Yesterday I took a look at Adobe's "Creative Cloud" app. Today I'm going to look at the "Big Three" apps within Creative Cloud... Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
But before I go there, I have to come clean and admit that most of Adobe's updates have pretty much been "fluff" to me. Yeah, it's cool to get time-savers like the "Spot Healing Brush" and cool extras like "Perspective Drawing Tools"... but, overall, the basic stuff you need to do the job have been around for a long time and everything else they keep adding is nothing more than fluff.
My problem is that I like the fluff.
I get giddy every time Adobe drops some new nifty feature that makes my job easier... or more fun.
Unfortunately, I think we're getting to the point where the fluff is starting to affect app performance, and that's a problem. Kinda. So let me get the worst out of the way first...
In a nutshell? Fucking horrendous. The program is practically unusable now.
Should you upgrade? Only if you enjoy excrutiating pain and endless frustration.
By the time Adobe bought out Aldus PageMaker in 1994, I had already moved on to QuarkXpress for page layout. The problem being that I hated Quark. So when Adobe came out with InDesign, I jumped... nay, I bolted to InDesign... and never looked back. Partly because I loathed Quark so badly... but mostly because I loved what Adobe had done with InDesign.
Fast forward to yesterday and I have to ask... what the fuck is Adobe doing with InDesign?
The previous CS6 update felt slower than CS5 and crashed quite a bit. But it's an absolute joy to use compared to InDesign CC, which is ungodly slow and clunky. The lag when typing text is agonizing. Moving objects is sheer torture because they... just... won't... move. Even hiding all the images and turning off every automated feature doesn't help speed things up much. I could go on, but it's pointless to do so because InDesign CC is pretty much unusable and worthless.
But before I go, a question... why the fuck hasn't Adobe gotten off their asses and hidden the temp files that have been shitting all over my hard drive since InDesign 1.0?
In a nutshell? Not a lot to see here, move along.
Should you upgrade? Sure. You get a few nice pieces of fluff and I haven't found a down-side.
Adobe Illustrator is my most favorite program ever. I love Illustrator. It's powerful. It's comfortable. It's friendly. And the pen tool I use constantly to draw stuff is sublime. It also doesn't hurt that I'm really, really good at it. Just so long as Adobe doesn't break something, I'm excited by any new feature they want to throw my way. This time I'm especially excited by the free-transform tool (which allows you to distort objects oh so easily, especially with a touch screen)... the "touch text" tool (which allows you to perform really slick adjustments to live text)... the smarter Smart Guides (which is much needed)... and the nifty stuff they've done with brushes (like automatically generating corners and allowing you to use images and brushes). Granted, that's not a lot. But Illustrator is so amazing it really doesn't have to be. Overall a minor, unobtrusive, and welcome upgrade.
In a nutshell? Pretty great fluff this time. No noticeable slowdown from the additional features.
Should you upgrade? Only if you have confirmed that any third-party plugins you need are compatible.
Photoshop is a stunning example of what people mean when they use words like "invaluable" and "essential." It is the irreplaceable tool I need to do my job. I use it most every single day and love it more than chocolate pudding. So how does Adobe make a great thing greater? Welllll... the show-stopper this time is "Shake Reduction" which is a really smart, mostly-automatic, all-new version of "Smart Sharpen." And the results are pretty impressive...
Oops. In my defense, my camera didn't have image stabilization. And I was drunk.
Yes. This. With just a press of a button. Is it magic? It's Photoshop.
And, speaking of Smart Sharpen, that's been improved too.
Next up? Camera Raw now only works as a filter now for quickly working on non-RAW images, but they've added some new toys too... like auto spot removal. And a cool little feature called "Automated Upright" which will allow you to more quickly and easily straighten buildings and stuff...
When enlarging photos... especially ones with well-defined edges... I usually use a third-party enlargement plugin that has edge detection or fractals or some method to preserve details in the image. Now Photoshop has a new enlargement method called "Preserve Details." And it works pretty well...
It's tough to tell at this small size, but the "Preserve Details" enlargement on the right is much better.
There are other new features, improvements, and a few tweaks... but the above three are the biggies. And I think they're worth the price of admission when taken in a lump sum. But there is a down-side. Some of my third-party plugins are not working. Most notably, Imagenomic Noiseware. Until you're sure that your essential plugins can work with Photoshop CC you might want to hold off upgrading.
And there you have it. A mixed bag. Mostly thanks to a jaw-droppingly shitty InDesign update.
