The Day Has Arrived!
Finally, the day has arrived! Adobe Creative Cloud opened for business today, Friday, May 11, 2012. Adobe has been listening to customers complaining about expensive upgrades that come out every 18 months or so, as well as confusing packages (e.g., Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, Web Standard, etc.), so they wisely adopted a per month subscription fee which gives users access to everything. What a package it is, too! Not only has Adobe released brand new versions of their core programs, they have created new ones which will certainly pique the interest of designers everywhere. For instance, for designers who want to design websites but who hate to code, Adobe has created a new program called Muse. Of course, the mainstay, Dreamweaver, has been upgraded to Creative Suite 6, too.
The Cloud Part of Creative Cloud
Adobe has really sweetened the pot with the cloud aspect of Creative Cloud. For those of you who have no idea what this cloud thing is all about, essentially the term “cloud” refers to remote servers. You are purchasing space on Adobe’s (incredibly fast) servers, 20 GB worth for your subscription fee, and you can store and share images, even websites, on your cloud space. You have the option of deleting old files to free up space, even restore files as long as you don’t permanently delete them. Adobe makes you jump through some hoops to permanently delete a file, so that is a good safeguard. What is really nice about the space you are allotted is that you can house up to 5 permanent websites via Business Catalyst (you still have to purchase domain names, Adobe hasn’t gotten into the domain name business), and you can build prototypes to show clients. Of course, this goes for print and video projects, too.
Adobe has separated your cloud space nicely. They have created a section for your files (which is the first screen you will see upon logging in) and another for apps and services. The apps section houses all your, you guessed it, applications to download. If you want to use an application, you will need to download it to your computer. You cannot use it on the cloud. However, you can create folders to upload your files to the cloud where you can open them with Macs, PCs, mobile devices, and tablets, depending on the software the device has. In other words, you will need to have Photoshop to open a .psd file you have stored on the cloud, for example.
After receiving my invite to access my cloud space this morning, I went exploring and was simply wowed. I’m not an Adobe employee, nor am I getting compensated for this post. Must admit, I wasn’t sure if this cloud thing was going to be all that or not. Not only did Adobe meet my expectations, they exceeded them. The video tutorials are well organized and informative, the cloud space is intuitive and nicely designed, and Adobe has plenty of information regarding the individual applications. Good thing, too, since some of them are brand new!
Creative Cloud Services
Adobe has packaged some nice services into Creative Cloud, too. I have already mentioned Creative Cloud files. This is the service where you can store and share your files for review. For someone like me who has clients who aren’t in the immediate area, this is a great service for proofing, etc. Business Catalyst, also mentioned briefly earlier, is the web hosting service Adobe provides. My favorite, however, is Typekit, which allows you access to a whole range of fonts to use on your websites. If you are familiar with @fontface, you know that you can use fonts other than the default ones which are on everyone’s computer, regardless of platform (Courier, Helvetica/Arial, Times New Roman). However, there is the issue of permission. In other words, you might be asked to remove a font, say Bodega Sans, if you are caught using it because you haven’t paid for the “privilege” of putting it on your website. With Typekit, all the fonts they have are website-ready! No extra fee required.
Touch Me, Babe
Ah, but there is always a gotcha, isn’t there? Adobe teases us with the new Adobe Touch Apps, which need to be purchased separately. Unfortunately, the Kuler program is now part of this group. Kuler is used for color theme browsing and creation. Worse still, it is only available for Android tablets as of this writing. Some of the offerings in this section are Collage, used for collages and mood boards (available for iPads and Android tablets); Ideas, vector-based sketching, for both iPad and Android tablets; Photoshop Touch (iPad and Android); and more.
So, How Much?
Adobe is offering all this for $29.95 per month for the first year of service for existing Adobe customers. In other words, if you have purchased and registered an Adobe product and they can find you in their database, you get the low introductory price. Even if you are just getting started and don’t own any Adobe products yet, the deal is still pretty sweet. You pay only $49.95 per month, which is what existing customers should expect to pay next year. Admittedly, I am probably going to get pretty spoiled with the $29.95 price tag, and will probably groan next year when it inevitably goes up.