equivalent to what a full time CC would cost for that period.

        No «full price», no «upgrade price». Just the (3 years) equivalent one.

        But

        If you’ve been using CC during that time period, you can deduct the cost of your already paid CC from that price. Therefore, If you’d been subscribed to CC annually during all that time, the milestone version will cost you nothing, since you’ve already paid for it. If you subscribed to CC for, let’s say a year, you’d end up with a $600 (12 * $50) off the milstone CS price, then the amount you paid. $900$ if you were subscribed on the monthly plan (12 * $75).

        This solution would then provide an «actual product» option that clients can use as was the way before, and It would still keep the current advantages of the CC, —PLUS— add a new one as.a way to save money on the milestone.

  • Jim

    Buying software is a capital expense and hits the bottom line better than the same dollars as an expense item.

    • Peter Plantec

      Interesting thought Jim….can you elaborate?

  • GoFUkUrselfRJ

    com·mu·nism noun ˈkäm-yə-ˌni-zəm, -yü-

    : a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property.

    Welcome to Adobe’s version of communism. A total slap in the face to all the artists who invested in Adobe software since the beginning. Lack of choice to buy the product makes this a suspicious move. Why ONLY a subscription? Businesses have obviously taken a page from government ethics in running their company. What if Sony were to decide not to sell their cameras anymore and simply lease only? Would that be acceptable? How about automobiles? What if you could never own a car anymore, only lease? Is this where American business is heading? Adobe is setting a terrible precedent and I hope they lose tons of money over their BS commie Cloud system.

    • Peter Plantec

      Bad analogy, i suspect half the cars in America are leased. There are advantages. I see your point about community property being owned by the state. But Adobe isn’t setting the precedent GoF, they just did it in a big way. Others including Autodesk, The Foundry. SideFX. Are all headed in this direction. I don’t like it. I dislike the idea of limited software. I have seven year old software on my HD, that i still use. Look at Particle Illusion. Its been around in essentially the same form for more than a decade and I still use it. I’ve recently gotten the impression that plug-in companies want to start leasing us plugins…i hate that idea. Thats why we’re having this discussion. After all, we as consumers have a voice…especially here.

      • Anonymous

        Autodesk still gives the choice to buy their products, though.

        You cannot upgrade them, but you can still buy them.

        • Peter Plantec

          For a while…as with Adobe. I noticed that CS6 is still available as an alternative. But many whom don’t have the substantial up front cash have found that the CC gives them a cost effective way to get started. Several have told me that they started with CC and used the tools to earn the annual fee in as little as a few weeks.

  • Peter Plantec

    I appreciate the active participation in this project. Adobe is listening, reading as we speak. Next post they have kindly agreed to address your questions, comments and barbs. I really hope we’ll be civil with them. They didn’t have to agree to participate and I my purpose with this blog has been to open lines of communication so we can get our grips across directly to the guys who can do something about it. I really appreciate so many of you using your real names and taking ownership of what you say. Thanx.

  • ramuno

    I do not lease cars or houses or software. As a several decade user and advocate for Adobe, I am pissed about this.

    • Peter Plantec

      Well said Ramuno. I think we clearly understand your position.

  • caleb

    Hmm.. I was feeling a bit pissy there, obviously. Well – it’s certainly how I feel, though I should be more gracious, perhaps, to the excellent people I know who have made excellent content using Adobe’s hyped bit of crap sw. ;-)

    • Peter Plantec

      LOL…thanks Caleb. I really appreciate your input. Clearly you speak for a lot of people. Now your voice is being heard.

  • John Brune

    I will never use Adobe products from the Cloud. Never. Terrible business model to follow. Downloading software updates is bad enough. I like physical media only!

    • Peter Plantec

      Back,to the old brush and media paradigm. I’ve been learning Chinese brush painting lately. A lot to be said for physical media, John.

  • Dan.

