The Ultimate Adobe Creative Cloud Review

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In the following article, you’ll find a complete Adobe Creative Cloud review along with everything you need to know about the service, what’s included in the package, the features it’ll offer, and more!

Whether you’re a beginner graphic designer or a serious professional, you must’ve used some of Adobe’s software at some point or even still using them.

When it comes to graphic designing, digital arts, web development, and any creative applications, Adobe is simply too big to avoid. 

They have been leading the creative scene for so long now, making designers’ and artists’ lives a lot easier by producing tons of solutions that will help anyone take their business to the next level. 

With tons of useful adobe applications and regular new releases, it might be quite pricey to fill your shopping cart with all Adobe’s products that you need for your business.

Luckily, Adobe now offers the Creative Cloud. As the name suggests, it’s a cloud-based service that provides you with adobe’s entire library of applications and software in the form of monthly subscriptions.

Keep on reading, If you want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud!

Table of Contents

What is Adobe Creative Cloud?

Before diving into the juicy details of the cloud and how you can benefit from it, let’s have a better understanding of what Adobe Creative Cloud is and how it works.

Adobe Creative Cloud is simply a collection of almost all desktop apps, mobile apps, and services that are produced by Adobe Inc. 

The Creative Cloud will grant you access to all Adobe’s library of applications and software used for photography, video editing, graphic design, and web development. 

In addition to access to software, the cloud also gives you some extra perks and services. But more on that later.

One thing you should know about Adobe Creative Cloud is that it’s a cloud-based service and not a cloud-based software. 

There’s a monthly and annual subscription fee that you need to pay to keep your cloud license active and be able to utilize all the applications, services, and software included in the package

In other words, you’ll be able to download Adobe’s software from the internet and install it directly on your local computer. 

However, you’ll only be able to use them as long as you’re subscribed to the service and not just a one time purchase.

Adobe’s Experience with Collective Package Services

You might think that compiling individual products into a bundle package as in the Creative Cloud is a smart and new move from Adobe. However, Adobe Creative Cloud isn’t the company’s first attempt of doing so.

Of course, Adobe originally offers its individual products separately as a one time purchase. However, before the Creative Cloud, they had software suites, which included several Adobe products.

These suites include Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe eLearning Suite. In fact, these bundles have been around for 10 years since 2003 and even had a new release during the first year of Adobe Creative Cloud.

On May 6, 2013, the company announced that the Creative Suite is going to be discontinued to focus mainly on the cloud, which makes the Creative Cloud the only source for packages that include multiple Adobe software since then.

The Creative Cloud was announced by Adobe in October 2011, with the first version of Adobe Creative Cloud coming out to the public in 2012. 

The first version of Adobe’s products that was available as a package exclusively on the Creative Cloud was released on June 17, 2013, which is considered the true birth date of the service.

When Adobe Creative Cloud was first released, the cloud service was hosted on Amazon Web Services, which is one of the most reliable and stable hosting services out there. 

However, since the 2017 version, the Creative Cloud moved to another hosting giant, Microsoft Azure, after Adobe and Microsoft reached an agreement for hosting the Creative Cloud in late 2016.

As of this article’s date, the latest version of the Adobe Creative Cloud is the CC 2020, which was produced in November 2019, so we should expect the new update in the next few months!

A Deeper Look at Features You’ll Enjoy By Subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud

When adobe first announced that they’re transitioning their apps and software to a subscription-based cloud rather than suites, a lot of designers and developers were skeptical about the idea of subscribing to the service.

Back in 2013, everyone was just saying “ why would anyone pay monthly or annual fees to subscribe for a software that they can buy once and use it forever?” or “that’s just rental service!”.

But with time, more and more creators and developers understood what the Creative Cloud actually is and how they’ll benefit from it.

In this section, we’ll provide you with all the perks you’ll enjoy by subscribing to Adobe’s Cloud service. 

