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The Basics of Adobe’s Creative Cloud

At the beginning of May 2013, Adobe announced that there will be no more new versions of the company's Creative Suite desktop software. The new offering will be Creative Cloud, a cloud platform available to users on a subscription basis. Here is what Web designers and marketers need to know about the move from CS 6 to Creative Cloud.

Pricing - One of the main concerns for many users of Adobe software on hearing this news was pricing - after all, instead of a one-off licensing fee, Creative Cloud is paid by monthly subscription. As it is, while a one-off CS retail licence was likely to cost in the thousands of dollars, the all-access subscription for Creative Cloud is $49.99/ month - approximately $600/ year. Teams of 4 to 10 members will be able to get full access at $39.99/ member per month.

This gets significantly cheaper for people already owning anything from CS3 onward, who will only be paying $29.99/ month. Teacher and student editions are available at $19.99/ month. Users only wishing to access Illustrator or Photoshop can take advantage of the single application subscription option at $19.99/ month, and those not wishing to commit for a year, monthly access is available at $74.99, complete with the ability to cancel as and when required. Users signing up before July 31 will get subscriptions at the discounted rates of $19.99 for full access and $9.99 for single application.

Usability - Creative Cloud will not run from browsers, but still runs from users' hard drives - software is still downloaded. Internet connection is therefore only required for download/ installation and licensing. Users will also be required to log in to verify their licence every 30 days, although it will be possible to use the software for up to 99 days before verification is necessary.

Coming complete with Photoshop Touch and other mobile apps, Creative Cloud syncs all files, settings, colours, fonts, and so on online. It has a central dashboard from which users can manage sync their work. Collaboration with other users and sharing files with non-CC users is possible, and online storage of 20 GB is provided. If a user decides to cancel their subscription, they will retain access to all of their files, but storage will be reduced to 2 GB.

New Features - Adobe CC includes several new features, including a Smart Sharpen tool in Photoshop CC; increased options for the Type Tool in Illustrator CC and a fluid grid lay-out, improved visual editor and more in Dreamweaver CC. Full access subscriptions will also include Muse, a new Website creator/ publisher, and membership to Behance.

If in doubt, try it out - Creative Cloud is available for a free 30 day trial. Additional questions are answered by Adobe's extensive Creative Cloud FAQ.

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