Photoshop CC: Adobe responds to reaction


Yesterday’s announcement by Adobe that it will cease ‘perpetual license’ sales of Photoshop and its Creative Suite counterparts has generated considerable backlash here on dpreview and across the web. With such a significant change in store, we spoke today with Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, Winston┬áHendrickson and Bryan O’Neill Hughes, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop for Adobe’s response to the uproar.

Winston Hendrickson, VP of Creative Solutions, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Q&A with Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, Winston Hendrickson

Were you expecting such a negative response from the photographic community?

We expected a higher degree of this type of reaction from the hobbyist photographic community because currently there’s not a lot of photography-specific value in our subscription products. That’s why we’ve taken the unusual steps of Tom Hogarty’s appearance on The Grid [a Scott Kelby webisode] showing potential Lightroom CC features and the Photoshop Sneak Peek where we showed new features like Camera Shake reduction.

Is a subscription model less prone to piracy?

While service options that connect to our servers are inherently less prone to piracy, once a user downloads software to their computer the piracy threat is the same as for our perpetual products.

The reason behind the subscription-only move is the logistics of supporting two sets of software. The last 12 months of development was brutal. And there were results we were not happy with. We have decided to focus on the CC products.

As far as the future of CS applications, in his Adobe MAX keynote, David Wadhwani said, ‘We have no plans’ to continue perpetual licenses. We are not ruling that out in the future.

How do you justify the price increase to photographers?

Last year we actually cut the price of Lightroom in half in order to open it up to a broader market of photographers.

What assurances can our readers have that Lightroom will not become a subscription-only option?

[Bryan O’Neil Hughes] Lightroom is for photographers. And the Lightroom team is very aware of the reaction by photographers to Photoshop CC. We don’t have plans to make Lightroom a subscription-only option but we do envision added functionality for the CC version of Lightroom.

What support can CS6 users expect?

Barring something unforeseen from Apple and Microsoft, we plan to update Photoshop CS6 for the next Mac and Windows operating system releases. Once Camera Raw 8 is completed for Photoshop CC, we are going to release a version of it for CS6 that includes any new camera support but without any of the new CC tools and features.

In addition, DNG Converter will remain a free option to convert new Raw file formats for use in older versions of Photoshop.

What happens to Photoshop CC and my files if I cancel my subscription?

We do not delete any files or software from your computer. You will not be able to use the software but the files you’ve created and saved on your hard drive are left intact. And you don’t need a valid license or Internet connection to uninstall the software.

What can you say to users concerned that a subscription model removes their option to at least stick with an older version of software if they no longer want to continue paying for it?

That’s the trade-off for the benefits of a continuously updated application. At the time you decide to stop paying for it, yes you lose access, but after, say 12 months, you’ve ended up with a different product than the one you subscribed to, because of the new features that have been added. And for existing perpetual users, Photoshop CS can co-exist alongside and independently from Photoshop CC.

One final point I’d like to address is the misconception that you have to be continuously connected to the Internet to use a CC application. Monthly subscribers can go for as long as 30 days without connecting to the Internet for license validation. Users with an annual commitment can go for as long as 99 days.

Reader FAQs

Below we’ve provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions our readers have asked since Adobe’s announcement.

What is CC?

Adobe has rebranded its upcoming versions of applications with the ‘CC’ (Creative Cloud) moniker. They will be made available on June 17. A month-to-month or discounted annual CC subscription gives you access to all of the Adobe Creative Suite titles, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Premiere and After Effects. You can see a full list of the available software here.

Why am I being forced to work in the ‘cloud’?

The simple answer is that you’re not. Once you’ve subscribed, you still download Photoshop and install it on your preferred hard drive. You can open, edit and save files locally just as you would in CS6. While Adobe is touting the connectivity and collaborative features of its CC applications, and providing 20GB of online storage, you can choose not to take advantage of these services.

You will need an Internet connection to download, install and license the software, of course. You will also be asked to connect to the web periodically in order to validate the license. At launch, annual subscribers will be able to use the products for 99 consecutive days while offline. Eventually, this offline ability will be extended to 180 consecutive days without Internet access.

I’ll never use Dreamweaver or InDesign. Can I subscribe just to Photoshop?