    Well, I seem to be the only one experiencing another problem with the subscription only option of CC. Let me explain what I have noticed happen around me and how it makes me feel about Adobe, software that I have come to know well and love while foraging a living with.
    I am what you would call a loyal customer, I have faithfully purchased the software for untold thousands of dollars over the years and liked how it’s price point for legal use put a small but formidable barrier to entry for non-professional artist in place. This made my investment worthwhile and kept the industry professional and standards high in my opinion. I would always include the fact that I was LEGIT in contract negotiations and attempt to edge out the “fly-by-nighter’s” and pirates. Admittedly, I used pirated software when I started my company because I could not afford it but as soon as I could, I ran out and became a proud owner. I would argue that without the possibility to pirate software we would be 15 years behind where we are now but that’s a topic for another comment and I digress…
    It would seem now that any yahoo with $50 bucks and a PC is now my competitor and consistently under bids me as they don’t know what they are doing or how they are hurting the industry. I feel that Adobe has single handily killed my business and I have closed the doors and had to go get a production job at about 70% of what I use to be able to make and what I use to be worth. I know some of you would argue that I am just not good enough or that I am charging too much money but before you open your mouth STOP. Let me explain farther…
    What I offer as a professional artist is the top 15% in quality for my productions, this I am able to achieve with many years of experience. My productions do not come back from Deluxe with errors and the quality is top notch. I am finding that clients these day, especially with most content getting delivered on the web, just don’t want to pay for the 15%. That 15% use to be pretty important and is what professional use to mean. Now I have to adjust and go against my grain and compete with the low quality, poor workmanship and in my opinion substandard work that is worth what customers in the new buyers market are willing to settle for. On average in my city I have seen Editing, Motion Graphics and Visual Effects work drop in value by more than half. Maybe it’s just my city but it’s a horrible tend and I fear it may continue and spread if you all claim that it’s not happening to you. Is Adobe’s CC to blame… I just don’t see any other big time factors contributing but this is just my opinion. I did find it hard to adjust to basically delivering a rough draft because that’s as much money the client wanted to pay for a piece, I am still able to do it faster than the yahoo’s but it seems like there just isn’t enough work out there for all of us now too. I may be wrong about this but it’s left me feeling pretty betrayed by Adobe. I would love for them to buy back my Suite or give me a 2 or 3 years free subscription to make up for the fact that my suite (which cost me thousands) pretty much became worthless overnight. Anyways, that’s how I see it and if you feel differently then please express yourself too, but if you want to personally attack me for what I have said then eat a #ick #sshole.

  • Peter Plantec

    Les, i feel your pain. I’m in kind of a similar position in that i use Adobe products but infrequently enough that paying the equivalent of my cell phone…which is very expensive — each month makes Adobe products a great luxury that, for me, is hard to afford. It means many people have to give up little pleasures like that daily caramel latte macchiato. On the other hand id be hard pressed to say that the software isn’t worth that. Ive tried the less expensive alternatives and they are impressive, but i still keep,coming back to Adobe for some reason. Maybe its where my comfort lies.

    • RadRaven

      The only possible outcome of the cost of a software becoming a luxury, is for it to become a pirate copy… I never understood why software companies can’t figure that out…
      Photoshop CC was pirated hours after its release, so the anti-piracy line is as redundant as ever!
      As a owner of several previous releases, I can only see piracy as logical option… I’m a hard core user, but I also shoot, write, research and what not, why am I supposed to be paying something while I’m not using it???
      All the people that are defending the model and being incoherent and, or selfish! Unless they find it cool to start renting their smart cell phone in a near future!
      Adobe has been buying out its competition for a long time and now is the time to reap those benefits!
      Shame we all have to pay for everybody else’s lack of vision… Or maybe it’s just the perfect excuse to go back to how most of us start and stop pay for software that in reality we only pay because we become loyal and believe it is the right thing to do

  • Player_L

    Software as service offers ZERO advantages to users, and create an unjust burden on small business. As always, a moneygrabbing scheme sugarcoated by slick PR moves and brown nosed reporters.

    -Constant free updates: You mean, like you ALREADY have on CS6? You mean significative, game-changing upgrades, or the kind of BS that you get when you spend 500 dollars to update from CS5?

    -Pay it when you use it: REALLY? What happens with last-minute jobs? Or are you going to wait until a job comes for leasing?
    And what about freebies and personal work? Do you have to fork out your OWN money?

