Why should I use Adobe's applications?
February 14, 2013 6:11 AM   Subscribe

Why should I use Adobe's applications? Of course, I realise I don't have to if I don't want to. However, I'm a subscriber to their Creative Cloud programme, primarily for Photoshop / Indesign /Illustrator. I already use the competitors to many of the other applications in the bundle. Are there any pressing reasons for me to use the Adobe versions? Please explain to me, but please: without denigrating the applications I already use.

Because I'm fascinated to find out why people think Premiere rocks and have no interest in finding out why they think FCPX sucks. I'll use the "vs" convention, but only because it's a convention. What will the Adobe applications allow me to do that I can't do already?


Premiere vs FCPX
After Effects vs Motion (I think Motion probably loses out here, and quite badly, but stil: why do you think AE rocks?)

Dreamweaver vs TextMate + Transmit + browsers
Edge Animate vs learning more about Javasript and jQuery
Muse vs... what is this program good for, anyway?

Digital Publishing
Indesign + DPS vs iBooks (considering I'd not be able to afford the DPS Pro membership, so would only be able to make enhanced books for iPad anyway)
TypeKit vs FontSquirrel

Lightroom vs Aperture

And, indeed, anything that I've missed vs its competitor. I already have this stuff, what I'd like to know is what the advantages of it are from people who already use it.
posted by Grangousier to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Largely in my experience because if you're a professional, it's useful to have Adobe file type transferability to other professionals. I do not use Photoshop, which is exceedingly rare in my field (web design), and the only problem I encounter is when clients or printers or whomever asks "Can I have the PSD?" Well, no, because I don't produce PSDs.

If you don't encounter this issue or the applications you use produce Adobe file types, there is no reason to swallow the Adobe pill.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:15 AM on February 14, 2013

IMHO: Premiere vs FCP is largely a wash, for my nonprofessional purposes. I like Motion, personally, but honestly haven't touched after effects for a long time.

Dreamweaver, edge, muse: avoid. Like plague. Better to learn how to do that stuff for real than to learn how to be dependent on those tools.

No opinion on the others (though I will be curious to hear discussion on aperture vs Lightroom; I rather dislike aperture but haven't yet started to hate it enough to make a switch...)
posted by ook at 6:29 AM on February 14, 2013

Because so many other people in the fields that use Adobe use Adobe, and the files can be transferred easily. Plus, Adobe was first-to-market in a lot of these, so people know the tools and how to use them.
posted by xingcat at 6:40 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

It sort of feels to me like one has to know Photoshop. As for Illustrator, it just never did it for me as a user. I've been using graphics programs professionally since the mid 90s and during that whole time have been praising CorelDraw over Illustrator to anybody who will listen. I find my workflow to be way faster and find the interface way more intuitive. I think it gets dismissed as a vector drawing program exclusively when it can do so much more and faster. Add to this the fact that it will save to most competitors file formats including PSD. If a client wants a PSD that's what they get. They never know it wasn't Photoshop that rendered it.
posted by No Shmoobles at 6:55 AM on February 14, 2013

And, of course, I'll chime in as someone whose experience re:Illustrator v. Corel is exactly the opposite. I find Corel to be the one that is non-intuitive and resistant to a smooth workflow. A case study in YMMV, I guess.

Illustrator ties-together with Photoshop very tightly, to where they might as well be modules of a larger app. I also find the color-management tools in Adobe's products to be pretty well-developed. If your workflow includes a lot of print, the combination of the two is pretty powerful.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:16 AM on February 14, 2013

The only thing I can speak to with authority is the Web section, and like said previously, avoid those. No one in the web world will take you as a serious web person if that's your tool set. Photoshop, sure, everyone expects PSDs. But Dreamweaver is a joke.
posted by cgg at 7:50 AM on February 14, 2013

Chiming in about the "industry standard" aspect - in apparel decorating and promotional products, a lot of vendors expect .ai files. MOST vendors will accept .eps or .pdf files, which are more platform-neutral, but every once in a while you'll get in a jam with one that expects it, or blames the fact that a file "didn't work" on not having the "original .ai file." Kind of ridiculous, but it's part of how industry standards stay engrained.

And the relationship between a distributor and a supplier is often such that the supplier (i.e. the company that's actually doing the imprint) is actively looking for ways to say "you delayed the process so we're charging you a rush." So...
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:49 AM on February 14, 2013

I am a Creative Suite user. I use a local version; I think the Cloud subscription is just too expensive vs. updating CS.

"Industry standard" is certainly the biggest reason for using these tools. There are workarounds using other tools, but you'll have to decide if the hassle is worth it.

