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//Adobe Announces New Photoshop Available Only Through the Creative Cloud

Adobe Announces New Photoshop Available Only Through the Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative CloudI’m a bit late on this news from last week, as I was on vacation with no internet access, but here goes:

Adobe announced the upcoming June 17 release of the next version of Photoshop, Photoshop CC, available only through a Creative Cloud monthly or annual subscription. No longer will we able to purchase and own new versions of Photoshop (or other Creative Suite software, which have also all been updated) — users must subscribe, and when they stop subscribing, they lose access to the software.  Here are U.S. prices, per month with an annual subscription:

 Adobe Creative Cloud Prices

This new policy of only being able to  “rent” Adobe’s Creative Suite software has caused some outcry throughout the creative community, but much more so amongst photographers, many of whom have more limited needs for Creative Suite software. Adobe seems to be scrambling now to convince photographers that this is a win for them and possibly to make changes to their plans to make the value more compelling.

Below you will find questions and answers about this new policy as it stands right now, and its implications for photographers.

What’s New in Photoshop CC?

The most attractive addition for photographers is the new camera-shake filter, to reduce blur from camera shake (not from subject motion). Below is an example of before and after, using the automatic fix, with no further tweaking:


Before and After, Zoomed into 50%


Before and After, Zoomed into 100%

This will definitely save some of my blurry photos but it is a feature that will benefit from more development — it can produce heavy artifacts and halos even with its advanced features. (Generally you won’t see this in video demos, of course!) Speaking of which, here is a demo by Adobe:

Additionally for photographers, Photoshop CC has improved Smart Sharpen and upscaling capabilities, and has added camera raw as a filter that you can make changes with without having to close your photo and go back to ACR or Lightroom. Next, all Photoshop CS6 Extended features, such as 3D, have been folded into the one edition of Photoshop CC. Finally, there are other smaller improvements.

Will Lightroom and Photoshop Elements be available as stand-alone (perpetually-licensed) products?

Yes, Lightroom and Elements (and Premiere Elements) will be available as stand-alone products as well as through the Creative Cloud. At this point, the only way to get Lightroom in the Cloud is to purchase the Complete version. If you only plan to use Lightroom and Photoshop, at this point you would be better off purchasing the stand-alone version of Lightroom, and the single-product Photoshop Creative Cloud. Adobe has indicated that they are looking further at whether to offer a cloud package geared specifically to photographers.

Will the Lightroom offered through the Creative Cloud be different and better than the stand-alone Lightroom product?

No, Adobe’s Tom Hogarty has indicated that it will be the same.

Will Lightroom become a subscription only offering after Lightroom 5?

Per Tom Hogarty of Adobe, “future versions of Lightroom will be made available via traditional perpetual licenses indefinitely.”

Do I have to be connected to the internet to use Photoshop CC?

You will have to connect to the internet to download updates and then once every 90 (soon to be 180) days for verification. The software will live on and run from your computer, as it has before.

What If I Want a Stand-Alone Photoshop Product Instead?

Adobe will continue to sell Photoshop CS6 as a stand-alone product, and promises that it will be compatible with the next versions of Windows and Mac operating systems, and it will receive new bug fixes and new camera support (ACR). CS6 however will not have the new features introduced in Photoshop CC or in Lightroom 5. No promises have been made past the next operating system versions simply because Adobe doesn’t know what Apple and Microsoft have in store for them.

Other than the new product features to be released next month, what are the benefits to photographers of Creative Cloud membership ?

  • The ability to sync your Photoshop (and other CC software) preferences, styles, actions, etc.., to multiple computers, and access your work from multiple computers.
  • Cloud storage (20 GB with Photoshop CC, 100 GB with the Complete Cloud)
  • Behance ProSite membership, to share your work with and get feedback from the creative community
  • Always up-t0-date software — new features as they become available
  • Cross-platform license (Mac and PC)

Do I have to pay a year in advance?

You can pay monthly and cancel at any time, but prices will be higher.

Where can I find more information?

