Adobe Ends the Creative Suite Era and Embraces the Cloud

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One of the key questions in this digital age is that of ownership or access. Would you like to own a few applications outright and forever, or would you rather have instant access to a much larger toolset than you could otherwise afford?

The same question confronts us in many places. Would you rather buy a DVD a month or have access to thousands of movies via Netflix? Would you rather buy a CD or two per month or have access to millions of songs via Spotify? And with the coming of Adobe’s Creative Cloud last year, creative pros had to ask themselves if they preferred to invest in a traditional perpetual license for CS6 apps, or pay a monthly fee for access to everything Adobe offers. 

Well today, that choice has become a very different one, as Adobe announced the end of perpetual software licenses for new products. If you want to use the latest versions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and other key applications going forward, you will have to be a cloud subscriber. Otherwise you’ll have to make do with older versions of the software or find alternatives. Indeed, there will be no “CS7”, as the apps have been rebranded as CC for Creative Cloud. 

This development certainly won’t make every customer happy, but the value that Adobe has packed into the Creative Cloud is undeniable (if not amazing), and the choices of subscription plans offered attempt to accommodate users of all kinds. 

More after the jump! Continue reading below
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Here are a few key points from today’s announcements at MAX:

What’s Coming

All of Adobe’s most popular desktop apps have been updated: so in about a month (June 17th to be exact) subscribers will have access to Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Muse CC, and more.  

In total, the Creative Cloud will offer more than 30 tools and services.

Cloud subscribers will also retain access to versions of applications from CS6 and above. 

Typekit Fonts will be available for use in your desktop applications.

Besides the all-you-can eat access to a smorgasbord of software, another key advantage of subscribing is continuous updates. New features and fixes will be rolled out as soon as they are ready, and can be installed via the new desktop app. 

Files and settings can be stored, synced, and shared, via 20GB of storage. And subscribers can set up shared folders to collaborate with others.  

Behance is now integrated with Creative Cloud, so subscribers can showcase their work, get feedback, and gain exposure.

Subscription Options

A subscription to the Creative Cloud costs $50 per month with a one year commitment. For $75 per month you can have full access without the annual commitment.

Discounts are also available for owners of CS6 apps ($20 per month), and owners of older versions of CS ($30 per month). 

Students and teachers are eligible for a rate of $30 per month.

There’s also a Team option for $70 a month, which allows multiple employees at a business to use the software, and have 100 GB of online storage.

And finally, if all you need is a single application, a la carte subscriptions are available, for just $10 per month.

New Features

Among the new features in Photoshop CC are new sharpening technologies. Camera Shake Reduction can deblur images that lack sharp focus due to camera movement. Smart Sharpen has been reinvented to work better than ever. Adobe Camera Raw 8 adds controls to straighten images and fix perspective problems. Photoshop CC will also offer users the ability to post files directly to Behance from within the application.

In Illustrator CC, a new Touch Type tool offers users the ability to move, scale, and rotate characters in editable live text. The Touch Type tool works with a mouse, stylus, or multi-touch device. Illustrator users can also create brushes directly from photos. Art, Pattern, and Scatter brushes can now contain raster images. 

The first thing InDesign CC users will notice is the dark UI to match Photoshop and Illustrator. The next thing Mac users may notice is faster performance, as the application has been completely re-written as a 64-bit application (like Illustrator was in CS6). A few other features have been added as well, including QR codes, Retina (aka Hi-DPI) support, and a searchable font menu.

Much More to Come

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. Here at CreativePro we’ll continue the tradition of having our expert authors weigh in with first looks at Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, as well as full in-depth reviews of the software after it is available in June.

Update: Here is the link for the discounts mentioned above (like $20 per month for CS6 owners). Note that they expire July 31, 2013.

Creative Cloud promotions


Editor in Chief of CreativePro and InDesign Magazine. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
  • GHcp1 says:

    If I’m not mistaken, Creative Cloud programs need online verification every time they are started up. If that’s the case, what happens when your internet provider goes down or if you’re in a wifi dead zone?
    Also, I have a friend who had a problem with his Creative Cloud authorization ID and was without Adobe programs for 3 days while support figured out the problem – okay if you’re a hobbyist, but not okay if you make a living using Adobe programs.

  • John Brandt says:

    Typekit fonts are not included with Creative Cloud, but are an additional cost, correct?

  • BadisBad says:

    I run a small team of designers and recently bought 6 copies of CS6. I hope I have enough time to find a replacment for Adobe products.

  • IllyLA says:

    Goodbye Adobe… Frankly, it wasn’t even that nice knowing you. Hmm, I think I just might start looking even harder at Xara than I already was.

