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Home > Tools December 17th, 2018

The 10 Most Frequent Myths About Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC)


What's in the Adobe Creative Cloud?

With over 15 million customers having already signed up in the six years since it launched, Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) product line has been a success exceeding even the company’s own expecta­tions.  Still, there are a lot of misconceptions out there that we see from time to time, or that some folks seem to believe… (do you?)  Here below we dispel and debunk the top 10 most common myths we’ve heard – and hopefully even if you already know the scoop or use Creative Cloud you’ll pick something up… read on!

Myth #1: “‘Creative Cloud’ sounds like cloud storage only – which is just a way to store your files, and I already have Dropbox which is free.”

Some say the name is misleading – but the Creative Cloud is actually a comprehensive collection of creative tools and services built around the new CC 2019 release of desktop products, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, Acrobat, Animate, Audition, and more – the full working versions…  You do also get 20-100 gigabytes of online storage space for syncing and sharing your files, but that is only one piece of of the big picture.

Myth #2: “I don’t want to be constantly connected to the Internet to start and run my creative apps; what happens when I’m on a plane?”

You do not have to be continually connected to the Internet.  After the CC applications are installed and running on your desktop, online access is only required once every 4 months for revalida­tion of your annual membership. Plus there are solutions in place if you’ll be offline for an extended period – like traveling for six months without web access… just contact Customer Service.

Debunking the Myths About Adobe Creative Cloud

Myth #3: “The applications can’t be very powerful if they are running in a browser – trying to run Photoshop over the web is going to be really slow.”

None of the the tools mentioned above are hosted or web-based versions… These are the genuine desktop products that you download and install right on your computers, and work just like usual – these are not web applications, it’s not “software as a service” (SaaS), and your CC programs like Photoshop will run as normal.

Myth #4: “The subscription model for the new versions sounds like it might be more expensive than the previous perpetual licensing, so maybe it’s not worth it?”

When you add up the price tags of all the individual products you can use in the Creative Cloud, the total value is over US$10,000.  The Master Suite by itself historically sold for $2,600, and that’s just part of what you get with the much newer CC 2019 release… All ongoing upgrades are included, as well as free professional training. You can access these leading products for $9-$49 a month, one year at a time, so CC’s upfront cost is far less than CS6. And you can install and run the apps on up to two of your computers (including both PC and Mac).

Myth #5: “So I can have the entire latest Master Collection and more for $1-2/day, and do anything with it – it must be too good to be true, no?”

There’s no catch. It works exactly as described; you can imagine and create without bound­aries using all of the world’s best tools for photo, image, video, audio, graphics, illustration, web, print, mobile, publishing, gaming, animation, development and design. As one prominent customer recently said, “As someone who’s been using Creative Cloud now for a little over five years, I can tell you that this is the best service that Adobe has ever offered, and I would never switch back to a perpetual license even if I was given the option.”

Myth #6: “Well, then Adobe is going to entice everyone to the Cloud – and once we are all hooked, they are going to jack up the prices.”

Adobe has offered subscription-based creative products for over a decade, and over that time their prices (inflation-adjusted) have only fallen, never risen… You’ve got elasticity of the demand curve – the lower the monthly rate, the more people sign up, the greater the cost is spread out, and repeat.  It’s a virtuous cycle in our view – and we think the cost will continue to drop as the Cloud and its “network effect” grow… The most recent sign is Adobe’s introduction of lower-cost $9.99/month plans. The bottom line is raising to unaffordable rates would be counterproductive. But if you’re still worried, then you can always choose to lock in your pricing in advance.

Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!

Myth #7: “If my friend or client or colleague isn’t a Creative Cloud member, I can’t share my files with them.” …or… “But I don’t want to share all my work publicly/online.”