1. You’ll Have Instant Access to the All Adobe’s Software and Services

Let’s face it, the cloud-based subscription craze is quickly becoming the language of the new age. Almost all services nowadays have become cloud-based, such as TV and movie streaming, music apps, development tools, and more.

Yet, some companies would still exclude their flagships from the cloud service or include them in for a standalone subscription fee, which is quite annoying.

However, one of the things that make Adobe’s Creative Cloud Special, is that when they say all apps, they mean it!

If you opt for the “Creative Cloud All Apps” plan, you’ll simply enjoy all the good stuff produced by Adobe with nothing to hide for an additional fee.

For instance, let’s say you’re a graphic designer who uses Photoshop intensively and relies a bit less on Lightroom for post-processing of some images and photographs you take.

In that case, you might end up buying the new version of only one of these apps and use an old version of the other to save some money. 

If you have an old version of Lightroom, you might experience some crashes, slow performance, and an outdated set of features. By subscribing to the Creative Cloud, you’ll have access to the latest software of both apps. 

This could introduce some new gems and features that can potentially step up your career, but you’d have never found out about them without trying the updated versions on the Creative Cloud!

2. Subscribing is More Cost Efficient than Buying

One of the main reasons a lot of creators don’t like the idea of cloud services is that they think that it would cost them a lot of money.

However, Adobe’s pricing policy makes it extremely challenging to justify purchasing apps separately. 

For example, Adobe Photoshop would cost you $20.99 per month, Lightroom with 1 TB cloud storage costs around $9.99 per month, and Adobe Premiere Pro would also cost you $20.99 a month.

If you get the three apps separately, you’ll need to pay a total of $51.97. On the other hand, Adobe Creative Cloud Annual Plan costs around $635.88. This means that it would cost you about $52.99 a month.

As you can see, by opting for Adobe Creative Cloud, you’ll get those three apps in addition to other Adobe apps for a total of 20+ apps but you’ll end up technically paying the same money!

Not only that, but you’ll also enjoy all the other features for technically the same price. So, it’s always a no brainer to opt for Adobe Creative Cloud if you use two or more Adobe apps in your business.

3. You’ll Enjoy New Updates and Features As Soon As They’re Released

Have you ever bought a new device or software, only to find out that new updates or product models are coming out with even better features and usually for the same price you’ve recently paid?

That’s truly one of the most annoying situations that you might experience, especially if you were saving up for the product or getting it for long term business.

For those who are still using Creative Suite versions and older Adobe apps, they’re missing out greatly on all the new features and updates that Adobe adds to their software. 

In fact, Adobe is one of the most active developers who are always generous with new technologies, which is one of the reasons they’re among the top providers in their field! 

If you’re a subscriber to the Creative Cloud, you’ll always be notified about all the new features and updates that the apps have. 

Additionally, Adobe might even provide simple tutorials to show you how to use the new features, so you can quickly adapt to these new additions.

Moreover, being subscribed and updated to the latest version, you’ll ensure that you can contact Adobe’s customer support team to help you with anything you need to know.

4. It Allows You to Utilize a Large Cloud Storage

If you’re working in the creative field with a team, you’ll know the burdens of sharing the content with your team. Not only that, if you’re a freelancer, working with clients requires you to send email files that are sometimes too big and cause a lot of troubles while sending.

Backing up your files is also a huge problem that causes a wide range of challenges, such as keeping USB drives, hard drives, and other storage methods on you.

With the Creative Cloud, all that would be a thing of the past. Sharing files between the members of the same team is extremely simplified. 

By opting for one of the Creative Cloud’s Teams or Enterprise level plans, users will enjoy 1 TB of free Cloud storage which helps you to send them quick links to view and edit the projects seamlessly.

Backing up your content to the cloud will also help you save a lot of space, which is always better for navigation and performance. You can easily use the cloud storage by clicking File > Save > Creative Cloud > Backup.

Now, whenever you want to restore the file you’ll just click File >  Open > Creative Cloud, and choose the file in question.

5. You Can Use Them on Multiple Devices

One of the most impressive features about the Creative Cloud is that you’re never tied to the machine the software is installed on.

