Thursday, August 16, 2012

The benefits of Adobe Creative Cloud

If you are still sitting on the fence, trying to decide if Adobe Creative Cloud is for you, here is some information that might help. I'm convinced that for full-time graphic designers, the decision to purchase a Creative Cloud subscription is a no-brainer. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. In this rapidly-changing world, designers are being asked to design for media beyond print: ePUB, apps, Web sites, PDFs, you name it. For this, you need a larger toolset, so that you can perhaps edit a video clip, adjust audio levels in a recording, or design a product microsite. Creative Cloud gives you access to the largest toolset out there: all the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection and more. A common misconception is that the programs "run in the cloud" and that you need an Internet connection to use them. This isn't true. You need an Internet connection to download and install the apps, but then they reside on your local hard drive like any other program. The apps just check in with Adobe every month or so to verify that you are a paid subscriber.

2. To keep up with this rapid pace of change, your software tools need to be able to change and rapidly adapt. The subscription model gives Adobe the ability to add new features and capabilities to software on an as-needed basis…no need to wait 12, 18, 24 months or more for the next version of the software to be released. One example of this is the recent announcement that Adobe will be adding a feature to Illustrator to "Package" files. This feature will be available to Creative Cloud subscribers soon. Purchasers of the "perpetual license" (shrink wrap) version of Creative Suite 6 will need to wait for the next version before they get this feature.

3. Access to software and services beyond the Master Collection, such as:

Adobe Muse (a Web design program for designers…like using InDesign for the Web!)

Adobe Edge (HTML5 animation; preview version now, full version when released)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (digital photo organization, workflow, and manipulation)

Unlimited Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition licenses (coming soon). Currently, to use Adobe DPS to create a "single issue" app costs $400/app. Creative Cloud subscribers will soon be able to create an unlimited number of apps at no charge.

Hosting of 5 Web sites with Adobe Business Catalyst

Access to all Typekit fonts (Portfolio plan)

Story Plus (screenwriting software)

4. Access to Adobe Touch apps, such as Photoshop Touch, Kuler, Debut, Ideas, Proto, and Collage. If you purchase and activate 3 of these from the Apple App Store or Google Play, you get a free month added on to your Creative Cloud subscription. So effectively, you get these apps free.

5. File hosting. Each Creative Cloud subscription includes 20gb of cloud-based file storage. Soon, you will be able to sync files with the cloud via a desktop client, much like Dropbox. But there are some significant differences from Dropbox. For example, you can preview most native creative file types, such as .indd, .psd, and .ai in your Creative Cloud storage area. You can also view the fonts used in an InDesign file, or the layers in a Photoshop file for example. You can even change the layer states in a .psd file and preview the image with the new layer states right in your browser. These features make the Creative Cloud storage an effective way to collaborate on creative files with coworkers and clients.

You can save $20/month on Adobe Creative Cloud for the first year if you currently own CS3 or newer. This offer expires August 31, 2012.

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