  • TShil says:

    Adobe’s gift to a barely post-recession economy is to absolutely disregard those in the graphic design community with a smaller client base.

    Software moguls are the new landlord it seems. Everyone loves their landlord, right?

  • Roddog says:

    FYI, I couldn’t find the discount for CS6 owners, Adobe’s site stated CS3 and above is $29.99, the single program price is $19.99 not $10.00, and students and teachers are $19.99 a month until June 25th. Great article and thanks for the update to the demise of CS. Not sure if I like it yet. I will have to try it and see. If not I always have the CS6 Master Collection to fall back on.

  • Michael Stevens says:

    The fact that this is one of the BIGGEST money grabs I’ve ever seen and horrible news for the small companies like myself aside… If we want to actually PURCHASE what we are purchasing (CS6) instead of renting the software do we need to get our upgrades for CS6 in before June 17th when we’ll have no choice to actually PURCHASE anything?

  • Gerardo Beretta says:

    Does this mean no more applications on my computer ?… what if DSL (internet) does not work a day or two, I can no longer work ???????. In méxico this is a day to day possibility.

  • choreo says:

    If you are “in the business” like me and Adobe Apps have been the cornerstone of your business for over 20 years, this will not be an “option”. You either join and pay the monthly “Union Dues” every month from now to eternity or you change careers. If that is your business, then that means that paying these new Union Dues now takes#1 Priority in your budget – before house payments, taxes, food and utilities, because your entire “income” depends upon keeping those “dues” up-to-date. Then there will be the Credit Card expiration/over-limit issues and over time when the “new” wears off and people start to drop out of the “cloud”, the dues will of course go up and like the Government, Adobe will not cut back, just increase the taxes to the few fools left paying.

    Their big “selling point” is that you have access to ALL the apps. But how many people can really “master” that many apps? I do this full-time and there are still Adobe Apps I don’t even have time to learn.

    I can only see “one” possible upside for Design Professionals in the near future, and that is over time you will see all the amateurs and hobbyists (even clients) completely pulling out of the system. Most people are not going to pay a Health Club fee for long if they don’t see results and people are not going to pay $50+ per month every month for the rest of their life for a distraction. Professionals like me have paid Adobe thousands of dollars over the years (gladly), because we show a “profit” from it. Most people I know that purchased things like Photoshop did it on a whim or for a particular project and don’t use it every month.

    IMO, this is a “major” blunder on behalf of Adobe management. It is not the “money” or even the “subscription option” that is the issue so much, it is the “audacity” and the “punitive” nature of the move that will be their downfall. It is being managed by people who have never run or succeeded in small businesses. Of all people “I” should be excited about what Adobe is doing, instead I feel “oppressed” and “manipulated”. That model will fail.

  • Mike Rankin says:

    Hi John-
    Paid Creative Cloud memberships include access to the full Typekit library.

  • Mike Rankin says:

    Thanks. Check out the update at the end of the article. It has the link to the page with the discounts.

  • Mike Rankin says:

    Nope, the apps are still on your computer as always. They just need to be connected to the internet once a month to verify your subscription is up to date. Check out the FAQ at for details:

  • mark misenheimer says:

    choreo: Perfectly said!!!

    here is a paste in from my discussions with other designers in my local group:
    Adobe is the new Quark. (for those of you who have been around long enough to know what i mean). Adobe now believes that we should worship at their ‘forced upgrade policy’ altar, and check in monthly online (or else lose the capacity to edit/use my created works going forward) is something i should applaud? very, very wrong. period.

    some people like change for change’s sake. some people like ‘hope and change’ even if it is rhetoric but not reality, in this case, Adobe is spouting this same foolishness.

    people like to have choices, have the new, keep the old, enjoy it all, at no one’s expense. this takes away choice and incentive for them to improve the products.

    if people have been pleased and love their mobile phone forced subscription, and share the same love for their cable tv provider (if not the same company), then the Adobe CC is perfect for them.

    after all, we know:
    – they *never* raise monthly prices!
    – you get the oppty to sign up for 1 year, or even 2 years! in advance!
    – their customer service always exceeds expectations!
    – upgrades and new benefits come weekly!

    these are the same people who believe that since social security, the national debt, the postal service and the dmv are handled so wonderfully by the Govt., that we should also accept their healthcare system takeover. what’s the worry?

    here is a great article (and see comments) at:

    consider this too:

  • Frederick Yocum says:

    For me the issue is not solely about money. We, even as a non-profit, routinely keep our software up to the current version. The real issue is about continued use of the files we produce.

