Why shouldn't I pirate Adobe products?

Advantages, disadvantages, alternatives: Adobe CS and CC (updated)

Adobe now wants to switch entirely to a rental model: the Creative Cloud / Photoshop CC costs monthly, whereas the (no longer developed) Creative Suite / Photoshop CS to be paid once:

With the announcement to switch to a rental model, Adobe has stirred up a lot of dust and also caused a lot of resentment among its users. Let’s try here to weigh the pros and cons.

First of all: completely replacing the entire Creative Suite shouldn't be that easy - except with the Creative Cloud. Here is an overview of the most important components of the suite:

• InDesign (layout and typesetting)
• Photoshop (RAW conversion and image processing)
• Illustrator (drawing and illustration)
• Acrobat X (PDF creation; editing)
• Various flash tools
• Dreamweaver (HTML editor)
• Fireworks (graphics program)
• Premiere (video editing and editing)
• Encore (film post-production)
• Audition (audio editing)

In any case, Adobe sets the standard or is the market leader in the areas of “image processing” (Photoshop), “PDF creation” (Acrobat) and “layout and typesetting” (InDesign).


  per month once (or 24 months)
Creative Cloud 61,49 € (1475,67 € *)
Creative Suite Master Collection (148,68 € *) 3568.23 euros
Photoshop CC 24,59 € (590,16 € *)
Photoshop CS (42,10 € *) 1010,31 €

* Based on an assumed useful life of two years (then roughly a new CS version was released each time). At the CC, the annual rental prices were used. The gross prices are given.

Clearly a point for the Creative Cloud: you have to pay for the Creative Suite immediately and use it for around four years until it catches up with the costs of the CC. The CS is more expensive for a shorter period of use (even the lower-priced updates don't help: with the CS, they are added on, whereas with the CC they are compared with the rental price).


Advantages of purchasing programs:

  • After a one-time payment, the program can be used indefinitely (but only with the well-known functionality and, if necessary, without bug fixes)
  • The program license can be sold again (which may make the cost calculation above look cheaper)
  • Data security: as long as the program is on the hard drive (or the CD is in the cabinet and the program can still be installed - in the emulator / virtualiser), all files can be opened, edited, saved and also converted

Pros for rental programs:

  • Costs (see above)
  • Constantly updated program versions; Errors can be corrected immediately, features can be added

Possible misunderstandings cleared up

Despite the name “Creative Cloud”, it is not the case that the programs or their data are in the cloud and can only be accessed there. The programs and files are still saved on your own hard drive and can be run from there, even offline. The license is queried once a month; 180 days after unsuccessful query, the program is deactivated, which among other things. there should be enough time after the rental termination to convert and save the data appropriately.


We'll focus on the alternatives to Photoshop here. Many basic things - scaling, cropping, sharpening, color adjustments, ... - can now be mastered by all image processing programs. For various special cases - panorama creation and HDR for example - very good alternatives can also be found; not everything has to be combined in one program.

If we limit ourselves to the classic image processing workflow "import - edit - output" image data, the matter is as follows: As convenient as Photoshop is, there are many alternatives. Last but not least, every camera manufacturer also offers a program that can read, convert, (rudimentary) edit and output its RAW data.

A frequently mentioned program that corresponds very closely to the scope of Photoshop (including layer management and ICC color profile support and conversion) is PhotoLine, which is also very inexpensive at 59 euros (and perhaps because of this it is not taken that seriously by some becomes). However, the other work surface and philosophy requires getting used to. There is no experience with the quality of the RAW conversion.

If you are looking for alternatives for the purely photographic workflow - reading in, correcting, scaling, outputting images in maximum quality (= RAW) - you will find among others. the following alternatives:

GIMP - the GNU Image Manipulation Program - is undoubtedly as famous as it is notorious, and one thing in itself. Efficient, but it takes a lot of getting used to operation and users have to wait a very, very long time for some functions. Many years on CMYK or ICC color management.

In our opinion, v. a. Capture One Pro, Photoshop Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro. All three master all the important steps from RAW conversion to image enhancement to output and also offer the option of correcting lens errors when reading the photos. At this point it should be mentioned again: all these functions can (mostly) also be handled by the software included with the camera: Nikon's Capture NX, Canon's Digital Photo Professional, ... - but the conversion and correction options are limited to the devices of the respective house.

