RFC: Beating Photoshop's Rent Forever Cloud Trap
Developing a Good Photography Workflow for Enthusiasts & Artists
( Archival | Fast | High Quality | Powerful | w/o monthly payments )
|Quality||I am in the middle of a major rewrite. Some consistency will be observed. Shall be completed by Sunday.|
|Working||I am now rewriting Page 5 and changing Page 1, both as per Durk's comment|
|Feedback||Will be included once a week|
|Next Update||Look for a new Article in this series by the end of every week. They will be linked in the Table of Content on Page 3|
Motivation and Introduction
After the new License policy of Adobe came out beginning of May 2013, it was clear to me that I needed to make changes to my workflow. But I was not sure how. Should I change immediately to other SW packages and if so which ones ? If I change now, what would be the consequences ? How much would I loose ? Is there a smarter way to improve ? How can I solve the problem that I am completely locked into Adobe Apps with no freedom to change to other Apps without loosing all my work ? How can I keep using my Adobe CS in the future w/o the Cloud even in the case that I get a new Camera with a new RAW format that only is supported in the Creative Cloud version? What do I need to do to protect myself to not be sucked into the cloud? The deeper I dug the more questions and problems surfaced. When discussing my questions with others I found out that many have the same concern and are doing the same research, everyone for himself. This Article is an attempt to compile what I learned in the comments and discussion on dpReview and to hopefully save some research work for others and with a bit of luck offer ready made solutions. This Article is RFC ( Request for Comment ) in a Rolling format. So please do leave comments. I will reply to each and if the comment includes valuable information I will add it to the Article for the benefit of all readers. My thanks goes to all who encouraged me and provided me with research materials and ideas.
Who is this Article for
This Article is for Photographers for which Photoshop is an integral part of their Workflow and who do prefer to spend cash on say a new Camera, Lens, Printer or something like that instead of giving it away for something they thought they already had paid for: Access to their own pictures.
- Page 1: Adobe increases ( Fear | Uncertainty | Doubt | Expense | Risk | Anger ) on Photoshop
- Page 2: Strategy reestablishing a trusted, free and "Good Photography Workflow"
- Page 3: Implementation of said "Good Photography Workflow"
- Page 4: RFC Format of Rolling Articles and Community integration
- Page 5: Possible Impact of Adobe's License change on Photographic Industry
- Page 6: Requests for Comments ( Please help if you know the answer )
- Page 7: FAQ, Revisions, References & Future
Page 1: Adobe increases ( Fear | Uncertainty | Doubt | Expense | Risk )
for Enthusiasts using Photoshop
Before May 2013: Photographers feel save & certain to use Photoshop
Photoshop was THE tool for the Enthusiast and Fine Art Photographer. There was no competitor if you were serious about your photography. Documentation about how to use this tool was abundant no matter how specific your needs have been. It simply worked. If you could imagine how your photo should look, you could photoshop it that way. The fact that photoshopping an image became a verb too just shows how ubiquitous Photoshop was. I used Photoshop since 1994 ( Photoshop 3, not CS 3 ). All my photography bodies use it too. Personally I invested thousands of USD into the product and almost as much into training Material. And I was sure this is the right thing to do. I was so sure of the product, that I even converted many others to Photoshop and Lightroom in this time.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt created by Adobe about Photoshop CS & LR
|http://www.whattheduck.net expressed with humor the fear of many photographers about switching to Adobe Photoshop Cloud|
Adobe's new License Scheme for Next Generation Photoshop Generation ( Cloud )
Beginning of May Adobe changed its License Scheme for almost all its Products. Of most interest to Photographers was Adobe Photoshop CS. In the past all products were available as Perpetual License. That means after you install the SW you can use it for as long as it technically works and as long as you want. The new Version of Photoshop will only be available as Cloud Version for 20 USD / month.
Photoshop CC: increased ( Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Expense, Risk, Anger ) FUD Creative 2
- Say I continue using Photoshop. Later I get a new Camera with new RAW file format and then I am pushed into the Cloud only to be able to use the RAW files from my Camera. Then I will have monthly 20 USD cost. Once there is a financial downturn, I loose access to ( all my images | my memories | my hobby or work ).
- Lets think longer term. Say I get hooked to Adobe Photoshop CC. Say for years life is great and there is no problem of my Cloud Copy to call Adobe every month and renew my license. And what if Adobe folds ? Then I loose all my memories and work. If you think ridiculous, think again and consider Kodak. They were the biggest photography company in the world. Bankrupt today. Ever tried recently to see a photo on a Kodak Photo Disc ? It was a golden industry standard for years. Now almost impossible to get access to your images on that Disc.
