Sunday, 24 March 2013

Unite 2013

Unite is the name for the Unity convention that usually happens in Europe every year, but this year is different as the Unite conference goes on a world tour! The tour hits up the following locations:

Canada (Vancouver)

I've got tickets to the Vancouver Unite so I'm pretty excited. The conference is prefaced by a Training Day which teaches you the essentials of Unity.

To learn more about Unite 2013, click here.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Adobe's Creative Cloud

So I've been looking into cost-effective ways of getting access to professional tools. I'm not talking piracy here, just trying to maximize my VFM while trying to get access to the best tools for the job (hence previous posts about 3D modelling tools). One solution I stumbled across was the Creative Cloud from Adobe. For a relatively small amount a month you can get access to "the entire collection of CS6 tools.." which include (full list is later):

Photoshop Extended
Flash Professional

More details can be found here:
Details about pricing are here:

Adobe also produce some game developer tools based on the Flash platform. Some of the tools are free with a Creative Cloud account (which is free to sign up for). Find out more here:

Adobe Application Manager

Access to the Adobe applications is granted via the Adobe Application Manager, and this is where you will download and install the Adobe products as well as install Updates. To install a product, I just click on the "Try" link and the software downloads and installs. The products I have access to under my trial account are:

Photoshop CS6
After Effects CS6
Adobe Premier Pro CS6 Family
InDesign CS6
Flash Professional CS6
Illustrator CS6
Fireworks CS6
Dreamweaver CS6
Audition CS6
SpeedGrade CS6
Prelude CS6
Flash Builder
Edge Animate
Adobe Acrobat XI Pro
Creative Cloud Connection (for managing files you store on the Adobe Cloud)
Touch App Plugins

Here is a screenshot of the Application Manager:

All software has installed on my C drive and I'm guessing it does this as that's where I've installed the Application Manager. However, you can change the installation location if you start to run out of space, or you want those apps to run off a solid state drive (for example).

Free Trial

You can sign up for a free trial (Adobe do not ask for Credit Card details when you create your Cloud account) and you get access to 30day trials of all the software offered. With the price of Adobe CS6 being roughly 2500CAD the monthly price doesn't seem bad. I signed up for an individual account (though once you go paid for all apps then they expect a 12month agreement) and this can be converted to a Team Account if you increase your team (at time of writing, this information can be found on the FAQs page under the "Creative Cloud for teams" section). The individual account starts at 29.99CAD per month and you get access to only one application, but for 49.99CAD per month you get access to the whole suite. Team accounts are 69.99CAD per month per user.

Software in the Cloud??

At first I was skeptical and wondered how they would be able to deliver software via the cloud and what the restrictions would be (from previous experience using Microsoft's OneNote in the web interface, I much preferred the thick client). However, the software is installed on your machine so you are not trying to create art via a web-page.

But what if my Internet goes down?

With the software being installed locally, then your connection matters for these reasons:

1) to create your account in the first place
2) to download the required software
3) your machine has to connect to the Internet at least once every 30days so that it can check that you have a valid subscription (probably the same sort of mechanism in Windows Vista and up that check you have a valid version of Windows)

So if your Internet connection goes down, or you're using your software on a laptop and you don't have Internet connectivity, then you can still get your creative grove on.

Any storage?

As with all things cloud related, you do get space on the Adobe cloud to store work so that it is accessible wherever you have Internet access. At time of writing, you get 20GB with a personal plan (2GB with the Free plan), and 100GB per user on the Team/Business plan. This is also supposed to be a great way of sharing files in a team and will save excessive load on mail servers and avoid file restrictions on email.

First thoughts

I'm really pleased with what Adobe are offering here, and I think it's very well priced for individuals who want to learn either a specific Adobe product, or the full suite without having to shell out thousands of dollars all at once. 20GB of storage is great (though I guess it depends on the size of your creations as to how good you may think this is) and a good off-site backup in case of system failure. Also, add in the fact that updates are made available to you (I'm guessing this will also be full version updates too) and that you can change your installation directory make it a really neat solution.

A couple of the negatives I can think of are:

1) You have to commit to a year's subscription to get access to all of the Creative Suite
2) There's no middle option where you could pick maybe 3 or 4 applications so it seems a quite "all or nothing" approach

With a free trial offering, why not give it a try?