Yes. Adobe is offering a special introductory price for CS3 and later owners of $9.99 per month for the first 12 months. The regular price for a Photoshop CC-only subscription is $19.99 per month with an annual commitment and $29.99 per month for the ability to cancel at any time. You should also know that Photoshop CC includes all of the additional features and functionality that was limited to Photoshop Extended in CS versions.

What happens to ACR support for CS6?

As Tom Hogarty states on his Lightroom blog, CS6 users will gain the camera compatibility updates set to arrive in on June 17 in ACR 8. These updates, however, will not include any of the new features seen in the Photoshop CC demo or Lightroom 5 Beta release, such as the Upright tool, Advanced Healing Brush or Radial Gradient Filter. Adobe is not providing a timeline for how long new camera support will continue for the ACR version of Photoshop CS6.

Can I still buy Lightroom?

Yes. Lightroom, while available as part of the Creative Cloud bundle, can still be purchased as a standalone piece of software at $149 for new users and $79 for owners of any previous version. Adobe Acrobat can be purchased as a standalone title as well.

Can I still buy Photoshop CS6?

Photoshop CS6 is still currently available for a downloadable purchase here on Adobe’s site.

Do I really need Photoshop?

One thing that Adobe’s move has certainly done is make many photographers ask themselves whether they need all, or even a majority of tools Photoshop currently offers. Indeed, whenever we write about newly announced Photoshop features, there’s always a segment of users who claim the features are of no use to them and that they’ll happily stick with a previous version. And many, of course have adopted a ‘skip every other upgrade’ policy.

For users working primarily with Raw files, the current version of Lightroom offers a vast majority of the tools that users producing traditional photographic output require. Indeed, unless you’re creating composite images or performing fashion/beauty retouching, we’d argue most Lightroom users are making far fewer trips to Photoshop than they did in previous versions.

And if your image editing needs are limited to exposure and contrast adjustments to 8-bit files there’s Photoshop Elements, which is available as a standalone purchase for $99.



Sign the petition against the change.


ACDsee Pro 6, I love you more than ever!!


I think that Adobe is still very creative, just look at this latest CC innovation without doubt. The next step will be to Lightroom. R.I.P.

Husaberg Grok

I administer workstations that NEVER touch the world wide web and NEVER will. There are many businesses with the same policy.

Farewell photoshop.

We used to use it in our professional grapics department, we are looking for replacement software.


ADOBE, It was a good ride. But my love affair is over. I thought a natural move would be to Lightroom, but not a dummied down version over the CC version. I’ve been purchasing licensed versions of PS long before the CS version, and all of the CS versions. I also have purchased all of the versions of ACROBAT PRO, will that be next?


As both a professional web designer and advanced amateur (or whatever you want to call it) photographer, I’m going to have shell out for even more than most of you guys. I’m actually attending the Adobe Max conference and the reaction here is less angry than around the net but people are still sorting it out I think. Personally I’m not a fan, although I see what they’re trying to do, and from a designer’s perspective some of the Edge apps are very cool, so who knows. Maybe it will work out.


“We do not delete any files or software from your computer. You will not be able to use the software but the files you’ve created and saved on your hard drive are left intact.”

So.. my layered PSDs are good for what exactly? On that note, what other software will open a layered PSD.. do any of the competition’s do this?


Until there is a provision that after a certain period of subscription software will no longer deactivate, I am afraid this is the end of the road for me. Started with Photoshop 4, now with multiple programs.

BTW, if Adobe thinks it will survive on professionals alone, Mr. Hendrickson is on dope.


If you are a supporter of this, forced or not and justify the cost as not that much, stop looking solely in your own wallet and think about those who will be impacted the most.

And, one group to add to that list are the young students in middle and high school. Educational pricing was about 50% of msrp, and most programs would update the software when necessary, usually about a 3 year cycle. Now it will cost 29.00 per month for each student. We currently offer 4 specific classes that utilize PS, ID, and AI – Photography – Design – Art – Publishing. It looks like they have a special site lease, but unless it matches our current costs, it is likely that we will have to look elsewhere. Not to mention the logistical headache of having each student create an account, and the hassle of having 4 different installs on one desktop. (unless Adobe has thought of this, nightmare ahead) There will be many secondary school programs falling off the map.


