Should I upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud?

I am a regular Adobe user, both as a hobbyist and, if I had a job right now, professionally. I tend to use Photoshop a lot, After Effects a fair amount, and Premiere and Encore occasionally.

I bought version CS3 back in 2007, and had planned to upgrade to CS6 a couple of years ago but suddenly lost my job so had to put that on hold. Then Adobe changed everything and now only offer monthly ongoing fees for the latest versions, called Creative Cloud, or CC.

It costs me AU$30 per month for the first year, as an existing member, then it increases to the regular price of $40, and presumably it will go up in price every couple of years after that. That seems perfectly reasonable, as I would get access to almost every piece of software Adobe puts out, which is everything I currently have and about five more apps on top of that.

But is it really as good a deal as it appears? Should I spend even so small a portion of what little money I have if I will only use the apps occasionally, and if CS3 is still 80% of all I really need?

Does anyone have any experience of dealing with Adobe CC, and any negatives I should look out for?

Unfortunately, I am opposed to perpetual software licensing, so I will not have any experience in the area. But I can offer what I think:

I’d say it only makes financial sense for someone who was buying either every update or every other update. Or, if you only plan on using it for a limited time. Of course, you haven’t mentioned whether there are any killer features you need that you can’t get elsewhere. That would change the calculation.

The prices look cheaper, but they really are about the same over the long haul, at most being half the price. But Adobe’s products have always been significantly overpriced, in my opinion, and the CC doesn’t really change that, even at around half the price. And I’m pretty sure the lower price was just to get everyone on board, and will not be permanent.

If you are an institution that actually uses all the products on a regular basis, it’s probably not going to change much. But Adobe’s pricing is still crap for the individual. You’re still talking AU$480 a year here. That’s around $960 for each version, which tended to last about 2 years.

I’d feel a lot better about it if they made read/print/export-only versions of the apps available for free.

Right now, the problem is that unless you’re really careful (and they fix the bugs in previous-version export), any document, image, or media you produce in their CC apps can’t be used in the future without paying them money. It’s not what I have to pay this month that’s the problem, it’s that in order to keep using those materials (even if I’m no longer creating anything), I have to keep paying forever.

So even though I’ve got the CC editions, I do most of my work in earlier versions so that I don’t lose control of my own products.

Yes, but the Master Suite, which is what CC replaces, was close to $3000 per copy for the old versions.

And that’s US money. They overcharged Australians up to twice as much. When I bought Creative Suite Production Premium in 2007 it cost me over AU$4000, and that was only 5 pieces of software, I think. That’s all I used, anyway.

I do desperately want a few new features in After Effects. The rest I can live without. But I think I’ll wait until I have an income again, or maybe look into upgrading just AE.

Another option is to buy a few plugins from here.

IMHO, don’t “upgrade” unless your circumstances force you to. I’m a designer/photographer guy that uses CS everyday – and hope I never have to move to the cloud version. I view many of the Adobe apps (PShop, InD, Illust) as mature products – the changes added to each new version aren’t meaningful for most users – and Adobe sees their “rental” strategy as their only chance to keep their stock price up.

As someone mentioned above, you have to pay forever to be able to alter anything you create in one of the new versions. Christ.

I seriously hope some companies can offer me a non-rental Mac app for doing serious page design, CMYK retouching, and vector art with CMYK and spot colors. And hopefully not charge $700 apiece. I haven’t explored all the options yet – I’m still holding onto CS – but the day will come.

A point of clarification about backwards compatibility:
[li]Photoshop files are almost always backwards compatible.[/li][li]Illustrator files let you save to older versions.[/li][li]InDesign can export IDML files that older versions can use.[/li][/ul]

I’m now thinking the only thing I really want is Mocha tracking software, which comes with the latest After Effects. But I can buy that separately, and it works with my version, so that would make more sense.