But also because Adobe can't be bothered to make their apps work well with my Mac. Full-Screen support is broken. Still. And my Magic Mouse acts like a total spaz with accidental scrolls and crappy tracking even though it's been out for nearly four years... so I have to downgrade to my Mighty Mouse, which is much older, but does work for some reason. Yet Adobe did expand Mac Retina Display support, so what do I know?
Now that we're stuck in the Creative Cloud I'm already looking for sunnier weather. Because even though I love Adobe and their critical tools which allow me to to what I do... they simply cannot continue to unleash horrendous piles of shit like InDesign CC any more.
When you're responsible for something "invaluable" and "essential," you have to do better than that.
Adobe Creative Cloud has arrived.
Adobe software upgrades are usually a reason to celebrate, but their controversial decision to make a monthly Creative Cloud membership the only way to use such popular apps as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign has made a lot of people upset and angry. Sure you can still buy the old CS6 software, but any new stuff is members only. This kind of sucks, because if you aren't able to pay your monthly fee, any files saved in the newer CC format become useless. And, of course, to use the latest features you have to save in CC format. Catch-22.
Regardless, I thought I'd give a quick overview of the thing for anybody out there who's curious. And if you don't even know what Creative Cloud is? Hark! A promo video...
And now for this Creative Cloud business...
The bad news is that Adobe still doesn't beta test anything before release. Or, if they do, they do a really crappy job of it. Just as it's always been with their apps, I've found bugs and problems on my very first day. How the fuck Adobe can miss or overlook stuff that I run across after mere minutes of use is just beyond me. The only thing I can guess is that they know their users don't have any realistic alternative to their tools so they just don't give a shit.
Everything I cover will be on a Mac, because I honestly don't give a flying fuck about Windows anymore after Microsoft released the horrendous pile of shit known as "Windows 8." If you're using that hot mess of an OS, I apologize, but, damn.
The boat-load of apps that come with a Creative Cloud membership are now managed by a menu bar extension. I thought this was a lot nicer than the previous method of hunting down Adobe's Application Manager app, but the thing is (of course) buggy and defective, so it's a mixed bag. Never mind that it doesn't update itself after an app is installed (you have to restart your Mac for that), there is a much bigger problem. In that most times when you switch between Apple's virtual desktops (called "Spaces") the damn thing activates. That's right, it just opens up for no reason at all. And this is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about when I question whether Adobe bothers to test their shit. I ran across this problem immediately after installation. How in the hell did Adobe's beta testers not notice it? Do they ignore basic Mac OS X features? This is fucking insane. And the fact that Adobe isn't embarrassed by things like this speaks volumes for what you're getting into when you sign up for their products.
But I digress. The menu extension looks like this...
It's nice that you're told if your app is up-to-date, even though it makes the menu window huge. Oddly enough, if an app is not up to date, Creative Cloud doesn't have the ability to update it. Instead it launches Adobe Updater, which is kind of crazy. Why have one tool that can handle multiple tasks when you can clutter up a hard drive with two? Or, more likely for Adobe, twenty?
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
If you are a professional, you'll want to install the new CC apps next to your old CS6 apps in case you run into some heinous bug that prevents you from getting work done. Thankfully, this is fully supported. But what if you're a rebel like me who only wants the new apps? Do you have the option of overwriting Photoshop CS6 with Photoshop CC? Of course you don't! That would be too fucking convenient, and Adobe has a reputation for shitty, inconvenient installers, so that's not going to happen.
Welcome to Adobe manual uninstallation! It's stupidly inconsistent, but that's the Adobe way!
Some apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat have uninstaller apps in their folders. That's not so bad, right? Well, sure... if they worked. The uninstaller for InDesign hanged and had to be force-quit. The unistaller for Acrobat said that Acrobat was an invalid application to uninstall. You get the picture. Though at least they have uninstallers. Apps like Bridge don't. Regardless of how much work you put into uninstalling (Mac App Cleaner helped a lot), you still end up with traces of crap scattered over your hard drive. I did a search to root out all things "Adobe" so I could trash them, but I'm sure pieces are still around somewhere. Guess reformatting my hard drive is the only way to truly clean out old Adobe apps?
After installation... which was surprisingly smooth and easy... I thought I'd just quit Creative Cloud since I wouldn't be needing it the rest of the day. But, surprise!, Creative Cloud doesn't like that because Creative Cloud doesn't fucking know if it's working on an installation or not!
I suppose it's possible that Creative Cloud hands off installation to yet another app but, if that were the case, why would quitting cancel the install app? Insanity.
In what I can only describe as some kind of bizarre tease, two of Creative Cloud's non-app functions... Cloud File Storage and Cloud Typekit Fonts... are "coming soon"...
