Adobe for rent

Groot is het genoegen dat we voortaan Adobe Systems Incorporated uit het Amerikaanse San Jose, California, niet enkel meer blij kunnen maken met een gigantische hap uit de spaarrekening voor het aankopen van hun software, maar er nu ook voor kunnen kiezen om maandelijks een gat in onze zichtrekening te delven door dezelfde software te huren.

Een voorbeeldje van de prijszetting:

Adobe Master Collection Suite CS 5.5, nederlandse versie:

  • Aankoop: 3,099€
  • Huur: 229€ / maand
  • Huur bij minimumcontract van 12 maanden: 155€

Hmm, wat zou ik eens doen deze maand? Zou ik de gebruikelijke maandelijkse schijf van mijn hypotheekrente betalen, of zou ik een maandje extra toegang tot Adobe Web Premium Suite betalen? Choices, choices. Weet je wat, doe maar die Adobe Web Premium Suite, de bank wacht wel. Leningaflossingen dienen toch maar voor die schandalige bonussen, en pixels zijn sowieso schoner dan bakstenen.

Of niet? Want na bijvoorbeeld een jaar of 2 huren, heb ik 155 x 12 x 2 = 3720 euro op de bankrekening van Adobe Systems Incorporated gestort . En heb ik niks. Of niks meer, want zodra je stopt met betalen stopt ook de toegang tot de software. Huurkoop is duurkoop, zegt de volkswijsheid, maar dan heb je tenminste nog iets aan het eind.
Zelfs al had ik na 2 jaar eigendomsrechten op de Suite via het nieuwe huursysteem dat ze nu voorstellen, dan had ik er nog 720 euro meer voor betaald dan als ik de software gekocht had. En ongeveer een slordige euro of 2000 meer dan indien Adobe zijn producten "redelijk" geprijsd had.

Creatieve dieven zijn het, daar bij Adobe. Neem ook eens die regionale verschillen.
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium, prijs in Amerika: 1,899 $. Met de dollarkoers van vandaag: 1,313 euro.
Prijs in Europa, van hetzelfde ding: 2,781,79 euro.
2781 euro (wat je zou betalen in Europa) – 1313 (wat je betaalt in de USA) – 560 euro (de prijs van een vliegtuigticket Brussel-New York-Brussel) = 908 euro winst.

Waar wacht u nog op?
Ah, de keygen – serial – crack – torrent – warez – download voor CS 5.5 zoals al de rest, ah.

Van to rent naar torrent, ’t is maar een letter verschil.

The boom in online photo editors

Cool new trend: everybody is launching online photo editors. The cool startups specializing in online image manipulation, storage, enhancement, conversion etc. are reaching astronomous numbers.

In a few weeks time, Adobe will be entering the arena with an online version of Photoshop Elements. Expect an interesting struggle, with – for us users – a very interesting outcome! Let the bidding of the features begin!

Here’s a quick comparison of my favourite online photo editors:

Online photo editors compared


tagline: edit photos the easy way, online in your browser


  • Slick interface. As web 2.0 as they get. Feels fresh and sexy!
  • Picasa-inspired tool set (autofixes and such)
  • Very nice integration with the PC environment (firefox extension, widgets)
  • Cool Flickr browser. Save into Flickr at the end as a new copy, of replacement of the original pic


  • Loads of cheesy clipart, there to entice you into ruining your photos
  • Pricing structure: Piknik Premium costs 24$ a year, and will get you “a huge library of new fonts and shapes (over 200 and added to all the time), touch up tools, and 20 more gorgeous effects and frames.“. A dumb policy if you ask me, as positions on the field are now being taken.
  • If you opt for the free version, the interface constantly reminds you of the “cool” things you could be doing had you opted for the Premium product.
  • You can’t work on more than one image at once


tagline: sports the most powerful toolset of any online photo editor.


  • Free
  • Amazing number of tools indeed: effects, distortions, beautify, cut-outs, morphing …
  • Does layers
  • You can work on multiple pictures at the same time
  • They have a good API, meaning you could see Fotoflexer popping up everywhere where a photo is near. E.g. It would be relatively simple to build it into a WordPress plugin, that would let you do photo-uploading and manipulation right from within the admin interface of this (or any other WordPress-powered) blog.


  • The cut-out could do with a better interface
  • No precision tools
  • I sometimes had errors when uploading an image
  • Morphing or any of the advanced effect takes a loooooooot of time. And locked up my browser in the meantime. What’s up with that? Weren’t online services about the processes being on the server and so?


tagline: “Splashup, formerly Fauxto, is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With all the features professionals use and novices want, it’s easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photosharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.”


  • Familiar interface (they mimicked a pc program – not to name Photoshop): you know where to look for what right away
  • Best layers implementation of the lot
  • Free


  • Brushes, delete etc… lack precision
  • Opening from Flickr, Picasa etc… requires an account at Splashup
  • Slow opening of local pictures
  • The interface feels familiar right away, but also a little bit clumsy (they can’t match speed, responsiveness of a local program yet)
  • Capturing from webcam failed (looked for DV video)


These are the three best I’ve found so far.
Other sites just behind these are

  • Phixr (clumsy interface, cluttered with ads),
  • Snipshot (lacking a bit in functionality, but opens RAW – paying customers only, opens PDF …) and
  • Wiredness (Ajax instead of Flex makes for a less polished interface and more roundtrips to the server, but they offer a good mix of image enhancement tools).

A special mention goes to Vectormagic: this site allows you to “trace” uploaded images, rendering them in a resolution-independent vector format. Insanely useful for logo’s etc, but still a little bit rough around the edges.


Just try them out. It’s amazing what progress is being made in this field. The days of installed software are indeed numbered, if you see what amazing user experience can be accomplished in these ajax-ified or “built in Flex”-interfaces. Mind you, all these softwares are in their version 1.0 (or even better for a web 2.0-company, in their eternal beta), so they might become a lot less elegant if the bloaters, ad-sellers and excess-functionality seekers lay their greasy hands on these elegant and simple solutions.

Adobe recently pretty much ruled the universe of photo editing on its own (GIMP notwithstanding), with the flagship Adobe Photoshop (and family). Since the price of that is quite steep (or because a .torrent with a reliable crack can be too hard too find), there also was a market for a simplified version of it: “Photoshop Elements”. But that is being surpassed by all kinds of cool online offerings now.
It’ll be interesting to see if Adobe can get a product online, that has enough features to compete with the dozens of online competitors, and yet has few enough features not to cannibalize on its own products.

Don’t take my word for it: here are some other comparisons of online photo editing tools: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. Your own opinion on any of these or other programs is welcome in the comments!