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Adobe Creative Cloud review

Verdict

Some welcome improvements, but we're far from convinced by Adobe's subscription model

Review Date: 2 Jul 2013

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: Full suite, £47/mth; single application, £18/mth. Upgrades: £18/mth for one year (CS6 users); £27/mth for one year (CS3/CS4/CS5 users) (all prices inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
6 stars out of 6

Adobe launched Creative Cloud in April 2012, allowing customers to lease applications on a monthly or annual basis, as well as providing various cloud services. So far, however, the applications on offer have been the same ones found in the regular Creative Suite 6.

Now Adobe has rolled out new "CC" releases of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro and After Effects, exclusively to Creative Cloud customers – and has said that these and future updates will never be offered as standalone installations. Will these new releases tempt designers and creatives to switch to the subscription model?

Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC - Smart Sharpen filter

The headline update in Photoshop is an improved Smart Sharpen filter. That may sound mundane, but the new noise-reduction slider makes it a breeze to apply sharpening only where it's wanted, allowing you to give images extra crispness without succumbing to the dreaded speckles.
The software also tackles the age-old problem of blowing up small images.

A new enlargement algorithm turns jagged pixels into clean lines with impressive intelligence, and again offers a noise-reduction slider for cleaning up artefacts. It won't turn a thumbnail into a billboard, but if a high-quality image isn't available, it can smooth things over.

Other updates have more niche appeal. If you work with shapes or masks, you'll appreciate Live Shapes: this lets you draw rectangles, ellipses and so on in an Illustrator-type way, with options to adjust fills and strokes. Conditional Actions can trigger only under certain circumstances, making it easier to set up flexible batch jobs without using Scripts. For those who work with raw photographs, Camera Raw 8 gains the new perspective and healing tools recently unveiled in Lightroom 5 (web ID: 382342).

Not everything is a hit. The new Shake Reduction tool failed to salvage our shaky images – the results just looked as if they had been heavily sharpened and fed through a noise-reduction filter.

Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator CC - CSS panel

Two of the big new features in Illustrator CC focus on type: there's a search dialog that lets you filter fonts by name, and a tool called Touch Type, which allows you to selectively deform individual letters in a text object. It isn't quite as versatile as Create Outlines – you can stretch, rotate and recolour letters, but you don't have direct access to their handles. The advantage is that the text can still be edited, making it possible to come up with a general design, then try it out in different fonts.

For those designing for the web, Illustrator CC also offers a CSS Properties panel, which shows a CSS description of the selected object, including colours, strokes, gradients, typefaces and more, for easy pasting into a website editor. The Export CSS function will export both code and PNG copies of your objects that can be easily dropped onto an HTML page.

Elsewhere, you'll also find updated packaging and multiple-file placing abilities – useful if your designs use a lot of external bitmaps or fonts.

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User comments

InDesign is the only one I really "need"

And even there, I can "limp on" with CS 6 for a good while.

Photoshop and Illustrator don't really need updating for what I need them to do, so old versions (or free alternatives) will suffice.

By Alfresco on 3 Jul 2013

Show Adobe how you feel about CC

35,000 folks have signed.They don't like Adobe CC licensing.Show @Adobe how you feel. https://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-inc
orporated-eliminate-the-mandatory-creative-cloud-s
ubscription-model

Another more fiscal way to show @Adobe you dont like the CC licensing scheme.http://adobe2014.tumblr.com #adobe2014

By lasvideo on 3 Jul 2013

The Elephant in the room!

God help Microsoft and Adobe if the open source alternatives like Gimp and Libra Office get developed to the stage where they are viable alternative to Photoshop and Office.

By Jaberwocky on 3 Jul 2013

Why Not subscription for the packages

I'd gladly pay a reasonable compromise subscription price for the production premium but I object to having to pay for flash and dreamweaver illustrator light room and all that sort of thing but really use premier, after effects Photoshop and speed grade, and I occasionally use soundbooth. It's ridiculous to have to pay for software I'm simply never going to use, don't know how to use and have no interest in using!

By MrP77 on 4 Jul 2013

And another review that fails to highlight the fact that Adobe are charging the UK $20 per month more than the US for a product that is in the cloud. I have asked adobe via twitter why this is but have never had a reply. Maybe more people should bombard them with the same question. Why is it so much more expensive I the UK?

By Flux3 on 4 Jul 2013

For Studios Only

I can see how the "rent model" would work well commercially for a Studio at the financial level but it misses the point. Very many people work freelance and specialise in the type of work they do and therefore the software they use. Very few need or want access to all the software available.

My main needs are Lightroom and Photoshop, when I need video editing I use Sony software and Xara offers me far more flexibility options than the Adobe equivalents. The real investment for users is not the cost of the software, it is the time it takes to master it and Adobe isn't the only game in town.

My big personal gripe is not the 'rent model', it is the fact that if you stop paying you lose all access to the software, you should at least be able to keep your 'last paid for version'.

By Bikey2 on 4 Jul 2013

Subscription "Grooming"

Adobe and Microsoft are determined to "Groom" users into accepting their "Shiny Toffee Sweets..."

But happily most of us have the commonsense to see that unless you are a large Corporate Studio, there's no value to be gained from Software Leasing.

The only delivery of value with this model is the monthly delivery of cash from the user's bank accountant into Adobe's bank, which suits the CFO and accountant minions.

Not owning boxed product, not being allowed to get off the bus...not being able to decide if the next release delivers significant change worthy of my money...

No thanks, not until we own what we buy.

By Gindylow on 4 Jul 2013

I feel sorry for some poor soul who, after scrimping and saving, just managed to get hold of CS6 Master version only to find out that now they have to pay £50 quid a month just to keep using the latest version.

By Alperian on 5 Jul 2013

However. It is the 20% tax that really sticks in my craw. This is not Adobe's fault.

By Alperian on 5 Jul 2013

Shot yourself in the foot, Adobe?

I used CS5 Production Premium and was waiting to see if the upgrade to CS7 Production Premium offered anything worth upgrading for. Then Adobe announced CC versions only so no CS7.

I bought CS6 instead and will spend the next months looking very seriously at moving to video and photo editing products that are viable alternatives to the Adobe products. Until then CS6 will do me nicely, thank you.

Adobe, two points.

Firstly, if I can't own it I won't buy it. As Grindylow says above "Not owning boxed product, not being allowed to get off the bus...not being able to decide if the next release delivers significant change worthy of my money."

Secondly, with my glorious 21st century broadband (750Kbps down/350Kpbs up) any 'cloud' offering has no relevance for me at present.

By jontym123 on 9 Jul 2013

More than 37,000 folks have signed.They don't like Adobe CC licensing.Show @Adobe how you feel. https://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-inc
orporated-eliminate-the-mandatory-creative-cloud-s
ubscription-model

Another more fiscal way to show @Adobe you dont like the CC licensing scheme.http://adobe2014.tumblr.com #adobe2014

By lasvideo on 23 Jul 2013

Tell Adobe how you feel about CC

Almost 38,000 folks have signed.They don't like Adobe Creative Cloud licensing.Show @Adobe how you feel. https://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-inc
orporated-eliminate-the-mandatory-creative-cloud-s
ubscription-model

Another more fiscal way to show @Adobe you dont like the CC licensing scheme.http://adobe2014.tumblr.com #adobe2014

By lasvideo on 4 Aug 2013

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