With many changes happening in the world due to Coronavirus, a lot of us have been working from home lately, which posed a huge issue of using home computers and laptops to get the work done.

The problem here is, with old apps, you wouldn’t be able to work from another device. However, the Creative Cloud allows you to download Adobe apps on multiple devices and switch between them as you like.

In fact, regarding this matter, Adobe says that you’re allowed to sign in through two devices at the same time but you can’t use the same app on two devices simultaneously.

Although it would have been much better if they allowed us to use the same app on two devices, it’s still a great feature.

This advantage is extremely beneficial for businesses with small budgets, as they can cut down on the number of subscribed devices, especially if they’re using multiple software at the same time.

Not only that, but it’s also a huge time saver if your projects require lengthy rendering times. This way, you can let one device carry on with the rendering process while you use other adobe apps for other projects you have in your to-do list!

6. Keeps Your Software Libraries Organized

Another reason why opting for the cloud is a great idea is the library organization. The Adobe Creative Cloud has a nice library that keeps all your apps as well as projects organized. 

Despite having the Adobe element, which makes it a bit difficult to grasp in the beginning, once you know to use the library manager, you’re going to love it!

It allows you to organize your projects using as many libraries as you want. This way, you can categorize them based on anything from dates, genre, color, themes, and more!

You can easily make the core design assets of your projects or brand available to you with a click of a button.

Moreover, you can also share these libraries with your colleagues and team members, allowing for super quick and easy collaborations on projects!

7. Secure Servers to Protect Your Assets from Hacking

Adobe implements industry-standard digital security to protect your account and projects from hacking. They update their security system frequently and fix all vulnerabilities and data breaches. 

All information sent between you and the servers is encrypted for privacy. Additionally, you can authenticate your data and get a Single Sign-On (SSO). You also get to control a lot of privacy settings and asset sharing options.

8. Grants You Access to Thousands of Adobe Fonts

If you like using special fonts in your projects, you’ll have to search the internet extensively to find good ones.

Besides being an extremely time-consuming process, a lot of these fonts might be from untrusted sources. Avoiding these questionable sites means paying fees for trusted websites that offer font libraries.

One of the game-changing features that make Adobe Creative Cloud an excellent investment is that it offers a free font library with tons of trusted fonts to give you all the variety you’ll ever need!

Keep in mind that being a built-in feature, this means that you won’t even need to leave the app to find what you’re looking for.

Adding to the time-saving element of these amazing features, while browsing the library, you can also apply various filters to help you find the ideal font for your project in much less time!

To get the font, the cloud won’t even redirect you to a 3rd party website. Instead, you’ll only click “Activate Font” and the font will be installed to your device and synced across all other devices and apps you’re using. How cool is that!

To make things even better, Adobe has a “recently installed fonts” feature, which is quite handy if you install tons of fonts with codenames that you might forget.

9. Can Host Your Website Using Adobe Portfolio

For a lot of freelance workers, you might need to host a very simple website with preview samples of your work and contact details.

However, finding an affordable yet reliable hosting service that can offer what you need might be a difficult task.

Although you can find a descriptive list of all the included apps in Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Portfolio is one of the most underrated features of this service.

Instead of paying extra money for your hosting service, you can easily utilize Adobe Portfolio to create, design, and host anything from a landing page all the way to a simple website with your collection.

All that is included in Adobe Portfolio free of charge within the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription! 

10. You Don’t Need Constant Internet Connection For It

If you’ve been around cloud-based services and software long enough, you’ll know how strict they can be when it comes to the internet connection.

In fact, some of these services might not even let you use them if you don’t have an internet connection. 

This measure is followed by a lot of companies as anti-piracy protection, where the software needs to have an internet connection so that the servers validate the licenses continuously.

There’s a problem that comes with that method. For instance, if the internet is down, such services won’t even let you use their apps even if the entire project is offline. You can also be working somewhere where there’s no internet access, such as on a train ride home. 

Some companies, such as Adobe, set a specific period of time where you can use the apps offline before it needs to validate the license again. 

