January 08, 2013

Demo: Conditional actions in Photoshop CS6

Years ago, Jeff Schewe promised to buy me dinner if I could get support for conditional actions (i.e. simple automation that can feature if/then-type support) into Photoshop. We snuck it into ImageReady, but it took until now (the recent CS6 update for Creative Cloud members) for Photoshop to get this welcome feature. Here’s a quick demo:

Posted by John Nack at 8:13 AM on January 08, 2013

Comments

  • Leon Roszyk — 8:44 AM on January 08, 2013

    Very cool. Will this be available in the stand alone version of CS6?

    [Sorry, no. --J.]

  • Rich Morey — 9:04 AM on January 08, 2013

    YAY!! So psyched to try this out.

  • Mikael — 10:43 AM on January 08, 2013

    Why not in stand alone CS6?

    [Because we want you to subscribe instead of buy outright. --J.]

    • Allen Cobb — 10:28 AM on January 13, 2013

      I understand Adobe’s strategy of moving users onto the subscription model, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea, except for one issue — long-term investment.

      I’ve spent several grand on licenses, and in a financial pinch I can keep using the apps without upgrading. But if I invest another few thousand in a Cloud sub, for, say, 4 years, I’ll have another few thousand invested, but no “equity.” If the rent goes up a little, and my income drops, I’m left without ANY tools if I can’t afford the rent. This just doesn’t seem like the best way to handle long-term subscribers (let alone long-term prior licensees). With a license, if I can’t afford to upgrade, at least I still have the (aging) set of apps.

      If Adobe could come up with some contingency plan for a person who has been a subscriber for years and then can’t afford to continue, I’d be happy to join the cloud. But if I know I’m going to be dead in the water if I ever can’t afford the subscription, I can’t see how I would ever justify dropping the 18-month license-upgrade model.

      If Adobe really wants me (as opposed to new customers) to change my customer relationship, I really think they have to take this issue into account.

      Some kind of gradual “investiture” process would seem to make sense — you get fully invested after, say, 3 years of subscribing, and then if you can’t keep up the rent you get a frozen version-specific license of some kind. Perhaps the investiture license itself has a lifespan — I’m sure there’s a scheme that would work for users and for Accounting.

      Sadly (for me), I’ve never been able to get any acknowledgement of this issue, while the pressure to quit my license is never-ending. An incentive in this area (beyond a 1-year discount) would help a lot. As a freelancer, my cashflow is very tricky at times, and jobs move me from one technology to another unpredictably. It would be a lot easier if I felt that Adobe wants to keep me going, and not just cut me off during the lean months (or months when I simply can’t use the suite for current projects).

      Allen

      • Natalie — 4:27 PM on February 27, 2013

        Allen has expressed my sentiments very eloquently. (And so have many others that have replied to this article.)

        I’d like to add that Adobe’s preferred method of making their software available (the Cloud) forces people to commit their future dollars before they know if/where those dollars will come from. It’s this very type of thing (being done by individuals, business, and the government) that has caused the horrible economic conditions that we now have in this country.

        On principle, if there is any way to avoid doing so, I will NOT promise or commit to perpetual future spending. It puts me at too much risk.

        J… I know that Adobe wants folks to subscribe instead of buying outright. However, have you thought about what your customers want? There should be a solution that is good for both the Company and the Customers.

  • Jean-Michel — 11:14 AM on January 08, 2013

    When will we get rulers in Liquify?

  • Jack Blendom — 6:00 PM on January 08, 2013

    When will actions come to InDesign? Step and repeat is not enough.

  • Richard Broom — 9:30 PM on January 08, 2013

    John. PLEASE ask Adobe to stop this Cloud only nonsense. It is divisive, petty and, in marketing terms, a woeful disaster. Adobe – wake up and smell the coffee!!!

    Respectfully yours.

    Richard

  • Tim Kep — 10:37 PM on January 08, 2013

    I’d love to subscribe to the cloud, but how do you download a trial version with the cloud only features as opposed to the perpetual license trial?

    I’m still on cs5, so i need to try the cloud version to see if it’s worth going to the cloud instead a regular upgrade.

  • AJ — 11:12 PM on January 08, 2013

    How is it possible to call both products PS CS6?
    Adobe clearly chose to distinguish between
    the better cloud based PS and the weaker stand alone one.
    Shameful, I have no other words for this…

  • Delboy — 12:57 AM on January 09, 2013

    I paid Thousands of dollars for Photoshop over the years, I now have paid for CS6 Extended and I am unable to get new features like Conditional actions.
    So what you are saying is, customers who can afford to buy the software outright, get short changed on the features.
    Great Marketing Adobe

  • justin — 2:58 AM on January 09, 2013

    yeah, tried and it failed, failed becuase it was buggy, so back to the old way of putting into folders..