    What happens with third-party software? You have to spend quite a lot on software… you cannot use, since you are not currently leasing CC.
    What about dedicated HARDWARE?

    Not to mention I live in a country with an AWFUL internet connection, which will lock me out of my workstation constantly. A serious deal-breaker.
    Nevermind using space in the cloud. Nobody with less than a 20Mbit simetrical connection can use it for their promoted uses.

    What about the integrity / confidentiality of my files? How is Adobe going to compensate me for material stolen or lost from their servers?
    Will they reimburse me if I lose a gig (or an account) due to server downtime?

    3300 USD for the master collection? Not many stores can actually afford to pay that much on what´s become an insanely competitive marketplace.
    Specially, since you must compete with someone who got it pirated, and can offer better prices.
    80usd a month is more than many people make in a year by using it!

    And what about students, trainees, Ngo´s, and a host of other users that use old versions since they can´t afford to upgrade? Now they are forced to pay forever for software they cannot pay, meant to run on computers they cannot afford.

    The only reason this steaming turd of a marketing strategy even
    exist, is that they have been insanely greedy over the last 10 years,
    and lost the battle against piracy time and time again.
    On a side note: I wonder if Adobe pay for ad space on Studiodaily? Yeah… I thought so.

    • Peter Plantec

      Player…i notice you choose to call me a brown noser and imply that Adobe some how pays for special treatment. You also choose to hide behind your anonymous moniker. Stop and think for a moment. I gave you a very big pulpit here. Thousands of people will read what you’ve posted. Adobe will read it. You have important things to say and we’ve given you a pulpit…that is in fact empowerment. why then must you imply such nasty things about me or this magazine.

      I have been covering this industry since the begining, and have written for all the top magazines. Not one of them has ever pressured me to write a favorable article about anybody. Bribes have been offered (not here and not by Adobe) and my editors have always made it clear that they nor I are for sale. I’m trying to take a balanced view of this situation and clearly you have important points to make. So stop with the damn anonymous pot shots and make your valid points in a civil manner or don’t comment at all.

      • Player_L

        I am, in fact, very sorry you felt implied by my angry rant. I never meant to insult you personally, and was not thinking of you when I spoke about editorial complacency.

        I want to apologize for that, and thank you for taking your time to answer on a civil, composed fashion.

        That being said, You may have noticed I never used your name, or referred to your work in any way.

        The article you wrote is quite impartial. The publication you work for, on the other hand, it is not. And the same could be said for every publication, printed or online, that bases it´s business model on paid advertisement.
        I know you will probably disagree, but this is not the point I´d like to discuss right now.

        What I am VERY concerned about, is that pretty much every industry publication on the world is singing praises for a business practice that will break the back of many workers on this industry.
        I am, also, terribly concerned about a few software manufacturers holding complete control over industry practices, by the force of their sheer monopoly.

        I´d like to ask you, if you´d be so kind, to bear reading past the three first lines, and give us your honest input about the unaddressed concerns voiced on my previous post, which you have failed to do so far.

        One more thing. My name is Emilio Leotta. I am a cinematographer and editor, and I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
        I fail to see how this information could be of any use for you, but I refuse to be accused again of “taking anonymous potshots”

        I await for your reply.

        Emilio Leotta.

        • Peter Plantec

          Emilio, thank you for that post. I feel better now. As i said you do have valid points and i feel your anger. As for opinion. I always have those. You raised some and im asking Bill to discuss some of your issues. Being in a country with lousy internet is a problem and having to buy plugins like from say Red Giant…not cheap but essential. Without your subscription active, all that goes inactive too. Big investment sitting there on dedicated equipment…well the dedicated equipment can be quickly repurposed, but the software remains an issue. Lets say you need Adobe stuff quickly. Its actually very quick to activate. It does take time to download, but not hours. And as Jeff said. Its become extremely portable. Say you’re on location and need Premiere Pro on site. You can rent or borrow a computer and instantly activate your second copy of the CC software. If you need both you can instantly reassign your office copy to the remote site. So its not all negative. I just wish i would have something to show for say a year and a half of monthly outlay…something i could walk away with.