This period is known as the “grace period”. According to Adobe, you only have to be connected to the internet whenever you want to install or update any of Adobe Creative Cloud apps.

However, once the app is already installed on your device, you won’t need an ongoing Internet connection to utilize the apps as long as your software license is validated by Adobe.

The grace period for Adobe Creative Cloud is 30 days for subscribers who pay on a monthly basis and up to 99 days for annual plan members.

Keep in mind that the app attempts to validate the software license every 30 days for all plans. But, if the Creative Cloud fails to detect an internet connection for 30 calendar days, a reminder dialog box will appear to request an online connection.

Since most benefits and features of Adobe Creative Cloud are available online, you’ll need to stay connected to the internet anyway. 

Yet, the offline grace period is a nice gesture that won’t break your workflow if you run into any connectivity trouble for the day!

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Adobe Creative Cloud?

Despite all its merits, Adobe Creative Cloud still has some issues that you should know about.

1. No Option to Permanently Buy an App

One of the biggest issues that a lot of content creators have with the service is that there’s no buy-out option for any price.

For example, let’s have a quick look at Avid Media Composer, which is one of the most powerful video editing tools that compete with Adobe’s video editing apps. 

Similar to Adobe Creative Cloud, you can subscribe to their apps for a monthly fee that ranges between $23.99 and $34.99 depending on the subscription period you go for.

However, with Avid Media Composer, you also have the option to outright and permanently buy the tool for about $1,499. The lack of such an option in Adobe Creative Cloud is a huge bummer for a lot of professional and amateur creators.

2. Not Cost-Effective for Someone Using a Single App

Let’s say you’re an illustrator who works specifically on creating vector arts and illustrations. In that case, Adobe Illustrator might be the only app you need. 

In that case, subscribing to the “All Apps plan would feel pointless and not a cost-effective investment. 

3. It Has a Steep Learning Curve for Beginners

It goes without saying that Adobe apps aren’t easy for beginners, and so does the Creative Cloud. 

A lot of testers noted that there’s quite a bit of a learning curve when it comes to utilizing the service. 

Yet, Adobe tries its best to reduce this issue by offering various tutorials and how to’s along the way, so you don’t feel lost. Additionally, there’s an expert session feature for the “Teams” plan! 

4. The Launcher Software is CPU Demanding

Since it’s a cloud-based service, you should expect it to rely heavily on your browser. This can eat up some RAM and CPU, especially on Windows 10.

Luckily, adobe offers a variety of solutions to high CPU usage issues to reduce its impact on subscribers.

5. First Version of Updates May Have Some Bugs

Another downside of the continuous updates thing is that they may feel a bit rushed or unpolished, especially upon initial release.

Keep in mind that Adobe quickly troubleshoots these bugs by following these updates up with fixes and minor updates.

What About Adobe Creative Cloud’s Customer Support?

When it comes to Creative Cloud customer support, we’re speaking about Adobe, a multi-billion dollar company with 22 thousand employees from developers, customer support representatives, and others.

The company does have a huge customer support team. But, there’s a huge mixed reception of how helpful they are to consumers.

Adobe supports almost all of its current services, apps, and Adobe Stock through phone calls and chats regarding:

  • Accounts and payments
  • Downloading and installing
  • Serial numbers and app activations
  • How to’s and troubleshooting

Additionally, you can also ask any question on the Adobe customer support forum, and you’ll be answered by one of their mods.

When it comes to Creative Cloud Team plan members, they get extra perks. In addition to regular phone calls, chats, and forums, they can also get expert sessions for product tutorials and how to’s. 

According to Adobe, they support the latest app version as well as the two previous stable versions only. 

This could be a huge flaw if the company wasn’t offering free updates on their monthly subscription.

However, you should keep in mind that only the current version of the web and mobile apps is supported.


A Closer Look at Adobe Creative Cloud’s Pricing and Plans

So you now have a better idea about Adobe Creative Cloud’s features and you want to subscribe to the Creative Cloud.

