Adobe Creative Cloud is a set of applications and services from Adobe Systems that gives subscribers access to a collection of software used for graphic design, video editing, web development, photography, along with a set of mobile applications and also some optional cloud services. In Creative Cloud, a monthly or annual subscription service is delivered over the Internet. Software from Creative Cloud is downloaded from the Internet, installed directly on a local computer and used as long as the subscription remains valid. Online updates and multiple languages are included in the CC subscription. Creative Cloud was initially hosted on Amazon Web Services, but a new agreement with Microsoft has the software, beginning with the 2017 version, hosted on Microsoft Azure.
Previously, Adobe offered individual products as well as software suites containing several products (such as Adobe Creative Suite or Adobe eLearning Suite) with a perpetual software license.
Adobe first announced the Creative Cloud in October 2011. Another version of Adobe Creative Suite was released the following year. On May 6, 2013, Adobe announced that they would not release new versions of the Creative Suite and that future versions of its software would be available only through the Creative Cloud. The first new versions made only for the Creative Cloud were released on June 17, 2013.
The Adobe Creative Cloud retains many of the features of Adobe Creative Suite and introduces new features; foremost is the instant availability of upgrades, saving to the cloud, and easier sharing. In June 2014, the company announced 14 new versions of the Creative Cloud essential desktop tools, four new mobile apps, and the availability of creative hardware for enterprise, education and photography customers.
Adobe offers four tiers of the Creative Cloud subscription service for individuals (there are other types for Business and Schools):
- Photography, which contains some photography-related features of Adobe Creative Cloud and access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.
- Single App, which contains all the features of Creative Cloud plus access to a single application of the user's choice in the suite out of a list of 11 selected applications.
- All Apps, the main tier of Creative Cloud that contains all the features of Creative Cloud plus access to all applications within the suite.
- All Apps + Adobe Stock, which contains all the standard features of Creative Cloud plus features for Adobe Stock.
Brief descriptions of the applications available in Adobe Creative Cloud individually or as a complete package:
- Adobe Acrobat is a software family dedicated to Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). Adobe Acrobat Standard, Adobe Acrobat Professional, and Adobe Acrobat Professional Extended all allow for the creation of PDF files. Adobe Reader is an application that allows the reading of PDF files.
- Adobe After Effects is a digital motion graphics and compositing software published by Adobe Systems. It is often used in film and video post-production.
- Adobe Animate is a vector animation software used to design interactive animations with drawing tools to publish them on multiple platforms like Adobe Flash, Adobe AIR, HTML5 canvas, WebGL. It is the successor to Adobe Flash Professional and also includes features of Adobe Edge, which is discontinued.
- Adobe Flash Builder, formerly Adobe Flex Builder, is an integrated development environment (IDE) built on the Eclipse platform meant for developing rich Internet applications (RIAs) and cross-platform desktop applications for the Adobe Flash platform.
- Adobe Scout, a profiling tool for Flash SWF files.
- Adobe Audition is a digital audio editor that provides the modern interface and workflow of Adobe Soundbooth with the capabilities of Audition.
- Adobe Bridge is an organizational program. Its primary purpose is to link the parts of the Creative Suite together using a format similar to the file browser found in previous versions of Adobe Photoshop.
- Adobe Dreamweaver is a combination code / GUI web development application.
- Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor and illustration software.
- Adobe InCopy is a word processor application.
- Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing application.
- Adobe Dimension (formerly Project Felix) is a simplified application to create and render three-dimensional images.
- Adobe Muse is a web development program that emphasizes webpage building for designers without a focus of writing code.
- Adobe Photoshop is a raster-graphics editor (with significant vector graphics functionality).
- Adobe Premiere Pro is a real-time, timeline-based video editing software application. Its related applications are:
- Adobe Media Encoder, a tool to output video files.
- Adobe Prelude, a tool for importing (ingesting), reviewing, and logging tapeless media.
- Adobe SpeedGrade, a tool for performing color corrections and developing looks for Premiere projects.
The following services are also available:
- Behance is an online social-media based portfolio service for creative professionals.
- Adobe Portfolio is an online social-media based website editor which helps creative professionals to create and manage their own personalized websites to showcase their creative work.
- Adobe Story Plus is a screenwriting and film/TV pre-production online application which integrates with the Premiere Pro family.
