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From Indesign to the iPad: My experiences with the Adobe Creative Cloud

When Indesign CS5 (and shortly after that, Indesign CS5.5) came out, many advertising agencies jumped at it. "You can create App magazines with that, great! Let’s get the new Indesign!" Something like that may have been the motto. Companies hoped to jump on the App hype train and get their piece of the market share.

However, there are massive regional differences as regards to the daily usage, as well as the acceptance of tablet PCs. Many advertising agencies here (Austria) have invested a lot of money in updating their Indesign licenses. And if you have an Adobe program, you know how costly such a software license can be – especially when you multiply it with the number of employees, It all sums up! When the hoped-for App magazine boom hit the big consumer publications (but neither hit middle-sized magazines nor specialist magazines), the disappointment among many advertising agencies was big.

As an alternative, there is now the Adobe Creative Cloud. It gives you an update to the latest version of various Adobe programs without extra payment. However, you have to pay a subscription fee. You can either go for an annual or a monthly subscription plan. A monthly subscription fee of USD 49.99 per user is not cheap, especially for companies with many employees. Adobe try to at least contribute to eliminating software piracy, I guess. Time will show if that works out.

I have been working with Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator CS4 and have always been quite happy with that. But I was curious how the Adobe Creative Cloud would work for me, so I subscribed for the 30 day free trial. I have thoroughly tested Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign CS6 and I have to say that there really are some very useful new features. My favourite new features are the improved ways of generating patterns in Illustrator, the new blur effects and the new cropping tool in Photoshop, plus of course the numerous animation and App functions in Indesign CS6, combined with the DPS (Digital Publishing Suite). The question now is: are those new features really worth the price of a regular, costy software updates outside of the cloud? No. Besides that, I have to say that only the Single Edition of the DPS is included in the Adobe Creative Cloud! The Single Edition only allows you to publish one magazine onto the iPad. That is it. If you want to offer more magazines within one App and/or offer the App for more devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle, Android ...) you have to subscribe to the DPS Professional Edition, which costs you USD 495 per month. Well, this investment has to be thought through carefully. Companies that produce many monthly App magazines work with the DPS Professional Edition and the license really pays off for them. When the demand for App magazines grows more and more in Austria, this software license will pay off for advertising agencies here too one day.

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