Adobe Creative Cloud Thoughts

A few years ago, my mother was organizing various things that were left behind by the school tech person who retired. One of the items was an unopened copy of Photoshop 3.0. My father told her that she should install it on the computer because it was a legally valid copy of Photoshop that had been paid for and the license was forever.

I know this topic has already been talked to death somewhat, but I wanted to put my perspective out there.

I am a pack rat. I am a few degrees away from being one of those people that appear on “Hoarders” on A & E. I can only get through my day knowing that I have access to every single thing that I might need during the course of the day. I have a bag containing aspirin, Sudafed, and a 42 oz. Thermos full of tea that I lug around to class even if I am not thirsty. I went to a conference where one of the speakers talked about living out of a backpack for several years and I almost had to lay on the floor in the fetal position breathing out of a paper bag.

Currently I own over 50 different kinds of tea. I justify it to myself in my brain by saying that if I went to Starbucks every day I would spend more on beverages (which is true, but only because it is terribly overpriced). I like knowing that if I feel like drinking a certain kind of tea, I have it at my disposal. When I get up in the morning I can pick anything I want and it feels luxuriant and amazing.

The biggest thing I hoard is sources of information. I have crates of books in the basement that I own because I want them around in case I feel like reading them at some point. I have a friend who is a beneficiary of my book hoarding because I will buy books multiple times not realizing I already own a copy.

My hunger for information was strong enough that I pay $43 a month to subscribe to Safari Books Online. I was using their limited subscription plan for a while, but I found limiting myself to ten books a month to be limiting. I like being able to know that I can look at anything I want. If I want to read a book on 3D animation, I can do it. If I want to read about how to do Storyboarding in iOS, it is at my fingertips.

One would think that I would be an example of a person who would love the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, but I am not. I hate it. I will never use it unless I work for someone who will be paying for it.

Here, in my mind, is the difference between these services:

– I can own any book that I am currently renting if I want to. I can buy a paper version or an e-book version of any book I am subscribing to on Safari. I am actively choosing not to because if I buy a book a month on programming that will cost more than my subscription and the vast majority of those books will be worthless in a year or two. I do not need lots of phone book sized door stops cluttering up my house when I can just pay a fee each month to read the most current things.

– I do not use these programs every single day. I used to use these program every day, but I am heading in another direction and now I don’t.

A few years ago I got a graphic design and video editing degree. On the first day of Photoshop class, the teacher asked us who didn’t think they needed to take the class because they already knew Photoshop. I raised my hand. I have been using Photoshop since 1996. By the end of the first day we had already exceeded what I knew about Photoshop. That program is massive. It can do some extraordinary things.

I did a project utilizing both Photoshop and After Effects for a class and this is what I created. So I am someone who has delved somewhat deeply into these programs. I love using them. They can do great things.

But I want to own them. I want to have them on my computer where I can ignore them for six months and then play with them any time I feel like it.

The major difference, in my mind, between my Safari Books Online subscription and the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is that Safari allows me to own the books I want. If I want to own the K & R “C Programming Language” book, I can do that. I can either just read it through my subscription or I can buy it.

Some of the knowledge is transitory and won’t be relevant in a year, but I have the option to own it if I want.

The Adobe files are not transitory. If I don’t pay for a subscription each month my files become dead weight. It is indentured servitude. You are obligated to pay every month to have access to your own work. That is not cool.

I hope that either Adobe rethinks their decision or else another company comes in and fills the void.

I own Adobe CS6 Design Premium. I got it for $250 on a daily deal site for educators and students. If I had not been able to get this deal, I would still be using my copy of CS3.

I am glad to know that my current version of Dreamweaver supports HTML5. I have not opened it yet, but it will work if I ever decide to.

I won’t pay $50 a month to use programs I only think about sporadically. I am happy to pay $300 every few years to have programs that live on my computer that I know I could use if I felt like it but usually don’t get used.

This is totally different from Netflix or Safari. Those have content. You watch a movie once and usually don’t care to watch it again. If you want to, you rent it. We have a basement full of DVDs that have been watched a few times but are gathering dust because it just isn’t necessary to own them.

It is necessary to own software that you dedicate time, energy, and file space to. You don’t use Photoshop once and then never look at it again. I truly hope that Adobe rethinks their decision or that open source solutions emerge to allow hobbyist artists and photographers to express themselves artistically.