If you’re a creative professional, you will have asked yourself the question – is Adobe Creative Cloud worth it? It seems expensive, so is Adobe fairly charging for its software?
Adobe has for many years led the creative software conversation, and deservedly so. Applications like Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects are used by individuals, businesses and professionals every day all over the world to develop anything from flyers to movie posters to the movies themselves.
Much like any consumer software, once upon a time you just bought it up front and owned it forever. Now, Adobe no longer sells any of its software as one-off, permanent purchases. Instead, all its products are available as a subscription service called Adobe Creative Cloud.
What is Adobe Creative Cloud?
Adobe Creative Cloud (or Adobe CC for short) is the company’s catch-all name for all its software products. There are a lot of them:
Video & Audio
Web & UX
Each app performs different functions, and some are cross-discipline: for example, Photoshop is used by designers, photographers and Web & UX professionals but an app like After Effects is only needed by Video & Audio pros.
It means that if you only work in one area of the creative industry you won’t necessarily use all of the above apps that are all included in Abode CC’s full app package.
How much is Adobe Creative Cloud?
The thing is, Adobe makes it difficult to justify paying for individual apps because of its pricing.
Adobe Creative Cloud’s all apps package can be purchased three ways:
AU$76.99 per month (annual plan, paid monthly)
AU $871.07 per year (annual plan, prepaid)
AU$114.99 per month (paid monthly)
Adobe clearly wants up you to sign up for at least a year, whether that’s split over 12 months or paid up front. The pay as you go monthly cost is much more, though does mean you can cancel at any time.
For comparison, the costs of Photoshop on its own are:
AU$29.99 per month (annual plan, paid monthly)
AU$343.07 per year (annual plan, prepaid)
AU$45.99 per month (paid monthly)
The costs for Illustrator are the same. So, if you need Photoshop and Illustrator for your work, you’d be paying AU$686.14 per year, which is only AU$184.93 less than the annual cost of getting every single CC app.
Even if you don’t need them all, Adobe prices its apps in a way that makes it more cost effective to simply pay for them all.
The benefits of Adobe Creative Cloud
While it is frustrating to some that you can’t buy Adobe software outright any longer, it means you’ll get continuous software updates that improve the products over time. Adobe is trying to get users used to the fact its products evolve – many Photoshop users gets so used to the older software that they find it hard to adjust to the new ones. By moving to a subscription model, Adobe is trying to ween people off the idea that software should not evolve.
That said, it still offers Lightroom Classic as an app in its photography package for this very audience.
The value question
Asking whether Adobe CC is worth it is a different question to wondering whether you should pay for something like Microsoft Word instead of using Google Docs. Adobe Creative Cloud is a full suite of professional-level creative tools used worldwide, with services that simply aren’t given away for free anywhere else. If you need to use such software, you’re pretty much going to have to pay up or use a much inferior product.
Considering the monthly cost, we’d hope that most creative professionals would be able to earn back the spend easily in a day’s work as a freelancer. The extra functionality afforded by committing to paying for CC (cross-device syncing, cloud storage, continuous improvements via software updates) is frankly worth it compared to using CC’s cheaper alternatives – which are usually free for a reason. They simply aren’t as good and come with fewer features.
Of course, if you use video editing software like Final Cut Pro on Mac then you might prefer to pay for that over Adobe’s Premiere Pro – sometimes the decision will be what you are comfortable using rather than what the best price is.
But if you know you need at least two or three CC apps for your work, then Adobe Creative Cloud is worth it.
The best Adobe Creative Cloud deal
If you are a casual photographer, the best standalone CC deal by far is for Photoshop and Lightroom together with 20GB cloud storage. You can download the apps for your desktop and iPad and have access to your work from anywhere.
The cost of the bundle is:
AU$14.29 per month (annual plan, paid monthly)
AU$171.41 per year (annual plan, prepaid)
It gets you Photoshop, Lightroom and even the desktop-focused Lightroom Classic if you’ve been using the software for years and don’t want to switch to the new design. It’s a huge saving to paying for Photoshop or Lightroom on their own and is a much better deal than paying for all of CC if you’re only going to use these two apps. This can’t be said for most of Adobe’s software when purchased separately.
If you need more storage, there’s a 1TB option for more that is still good value.
Otherwise, the AU$76.99 per month annual cost of the entire Adobe CC suite is worth considering if you need two or three of Adobe’s apps, as the cost of subscribing to them individually will soon add up to around that amount.