Yesterday's announcement by Adobe that it will cease 'perpetual license' sales of Photoshop and its Creative Suite counterparts has generated considerable backlash here on dpreview and across the web. With such a significant change in store, we spoke today with Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, Winston Hendrickson and Bryan O'Neill Hughes, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop for Adobe's response to the uproar.
At the conclusion of the interview, we've put together a brief set of FAQs regarding Adobe's Creative Cloud announcement.
|Winston Hendrickson, VP of Creative Solutions, Adobe Systems, Inc.|
Q&A with Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, Winston Hendrickson
Were you expecting such a negative response from the photographic community?
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. That's why we've taken the unusual steps of Tom Hogarty's appearance on The Grid [a Scott Kelby webisode] showing potential Lightroom CC features and the Photoshop Sneak Peek where we showed new features like Camera Shake reduction.
Is a subscription model less prone to piracy?
While service options that connect to our servers are inherently less prone to piracy, once a user downloads software to their computer the piracy threat is the same as for our perpetual products.
The reason behind the subscription-only move is the logistics of supporting two sets of software. The last 12 months of development was brutal. And there were results we were not happy with. We have decided to focus on the CC products.
As far as the future of CS applications, in his Adobe MAX keynote, David Wadhwani said, 'We have no plans' to continue perpetual licenses. We are not ruling that out in the future.
How do you justify the price increase to photographers?
Last year we actually cut the price of Lightroom in half in order to open it up to a broader market of photographers.
What assurances can our readers have that Lightroom will not become a subscription-only option?
[Bryan O'Neil Hughes] Lightroom is for photographers. And the Lightroom team is very aware of the reaction by photographers to Photoshop CC. We don't have plans to make Lightroom a subscription-only option but we do envision added functionality for CC members using Lightroom.
What support can CS6 users expect?
Barring something unforeseen from Apple and Microsoft, we plan to update Photoshop CS6 for the next Mac and Windows operating system releases. Once Camera Raw 8 is completed for Photoshop CC, we are going to release a version of it for CS6 that includes any new camera support but without any of the new CC tools and features.
In addition, DNG Converter will remain a free option to convert new Raw file formats for use in older versions of Photoshop.
What happens to Photoshop CC and my files if I cancel my subscription?
We do not delete any files or software from your computer. You will not be able to use the software but the files you've created and saved on your hard drive are left intact. And you don't need a valid license or Internet connection to uninstall the software.
What can you say to users concerned that a subscription model removes their option to at least stick with an older version of software if they no longer want to continue paying for it?
That's the trade-off for the benefits of a continuously updated application. At the time you decide to stop paying for it, yes you lose access, but after, say 12 months, you've ended up with a different product than the one you subscribed to, because of the new features that have been added. And for existing perpetual users, Photoshop CS can co-exist alongside and independently from Photoshop CC.
One final point I'd like to address is the misconception that you have to be continuously connected to the Internet to use a CC application. Monthly subscribers can go for as long as 30 days without connecting to the Internet for license validation. Users with an annual commitment can go for as long as 99 days.
Below, the editorial staff at dpreview have compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions our readers have asked since Adobe's announcement. The explanations here are culled from information Adobe has posted online since the announcement of the Creative Cloud membership.
What is CC?
Adobe has rebranded its upcoming versions of applications with the 'CC' (Creative Cloud) moniker. They will be made available on June 17. A month-to-month or discounted annual CC subscription gives you access to all of the Adobe Creative Suite titles, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Premiere and After Effects. You can see a full list of the available software here.
Why am I being forced to work in the 'cloud'?
The simple answer is that you're not. Once you've subscribed, you still download Photoshop and install it on your preferred hard drive. You can open, edit and save files locally just as you would in CS6. While Adobe is touting the connectivity and collaborative features of its CC applications, and providing 20GB of online storage, you can choose not to take advantage of these services.
You will need an Internet connection to download, install and license the software, of course. You will also be asked to connect to the web periodically in order to validate the license. At launch, annual subscribers will be able to use the products for 99 consecutive days while offline. Eventually, this offline ability will be extended to 180 consecutive days without Internet access.
I'll never use Dreamweaver or InDesign. Can I subscribe just to Photoshop?
Yes. Adobe is offering a special introductory price for CS3 and later owners of $9.99 per month for the first 12 months. The regular price for a Photoshop CC-only subscription is $19.99 per month with an annual commitment and $29.99 per month for the ability to cancel at any time. You should also know that Photoshop CC includes all of the additional features and functionality that was limited to Photoshop Extended in CS versions.
What happens to ACR support for CS6?
As Tom Hogarty states on Adobe's Lightroom blog, CS6 users will gain the camera compatibility updates set to arrive on June 17 in ACR 8. These updates, however, will not include any of the new features seen in the Photoshop CC demo or Lightroom 5 Beta release, such as the Upright tool, Advanced Healing Brush or Radial Gradient Filter. Adobe is not providing a timeline for how long new camera support will continue for the ACR version of Photoshop CS6.
Can I still buy Lightroom?
Yes. Lightroom, while available as part of the Creative Cloud bundle, can still be purchased as a standalone piece of software at $149 for new users and $79 for owners of any previous version. Adobe Acrobat can be purchased as a standalone title as well.
Can I still buy Photoshop CS6?
Photoshop CS6 is still currently available for a downloadable purchase here on Adobe's site.
Do I really need Photoshop?
One thing that Adobe's move has certainly done is make many photographers ask themselves whether they need all, or even a majority of tools Photoshop currently offers. Indeed, whenever we write about newly announced Photoshop features, there's always a segment of users who claim the features are of no use to them and that they'll happily stick with a previous version. And many, of course have adopted a 'skip every other upgrade' policy.
For users working primarily with Raw files, the current version of Lightroom offers a vast majority of the tools that users producing traditional photographic output require. Indeed, unless you're creating composite images or performing fashion/beauty retouching, we'd argue most Lightroom users are making far fewer trips to Photoshop than they did in previous versions.
And if your image editing needs are limited to exposure and contrast adjustments to 8-bit files there's Photoshop Elements, which is available as a standalone purchase for $99.