Say Goodbye To Creative Suite: Adobe CS Is Now Creative Cloud

At Adobe’s annual MAX conference today, the company announced a major overhaul of the 10-year-old Creative Suite, which will now be known as Creative Cloud. From now on, you won’t buy CS6 or CS7 -- you’ll buy a $50 per month subscription to CC (happily, the first year will only cost $30 for anyone with a CS3 or later serial number).

What’s the reasoning behind the overhaul? For one thing, an online subscription service could help Adobe curb piracy. For another, it will make it easier for customers to opt-in to new product releases throughout the year, rather than dropping a single giant update annually. But more generally, the shift shows Adobe focusing on the way the cloud is integrated with its products. Rather than logging into Creative Cloud to download updates, a newly redesigned app will push CC notifications directly to your desktop -- making it easier to update your programs and download new apps.

New Tools

Alongside the new CC system, Adobe unveiled an excellent haul of tool updates.

For Photoshop, there’s the Camera Shake Reduction tool, which is every bit as magical as we’d hoped. The new tool lets you "de-blur" your photos with the touch of a simple wand -- it's absolutely remarkable in action.

There’s also a new Camera Raw filter that lets you apply raw edits as a layer, and an improved 3D painting tool that’s up to 100x faster. Also important: Adobe’s overhauled their image Upsampling algorithm, so you can scale up a small image with far less degradation. Finally, a brand-new Smart Sharpen tool will let us fine-tune how we sharpen images and reduce noise.

The new Smart Sharpen tool.

All of the other CS programs have received similar tool updates (except for Fireworks, which seems not long for this world). For Muse, there's an awesome Parallax Scrolling tool. For Illustrator, there a number of much-needed additions, like a tool that lets you alter individual characters in a line of text, and a UI prompt that lets you "star" certain typefaces (no more scrolling!). InDesign has also received a major upgrade, bringing it up to speed with the other CS6 programs (finally). Another exciting detail: an iPad stylus that connects directly to the Cloud, preserving the brush settings you use in perpetuity.

The new CC app will change how we use Adobe's other apps, like TypeKit and Kuler, which will now sync directly to your desktop. A subscription to CC will let you run your programs on two machines at once -- which means you'll be able to sync fonts, styles, and colour swatches across machines via the cloud. All of TypeKit's fonts will come as part of a Creative Cloud membership, and you'll be able to download them directly from the CC app.

TypeKit's desktop CC integration.

The Cloud Community

Creative Cloud won't just change how you buy and update Adobe programs -- it'll also change how you share your work. Last December, Adobe announced the purchase of Behance, the popular online portfolio site. We hadn’t heard much about why or how they’re going to use the site, until now. Behance Pro will come standard on every CC subscription, which means you’ll be able to save directly from Photoshop to your portfolio on Behance.

Screenshots of the new desktop Behance integration.

It also means you'll receive friend requests, comments, and pageview updates about your portfolio on your desktop (and yes -- you'll be able to opt-out). How you feel about Adobe’s new social outfit likely depends on how you use the programs. For someone working at a huge company, Behance might be utterly useless. For freelancers and students looking to build contacts and find jobs, it could be transformative.

The Changing Face of Adobe

Creative Cloud signals an end to Creative Suite as we know it. There'll never be a CS7, or a CS15, for that matter. And that's OK: doing away with stand-alone software packages will definitely stir a lot of controversy, but it's hard to argue with the logic behind the decision.

CC is a strategic move towards consumerisation: the hope is that as Adobe's menagerie of programs becomes more ubiquitous, the Creative Cloud and these new social features will entice the average prosumer to subscribe rather than pirate. Will it work? Only time will tell.



    I don't mind the idea, but I don't think it'll stop the piracy issue, for new users its essentially still $600 a year for all apps.

      Yeah $20 per month for just one program... that's a bit steep.
      It's probably not a bad price for someone who uses Photoshop often like photographers, but for the casual user like me who uses it maybe once a month if not less.... it's a bit much.

    Been using since I stopped being able to afford Photoshop but hopefully the last iteration of Photoshop will drop in price (probably not) and I'll be able to afford it one last time.. :)

      Why? I could still do everything I do in Photoshop every day at work on Photoshop 5.5. Yes, one or two things might take incrementally longer but Photoshop updates are always pathetic. I can't imagine ever needing to upgrade my CS4 if this is yet another example of what passes for a version update.

        Why? Yet again your opinion is better than any body else, I count four incidences of you doing on this topic alone. It however, doesn't invalidate mine!
        If I can get the latest iteration with most of the current bells and whistles cheap enough, it should stand in good stead for quite some time. As for version 5.5, it has very few of the latest addons but if you are happy with that, fill yer boots mate!

