Allegorithmic (Substance) is joining the Adobe family

Substance created by Allegorithmic is an ecosystem of tools and content dedicated to materials. It allows you paint and texture 3D models and create complex masks and effects fast.

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Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing for the market?

I believe it will be good for us creatives. Integration between products we use helps.

Funny you state ‘us creatives’ is the same as ‘us Adobe users’. More than a year ago I stopped using Adobe for several reasons.
Don’t like to be negative about this, but I don’t agree with you. Integration between products is easy: just use and commit to open standards. Adobe is creating closed fileformats instead and is even changing these for competitors to fail to open their files completely the way they were designed.
And after you stop using their subscription you can never even open your own files again (without tricks that is), because they don’t let you.
So if their plan would really be to be good for us creatives… they are not really succesfull at it.

For me integration is not swallowing the competition (because their 3D products didn’t work), but cooperate with other companies and discuss, commit to and follow standards. Next to this in my opinion it is better for ‘us creatives’ and very healthy for the market to have competition and something to chose from. If that competition is there companies will make sure their products integrate with other products, just because that’s a great selling point. My 2cts.


To an extent, I agree, What you suggest in the ideal. On the flip side, much as people moan about Adove, they have invested millions in making amazing software, which makes our jobs easier. On the flip side again, I loathe when they do what they did with Muse and just decide to stop. That cost a lot of us a lot of time sorting out an alternative – and noting else quite comes up to that standard, that I have found. Anyway, that is another story.

Adobe were once the giant-killers and the Affinity of their day. They took the market from Quark, who, in turn, took it from Aldus. At some point all companies are hungry and innovative, Apple, to name one particular example of this. They were the real David to Microsoft’s Goliath. They were smart, came out with new products that won hearts, minds and pockets. They continued along this path, until they designed the toy of all toys, the iPhone. A global game-changer. Their stock rocketed and then it happened, they changed from disruptive company to flaccid, shareholder-led corporate. They have gone the way of most corporates. The edge has been polished off by a need to appease shareholders.

This is the natural order of things. Happened with Quark, they lost the market to Adobe. In turn, Affinity are trying it with Adobe right now (and the Brit in me wants to see them do it, as they are a small British company with modest beginnings) and from what I can see, they are producing some pretty amazing – albeit, early stage – software. I have bought all four products (and have their Beta installed too) and am in the process of learning it and plan on integrating it into my workflow. So far, I am hugely impressed with what they are doing. However, the trouble they will have is that Adobe are not the flaccid and lazy entity that Quark had become when they did it. They continue to innovate and grow and create better and better products. The minute they stop, Affinity will have them, then in ten years time, they too may go the over-bloated corporate route. Who knows. Happens more often than not.

So, in my rather over-bloated counter, Adobe have many issues that go with becoming market leaders, but from where I am sitting, they continue to make my life easier and more productive, and for what you get and continue to get. I understand they could adhere to a more open approach, but they are the ones who have made the investment and they are a business, and like the rest of us want to make a profit. They just seem to be one that don’t rest on their laurels and squirrel all that profit into offshore accounts for the main shareholders. They may well do with some of it, but at least they are ploughing enough back in to continue to grow and produce what is, in the main, a great product and service.

If I ever wanted to change career, I could work for Adobe in their PR department!


Great answer @sprout and I understand where you’re coming from. I was there once too. I am writing a blog series about the history of interactive computer graphics and animations at the moment and what I found is that pretty much all succesful products Adobe has and made Adobe famous, like Photoshop, After Effects, Flash/Animate and all, were already created by other companies Adobe just took over when it became a success and put their name on it. So I’m thinking about Adobe more like a big company buying and selling what is already a success, rather than really inventing new stuff theirselves. Yes, they probably have some great developers by buying those companies and big names attract big names probably, but if you look closely; what really changed the marked that was invented by Adobe last 10 to 20 years? I can’t think of any.

This is just another takeover by Adobe buying another success and put the Adobe name on it. Nothing creative about that and nothing to do with helping creatives to have a better workflow, just finding reasons to keep people with the subscription model and get rid of competitors by just throwing money to buy them… so preventing creative people have choices and leave the pretty crazy subscription model that only seem to hold so far, because they do it this way and buy competitors to stay monopolist and ‘us creatives’ don’t really have an option to leave. That’s why I like it better if they were just inventing quality stuff theirselves that really competes with other graphic software companies.

And indeed as you wrote: they are not really loyal to ‘us creatives’ either. By just stopping the creation of products we decided to trust. Without any excuses or alternatives. Or look at the forums with a lot of people complaining there is no reaction on issues they report. For 50 euros a month as a professional you might expect some kind of response at least once in a while.