- Fear of being reduced to a cash cow of Adobe. I just upgraded in April to CS 6 after being happy with CS 2 for 8 years. All in all there only have been two features which made it worth for me: 1) High Dynamic Range Photo Merge and Panorama Photo Merge. All other features I did not cared as a photographer. I feel that in terms of Features for Photographers there has not been much innovation going on with Photoshop which would give me a return of investment on upgrading each release. Once I would join the Adobe Cloud I have to pay every month just to access my work. Even if they never ever add a single feature for photographers, I still have to give them money every month. This fact alone has turned myself from an Adobe Evangelist who was converting others to use Adobe Products to an Advocate of cultivating alternatives and changing my workflow and the workflow of my friends to one that is no longer locked into Adobe Proprietary File Formats. And as a Photographer I am encouraging anybody to not subscribe to the Cloud, as this is removing the incentive of Adobe to improve Photoshop for Photographers.
- Adobe Marketing indicated that future RAW formats will be included only in future ACR ( Adobe Camera RAW ) and those will only be available as CC, that means for monthly subscription. Say I have a new camera with new RAW format, I would be forced to subscribe to CC. Since Photoshop CC is out of my budget I might be forced to change from Adobe Photoshop to something else, which possibly can not open all my files in Adobe proprietary format. So the longer I keep working with Adobe Products the same was as I was doing until now, the deeper I dig myself into dependency and the harder it is to get out of it later when I have no choice but to change.
- Now that all these bad things happen to PS, what about LR in the Future ? Will they pull Lightroom too into the Cloud ? Available only against monthly payments ?
- Will future Lightroom Version be improved when buying the perpetual License. The Adobe answers are supper wishy washy that certain features will only be available in the Cloud. But maybe as a Cloud feature but not part of the Creative Cloud. Can this be any more uncertain. If I know there is a clouded future for Lightroom, I will jump ship today. The uncertainty of not knowing for sure might still make me jump ship for Lightroom too.
- Today all my Photos are in Adobe Proprietary File Formats. For 19 years I never had a problem with that. In May 2013 Adobe yanked up my future costs to stay in the Adobe Photography System by 320 %. With no alternatives. A company which can do that one time, can do this another time again. Personally, I lost my trust in Adobe to keep my Photography Workflow as is.
- Loosing Trust in Adobe because I could not understand their thinking: After the new License Policy came out it simply made me feel angry and betrayed I could not even exactly put my finger on it, but I was upset for sure. The dpReview community felt the same. Since reading dpReview I never ever saw a response to a product announcement of 7000+ comments, of which according to dpReview poll 95% are negative. And the interview with Adobe Marketing Manager did not helped me to regain trust. His response that they expected a worse response from the Enthusiast Photography community only confused me more. Hey, how much worse can it get ? So a company who manages to upset 96 % of Enthusiast photographers and responds with ignorance is a company which I doubt that they understand what I need in their next generations product. This convinced me that it is time to jump ship. Only question is when and how to avoid adding injury to insult.
- First they say Photoshop Creative Suite is for Creative Professionals and Lightroom is for Photographers. Hey, I am with you. Then they renamed Lightroom into Photoshop Lightroom. Mmmh.... When challenged in an interview about the outburst of photographers the Creative Suite VP admitted the outburst is understandable, as Photoshop CC is not for Photographer and offers little value. Go for Lightroom he said, that is for Photographers, and we just cut the price. Ah, I am on board again. Then days later, they say Camera Shake Reduction ( which is a feature for Photographers ) will only be included in Photoshop CC and not in Lightroom. Come on man! I now have enough of it! I doubt Adobe has a consistent Marketing Strategy for Photographers. This makes me doubt I want to buy their product.
- Many Photographers do not take every update. Take me, I just upgraded from Photoshop CS 2 to 6. Cost for that is 600 USD / 8 Years = 75 USD / Year. I would not join the cloud now, so later I most likely will loose my upgrade discount and then my expenses would be 12 * 20 USD / month = 240 USD / year. That is a 320 % bump in expense.