        Last edited 07/05/13 1:13 pm

          It's called "give and take", it's how discussions work. I asked you a question ("take") and "gave" you my experience, so that I wasn't asking you something I was not willing to share myself. There was absolutely no hint of a challenge to your opinon. Believe me, you'd know if there was. It beggars belief that simple communication can be so difficult.

          No opinion was expressed, beyond suggesting that the latest upgrade wasn't worth paying for. All I was wondering is why you felt the need to move onto another application when you could no longer afford/justify upgrading Photoshop, rather than simply stick with the version you had. I've done that with several applications but Photoshop changes so little, I was just curious why you wouldn't just stick with it until it stopped working.

            The tone of this reply pretty much sums your comments up, arrogant and aggressive. You didn't just ask why... the tone I get from all your comment was "WHY" because your opinion is obviously more relative and important! Look, do us both a favour, don't comment on my comments and I won't tear you to threads for for being a dick... Kay?

              Sorry? Agression? Can you point this out somewhere? Frustration, sure, but any aggression is in your mind. I did in fact simply ask "Why?" Everything after that was just my answer to a similar question. No judgement, not "my way is right and yours is wrong", just an open dialgoue - my opinion for yours, rather than a one-way street.

              Who knows, you might be able to put me onto better options than those I have chosen. Or vice versa. I've not used but from what I've seen its development is a long way behind Photoshop, hence my curiosity.

              Not that I use Photoshop very much outside of work, I really hate the workflow and the colour tools are positively ancient. I prefer to do things in Xara or Combustion but I'm sick of Xara taking advantage of their user base and Combustion has been EOL for 3 years now, so a new option is of direct interest to me.

                All your comments and replies are aggressive and arrogant! At least that's how you come across. Particularly when you go to every comment that is opposite to your own, on the page and correct them all. The point is you come across in the written word like you are admonishing people for their comment. Whether that's your intent or not.... Just tone it down a bit, we all know you aren't stupid and maybe even as smart as you think you are but no one likes that shit shoved in their face. :)

                  Just for reference, this is how my comment might have appeared, had I wanted to be aggressive:

                  What sort of retarded idiot would use something with less than half the features of Photoshop, rather than just use a 2 or 3 year old version of Photoshop that they had already paid for?

                  Instead I simply asked "Why?". See the difference? It's not subtle.

                  Yup, that's the arrogant and aggressive asshole I was talking about. Plus now you've added offensive, keep up the good work being the dirge of the comments section. Clearly you just don't get it stupid. :)

                  Last edited 07/05/13 6:03 pm

                  OK, so I must conclude that you have no reason for ditching Photoshop for and are just a moron, given that the only evidence you have provided points towards that conclusion. It's kinda what I figured but I thought I would at least give you the opportunity to prove me wrong.

                How do you mean Xara take advantage of their userbase? I'm looking at entry-level alternatives and Xara and Serif seemed like possible options.

                  Because they charge 1/3 of the cost of a full version for each upgrade and the last couple of upgrades have not been that spectacular. For a long time I wanted to support them but since they were bought out by Magix they seem to be more about getting the upgrade out on time rather than making it worthwhile. Mind you, I am weak and they have got my money for the last two upgrades, even though the last one actually made things worse for my workflow, i.e. they changed things to make it easier for new and less experienced users that have made some things harder for me. But this is the last time. I tried to work around it but in the end I've regressed to the previous version and from now on I will probably only upgrade every two or three versions, unless they come out with some killer new features, like full keyframe animation.

                  Don't get me wrong, I've been using Xara since 1998 and I've never used anything half as good. I just had a look at Serif DrawPlus X6, though, and it also seems pretty good. It looks like the vice versa of Xara - a pixel pusher (like Photoshop) with vector tools, where Xara is a vector application that handles bitmaps really well. I think I may have to download the demo and see what it's really like but I'd be surprised if it had the range of functions in Xara. BTW, I wouldn't go by the comparison table on Serif's site, as it is not accurate. e.g. Xara can definitely read/write PDFs and optimised for 64 bit or not, Xara is still going to be the fastest.

    I'm pretty skeptical about how adobe intends to keep students getting on this now. it's a bit steep 50 a month to use the tools that your uni degree requires. unless there is some awesome student deal, i'd say there will be fewer up and coming people taking the plunge.

    Maybe not though, does anyone know if you are able to buy parts of the suite as standalone apps now?

      It is $15 per month for the complete suite for students and teachers.

      Look on their website, the student pricing for ALL the apps is CHEAPER than regular pricing for 1 app.

