Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Upgrades

There has been some interesting discussion on the Adobe forums as well as on several blogs about the upgrade path to Photoshop CS4. This effects me personally, so I thought I would interrupt my posts about the Zion workshop I attended to write (rant) about the upgrade issue.

When Photoshop CS3 was released, consumers were faced with the option of upgrading to CS3 or the CS3 Extended version. The differences to me were initially a little vague, as I suspect they were to a number of people. The new extended version was to have 3D tools as well as some other image stacking options that I thought were not in the Non-Extended version. The 3D tools were, indeed, unique to CS3, though I believe the stacking options were actually available in the Non-Extended version as well. I decided to go with the brand new Extended version as I wondered if I might find some of the tools useful....if I ultimately found that I didn't need them I thought I would just end up going back to the Non-Extended version with the next Photoshiop release. Even though it was another $100-150 or so I figured I would give the Extended version a try and see what it was all about. Or so I thought.

I ended up never using any of the options or tools that were unique to the Extended version of Photoshop. Out comes Photoshop CS4 and CS4 Extended. My plan was to upgrade back to the Non-Extended version of Photoshop CS4. As it turns out, there is no upgrade path being made available by Adobe back to the Non-Extended version. Apparently, they want the consumer to be 'locked in' to the more expensive Extended version. Once 'Extended' always 'Extended'.

Now, this seems particularly unfair to me. Certainly I wouldn't have made the Extended choice had I known that I would be locked in for another $150 cost with each and every subsequent Photoshop release. I am not the only consumer who feels this is unfair. Apparently some Adobe employees do as well. John Nack, in his blog speaks about the lack of on upgrade path back to the Non-Extended version (I call it an upgrade-downgrade). In his post from the end of September he talks about Adobe preparing an upgrade path from Extended to Non-Extended. Unfortunately, either this has not occured or has occured in a somewhat obscure and rather opaque fashion.

What do I mean by obscure and opaque? Well I (and many others in different posts) asked questions about the whole upgrade route on the Adobe Forum. One responder states that if one calls tech support (but not customer service) they will give you an unlock code to make the upgrade that will work only once and only be active for about an hour. Now, I don't know if that is true or not, and, frankly, I won't be able to find out because I can't make that call in front of my home computer during 9-5 business hours. However, even if it is true, is this, as they say, any way to run a business? What if I buy a new computer and want to reinstall the program? What if the program crashes or gets corrupted and I want to reinstall it? What about putting it on my laptop? What about.....well you get the idea. You can read the forum thread here.

It seems to me that Adobe should allow the upgrade from the Extended to Non-Extended versions (which seems only fair), and allow it as a clearly stated option with a distinct and easy mechanism for anyone to do the upgrade without jumping through all sorts of hoops. I am sure that from a programing standpoint this can not be all that difficult. It is equally hard for me to believe that the Adobe marketing division could not or did not anticipate this sort of problem.

OK, I am done with my rant now!