          • Player_L

            Thank you for your reply, and for not taking it personal.
            As I read your previous post, I started thinking of an alternative that could keep everyone happy.

            Maybe it could be possible to offer a free version of each program with some limitations, such as watermarked or unusable exports. Then, what your subscription pays for is actually the ability to OUTPUT your material, rather than working on it.
            This would greatly simplify the process, especially if Adobe could make this “permission” not tied to a specific hardware. In case of a power outage, internet interruption, computer crash or whatever, you could take the final project to someone else´s computer (provided they have downloaded the free version as well), and punch in your user and password like you would on a webmail account.

            This would also end up being GOOD for the industry. Sporadical users could edit, design and compose for free, and would simply take their material to a PRO shop for export for a cheap fixed fee, helping the pro to offset the subscription cost and bringing new customers.
            Let´s face it, none of this one-time users would fork over the 80USD/mnth subscription anyway.

            The bottom line is that trying to defeat piracy by being petty and restrictive has not yielded great results so far.
            Adobe
            products are GREAT, but the main reason for their widespread adoption
            is that at least 3 out of 4 users had access to a working, pirated version.
            If you actually manage to lock them out, they will jump ship to other
            software, even if it´s worse, and create a new standard.
            I think it´s time to start being generous instead. Give non-pro features for free, and charge for what you should actually pay for.
            And for the love of god! Not 80 dollars a month!!!!!

            Emilio.

          • Peter Plantec

            I find this a fascinating potential solution. You get the tools, but id you want to use your project, you pay to out put it. Im not sure Adobe would see an advantage, but i does make a strange kind of sense. I would add, maybe we could output at 640×580 for development purposes…too small for commercial use.

          • Player_L

            Exactly! A full size export with watermarks would also be cool, since it would allow you to test your workflow in advance and troubleshoot compatibility issues.

            The main point is that this should not be a “pirate deterrent” or “pay till you die” scheme, but rather a “please, don´t migrate to other soft” one.

            Of course, some crazy russian or norwegian hacker will eventually crack the account system. But if you price it right, for most users it would not make sense going trough all the hassle of installing a cracked version.
            Now, tell Bill that if I see this being used on Adobe CC 2.0, I´ll be waiting for my free lifetime membership.

            Emilio.

          • Peter Plantec

            Sounds fair to me E.

  • Dan

    No offence Peter, I just included the quip at the end of my post for the inevitable flamer on his way to my post. It would seem to me that most of the feedback so are is negative but alas…. it is as you say… adapt or die….perhaps my skills will once again be in demand in the future… but for now… i need to bid super low, spend the hours allotted by the quote at my rate and submit what i’m got at that point. Like it or not. It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation however as I feel when you put out substandard work you jeopardize future work but it’s all just a balancing act we are trying to manage. Adobe contributing to the degradation of the industry with it’s retail strategy is at this point just my opinion. I do feel that if things where kept the same that I personally would have been able to keep my company’s doors open. I don’t know what Adobe can do about it if anything, blame games are fun but not very productive, what’s done is done. Anyways, good luck everybody, and let’s figure out a way to get the prices back up.

    • Peter Plantec

      Dan, what do you think would work for you at this point? There are a lot of people in similar circumstances.

      • dan

        Well, I really had to think about this… I don’t know that there is anything to be done by Adobe, the landscape of the industry has changed like that of when printers became available to home users and put pressure on commercial printing companies with vastly superior technology and equipment to find a way to survive. At the end of the day the biggest way that the subscription model has effected me is with availability of work and value of that work, both have been negative but I can’t prove it in any meaningful way so it’s relegated to my opinion. Not owning my tools in the form of a licence that I could maybe resell later sucks, it’s bad for me any way you slice it but at least it’s happening to everyone at the same time so it’s not as bad to all get screwed together. I do consider it getting screwed as the benefits don’t make up for the perceived loss. At the end of the day with my CS6 suite I had something of value and I could use it for a while if I wanted to and without internet access if that went down. I am a power user and the cloud is as useful to me as a third nipple, i realize that for others who collaborate and work in teams it may be great but I just can’t get there, to put my stuff on the web facing the possibility of not being able to access it is ludicrous and seems unprofessional. I go through a lot of effort to protect my client data from theft and loss. Again, that’s opinion, maybe if I worked locally and then when I was done for the day it would back up my work to the cloud for added data protection that would be great and a real benefit… that i consider a value add. The not owning my data anymore if I upload it thing makes me crazy and I don’t have time to look into it but it’s enough for me to just loose it if true. At this point all that I can do is keep learning and my skill up to date, wait for the noobies to washout or smarten up, and I think they will over time when they start to see how hard it is to make your own company work with so little money made on gigs, they will realize that I am worth more than 12 dollars an hour (which is what a premier editor job is going for in my city) and start charging more. Pandora’s box is open and now we all have to live with the consequences… To answer your question Peter, what we have now is working, the industry needs to change, the tools are great and the subscription amount is fine as long as you can keep working. I do see what Adobe did as Greedy and Disloyal but that’s just my opinion.