If you want to edit, retouch and assemble photos in a demanding way, you can use the following programs, for example, based on a RAW conversion with one of the programs mentioned above:

PhotoLine - 59 euros
Corel Photo-Paint X5 Ultimate (Windows only) - € 89.99
Corel Photo-Paint X6 (Windows only; only in the Graphics Suite X6 package) - 629.51 euros

Ultimately, it remains to be considered that many plug-ins are Photoshop-compatible on their own. The Nik Collection, for example, requires Photoshop, Lightroom or Elements.


If you are ready to divide the editing process into several steps / programs, Photoshop is entirely replaceable. There are many alternative programs for the pure photo workflow "import - correct - output", some of which are mentioned here that are to be taken seriously. If the requirements become more demanding, you may have to use another program that can handle layer management, masking, etc. What Photoshop can do alone, several people do.

The question remains, however, why this has not already been used; the alternatives are not new. And so it ultimately remains with the answer: Photoshop CC is significantly cheaper than Photoshop CS.


Addendum (May 21, 2013; 9:10 p.m.): The commentators are right. The comparison of a useful life of only two years in the cost table does not reflect the overall cost picture; especially not that of version skips and upgrade options.

According to Adobe's old upgrade model (you could still upgrade after two or three version jumps), the cost breakdown for Photoshop CS looks something like this: CS (1010 euros), then CS3 (upgrade 272 euros), then CS6 (upgrade 272 euros) = 1554 euros for 10 years of Photoshop = 12.95 euros per month.

At the end of last year, however, Adobe announced that in future upgrades should only be possible from the direct previous version. For the future and for 10 years that would have meant something like: once 1010 euros plus 5x 272 euros = 2370 euros equal to 19.75 euros per month.


  1. Anonymous on 05/21/2013 6:30 p.m. at 6:30 p.m.
    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 7:58 PM at 7:58 PM
  2. Anonymous on 05/21/2013 18:50 at 18:50
  3. jps on 05/21/2013 7:02 p.m. at 7:02 p.m.
    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 7:06 PM at 7:06 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 8:48 PM at 8:48 PM
  4. Anonymous on 05/21/2013 7:03 PM at 7:03 PM

    The cloud and the phenomena of dissolution ...

    LightRoom will soon also land in the cloud.

    As an alternative for RAW developers, there are the open source programs ‘Darktable’ (almost identical to LightRoom) and RAW Therapee. For the Mac there is also RPP (RawPhotoProcessor) and of course UFRaw. The veteran DCRaw, which is executed from the command line and is very powerful, works very practically and cleanly. If you don't feel like the command line, you can look for one of the numerous front ends or GUIs.

    PhotoLine has been a 64bit program for a long time, cheaper than PS Elements, but can handle 16/48 bit color depth and can handle most PS plug-ins. PhotoLine even has an integrated vector module, for which the PS user would otherwise have to have Adobe Illustrator. Admittedly, PhotoLine's GUI is very crude, but the developers have obviously had no interest in increasing the attractiveness in this area for years, although the community keeps pointing out. Important with PhotoLine: It can open and write PSD data including layers.

    For hobby users who do not need a 48/16 bit color depth, GIMP is completely sufficient, although one should not forget that GIMP will also support 16/48 bit color depth very soon.

    Instead of InDesign, page layout works very well with Scribus, especially under Linux and on the Mac. Scribus writes very clean PDF data, up to PDF / X-3, i.e. complete CMYK documents with embedded RGB photos, which are then cleanly converted by the RIP of the printer. Scribus has its own PDF engine that can be expanded with GhostScript and works perfectly with large format printers for proofs via RIP.

    The most important point in the ‘Contra Cloud’ category is unfortunately missing from the list:

    If you now have CS 5 or CS 6 and switch to CC, you lose the license for your CS. Off the mouse. If you then make the mistake of saving the files in PSD format, you have lost if you no longer want the subscription model or want to use different software. Seen in this way, the cloud model is a dead end in favor of Adobe, and the cloud dreams then evaporate very quickly.

    Since PhotoShop is the most frequently illegally copied program, the outcry is of course great. With the cloud, Adobe has all the strings in hand and makes pirated copies worthless and impossible in one fell swoop.

    Speaking of ‘threads in hand’ - what Adobe will do with the user data is not yet known, but I would not trust the Moloch just as much as Grimacing Book a millimeter across the way.