If you’re concerned about sharing files with people using older versions of the CS tools, check out our CC File Compatibility Guide. And using the cloud storage is not required. For any files you choose to store online in Adobe’s Cloud, you can easily set different levels of sharing – from keeping them completely private to sharing them publicly with anyone at all. Viewers will be able to do many things like see thumbnails and larger previews, change layer states of PSD files, step through Illustrator artboards and InDesign and PDF pages, and see file metadata all from within their browsers [watch video demo here].  But you can also keep your files entirely offline on your local disk as normal, because saving a copy to the online Cloud storage is completely optional.

Myth #8: “The Creative Cloud isn’t free (is it?), so if I leave then I will lose all my files.”

No worries – there is a totally free (for life) level of Creative Cloud membership which gives over a dozen terrific benefits including free products & services, that anyone can sign up for… If you cancel a paid membership then you’ll have a 90-day grace period bring any cloud storage down to the size of 2GB free (or can buy additional storage separately if you like).  You prob­ably also saved your files locally on your computer as well, before sharing online.

Myth #9: “Even if I only use one or two applications, I have no choice but to buy the complete Creative Cloud membership, right?”

Worldwide Offer: Get New Adobe Photoshop CC plus Lightroom CC for $9.99 a Month (Regular Ongoing Price)

No, this is false. Just like it was with the previous suites and point products, you still have the option to buy either the discounted bundle of everything or just a single program if you prefer. If you only want to use an individual tool or two, then you can sign up for a Single-App Membership at a lower price ($10-20). For example, Adobe offers a special Photography Plan worldwide that gives both Photoshop CC + Lightroom CC (the full desktop and mobile releases) for $9.99 a month.

Myth #10: “With the Cloud you can’t ever stay on or run previous versions if you want to, you are always forced to update to the latest release, right? I might not always be ready to do that, plus some plug-ins might not yet work with the newer version.”

No, in fact it’s optional – and your call. Creative Cloud makes updates avail­able for those who want to install them, but the applica­tion manager will not automati­cally update your system without your go-ahead… You can continue using the versions you have already downloaded, and then choose if and when to install the new releases, whenever is convenient and best for you. On average for each CC tool, the pacing of available upgrades has been every 3-4 months. And IT administrators can use the Creative Cloud Packager utility to fully control all aspects of deploy­ment on any group of computers.

Do you have any questions, thoughts, or other myths you’ve heard about the Creative Cloud?  Check out our extensive Creative Cloud FAQ, or just post them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

What is Adobe Creative Cloud? (In Under Five Minutes:)

See Also

Get New CC 2019 Direct Download Links: All Free Trials

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  1. Eric Baldwin


    Well, as nothing else in my life works this way, it is a deal breaker. The creative work I do for a living can be done with the tools I have now. My advice to anyone else in a creative business is that you are the product. If the technology you have now does what you need, there is no reason to buy into a new paradigm if it is a negative one. Writers own their typewriters, painters own their paints. It is the writer and the painter that is central, not the tools.

    • Sure, but if you’re still using a typewriter, then in general, you’re probably not as competitive, or efficient.

      Similarly, you could technically create most any image in the world using MS Paint, working pixel by pixel, but not many people would recommend it over Photoshop CC.

      So we would argue that the tools absolutely do matter… Technology rolls forward, whether you participate in it or not. And in the software business, there are always costs associated with keeping your tools and system current, even with Adobe’s old model of static perpetual releases plus paid upgrades. Pretty much all software will eventually grow obsolete and unsupported over time, if not upgraded.

      In fact, some in the industry wonder and ask if the new software tools will get so powerful and capable as to make humans obsolete… This is a persistent theme at MAX, as Adobe continues to introduce and demonstrate new ways to do old things that used to take much longer:

      AI and Your Business: Questions and Answers from Adobe MAX 2017

  2. Eric Baldwin

    And that is the sort of comment that turns people against you. It isn’t the tools that make one competitive in a creative industry. It is the creator and what is created. A book written on a typewriter is no more or less competitive due to what was used to write it. And as far as electronic art tools are concerned, my old versions of Illustrator and Photoshop may not have all the bells and whistles, but they are adequate to the task. While I would be more than happy to play with the newer, better, faster stuff, I do not choose to create images that I cannot access and edit if I should run out of money.