        • Peter Plantec

          Dan, i think you mispercieve how CC works. You don’t actually work in the cloud as someone else pointed out. You work and keep your files loally exactly as you did before. The difference is that you now lease the software and have access to all Adobe products for one monthly price. If you choose to keep copies in the cloud you will have to rent cloud space.

          So its not as bad as you thought. And since you don’t need all theat money up front to get started, you can keep it in tne bank, paying a fairly reasonable fee monthly like a utility.

          • Dan

            Peter, I don’t think you have read what I have been writing and I am detecting a serious bias. I am offended by your explanation to me above like I don’t know what I am talking about. I have extended a certain amount of professional cutesy to you in our exchange and I see it has been an error on my part. With regards to your last post….You have got to be kidding me! Respectfully, I’m done here.

          • Peter Plantec

            Sorry Dan, but i’ve read every word. It seems to me that much of your concern is with the cloud aspect which you seem to misperceive…i also understand that you want to own something and that you feel the coming changes put you at a disadvantage. What solution can you think of that might work?

  • Jeff

    Not hard to figure out. Customers want choice. Adobe doesn’t want to give customers choice. It’s subscription based or nothing. If Adobe wants $0.00 from me then I’m more than happy, as a former life long Adobe customer to take my $ to their competitor’s software. Not going to do a subscription based software no matter who says they like it. Customers want choices.

    • Peter Plantec

      Interesting Jeff, and there are alternatives. I have to wonder if this will push Mari forward…but then i realize it seems to be heading towards subscription as well. There is always Corel and who ever has been waiting in the shadows to emerge. But the fact is, Adobe has the experience and long development cycle under their belt. Theat does cout for something.

  • Pat Ford

    I can’t understand why certain clearly intelligent people refer to the Adobe CC model as working from “the cloud.” (Even more ridiculous, some have compared the model to the old mainframe computer technology. You buy the service online from Adobe and it then you download it. There is little difference there. The program is on your computer. Program updates can be done more simply without having to wait months for a new version. Unless you ordered the Master Collection very infrequently, it seems to me that the subscription model is cheaper.
    Just don’t understand what the b!ching is about!!

    • Peter Plantec

      Pat, i think the people most opposed haven’t experienced the full CC treatment. You’re right of course. ,it works the same as always. But people don’t like the new incompatible file formats and there ids a misconnect that you actually work in the cloud, which of course you don’t. Other folks don’t realize you keep,your files locally unless you want to pay to put them in the cloud. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • cris

    I’m not a professional user on a regular basis yet, and even though I try I may never be. But I will always have the drive to want to experiment and create and the Creative Suite allows me to do that.

    What I don’t like about the CC are the continuous updates forcing people to learn and adapt at the speed Adobe dictates. And most of all I don’t like the FACT that when one chooses to cancel or take time off from the subscription one loses his ability to use the program. Furthermore, as time progresses and computer’s systems change, there will come a day when your old CS6 disks won’t be readable by the latest computer, and no one will have parts to repair you old computer and there will not be any support for your old related 3rd party plug-ins.

