I already had Creative Cloud on my iMac and my Mac mini. Creative Cloud, as provided in the main product marketed to creative professionals, only supports use on two computers.
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I checked on this with Adobe support, and this is their direct statement, "You may install software on up to two computers, These two computers can be Windows, Mac OS, or one each. Okay, but I have three computers. According to the support guy, there's no way to just buy a license for one additional machine. His recommendation was this: "I am sorry it is not possible to activate an individual subscription on three computers with the same ID. You need to buy another under your alternate email address. Let's ignore the issue of the cost of buying another full license. I can live with that although I'm used to buying a cloud service and using it on any machine -- that's why it's a cloud service.
No, let's look at how this policy of not being able to use the same ID and needing to use an alternate email address. What do you think that breaks? Yep: everything. No more asset sharing. No more cloud sharing. No more settings sharing. Because you can't use the same ID. Creative people often use more than one computer. For example, I often have one machine crunching video while another has got 20 windows open for Illustrator work, and another one is being used for coding or website design.
I jump between them a lot. One of my editors uses a couple of machines for work, one at home, and one at church, where he manages a newsletter. It's a different usage pattern, but it's still one person and a pile of machines. This is the cloud. Gmail doesn't require you to limit the machines you can access it on. Evernote can be accessed everywhere. You can even read your Kindle books across so many devices that it's a very rare occasion you have to deactivate a device, and when you do, it's one that's been out of service for a year or more.
That was quick: Adobe's Creative Cloud already pirated - CNET
Heck, even Netflix allows client applications on too many devices to count and my wife and I can each watch a stream at the same time without any increased fee. If I want to keep sharing assets and settings using my Creative Cloud account using the Creative Cloud account I had to change because Adobe got so badly hacked a few years back that we were all dangerously exposed I have to deactivate some machine and activate some others. Unfortunately, it's not consistent. I tested it this morning. I installed Creative Cloud on my new MacBook Pro and as part of the setup, got this message about needing to deactivate other computers.
Since I wanted to see what would happen if I was working on the MacBook Pro from a coffee shop, I had it sign me out of "all other computers or devices". It signed me out of the Mac mini. It did not sign me out of the iMac.
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Digging up user name and password is a bit of a pain, but not that bad. After signing back into the Mac mini, I was able to get into Photoshop on all three machines, even after reboots. What bothers me is the inconsistency of it. As a busy professional, I want to be able to predict behavior and, more to the point, remove all bottlenecks to my workflow.
This is actually a much more usable approach, because team members can share assets and settings at least according to support guy Matthew. Pricing isn't even that much higher. This method does not allow the installation of CC applications, only the earlier versions.
Un-Creative Cloud: Adobe licensing stuck in pre-cloud era
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If, like me, you feel you might not be getting the full value out of your Adobe subscriptions, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover some of the tools that may serve your needs just as well, for a fee that is a little easier to justify. Caveat: I have been a Mac-only user since around Some of the tools I mention here will be cross-platform, but some are Mac only. For my day-to-day uses of putting together graphics for the web and simple posters, vector graphics are probably the most common thing I deal with.
Get Adobe Creative Cloud Apps for as Low as $9.99 Per Month
I love working with vectors for their flexibility and simplicity. For that reason, Illustrator was probably the hardest Adobe app for me to give up. However, Designer makes it easy to forget my old flame. One of my favorite things in Designer is how much more elegantly it deals with imported raster graphics, such as the occasional headshot photo or background texture.
Another great thing about Designer is that while it is newer and has a smaller user base than Illustrator, there are still many vocal proponents online. The Affinity forums are regularly visited by the developers, along with helpful users, in a way that the Adobe forums rarely are. It has a set of tools that is very comparable to Illustrator; but, I think it organizes them much more neatly and logically. Even basic little things like the color picker and alignment tools are clever, thoughtful, and modern.
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Just remember that with great power comes great responsibility. One time. Despite my love of vectors, sometimes I just need to work directly with the pixels. It strikes an excellent balance between power and accessibility. I was personally never the power user of Photoshop that I was on Illustrator; but, I can do anything I ever needed to do in Photoshop faster and with the same result in Affinity Photo.
Another great thing about Affinity Photo: the iPad app. Round-tripping your files to do some editing on both platforms is very easy as well. Just like for Designer, Affinity has a large collection of training videos on YouTube for both desktop and mobile versions of Affinity Photo.
And speaking of Designer, the two place just as nicely together as Illustrator and Photoshop. Again, the price for the power is astonishing. Seriously, sometimes my only worry about these guys is how they keep the company afloat selling stuff so cheap! However, it would be wrong not to point out that there are some other strong options here.