Adobe Creative Cloud FAQ for Photographers

Adobe Response to Reaction to Announcement



2017-07-18T16:18:29-07:00 May 15th, 2013|27 Comments


  1. Russel Ray May 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I always enjoy your stuff because it’s so clean grammatically. Thus, I have to point out one glaring error in this article: “one addition of Photoshop CC” should be “one edition of Photoshop CC.” Now that my grammar duties are completed for 2013, off to play in Lightroom 5 Beta………….lol

    • Laura Shoe May 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks for catching this, Russel — I find that as I get older and when I am tired, more slips through the grammar filter in my brain!

  2. Don B May 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    I can’t find anything positive to say about this. Everything that I have read about this has convinced me to not participate in the Adobe Creative Cloud.

    • Pelican August 13, 2014 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Agreed,the Cloud is evil. It is BigBrother. And another excuse to take away money from the workers who are struggling to make ends meet. It also makes it impossible to use if you don’t have internet access. Having to upload to the Cloud, and it flattening PSDs? Wtf Adobe, what were you thinking? Why take away the most important feature of your own file format? A flat PSD might as well notbea PSD.

      Just say No to the Cloud!

      • Laura Shoe August 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm - Reply

        Pelican, I understand that the Cloud is not for you, but you do not need to have internet access to use it (just to verify your subscription, maybe once every 90 days), and your PSD files continue to reside on your computer – unflattened.

  3. Tobé Saskor May 16, 2013 at 5:45 am - Reply

    I just looked to see if I could still upgrade to CS6 without the Cloud. Could not find it. I use CS5 and Lightroom. Will get Lightroom 5. Do I need 6? I refuse to use the cloud. Thank you for your tutorials and blog. A terrific resource!

    • Laura Shoe May 16, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Hi Tobe, on, in the menubar go to Products > Creative Suite> Photoshop CS6. Here’s the direct link:

    • aron May 28, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      If Adobe would lower their prices they would never had to deal with this. But really it is only a matter of time before google puts out a tool that will take a chunk of their market. Promise you that. They will see how unhappy we pros are and a competitor will offer us some good alternatives. Adobe, if you think this is a good move you better think again… You are alienating your customers……

  4. John Joyce May 16, 2013 at 5:51 am - Reply

    So, for those of us who already have PS and subscribe to Photoshop CC, then at some point our 90 (180) day verification fails for any reason, presumably we get frozen out.

    Are we then left with no Photoshop at all, or are we reduced to using our previously purchased version? In my case, mine is a download rather than a hard copy.

    • Laura Shoe May 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      I don’t know exactly what happens when verification fails, John.

  5. Christine May 16, 2013 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Thanks Laura. I’ve read lots of stuff on this over the last week and this might be the most concise set of information I’ve found. Perhaps because the dust has settled some and answers are more clear, but I still give you props.

    And welcome back. Hope your vacation was nice.

  6. Michael Raddie May 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Is the $19.99 a world wide price or will we in the UK have to pay £19.99, or more

  7. Lee pearson May 18, 2013 at 3:06 am - Reply

    how much is the total package of adobe photoshop creative cloud asap.

    Thank you lee john pearson.

    • Laura Shoe May 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      It’s $49.99/mo US, Lee.

  8. Anthony May 30, 2013 at 6:35 am - Reply

    I have been a faithful Adobe customer for the past 25 years. With this latest CC change and going to subscription service…… Adobe has lost me as a customer forever! Good-bye Adobe. I am not going to “rent” your software.

    • wolf January 23, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      why not? and what is a viable alternative for those who learned Ps the hardway aka trial/error for many years don’t really want to do it all again? for those who are now fully invested in Lr and learned how to use it via 33 youtube videos. i’m all ears. after 1.5 years and $900 I just canceled my $50/mo subscription and will downgrade to $10/mo for Ps/Lr and for the few rare months I may need more apps, i’ll dial it back up to $50 and turn it back down afterward.

      i’m ready for a more affordable way to make it work or for an easy to learn/migrate equivalent, but it seems adobe got us by the gonads. best option I see is to appeal to the master to market 6 apps for $20/mo and make 1 app free OR let the first user be free for 3 active products at a time, the 2nd machine license be 1/2 user price OR for 1-2 user scenarios, just measure usage of each app and charge toll accordingly and not bill low usage under a decent threshold that allows for regular dabbling/trial/error per month (ala tax break if you earn under $nn). I only speak to 1 and 2 user scenarios and/or first 2 users in larger team.

