What is the Adobe Creative Cloud? Should You Subscribe?

Is the Adobe Creative Cloud a Good Deal?

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The Adobe Creative Cloud has nearly replaced the stand-alone products that Adobe used to sell. At this point, you can still buy Adobe Photoshop Elements as a stand-alone product, but the other products that are in the creative suite are available exclusively as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.
So if you want to use a fully supported version of Photoshop, Illustrator or any of the Adobe Suite (other than Photoshop Elements) you will need to go with the Creative Cloud.

How Does Adobe Creative Cloud Work?

Surprisingly, almost the same as the old CD Rom type software. In place of getting a box and DVDs shipped to you, you will download the suite and install it as you would any other software. Adobe’s subscription software differs from another form of subscription software which is known as software as a service (SaaS). Learn about SaaS. Adobe’s suite is installed on a user's computer as compared to SaaS which is hosted on the provider's servers and accessed only online. The biggest difference is that users have the ability to share and access files online via the Creative Cloud.

Benefits of Adobe Creative Cloud

  • No Upfront Expense: Get the full suite for a monthly subscription payment. This isn't financing - you aren't purchasing the software. You are simply buying monthly access to it.
  • No Upgrade Costs: All updates and new programs are automatically available at no extra cost.
  • Access to Everything (and More): Get the full 2019 Suite, plus a number of extras. You no longer have to wait for the latest products, services, features, and workflows. They are available immediately to all subscribers. Other extras include Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe XD and more.
  • Sync, Store, and Share: Access to the Adobe cloud to sync and share data across devices. Now you can access native Adobe files (ai, psd, etc.) from your mobile devices - and share them with clients and co-workers.

What Options are Available for the Adobe Creative Cloud?

The creative cloud comes in several options to choose from depending on your needs. There are options for individuals, businesses, students, and teachers, as well as schools and universities.

Individual Options

These options are perfect for solopernuers and people who want to use the Adobe software for their own individual use. The packages available in the individual plans are:

  • Photography for $9.99 a month
  • Single App for $20.00 a month
  • All Apps (the entire Adobe Creative Suite) for $52.99 a month
  • All Apps + Adobe Stock for $82.99 a month

The Photography Option is an Excellent Buy

Many people only need Photoshop from the Adobe Suite. If that is the case for you, then check out the photography individual user option. It's an excellent buy.

Business Options

Business options are perfect when you need multiple seats in the Adobe Creative Suite. With a business plan, you can reassign licenses to new users as your business needs change, use collaborative video editing features, and get volume discounts for 10 seats or more.
The packages available in the business options are:

  • Single App for $24.99 a month per license
  • All Apps for $59.99 a month per license

Options for Students and Teachers

If you are a student or teacher you can get a significant discount on the entire Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. To qualify for a student discount you must be enrolled in university or college, primary or secondary school, or homeschool. There is specific proof of eligibility requirements for both students and teachers.

The discount for the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite for students and teachers is $19.99 a month for the first year and $29.99 a month after that.

Options for Schools and Universities

There are two different options for schools and universities. Since these institutions often have shared devices you can license the Adobe Creative Cloud by a person or by the device. Here are the options:

By named user:

  • Single App for $14.99 a month
  • All Apps for $34.99 a month

By Shared Device:

  • All Apps for $330 a year

What is Included in the Suite?

There are several categories of items included in the Creative Cloud Suite. These include design apps, web & UX apps, photography apps, and video and audio apps.

Apps Included in the Adobe Creative Suite
Design Apps Web & UX Apps Photography Apps Video & Audio Apps
Photoshop XD Photoshop Premiere Pro
Acrobat Pro Spark Photoshop Mix Character Animator
Spark Dreamweaver Lightroom Prelude
Illustrator Draw Animate Photoshop Fix Premiere Rush
Illustrator   Lightroom Classic After Effects
Dimension   Lightroom for Mobile SpeedGrade
Bridge     Story Plus
Capture     Prelude Live Logger
InDesign     Audition
InCopy     Media En

The Bottom Line on Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe has been busy upgrading its offerings and creating good value in their subscription offers in the last several years. If you only need a single app or just need Photoshop for personal use, then breaking the subscription out into a single app option is your best buy. However, if you need more three or more apps then it is a better buy to get the entire Creative Suite.
Overall, the Adobe Creative Cloud is an excellent value for the power it delivers. If you need programs like this you should consider subscribing.