  • Steve — 5:51 AM on January 09, 2013

    All of these fancy features are great but by only adding them to cloud version of the software you are alienating those of us that are not allowed to put our production computers on a network for security and/or privacy reasons.

    [We need to do a better job of enabling subscriptions for people using non-connected machines. --J.]

  • Eric — 2:49 PM on January 09, 2013

    I think for many we would prefer to get the subscription service but our company won’t allow us to do so. The company I work for would not allow us to get the creative cloud subscription simply because the use of cloud storage is in violation of corporate policy and we can’t pay for any type of services that include cloud storage. So we had to settle for the Master collection that was purchased the day before the recent event Adobe held so we don’t get any of the new features, and won’t for roughly another 2-3 years. It’s hard to justify spending 20K every year to accountants in a F500 company.

    Maybe if Adobe added the ability to download these features as one off plug-ins, from Adobe exchange. For say 1.99 or even 5.99, some of use would be able to purchase these features.

  • Peter Steeper — 4:14 PM on January 09, 2013

    Every time I see another feature that is only available in the cloud based causes more frustration. Can the people who bought CS6 get a refund so they can convert to a cloud subscription?

  • Jim Pogozelski — 5:53 PM on January 09, 2013

    This recent bug where a CS6 app asks if you want to continue your 30 day trial of an app that you supposedly own sorta gives a taste of what having Creative Cloud will be: the first of every month you gotta pay up again. I’ll take 18 months to 2 years of missing tiny “incremental features’ over the corporate nag. I just feel bad for the devs having to realize the accounting departments dreams.

    Jenkins: Scooter, can you make it so we lock out a user who misses a payment?
    Scooter: Why?
    Jenkins: Because I say so.
    Scooter: Uh, ok …
    Jenkins: Besides, the product will be more flexible. I hear that creative types want new candy more quickly.
    Scooter: More quickly? I …
    Jenkins: Geeze why am I even conversing with you? My reasons are sound, make it so!
    [Jenkins leaves for a marketing meeting to re-confirm what he already knows --that he is right. Numbers don't lie, nor are they ever misunderstood]
    Scooter: A “lock out” feature eh? Okalee dokalee.

  • James Sinks — 10:17 PM on January 09, 2013

    It’s really disheartening to see that Adobe are now fully behind the strategy of screwing loyal customers who actually want to own the software they use, rather than pay $50 a month forever.

    People will jump ship sooner or later, John, myself included. And I’m an 18 year Adobe loyalist who spends hours in PS every day.

    I’ve been looking at Adobe alternatives ever since the first exclusive Creative Cloud products were announced. Inkscape is already good enough for my uses as an Illustrator replacement. If Aftershot/Bibble can pull it together, I’ll kick PS Extended to the curb, the only thing tying me to Adobe will be Indesign.

    • KC — 7:26 AM on January 10, 2013

      Maybe, just maybe, Quark can get their act together after all these years and retake the crown as industry leader for desktop publishing.

      With the ‘cloud’ nonsense alienating so many users, any hint at a viable option from Quark will have many thinking twice about using InDesign.

      Lucky for Adobe that Quark isn’t on the radar—for now.

      • James Sinks — 1:45 PM on January 10, 2013

        I didn’t even think Quark were still around. I’ll have to see how XPress stacks up.

  • Dominique Provost — 11:40 AM on January 10, 2013

    Cloud-only…
    Shame on you, Adobe !
    What about loyal customers ?

  • Richard Grant — 2:51 PM on January 10, 2013

    Like others who have responded I feel that the restriction of a much-needed function to cloud-only users is short-sighted and punishes those who have purchased licenses. My company has 7 Photoshop licenses and have purchased every upgrade as they have come out. Now, a feature I have needed for years is available, and I can’t have it. I hope that customer condemnation will shame Adobe into changing their mind.

  • Austin Dimmer — 5:20 PM on January 10, 2013

    I’d like to echo the frustrations about the Creative Cloud only updates. I’ve been a Master Collection owner since CS3 and attended MAX 3 times. I’m a huge Adobe fan. The products are superb. I have a fear about committing to the Creative Cloud. Here is my fear.

    FIrst, in the UK I (along with many other Adobe Customers, RedGate software is a company I know thinks similarly) feel that I am getting ripped of if I purchase Adobe software. The pricing if the products is much higher in the UK than it would be if I purchased in the US. How can this be the case for a downloadable product? The priced should be the same no matter what country you live in and should only vary by taxation rates applied where the product is sold, the base price should be the same.

