Last night the Adobe Creative Cloud apps went live. They are there, ready to download right after you sign up for the new monthly Creative Cloud membership. Adobe’s new licensing model has been causing quite a stir. Some folks love it, some folks hate it. There’s no doubt that this debate will probably be rekindled anew with the actual release of the CC apps. This new licensing model isn’t perfect but it’s here and it’s sitting in front of some great video tools. So it’s time to either accept it or move on to something else. You’ve got choices for most everything.
But the complainers should stop complaining not because the Cloud-licensing model is a good idea but because there are so many other choices out there. If you don’t like one, move on to another.
There comes a time in every software / hardware / tools-based controversy when it’s time to shut-it-up and move on. It happened with Canon DSLRs (they aren’t going away), it happened with Final Cut Pro X (it’s here and Apple isn’t bringing back FCP7) and it’s just about time for it to happen with the Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe’s new non-perpetual licensing model. Adobe has made the decision to move to the cloud and they probably aren’t going to renege any time soon. But the complainers should stop complaining not because the Cloud-licensing model is a good idea but because there are so many other choices out there. If you don’t like one, move on to another.
I’m not of the opinion that a pay-every-month, Cloud-only licensing option is a perfect idea (more on that in a minute). It’s perfect for the company charging the monthly fee as they get paid monthly. It can be scary for some of those customers that are paying monthly as all they see is the fact they have to pay every month, regardless of whether it’s cheaper in the long run. If you’re one of those who upgraded every time there was a new Adobe release you’ll probably come out ahead. If you look at the monthly payment of a car over the total cost of the loan then you probably won’t like the CC.
Another big controversy that we all tired of happened when Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X. And full disclaimer that I was right in the middle of all the FCPX discussion and often still am. Many folks in post-production declared the end of the world and the end of their careers. But we all moved on and continued to work, some with FCPX, others without. I can understand the furor over FCPX more than that over Creative Cloud. Many editors had huge investments in FCP7 because the hardware in their facility and an entire infrastructure had been built around FCP7. And FCPX was just entirely and completely different. This idea that FCP7 was suddenly dead came as a shock. Then came the reality that a lot of that investment was still usable with other tools besides FCP: like Avid and … wait for it … Adobe.
Something similar can be said for Creative Cloud. There are a lot of people who have investments in Adobe software but since that software runs on top of a computer and other video hardware the choice to leave the Adobe universe won’t render that hardware dead. In fact, there’s more creative software options now than ever before. You’ll even be able to keep a perpetual CS6 license so from this point forward you’ll always be able to open up and manipulate any file you currently have. Yes you might have to keep a computer locked to a current OS version for the rest of your life just like some people are going to have to do with FCP7. Welcome to the future.
I was writing up my own list of Adobe alternatives but I found this great list on Adobe’s own forums (my additions are in italics and I’m sure there are others):
- Acrobat – PDF-XChange Viewer, Nitro Pro, Foxit, and Formulate Pro
- After Effects – Blender, Wax, Jahshaka, and Motion 5, Smoke for Mac, Nuke
- Audition/Soundbooth – ProTools, Audacity and Cubase
- Captivate – Articulate Storyline or Presenter, Camtasia Studio, Snagit, ActivePresenter and iSpring
- Dreamweaver – KompoZer, SeaMonkey, Amaya, Flux, Aptana, CoffeeCup HTML Editor, NetObjects Fusion, NetBeans IDE, and Expression Web 4
- Encore DVD – DVD Architect Studio and Bombono DVD, DVD Studio Pro still works
- Illustrator – Inkscape, Corel Draw, Xara Xtreme, Sketch, and SketchUp Pro
- InDesign – Scribus, iStudio Publisher and Swiftpublisher, Quark Xpress (I think)
- Media encoding and basic editing – Sorenson Squeeze, Telestream Episode, Compressor, MPEG Streamclip
- Photoshop – GIMP, Xara Xtreme, Pixelmator, PaintShop Pro, Painter 12 and Inkscape
- Premiere – Lightworks, VideoStudio Ultimate, Final Cut Pro X or 7, Avid Media Compsoer, and VideoPad Video Editor (ideoLAN Movie Creator and Avidemux for basic work), Autodesk Smoke
I pasted in this list above not as a way to persuade anyone to move away from Adobe’s tools but to illustrate that there are a lot of alternatives out there for most everything in the Creative Cloud (especially the video tools). If you don’t like what Adobe has chosen to do it’s time to quit the complaining and move to another tool. Avid will be happy to sell you a Media Composer license. The Mac App Store really wants you to download FCPX. Sony would probably come over to your house and install Vegas themselves if you’re willing to really cut on it.
One reason that I don’t mind this new Adobe licensing model is they are making some damn good software. Adobe Premiere Pro has gotten better and better with the last few releases. They seem ultra-serious about PPro being one of the best options in the NLE market and they are making good on that. They are listening to customers, fixing problems, adding features and getting those features out to market. Adobe claims the cloud will enable them to get these features out faster. As long as they keep making a good product I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt in their licensing.
I would love to see Adobe offer a cheaper monthly option for those only wanting ONLY the video tools…
As I said above, I’m not in total agreement that this all-Cloud all-rental model is best. I would love to see Adobe offer a cheaper monthly option for those only wanting ONLY the video tools, or those only wanting the design and publishing tools. I liken it to Comcast … we pay $130 for our cable package that includes 100+ channels we never watch. Theá la carte discussion aside I’d much rather Comcast offer up a $75 HD only option with only 50 channels I never watch. Adobe sold us video-based bundles for years so why not sell us a video-bases cloud subscription?
It seems a no-brainer since Comcast advertises their HD so heavily. Why not offer that option for those of us that never, never, NEVER watch SD? The Comcast executives could never bring themselves to offer up anything that might lower a cable subscription rate that’s why. I hope the Adobe bean counters don’t end up Comcast-greedy with their new licensing model.
It also seems a no-brainer that Adobe would offer a video-specific Cloud option. If access to every Adobe product is $50 a month why not offer what would have been the Production Premium in the Creative Cloud for, say $35. The Adobe Master Collection was over $2000 with the video-bundle Production Premium being around $1500. It seems a bit silly to not make that same distinction in the Creative Cloud that Adobe made with the perpetual license. They knew there were video people who would never, never, NEVER use the design and publishing tools so why make a video customer pay for them? If we didn’t have to pay for them in a box why do we have to pay for them in the Cloud? I haven’t really seen the new CC license as being just a cash grab but not offering cheaper billing options for the same specific bundles they had with boxed versions does seem a bit that way. I hope Adobe can change that and re-offer those specific types of bundles. With the Creative Cloud it should be easy to upgrade to a full $50 per month cloud access if you ever needed to add InDesign to your video bundle.