The third non-app function is Adobe's acquisition of "Behance" which is an online portfolio you can share with people. I'm already using Deviant Art for my portfolio, but it's free so I went ahead and signed up. Eventually I might even put something there.
And that's pretty much it for Creative Cloud.
But what about the new CC apps? Are the new features in Photoshop any good? Does Illustrator have any cool new toys? Does InDesign finally have decent performance at long last? Tune in tomorrow and see!
UPDATE! And the hits just keep coming. Turns out that Creative Cloud saying an app is "up-to-date" is not always true...
Most every single thing I do for my job is with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign. These are the apps I need to do whatever it is I do, and my work would be very difficult indeed without them.
Not to say that there aren't alternatives... there are plenty... but when it comes to the feature-rich tools I know best, and the ability to work together in the way I need them to, Adobe is the only game in town.
It used to be that Adobe apps were purchased like most any software... you buy them. Well, not "buy" per-se, it's more like a "one-time permanent lease payment"... and once you pay your money you can use them for as long as they work for you. This "Creative Suite" can then be upgraded every year or two when Adobe finishes up a new version.
Last year Adobe introduced a new way of using their products... renting. They call it "Creative Cloud" and for fifty bucks a month, they're all yours to use as much as you want...
The good news is that, so long as you keep paying, your apps are always up-to-date. You always have the latest features, and Adobe rolls them out when they're ready rather than making you wait for the next release. That much is really sweet.
But two days ago Adobe announced that "renting" their "Creative Cloud" is now the only way to go. As of now, they are discontinuing "Creative Suite" (for the most part) with the current version 6.
I had already moved to Creative Cloud last year, so this doesn't really affect me. But what if it does?!?
This could be bad.
Because what if Adobe discontinues an app?
As unlikely as it may be, let's say that Adobe kills off Illustrator in a couple years. You can't rent it any more. It's gone. And since you aren't able to buy it, you can't access any of your files created with it. You can't open them. You can't print them. You can't export them for use with another program. All your years of hard work essentially vanishes overnight. Everything you've created in Adobe Illustrator has to be recreated from scratch in a different program. Unless some other app comes along that reads the format.
But that's not all though. There's all kinds of doomsday scenarios that come to mind. What if Adobe doesn't kill an app... but instead raises the price of using it to $1000 a month? Pretty much the same thing, isn't it? You're trapped. You pay what Adobe wants or else you lose everything. Or maybe they don't raise the price... but all of a sudden your financial situation changes and you can't afford the rent? Again, pretty much the same thing. You're locked out and all your stuff is inaccessible.
So I guess this is bad.
And right now I'm more than a little worried.
Adobe needs to do two things to make me feel a bit better about this New World Order...
Release free "reader" programs for all their apps that at least let you look at your work. And print it. And possibly convert it to an open format so you could take it elsewhere if something happened that you couldn't use Creative Cloud any more. Knowing that I could at least see my work... and ideally export it somehow... would go a long way towards easing my mind and helping me to accept our Adobe Overlords.
Create smaller bundles of apps. As I said, I use three apps from Creative Cloud. THREE OUT OF WHAT... THIRTY?!? Give or take (some of these are services, not apps, that I won't use)...
It feels like a complete rip-off that I have to pay for development of huge bunches of crap I will never (or rarely) use. Even if it were to only save me $10 a month... perhaps by renting a "designer bundle" with only the "Big Three" that I need or something... well... I would feel much better about my rent. As it is, I think it's absurd that I am forced to pay for shit like "Flash Builder Premium" that I would sooner light on fire than ever load onto my computer. This is like the cable company all over again, and it's not a good thing.
Realistically, Number Two will probably never happen. But Number One pretty much has to. If it doesn't... if there's a risk that all my work could become inaccessible tomorrow (for whatever reason)... well... is that a risk I can really afford to take?
Perhaps it's time to start exploring some of those other options?
I was reeeeeally looking forward to Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars. They might have actually been worth watching next year. Now its not going to happen.
Last night after a marathon work session, I decided to check my news feed one last time before bed. The breaking story of the night? Adobe is killing Flash Mobile.
Which is sweet vindication for Steve Jobs and Apple, who recognized a turd when they saw it. Now if only we could kill this stupid crap on our desktops and laptops, I'd really have reason to celebrate. I am beyond tired of my MacBook's battery bleeding out and the fan kicking in every time I come across a website running Flash content. I tried disabling it and using "Click-To-Flash," but there are sites I use for work which require it, so until it just DIES (or web developers wake up) I'm stuck.
And speaking of dying, the Republicans had yet another debate and this happened...