    If there is one program that I could say I Love, really love, admire, words can’t even describe what I feel for After Effects, and I’m not even that good in it. But with this profit motivated move by Adobe, I would jump ship in a heartbeat if the right competition came along. I’ve always purchased the software that I use to make sure the company gets paid, that’s my way of saying Thank You for the great product you’ve made. But now …if I could get a bootleg copy of the Adobe products I would do it because Adobe has said FU consumer. So I have to reply FU back Adobe.

    • Peter Plantec

      Chris, i hope i don’t get in trouble for saying this. But i know exactly how you feel. You’re last sentence rings with things I’ve thought along the way. What kind of solution would you propose?

      • cris

        I don’t have a solution other than Adobe allowing people the choice to either buy or do the subscription plan

  • J_R

    I find the move both good and bad. First I have access to tools that I only use occasionally for a single price.

    Second I have access to more tools that I would never try if I had to pay up front.

    Third updates are pretty easy and transparent.

    The Bad is that there are a lot of tools there and figuring out what is useful takes time that I would rather use otherwise.

    Training is pretty sparse quality is irregular as is cost, not entirely Adobe’s fault.

    Updates can be intrusive.

    Overall I like the new model as the cost up front is lower and I get better access to products at an affordable price. If Adobe were to go to some sort of always connected or run in the cloud only model I would have to look for an alternative. (actually I already use Vegas with various plugs and it is pretty good. Doesn’t give me the excessive feature set and is a high up front cost.)

    As for the ownership issues it’s pretty silly. Apparently folks don’t read the license!

    • Peter Plantec

      Well said JR. Thanks for the input.

    • Pat

      There was a time when Adobe’s training, even their individual manuals were pretty good. They appeared to put as much time and thoughtfulness into their development as they did the software. The quality of the information even the paper and typesetting were top shelf. Of course that’s changed completely. They’ve gone to great lengths to maximize profit. Something companies that find themselves in a monopolistic position are able to do. Now you’re lucky if you find any decent training resources that come with the software and Adobe’s help systems are poor at best. Adobe stopped competing because currently there’s no reason to. I think the cloud model is bad for customers, it’s bad for the industry and I hope Adobe are punished in the market place as a result of their greedy money grab! Despite being a loyal customer for nearly 2 decades, as far I’m concerned they’ll never see another penny of my money.

  • fgrt

    It’s not cloud, it’s rights management. The dishonest nature of the name speaks volumes.
    adobe could protect against piracy by rights managing the software with the old licence schema so this is no excuse for this new way.
    adobe is saying, “If you don’t cough up some money we will throw you off the platform you have been loyal to and envested time and money too even designed your equiptment and workflow for. $50 by the end of the month or else”
    Well, I have never felt more like a whore in my life.

    • Peter Plantec

      Ouch fgrt. There has to be a solution. What do you think would work for you?

      • fgrt

        CS5.5 and waiting for an inexpensive solution from china. Their loyalty to me is worth $50, so likewise I am sure.

        • Peter Plantec

          There are some very inexpensive alternatives available now…some pretty darn good too. The problem is that each has its own culture and supporters that you have to break into, in in some cases the users seem less professional.

  • Wesley

    We from Africa find it very difficult, we have slow and unreliable internet network connections and expensive rates for connections, Electricity supply is sporadic .it does not make sense for us , we are changing to others even though they are not as good as Adobe

    Wesley Agina

    Nairobi Kenya

    • Peter Plantec

      That is sad Wesley. Ive been thinking about a scheme where Adobe could provide a certain number of emergency local authorizations so when you have to work and can’t get online. You could do an emergency start and get to work.

      • Wesley

        May be that will be of help to the many young people who are struggling in the industry, My son has requested me to buy a copy of Adobe production,. He wants to use it both for learning and eventual work. My request on behalf on the many youth in Kenya is you run them in parallel .It will take us a long time to get where Us and Europe is . Adobe is becoming popular and people are just starting to go deeper into it, The government has also released funds for youth in the film and video industry to help youth engage in gainful employment in the film industry.

        • Peter Plantec

          Interesting to know Wesley. You know you actually get two licenses with the CC. You can activate two machines. Perhaps one for you and one for your son. He can switch his activation around as i understand it…instantly from perhaps his home machine to his school machine. Hope this helps.