    Adobe products can use open standard formats, but their core file formats are proprietary eg. you mostly need an Adobe product to open them. This is a minor problem as long as you continue to use Adobe products, but what happens if you don’t?

    In the past, when a software transition arose, the solution was to keep a copy of the old program (in our case Quark Xpress 7) around and whenever we needed to access a legacy document, either to harvest the content or to tweak it for reuse, it is a simple enough matter to fire up the legacy application and open the documents.

    With a subscription based model, that is not possible. If the next big page layout program comes along and you want to make the jump as many of us did with Quark Xpress, keeping a legacy version of InDesign isn’t going to be an option.

    We are being asked not only to “rent” the application, but also our documents. Until Adobe products routinely produce open standard file formats we will be stuck with paying the man to keep our legacy files easily accessible.

    To think that Adobe is concerned to help us out with this would be foolish. I keep three versions of InDesign up and running because I need to distribute .idml and .inx versions at times to users running older versions of InDesign. You can’t export back to CS4.

    Loyal Adobistas as you salivate at having access to a cloud of shiny new Adobe products all for that slightly reasonable price—remember Quark Xpress and how much you loved version 4.

  • Dan Haley says:

    No way I am paying $50/month. I am headed for the Corel Suite. I think they will make a big comeback!

  • Julie Cousin says:

    I dislike subscriptions. I won’t pay that company $50/month for the rest of my career. I don’t need the updates or most of the Adobe tools and programs. This will cost me more than it will to renew the Creative Suite. GOOD BYE, ADOBE.

  • johnny be bad says:

    Adobe, How could ya disrespect the graphics industry buy force feeding us small graphic designers. Good riddance ya adobe money grabbing, ck sucking, flannagans.

  • Ed Silverman says:

    The new Adobad! Sounds like Adobe has figured out that they will make more money if they get people to pay $6,000 to use Creative Suite for ten years. But hey, they throw in some cloud storage ─ like you can’t get oodles of cloud storage for peanuts all over the web. Instead of pay-once-use-forever, it has become if you ever stop paying, even for a one month, you can’t use it. Adobad sucks.

  • I started out using Pagemaker and Ventura. Then Corel, Quark and onto Adobe. I didn’t jump right onto the Adobe band wagon but rather waited for some time for all (most) of the kinks to be worked out. I have been really pleased with the 3 main programs I use (Indesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop). I understand the drive for Adobe to do this. It eliminates pirating, but it also wipes out a lot of smaller companies and users. If you really think about it, it is driven by the all mighty dollar, not the customer. I think Adobe has done a great injustice to it’s loyal followers. What will I do about it? I have a one year subscription for “personal/freelance” and I will use my CS5 at the office until it crumbles to dust, then I will decide what to do. By that time, who knows what will have transpired!

  • Peter Loader says:

    QuarkXpress is not dead. In fact, you can upgrade any old version from 3 onwards for $349! That’s a bargain. Version 9 has some nice new features for developing EPUB and magazines for the IPAD. Gradually making the transition in my workflow and using it more and more everyday. Works for me.

  • Cicerone says:

    Hmm. The Cloud is all well and good, to a point. That means that, if you go with the Cloud, all of your projects and creations will be out there to be hacked, exposed and/or leaked…human nature being what it is. Heck, the NSA or DHS etc may desire to screw with creative people they don’t like. When it comes to “the Cloud”, I am pro choice. Privacy is becoming increasingly rare all the time.

  • Guest says:

    I hate this–it is deliberately designed to cut off the used program market (and is a “gotcha” for potential so-called “pirates”). Definitely over-priced for many users. I could not afford $50/mo that’s for sure. Unfortunately I suspect many software creators will follow suit, so that you don’t actually “own” ANY of your purchases anymore. On the other hand, it will give a big boost to the open code market. But, as other commentors have pointed out, what do you do when you lack internet access? Or WANT to work off-line? What if you have a poor internet connection or lack the bandwidth? You are simply out of luck it seems. Will other products fill the niche? I doubt this will spell the end of Photoshop let alone Adobe–but will there be enough of an outcry for the company to reconsider?

  • R. Robinson says:

    If you are a small business or a freelancer who starts and has an Adobe Cloud account for a year or two and business goes south/turns bad and you miss 1 or 2 monthly payments, are you now without working resources after paying for the product over a year??? (I feel a product purchasing option is better.)

  • jesleb says:

    Boo Hoo Adobe. I’m with the other posts here. I used Quark many years ago and transitioned to InDesign. I’ve been very pleased with it for years now but I don’t want to have to go to the internet to create or save files (for all the reasons stated on these posts). Don’t like it. Gonna retire, literally.

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