In the following section, you’ll find everything you need to know about Adobe Creative Cloud pricing, what options you have, and their cancellation policy.

1. Variety of Options

When you first visit the pricing and plans page for the Creative Cloud, you’ll find that there’s a wide variety of options to choose from.

As you already know, you can choose the “Creative Cloud All Apps”, or if you prefer, you can hand-pick the apps that you’d like to pay for and leave the others.

However, as long as you’re going to go for two or more apps, it’s an extremely wiser decision to go for the “All Apps” option

It comes with a superior financial incentive as well as a creative one (you’ll have access to more than 20+ apps that will maximize your content quality potential).

The price of the “All Apps” plan may increase or decrease depending on your subscription period. For instance, it will cost you $52.99 a month for an annual subscription.

But if you pay the plan on a month to month subscription, you’ll pay significantly more (about $79.99). 

Since it’s illogical to need the entire library of Adobe apps for one or two months only, it’s never a good investment to go for this option.

Yet, if you’re a long term user of various adobe apps, you can pay even less than $52.99 a month if you pick the prepaid annual plan. Using this option, the whole deal will cost you only $599.88 a year ($49.99 for every month).

Each app is offered as a standalone version for different prices. The majority of individual apps will cost you about $20.99 a month for an annual subscription, such as:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • DreamWeaver
  • Animate
  • Premiere Pro
  • After Effects
  • Audition

Keep in mind that month to month subscribers will pay a bit more than that every month, which is about $31.49.

You can also pay less than $20,99 if you opt for the annual plan that’s paid yearly. In that case, the standalone app will cost you $239.88 per year, which is about $19.99 a month.

For that price, you’ll get instant access to the single app you’re subscribed to as well as the updates as soon as they’re released. 

Additionally, you’ll get other Creative Cloud exclusive perks and freebies. But more on that shortly.

Other individual Apps, such as Adobe XD and Adobe Lightroom, cost $9.99 only per month for an annual plan, which also grants you access, updates, and other cloud benefits. 

However, both these apps don’t have a month to month plan or a discount on prepaid annual plans, which is disappointing.

The cheapest standalone app on the creative cloud plan is the Adobe InCopy, costing you $4.99 per month for an annual subscription. 

It has a month to month plan that costs about $7.49 a month but no discounts on prepaid annual plans like the 20.99-dollar apps.

2. Various Packages for Specific Needs

Opting for a prepaid annual plan isn’t the only way to save more money on Adobe Creative Cloud subscription fees.

You can also go for the specific packages that are designed for a specific target and custom needs.

Creative Cloud Photography Bundle

For example, Adobe is well aware that a huge portion of its users, especially photographers, will only use Photoshop and Lightroom only for their projects. For that reason, they’ve created the “Photography” bundle! In this custom package, you’ll get both apps as well as Lightroom Classic, which is a desktop-focused app for photo editing. The best part here is that you sync both Lightroom and Lightroom Classic together, so you don’t miss a thing and continue your projects online with no issues! As usual, you’ll get the same free apps and cloud perks that you’d enjoy if you opt for any of the Creative Cloud apps. Depending on the amount of storage space you want for the cloud, the price of the bundle will vary. You can choose between 20 GB storage or 1 TB storage on the cloud. The 20 GB storage will cost you $9.99 a month on an annual subscription with no discounts for a prepaid yearly subscription. As for the 1 TB cloud storage option, you’ll pay $19.99 a month on a yearly subscription. As you can see, this cost even less than the standalone Photoshop app, although it has almost the same features and more creative perks!

Teams and Businesses

For businesses and teams that use Adobe, opting for the Creative Cloud is a bit more expensive, costing you $79.99 per month for the “All apps” option and $33.99 per month for a single app. This is the price for a single license, so the bigger your team is, the more licenses you’ll need to get. It’s not a secret that Adobe went a little bit overboard while setting that price. However, a professional team would still get a lot of benefits from the Team package than opting for the individual package per user. For starters, team packages enable advanced collaboration on projects. For example, the team can use Adobe Premiere Pro to work on a project together. Additionally, this package offers 1 TB of online cloud storage, which helps in sharing and editing projects a lot faster and more efficiently. Moreover, you can also have access to volume discounts if you order 10 or more team licenses. Adobe also grants 24/7 tech support for team packages, shared Stock plans, as well as 1 on 1 sessions with experts in design. Lastly, you also get an unlimited job posting access to Adobe Talent!

