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Adobe to Offer Ad Supported Photoshop For Free

It's not slated to be announced till the beginning of the month. But I can't help raising the alert today since I generally only post full articles here on the weekend. If you care about the future of Photoshop, you need to be aware of this.

The Photoshop brand has been under attack in recent years. Photographers in droves are moving to Lightroom. With its integrated workflow and catalog, Lightroom can cover most of what photographers need, and at a lower price point. Popular applications such as Picassa, Snapchat and the open source GIMP are causing still other Photoshop users to jump ship. Improvements in cameras and lenses are contributing to Adobe's losses as well by making it less necessary to perform post processing at all. When images come out of your camera already looking great, why would you need Photoshop?

But perhaps the biggest change that is upsetting the industry is Adobe's switch to a subscription based licensing model several years ago. Ever since then, angry Photoshop users have been seeking alternatives.

Even with all these factors, Photoshop is still the king of the hill in terms of capabilities. Yet those few things that Photoshop can do that Lightroom hasn't yet mastered certainly do come at a cost. Photoshop isn't cheap, and if Adobe wants to entice their customers to use Photoshop, they need to come up with a pricing structure those customers won't balk at.

Taking a cue from the abundance of advertising supported applications on Android and iPhone platforms, Adobe is set to release Photoshop for free, with revenue generated from integrated advertising. Yes, advertising in Photoshop. The official announcement is rumored to come soon.

Admittedly, this move does make a certain degree of sense. Photoshop users tend to have fairly big monitors, and all that screen real estate should provide plenty of room to tactfully inset a few ads. A new advertising palette will be introduced on the right-hand side of the screen showing ads for sponsored products and services based on the content of the images currently being edited. An internet connection will be required. The size of this new palette will be adjustable, but users won't be able to remove it completely. Ironically, wedding photographers could start seeing ads for their competitors while they work on their images.

Perhaps the most controversial new feature will be the planned upgrade of the content-aware fill capability of the spot healing brush. Photoshop will analyze your image and include what they claim are tastefully selected ads directly to your images. If you've ever found yourself thinking that the great outdoors would be the perfect place for an icy can of Coke, this will be right up your alley. But for users who primarily use Photoshop specifically to remove the "hand of man" from their images, this will be frustrating news indeed. Many of us drawn to outdoor and nature photography go out of our way to shoot in places that haven't been despoiled by evidence of man's activity. This new content-aware advertising feature will look at your images to determine where best to add a visitor's center, billboard or highway.

Many formerly wild areas are already starting to see development, but this new feature won't be content to wait for actual roads to be built. You'll be able (and apparently forced) to imagine your favorite hiking trail with a McDonald's franchise painted in. Users will apparently be able to influence what will be inserted based on the pattern of brush stokes they use to fill the target area, but that hardly seems to address the root of the complaint. Personally, I can do without. Rather than removing unwanted objects from your images, Adobe apparently now wants to actively add unwanted objects.

Contacts at Adobe state that they will still sell Photoshop under the current licensing model too, rebranding it as the "Pro" edition. But now if you stop paying for your subscription, Adobe will have one more way to woo you back into the fold. Existing users will automatically be converted to the ad-based version unless they opt out.

This may seem like a bad joke, but I heard about it on the Internet.

If you've ever gotten mad when you looked down at the side of the trail only to find cigarette butts and other trash, you're probably as upset about this as I am. From what I hear though, it's not too late. Although they don't want you to know about it, Adobe currently does have an open comment period in advance of the new 2016.4.1 Release. If enough users like this article on Facebook or tweet a link to it, we can collectively let our voices be heard: say no to advertising in Photoshop!

Please, do help get the word out.

Date posted: March 27, 2016 (updated April 1, 2016)


Copyright © 2016 Bob Johnson, Earthbound Light - all rights reserved.
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