  • Peter Plantec

    The subject came up suggesting that magazines like StudioDaily, being financed by sponsors are obliged to be nice to their sponsors in editorial. If we were politicians that might be true, but we are journalists. I’ve been covering this industry for more than two decades at many different magazines and I will say this: I have never been asked by any editor to slant an article toward or away from an advertiser. I have gotten approached by potential advertisors who thought that was how the game was played. I told them and I tell you…I tell it like I see it. The only pressure I get is from my family to not write about them…and I don’t…any more. Ever.

    I am pleased to be part of a journalistic group that has integrity and I have one of the best editors…okay so a little brown nosing….but seriously, i have written for this magazine and its predicessors for more than a decade and you wont find finer straight shooters anywhere. I’ve said my piece…believe me or don’t. Its all true.

  • Anonymous

    Im reading with a migraine today so I am missing things. Did I read contract? So if you sign up for the cloud you’re obligated to pay 50 dollars every month no matter what? Or is it 50 dollars per month? I also saw 75 dollars per month, and an 80 dollar team tag. None of this sounds any good, especially if you only edit video or work with photoshop.

    • Peter Plantec

      Matt, I’m still not completely clear on these things myself. So,we need to do some research. As i understand it we commit to a year of service and pay so much per month. If you only use, say After Effects, your monthly nut is smaller. But you pay for one product or all products…nothing in between. The price for all is very fair, but still amounts to a substantial monthly commitment like your iPhone.

  • Collin Kennedy

    As an independent filmmaker with projects that must be top quality, but only come around once in a while, It’s far to costly to be paying out $XXxx / month in the months that pass between major productions when I’m building funding for the next film. It was so much better to buy CS5.0, use it on a project, edit a couple of commercials on it, have it sit there in the down time costing me no more, and then it’s ready to go the next time I need it, until the next big project comes along to fund the upgrade to CS6. I just can’t see getting involved with CS. And I guess Adobe is ok with loosing me as a customer, even after they won me over from Avid years ago.

    • Peter Plantec

      It sounds like if you could rent CC for a month and let it go, that would work for you. Yes?

      • Collin Kennedy

        Will they let you rent it for a month? I knew you could pay by the month, but there was an annual contract to start? Still this is like Divx DVD’s from Circuit City, end users pay over and over for the use of the same product. Consumers didn’t like that either, and it eventually led to the demise of Circuit City.

  • Jack

    Thanks for all interesting opinions!

    I am a small independent filmmaker from The Netherlands and very satisfied with AVID. But I also want a second NLE and doubted greatly what to choose: Premiere or FCPX. By introducing CC it’s very clear now; hello FCPX!

  • NoWay

    All access to internet, cloud, web, or network is subject to being hacked. If you want something to be secure, store it on any storage device that is not in anyway connected to internet or wireless internet. This would means people would have to go to work to access all business information. Wow, life would be tough!

  • Fred Raimondi

    Let’s all take a deep breath here.

    Did they have apps on the first iPhone? No.

    Was Final Cut X v01 a hit? No.

    This is a first step. A dipping of the toe into the water. This was going to happen eventually. With the tools “leveling off” in terms of innovation and features it’s going to be hard to justify users upgrading on a yearly basis, or even a bi-yearly basis for that matter.

    I think we can all agree that Adobe is a business. And businesses need to make money. If your users AREN’T upgrading yearly, or even bi-yearly that HAS to hurt the bottom line.

    I’d urge you all to read the book “The Long Tail”. It will give you insight as to why Adobe did this, and why it’s going to be the future of business. Especially something like software that ONLY gets updated AND purchased by users when there is a good reason to do so or you need to add seats.

    Let’s all also notice that Adobe has taken a very ballsy step forward in doing this, and I’m sure it does make the software available to many more people.

    I, for one, remember when I was getting started as a one man shop. I had to pony up BIG $$ to get the Adobe suite. I would have LOVED to have been able to pay $50/month for EVERY PIECE OF SOFTWARE they offer.

    As a power user who can really take advantage of the updates in the software year after year, I’m actually happy about this. I used to be an “every other year” buyer, but now I’m up to date all the time. And really, when you think about it, a very modest cost.
    (although, truthfully, I’m so busy, it’s hard for me to upgrade because I have to do that “in between” projects, and that is a rarity.)