Rick Perry, who actually had a chance at one point, crashed and burned hard when he said he was going to get rid of shit, but couldn't remember which shit he wanted to get rid of. The media firestorm over this flub has been kind of harsh, but the guy is just nuts when it comes to speaking in public (in general) and debating (specifically) so I guess it was only a matter of time. He's done.
Jon Huntsman actually did quite well, I thought. But boy is he the bastard red-headed step-child of the Republican party. It's a real shame too, because he is a level-headed guy that seems to steer clear of the radical side of the GOP pool. If he had some real backing and was given half a chance, I think he might be a good opponent in the 2012 election. But he doesn't. He's done.
Ron Paul continues to alternate between insightful commentary and crazy-talk, which wouldn't be a show-stopper at this debate if it weren't for the fact that he turns into Debbie Downer every time he opens his mouth. He just can't seem to inspire people, which is kind of an important part of being president. Even worse? It's a critical part of winning elections. He's done. Unless he is tapped to be the Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket. As Joe Biden has repeatedly shown, inspired leadership is apparently totally irrelevant to the VP position. Plus... Paul has a fanatical following which could make him an asset to the race.
Michele "Bat-Shit-Crazy" Bachmann and Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum were always done. Their continued presence is turning the GOP into more of a joke every minute they're allowed to have a seat at the table. I can only imagine that this is some kind of strategy by whomever is running the show. No matter how badly The Chosen One (=cough= Romney =cough=) messes up, people can still point and laugh at Bachmann and Santorum's ridiculous antics. Talk about the living embodiment of a lightning rod... they make excellent distraction fodder for Democrats to focus on. But what happens when they go away?
Newt Gingrich continues to impress me despite the fact that I still disagree with most all of his politics. And the reason he impresses? The guy is a top-notch politician. And I think he is absolutely correct when he says that he would be lethal in a debate with President Obama. But, as much as I would love to see that, I just can't imagine it actually happening. Gingrich keeps holding on because he's garnered a lot of respect in his arena. But he can't hold on like that forever. Ultimately, he has to sway his party and, despite having one of the more articulate, non-wavering, clear voiced visions I've seen here, he's not doing that. Maybe it's his numerous past scandals holding him back. Maybe it's his reluctance to speak in 30-second soundbites. Maybe he just isn't what the majority of Republicans want in a candidate. I honestly don't know. He's almost done. Personally, I think he's make a good choice for the VP slot (can you imagine him debating Vice President Biden?).
Herman Cain keeps losing ground with me but, not surprisingly, he keeps gaining ground in his party. Even putting aside the current sexual harassment scandals swirling around him, I just don't get it. Tonight he proved that not only is he crazy, he's also a disrespectful piece of shit (and quite possibly a sexist asshole...Princess Nancy?!? Seriously? THIS is a presidential candidate?). Look, you will get no argument from me -none- that our tax system is fucked up and needs a complete overhaul. But this
Mitt Romney is all but assured of the nomination. He would have to kill a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in order to be passed over at this point. A part of me gets it. The guy feels presidential. He may actually have a decent shot in the election. But what the hell? The Republicans crucified... crucified... Barack Obama over his occasional flip-flopping, yet Mitt Romney is the fucking king of flip-flops. You literally never know what the hell the guy stands for because the only consistent thing about him is his inconsistency. Even worse? He then proceeds to lie about it. Badly. It's as if he doesn't realize that people record everything he says. As if all that weren't enough, he's a Mormon, which would usually be the kiss of death. A lot of Christians refer to Mormonism as a cult for heaven's sake (Google it and stand back in awe!). Given the Christian Conservative backbone of the GOP, Romney's high standing in the race is surprising to say the least. In all honesty, I don't think he's a challenge to President Obama in 2012. Well, unless Obama kills a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Then he might have a chance.
My hopes of a candidate emerging to present a serious challenge for the presidency are diminishing quickly. The last thing I want is for President Obama to go unchecked and win the election in a cake walk. He's caved or backpedaled on a lot of things I really care about, and my frustration levels are growing (despite progress made in other areas I also care about). I want his feet held to the fire on his continuing lobbyist connections. I want answers on what happened to this "transparency" we were promised. I want some of his decisions challenged in a way that only a strong opposition candidate can provide. I want a real debate.
Apparently, I want too much.
It's a sweet Bullet Sunday at home as I blog in-between trips!
• Fault. Just how much more hardship is Louisiana supposed to endure? Hurricanes, floods, recession, and now an oil spill? I'm sure Pat Robertson must be positively orgasmic, seeing as how he has decided to speak on behalf of God and tell everybody it's New Orleans' fault. No word from the hate-mongering old fuck on what "God" says is the cause of the flooding in Nashville. My guess would be the 700 Club's Nashville office being located in the city, but far be it for me to speak on behalf of the Almighty. I'll leave that to douchebag televangelists.
