Adobe need some competition!

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Nick G, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Nick G macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #1
    Does anyone else agree?

    They are a huge company and they have a monopoly in the design sector. Where are the pro alternatives to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (I know about Quark Xpress but they have lost share) and Dreamweaver? Since Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005 this monopoly has grown to gigantic proportions.

    I managed to get Adobe & Macromedia software for my first Mac in 2002 whch I bought to support a Multimedia course. As I was a student, I could get the software at a greatly reduced price. Of course, it's now so old that I am not eligible for an upgrade and so would have to pay about £1700 to get it replaced.

    There are, of course open-source alternatives but they are woefully short of the functionality of the industry standard programs and to a lesser degree the same is true of the cheap programs aimed at home users. Trouble is, Adobe charge huge money to buy their products (£600 for Photoshop alone) which is part of the problem. With some healthy competition there would be more incentive for innovation and prices would surely become more accessible.

    The next best thing I've found to Photoshop is a program called PhotoLine which contains many similar as well as some different features although it isn't as comprehensive in the colour selection, swatches, batch processing etc. However, at €59 it's definitely better value for money. Does Photoshop offer 10 times more features? I don't think so, hence my reasoning that, as Adobe basically ARE the creative software industry, they can charge whatever they like. I'd love to see some new upstarts challenge their dominance.

    Is this ever likely to happen or am I just being naïve here?
     
  2. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    Photoshop Elements offers pretty much enough features for most people. Gimp is a free solution and many people use it. If you buy Photoshop, you are most likely to actually use it, then say a cheaper solution.

    Sure it would be nice to have an alternative solution, but I already spent time and money learning Photoshop… I'm not going to go and buy another solution to learn.
     
  3. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    Behind the lens
    #3
    See all those names when you open an Adobe app?

    Those people have a vested copyrighted interest in most of the functions of the Adobe suite.
     
  4. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #4
    Remember the days when we said the same thing about Quark? And Adobe's prices have *always* been pretty steep. The introduction of the Creative Suite bundles a few years ago finally provided a significantly cheaper way to purchase the apps.

    I really wish Quark would create a vector-editing program, photo-editing program, and some sort of web-editor - just to compete with our friends at Adobe. In fact, I'm mildly surprised Quark didn't somehow end up with Freehand and GoLive. Maybe someday.
     
  5. murdock25 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    #5
    Yes totally agree, so tired of having to pay a grand every year just to keep up with the new CS versions, and would do you get? Slight improvements here a little bit faster there, and full of effen bugs for the next 6 months until a couple updates come.

    If they're going to release a new version of the suite every year, they should be MUCH cheaper to upgrade and buy. I just got CS4 last month and I think they're planning on CS5 in like April 2010 already. ...sigh also I spilled beer on my keyboard and need to get a new one.
     
  6. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    Well to be fair to Adobe, CS4 was released over a year ago. April would fit in with the with their 18 month product cycle. Also you don't have to upgrade… though I suspect CS5 would be a good version to upgrade to if they have rewritten all the stuff in Cocoa 64-bit.
     
  7. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
  8. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816

    irishgrizzly

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    #8
    I dislike there increasing attitude of instead of fixing bugs in the current version of an application, they only fix them for the next release.

    Google should bring out a suite of online creative apps. They wouldn't have to be a complete as Adobes but just good enough to light a fire under them.
     
  9. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #9
    Well, the "competition" you are looking for (replacements for illustrator and photoshop) is a short term solution, and when such tools have appeared in the past they did not survive. The design market for these tools is simply not large enough to support multiple companies working at the scale of Adobe anymore.

    In my opinion, Adobe's long term competition does not come from competitors copying its tools, but from movements like Processing, VVVV, Open Frameworks and the like that allow designers to write their own software.

    Adobe's tools are (mostly) created to work with fixed, static content. In an internet age where we are constantly connected to streams of ever-changing realtime data, such tools are not so useful. Increasingly, designers are being presented with design problems that have to be solved through algorithm.*

    Adobe is aware of this shift. Look at the amount to development work that Adobe has been putting into Flash, Flash Catalyst, Flash builder, Air, and Dreamweaver compared to our old friend illustrator.

    Based upon my conversations with them, Adobe sees a strong separation between "designers" and "developers". Looking around my undergraduate design classes, design students do not see the distinction so clearly.

    Again, the opinion above is based upon what I have seen happen in my own design practice, and working with graphic design / interaction design students. They are not as reliant on adobe tools as students were back in the day...

    * the fact that John Maeda is now president of of a design school like RISD speaks to this shift as well.
     
