Creative Cloud Review

When I first heard about this service I was very excited and happy. It sounded too good to be true… The Creative Suite Master Collection 5 was about £2000 and I didn’t have a hope in hell of upgrading my CS3 software or buying the new software at that price.

I subscribed to the monthly version of InDesign 5 as I needed the most up to date version for files I was using, and eagerly awaited the launch. And I wasn’t disappointed…

As an existing customer and subscriber, I have a deal where my monthly subscription is a little under £28 a month, but once this deal is up in a year, I’ll be paying £46.88 per month. And it’ll still be worth it. I know lots of people who complain about Adobe Creative Suite, or sing the praises of other software and apps, but I have used Photoshop since 2000, and did my whole degree using CS2 and CS3, and I find the software extremely good.

Most of the people I know who have issues with it usually complain about the price and the complexity of the software, but I want something this good, that helps me with my work, and I am lucky enough to have had some good training in how to use it too.

So, what do you get with Adobe Creative Cloud…? The following software and apps:

  • Adobe Photoshop® CS6 Extended
  • Adobe Illustrator® CS6
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® 4
  • Adobe InDesign® CS6
  • Adobe Muse™
  • Adobe Acrobat® XI Pro
  • Adobe Flash® Professional CS6
  • Adobe Flash Builder® 4.6 Premium Edition
  • Adobe Dreamweaver® CS6
  • Adobe Edge Tools & Services
  • Adobe Fireworks® CS6
  • Adobe Premiere® Pro CS6
  • Adobe After Effects® CS6
  • Adobe Audition® CS6
  • Adobe Prelude™ CS6
  • Adobe SpeedGrade™ CS6
  • Adobe Encore® CS6
  • Adobe Bridge CS6
  • Adobe Media Encoder CS6

Plus 20GB of space in the “creative cloud” and deals on the Adobe Touch Apps:

  • Adobe Collage
  • Adobe Debut
  • Adobe Ideas
  • Adobe Kuler®
  • Adobe Photoshop Touch
  • Adobe Proto

…not bad for £28 a month.

I worked out that normally I would like to upgrade my software every 2 years. The initial layout aside, the upgrade from CS3 to CS6 Design Premium would be approx £945. However, with the Creative Cloud I get all the software available in the Master Collection which costs approx £2700. For the first year I will pay £336, and for the second year I will pay £564 – so all in all in the next two years I will pay £900 – over £1500 cheaper than buying CS6 outright, and £45 cheaper than an upgrade (but I now get all the software). Plus I get the latest versions for each application without paying anymore – so financially, for me, a bargain.

But, regardless of the money… is it any good?

The four applications I use most are Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and InDesign, all of which have some good new features. Firstly, InDesign and Photoshop both have background saving, and for InDesign there is a background export function too. Photoshop has some cool functions for curved wide angle shots, and the erodible brushes are pretty good too. It also has type styles too, and the ability to add filler text – something I have been waiting for a while!

Illustrator has a new pattern creator tool, which I’m looking forward to playing with, and the new image trace is pretty good too. The type panel is better than before too. InDesign is also much improved… and I use InDesign much more than the others, so these new updates are brilliant. You can now create different alternate layouts with different size pages, and show both in a split window – really impressive. You can create PDF forms within InDesign, and export to ePub – with interactivity. Dreamweaver is easier to use with HTML5 and fluid grid layouts, and the live view of web pages as you are building is pretty good too.

There are also some new applications that I have found pretty useful too. Muse seems like an interesting WYSIWYG web designer/builder, which I have only had a quick play with so far. It’s similar to designing print layouts, and you don’t need to code. I might be using this more in the future. Edge looks like an interesting application that might be handy for learning more about building my own apps, and more coding experience.

There are also the Touch apps, which I haven’t had a chance to play with yet, as I don’t own an iPad. Kuler in particular looks interesting – I have used this colour tool within Illustrator before, and it’s really good – you can create colour themes from specific photos, using a colour as a base or just by browsing other people’s themes.

Finally there is the 20GB of storage space – too be honest, i haven’t taken advantage of this yet, I have 100’s of GB of files and images that I use for work, plus online back-ups and portable hard disks, so as yet, I haven’t needed this, but it’s always handy to know it’s there, and to be able to access files away from home if needs be.

I can understand how the Creative suite isn’t for everyone. Not everyone needs to access the functionality of these apps, but if you do, I think the new Creative Cloud is well worth the money.


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