    • Please, competitive and efficient are referring to the time needed to produce your desired output, or time spent to generate your required deliverable. It’s preposterous to claim that the sophistication and productivity of your tools don’t matter in that context. In most people’s lives and careers, the amount of time spent is important and/or time is money.

      Sure, there’s the rare case of the prodigy who can tap out the next War and Peace on his/her old Selectric typewriter. But the vast majority of us would do better (and faster) to use the best-available word processor instead.

      If you don’t care and have all the time in the world? Well then, good luck and more power to you.

      As for how to open your files without a CC subscription? Well, the free level of Cloud membership (which you retain permanently at no cost) will allow you to open, display, and manipulate files in some of the most common Adobe formats (types including .PSD, .AI, .INDD, etc).

      Similarly, you can use the preview and display capabilities of Adobe Bridge CC, which is free for everyone, for life.

      There also exist third-party utilities like XnView (free), which will read and write Photoshop .PSD files, and also opens Adobe Illustrator .AI files. ID Util (also free) will read and display any InDesign or InCopy file. Like Photoshop’s published .PSD format, Adobe PDF is another publicly-documented specification, and various programs can read and write those files.

      Adobe will also be resetting a new round of free CC trials at least once or twice every year that will work fully and open your files for 7 days. So if your paid membership has expired, then short-term opening or editing your files down the road could be as simple as just grabbing the latest free trial and firing it up.

      And then there’s always a Creative Cloud month-to-month membership available if you want to do more intensive work, for as long or as short as that is. You would pay only for the months you needed to.

      Bottom line, there should never a case where you are denied access to open your work or files – it’s just that it may not necessarily be 100% free guaranteed, depending on what you want to do with them. But obviously the maintenance of all professional software in working order has costs and tradeoffs, even for standalone perpetual tools.

  3. Eric Baldwin

    OK. You obviously believe what you’re saying. You believe that being able to see my work is the same as being able to open it and manipulate it using the tools that created it. When I sell a painting to a gallery, I can always go see it. But I can’t change it. The paintings in my studio remain mine to work on for as long as I own them.

    Adobe should sell their CC plan on a continuing basis. But after a reasonable investment, when a customer stops participating, he or she should have perpetual access to the tools at whatever state they are available at that time. This would be fair. Your arrangement simply is not.

    • No, what we said is that keeping technology up-to-date always has costs, no matter what the model. And there are options available to open and work on your CC files after a subscription has ended. But you seem to be protesting quite a lot for somebody who says he is okay using his old tools. Nobody is forcing you to upgrade.

      In any event, if you’re talking about Photoshop, then millions of customers don’t think getting the latest full desktop versions of both Photoshop CC + Lightroom CC (plus all related mobile apps and workflows) for $10 a month is too much to ask, considering that these two best-of-breed professional tools used to cost $1,150 upfront just to get in the door, not including upgrades. That equates almost 10 years of use of CC compared to the old model. It’s like someone still using Photoshop CS3 from 2007 for ten years, rather than getting to use the latest Photoshop CC version all that time. How much is your time worth?

      In fact, the pricing is low enough on the CC Photography bundle that you’ve got longtime Adobe users calling it a “no-brainer”… like here and here:

      But when all is said and done, if you only use Photoshop and Lightroom, the Photography Plan is an unbelievable bargain. A total no-brainer, and I can’t, for the life of me, see why people grumble about it.

      Sorry Eric, but Adobe says it’s moving forward and not going to change the way things work. Creative Cloud has been a real success for them with very strong customer adoption, higher than they or most people ever expected – so the chances of them changing or going back to the old model are basically none.