  10. Nick G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #10
    You know what? It occurs to me that Apple would be a great company to have a go at this. Adobe products used to be Mac-only but from what I've heard these days some applications have more features in the PC versions. Who better than Apple to reverse this trend? They traditionally target design professionals, and already have Aperture and Final Cut Pro. Why not bring out a web/multimedia/authoring app too for example, or a Dreamweaver/Photoshop alternative?

    I have nothing against Adobe's products - they are superb, but it really is a shame that there aren't any other viable choices. It's like Microsoft in the 1990s...
     
  11. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #11
    there are ALWAYS options...

    My advice is to get off the hamster wheel of perpetual upgrades. I have often maintained that photoshop really has NOT changed that dramatically since PS4 (not talking CS4 either). The marginal improvements are not worth the cost. I used to have great love for Adobe, and even used to say that pshop was one of the greatest software aps period. Adobe has moved away from the mac market as well, and are pretty slow to keep pace with Apples growth. Remember the switch to Intel? That was not a big surprise, and especially to those in the software side. Yet we had to deal with Rosetta emulation for quite awhile until Adobe got it's act together.

    Insult to injury is the way different "suite" packages never seem to match up quite right when one upgrades. All geared to siphon more money out of our pockets. I do NOT advocate software piracy by any stretch, but I think they might even be encouraging it with the pricing. It is high, and getting higher each year. Where else does this happen with technology? The trend is almost always to push the pricing downward, and push the power/speed/functionality higher. Think VCRs, about $1000 when they first came out... now you can probably find one for $15-20. Keeping to Apple products... I used to pay $15-20,000 for a workstation (no, really I did). Then I was paying around $7500-9000 for a g4. I paid around $3500 for my first gen iMac 24" which replaced my g4. I will probably pay around $3000 for a new 27" iMac with a boatload of RAM to boot.

    Think that only applies to hardware? Take Aperture (actually you should, it frankly beats the snot out of photoshop when used with Nikon's NIK suite of filters/plug-ins. At least for everything that does not involve type or layers), when it was first released I think it was supposed to come out at $599. It actually was released at $499. I bought it, even though it was not quite ready for primetime. Version 2.0 was a HUGE improvement, yet the upgrade price was NOT another $499 it was $99. Apple is pretty reasonable with their pricing, despite the fact that everyone complains how expensive they are. It really is not true.

    Plenty of stuff to fight about, but I don't care to quibble. I have probably 3-5 completely different suite serial number sets. Why? Simple, often it was cheaper to buy fresh than to "upgrade", or the upgrades didn't match to the suite product for product.

    I have been in the design business for about 25 years now. In the old days everyone loved Adobe, and hated Quark (with a passion). Quark was whacked about "preventing" piracy, and had special activation disks, and other annoyances. I realize that piracy is "bad", but the message was always that they didn't even trust the customers that were paying for the product. Their customer service was horrible, they were surly, they were unresponsive, etc. Adobe on the other hand was a lot more casual. Perhaps they "trusted" more at that point. Folks who really want to steal the software will, that is an unfortunate fact. Speaking of trust... why does my Abobe software always seem to "phone home" whenever I open it? Frankly it bothers me. I bought the software, leave me alone. You don't "need" to know every time I used it. Think I am off base? Search Google for "adobe spying when opened" or some similar string. Or go here: http://uneasysilence.com/archive/2007/12/12789/

    Used Adobe products as a student but want to upgrade and be legit when you graduate? There is no upgrade path (unless that has recently changed).

    I still use Adobe products, but now 90% of my basic imaging is done within Aperture & NIK. Layering & type stuff still goes through pshop. Final sizing & CMYK conversion also goes through pshop, but that is about it. I have taught pshop, retouching & advanced imaging techniques to other designers & professional photographers. Barring one or two "significant" features MOST of the advances have been incremental and not evolutionary. Aperture actually CHANGED my workflow for the better, and when I started using NIK I changed again. NIK's approach was revolutionary, and the level of control one has over their images is astounding.

    Never thought I would say I love Quark, but they really got their act together. Adobe? Not-so-much.

    InDesign? I have it, but it never replaced Quark. Despite the fact that Acrobat/PDFs are an Adobe thing, in the beginning PDFs rendered from inDesign were problematic and many printers (big ones, not Sir Speedy) did not want them running through their RIPs. So I stuck with Quark.

    GoLive? Loved it, but it was put to pasture and left to die. Dreamweaver? ALWAYS hated it, but used it. Was thrilled to discover RapidWeaver and again a revolutionary approach as opposed to feature creep/bloatware (RW uses a template based system, and you can create or modify the templates yourself). RW made web work fun again.

