Does "The Industry" still use Adobe for digital art? Serious moral questions.


So I was talking with a buddy of mine the other day who was saying some indie studio stopped using photoshop cause of the cancellation fee horror stories along with the subscription cost.
I had NO IDEA what he was talking about until I looked it up. Quick google search brought up some horror stories. I could not believe adobe, THEE adobe would stoop to scam-like levels to keep profits up.

I then realized that pixar / disney and blizzard use Adobe products the last time I checked. Considering they have massive bank under their belt, I doubt they need to cancel anything. That got me wondering though about the hobbyist like me wanted to take a step “in the industry”. Someone wanting to gain experience working with a more-than-indie studio.

Are big name studios really using Adobe despite the criticism, backlash, and horrible cancellation practices? Is this one of those things I would just have to suck up and subscribe if I was serious?
Im not saying adobe (or photoshop in my case) is bad as software. I just personally dont feel right even subscribing to a company that does that you know? I also realize I cant just get up and get a job in a big name company, I know that.

It just feels wrong to support a company that does this but it honestly looks like no one cares other than the users who cancel. So basically do I need photoshop to get into digital art, concept art, whatever you want to call it? Is it a necessary evil? Or have we reached a point where you can find a concept artist using clip studio paint next to another artist using paint storm studio in Blizzard? I wouldnt know because I dont know anyone from there and I havent got any responses from Blizzard when I asked.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!


its still the standard in the graphic design, printing , web design and photo editing industries, so yeah…

If you’re interested in alternatives have a look at affinity.


Standards could change but I dont think the industry really cares if Adobe does this from the looks of it. Ive tried Affinity. Didnt like it. Not having a simple keybind to simply rotate the canvas like photoshop (holding R) but instead, having a rotate left and right keybind killed it.


Yes, visual development departments at large studios use Photoshop. That said, zero of them will care whether or not you can use Photoshop if your portfolio is good enough to work at any of them.


Really? So say more portfolio is pretty good, but all my work is done in gimp, I wouldnt be at any disadvantage for getting a job with one of the big companies?
Ive always assumed no photoshop means disadvantage.

For example, if my portfolio was rated a 7, and so was another persons portfolio but they did theirs in photoshop, THEY would be hired over me because they work in photoshop.
However if my portfolio was a 10, and the other was still a 7, I would be hired because my skill is useful.

So it would be doable, its just that I need to be worth not using photoshop. I dont know its all assumption.


I would be shocked if the topic of Photoshop even came up when interviewing for a visual development position at a high level studio. If such a studio was hypothetically deciding between two equally skilled candidates then the decision would come down to personality, experience, and a candidate’s ability to answer questions pertaining to how they may have dealt with tricky production related scenarios like tight schedules, conflicting notes, etc.


If a job is between you and some other artist that has the kahunas to show up dressed like a Sand Trooper, you’ll get smoked like a cheap cigar. Seriously.


My advice is don’t subscribe; buy (or better yet pirate) CS6 or older. Photoshop CC has some kind of cool tricks that CS6 doesn’t have, but most aren’t actually that useful and the others can easily be made up for with other software.

IMO while I doubt whether or not you use PS will come up in an interview I’d say that would be because they’d assume you’re already using it. Even if you do get the job, you’ll have to learn how to use PS which will put you at an annoying disadvantage. I hate Adobe too, but why make life hard for yourself?


Horror stories? People signed up for an annual subscription to get a discount, then are surprised they can’t just cancel the contract when they feel like it? I have annual contracts for my mortgage, web hosting, water, electricity, gas, car insurance, mobile, internet etc. If I cancel any of these mid-way, I’ll have to pay 100% of the cost regardless of cancelling, so adobe’s 50% is actually one of the more generous companies by offering 50%.


From the looks of it, adobe doesnt outright tell you there is a cancellation fee for any subscription (including monthly and annual). Few complaints towards Adobe support reps who apparently will lie to get you to keep your subscription. No idea what web host you’re using but Ive been able to cancel annual subscriptions before without a fee. Same for internet. I dont get what your point is because its sounding like “If I cancel my annual mortgage I have to pay a fee, so adobe gets to charge a fee too because these other services do”. It doesnt matter though like I said, doesnt look like anyone cares.


Ive honestly considering using CS6 just to get rid of the creative cloud bloatware they force you to install. Thats exactly my point though, if adobe is a necessary evil then I’ll use it regardless unless I plan on going full indie the rest of my life which honestly doesnt seem that bad.


I think this is a very good question, I salute you for thinking about it the way you do! I tend do think we as a society are just too darn complacent when it comes to stuff like this - Don’t like a certain company doing monopoly / questionable things? Don’t support them / Don’t give them money!

That said, I think in our industry that might be harder to do than otherwise. Sure, I can do that with phones or cars but its harder to do it with … For example… hardware. So Intel screwed AMD a couple of times over because of their monopoly practices but at the same time before Ryzen came (and after Athlon but before Core 2 Duo :stuck_out_tongue: ) Intel was just the only viable option if you wanted to build a serious business in CG.

Like yeah, you could have opted for an inferior CPU and support the underdog but the performance difference was just too big… And frankly, Intel CPUs worked like a charm! Luckily AMD came back as is now offering high-end performance and so you have options now. Both sides have their pros and cons for a job these days.

A similar thing can be said for GPU rendering. Most rendering engines only support CUDA so unless you are on the Nvidia train you won’t be rendering with all the new features / renderer engines. Luckily there appears to be movement in the OpenCL arena too but that obviously has to start with the devs. The non-Nvidia hardware is good its just the software support thats lacking.