  4. Eric Baldwin

    I am perfectly happy with the CS6 set of apps. The problem is that they will not run on the next generation Macintosh operating systems. As I do not expect my current machine to last forever, that means that I will be at the mercy of Adobe’s new model in order to continue using the apps I have been using since Illustrator and Photoshop versions 1.0.

    And before you iterate what a good deal it is, I believe that in the event that I no longer have access to the web, it will not seem so good a deal. As you may or may not be aware, the current government has every intention of stripping away internet equality. The price I pay today may make an additional $50-$75 a month seem like a “good deal”. The price I pay for web access tomorrow will undoubtedly cast a pall on this halcyon era. Adobe’s policy is not good for many of the people who have been responsible for her success. At $50 a month, that will be $3000 in 5 years, $6000 in 10 years, $9000 in 15 years providing Adobe never raises its prices and never goes out of business.

    I will most likely be forced into this unholy bargain but Adobe will have lost 30 years of goodwill for it. /

  5. Mark


    I think you are missing the point a bit. It isn’t (for me anyway) the cost that is the issue. It is the principle. I have been supporting Adobe for decades and happily handed over the hundreds or thousands of dollars during that time.

    I understand the business reasons by Adobe made the switch to CC, but what I fail to understand is why that had to be done in the way it was done and at the expense of the more casual users.

    As a holder of perpetual licences, I had totally unfettered access to my software at all times, I had the freedom to choose whether and when to upgrade. I did not always need to be at the leading edge in terms of features etc. Adobe removed that freedom at a stroke. Any of your “casual user” CC plans all have strings attached.

    I know that cloud storage isn’t mandatory and that you can choose to not upgrade to the latest version of CC, but that removes immediately two of the “strengths” of the CC offering.

    Given that the CC software (as I understand it) runs locally in so far as you could use it without an internet connection – at least for a several-month period – it surely would have been possible to continue to offer perpetual licences for a product like Lightroom. For CC fans it is great, but for others, myself included; we want the freedom that perpetual licences allowed, back. It would be relatively easy money for Adobe. You don’t even have to ship anything. You don’t really have to have two versions either. CC users would get new features right away, perpetual people would have to wait until a new release when they would be able to decide if they wanted to update or not.

    Lightroom appeals to non-professional as well as professional photographers who have no need of the entire Adobe suite. I know that there is the Photography Plan, but to have the freedom previously available with perpetual licences, you basically have to sign up for life. No matter how you want to portray it, when you unsubscribe you lose part of what you paid for possibly for many years.

    I can go back and revisit any previous work I have done and modify it or completely redo it. I simply could not do that in a similar fashion if I was an unsubscribed CC user.

    Incidentally, when you talk about upgrades etc. it is worth pointing out that LR6 since it’s launch has not been upgraded at all. Bug fixes and new camera raw support do not count in my opinion. No new features have been added. Another attempt to bludgeon people into the CC program.

    As well as CS6 I also still have CS3 Design suite. Somewhat to my surprise, Photoshop CS3 runs quite happily under High Sierra. I don’t use it. But I could :-))


    • Mark, you mentioned about Lightroom 6 and no new features. But Adobe’s perpetual product have never introduced significant new features between major releases… So that is nothing new. In fact, it’s one huge reason why the company switched to a subscription-delivery model.

      For more details, see:

      Why Creative Cloud Gets Free Upgrades but Adobe CS6 Doesn’t

      Guys, this ship has sailed. Adobe is not going back and they’re not changing the model. Creative Cloud was launched six years ago this month – and the current offering still looks remarkably like it did back then at its introduction in November 2011. You have to hand it to the company for having a different vision and then following it through now with 15 million paid subscribers, despite skeptics. So if you’re still having this debate now, then we’re convinced it’s just barking at the moon and not going to accomplish anything.

      Some people are arguing that their overall cost of Adobe’s products may go up in the transition from perpetual licensing to subscription licensing. If that’s the point you want to make, then so be it. For others, it will go down (or already has).