Hardly allays our worst fears. Once LR joins the circus,you’ll be paying a lot more than $79 and you don’t own it.

Looks like Photoshop CS6 is my last update. So yes your brilliant plan succeeded Adobe, as you won’t get a cent anymore.


I will find a replacement for Photoshop in the short term, Will replace Lightroom in the long run. Bye Bye Adode. (Because they will do the same to Lightroom users some day…..)

No regrets, after 20 years it’s sad that you dumb your paid customers for more cash.

Jude McDowell

Found a link to this blog in another site; one person’s experience after signing up to Creative Cloud…


I guess Adobe is trying some really big moves and changes like M/S Bomber. They haven’t notice whats happen to them yet. They can go down together. They lost my little $600 per upgrade. I guess I’ll lean Gimp. Greed…..


Message to Adobe’s PR people:

Posting a smug drama headshot of your “VP of Creative Solutions” to head a smug message (“We anticipated this response . . .”) doesn’t help your cause.

Is the dude working to deliver creative tools, or responding to casting calls for extras in next week’s episode of “Revenge?”



They anticipated the response. I’m pretty sure that someone put the numbers together and made the cold calculation about this, but so did the folks from Quark, and their arrogance and disdain of customers got there where they are now: nowhere to be found.

This seems to be a trend on the software industry lately, ie Windows 8… keep up the “good work”, I’m moving to Apple’s Aperture and Gimp and if I were at Google I would see this as a GOLDEN opportunity – they have the talented team from Nik Software.


“Dear” Mr Hendrickson.

Quite right. There are a lot of features of Photoshop I don’t need. I do need 16 bit layer support, but sadly that means I must use CS in order to benefit from that feature and a pitiful handful of others.

I agree it’s a waste of money. I would go further and say it’s an appalling waste of money. Now you have made it an even bigger waste of money, But you still have not provided a solution.

So here is an idea. Add extended 16 bit support to Elements and ship a version without the catalogue tool as an integrated plug-in editor for LR. You are welcome to charge $50 as long as it’s not a racket, er, I mean subscription.

Oh and you can strip out all the other baby stuff from Elements like simple and guided modes and those wretched fake frames since LR users are hardly likely to use use any of that.

You’re welcome.

Steve Bingham

21 years of my full support and upgrading every year – not to speak of the PS classes I taught and the beta testing I struggled through – all of this slam dunked for a higher profit margin.

OK, fine. I’m gone! Good luck, Adobe, but I suspect Google and others will soon take on the challenge – and eat you alive.

Remember when knowledgeable English speaking folks answered the phones – and solved your problem-over the phone – right then? I do. It was their business plan – and it worked well. Gone.


guess many hobyist here then.

“We expected a higher degree of this type of reaction from the hobbyist photographic community “


I will always be able to open my transparencies! This is the danger of digital.


Already downloaded DxO Optics Pro 8, as LR is probably next on the list to go into the cloud, off my desktop computer and out of my life forever.


Now our expensive plugins are subscription only once CS6 fails to work…and it fail will sooner than later IMO.


I wonder what happened to the model of business where customers state what they want and manufacturers make it. Simple, has always worked. Bottom line, I doubt customers asked for this type of product enough to warrant the change. Sounds to me like its just more profitable and that’s what you’re going to get.

Guess what Adobe. No it ain’t.


Digital Shutterbug

Within the last 4 months, I made the switch from a PC to a MAC. I had to lay out the big bucks to get CS6, since Adobe does not offer a platform upgrade. You pay full price just like a new user. That sucks.

Now, to make matters worse, they pull this CS move (and that doesn’t stand for Creative Suite). I guess I’ll be sticking with CS6 and LR for a long time. $240 a year, and your work becomes almost useless if you give up that annual payment? Adobe, are you crazy? Be honest with us. How long will it be before you take the same path with LR?

I guess I’ll start saving some money. I won’t be spending a couple hundred dollars every 18 months or so for an upgrade. NAPP will lose too. There is not enough value to justify that $100 per year subscription for a few articles on LR. The non-photography based articles are already wasted space for me. Now the photography related CS articles will soon become useless. Sorry NAPP. You can tell Adobe they are costing you subscriptions.


