With over 2 million customers having already signed up the twenty four months since it launched, Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) offering has been a success exceeding even the company’s own expectations.The average time between releases or upgrades was somewhere around 12 to 18 months, which means a user would have to invest heavily every year in order to remain relevant.
However, if CC customers get regular updates and upgrades at no additional cost, then why do we hear so many complaints against the change? Still, there are a lot of misconceptions revolving around Creative Cloud. Let us uncover a few of these, primarily around functionality:
“‘Creative Cloud’ sounds like cloud storage only – which is just a way to store your files, and I already have Dropbox for free.”
Some may find the name misleading – but Creative Cloud is actually a comprehensive collection of creative tools and services including the new “CC” release of desktop products, Acrobat XI Pro, Adobe Muse, Lightroom 5, Digital Publishing Suite, Behance ProSite, Adobe Edge, and more – the full working versions. You also get 20 GB or 100 GB of online storage space for syncing and sharing your files, but that is only one piece of of the big picture – you get all the tools you have been working with alongside free storage space.
“I don’t want to be constantly connected to the Internet to start and run my creative apps; what happens when I’m on a plane?”
You do not have to be continually connected to the Internet. After the CC applications are installed on your desktop, online access is only required once every 99 days for revalidation of your annual membership. Apart from that you can continue to work on the CC applications just like any other desktop application.
“The applications can’t be very powerful if they are running in a browser – trying to run Photoshop over the web is going to be really slow.”
Parallel to the above question, none of the tools in CC are hosted or web-based versions. These are the genuine desktop products that you download and install right on your computer to operate per usual – these are not web applications, it’s not “software as a service” (SaaS), and your CC programs, like Photoshop, will run as normal.
“If my friend, client, or colleague isn’t a Creative Cloud member, I can’t share my files with them.” …or… “But I don’t want to share all my work publicly.”
Generally, your new CC tools will be able to open and use any and all earlier CS project and data files – including CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, and CS6 files – with no problem or loss of information. In other words, all Adobe software is able to read or import file formats from previous versions of the same program – and it should happen seamlessly and automatically.
Going the other way, when wanting to use CS6 or older tools to open a file saved from a CC product, the answer is: it depends… Adobe officially states, “Each of the following CC apps support the ability to export to the CS6 version of the program: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash Pro, Dreamweaver, and After Effects” – with the caveat that, “New features added may not be supported in the exported file or implemented by the CS6 application.” And the same would go for CS5, CS4, or CS3.
For any files you choose to store online in Adobe’s Cloud, you can easily set different levels of sharing – from keeping them completely private to sharing them publicly with anyone at all. Viewers will be able to do many things like see thumbnails and larger previews; change layer states of PSD files; step through Illustrator artboards, InDesign, and PDF pages; and see file metadata from within their browser. But you can also keep your files entirely on your local disk as normal, because using the online storage in the Cloud is completely optional.
“With the Cloud you cannot stay on or run previous versions if you want to – you are always forced to update to the latest release, right? I might not always be ready to do that, plus some plug-ins might not work with the newer version.”
No, in fact it’s optional – and your call. Creative Cloud makes updates available for those who want to install them, but the application manager will not automatically update your system without your approval. You can continue using the versions you have already downloaded, and then choose if and when to install the new releases, whenever is convenient for you. On average for each CC tool, the pacing of available upgrades has been every 2-3 months. And IT administrators can use the new Creative Cloud Packager utility to fully control all aspects of deployment on any group of computers.
“If for some reason Adobe decides to stop offering products in the Creative Cloud, then I’ll be stuck.”
In the event that Adobe decides to discontinue any products in the Creative Cloud, then they will make the most recent full and permanent version of the software available free of charge to active members on an as-is basis. But that seems unlikely to happen, because with the brisk adoption the offering has been receiving – over 30,000 new customers each week – the future of Creative Cloud appears bright. Adobe makes this clear under the Purchasing Section of its FAQ:
“In the event that Adobe decides to discontinue any of the products in Creative Cloud, we will make the most recent version of the product available for download free of charge to active Creative Cloud members for a period of no less than 90 days. Such downloads will not require a subscription and will be licensed on an as-is, no warranty basis.”