Well, it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. Adobe... a huge corporation with a cash cow subscription service, just figured out another way to get more income from Photoshop 3D tool users as they will be removing the tools in future releases while suggesting the Substance line as replacements. This route requires a subscription to the Substance line of 3D applications acquired by Adobe in times past.
Substance is not included in my main plan which has over 55 apps and services according to company propaganda. In order to use these tools, you must sign up for yet another subscription allowing Adobe to pull in even more of your hard-earned dollars.
It needs to be said that I was never a big 3D user in Photoshop. In fact, I’m not sure how or what all the 3D tools are as I only used it when forced to by circumstances. However, some users did invest time in learning this workflow and came to depend on it. It’s just a shame they get abandoned by one of the largest media tool companies on the planet.
On the other hand, maybe there was no feasible way around this type of decision.
Adobe’s reasoning behind this, at least the public face of it, is based on the fact that they built their 3D system on old technology and do not have the ability to fix it. Isn’t that a kicker? A huge company like Adobe can’t fix their own code and felt it necessary to pull the plug on users that trusted them enough to learn the workflow. It was based on the Open GL standard but so was a lot of other software out there. And it’s certainly worth mentioning the tech was developed before GPUs started doing the heavy lifting.
3D artists and freelancers can be a tight-knit group and we do communicate amongst ourselves to a degree probably larger than imagined by Adobe or their PR department. It’s not that Adobe doesn’t listen to its users either as they do try to it appears. It's just that when your user base is as large as Adobe’s you simply can’t please everyone.
And... let’s face it... the whole Adobe Substance thing is a bit of a mess with confusing information about old accounts before the buyout and do they have to change over to Adobe eventually. I have no idea at the present time what is required, and this is old news. I’m sure it will all work out since revenue is involved.
To be fair to Adobe I don’t really believe that this was done to only dig up a new source of revenue. For the company, it probably makes sense to buy it instead of developing it… and this goes for any technology in today’s environment. You are going to burn cash either way, so you might as well get something that works and is proven instead of recreating the wheel only to find out later it is fatally flawed… uh… kind of like the 3D tools in Photoshop.
Adobe is not an evil company. The truth is, they have no moral obligation to anyone and no fiduciary obligation to anyone other than shareholders. Plus, and this is getting a little heavy for this country boy, moral obligations are worth considering, but so is generating revenue and maintaining a healthy company.
So far, with the exception of the confusion mentioned earlier, Adobe’s purchase of the Substance line has not had much, if any effect on me as a user. At least not that I can recall at the moment, and that bodes well for the future of the Substance line and Adobe. I think… I hope… we can be assured this tech won’t be abandoned or orphaned until these circumstances happen again. Which they will, as our present form of software development still have cycles that require unpleasant housekeeping.
In a few months, this situation will be a lot clearer, and we’ll be past this uncomfortable stage of integrating the Substance line into the Adobe bag of apps. There will be one less company to deal with and Adobe will probably do something that raises the ire of some group somewhere. When you’ve grown that big… you’re going to step on some toes whether you want to or not.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.