Adobe Creative Cloud review

Price when reviewed

Dreamweaver CC

The main change in Dreamweaver is a CSS Designer panel, which replaces the old pop-up window. It’s a huge improvement, allowing you to tweak CSS settings interactively and see the effect on open pages immediately.

Adobe Dreamweaver CC

The old Spry widgets have given way to jQuery replacements, providing an easy way to drop professional-looking controls and navigation elements directly onto the page. Many of them use jQuery Mobile for maximum compatibility with smartphones and tablets. The new Fluid Grid option promises to help with responsive design, too, although when you’re using this feature the design view simply shows a sequential stack of elements, losing the visual immediacy that has always been one of Dreamweaver’s strengths.

InDesign CC

What’s in the cloud?

Creative Cloud provides access to every application in Adobe’s roster – including Lightroom and the new Muse web-authoring system, which weren’t included in the old CS6 Master Collection. You also receive all new application upgrades as they become available, along with 20GB of cloud storage and access to a host of online collaboration, showcasing and digital publishing services. The software will run concurrently on two computers, and although it tries to authenticate with Adobe’s servers every 30 days, it can be used offline for up to 99 days. For those who aren’t persuaded, Adobe has said it will also continue to sell CS6 “indefinitely”, and to support it with bug fixes and security patches, but will add no new features. The open-ended timetable perhaps reflects some uncertainty over how quickly Creative Cloud will catch on, or indeed whether it will at all.

InDesign’s user interface has now gone dark, matching Photoshop and Illustrator. MacBook Pro owners will be pleased to learn that it now has native support for Retina screens, too.

As with Illustrator, other updates focus on type. The font-search box makes a welcome reappearance, and stepping up and down the list with the cursor keys now gives you an instant preview of your selected text in the chosen font. We can see this being tremendously useful for non-templated work.

Adobe also promises performance improvements, and we certainly haven’t seen InDesign CC succumb to any slowdown. There’s a 64-bit native version of the application, too, enabling big documents to make full use of your RAM – although InDesign was never a terrible memory hog in the first place.

Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC

Premiere Pro CC benefits from subtle but thoughtful tweaks. You can now add and remove tracks with a right-click; double-click to expand and collapse tracks; and import clips directly onto the timeline. Such improvements help you get things done efficiently.

Premiere Pro CC

More significant new features include duplicate frame detection, which alerts you automatically if part of a clip appears more than once, and the new audio clip mixing window, which gives fine-grained control over audio.

Serious shooters will appreciate new multi-cam auto-sync features that can line up clips based on either timecode or audio. After Effects, meanwhile, gains the ability to import Cinema 4D objects and scenes, a new tool for creating soft matte edges and improved stabilisation and tracking tools.

Worth the switch?

The improvements on offer aren’t huge, but they’re spread broadly, so almost everyone who upgrades to the new CC applications will see some benefit to their workflow. If you use multiple computers, or share work across a team, the ability to automatically synchronise settings, fonts and assets across installations could be beneficial too.

Adobe’s insistence on the subscription model is problematic, though. The price of buying into Creative Cloud compares reasonably well with the CS6 Master Collection; the break-even point comes around five years down the line, by which time you’d probably otherwise have spent a few bob on upgrades.

But if, like many creatives, you only need to use a handful of Adobe applications, and have no desire for supplementary cloud services, you’re out of luck. You can lease a single application, or the full suite, but there’s no cloud-based middle ground akin to the old Design Standard suite.

As a result, we can’t unequivocally recommend Creative Cloud. The updated applications bring some welcome improvements, and for heavyweight art workers in collaborative environments, the subscription package isn’t too offensive. But we’re far from convinced that the options on offer suit everybody’s needs. For most current Creative Suite users, we suspect it will make sense to stick with what you have until Adobe comes up with a better offer.


Software subcategory Graphics/design software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? no
Operating system Windows XP supported? no
Other operating system support Windows 8

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