    Second, if I purchase the Creative Cloud not only will my subscription cost more but after the first year 40% discount expires I will be charged a seemingly astronomical monthly sum. What happens then if I stop my subscription? It’s my current understanding that I would not then be able to access any of the software that I will feel that I have paid for but am now no longer entitled to use.

    If I make an outright purchase of the software then I will be able to use the software even if I can’t afford to upgrade to the latest major version but I won’t be able to use incremental minor release updates that will be available to Creative Cloud subscribers.

    I feel hosed in either case. I’d love to keep up with the latest Adobe software and engage with an awesome community. Please try to finds plan that can keep me current without making me feel like I am being ripped off or hosed!

    Good luck

    Austin

  • scott — 11:36 PM on January 10, 2013

    sure you can have it; you just chose to purchase the update every year or 2 version.

    If that is what you need or want, no problem.

    But why whine? you are certainly free to buy what you seem to lust for.

    condemnation from customers who bought the ‘wrong thing’ making a difference? who knows what Adobe will do, but they are not stupid. as for a difference with me, it brings a smile :)

  • scott — 11:38 PM on January 10, 2013

    re non connected machines: this has been a big annoyance to me, but I ran across the solution.

    It is in the install window when you install CSX. one of the options gives explicit instructions on how to install on a non connected machine by getting a ‘code’ from a connected machine. Sorry, forget the details.

  • Fred Casselman — 7:25 PM on February 12, 2013

    I just came across this thread and would like to add my 2 cents worth. I’m a fine art photographer and have owned every version of Photoshop since around 1996. The cloud just doesn’t work for me since we spend time in fairly remote areas devoid of any internet connection–me, my camera, my MacbookPro, and our VW camper. With the cloud, I’d have no Photoshop. Even at our log cabin, our only internet connection is via a slow radio link. And no cellular connection at all. Not sure if the cloud would work there or not. At home, we have 25 Mbps. No problem. But away, it’s a problem

    ~Fred

    • Jeffrey Tranberry — 3:14 PM on February 27, 2013

      Hi Fred,

      You do not need to be connected to the internet constantly in order to run Photoshop. It runs on your desktop as it always has. Once you install and activate, you only need to be online to renew your subscription.

  • Carrie — 9:50 AM on February 27, 2013

    I paid a lot for the program and I should be considered a valued customer. I guess Adobe does not consider us valued customers because we paid up front. It’s wrong we should get the updates! Very disappointed in the lack of customer care.

  • San — 4:53 PM on February 28, 2013

    I find the Conditional Actions disappointingly weak. There are very few allowable conditions; I’d like to be able to define my own. This would presumably require either some kind of flexible GUI with nested, chained drop-down menus, or perhaps a JavaScript-like conditional scripting syntax, to define the conditions. (Either one would be fine with me.)

    My other complaint is that the resultant actions I’m allowed to play can apparently only come from the same set the conditional action is in. In previous actions I’ve defined (not conditionals), I was allowed to play actions from other action sets as long as they were loaded. Actually, this would be less important if I were allowed to nest sets. The issue is that I don’t want my actions list cluttered up with sub-actions whose only purpose is to be called by other actions. Another option would be to allow some sub-actions to exist in the set but not show up in the list, at least not when in Buttons mode.

    • Jeffrey Tranberry — 7:59 AM on March 01, 2013

      Hi San,

      Have you looked at our Javascript SDK? Everything you want to do is possible using pure Javascript. Conditional actions in Photoshop are designed to solve basic conditionals for non-code-monkey types.

      http://www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop/scripting.html

      • San — 12:59 PM on March 01, 2013

        Thanks much; I’ll download the scripting guide and look it over.

        BTW, to change topic somewhat… I see a lot of non-subscription customers in this thread are angry that the current permanent version of Photoshop doesn’t include the conditionals. I just discovered that it works both ways… there are features (or at least one feature) that are in the permanent version and *not* in the subscription version: namely, View at “Print Size.”

        I’m stunned at this omission, since Print Size is such a basic feature and was always available in earlier days. Makes me wonder if the issue isn’t so much Adobe being evil and trying to force everyone into the subscription model… maybe it’s more just Adobe being somewhat discombobulated with a forked development model. I don’t see why you’d need to fork development (generally a bad idea anyway) just to have two payment models.

  • tall41 — 4:27 PM on April 07, 2013

    Sadly another example of the new(ish)bussiness model…..
    become a virtual manopaly and when you become powerfull enough ream your loyal customers for every cent you can get by locking them into a permanant rental deal…
    Look out this is the future……

  • Debbie — 10:20 PM on April 19, 2013

    I’ve been using Adobe products for years, as a self-employed print designer. Will NEVER go to the cloud for oh so many reasons.

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