Adobe is making a major move into the cloud. The company has just announced the next version of its flagship digital editing tools, Creative Suite, and for the first time the new products will only be available through the company's online subscription service. Adobe previously offered standalone editions of each product, which users could choose to keep or upgrade as new editions were released, but now the only way to receive major feature updates to the product series will be to remain subscribed to the $49.99 per month service.
The company is giving its application suite a new, but familiar name to emphasize the change: Adobe Creative Cloud will be replacing Creative Suite 6, the version released last year. The product series has been on a yearly release cycle since 2011, and this latest upgrade includes new features for nearly every product in the series, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro, all of which now have their name appended with CC, instead of CS.
All of the apps in Creative Cloud will be replaced with the newly upgraded ones when Adobe releases them on June 17th. The company will continue to sell standalone copies of Creative Suite 6 applications for now, but it will not continue to update them with new features.
As the products' new naming scheme suggests, Adobe is enhancing the cloud integration between all of its services. The company says that a new desktop companion app will be able to automatically keep every app up to date. It's also integrating many of the apps with Behance, a site that allows artists to present their work and receive feedback from others. Adobe purchased the website in December, and it will now use the Creative Cloud companion app as a way to notify users of any comments made on their work.
Though Adobe is drawing a focus to its cloud services, it isn't actually changing much about them. Instead, this series of updates is tailored toward streamlining the interactions between apps and websites, rather than adding cloud-centric features. But for Adobe, the subscription requirement could help to stem the continual threat of piracy, while also making its products both more accessible to new users and more expensive in the long run. Users will be able to run the programs offline, but once each month, the apps will need to verify with Adobe's servers that a subscription is still valid.
As usual, the best known app of the suite — Photoshop — is receiving a number of major features to help repair photos that didn't turn out quite right.
The most impressive feature of the bunch is a tool that the company says will be able to remove blur from photographs that was caused by camera shake. The company demonstrated the tool for The Verge using a photograph of a painting hung in a museum — though we haven't had the chance to play around with it ourselves, when demonstrated by Adobe the tool did an impressive job at recovering detail that had been lost. The company first showed off the feature in 2011, and more than a few photographers with unsteady hands will be happy to see that's finally shipped.