The Trouble with Adobe: the “EASY” myth

Posted on: April 13th, 2012 by Edward 1 Comment

I guess, whenever I have a blog post about anything Adobe, I should start off with how “unhelpful” the help docs are and how misleading the “easy to do stuff” rhetoric is…AND THIS APPLIES TO ALL ADOBE PRODUCTS…

I have been using Adobe products for more than 15 years…and I have yet to meet an Adobe product that’s easy to use…maybe easy to get some gimmicky, quirky thing done so that the average John Q Public will purchase a license; but for doing anything substantial or really being intimate with the software, forget about it!

Adobe products aren’t industry standard applications because they’re easy to use—they’re the industry standard because their applications get the job done…and any Adobe application guru will tell you…just pick one…any one…IT’S A BIG APPLICATION, HUGE EVEN!

Each Adobe application has an inherit use; and with that, you can add application integration…the driving force of the Creative Suite…different Adobe applications “round-tripping”—i.e. create a file in one application and from another application, edit the original file in the authoring application…meaning, you record a band and import their Audition audio into a Premiere video session, and if necessary, open Audition and edit the audio without ever leaving your Premiere video file…really awesome stuff here folks…

But even after all my years of using Adobe products, I can’t say that the Adobe help files helped me that often…and the ActionScript is the worst…

Whenever I need help, it seems a good Google is better…and that’s no exaggeration!

Which Adobe product is easiest to use? There isn’t one…no matter which application you use, if you want to be proficient or get Adobe Certified, you have some hoops to jump through.

Each Adobe application has its own learning curve; its own language; and quite often, contradictory keyboard short cuts…hold down the space bar and move the canvas…oops! I didn’t mean for the play head to move!

Frankly, if not for the web, I think most would be hard-pressed to really learn any Adobe title. And after 15 years, I’m still intimidated by AfterEffects…have you seen some of the menus in this application? If you’re not serious about film…don’t bother! Oh, and did I mention “plugins or widgets or extensions or packages or codecs or lions, tigers and bears, oh my”—talk about more than you bargained for!

I know Adobe needs to sell product, but don’t tell me how easy it is to this and that when once I do this or that…I can’t do anything else.

And television doesn’t help at all…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone in a film or television show just click on someone’s head in a photo, then drag it to another photo and BOOM…they’re done…I have yet to find that magic app or image editor…I think it’s safe to say it wasn’t Adobe’s Photoshop.

Deke McClelland is by far the best Photoshop user/instructor I’ve ever come across, and I’ve never seen him demonstrate that particular technique…and some people really think moving a face from one photo to another is just that easy…because they saw it in a movie or on a television show.

I know I’m going on about the Adobe dark side, but not a day goes by that I don’t use one of their products…I love/hate them…and couldn’t imagine life without them…

In closing, I have to mention…as soon as you think you got the hang of an application, they go and upgrade it…and sometimes, change it completely…this sucks for a number of reasons which I guess I’ll have to save for another blog post…and now, there are whispers of the Adobe Cloud…

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