    So, will I upgrade the whole enchalada AGAIN? Probably not, for the first time I will just upgrade what I really need. Acrobat Pro... maybe pshop (maybe not). Somehow I expect the pricing will be $799 for "one" & $999 for "everything". I guess I have lost faith, and I think they have really been gouging the bejeezus out of us for too long now.

    Boy, that was a rant, lol. Peace. michael
     
  12. Nick G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #12
    I came across this blog entry recently which highlights the problem with piracy and Adobe products, for those very reasons:

    http://tonysleep.co.uk/blog/photoshop-cs2-on-ebay

    I wonder if Adobe are listening?
     
  13. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #13
    I doubt it, and besides I am sure they are well aware of what they are doing. Much as the folks at Quark knew they had acted like prigs and had a bad rep.

    Anyhow, a good read. I have always wondered if there is a direct correlation between the cost of a software package, and the amount of piracy going on.
    I always thought that the RIAA encouraged illegal music sharing by the strangle hold they had over the music industry and the inflated prices they charged for CDs. When iTunes came along the price was cheap enough it wasn't worth "stealing" it anymore. Despite the fact that the music industry insisted there was no significant money to be made, there was indeed. Unfortunately the pricing is getting pushed up again, and I wonder if music "swapping" is going up as well? I only know that I spend LESS now overall than when everything was .99 & albums were (supposedly $9.99).

    I realize Adobe is in a niche market, and that "maybe" the same volume is not there. But in contrast Apple is a "niche" market as well, and only sells to a small piece of the overall pie... yet they do quite well. They are being greedy, plain and simple. I use the product everyday, and IF I was bored enough to go back through the PS history (more bored than writing this on my first cup of joe, lol), I could probably recount 10 or so items of great change overall that actually "changed" my life (workwise at least). Given the total expenditure I am not sure the total cost vs value was worth it. Honestly they KNOW this too. Want to know how? Simple, when they eliminate the ability to upgrade from older (non-previous versions), or charging them a steep premium to do so. This points to folks wanting to "skip" an upgrade (like in the link you offered, the pro shooter was still running PS6 because it was adequate). If the upgrade is "compelling", or the price is right, folks upgrade.

    I have a business, and usually I am "required" to keep current versions of stuff, even if I don't use the aps, so I can work with files that come in from other designers & agencies. Guess what... I don't really have to do that as much anymore. Most files come in as final PDFs (with source files attached these days). Mostly the PDFs alone are enough. If the files are cranky or poorly constructed I usually just rasterize/open them in photoshop which usually eliminates most problems. So... perhaps this is the year I get off the endless hamster wheel of perpetual upgrades with little real value.

    Apple has it right. I don't mind paying the $99 to upgrade my system, or $99 to upgrade iLife every year or so. Plus they give great discounts for family accounts (up to 5 machines I think). Oh... and back to ORIGINAL point... the trend for prices in technology goes DOWN as time goes on. Apple now charges $29 for its Snow Leopard/$49 family & iLife is $79 & $99 for the family pack. I wonder how much software piracy is being encouraged by that?
    cheers, michael

    My advice is to get a trial version of Aperture. Some folks have said there is no trial version... but there is. Go here:
    http://www.apple.com/aperture/trial/

    Also, go to NIK and download the demo versions here:
    http://www.niksoftware.com/site/

    Aperture is $199 (cheaper on Amazon usually), the entire NIK suite for Aperture is $299. Photoshop CS4 alone is $699. Option A saves you $200. Chances are you have a previous version of pshop/CS. Keep it, and you can use it when you need to work with layers/type, etc...

    I could teach a "pro" in 3-5 days how to bumble around in pshop. I could teach the same person a working, fumbling yet functional knowledge in Aperture/NIK in about an hour.

    I hear you about not wanting to learn another way, and not wanting to pay for another solution. I have multiple versions of InDesign but still use Quark myself. However, sometimes there is indeed a better way, and you should always learn to change and grow how you do things. Especially in this business.

    I blathered on about Aperture/NIK here, and have a few very hastily done examples in the post:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=798425

    cheers,
    michael
     
  14. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Among the starlings
    #14
    I can't agree with this. Maybe there haven't been significant improvements in any individual release, but across a few versions you see a lot of great stuff. Between 4 and CS2 we got:

    - Adjustment layers
    - Blending modes
    - Vector shapes and vector type
    - Layer effects
    - Layer groups
    - Nested layer groups
    - Smart filters
    - Smart objects

    Just to name a few. In that time, Photoshop has morphed from a basic photographer's toolbox with some simple drawing tools to a powerful and time-efficient design application, where anything in a document can be tweaked without having to undo previous work.

