Creative Cloud

Adobe’s Software Development Teams Need To Get a Clue.

adobeYesterday I finally broke down and installed all of the software upgrades that Adobe’s Creative Cloud had been pushing on me since they were announced at Adobe Max. While the process of running the upgrades wasn’t painful (at first) it was time-consuming (and still is). So let’s get to this. If you haven’t upgraded yet, be prepared to spend a boat load of time being involved with this process. Not because the initial upgrade will eat your day, but because the aftermath will. Why? because the Adobe software engineering team failed to take into account that an upgrade involves more than just their base software. It involves all the third-party plugins, presets scripts, and additional add-ons that most of use to extend Adobe’s software and make it more functional.

The new upgrade installs completely new versions of the Creative Cloud suite. That’s right it doesn’t actually upgrade your existing software base, it installs a brand new version of each piece of software you use. Adobe, this is an engineering fail and let me explain why. By installing a new version of the software as opposed to overwriting the existing software you force me to spend hours downloading and reinstalling hundreds of third-party add-ons across 14 applications that were upgraded in a single move. Now I know I am probably an exception to the rule since I use more than the average Joe when it comes to your software suite, but even for people only using, let’s say Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, this sucks. For instance, I have to now download and reinstall just for Photoshop the Nik plugin pack, Topaz Denoise, Natural HDR, Luminosity mask scripts, all of the actions I had created for previous versions, and a handful of other plugins and scripts. For After Effects it’s even worse I have to download and reinstall the entire Red Giant suite, (Particular, Light Factory, Composite Wizard, Holomatrix, Warp, Text Anarchy, Plane Space, Lux, Shine, Starglow, 3D Stroke, Sound Keys, Mir, Tow, Form, Looks, Colorista, Primatte, and about 8 more), not to mention scripts like Ease and Wizz and about 10 others.

This is a giant time suck, and time is money.

Adobe is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to creative software. If you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, filmmaker, typographer, sound designer, videographer, or artist you probably use at least one Adobe product if not components from the entire suite, and you are probably using Adobe’s Creative Cloud to stay current. Like many of you, I have a love-hate relationship with the Creative Cloud. I love that it keeps me up to date. I hate that every time there is a major upgrade I have to go through this bullshit. I get that Adobe moved to the Creative Cloud set up to combat software piracy, and control versioning across a large distribution base. What I don’t get is why after 3 or 4 years of pushing everyone to use the Creative Cloud, no one at Adobe has figured out that their upgrade process truly sucks. It’s broken. The user experience after making the upgrade is pure crap. It’s a gigantic time suck, and it could be avoided. The thing is, when you are the only game in town, you don’t have to make things right for your customer base

The thing is, when you are the only game in town, you don’t have to make things right for your customer base. You just keep doing what you are doing, because the chances of being dethroned after 30 years is pretty small. Adobe if you are listening, and I doubt you are, I am going to spend the better part of a day completing the upgrade to CC 2017, because your software engineering team didn’t feel that it was important enough to create an actual “Upgrade” as opposed to a complete new install. A new install that left legacy versions of 10 applications sitting on my hard drive wasting space, and is forcing me to track down essential tools I need to complete my workflow and reinstall them.

I know there are alternative tool sets available, but like so many I have bought into the Adobe workflow, and have spent decades learning to use these tools to master my craft. For lack of a better term, Adobe has me by the balls, and they know I am too invested to give them up. Consequently, it feels as though they have stopped giving a damn about the total user experience which involves maintenance like upgrades, but hey they added some new features to Photoshop I’ll probably never use.

I wonder if I can send them a bill for the time I’ll spend installing everything else I need to make the current updates fully functional with my workflow?

 

UPDATE: Like pouring salt in an open wound, if you are a Mac user, all of the applications in your Dock no longer work so you get to spend additional time removing all of them and adding the new application updates back in.

dock

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Moving Photoshop Design Features to the Cloud.

A little over a year ago at the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles Adobe announced their new Creative Cloud service to the world. At the time it really seemed like another cloud based storage solution, but as it has rolled out Adobe’s Creative Cloud has begun to show what it is really about. Creative Cloud is Adobe’s vehicle to move all of us to a subscription based model for software.

On December 5th at 12:00 Central Standard Time, Adobe will host a live streaming event where Jeffrey Veen, the Vice President of Products at Adobe, will demo new Photoshop features that will be available to Creative Cloud members only. This is not a new strategy. Adobe has already done this with other core products (Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Acrobat) where there hav been Creative Cloud only upgrades.

The Creative Now Live event will showcase the upcoming team version of Creative Cloud, and a how to “explore ways to take your design skills from print to online and mobile.” This will be followed by presentations by Photoshop master Scott Kelby talking about hidden gems in Photoshop CS6, and Justin Weyers talking about “A Liars Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman”.

So why should you watch the event and what does it mean to you the Adobe software user? You should watch because this event shows Adobe’s plan to move its user base to a subscription model.  A model that provides access to an extended range of creative tools for a flat monthly rate. This effects you the designer, because in the long term you will probably lease your software from Adobe.

If you are still on the fence about Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can still get a special upgrade price to join. It’s 30 bucks a month which will cost you 360.00 a year.

Working Adobe Muse

Yesterday afternoon I was given an assignment to build a micro-site, on a very tight deadline and budget. Now I want to point out I am Not a coder/developer. I can hack my way around with some light HTML and CSS stuff but I am not the guy you want to sit down and start writing from code scratch. Especially if it involves advanced HTML5 and CSS tricks paired up with Java.

So in order to get the initial site design hammered out with the correct flow, look and feel, and user experience, I turned to Adobe Muse which I haven’t touched since it was in beta on Adobe Labs. I have to say, while not perfect, it does a solid job of letting me plan and execute this small 11 page site. The application is pretty much drop dead simple, and allows you to create all sorts of things like modal windows with video embedded in it.

Now before any hardcore code junkies fire up the comment wagon and send a bunch of comments slamming Muse, remember this application was not built for developers. It was built for designers that need to rapid prototype a web design for functionality and user flow. And hopefully Muse will be a catalyst for designers wanting to learn more about HTML, CSS, and Java. For a couple of quick reviews of the software, click here or here. For a more in depth overview of what Muse does, and to see how it is different from things like Dreamweaver watch the video below.