Adobe’s discounts on its Creative Cloud All Apps plan seems to turning into a quarterly event — it ran a 25% discount Black Friday deal last November and a similar 25%-off deal in March, then 40% off in May. Now it’s offering a students-and-teachers-only one-year discount of 44% off the All Apps annual educational plan if you pay upfront ($199.88); it also includes two free months. If you pay monthly, it’s 33% off ($239.88). You’re running out of time, though — you’ve only got until 11:59 p.m. PT tonight, Friday, Aug. 30, to take advantage.
After the first year, it goes back up to $359.99, the price for the educational plan; the discounts add up to a savings of up to 60% off the standard individual plans, which can run as high as about $640.
If you were planning on subscribing for the first time or upgrading from your dependable old (old, old) perpetual-license version and you qualify, then this is a good time to do it — But if you just want to kick the tires, there are some other factors to take into account before plunking down your credit card. Let’s explore your options.
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What’s the deal?
That’s 20-plus Adobe apps, including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom and Dreamweaver. You also get access to all of Adobe’s fonts — the service formerly known as Typekit — along with 100GB cloud storage, and all the mobile apps, including , and .
What’s the catch?
A few important things to note:
- The offer is for a year’s subscription paid in monthly installments of $19.99 or for 14 months paid up front for $199.88.
- The discounts are available in other regions. UK price is £163.20/yr for a year of the prepaid annual plan, going up to £301.90/year (£25.28/mo) for the second year. In Australia, it’s AU$199.88 for the first year, at which point it rises to AU$359.88.
- If you opt to continue the subscription, the price goes up to $29.99 per month ($359.99 annual).
- If you want to cancel, do so within the first 14 days or you’ll be out half the annual cost.
- The discount is only available to new subscribers and it’s limited to one subscription per customer.
- At the end of the year, it will automatically renew at the full price. And full price is what you’ll be paying in perpetuity because I’ve never seen a discount for an existing customer.
What’s not to like?
If you just want to see whether you’d like the CC ecosystem or give the 2019 applications a go before committing, you may be better off getting the seven-day free trial and taking it for a spin before the end of the week. You can then subscribe if you want to.
Why isn’t a year better than a few days? The tar pit problem. If you really use the system, trying to extract all your work if you choose not to continue is at best an aggravation and at worst, impossible. Remember, if you opt not to subscribe you can’t run the applications at all. Once you’ve got a couple thousand photos cataloged in, getting them out with all the metadata — ratings, keywords, captions and so on — is a pain. You can save the metadata for a whole catalog into the individual photos’ sidecar files, but it takes a while. But having Lightroom save the metadata to the file as you update them bogs down the software — choose your poison. And if you take advantage of the coolest new features, like range masking, those don’t travel with the file. You only keep the basic adjustments.
Plus, if you give the latest Lightroom a shot as an upgrade from an earlier version, it converts the database — you won’t be able to go back to the version you own. (Back it up, people!).
Love the libraries? I do. But you can’t download anything in them or batch-convert and export them to portable format. The only way to use the assets is within Adobe’s apps. Graphics produced by the Adobe Capture mobile app go straight into libraries, and they’re standard SVG files. But to get them out of CC, you can only save them one at a time, and only using the mobile app. Forget about styles, color palettes or patterns.
You get the idea.
Is any of this unusual? Lots of companies lock their best stuff within a walled garden. But that’s the caveat you have to watch out for before sinking a lot of time and money into an expensive yearlong trial: It may not be as easy to move on as you’d think.