  9. Richard June 12, 2013 at 12:08 am - Reply

    As a long time user of Photoshop and lightroom. Now that Adobe has decided to charge a monthly subscription for Photoshop will they be offering it to Linux user. I stooped using windows a few years ago but still have a partition with windows on it only for Photoshop and Lightroom. I would love not to have to deal with windows at all. So is Adobe considering offering any version of CC to us Linux in the future.

    • Laura Shoe June 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      I doubt it, Richard, but I really don’t know. I’d suggest posting on the Adobe forum.

  10. Johanna June 12, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I guess it is time to start looking for a competitor – Now I wished I’d never made the move to Photoshop and dropped all of my other resources. I will not rent their software either

    What a stupidly business decision to drive loyal customers off

    • bob August 22, 2013 at 5:00 am - Reply


      What are the best alternatives to photoshop (serious and professional ones ) ?

  11. Bonnie Hamlin August 6, 2013 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I’m and artist, traditional and digital painter. I’ve been very happy using Photo shop and was just looking at updating my CS5. Guess I’ll be looking at Coral Painter again. And CAD for 3D work.

  12. bob August 22, 2013 at 5:00 am - Reply

    ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION: New Photoshop Available Only Through the Creative Cloud

    Why ? Why do we have to stand this ?? Why do we ave to be imposed by notorious monopolies like microsoft (windows 8) and adobe (“creative cloud”) lower type of products than we used to have ?

    Like a lot of people on this planet, i do not want to have a software on the cloud and I do not want to run a operating system worse than the one I had before (and I don’t care about touch screen).

    Why do they do that ? For me, it’s clear: to have once and for all a captive client base who won’t be able anymore to do what they want with the product they bought.

    They want to impose control over their clients because they know they have a monopoly and can abuse of their dominant position. This is the end of choice for us, this trend is unfortunately spreading, authoritarian and dictatorial practices.
    We had microsoft and their scorn for abuse of dominant position allowing them to have the largest market shares with the worst products ever sold as operating systems (vista and now windows 8). Obliging their user to lose the little remaining of control they had on their PC, instead being entirely controlled by a defaulted, malfunctioning O.S.

    Cloud computing is unreliable, unaccountable, unsafe, data are stored in place where privacy policies and individual rights are a joke (the USA for example), it relies on Internet connection and bandwidth which in most place are unreliable, congested and inefficient. It really sucks. Running Photoshop through an Internet connection ? Come on !

    Users want control, they want to own what they buy, they want to have a perpetual license, not an ever changing price subscription. I want to tweak and tune my O.S as much as the software I bought, I don’t want the company, O.S or software controlling me.

    Adobe takes its clients for idiots and proves it with CC.

    They want to screw you: BOYCOTT THEM !

    Alternatives to photoshop:

    Serif PhotoPlus X6
    Corel PaintShop Pro
    Pixelmator (contains probably 95%+ of everything people use Photoshop for (who aren’t professionals). It also has a better interface, doesn’t install a bunch of Adobe garbage, and matches/is optimized for Mac OS more than Photoshop).

    • Laura Shoe August 24, 2013 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Hi Bob, while as you point out, it is a subscription, CC is not cloud computing — it resides and runs on your computer, and files are stored there as well. (You can also choose to store files in the cloud so you or others can access them from elsewhere.

    • Bonnie Hamlin August 24, 2013 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Corel Painterx3 is offering the full program for the cost an update until Aug. 24, 2013. I took them up on their offer and am really like the program.

  13. Bonnie Hamlin August 24, 2013 at 10:55 am - Reply

    The offer is for current Photoshop cs users.

  14. J Goode February 21, 2014 at 10:04 am - Reply

    How to update so as to open camera-raw photos on CS3 ? Currently it is possible only through Photoshop, which is unable to establish an internet connection

    • Laura Shoe March 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      J, go into Preferences (on a PC, Edit>Preferences, Mac, Lightroom>Preferences), the interface tab, and set CS3 up as the secondary editor — click on Choose and find the CS3 .exe / .dng executable file on your computer.

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