Students, Teachers, and Universities

Lastly, Adobe is popular for having discounts and special pricing plans for students and teachers. You can enjoy these discounts on Adobe Creative Cloud too if you're a student or a teacher! With that plan, you can get up to 65% off on the “All Apps”, costing you only $19.99 per month on an annual plan and $219.00 for a prepaid annual plan ($18.25 for every month). Keep in mind that you’ll need to be at least 13 years old and hold a valid institutional affiliation in order to qualify for this discount, whether you’re a student or a teacher. Schools and universities can also have these special licenses for a relatively affordable price. With these licenses, you’ll enjoy all the features of the “All Apps” plan for only $34.99 a month.  For entire institutions and enterprises, you’ll need to contact the customer support and get a price quote depending on your needs.

3. Free Trials and other Freebies

Despite being pricey, you’ll have enough time to decide whether the Creative Cloud is the right investment for you. 

Adobe Creative Cloud offers a 7-day trial period. In that trial, you get access to all the 20+ apps included in the package as well as:

  • Adobe premium fonts
  • 100 GB of cloud storage
  • Tutorials and how to’s
  • You own portfolio website

After the trial period, Adobe will charge you for the app/apps you’ve picked. For example, if you choose all apps, you’d pay the $52.99 a month fee.

The additional freebies that you’d get with the Adobe Creative Cloud are many. For example, if you pick the “All Apps” package on any pricing plan, you’ll get more than all the apps that are available for an individual subscription.

Here’s a quick list with some of the free perks that you’ll enjoy with your subscription:

  • Media Encoder: a video editing suite that allows you to encode videos to any format and extension, so you can make sure it plays on various devices.
  • Character Animator: one of the best software that enables you to control layered 2D models that you’ve drawn in Illustrator or Photoshop
  • Adobe Fuse: an advanced graphic software that allows you to create 3D characters and models with the ability to import your projects into the character creators. 
  • Adobe Prelude: ideal for Adobe Premiere Pro users. It allows you to transcode raw footage and tag media with metadata for searching. 
  • Adobe Bridge: a smart file management tool that helps you organize Adobe and non-Adobe files as well!
  • Adobe Portfolio: creates optimized websites to showcase your projects with multiple pages
  • Adobe Spark: allows you to create web content with ease, such as one-page websites
  • Adobe Fonts: gives you access to Adobe’s huge library that consists of tons of trusted and spam-free fonts to use while designing

4. Cancellation

The subscription period begins as soon as the payment is processed. The prices remain fixed throughout the subscription period. You won’t have to do anything special to renew your subscription, as it’s renewed automatically.

However, Adobe has a 14-day refund policy if you want to cancel your subscription. After these 14 days, they deduct 50% of the fees that are remaining on the balance of your contract. 

Even after you cancel, the service will remain valid until the end of the month you’ve billed for. Unfortunately, Adobe doesn’t offer refunds for the prepaid annual plan and month to month plan.

Final Verdict

There you have it. A complete Adobe Creative Cloud review with everything you need to know about the subscription-based cloud service. So, is Adobe Creative Cloud worth it?

To put it in the simplest way, it depends mainly on your needs. The service is undeniably pricey, especially for freelancers and small businesses.

However, if you look at the price and compare it with what you get, it definitely looks like a huge bargain!

The Creative Cloud offers you more than 20 original Adobe apps, consistent updates, reliable cloud service, and tons of features and freebies that make it a great bang for your buck!

The “All Apps” plan is an excellent way to take your content creation career to the next level whether you’re a beginner or a highly reputable business owner!