• Funneh. When President Obama delivers a standup routine at the The White House Correspondent's Dinner that was funnier than Jay Leno's bit, it has me hoping he gets his own late-night talk show in seven years...
Though I must say my favorite part was when Obama took a moment to pay some words of respect to our troops. Quite a nice change from his predecessor.
• CS5. Color me completely shocked. After I finally managed to get Adobe Creative Suite 5 downloaded, everything else was gravy. Unlike every other installation of Creative Suite, there were NO issues this time. Installation was painless. Nothing got screwed up when I uninstalled the previous version. Everything just works. This is a pleasant change from when I installed CS4 and ended up having to reformat my hard drive and start over from scratch in order to get it working. TWICE. Thank you, Adobe...
• Merged. The latest casualty of airline consolidation? Continental Airlines, which is apparently merging with United. I used to love flying Continental when they were part of the SkyTeam Alliance because they had a direct flight into Cologne, but had to drop out when they left my mileage program. Now my worry is that the ever-decreasing competition amongst airlines is going to drive up prices. Tickets are already running much higher than I'm used to, and if things go much higher I'm going to have to drastically cut back on my travel.
• Bits. In case you missed it, my "Blogography Bits" leftovers blog had my reactions to the stolen iPhone drama, and Senseless Flash Injection, and crappy blog hosting hostility, and even a comic book meme this week.
And now I'm off to eat candy for dinner. But don't judge me for that... I had candy for lunch, so it's okay.
Last night was when Adobe allowed their customers who purchased Creative Suite 5 to download it. Since I spend almost my entire day working in either Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, this is a pretty monumental event that affects nearly all of my professional life... and a sizable chunk of my personal life too. All-in-all, they've added some amazing features that will make what I do a lot easier. But they've also made some mistakes of such astounding obviousness that it has me wondering if they bothered to beta-test the apps before release. Oh well. I guess you can't have it all.
Alas, the best new tools and hot new features are no substitute for creativity and good design.
All you have to do is watch television for an hour to see that.
Even with all the special effects and killer graphics available today, most television commercials are annoying crap that I can't wait to fast-forward through. But every once in a while a good commercial comes along that I actually want to watch. I dunno what it is about this latest 1-800-CONTACTS ad that strikes me funny, but it does...
It's as if companies are finally getting a clue that their commercials have to entertain if they expect people to want to watch them (especially in the age of DVRs). Sure there have always been great ads every once in a while, but they're really upping their game now. Like that great commercial from Old Spice... or those funny commercials from Ally Bank... or the amazing Betty White ad for Snickers... and now this one from 1-800-CONTACTS. All money well-spent.
Of course, we have a long ways to go before we can reach the awesomeness found in Japanese commercials...
And for those of you with the pizza toppings song permanently stuck in your head... you're welcome!
Today is Adobe Photoshop's 20th anniversary! Congratulations to the Knoll Brothers who started it all!
Along with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop is a program that I use most every single day. I honestly cannot imagine my life... personal or professional... without it. I use it for editing photos, laying out designs, creating original art, and enhancing-corecting-manipulating any kind of bitmap image. I've used it so often and for so long that much of the time I don't even have to think about using it. I just do. I have become one with Photoshop. This didn't happen right away, of course. It's been a long road.
The first time I used Photoshop was at a technical demonstration in Seattle. My best friend and I headed over the mountains to look at a new "lost-cost" image scanner (over a $1000, but that was "cheap" for the time). The software used to manipulate the resulting scan was... wait for it... Photoshop. The program was borderline miraculous and had jaw-dropping features which allowed for some powerful, yet easy, photo adjustments.
A couple years later, scanner prices had dropped to the point where I could finally afford one. The model I purchased (made by Mustek, I think) came with a copy of Photoshop 2.5, which was actually more exciting to me than the actual scanner. The software was so expensive to purchase alone that it would be pretty odd to buy it without a scanner, since you were basically getting a scanner for free out of the deal. Except it ran only on a Macintosh and I had an Atari ST computer at the time. This was a major bummer, but ended up being a good thing because I went into debt and bought my first Mac (a Centris 650) one month later...
From having used Photoshop since version 1.0 and owned it from version 2.5, it's amazing to me how the core functionality really hasn't changed that much. Sure version 3.0 added layers, which was about as revolutionary a feature as you're going to get, but it was pretty much just gravy on top of the Photoshop I was already using... and would continue to use right up through today, two decades later.
And, on that happy note, it's time for bed. I've got a long drive ahead of me in the morning.