- Investing into a Software is always a Risk. Will it be supported in the Future ? Can it really do what I need ? As if life is not hard enough, Adobe has just added Risks:
- Having no internet turns from an inconvenience into a thread. What if I am in a place for a longer period of time with no internet access? What if I life in a country that chooses to block a range of IP addresses which happen to include the Adobe Server ( That is my case actually. Training Videos of Adobe are blocked where I live ). Once my Photoshop CC can not contact Adobe, it will disable itself.
- My financial success is now coupled with my ability of accessing my files. Going through a financial downturn is already hard enough. Subscriptions such as Creative Cloud would be the first to go. It is extra frustrating that in such bad times the hobby is killed as well. Or if you are an independent Artist, when business is bad, you maybe forced to cut the one Instrument you need to make more money. It is a bad risk to enter into such an arrangement.
- Angry about being forced: I am an enthusiast photographer and I execute my photography in my free time. The new Adobe License policy forces my into directions I do not want to go, no matter how I try to respond:
- a) I do nothing now. Then it is clear latest when I get a new camera with a new RAW format that I need to join the cloud. At least if I want to benefit from Adobe workflow convenience, which was the key reason I went Adobe in the first place. This means I need to take 240 USD / year out of my photography budget. As it so happens I just ordered my Pentax K30 today for 550 USD. This is my second DSLR after using my Pentax *ist for 8 years. Clearly I would prefer spending this kind of money on Cameras or Lenses than on the capability to open my files, which I had before already. So doing nothing now will kill my new toy budget completely later on. This way I do not want to go.
- b) Completely rethink my Photography workflow. I did this in 2007, 6 years ago, when I evaluated to go from Photoshop CS as my main tool to Lightroom 1. This Workflow evaluation with subsequent learning curve of the new tool took me hundreds of hours. Still then I was happy to do, as I envisioned hundreds of hours to be saved in the new streamlined workflow. Now this is different. I must rethink my workflow now to avoid being locked into the Cloud later which will be out of my budget. I am forced to spend > 100 hours to learn how to modify my workflow ( and several hours to modify the workflow ) and I will have nothing to show for it, other than to avoid being turned into a cash cow by Adobe. Being forced to do this is really upsetting me that much to change my impression of Adobe to one of my most liked companies to one of my most disliked companies.
- c) Must go to large file formats: This is my pet thing. I hate large files. The are slow to open. They take longer time to back up. I need to buy more Hard Drives. After changing to Lightroom my file sizes of Developed files which I worked on to print as fine Art reduced from 300 MB to 10 MB. Now it seems the only way will be to use layered 16 bit TIFF file to achieve a work flow which is not locked into Adobe and which is Archival. Layered 16 bit TIFF are large and Adobe forces me to go this way I did not wanted to go. A fellow Photographer cured my resistance to TIFF this way: A 2 TB HD is way cheaper than Adobe Photoshop Cloud for one Year. True but Arrghhh!
- Adobe makes me look like a fool. I have convinced quite a few friends and business partners to go Photoshop and now they are held hostage, thanks to my doing.
Communication between Adobe and the Enthusiast Photography Community on dpReview
Just how mad is the photography community ?
How much does Adobe care ?
In the Interview: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/05/08/Adobe-photoshop-cc the Adobe VP of Creative Solutions of Adobe, Winston hendrickson, was asked:
Q: "Were you expecting such a negative response from the photographic community?"
A: We expected a higher degree of this type of reaction from the hobbyist photographic community because currently there's not a lot of photography-specific value in our subscription products.
Many photographers reacted to this answer in comments like this:
- Feeling of being ignored by Adobe, because Adobe expected a horrible response from Enthusiast Photographers and they still went ahead with the new License Model, seemingly as this customer category is not really relevant to them
- Adobe recognized that the Cloud Version offers a bad value for money proposition, and they still went ahead to publish this bad proposition instead of fixing it first. This was interpreted by most as sheer arrogance and ignorance towards the enthusiats potographer
- Many photographers got so mad, they announced publicly to stop using Adobe products just for the sake of principle
- Emotions were running so high that the positive fact that Adobe had cut the cost of Lightroom into half was not heard and interpreted that Winston Hendrickson was dodging the question about the price increase of Photoshop to Photographers.
Adobe's Marketing success of FUD 9.0 makes Photographers jump ship
- I already planned for a 600 USD of Budget set aside to be spend about 5 years from now on whatever will be the then current Version of Photoshop CS
- I was about to buy some training materials for my Photoshop CS 6 about HDR Merging, Panorama Stitching
- I was so hooked, I was expecting this will continue until the day I die
Consequences for Photographer
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.