Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription Plan

Adobe announced at its recent Max conference, the availability of a new “Creative Cloud” pricing of its products.  For a $49.99 individual /  $69.99 workgroup monthly subscription, you will gain acess to always up-to-date versions of all of the following products ((I am quoting from this post from Adobe):

  • Desktop Applications — Every tool that is currently in Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, such as Photoshop®, InDesign®, Illustrator®, Dreamweaver®, Premiere® Pro, After Effects®, as well as innovative new tools that are currently in beta, such as Adobe Edge and Muse.
  • Touch Apps – Starting with the six Adobe Touch Apps announced at MAX , 2011 – Adobe Collage, Adobe Kuler, Adobe Carousel, Photoshop Touch, Adobe Debut, Adobe Proto and Adobe Ideas.
  • Services – A version of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite for delivering interactive publications on tablets, a tier of Adobe Business Catalyst for building and managing websites, and access to cloud-based fonts for website design from our acquisition of Typekit.
  • Community –Collaboration features that allow members to share their creative work with other Creative Cloud members and forums to discuss and inspire new ideas.
They do not mention Lightroom, as it isn’t part of the Creative Suite, but David Wahdwadi of Adobe, in Adobe’s November Financial Analyst Meeting showed a slide in which Lightroom was part of the Creative Cloud (in fine print it does say that the list may not be final):


Adobe Creative Cloud Contents


Stand Alone Product Versions and New Upgrade Policy
Adobe at this point will continue to offer the stand-alone version of its products, according to the blog post.  However, they are changing the  upgrade policy:


“In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software (either CS5 or CS5.5 editions). If our customers are not yet on those versions, we’re offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 which will qualify them for upgrade pricing when we release CS6.”


(If you are going to buy the upgrade, do also check prices on; they are often cheaper than on the Adobe site.)

Note that there is no information at this point to suggest that Lightroom users on Lightroom 1 or 2 will not be able to upgrade directly to Lightroom 4.

Which makes more sense, the subscription or the stand-alone?
Of course it depends on your needs.  If you use multiple Creative Suite applications or other tools in the Cloud and would upgrade regularly, the subscription will be cheaper.  I would suggest doing some research on the tools in the cloud — there may be tools that you don’t use today but that you could find quite useful.  If on the other hand Photoshop and Lightroom are the only tools you will use, and you don’t upgrade very often, the stand-alone may be cheaper.


Should you upgrade to CS5 before December 31?
Here’s the biggest potential wrinkle in making this decisionDavid Wahdwani in this analyst conference also stated that some new features, for example, Photoshop’s new deblurring technology that removes blur from photos with camera shake, may only be available to Creative Cloud subscribers.


If you want to save the 20% and upgrade to CS5 before December 31 because you know you want CS6 when it comes out, you may have to do so without knowing whether the stand-alone version of CS6 will have the features that you want.   At a minimum, I would wait until the end of December, in the hopes that Adobe will release more information.


Often when a new company dramatically changes the way it offers products and services, it takes a while to iron out the details, identify customer questions and issues, and clarify policies.  It may be best to just be patient right now and wait.  (And as I become aware of new information, I will certainly pass it along.)