Let’s hope there is someone in Silicon Valley smart enough to fill the void left by the departure of PS.

But this whole CC nonsense with Adobe proves that monopolies are bad for the end user, and that as consumers we must say no to the entrenched corporate oligarchy who have a strangle hold on the market.


Vote with your wallet, I say that all the time for many an issue in today’s world. Feels great every time I do.



Pixelmator: $14.95, waiting at a Mac App Store near you.

(Incidentally: a new feature in the latest version of Pixelmator? Option to save your files in iCloud, share / retrieve anywhere.)

Adam Filipowicz

its not a monopoly. because you do have other options..

Digital Shutterbug

You are absolutely right. JC Penney has learned that lesson well. They are begging their old time customers to come back and give them another chance after they got a new CEO that took them down a new road that the customers refused to follow. Adobe, have a look at JCP and let them teach you something about trying to run roughshod over customers.


LOL at y Adam Filipowicz only works off line if you keep paying for it. You stop the payment it stops working. As it is not you can tell Adobe to eff off and it’ll still keep working.


@Adam Filipowicz

The way Adobe has made it’s products interdependent, i.e., LR – ACR – PS, it’s enough of a monopoly if you depend on it to process your RAW files from multiple cameras.

And if you do any post work like air-brushing, cloning, compositing, own any Nik filter plugins, etc. you are pretty much looking at PS for the best and at all the rest as fill-in software for PS-like functionality.

So no, PS is not the only, but the best of the best. Sadly. But I’m open to suggestions.

Thanks, Mira. Have always wondered about Pixelmator. I’m on the App store now for a look-see.

Adam Filipowicz

@Quartertodoom ,yes it works offline, as long as you pay for it. obviously, i never said it would work offline without paying

@marike6 , the same logic can be applied to any software from any vendor, if you depend on its they have you trapped, except adobe supports many formats that are standards and can be edited and used by competing products. digital negatives for lightroom, layered tiffs, are examples

mike kobal

Let’s celebrate, Adobe staged and fell for their own Abseits trap, leaving a wide open field for a serious counter attack, I bet by the end of the year we will see a few ps alternatives and never look back.


Hear, hear.

Adam Filipowicz

there has been free and cheap PS alternatives out for years..even though photoshop cost hundreds of dollars. yet regardless PS is still king.. price isnt the issue.. PS is good thats why its popular

Adam Filipowicz

man you folks are a bunch of babies.. its still cheap..considering what you get..its like $1 a day.. for everything.. always updated.. thats cheap.. how much do you spend a day.. driving, drinking coffee?, buying music, or on your cell phone.. i rely on adobe for almost everything i do.. (maxon and MS Office 365) I love the subscription model.. i hope Maxon does the same with Cinema 4D Studio


good for you that it works for you. Please don’t call other people ‘babies’ who have different needs and different opinions. The issue goes far beyond money.

Adam Filipowicz

other then money what is the issue then? it will work offline


If I had a dollar a day from half a million people…hmmmm

NZ Scott

Sure $1 a day is nothing for a professional who is using the product every day, but for an amateur that only gets to shoot seriously ever second weekend, that’s US$14 just to use the software once.


For our mobile phones, broadband, cable, land line, etc don’t consumers have enough monthly bills to worry about?

It’s not like salaries are increasing for the majority of the middle class. So where do you get off calling people “babies” for complaining about Adobe absolutely shredding the trust and support of it’s loyal user base – enthusiast and small market professional photographers – by going to a flawed and expensive subscription model for a product that exists somewhere out in the ether?


Other than money: owning over renting. That is Liberty over slavery! and beside, it will work offline, yes… about less than a year:

“Monthly subscribers can go for as long as 30 days without connecting to the Internet for license validation. Users with an annual commitment can go for as long as 99 days.”

Adam Filipowicz

@nzscott, well if you barely use it. and cant find $1 a day,then you likely didnt purchase a license of cs6 or older. so find a free or cheap alternative. in all likelyhood you dont need photoshop anyways.

