Photoshop CC: $10 per month deal

Save big if you're a current Photoshop user

By PF Staff in Deals and Savings on Sep 28, 2013

Adobe has replaced their regular version upgrades of Photoshop with a subscription based model called Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). Before this change, each version of Photoshop was available boxed and came with a lifetime license.  Subsequent upgrades were in the $200 to $250 range.

Going forward, if one wants to continue to have access to the latest updates, an active subscription to Adobe CC is required.

The normal price for a Photoshop-only CC access is $19.99 per month, but we've recently stumbled accross a limited time offer that will allow you to lock in a monthly price of just $9.99 for life.  The only catch is that you need to be a current Photoshop owner.  If you are, then check out the deal here!  As a bonus, the subscription also includes Adobe Lightroom (which isn't part of Creative Cloud).  The offer expires at the end of the year (December 31st, 2013).

In order to make sure that this deal was real and not something "too good to be true", we decided to try it. Here is what we found out:

Adobe's system checks if you qualify for the offer, and if you do, you're forwarded to the purchase page. You need an Adobe ID. If you don't have one, create one, there is a link that will help you do that.

We entered our order and immediately got to the download page.

We only downloaded Photoshop CC, but it nevertheless took a long, long while. The download operation got interrupted (timed out) more than once, but it could be resumed, and then continued from the state it had come to. No re-download of already downloaded content was required.

Photoshop CC installs and works just like CS6 did; in other words, it doesn't run in the cloud, but directly on your computer. It will check once a quarter if your subscription is current.

We didn't install Bridge CC, but just continue to use the Bridge that came with CS6. It now activates Photoshop CC, so no problems there.

Our Photoshop CS6 installation was left intact and we can use that version in perpetuity - handy if we should decide to cancel the subscription of CC.

While most Photoshop settings can be migrated from CS6 to CC with a mouse click from within CC, the same doesn't go for Topaz (or other) plug-ins. Adobe has changed how plug-ins are installed. The plug-in providers must update their plug-ins to be compatible with CC and you must download and install their most recent version. Fortunately, the Topaz plug-in installation process is smooth. After installation the plug-ins show in the Filter menu of Photoshop, and the new plug-ins also work from CS6 (if you selected the old location for the installation and thus overwrote the old version). And you do not have to re-enter the Topaz license keys which is cool.

Photoshop CC has worked flawlessly for us so far - subjectively we find it faster than CS6 on our 8 core Dell PC with Windows 7 64 bit, but we have no benchmarks with which to back up that claim. Your mileage may vary.

But do you need to upgrade at all? In the past the main reason for us to upgrade was to get Adobe Camera Raw support for new camera models. With the advent of the DNG format your current version of Camera Raw should be able to open files also from tomorrow's cameras. But by upgrading the library of camera and lens profiles in Camera Raw and Photoshop will stay updated so that would be a benefit.

Adobe advertizes that you get 20 GB of disk space in the cloud for photo sharing. That feature is not available yet and Adobe has not indicated when those 20GB will become available.

You manage your subscription from the Creative Cloud application (formerly the Adobe Application Manager). Here you can check the history of installation and updates, and also install various trial versions. This is also here you eventually will access your 20GB of cloud space.

If you decide to go for the special offer while it lasts, you'll be paying between $120 and $130 per year, depending on your local tax rate.  This monthly pricing scheme is in fact much more reasonable than upgrading every time a new boxed version of Photoshop was released, and even if you used to upgrade every other version, it still works out to be slightly less if you factor in the initial cost of Photoshop.  On the other hand, the normal price is in line with the old pricing.

If you've been taking advantage of Adobe's educational discounts to save on Photoshop in the past, those savings unfortunately won't carry over to Adobe CC.  However, as a student, you can get access to all the CC apps for $19.99 a month.  If all you're interested in is Photoshop, then you can't do any better than the current $9.99 deal.

Click here to check out the Photoshop CC $9.99/month deal

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