    I’ve been pinged by Adobe many times in the last year with surveys. Obviously, THEY’RE concerned about their new business model as well. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be polling their customers. And doing it in GREAT detail.

    Personally, I love their products. They’re well thought out, and I have done quite well as an independent contractor and fine artist using them.

    They are as important to me as any traditional media I might use. Come to think of it, I don’t use much traditional media any more. Which in the BIG picture of things probably makes Adobe products MORE important to me than traditional media.

    I’ve heard people call their products crap, and vow to NEVER use their products as long as they’re subscription.

    Really? Well you have fun with that.
    Me?
    I have work to do. And I need reliable tools that have support and a large installed user base behind them.

    I do believe that Adobe must come up some kind of “hybrid” solution for the “occasional user”. Or maybe the “occasional user” will be a thing of the past. How many people have the whole creative suite on their machines when they use a concentration or 2-3 of the components regularly.

    What I really don’t like about the model is that if you STOP paying, you’re out of luck. Although I’m sure most of us….no, probably all of us have a “purchase to own” copy of the Adobe products (or at least Photoshop) on their machines.

    Maybe Adobe does something like this. Where after a year of using a specific version of the software, you’re entitled to use THAT version for life. Although, I’m sure they’ve probably run that through “cost/benefit analysis” ad nauseum. But it does give the user a safety net if SOMETHING should happen where they can’t pony up the the $50/month.

    I’m not really sure WHAT the solution is, but I’m sure of one thing. The current model of “purchase to own” is going to disappear. Companies are figuring out where their revenue streams are and concentrating on those with pinpoint accuracy.

    The fact that Apple will NEVER charge for an OS upgrade again speaks VOLUMES about where the software industry is heading.

    We live in interesting times for sure.

  • Dale Fakess

    Adobe’s move to the cloud is marketing that will enhance their revenue. For the vast number of their users, it will cost more. Adobe feels emboldened by this move because their products are very good and they feel they are the only game in town. I’m sure for most users will see no real benefit. I operate from a single computer and will never have need for a subscription-based cloud.

  • Resourcemick

    It reminds me of the ol’ service bureau model of the 1980s, a way to keep the customer paying until the grave…

  • ProfTiredOfAdobe

    The CC subscription seems good for individuals and small shops, however, I have to reiterate that it is bad for students and education. Student can get apps for free from Autodesk and Blackmagic. They can get learning editions from the Foundry and Side Effects. Adobe gives discounts if the student signs up for a year. I guess part of their education is their monthly investment in software.

    Profs get Adobe apps cheap as mentioned in the article, but institutions don’t. Instead, institutions have to pay MORE than an individual per seat of the previously called “Master Collection.”

    The full CC currently costs colleges $400 per seat annually. FCPX/Compressor/Motion is $300 for perpetual licenses. Smoke is $ per seat for the first year and $15 per seat each year afterwards. Other Adobe alternatives like pixelmator, hitfilm, and reaper have low costs and perpetual licenses. Why should I be tied to Adobe when my department can spread out its budget better over time with viable alternatives?

    We are in a time when so-called industry standard software is meaningless. Premiere Pro is gaining ground because there is no standard in picture editing, but I don’t see PShop and AE being defacto apps much longer.

    • ProfTiredOfAdobe

      Smoke is $96 per seat for the first year. Had text editor issues…

  • Ron

    Even though the new subscription model is affordable right now, one thing that I worry about is that as this subscription model catches on and more program and plugin makers jump on this new idea, I could end up with a monthly bill adding up to hundreds of dollars a month depending on what I have installed on my machine.

    I’ve always paid for my software upfront and upgraded when a new upgrade became available every one to two years. In the in between years I’ve saved and bought plugins and other software to keep my business going. I don’t think I would be able to afford a monthly payment for all the software I use on my computer if every software maker jumps on this subscription model.

    Plus, what about price increases to monthly fees? Everyone does it “due to inflation.” Check your cable and internet bills and you’ll see what I’m talking about. How long before price increases start creeping into the subscription model?