      Adobe closed the last door to turning back last month when they stated there will not be a Lightroom 7 perpetual offering, as you referenced. It’s done.

      Finally, note that even after a subscription has lapsed, you can still start up Lightroom CC to access your catalog and have limited use – see:

      What Happens to Lightroom After My Membership Ends?

  6. Eric Baldwin
  7. Eric Baldwin

    It’s never too late. In the 16th century, Imperial Japan, after having had guns for 80 years, realized they had made a mistake and banned firearms for the next 300!

  8. Eric Baldwin

    Nor I you. But actions tend to have reactions. There may come a time when customer loyalty is an issue and Adobe may not have it. Good luck to you./

    • Not to worry, we won’t be holding our breath for Adobe to change the model either. There are millions of customers out there who are very happy with it, and more every day.

      As renowned illustrator Kyle T. Webster of KyleBrush said recently:

      “Many people I don’t think are aware that you can subscribe to Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 a month. That to me is an incredible opportunity because you know you pay more than that for Netflix and Netflix doesn’t make you any money – but Photoshop, if you’re a designer or illustrator, that software is making you many, many times more in your revenue stream.”

  9. Mark

    For professional users CC is probably a no-brainer provided they fully understand the implications of unsubscribing.

    For non-professional users it is a different kettle of fish. A check in my local camera club which has about 90 members showed that a significant number of them use (and have been using for some time) Photoshop or Lightroom perpetual versions. Not a single one will consider switching to CC. Not one. When asked if they would buy a newer version of LR if it was available, the majority said “yes.”

    I have no way of knowing how members of other camera clubs view CC, but it is interesting that in ours there were no takers.

    • A similar survey was done at the MAX 2017 conference last month, which had record attendance and virtually the exact opposite results…

      Meaning, almost everyone was subscribed to a Creative Cloud plan of some form.

      The “sniff test” is that if it didn’t make sense for enough of their users, Adobe would never have changed the model and proceeded down this path… They’re not stupid as to create a product that nobody would buy. Clearly, many millions have. So arguing about people who don’t have it is not really going anywhere. This debate is over five years old, and it doesn’t make much sense to have it anymore.

  10. Eric Baldwin

    I use Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver. No $10 a month there.
    There are apparently millions of customers who are very happy with Trump, too. Happiness has nothing to do with quality or fairness.

    • Um, OK. Beg to differ. Creative Cloud has several times as many customers than its predecessor (CS6) ever did. And that would have never happened if there weren’t quality (i.e., excellent tools) or fairness (e.g., budget-friendly pricing). In fact, the goal of affordable cost of entry has put Adobe’s creative tools in reach for many more people.

      But trying to somehow compare software to politicians is getting rather silly and off topic, so why don’t we leave it there.

  11. Mark

    I’m based in France which possibly explains the difference in attitude.
    I quite agree that it doesn’t make sense to have this debate. TBH I’m not sure why this blog ever existed. With the roaring success of the CC model it wasn’t really necessary.

    It was fun though:-))

    Over and out

  12. Elliot

    “Roaring Success” for Adobe, not for the people who can’t afford monthly payments. It’s sad that you don’t even SEE WHY some people would have trouble paying for this monthly and even if they can afford it, perhaps all they want is to continue using the program as it was AND would be willing to pay for the technical upgrade to make old versions keep working. Personally, CS3 does all I need and I like it better than the newer designs which hog my screen space and don’t allow me to configure the interface elements as I want to configure them. There is so much extra stuff around my photos now, that it’s distracting. I used to be able to see only the image I was working on and the particular functions I was using for it. Now I am presented a plethora of features that I have no interest in using, nor, in many cases, knowledge of what they are, since Adobe does not follow the Mac system which allows me to choose if I want to see the name of an icon under it or just the icon. So I am criticizing both the Adobe financial model as well as their aesthetic one.

