Photoshop Now Subscription Only – Impact and Reactions

download

I recently stumbled onto this article entitled Picture This: Is There Life After Photoshop  by Ian Hardy, on BBC news and thought it was a great piece that touches upon an important segment of the production community. Over the past 23 years Photoshop has become a cornerstone of the graphic design world. Some estimate that nine out of ten images have been touched up by the software. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Adobe’s recent announcement of Photoshop becoming subscription only has ruffled more than few feathers. In June, all boxed versions were pulled from retail outlets and the online store became the only access for consumers.

Adverse Reactions

Among those that protest such a move, people feel that Adobe is trying to squeeze their customers and get even more money out of dedicated users. Critics argue that Creative Cloud, the cloud based platform for Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere is an ultimately unfair program to the consumer. Their primary concern is that users don’t own the software, they are merely renting it while they subscribe to the service.  Users lose all access, along with any work saved on the cloud, if they stop paying the subscription. Some skeptics have a more tempered outlook on the matter, saying there are some things you can’t really fight. If you want to keep using Photoshop, you simply have to suck it up and pay.

Finding Alternative Software

While larger studios will most likely continue to use Photoshop and the Cloud, the choice for small businesses and freelancers is not as clear cut. A monthly subscription can add up quickly, compared to paying once for a traditional boxed product. Fortunately, there has been a steady proliferation of new photo manipulation software, some of which costs less than one month of the Adobe subscription. Some of these include affordable and stable products like Fotor which can be downloaded for free, and Pixelmator which can downloaded for $14.99. While neither of these were much competition to Adobe in the past, the recent Photoshop announcement has spurred an increased interest in both, as well as other cheaper alternatives to Photoshop.

Filling A Niche

According to Patricia Tietgens, the spokesperson for Fotor, their goal is not to really challenge Photoshop’s place in the market, but to make things easier for small business. While both Fotor and Pixelmator are not the powerhouse that Photoshop has become, they offer a degree of simplicity that makes them viable alternatives. A prime example is a software called “Perfectly Clear” that promises to perform several auto correct’s on a photo with a single click. As the founder Brad Malcom explains, this software is very much meant to a better answer to Photoshop’s own auto correct feature which can actually damage photos. The goal of these new software solutions is to provide a way for digital graphics professionals that are simple to use and easy in the budget in the long run.




Software Upgrade – Adobe Acrobat XI: Product Review

It works, finally!

When Acrobat Pro X was released, we bought it without a second thought. Acrobat Pro 9 was such a nice improvement over Pro 8 we thought X would bring even further refinement of Acrobat Pro’s features, and hoped that the accessibility components, in particular, would be improved. We were disappointed on both fronts.

On the accessibility side, Acrobat Pro X arrived fundamentally broken and couldn’t be used effectively.

Acrobat X Pro

Features the art department needs (basically, an easy way to re-save a PDF so that clients can use Adobe Reader’s commenting features) were moved from the now-removed Advanced menu into the File menu and buried into a sub-submenu, turning what was once a simple task into something onerous. And to add insult to injury, viewing a comment list became even slower and checkbox filtering just didn’t work. We banished this defective software from our hard drives and went back to using Acrobat Pro 9.

The Bad News

Enter Acrobat Pro XI. Given how unfortunate Pro X’s release was, we were at once skeptical, but hopeful, that Adobe had fixed it. Our skepticism was not helped by the fact that Adobe insists users allow them and various unnamed companies with whom they say they work to send us commercial emails as a condition of downloading the trial version. Basically, that means if we end up buying the software, we’ve paid Adobe to spam us. Cute

The Good News

Once we resigned ourselves to the idea that we are going to have to re-train our junk mail filters to weed out all those additional emails we won’t want, we got down to the business of evaluating the software. Which was in fact pretty good.

Accessibility is its own complicated topic, and requires more space than we can give it here. Pro XI looks like it has some editing features that will make it less painful to make simple corrections to a file, something the accessibility people here are often faced with, as clients often ask for small changes before we tag their PDFs.

XI-Standard in Box

But we were thrilled to learn that the production-flow features the art department uses have been revisited and fixed, and now work great. While the Enable Commenting feature is still buried two levels deep in the File menu, Adobe has provided a convenient way to access it via a custom toolbar icon we were able to find pretty easily. It’s now slightly easier to save out a comment-enabled PDF than it was in Acrobat Pro 9.

Acrobat XI is here!

We also like the comment list layout—introduced in Pro X—to the side rather than on the bottom. On a Cinema Display monitor, this layout approach makes a lot of sense and it’s much easier to navigate down the list and make corrections to a document now. Nice that checkbox filtering works with this release, too.

Pulling the Trigger

Still, is it worth the price of an upgrade? If we’re talking about a print-production workflow, probably not. It’s nice and all, but Acrobat Pro 9 still does everything the art department needs it to do, although the comment list layout tempts us. But since Adobe increased its upgrade pricing by fifty dollars to $199 a couple of years back, the whole upgrade carousel thing gives us pause. (We’re also not too enamored with the so-called Creative Cloud subscription software scheme Adobe would love us to adopt, but that’s another article altogether.)

