13 May 2011

Tool of the Trade: Photoshop CS5.1 Subscription Edition

I was so excited when I heard that Adobe was allowing a subscription of Photoshop that I went ahead and pre-ordered it almost a whole month in advance.

While a great deal at $35 USD/mo for a year's subscription, you do need to know that you are still only renting the software, not buying it through a payment plan. This works out well if you have your own business and can write it off as a business expense. And at $35, even those on a modest budget can manage.

A perk, from what I understand, is that you get updates as they arrive and unlike those who buy the software outright, you don't have to pay extra for it.

However, for the affordable price and updates, there are some downsides to the subscription edition.

The biggest one I've found so far is that you can only run the software while online. I realise this is an anti-pirating precaution, but it does become frustrating in situations where I will not have a wifi connection or I will have to pay to get one (ie: airports). I'd still have to count it as a major downside to the software.

While Photoshop ran absolutely fine before, it hasn't been the same since I tried to run it while offline. I'll save someone the hassle of a 90 minute phone call with tech support and give you the full blown version of the answer to the problem that I was actually able to cram into a single tweet.

If you accidentally (or purposefully) start Photoshop Subscription Edition up without being online first, you'll find the Adobe Application Manager pop up and presents you with this message: "We are unable to activate Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 subscription edition," informing you that you're not allowed to run the software offline. On my MacBook OS 10.6.7, when I tried to press "Try again", it went to the next screen to Activate the software, but stalled and never gave an error message.

To temporarily fix this issue on a Mac:

  • Go to Macintosh HD -> Library -> Application Support -> Adobe -> Adobe PCD
  • In Adobe PCD you might find a pcd.db file, delete it.
  • Go to Adobe PCD -> cache
  • In the cache, you will find a cache.db file, delete it.
  • Open Photoshop and re-enter your serial number and Adobe login information.
To temporarily fix this issue on Windows:
  • In C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD
  • Move pcd.db out of the folder or delete it. 
  • Then in the Cache folder, delete cache.db.

The next major issue is that I have to do this every time I close then reopen Photoshop, extremely aggravating- especially since about 50% of the time, it also forgets my shortcuts that I've set up (I have a Norwegian laptop keyboard setup, so I can't use normal shortcuts). If anyone knows how to permanently solve the problem, I'd be forever grateful for the information!

For now, I have a quick fix, but I'm hoping on the next update (any time soon would be nice), this issue will get resolved.

Photoshop CS5.1 Subscription Edition is a great value if you go with the $35/mo yearly plan ($49 on a month to month basis), but with some of the early bugs to still work out and the inability to work offline, it might be a deal breaker for some. In that case, just keep saving for the full version!

Do you have any advantages or disadvantages to share about Photoshop Subscription Edition? Please share in the comments!

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