Can a $10,000-a-year Adobe Creative Cloud bill be replaced by perpetual license software?

May 5, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Can a $10,000-a-year Adobe Creative Cloud bill be replaced by perpetual license software?

May 5, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of applications is ubiquitous amongst the photography and video industries. For many of us, it’s a simple $10/mo (or whatever the equivalent is where you live) for the photography package containing just Lightroom and Photoshop. But for companies like the Linus Media Group, that subscription bill can cost $10,000 a year or more.

It’s a lot of money, compared to buying software that offers a perpetual license. And some of us, have found alternatives that fit into our workflows beautifully. But what about the team behind Linus Tech Tips? In this video, they explore some of the alternatives to the Adobe Creative Cloud software they use on a daily basis, although I think it’s going to be a cold day in hell before they’ll ever pull Taran away from Premiere Pro.

There are a lot of alternatives out there now for Adobe software. Software that still offers a perpetual non-subscription license. For video editing, you’ve got DaVinci Resolve, Vegas, Final Cut Pro X and plenty more besides that hold up extremely well against Premiere Pro and even beat it in many aspects. Same goes for After Effects, with Nuke and Fusion. And there are a lot of alternatives out there for Audition. Even for things like Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator you’ve got alternatives like Affinity Photo, Capture One and Affinity Designer.

So why do so many companies stick with Adobe, when it may ultimately cost them a lot more money with a lifetime subscription model, especially when each new version seems to come with a whole host of new bugs?

For some, it’s simply what they’re used to. For others, it’s the whole integrated ecosystem with the dynamic link that lets all of the applications communicate with each other and live-embed each other’s files into your projects. Perhaps the cost to train your team in new software to get them up to speed exceeds the savings benefit of switching. For LTT… well,  you’ll have to watch the video and find out.

Personally, I’ve managed to find suitable alternatives with perpetual licenses for Adobe’s applications in much of my workflow in my own work. Although, I don’t think I’ll be ditching Photoshop any time soon. And I still have to use Adobe’s software when working with some clients. It seems that whether I want Adobe there or not, they’re embedded into so many workflows that it will continue to be a part of my life for the foreseeable future.

How about you? Have you stuck with the Adobe subscription model? Or have you replaced Adobe’s software in your workflow? What do you use instead?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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15 responses to “Can a $10,000-a-year Adobe Creative Cloud bill be replaced by perpetual license software?”

  1. Markus Hörster Avatar
    Markus Hörster

    Especially when you do professional work, there is no way around CC. It’s the industry standard. Sure, there are great alternatives like DaVinci Resolve for video editing, but just the fact how well the CC apps work together, is a big plus.

    And companies don’t subscribe for fun – they make money using their software.

  2. Mindi Minguez Avatar
    Mindi Minguez

    Seriously, $600 per year, plus tax!

  3. Jorge Diaz Avatar
    Jorge Diaz

    What a great article for putting a dollar figure to their robbery. Since Creative Cloud, Adobe has gotten lazy (Multi-core processing in After Effects, anyone? …it’s been 6 years!)

    What did it for me was their new rule of not allowing users more than 2 versions than the latest to be installed. I moved away from their suite by using Resolve, GIMP, Inkscape, and Audacity. Really, 90% of professionals can do with these tools but, unfortunately, they are tied to using Adobe programs to have access to their legacy projects. It’s unfortunate.

  4. Volker Bartheld Avatar
    Volker Bartheld

    Old news: Subscriptions can be costly.

    They can even cost (all) your previous work if the provider decides to pull the plug as it has happened already with EyeFi’s X2, Adobe in Venezuela and CadSoft/Autodesk Eagle. There is absolutely no guarantee that enough angry users will create a shit storm (as happened in the first two aformentioned cases) so you can use your data or hardware again. And there is the general problem with using your subscription offline even though some providers offer license extraction. Not to mention what happens, if you want to move away from your MS OS one day and install Linux instead. I find that pretty disturbing.