I suppose you could draw similar parallels with Autodesk / Adobe and other software providers… And it gets tricky fast because unfortunately some things are considered industry standard and if you want in a studio thats “green” then you’ll need to be “green” yourself. Or at least be prepared to learn the “green” :stuck_out_tongue:

Now some of this software was pioneering in CG arena arena and its sitting on the top of the throne… Applications like Photoshop. People know them, they have a good eco-system.

So then I guess you have to ask yourself… How much can you do to make world a better place but at the same time run your business (or getting to work with other studios).

Personally, I try to shake as many subscription models (I think they are a joke, you are practically forced into being a hostage) as I can, I try to stray away from weird privacy invasive OS system (Windows 10?) and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, when Windows 7 and 8 get cut off from the update cycles then I’ll just have to switch to Windows 10 because I do need to keep my workstation working - I can’t just start using Linux or whatever because I can’t afford to loose a year or two switching apps and risk incompatibility issues. I’d go broke.

So thats my thinking process. Shed as much as makes sense but obviously don’t kill yourself in the process.

Truth be told, as much as I dislike the subscription models, Adobe actually made the darn thing affordable. Its the only pro I guess but at least you’ll need to use Photoshop for like 7 years before you’ll pay up the amount you did for the perpetual license.

And yeah, many big companies are so disorganized thats its a crime what some of their support staff is doing. Its just weird how these companies are so unorganized and bad.

My five cents :slight_smile:


It depends though… It’s not correct to say it doesn’t matter if you know photoshop or use something else.
It does matter. There’s a few important differences. And it’s not correct at all to think if you know how to work with Gimp you can do a job that requires you to use Photoshop.
Gimp lacks a lot of the not-so-obvious-to-the-average-user functionality (the color management, or printing for press for example).
Just look at how long it took for Gimp to have 16bit support.
Look at the job description if it mentions any requirements of knowing photoshop and just to be sure it doesn’t hurt to mention you use Gimp during the interview.
That way you avoid possible problems because of miscommunication and mentioning it will give a more positive impression.


I dont use gimp or know about its history. It was just an example. I took a look at some job postings and its the usual: maya, max, saw blender once or twice, photoshop, zbrush. Basically the big names. I guess I have my answer.


The requirement also can often be a compatibility issue. A company may trade files around and even work together all on the same version of software to ensure nothing gets messed up during production as people trade files around opening and saving.

If a company requires adobe skills, then that’s what you need despite if you can get your own work done with Gimp or Krita, etc

So in that case, I think Adobe does have a pretty solid lock on the industry. Freelancers and small studios may be able to use whatever they like. I don’t consider it a moral issue to pay Adobe or Autodesk for their software. That’s a budget and workflow concern, not a moral one IMO.


True, and some software like Nuke allows reading of full layered PSD files which can massively streamline work like texturing or projection while not creating compression or file conversion issues.


…on the other hand; a student license/subscription is dirt cheap considered you will gain access to so many different packages. Every single workplace I’ve been at have taken it for granted that one at least know Photoshop and illustrator as a creative.


[quote=]It just feels wrong to support a company that does this but it honestly looks like no one cares other than the users who cancel. So basically do I need photoshop to get into digital art, concept art, whatever you want to call it? Is it a necessary evil? Or have we reached a point where you can find a concept artist using clip studio paint next to another artist using paint storm studio in Blizzard? I wouldnt know because I dont know anyone from there and I havent got any responses from Blizzard when I asked.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated![/quote]
For the most part no. We have not reached a point where artists are using different software in production. Your major players (and most of your smaller ones) are still running Adobe and AD products. In the case of Adobe, I wouldn’t call it “supporting Adobe” so much as “held hostage by Adobe”. Their stuff is still the industry standard for so many things and the comparable alternatives tend not to really be all that comparable. Plus you have all those files saved in formats that generally seem to stop working once your cloud sub ends.

At home I’ve been running CS6 since the Cloud hit. I just had to upgrade to the CC subscription because CS6 wasn’t getting along w/Win10 at all (actually nothing seems to like Windows 10 lol). It’s just an unfortunate fact of life at this point, and it’s only going to get worse. When Adobe first moved to the cloud, many of the supporters claimed it wasn’t likely Adobe would raise the sub. price. It’s just gone up to 52.99 USD a month. I can see a future where it hits double that a month.

I work at a very large company (we have over 200 CC subscriptions). We used to have Adobe speak regularly at company events. There was a time when they would have artists give brilliant demos of unusual or unexpected things you could do w/Adobe software. We’ve stopped inviting them because now they send sales people to speak instead. They launch a program (usually PS) and immediately open up the CC Library pallette so they can access Adobe Stock and begin their 40 minute sales pitch.


Yeah, it’s kind of sad to see what Adobe has become. On the other hand, they are still the industry standard for many things. If you want to put food on your table, you’re probably going to have to know and use their stuff.


Adobe just announced they’re raising prices

I’ve seen it happen to a few people now, but photoshop 2018 is slow to the point of being unusable, even for basic things. I recommended to everyone on our team to downgrade to 2015 if they want the speed back. Also some people can’t use Premiere 2018 for similar reasons with things not working right and instead have to use 2017.


Just MY 2c, and I’m NOT currently in the CG industry - which of GIMP and Photoshop is BETTER?? Isn’t THAT the right question to ask??!!

Also, just to point out, with the rise of the “cloud”, or whatever you want to call it, there are these tiny “little” programs that are on the web - ie. they run INSIDE A BROWSER!! These are so far, quite tiny, but… maybe tomorrow they’ll be bigger (with people’s support)? I think THAT’s something worth putting your weight behind, not because Adobe is crap, but because a monopoly is by definition, bad.
Here’s a list:
…and there used to be one called MugTug, donno whether that’s still there.
Also heard of this: Autodraw

  • that one “assists” you using Machine Learning.