Adobe Creative Suite – to buy or rent?

Animation, linkedin, Software, Technology Aug 13, 2011 Comments Off

In the realm of “It’s a New World”, who would have thought the day would come when you could subscribe to Adobe software? Sure, it’s always been kind of that case with software that has a licensing dongle, such as in the CAD and 3D worlds, and my license of 3D Studio Max 2011 does offer a subscription that adds some very useful bells and whistles, albeit at a price too steep for my wallet.

So, in case you haven’t heard, Adobe is offering two levels of subscriptions, the one year plan, or the month-to-month plan. The one year plan (all prices here are for the Master Collection – Adobe’s whole hog offering)┬áis 129 dollars a month, and, according to Adobe, is perfect “…customers on an older version of Creative Suite who may no longer be eligible for upgrade pricing but want to have the most current release and latest features.” The month-to-month plan is 195 dollars a month, and allows a short term commitment in case you just need the software for infrequent projects, or, as Adobe says, “for freelancers and owners of small businesses who need to accommodate for temporary staffing and require software on an as-needed basis.”.

Here’s a link to the full table on Adobe’s site, comparing the ownership cost, as compared to the “rental” cost:

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/cssubscription.html

I just bought the CS5 Master Collection, and don’t regret the fact that I own it, and I’ll most likely upgrade when CS6 comes out, or if I realize I really need some of the features in the CS5.5 offering (such as the move to Audition from Soundbooth, or some of the plugin upgrades available in After Effects). Another reason you might want to try it is to compare the 64-bit capabilities to the 32-bit speed, without breaking the bank, or commiting to the full price of the Master Collection without really needing it.

Another strong incenting to subscribe is if you have big projects come in periodically, which require freelancers, and you have the workstations available, but don’t want to license all the seats you require through ownership. If you check out the FAQ section at Adobe, you’ll find them pretty flexible as far as options go, should you need to buy the full version from a subscription version, or extend a subscription.

So what do I think? I think that it’s your decision. I’ll continue to own and upgrade my CS products, but for the freelancer just getting into the production world, it may make sense to dip your toes in the water gradually, through a subscription.

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