- Fonts from the Typekit family are available for licensing to members.
- Adobe Spark is a family of free visual storytelling tools including Adobe Spark Video, Adobe Spark Page, and Adobe Spark Post.
- Web hosting and cloud-based file hosting storage space and service.
The video disc authoring program Adobe Encore and the web-focused image editor Adobe Fireworks were both discontinued by Adobe, but are still available as downloads via Creative Cloud.
Along with these Adobe Creative Cloud also offers mobile apps on Android and iOS platform which are available for free download on their respective app markets. With Adobe CreativeSync all apps and assets are connected across desktop and mobile devices.
Brief descriptions of the mobile apps available:
- Adobe Capture CC turn an image into a color theme, pattern, unique brush. The features of different apps like Adobe Color CC, Shape CC, Brush CC and Hue CC are combined in this.
- Adobe Illustrator Draw is a vector drawing app.
- Adobe Photoshop Sketch is an expressive drawing app.
- Adobe Comp CC is a software for layout and design creation.
- Adobe Preview CC is an app for previewing mobile designs.
- Adobe Premiere Clip is a timeline based video editing software on mobile platform.
- Photography and Image editing apps
- Adobe Lightroom Mobile is an image editor that resembles Adobe Photoshop Lightroom on desktop.
- Adobe Photoshop Mix is a layer-based raster image editor.
- Adobe Photoshop Fix is a restoration and retouching software for image color correction.
The change from perpetual licenses to a subscription model was met with significant criticism. Although Adobe's cloud-based model caused disagreement and uncertainty, incited annoyance and conflict, a survey by CNET and Jefferies revealed that despite complaints, most of its 1.4 million subscribers plan to renew.
Shifting to a software as a service model, Adobe announced more frequent feature updates to its products and the eschewing of their traditional release cycles. Customers must pay a monthly subscription fee and if they stop paying, they will lose access to the software as well as the ability to open work saved in proprietary file formats.
Although investors applauded the move, many customers reacted negatively. This shift has been met with mixed reviews by both corporations and independent designers, with many people expressing their displeasure on the web and through multiple Internet petitions. Among these was a Change.org petition which reached over 30,000 signatures within a few weeks of the announcement.
Creative Cloud has been criticized for broken file syncing, one of its core features. In May 2013 Adobe announced that it was suspending the file-sync desktop preview "for the next couple of weeks". Reviewers of Creative Cloud were disappointed with the functionality of the cloud storage and were "far from convinced by Adobe's subscription model". Some users were concerned that they would be forced to upgrade their computer hardware when it is no longer supported by the current version of the Creative Cloud software.
Some of their customers experienced a loss of trust in Adobe as a company and an attendant rise in anxiety. Despite significant customer criticism over Adobe's move to subscription-only pricing, the company announced that it would not sell perpetual licenses to its software alongside the subscriptions: "We understand this is a big change, but we are so focused on the vision we shared for Creative Cloud, and we plan to focus all our new innovation on the Creative Cloud".
In May 2014 the service was interrupted for over a day due to a login outage leaving graphics professionals locked out of Creative Cloud. Adobe apologized for this global Creative Cloud failure. When initially asked whether customers would be compensated, the company's Customer Service responded: "We cannot offer compensation for the outage. I'm so sorry again for the frustration." Adobe later announced that it would review compensation on "a case by case basis". The outage was heavily criticized, as was Adobe's software as a service model in general.
Online articles began offering examples of replacements of Adobe products, with competing products directly offering alternatives, and launching promotions for dissatisfied Adobe customers. Adobe, however, claimed that Creative Cloud is its "highest customer satisfaction product in the creative space" and that even prior to Adobe's move to a pure subscription model, "more than 80 percent of customers who bought products from Adobe's Web site picked CC over CS."
Although Creative Cloud was expected to curtail the piracy of Photoshop, which is one of the most pirated pieces of software, Creative Cloud was hacked and its applications made available via unauthorized means a day after it officially launched. Adobe claimed that the subscription payment plan would make its software more accessible to users who previously pirated it.
Adobe entered into a partnership with Jostens, a yearbook publisher, in April 2015. The partnership, called Monarch, allows Jostens to provide its yearbook customers InDesign and Photoshop in a browser, with the software being updated each year.
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