    Photoshop 6 is the earliest version I can bear to work with, and CS1 is the earliest I find truly efficient. A photographer isn't going to find all of these updates as useful as a designer, but there are other (perhaps more incremental) improvements in there for photographers (RAW workflow, increased color depth, filters and adjustment layers for 16-bit images, healing brush, history brush, etc.)

    That said, I absolutely agree that upgrading every time a new version is released is pointless, unless the new one has a feature that's absolutely killer for your workflow. I'm on CS3 at the moment (had PS7 on this machine before that), and only planning to upgrade because I'm buying a new computer around the same time CS5 is anticipated, and the existing license technically belongs to a past employer.

    Oh, and yes, I agree that some competition would be useful. Prices are out of control, and competition would also spur innovation.
     
  15. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #15
    I knew there was a LOT there to quibble about, but I bet if you tallied what you have spent against what really changed (and IF it was your own money, and not your bosses, lol) you might say "yikes, are they kidding me?!". I know there have been some nice advances, and a few I couldn't live without over the years. I agree that the change from 4 to CS2 was substantial overall (but remember, you had to pony up for PS4, PS5, PS6, PS7, CS & CS2), and beyond that CS3 & CS4.

    CS2 is probably sufficient for many folks to work in. CS3 if one is on an Intel machine.

    Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Photoshop_release_history
    for a version history. Boy was I stoked when in 6.0 the "Liquify" filter came out, it totally rocked my world (sorry, being snarky).

    Not only did the product upgrades cost a snootful, but they kept splitting it and offered "options" (extended version, ImageReady/Fireworks, etc...), all designed to siphon more moola out of our wallets. By the way, I have been a LOYAL user since 1990 when 1.0 came out (yikes).

    Perhaps they have gotten less like Apple, and more like Microsoft?

    cheers, michael
     
  16. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #16
    Pretty sure you can purchase the same upgrade package that you can for a retail version. And it upgrades the edu version to the retail version. (Although, it's usually cheaper to purchase a new edu version).

    Adobe's development cycle has changed. They basically are continually developing their products. And wherever they are in the process every 18 months or so, they stop and release a new version. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this approach. But I will say I have personally noticed a steady decline in quality and stability of their products since the original Creative Suite. It seems that significant bugs aren't fixed until the next major release...which usually introduces its own set of bugs.

    And I frakkin' knew this would happen when they gobbled up Macromedia.

    But for us designers, there's really no alternative. GIMP, Swift Publisher, Inkscape, and cutePDF aren't going to cut it in a professional environment.

    I'm still on CS3. No plans to upgrade to CS4. Will probably upgrade to CS5, as I start to encounter problems when I fall more than one version behind.

    (Oh. And some of you may find this mildly interesting. Sort of the MacRumors of CS5.)
     
  17. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Among the starlings
    #17
    Well, exactly, that's why one doesn't upgrade every cycle unless like mlblacy your business absolutely requires it -- which is the case only for a tiny minority of users. (Even after nested layer groups came out, for instance, Photoshop 6 could still open CS docs, albeit flattened.)

    So you upgrade when the cumulative change tips the scales; for different people that will be different releases.

    Not that that excuses exorbitant prices or lack of competition (which would undoubtedly improve both prices and rate of change, and which I certainly wouldn't object to). Just saying that if you earn your living with this stuff, it's not that unreasonable to spend on every 3-5 years, and even less so for a corporation.
     
  18. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #18
    This might be the first time I will say "pass" and skip the upgrades for the whole suite. There was a time when professionally one could not afford to be a "version behind". If files came in, you had to be able to open them. So, in addition to the programs I used, I also had to maintain ones I did not.

    Acrobat essentially changed that, and most often I do not need to crack into the source stuff at all, and deal with corrupt fonts, sloppy document construction & glitchy files. As soon as I see any evidence of wonkiness I rasterize the ad and convert it to a tiff (you can open any PDF with pshop. See, I still DO use it...).

    I do make my living with this stuff, and perhaps spending $600-700 every 3-5 years is not unreasonable. Is it reasonable every year and a half? I maintain that they have pushed the "upgrade" cost beyond reasonable expectations. Furthermore, by forcing you to upgrade "previous" versions they are pretty much stacking the deck against you. Does Apple care if you are upgrading from OS9 to Snow Leopard (in theory)? Not a whit. Do they split their software down, and then force you to upgrade both parts down the line? No.