@leomartinez, no one is forcing you to use the product. slavery would require that you have no choice, but you do have a choice


Interview filled with weasel words and arrogance. I had to read some “answers” 5-6 times to understand what this guy is saying–and I’ve got a masters in photojournalism and 30 years media experience. Basically he is saying “drop dead” we’re going to do this and you dummies should just accept it. Sounds like he works for Microsoft. Sorry, but I’m pretty annoyed.


I have to say I hate this trend to rental software and the gross profit-mongering I’m seeing by not only Adobe but also some of the other big players. It’s forced me out of MS Office, now it’ll force me to leave LR and PS. I will own the right to use the software I require for as long as it suits me, thank you.

I’m hearing quite a few saying they’ll “stay with CS6” – but you know that’s not going to be an option for long, don’t you? Adobe will stop ACR updates from working with the older versions in a couple years – and that’s only if “ACR updates” exist at all.


To all the anti Adobe and pro Adobe people:


Except this one: last one.


Michael Ma

This is sad. CS6 is an amazing suite of products. I’ll guess I’ll just have to use that forever. Only thing I’m looking for is outside of photography which is a better integration between premiere pro and after effects, just like how some of illustrator’s handling of vector objects have made it into photoshop. I can’t think of really killer feature I would want in Photoshop. We know that the refocusing of blurred photos feature is not gonna happen.

Mark Schretlen

I find it odd that Adobe “expected a higher degree of this type of reaction from the hobbyist photographic community”, yet the number one new feature of Photoshop CC is “Camera Shake Reduction” which is a feature that would likely be needed by a newbie photo hobbyist, not a professional. This signals the beginning of the end for Adobe IMHO.

The Photo Ninja

Well, acdsee pro 3 for Mac just came out today and pixelmator 2.2 will be out in a couple of days. I’m already looking at alternatives Adobe. Go pound sand!


Instead of trying to pull a quick Netflix, why not be a Migiclantern first and just ask for a donation to use your CC in the beginning. Get us hooked first and just maybe we’ll realize the true value of your product and we’ll pay.

Corel are you reading, this is your chance to cater to abandoned photographers. I just wonder how small/large this niche is.


I think this may turn out to be a good thing for consumers and developers. The lights are up, the curtains are open, there is a huge audience with money in their pockets, and now there is an empty stage. I feel like starting a software company.


This new subscription model would be 100 times better if I could pay my $600 for the year subscription, but then after that time if I stop subscribing: my software is frozen without any more updates, but still useable.
Then in the future I could decide to ‘catch up’ again by paying the months i missed or re-newing again for another full year.


I don’t see the major issue with this, given the crazy cost (and consistently diminishing need by most casual photographers) of full blown Photoshop.

Presuming of course, you are all paying full price for the product.

From a professional photography and business perspective a subscription of $19 per month isn’t a bad way to go, no?


The issue seems to be that Adobe will not let you own a product anymore, instead you will be forced to pay for a service. You will be forced by the “up grade ditactorship”. Brief, you are losing your freedom, your liberty to decide and your right to own, under the dependency of rent.


This response makes me even more furious at Adobe. First, the jacka$$ evaded almost all the questions just like a politician. And the DPReview interviewer allowed him to get away with it! Second, the arrogance and the “we don’t give a eff what photographers think of our greedy move” attitude is beyond belief. I was going to upgrade to LR 5 when it is released but not now. I already purchased Aperture 3.4.4 and it appears to be a LR replacement from the tests I’ve done, and its workflow is a hell of a lot more intuitive than the LR workflow! Bye bye Adobe, rot in software hell!!!!


Seems they should make a version of photoshop just for photographers OR make LR operate more like photoshop and not like a cataloging system.

Michael de Ruijter

What rubbish.

It’s all in the counting of beans. Adobe recognizes a money making opportunity and you can’t fault them for wanting profits.

Adobe, ditch the “corporate speak” and tell it like it is. People are not stupid. The only thing you care about is our $. Perpetual licenses render software updates optional instead of mandatory. The business wants our beautiful money, so it removes its own redundancy, ups the price, and forces continued payment on a rental basis.

But we all know that it’s better to own than to rent.

mike earussi

The problem is they’re running out of new things to add to Photoshop and their revenue stream is dropping. This way they’ll force users to give them money forever and have a predictable income.