      All the apps for students: A$14.99 Per month
      ONE single app for normal people: A$19.99 per month

        Oh thank God.

        I was thinking for a second that educational benefits were scrapped and I was a goner.

        Thanks Adobe.

    Time to stop using adobe then. What about those users in countries without stable internet connection. Hell, even when my internet is being rude to me, at least I can use adobe software to get stuff done.

      That's Australia for you. I don't see NBN coming to my house for the next couple of years.

      In my experience it seems to work fine without the internet being connected, in fact I haven't seen it do anything since it was authenticated. Much smoother and less intrusive than something like Steam!

    what about people like me?

    i live in a city, and i can't watch YouTube clips without buffering the whole lot!

    i hope those updates are not as annoying as adobe's acrobat reader updates...

      It's cloud based, so you won't even notice.

    If you going to need persistent internet connection to use the software like CC it will slowy die. For Uni students and small tasks there are plenty of alternatives and as they gain exprience and understanding of these tools, Adobe software will be left to hard core designers effectivly shrinking they market.

      You don't need to currently. CS6 Creative Cloud worked perfectly well whether my modem was on or not during my 30 day trial.

    So will the user have to be forever online to run the software? Or will there be an offline/online mode where you can download certain software, a bit like Spotify? The subscription service isn't anything new however, adobe have been doing PAYG and shorter contracts for yeas.

      The software is still installed locally and it authenticates once every 30 days.

        Which is exactly why it won't affect piracy at all. As long as all the processing power is local, it's usually a matter of course that the online check will be bypassed or emulated.

          It won't prevent piracy entirely, you're right.

          For enterprise customers this really help as they can still package the software and only pay for the license when the user actually wants to start using it.

          The procurement process is really good, the assigned person just requests a license online and access is granted straight away for the user. They then have up to around 60 days to place a PO on their partner who in turn places it onto distribution and then on to Adobe.
          Essentially the workflow is identical to traditional purchases, the user just gets instant access.

    Adobe once again showing why they're a dinosaur company. People will stop pirating your software when it stops being released as overpriced, buggy bloatware!

      No they won't, mainly because Adobe would go broke before pirates would stop thinking of it as "overpriced". i.e. Even if it was free it would still be pirated.

    FFS so now I have to KEEP paying in order to use it. Stupid because some months I don't use it, and others I do...
    And it adds up to a whole lot more $$ than just buying it to use for two or three years. ffs

      That was my issue. At first I thought CS6 on the cloud was a great idea but then I realised that I've been using CS4 for 3 or 4 years now for one price. I paid about $1200 for a full license. That works out to $400 a year over 3 years and if I keep using it for another decade it will be less than $100 a year. OTOH, CS6 would cost me $360 this year and $600 every year after that. Good for Adobe but not so good for me, given how useless their product upgrades generally are.

      As compared to the pirates, who will merely have to make do without the "latest" gimmicks for a while. If each update now only goes to registered users, when they authenticate once a month, you'll have to get your patches via Torrent instead of direct.

    As for the push of updates straight to the desktop, won't happen in my work environment, there is no way our SecMgt team will allow thrid party apps direct access to the workstation (may seem archaic, but that's how the dept rolls). It's going to be a right mess if one of the dept heads decide that they need the latest and greatest in the office when the version we use now does all that we need,

    i'm not sure they'll opt for a 'always online' arrangement.. Many photographers often have to work on-location where internet just isn't available (think wildlife) & if the tools won't work without an internet connection, then they cease to be of any use..

    distribution via the cloud, but always online, I just can't see it happening.

    Need to refresh an aging product but not sure how? Want to integrate DRM to curb piracy? How about leveraging social media to gain marketing insight directly from your user base? It's easy! Just add Cloud! Traditionally, the Cloud was simply known as a 'server', but due to the new moniker being a loosely defined buzzword, it's possible to make changes to your business model and end user license agreements, all under cover of this single umbrella term. You can also offer features that benefit your users, such as online file storage, which can be monetized by offering paid upgrades when they reach a set limit. The Cloud offers granular control of your assets, and data mining of your users like never before, so come and join Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and everyone else who's struggling to work out what the 'next big thing' is, and make these clouds rain, bitches.

    Last edited 07/05/13 11:38 am

    I believe that Adobe stated that "this is what users want". I'd be interested to understand exactly how they came to that conclusion, because on the face of it, the cloud approach looks like it will be more costly for consumers.

      You have to realise that most of Adobe's revenue comes from companies, not individuals. Companies like the idea of subscription as it makes budgeting simpler and managers don't ahve to find large amounts of money at random times to upgrade all their machines.

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