InDesign

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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Studio B for Adobe’s CS6 Suite.

Studio B has created a really amazing stinger to promote Adobe’s latest release of their creative suite. The visuals used were created by various artist Adobe hired to create imagery with the suite of tools. Imagery that represents Adobe’s paradigm shift for their whole creative suite line and the re-thinking of the creative process that Adobe has engaged in.

What I really like about this piece is the fact that its not a “tools demo”. Instead it represents the beautiful artwork created by the artist Adobe commissioned, and highlights what can be created with their tools.

Adobe CS6 Stinger Video / Animation 3:1 ratio from Studio B Films on Vimeo.

producer: Jane Selle Morgan
creative director: Aaron Barry
motion designers: Devin Earthman, Michael Rigley
music: Johnny Random

FontShop Plugins For Photoshop and now Illustrator.

As every graphic designer knows, fonts are expensive, and needed in quantity to do good work. Owning a vast library of fonts can be extremely expensive, but required in order to show your clients a variety of type stylings before taking a design concept to its final stages. Thankfully plugins for Creative Suite applications are starting to make it possible to browse and preview fonts from vendors directly within layouts without purchasing them first. This is huge for designers on tight budgets or not in a position to layout thousands of dollars on complete type libraries.

One of them, the FontShop plugin, which seems to have been stuck in a beta mode for a lifetime now, has now been extended to Mac and Windows Illustrator CS3-CS6.If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot. I have been using it with Photoshop since CS4, and it has been a lifesaver when dealing with needy clients that can’t make up their mind on a specific look for a project. Now I wish they would add InDesign, After Effects, and Premier support as well.

The Story Behind Adobe’s CS6 Desktop Brand System

I haven’t upgraded to Adobe Creative Suite CS6 yet. I simply can’t afford it right now, and I’ve only been using CS5.5 for about 9 months. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been following the changes, upgrades, and new features at the Adobe site though. Today, while I was perusing the Adobe blog, I came across a really interesting article talking about the number of branded assets that now go into the entire creative suite. These assets comprise everything from application icons, to packaging, and splash screens. Much to my surprise, I found out there are now 5000 shared branded assets. That’s right 5000, and it takes a year to produce all of them.

With software refresh cycles happening every 12 to 18 months, you can bet money that the marketing design team for Adobe is well underway with the branding redesign for CS7. The entire article is on the Adobe Blog and well worth the read if you are a designer, or simply use any of these tools.

“It takes well over a year to design, execute, deliver, and ensure the proper implementation of the roughly 5,000 or so assets it takes to get a CS release out the door (we’re already thinking about CS7). Along the away, there are innumerable institutional, technological, and political hurdles to overcome. It can be daunting, but we do everything we can to get it made with as few design compromises as possible.”

Adobe Introduces Software Rentals “With Pay As You Go”.

Yesterday Adobe announced an upgrade to its acclaimed Creative Suite. While there were a bunch of things in the software that would get any creative pro excited, the biggest buzz generator for me was Adobe’s announcement to lease, or rent software licenses.

This is the first step that a software giant has taken to help offset my cost of working with their tools. Right now Adobe is offering Adobe Photoshop for $35/month, the Design Premium suite for $95/month, or the Master Collection for $129/month (for a year. It’s $195.00 on a month to month basis). While this pricing structure might sound a bit steep, think about the annual cost of renting the Master Collection versus Buying the upgrade. The cost of renting the Master Collection is $1548.00 a year. If you are a creative professional, that cost is offset as an operating expense, and can be either be deducted from your taxes, or passed on to your client.

While I am excited about the idea of renting software as opposed to buying it, I wish Adobe gave me the option to pay as I play. I own the Master Collection, but there are certain components I hardly ever use. Take InDesign, I fire it up about twice a month. Instead of renting the entire suite for $129.00 a month, it would be better if I could rent it at a lower price, and then pay extra for the software components I use occasionally like InDesign. Something like $80.00 a month for the Suite, and $5.00 extra when I fire up InDesign. (just a thought Adobe in case you are reading this)

As for the cost of renting, while that $1548.00 a year sounds steep, Adobe announced that they are moving to a 12 month release cycle on software. The upgrade cost for the Master Collection is between $549.00 and $1399.00 depending on what software you are upgrading from. The majority of the upgrade prices are $1399.00. Right now this is less expensive than renting for a year, but your purchase is a one time cost deduction, compared with a monthly operating expense. You might want to consult with your accountant on how much you can deduct, but I’m thinking in the long run renting is the better deal. And if you pass the cost of renting on to your clients, there is the possibility that your rental cost zeros out. if you work 8 jobs a month, the rental cost passed on to your clients is $16.12 per client a month, a charge most client will be willing to swallow. Think of it as materials and supplies, which is something you haven’t been able to do with software before.

As the new rental program moves forward, I’m sure the pricing structure will change. Hopefully the cost will come down as more people opt in for renting instead of buying. And hopefully Adobe will let you rent as you need to, rather than renting for a whole year. I really like the idea of being able to rent a software license when I need it, rather than locking into renting it for a predetermined block of time.

Adobe Max, Day One.

I am in Los Angeles for the Adobe MAX conference for the next three days. Most of my posts from now until Wednesday, will probably focus on the conference. This is great for people that use Adobe software, and designers. Probably not so great for those that don’t. Sorry this is part of my job, so I am blogging about the conference.

First up this morning is the keynote session featuring Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch talking about the convergence of screens used to distribute content, how we create it, and how we interact with it. Should be interesting, with loads of live demos, and insights.