Dreamweaver is certainly NOT a joke. It may not be the best way to do web design, but it's certainly workable. I've used it forever, and once it's loaded up with my snippets and idiosyncratic stuff it works great. There are other (free) tools that will work just as well, though.

InDesign, however, is the best thing since sliced bread, in my opinion.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:42 AM on February 14, 2013

For the web aspect, you don't need Adobe at all. There are free or cheaper tools that do the job better than Dreamweaver - Sublime Text, TextMate, BBEdit, etc. Edge Animate / Muse: stay away. You're MUCH better off learning HTML/CSS/JavasScript+jQuery.

Photoshop is what everyone else uses that doesn't have a comparable competitor in the space. For photography I mostly know people that use Lightroom or PS for image editing. Don't know any that use Aperture... but I know more photos that use Windows than Mac.

Adobe is also known to have big security issues (like the recent exploits in PDF Reader), so I tend not to use any of their products besides PS.
posted by xtine at 11:08 AM on February 14, 2013

Publishing: Can't say for the competition but InDesign is pretty great for page layout. If you're already using Illustrator many of the bits and pieces will be familiar - the layout of the tools and etc. is similar, the capabilities are designed to complement the other Adobe Suite programs. It's just going to work together.

Web: Yeah, last time I used DreamWeaver it was just a hot mess. The carefully handcrafted code I had built was torn to shreds by any attempt to edit. It seemed as if anything not built by DreamWeaver in the first place was just trashed. I hated it. Of course that was years and years ago, haven't used any recent versions but the experience was bad enough that I haven't ever WANTED to use one of the recent versions. I've stuck with a plain text editor ever since. I don't do enough to justify buying BBEdit, but TextWrangler keeps me happy. (Image work on the other hand, I bought CS3 and CS4 Design Standard because I use them often enough in prepping posters, images, figures, etc. for publication to justify the cost.)

Photography: Lightroom is great. Everything you love about Photoshop Camera Raw - if you know that interface you basically know Lightroom image editing! - but it gives you the ability to batch apply changes to multiple images automatically, even on import if you wish, nondestructively. Jeffrey's Lightroom Goodies is awesome for resources, the export plugins he wrote will allow you to sync photos/edits into nearly any online photo service you can think of. I played with Aperture but never really liked it; I seem to recall it trying to use iPhoto libraries by default? I kind of resent every Mac program that expects me to use iPhoto to manage my images. I hate iPhoto. It plain sucks for anyone who uses more than one computer or who expects any kind of control over the content they personally created. The Adobe stuff does not try to bury my images into a folder disguised as an app to stop me from daring to touch my own content.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:50 AM on February 14, 2013

InDesign is the only one that has no competitors (I'm a graphic designer, it's industry-standard). But a lot of this comes down to how you use the software -- if iBooks does everything you need, then you personally do not need InDesign.

Lightroom vs. Aperture is a wash - they both pretty much do the same stuff, so pick which interface you prefer.

This question is really impossible for anyone to answer for you, because these are all tools, and people use their tools differently. If you're used to other programs, and they have all the features you need, then stick with them.
posted by ella wren at 4:37 PM on February 14, 2013

If they work for you, they work for you. Don't sweat it.

Trouble you might encounter:
1) They don't play as well with others. If a client or coworker sends you a PSD (or whatever) you might not be able to open it. Having to say "Can you save that in an older version, with compatibility mode turned on, or just flattened into a PNG" you look incompetent and you're wasting other people's time. Similarly if client/coworker asks for [common Adobe file type] and you can't deliver, that's trouble.

2) Community. Tons of people use the tools in Adobe suite. If you want to know how to do something, a hundred tutorials are a Google search away. Similarly there are tons of scripts, automations, plugins, templates, etc out there to help you get your stuff done. This is not necessarily true of the competitors.

3) Cross platform. It's no big deal until it is. Adobe's products are remarkably consistent across platforms and can load and save without trouble. Many of the other apps you list are limited to a single operating system. Again, may not be a big deal, though when I had to change platforms there were a few files that I had to leave behind. Again, it can be an issue when interacting with others. (What is a Windows user going to do with a Final Cut Pro file?)

I'll aslo add that I like the Creative Suite subscription because it lets me 'borrow' apps that I would rarely need. For example when someone sends me a Flash file for assets I can just download the lastest version, deal with the file and then delete Flash without having to mess with/pay anything extra.

But again, if you work in a vacuum and you're happy with your tools, then forget about it and stay the course.
posted by Ookseer at 11:15 PM on February 14, 2013

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