Scott A. Flaherty

What it comes down to is that you are more than doubling my cost to use Photoshop. After all these years of me being a loyal customer, you have the nerve to do this.


Yep, I’ve had every version since PS 4 I believe and paid upgrade prices for each. Now my cost will double with no functionally useful additional features of the cloud version.

Also, what’s to guarantee that they will release anything but bug fixes during the year between major releases?

I use profession engineering simulation software that I pay 1 year in advance and they guarantee 3 releases per year with significant capability increases. I suspect Adobe will not do this and that new features will be few and far between . . .


It is a TAX they know plain and simple that there is less and less incentive for users to upgrade and need an income model. Holding your work ransom is their answer to their financial goals.

It is laughable suggesting it was too much work keeping both products on the table… Just them talking out of the side of their mouth.

John Haugaard

This whole cry-baby approach is sad. “I want what I want, when I want. And I don’t want to pay for value.” Switch to The Gimp, or some great Corel product. You can have your perpetual license. Just quit the complaining.


Ummm the value was you paid for it and you owned it. The value now is you stop paying you have 0. Well Sherlock explain that one to us cry-babies.


Excuse me? Cry-baby’s? Adobe has pulled out the rug from us, we have invested in their system and paid them good money for many years. This is tantamount to your land lord saying we really appreciate all your years here but your rent is doubling this month. It is even worse for those who have bought a $700 product in the last year expecting that they would be able to keep it up to date for a fair price every couple of years! Not only that they have even less reason to innovate now that they keep getting more money whether it is deserved or not. There is no excuse for this kind of greed and arrogance.


time for me to learn to use “aperture” .. good bye adobe ….


Wait wait he says they don’t want multiple coded bases but they will have multiple coded bases for LR? WTF?


Yes, his replies were inconsistent at best.
Either you have a tool dedicated to photographers and there is only one version or have the cloud version – having both with different features is total rubbish.


So he says:

“We don’t have plans to make Lightroom a subscription-only option but we do envision added functionality for the CC version of Lightroom”

So I take this to mean that the non-subscription version of LR will stagnate and the CC version will get all the development. This is equivalent to saying that LR will also go the CC route.

The whole tone of the responses seems very slippery to me. It seems they could have just split LR and CS completely with LR being an annual license and CS being in the “cloud” and not very useful for photographers.



“The reason for the move is because it suits us, even though it is going to make life a royal pain for photographers. But they should be using Lightroom anyway because PS is too complicated for them. Oh, and we’ll only give you all the LR features if you subscribe as well….”



“We expected a higher degree of this type of reaction from the hobbyist photographic community because currently there’s not a lot of photography-specific value in our subscription products.”

So why force us to adopt it? Man, this is lame. What a mistake by Adobe.


“The regular price for a Photoshop CC-only subscription for $19.99 per month with an annual commitment and $29.99 per month for the ability to cancel at any time.”

Adobe chose to increase its revenue by reducing piracy (or so they think) and most importantly, forcing people into constantly renewing their license. That’s their new strategy and it’s crystal clear.
They tried to sweeten their scheme by naming it with fancy buzzwords such as “cloud”, but in reality the programme will just connect to Adobe servers once in a whilst, just like many softwares do a routine check for updates.

But hey, fair enough. That’s the strategy they came up with to stay in the game.
The competition is increasingly pressuring its market shares, so at some point they have to make decisions and play their cards. Can’t blame them for attempting to exist.

However and as DPR pointed out, this is a double-edged choice that may see them lose part of their existing customers – and prospective ones too.


That may very well prove to be a bad strategy in the long run, if people are happy with the competition – which will be reinforced in by these migrations and thus will become tougher to compete with.

Bart Hickman

Adobe, you’ve got me shaking my head. I’m sorry, but the ability to get a couple of features a few months early just isn’t valuable to me. The ability to be able to edit my old work even years after I’m no longer actively doing photography is valuable.

Now I have to pay a monthly subscription and pray you don’t go out of business or else risk all my life’s photoshop work suddenly becoming inaccessible. Nice thinking.

I’m just hoping you’ll realize your “Netflix” moment and think better of it in a couple years.

Maxis Gamez

I’m sure the folks over at Phase One are extremely happy… Good for them!

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