  13. JMSeas

    How could I install Creative Suite on a computer that is NEVER (as in not allowed to be) connected to the internet?

  14. JMSeas

    Sorry – I meant Creative Cloud (current CC version applications) installed on a computer not/never attached to the internet. Is it possible? Other (more costly), more engineering related, applications (like AutoCAD) use a license software technology called FlexLM that passes a plain text but encoded ASCII file to the target computer that has a license expiration in the file. Why can’t Adobe do the same?

    • Yes, it is possible to install Creative Cloud applications on computers that are never connected to the Internet (in other words, with complete offline installation and operation) – but this is only available for Enterprise customers (e.g., government or military or business) via what’s called a “Serialized deployment“:

      Serial Number Licenses include offline activation files that allow the installation to operate in offline environments.

      Named Licenses require an Internet connection to license the logged-in user.

      “Named licenses” are what most of the world has, which use your email address as your login.

      However, even with the standard Creative Cloud subscriptions (meaning for Individuals or Students or Teams, rather than Enterprises), you can use the direct links to download standalone installers and then transfer & use them on another computer:

      Adobe CC 2018 Direct Download Links, for Windows and macOS

      Then, once installed and signed in, you should be able have that computer offline for up to 99 days + one month, for annual subscriptions:

      CC Internet Connectivity, Offline Grace Period, and Reminders

      Hope that helps.

  15. testNugg

    Hello, interesting debate above. Nevertheless, I have just received an enterprise install of Photoshop & PremierePro. And you are saying these types of installs are serialized. So therefore is it possible to un-install the third & unasked-for app CreativeCloud? I need nothing from it, nothing. Merely the two softwares above mentioned.
    thanks for any insight.

  16. RACHID
  17. Right now I’m paying $44 per month for what I think is almost the whole shebang but I don’t use a lot of the shebang. This Photo package (Photoshop, Lightroom, cloud storage and a Portfolio website) sounds like a good deal, but I also use InDesign. That’s about it.

    Can I do: $10 for Photo package plus $19 for Indesign, thereby saving about $15 per month? Does InDesign come with TypeKit?

  18. Old versions of Adobe software will never become obsolete? Why? Because you can and will be able to get emulators to run older versions of Windows at least on newer systems, allowing you to use the outdated versions on newer computers.

    Saying that people cannot afford CC is a bit silly. If they can’t, how would they be able to afford a much more expensive perpetual licence? Piracy, that is how. Adobe products are among the most pirated in the history of software, but the subscription model has actually allowed previous illegal customers who simply could not afford it to afford the small monthly fee.

    In terms of what you get, a CC subscription is amazing value for money, and there is no stopping anyone from keeping their old perpetual versions if they prefer. Why those who do whine can only be a sign of some kind of envy or misunderstanding what CC actually is. Several years on, you’d think that the whiners had stopped whining. Doesn’t seem that is the case yet.

  19. MervB

    I haven’t used cc for a while, so was quite surprised when I went into my files to find 90% or more of my saves files marked as deleted? I can no longer access them and the only option I’m given is to ‘permanently delete’ them! Also for those files I have access to, I can only download single file and not batch download.

    Only problem may be that I’m now on Android.

  20. Jason

    @ProDesign how much is Adobe paying you to endorse them?

    • Hey Jason, like many other websites, we’re official partners of Adobe – just like we’re partnered with numerous other companies… But we’re completely independent publishers, and nobody ever tells us what to say or write. Do you have a question, a correction, or anything substantive to offer regarding the actual content of article above? Thanks.

  21. Excellent advertisement for Adobe. Not sure if it’s terribly ethical to run an advertisement that masquerades as an unbiased article.

    • Sorry, not sure what you mean – as the article does exactly what it says, which is to address the most frequent misconceptions with facts and answers.

      And if you already knew everything on this page and didn’t learn anything at all from it, we’d be surprised.

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The 10 Most Common Myths About Adobe's Creative Cloud (CC)