    Usually there are some folks that say Gimp is great. Gimp is not a real professional alternative though. I have made workflow changes on my own though. 90% of my imaging is done in Aperture/NIK now. So... there are some real alternatives.

    I don't have a problem spending money at all. I don't consider myself cheap either. I am however value conscious. When I upgrade my primary workstation soon I will choose a fully configured iMac (again) over a Pro. If I was working with HD I would choose a Pro without question. In business the easiest money you will make as pure profit, is the money you can save on your operating expenses. It means the difference between a successful business, and one that goes under. I watch everything I spend carefully, but if it makes me faster, better, or more productive I don't hesitate at all. Would a Pro mac accomplish those things in accordance with the differential in price? Probably not. I would rather spend the difference on a week in Cabo, maybe on a new laptop, whatever...

    If you listen there are many pros out there who feel the same way. Designers, shooters, artists, developers. In business how you treat your customers translates into the intangible known as good will. This has real value. I submit that Adobe has lost much of its good will over the last few years. At least on the Mac side, perhaps PC folks are used to being treated in that manner.
    regards, michael
     
  19. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #19
    I don't think Adobe will ever again face the competition it had in Macromedia. They've cornered the market, and the only leverage consumers have left is the choice to pay for Adobe products or not.

    Right now I've got the CS4 Design Premium pkg. I'm thinking this might be what I use for the next few years, as the "improvements" to each successive CS package have been less and less remarkable, while the price has seemed, well, extraordinarily high.

    The one thing that Adobe could do that would make me jump on-board for another upgrade is to make their Design software (InDesign, Illustator, Photoshop, Flash, etc.) utilize the 64-bit OS and multi-processors. I've got a great new computer system with 2 Quad-Cores, but my Adobe software doesn't use it. Unless and until that happens, I'm happy to stand pat.

    I'm not holding my breath, however.
     
  20. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #20
    You have made my case in point. Apple (and others) have made advances, and Adobe has lagged behind in keeping up. It's not like the advances are secret to all, I find it hard to believe that Apple does not reveal ahead many of their advances ahead of time. Maybe not to consumers & other mortals... but to certain vendors I would think they did. Maybe Adobe is just pissed over the Flash/iPhone thing? Even if Apple was mum to them, the fact remains there software does not capitalize on existing technology now. Kind of like the Intel switch...

    In business sometimes you compete, and sometimes you meet your customers needs at a fair price... and sometimes you buy your competition and close them down to eliminate them. Happens ALL the time. Remember MacCentral.com? It used to be one of the largest and most trafficked mac sites. Go there and see where it takes you now (that it doesn't exist).

    Adobe has enough shills trolling the sites (including this one). It isn't like they are completely unaware of the chatter. They just don't care. Much like Quark used to be/act/do...
    cheers, michael
     
  21. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Among the starlings
    #21
    So who is going to be the Adobe to Adobe's Quark? ;)
     
  22. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #22
    Why APPLE I hope...
    I can dream can't I?
     
  23. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #23
    If there were serious competition in the area, Adobe wouldn't get away with half of what they do. They simply have no reason to be better. So we get crap, at a not so reasonable price.
     
  24. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #24
    The price is very reasonable when you consider how much 3d software and special use software costs, which are not even made nearly as well as Adobe stuff.
     
  25. Nick G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #25
    Perhaps Apple's software designers have got some exciting new products to compete with Adobe in the pipeline (yes it is a nice dream) but I suspect they are concentrating on their home-entertainment line (iPhone, iPod, the new tablet, iTunes). Even the Mac doesn't seem as important to them now (the Mac Pro at any rate). It's a shame because Apple would be the ideal company to produce some killer apps to challenge Adobe's dominance.

    As for the GIMP, as far as I'm concerned professionals will just consider it a toy to play with. The marketing/image does them no favours (a cartoon character and a silly-sounding name), and the interface is a PITA (it takes several keystrokes/commands to do what would take one in Photoshop).

    I have only dabbled a bit in Photoshop myself but I am interested in perhaps getting into a bit of web design as I am interested in this. It would involve a lot of learning as I only know the very basics but there must be lots of people who are in a similar position. Learning the industry-standard tools is a big advantage as you are likely to be taken more seriously and it of course it gives you a good grounding for the future. But how many people can actually afford to shell out the exorbitant prices that Adobe charge for their products? It's a shame that they don't do what Autodesk do with Maya and offer 'Personal Learning Editions'. Oh sure, you can get 30-day trials but that's hardly enough time to learn how to get efficient with the software is it? No wonder piracy is rampant.

    So Apple, how about a challenge?
     

Share This Page