Fri, 10 Aug 2012 Adobe Creative Cloud review
Should you spend your physical cash on Adobe’s virtual creative hub?
- Manufacturer: Adobe
- Pros: Every CS6 application; 20GB Web/sync space; Business Catalyst, Typekit, fast application installer and launcher; subscription model more affordable/tax efficient for regular CS suite updaters; licence for backup computer.
- Cons: Continued US/UK pricing mismatch; expensive for casual users/hobbyists; lack of Cloud integration in CS desktop applications; Touch Apps cost extra
- Min specs: Cloud only: Mac OS X v10.6 or v.10.7 Desktop Apps: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, Mac OS X v10.6.8 or 10.7, 4GB of RAM, 10.5GB of hard-disk space.
- Price: Annual Plan (1-year contract): £46.88 (per month); Month-to-Month (no contract): £70.32 (per month); Upgrade from CS3 or later: £27.34 (per month; annual plan only); Educational Annual Plan (1-year contract): £22.46 (per month). Buying three Touch Apps adds one free month to these plans
- Star rating:
When you sign up to Creative Cloud, the software delivery subscription service from Adobe, the first thing you’ll download is the App Store-style Application Installer. This is the launch pad for the entire Creative Suite 6 desktop tools that will reside on your Mac (and if required, your PC –as a backup licence is supported). We had Lightroom 4.1 installed, then up and running in double-quick time. In this regard it scores over the traditional install method – it can also install different languages for individual apps - though it would be nice if you could also download while installing.
Interactive HTML5 authoring app Edge (still in beta) and Web design tool Muse gain more of a role within the Creative Cloud, with sites created in the latter hosted by Adobe’s Business Catalyst component. This service, which hosts five sites, is also useful for utilities such as site analytics, adding social media and other non programming-related tasks, so might be ideal for you if you’re not currently paying a third-party for such support. Another substantial service, for Web designers and developers at least, is Typekit, which gives you access to an unlimited library of hosted, high-quality ‘real’ fonts to use on websites. The scriptwriting and production-planning tool Story is also available as a collaborative ‘Plus’ service for video professionals. Adobe needs to add additional services to bring similar added value to the publishing and imaging/design crowd however.
Adobe Touch Apps can directly access the 20 GB storage allocated to Creative Cloud subscribers, but currently you have to purchase them separately. We worked on a file in Photoshop Touch and then Adobe Ideas on a Samsung Galaxy Tab, each time uploading it to our storage. However we had to download the file from a Web browser, before being able to open it in Illustrator. Integration within the CS apps would thus be welcome.
Adobe’s UK subscribers to Creative Cloud pay more than those in the US. Things haven’t suddenly changed in this regard - it’s a long-standing grievance for international customers of most US tech giants. If however you are in the habit of upgrading every time Adobe releases a new version, or are completely new to the Creative Suite product line, it makes financial sense to sign up to the annual plan. If you already have something like the full CS5.x Master Collection, a short-term subscription will do to get access to some essential features that you are lacking for a specific project. Such a plan also suits studios that typically take on some extra freelancers for short-term work, as you can re-subscribe within six months§ without reinstalling the apps. The subscription model also lends itself well for tax purposes, rather than having the capital expenditure of investing in a full software suite.