Upgrade or fall behind (silly meme)

To tip the scale in favor of the upgrade, our accessibility people will have to let us know what they think of the software. But given the new PDF editing features, my guess is we’ll be upgrading soon.

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter if you liked this article, we will be providing an in dept section 508 accessibility review of Acrobat XI in the near future!




Graphic Design Tech – Adobe Creative Cloud

In today’s digital world people want easy access to everything. Do you need to look at your bank statement? Load an app on your smartphone. Order a pizza? Log onto Domino’s and order away.

Going with that trend, Adobe has decided to add new capabilities to their entire Creative Suite for collaboration and distribution on the “cloud.” By paying a subscription based fee, one can work on projects in Creative Suite from multiple machines with the CS software installed. The idea that you can access your creative & design work from anywhere and at any time is a very intriguing prospect, especially for our graphic design department.

Graphic design tools go to the cloud!

Instant Collaboration

Creative Cloud for example would allow a graphic designer in Alaska to collaborate with their client across the globe at any time of day and on any computer they wish to access it from as long as the necessary software is installed. Or if you’re on the road traveling and only have access to edit your web design project for 30 or 40 minutes a night then you can easily log-in with your laptop work on it a bit, save it for later, and instantly send it back to the office for review.

Adobe has done it again.

Data Asset Security

Another positive aspect of putting everything on the cloud the risk of losing data is signifigantly minimized. If you have Adobe’s Creative Suite installed locally and it wasn’t backed up properly or if something haywire happened with your systems or hard drives then you could potentially lose a lot of
very important data.

Stay safe and secure in the cloud!
Putting your work on the cloud eliminates the risk of loosing your work in the event of a computer crash. If your computer won’t boot up then you can always use another machine and instantly access the cloud based creative design project you had been working on.

Cloudy Forecast

Clouds on the Horizon

The ease of use and accessibility cloud services gives the end user is amazing but I think what attracts people the most to the cloud phenomenon is the freedom it gives you. The very fact that a video editor or web designer could collaborate on a project anywhere and at any time is enough to attract customers
to cloud based subscription services like Creative Cloud.




Final Cut X vs. Adobe Premier: What is the future?

Here at Word Wizards, some of us are passionately involved in a silent love affair with Apple products and software. The mac users among us have grown to rely on the unparalleled speed and incorruptibility of Apple based desktops and cinematic size monitors. I personally prefer to do my work on my MacBook Pro, which is synced and linked to all of my professional agendas, activities, contacts and projects. For streamlined, cross-platform integration, Apple is clearly the champ for pros and average Joes alike.

Apple has a unique way of providing software products that are easy to use for the novice and yet loaded with powerful tools for the professional user. Here at Word Wizards, we have been utilizing the advanced features of the Final Cut Pro video editing software for a long time. Using the previous version, Final Cut Pro 7, we even pioneered a completely new service for our customers called Video Logging Interactive (VLI). Using our proprietary VLI method, we log b-roll, add metadata, and sync our transcripts to the video; then we create a compressed QuickTime file of the media, which can be easily shared between members of the production team for instant access, anywhere, anytime. We once relied on Final Cut Pro 7 for this and other professional services, but then came Final Cut Pro X

The software engineers at Apple made a game changing decision when they developed the new version of Final Cut Pro that was released earlier this year. We here hold no criticism of the choice they made. However, it has impacted a significant number of small and large video production firms who were looking to FCP X as the future. The choice was to aim the new version of FCP to be more consumer oriented, abandoning some key features like Final Cut Server, and failing to upgrade the supported file types to reflect formats professionals are using (like P2 and proxy files). The bottom line is that the future of Final Cut looks to be more focused on consumers, as reflected by a recent TIVA meeting Word Wizards attended, at which the topic of FCP X for professional use was discussed at length. Our old copy of Final Cut Pro 7 still works like a dream, but soon it will no longer be “supported” by Apple as they gear up FCP X.

So what is a small transcription, logging, design, and 508 compliance company to do in the face of such ground-shaking industry changes?

Enter Adobe Premier! Already, our design team relies heavily on Adobe CS products for creative design projects. We have over 20 years of experience working with Adobe products, from Acrobat to Dreamweaver and beyond. The latest version of Adobe’s masterpiece of software tools, Creative Suite 5.5, does not disappoint. The Software engineers at Adobe are fully aware of the shortcomings of FCP X, so much so that they are offering a 50% discount for a limited time on Adobe Premier for those who switch from FCP. They even have a page dedicated to highlighting the benefits of choosing the newly upgraded Adobe Premier over the downgraded FCP X (Click here to visit that page).

Word Wizards, Inc will continue to provide our industry leading services using our tried and true methods. However, as the world grows and changes to reflect new innovation and technology, so must the business that want to stay relevant look towards the future. The future looks bright with Adobe Premier, and at half the normal price, it doesn’t hurt to gain a whole new set of tools to do our trade.

So who wins the FCP X vs. Adobe Premier 5.5 battle? I guess it depends on your point of view. Here at Word Wizards, Inc. we’re staying ahead of the curve and not taking any chances!