Backing Away from Adobe Creative Cloud

icon1 Flick Harrison | icon4 Feb 6, 2014| icon3

no-adobe_0For a number of reasons, I am leaving Adobe behind in all my production and teaching work.  I'm also going to stop telling people that Premiere is better than Final Cut X...

Why the change of heart?  Mainly, I can't recommend the monopolistic pricing practice of Adobe's creative cloud.  And whatever the politics, it's just too expensive for rentware. (Also check out the frightening TERMS OF SERVICE you are agreeing to..)

There's a terrible feeling in my gut when I think how dangerous it is for a business, artist or student to rely on subscription-based software.

Because if you stop paying for an Adobe subscription, you lose all your work.  Not the final products, of course; the outputs stay put and stay exactly how they were when you finished them.  But the project files, the meat and potatoes, are locked into Adobe and are no longer usable when your subscription expires.  You could spend something like $75 for a 1-month subscription to Adobe every time you want to look at an old project; or you could just find other software with a perpetual license, i.e software that you buy outright.  I'll recommend a better set of alternatives in another post, and link it here later.

There is a big difference between wondering if your old Final Cut 3 projects will open on a kind-of-old computer with Final Cut 7, say, or fiddling with Automatic Duck to get an FCP7 project into FCPX; versus knowing for a certainty that 30 days after you stop paying for Creative Cloud, you can never access your Adobe Premiere projects again.

What makes it worse that since I work with Community- and Artist-run- centers, the Adobe education discount isn't available to them.  Only k-12 and universities qualify.

When Adobe CS6 was still the main suite people were using, high-priced but with a perpetual license, you could rely on using it for as long as the computer you owned was running.  I could comfortably recommend Adobe Premiere over FCPX because, well, it did what you needed and some schools I was working with already used Creative Suite to teach Photoshop and Flash.

Now, compare spending $2600 for the Master Collection on a terminal that will be used for 3 years.  No need to upgrade constantly at a Community Centre.  That's about $72 per month per machine.  A Creative Cloud subscription would get you all the updates forever at $69.99 per month.  Fair enough.  Keep in mind that if you stop paying in there sometime, you lose your software.

Let's say instead that you only want Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro.  That would have cost $1899 with Creative Suite Production Premium (which has more than those four, of course), or $52 per computer per month over three years.

Still costs $69.99 in Creative Cloud.   Single-App subscriptions are $20/m for individuals or more with resellers who can give you volume licenses; therefore buying just those four apps would cost MORE than a full subscription.

Now let's look at some alternatives.  Let's say you are teaching media arts, not to wannabe professional employees who demand industry-standard tools, but people who want to get to work making independent art, video, or photography on a shoestring alongside their day jobs.

Final Cut Pro X:  $300

Toon Boom Studio or DigiCell Flipbook education price:  $150

Acorn:  $50

Sketchbook Express: Free

Hmm... That's $500 per terminal, or  $13 per month over three years.  Wow!  You can really start adding up software at this rate and be far, far, below your Adobe costs.

Not saying that these are the only options or even the best ones; I'm still looking into that.

Let's not forget that with a perpetual license you can keep using it longer if you want - add stuff to your software arsenal, rather than paying and paying and paying for the same thing forever.

I am done with Premiere for now.   Photoshop is amazing and hard to replace, but a bit of overkill for all but the most specific designer needs.

Flash is harder to replace, but I'll figure it out.  I'm looking at a number of alternatives for teaching purposes, and they all look better and better when you compare them to the high price of Adobe.  I'd prefer to teach html5 for web interaction anyway, and surely there is animation software less confusing and intense that Flash.

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Final Cut Pro, the Once-and-future-King of editing software.

- Flick

 

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