Clearing the Adobe Clouds


With the monolithic update Adobe did last week to the Creative Cloud applications, I’m getting a lot of questions about what happened and what they should do. 

First, let’s review a moment. What are the features that Photoshop CC has added over CS6? The full list can be found on Adobe’s site, but let me group that into categories that relate to photographic use:

  • Major New Features: Focus Mask, Perspective Warp, Shake Reduction filter, and ACR as a filter, new Blur filters
  • Performance: changes to the Mercury Graphics engine, additional multicore tweaking, support for more GPUs
  • Minor Tweaks: Smart Sharpen, upsampling, content-aware improvements, brushes in ACR

As part of the last week’s updates, there have been some architectural changes in the code that affect some third-party offerings. Thus Adobe chose to create a new version, Photoshop CC 2014. As I wrote last week, this pretty much negates one of Adobe’s big claims about why they were moving to the subscription model. The Adobe PR efforts this week all revolve around the line "there are times during the course of development that new features require a change.” Okay, I agree with that, but that was one of the reasons why I wrote when CC was first announced that their original notion of an “always updating application” was nonsense. Sometimes you have to stop updating in place and create a new foundation, which is what happened with CC 2014. 

Update: one reader pointed out to me that the CC 2014 updates don’t work on Snow Leopard, only Mavericks. Thus, there’s a reason for some users to stick with CC instead of CC 2014.

While a lot of folk are complaining about what Adobe did, they actually did the right thing as far as users should be concerned. I had CS6 and CC apps installed on my MacBook Pro, now I have CS6, CC, and CC 2014 apps. I’m keeping the CS6 install for obvious reasons I’ve already written about (and it’s the primary product I use, by the way), but the question is now do I keep the CC version in addition to the CC 2014 one? 

The answer to that is simple: if you’re able to successfully move all your third-party add-ons to the 2014 version of an Adobe Creative Cloud product, then run the uninstaller for the CC version (every Adobe program has an uninstaller associated with it; you should find a CS6 uninstaller in your CS6 folder for an Adobe application, a CC uninstaller in your CC folder for that app, and so on). There’s no reason to keep Photoshop CC around if all your third-party add-ons work properly with Photoshop CC 2014. 

I said Adobe did the right thing here, and they did. Never break a user’s workflow when you come out with a new version of the product: let them migrate to a new workflow if they desire the new features/performance/structure. This, by the way, is something that Nikon is likely to get very wrong very soon. With Capture NX-D and Macintosh OS-X Yosemite coming out in the fall, Capture NX2 is likely going to fail with the new OS is my guess, meaning that you’ll be forced to a new workflow. 

Something that came up in this update that’s interesting is that Adobe allows CC subscribers to download and install CS6. That’s whether you ever purchased CS6 or not. Adobe says they’re committed to leaving all installers back to CS6 available to Creative Cloud users for all their applications. 

So that brings us to my procedural advice. If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber:

  • Install the new CC 2014 applications you’re subscribed to.
  • Install your plug-ins from their original installers. Registered Nik users should be able to use the trial version to install if they didn’t retain their installer and their license key should be picked up automatically. Technically, you should also be able to copy your plug-ins from the folder in the CC app to the folder in the CC 2014 app, but this isn’t guaranteed to work.
  • Test the CC 2014 application to make sure everything you count on is working.
  • If you’re satisfied that everything is working properly, uninstall the CC version of the application (CC, not CC 2014!). You can always reinstall it later if you find out that you need it for something.


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