    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 7:32 PM at 7:32 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 7:44 PM at 7:44 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 8:01 PM at 8:01 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/21/2013 8:24 PM at 8:24 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/22/2013 01:04 at 1:04
    • Anonymous on 02/22/2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am
    • Anonymous on 03/15/2014 3:59 PM at 3:59 PM
  5. Anonymous on 05/21/2013 7:22 PM at 7:22 PM
    • Anonymous on 06/22/2013 5:46 PM at 5:46 PM
    • Anonymous on 02/22/2014 1:37 PM at 1:37 PM
    • Anonymous on 03/15/2014 5:35 PM at 5:35 PM
  6. Plaubel on 05/21/2013 10:23 PM at 10:23 PM
    • RattenSchaf on 05/22/2013 8:38 am at 8:38 am
  7. Anonymous on 05/21/2013 8:15 PM at 8:15 PM
  8. Anonymous on May 21, 2013 9:35 pm at 9:35 pm
  9. Anonymous on 05/21/2013 11:10 PM at 11:10 PM
    • Photoscala editorial team on May 22, 2013 9:08 am at 9:08 am
  10. ROG on 05/22/2013 12:41 AM at 12:41 AM
  11. Anonymous on May 22, 2013 7:39 am at 7:39 am
    • Anonymous on 05/22/2013 10:17 AM at 10:17 AM
  12. Anonymous on May 22, 2013 9:39 am at 9:39 am
    • Anonymous on 05/22/2013 1:55 PM at 1:55 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/22/2013 14:48 at 14:48

      Not quite!

      [quote = guest] Ulbricht comes to mind with his speech: “We will never build a wall”. Just as the unions can be overturned in the global free economy today, the users will be demonstrated in the future. Market leadership and unique selling points make it possible.
      [/ quote]
      It is not market leadership and unique selling propositions that make it possible, but the stupid, naive and passionate customer!

      Certainly there are features and workflows that only Adobe can master at the moment, but anyone who thinks that one cannot live without them has only been on this planet for two years at the most! What Adobe was able to do up to 3-4 years ago can even be done better by freeware today, and back then you could handle it!

      On the other hand, anyone who believes that Adobe would not shamelessly exploit the possibilities offered by such an online subscription system in the future, such as integrating features in PDS files that can then no longer be opened with a third-party program and the further that As the rate of inflation progresses, subscription prices will also increase significantly, which certainly considers Apple and Microsoft to be non-profit charities!

      The latter tried something similar with “Office 360” by the way, were just not so stupid as to abolish the purchase option immediately and then had to realize that no one wanted Office360, although the price was far cheaper.

      So it's up to us!

      Personally, I actually drive cheaper with CC and have absolutely no desire to dig into new programs from scratch. Nevertheless, I will do it because I do not support such machinations and am also not willing to commit myself to a company for life if I can no longer usefully open files created with CC3 to CC11 with any other program. It's not about the “raw file” and the “end product”, there are of course options for archiving raw and tiffs, but not infrequently I want to change something in an image that was edited years ago that is no longer possible on a Tiff and from Raw would require a completely new processing, such as a typeface or retouching, which is much cleaner with CS6 than with PS3, as a simple example.

      If Adobe is not interested in our opinion and our will, then we close our wallets, Adobe is guaranteed to be interested!

  13. Anonymous on 05/22/2013 12:37 PM at 12:37 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/23/2013 5:56 PM at 5:56 PM
  14. Anonymous on 05/22/2013 12:59 at 12:59
  15. Anonymous on 05/22/2013 5:39 PM at 5:39 PM
    • Photoscala editorial team on May 23, 2013, 8:28 am at 8:28 am
  16. guenter_w on 05/22/2013 6:03 PM at 6:03 PM
    • Anonymous on 05/22/2013 18:13 at 18:13
  17. Anonymous on 05/22/2013 6:09 PM at 6:09 PM
  18. Anonymous on May 23, 2013 8:48 am at 8:48 am
    • Anonymous on 05/23/2013 7:12 PM at 7:12 PM
  19. Anonymous on 05/24/2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am
  20. Anonymous on 05/24/2013 3:49 PM at 3:49 PM
  21. Anonymous on 05/30/2013 8:34 am at 8:34 am
  22. Anonymous on July 3rd, 2013 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm
  23. Anonymous on 06/16/2014 5:52 am at 5:52 am