By Gajan Tharmabalan
I can remember the first time I was introduced to Photoshop. It was the late 90s and Photoshop 5.0 hit the scene with editable type and a History panel. Even at the tender age of 11, I knew that this program (yes, they were called programs back then) was a world changer. Fast forward 15 years, and Adobe -- the company behind Photoshop and other great pieces of software -- have changed the world again. It wasn't uncommon that you'd have to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to stay up to date with the latest piece of Adobe software. Well, with the introduction of Adobe Creative Cloud, users can dabble with some of the most advanced software in the world at a fraction of that cost.
Creativity For All
Instead of paying Adobe about $799.99, you can now subscribe to Photoshop CC for $20/month. For those that find comfort in coffee references, that's cheaper than four of Starbucks' caramel macchiatos. Now say you wish to subscribe to the entire suite of apps they provide (dubbed Adobe Creative Cloud), that'll set you back $50/month. But here's the kicker: if you're a student, you can subscribe to the entire suite of Adobe software for $20/month! Okay, so this pricing structure has been in effect for over a year now, but it's still an amazing feat. If you're a student and want to jumpstart your creative portfolio, you can do it for about $5 a week.
This pricing structure may come as a hard pill to swallow for those '$0.99 or free' app aficionados, but for those that aim to make a career in the creative industry, this is a huge deal. Adobe has effectively offered their library of software, and more, for anyone with a computer and internet connection. Sure, you don't really own the software. To be blunt, your renting their apps. But at such a low cost, and the promise of consistent updates, I believe Adobe has democratized creativity in a massive way.
YOU can run the most advanced imaging software now. For cheap!
UPDATE: At the time of writing this, Adobe had a keynote at Photoshop World 2013 that dropped another bomb. For users that have Photoshop CS3 or later can subscribe to a new Photoshop Photography bundle for $9.99/month. This is a limited time offer set to expire by the end of this year, but if you sign up, your price is pretty much set. This package includes the latest version of Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, 20gb of cloud storage, and some other goodies. Seriously people, they are going out of their way for people to start using their tools.
The Cost Argument
There was a huge outcry of people, including professionals, that were upset at this new payment structure. At the time of the initial Creative Cloud announcement, it had only been a year since I dropped $600+ on the Premium Production Suite of Adobe software. I was one of the people that invested a lot into Adobe, only to have them change the game entirely. However, even though I paid the premium, I subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud as soon as it was available. In this day in age, innovation and development move at an extremely rapid pace. One that requires rapid adoption and evolution.
The way I see it, you can bitch and moan about how you don't own Photoshop anymore, or you can adapt and build the new structure into your workflow. Fast forward to today, and nobody is complaining about this anymore. Maybe that's a little hyperbole, but in all seriousness, things have gotten far cheaper and far more accessible. At the end of the day, when the best tools in creativity are so readily available, that it was ultimately pushes creativity as a whole forward.