MacDirectory Magazine

Adobe Creative Suite

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Page 103 of 115

FEATURE REVIEW ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUD >GIVING A LIFT TO INDEPENDENTS WORDS BY RIC GETTER The single most important aspect of Adobe's newest Creative Suite is that you don't have to buy it. In fact, many users will be far better off if they don't. Though "renting" Adobe applications first appeared in CS5.5, it proved to be just a test run for what was yet to come. Though the new Creati ve Cloud is still essentially a rent-an-app program, Adobe has added several layers of features and a significant price cut to make it far more appealing. It packages a variety of Cloud-integrated products and services as well as the promise that there's even more to come. First, let's look at the numbers. Based on a one-year subscription commitment, Master Col lection CS5.5 was priced at $129 per month. Most of Adobe's point products were available à la carte for just under $20 each. It was somewhat steep, but it let a lot of smaller shops get in the game without a lot of cash down. If you just needed to add a few seats to handle a short- term crunch, you could select a somewhat pricier month-to-month model. With CS6, Adobe simplifies the menu and slashes the price. Master Col a creative all-you-can-consume buffet for $49.99 per month. Download all the products you need and your system only has to phone home to Adobe once per month to make sure you've paid your bill. If Adobe had just stopped here, it would be a very decent deal. But it's packaged in several of its Cloud-based applications and services with several more waiting in the wings. Adobe also has a growing stable of Touch apps for the iPad (sold separately but at reasonable prices) that keep you creatively connected to the cloud when you're on the go. Adobe also has a tendency to introduce new features in point updates at roughly 12- to 18-month intervals. These too are rolled into the Creative Cloud's silver lining. After living in fiscal apartheid, Li ghtroom 4 will soon join the Creative Suite for Cloud subscribers. Adobe Edge, Adobe's animation tool for HTML5/CSS3 (in other words, Flash-free animation and transitions) will be departing Adobe Labs and floating up to the Creative Cloud. Gateway to the Cloud Signing up for the Creative Cloud brings time or patience to master Dreamweaver and Flash. Muse has an interface that will be very familiar to I t. nDesignusers. You build master pages, flow text, and choose the exact fonts you need from the expansive and well- cataloged collection from TypeKi lection CS6is served up as you to its web portal. Your first stop will be the Apps section, the virtual candy store where you can start downloading applications. An enhanced version of the Adobe Appl ication Mangerhandles the downloading and licensing. Like the one- time purchase products, you can install and activate the CS6 applications on two machines, as long as you're only using one at a time. It's a simple process to move activations and that can even be done post mortem (online) in the event of a wiped-out computer or hard drive. The Cloud subscription included 20GB of online storage, accessed through the Files section of the site. The page accepts drag- and-drop file uploads from your Desktop. You can create folders and subfolders here, managing files with a fairly simple point- and-click interface. The Cloud is notably bandwidth-friendly. File transfers run in the background and can give other operations priority. You can share files with your workgroup, granting editing and commenting permissions on a per-user basis. Though not really true group-ware at this point, it has some interesting potential. Web Design 101 Adobe's Museand Busi ness Catalyst, tools only available through subscription, are pathways to the web for those without the Inspiration does not always come at a convenient time. Creative Cloud ties in with Adobe's line of Touch apps for tablets. They not only let you sketch out a new idea when and where it hits you, you can pull in files from a project in progress, add to what's there and it can be instantly available everywhere. It makes it easy to bring your work in progress along on client house calls. Business Catalyst, an application that lets you build and manage dynamic and secure business and commerce sites, includes hosting for up to five different sites through Adobe (more can be added). Domain-less sandbox sites are hosted for free so your clients can monitor a work in progress. They don't count as a hosted site until you attach a registered domain name. "The Cloud," in the sense that the word is being bandied about by pundits and marketing people everywhere, is not the be-all, end-all of solutions. But it is becoming an integral part of the future of computing. For creative independents, Adobe's Creative Cloud revolutionizes the cost of entry while offering up a collection of best-of-breed tools. And there's more on the horizon… Product > Creative Cloud Made by > Price > Adobe Systems ( $49/month (based on a 1 year subscription), upgrade specials for current CS users available for a limited time System requirements > Mac OSX 10.6 or 10.7 and a Internet connection Pros > Cons > Rating > Complete access to the Master Collection and more; Useful online storage, services and tools Somewhat limited workgroup capabilities 102 MacDirectory

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