    As a consequence, I’m either using or would recommend using Lightworks/BorisFX/Graffiti (free version or perpetual license available), Resolve, HitFilm Express, Audacity, Inkscape, Scribus, KiCAD, Libre Office, Raw Therapee, Notepad++, Total/Double Commander, 40tude Dialog, ffmpeg, PhotoLine (never was a big fan of Gimp), Sony Content Browser, DVDStyler/ImgBurn, TheBat, VLC, VueScan, VirtualBox, VeraCrypt and VirtualDub. Linux Mint Mate occasionally prevented a migration to Windows 10 after some hardware update that didn’t run on Windows 7 anymore.

    To be clear: This is not about open vs. closed source or freeware vs. payed software or Windows vs. Linux. There can be real gems and absolute BS on either side. I just don’t like the thought that I cannot buy something and then use it where I want, whenever I want and as long as I want, totally being exposed to the arbitrariness of the manufacturer.

    Walking away from stuff you are used to and finding something else that fits is by no means an easy task. And it might slow down your workflow considerably in the beginning. In my case it was worth it nevertheless.

  5. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
    Jolyon Ralph

    Remember, a “perpetual licence” gives you software that works for maybe 3 years, 5 years at best before you have no choice but to upgrade either due to missing functionality or due to the software no longer being supported/incapable of running on your new hardware.

    So, you can pay $500 for 5 years use of a piece of software, 4 years of which you’re not using the latest version, or you can pay $100 a year to Adobe for the software which is always up-to-date.

    Obviously this isn’t the case with free software.

    1. John Aldred Avatar
      John Aldred

      DaVinci Resolve’s perpetual license comes with free lifetime updates.

    2. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
      Jolyon Ralph

      John Aldred That obviously changes the dynamics!

    3. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
      Jolyon Ralph

      However. No company can really afford to give lifetime updates, so what happens in this case is instead of going from Resolve Vx to Resolve V(x+1) at some point in the future they’ll release a new product that replaces Resolve with a brand new name. That’s inevitable!

    4. John Aldred Avatar
      John Aldred

      Well, they just dropped the price from a grand to $300 a year or two ago and give the Studio edition away free with many of their cameras (you get a 2-machine license with the Pocket 4K & 6K).

      I think for Blackmagic, they’re unique in this industry that their hardware directly benefits from people also using their software. Yet their software is also compatible with everybody else’s stuff, too. For them, I suppose it’s like a loss-leader to draw people into their ecosystem and ensure the best experience with their hardware.

      That may change in the future, and is often the case with many companies, but for Blackmagic, I think they’ll probably keep things as they are when it comes to Resolve & Fusion.

  6. Tom Avatar
    Tom

    What a lazy article. For the average individual this cost is maybe 600 a year? Linus I guess uses teams etc. But they also state in the video how even this is more cost effective for them over multiple years than switching.

    I’m all for people using tools that work best for them but this is beating a dead artificial horse at this point. Do better diyphotography.

  7. Raj_09 Avatar
    Raj_09

    Stop complaining. It’s much better than having to shelve more than 500$ every year and a half for a new version. Besides you get a lot for the subscription service. Première, Adobe fonts etc. I bought shares in Adobe so what I pay in my left hand I get from the right hand. ?

  8. Henri Brfr Avatar
    Henri Brfr

    I use already perpetual Adobe softwares. I recommend)

  9. Henri Brfr Avatar
    Henri Brfr

    As Adobe proceeded illegal withdrawals on my bank account, I don’t feel guilty now to use illegal copies of Adobe softwares.

  10. Jeebus Avatar
    Jeebus

    definitely not watching a video with that thumbnail. Pass.

  11. fahad raza Avatar
    fahad raza

    Sony Vegas Pro Key. Besides, it has a complete video editor. This software allows us to capture and manipulate files stored in XDCAM formats. It also works in DV, AVCHD, HDV, SD / HD-SDI. It loads most of the program’s performance into the timeline.