But to really find out how Adobe become you should try to get out of the licensing model without paying a fee of hundreds of euros. You definitely need to be resistant and assertive to let them leave you, they are pretty agressive at that and do everything to prevent you to leave. You should just try once to stop your subscription and you’ll think a lot different about the company ‘us creatives’ love, including me in the past. But now I’m out (and had to convert / recreate all my OWN graphical files), I don’t believe I will ever return. To risky to not having access to my own files again as the owner.

Even if Adobe are not creative developers directly, it is certainly a smart business model that fills a need for creatives. Though, to be fair, they have had photoshop since the late 80s and it is a long way from the product it was back then.

However, by nature, not a fan of corporates and if a viable alternative comes along I will be the first in the queue, which is why I have got the Affinity Suite (just hoping, one day they will create a Muse replacement). I love the idea of small companies taking on the big boys, because the only way they can do it is to produce something that beats it hand down.

However, this approach only works when you are doing work that is a closed loop. If you need to collaborate with other large companies, such as publishers, you have to be able to supply files in industry-standard formats. Changes here happen in geological time scales. The resistance to move from Quark to InDesign was huge. Took a long time. Not necessarily due to any recalcitrance on the part of publishers, but their set ups and licences are vast, complicated and expensive and it is not just a case of learning a bit of software and swapping over. The whole supply chain from editors, to designers to in-house prod departments, to printers in Italy and China (though thankfully the latter rarely want editable files these days and only want final, print-ready pdfs) needs to adhere to a workflow. Adobe is great at doing this.

One day, I have no doubt it will change, and someone else will carry the baton (I really hope it is Affinity), but in the mean time, without Adobe, work would be a much more fragmented affair and you’d end up having many solutions for different clients. All very messy.

Can I ask what software you are using if you have ditched Adobe completely?

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@sprout I’m using several software programs at the moment, from raster to (mostly) vector in 2D and also 3D modelling and (interactive) animations (aside from the progamming stuff). For vector designs I use Affinity Designer at the moment (and for the little times I edit raster I bought Photo, wich is so cheap you can’t let it pass). I like it, although there are some nasty flaws they have problem with solving for a long time somehow, which is not great, but hopefully will change in the near future. Guess it’s just too difficult for them to solve and they need to hire better developers.

Things like outline-stroke are just buggy with Designer. That said, next to those flaws, it’s pretty great and fast software, which has a lot of great features and making things a lot easier to use than Illustrator. And I especially love the exporter which is just perfect and compares to nothing out ther. It’s just so easy (compared to other products) to export all your artboards to multiple fileformats and resolutions. It even has its own watcher to update all your outputs when changing your layout. Perfect for the interactive animations I create and debug live for internet work. It speeds up your workflow a lot. Also the latest beta-version has a pretty neat feature to directly design in isometric, wich is a pain in Illustrator. You can even rotate on a isometric plane and that’s really powerful.

If Serif will get its sh*t together in having all knowledge in being faster at fixing their (sometimes) nasty bugs in mayor parts they definitely beat Illustrator with ease. Also the forum they have is pretty powerful and the developers themself respond to questions. Which is on one hand holding them from developing, but on the other hand is pretty powerful and service oriented compared to Adobe which just arrogantly ignores (professional) users. So I’m critical about Serif, but if they progress to be more professional in handling issues they are a real killer. And even now it’s better than Adobe for me. Although in the end well developed software makes everything work way faster and you earn it back soon, for me they still beat it with ease. I don’t like to stay with arrogant big companies that take you for granted and stab you in the back if you stop using their subscription model (read: let you pay a fee and immediately prevent you from even opening and viewing your own created files for all years you paid Adobe lots of money).

Designer really does its job, somethings even better than Illustrator, and only cost you 50 euros once. Yes, once! All months using Designer after the first month of use is just pure profit. And although not perfect (yet), way better than the lack of service by Adobe and especially the knowledge you can’t open any files anymore after leaving the subscription model.

To be honoust I don’t think this is smart. It’s narrow minded and short term and if they don’t change their attitude towards (very loyal) users (for years) they will soon start to sink slowly but certain and let competition grow. And if that happens and professionals have real alternatives I expect they will have a lot of difficulties in re-earning trust if even possible. In the end if users don’t trust your company anymore (because they feel betrayed by the company the trusted for so long).

Adobe has an old-fashioned just-come-to-our-company-we-are-the-best business model. And I don’t believe it won’t hold for long. New fresh companies just know times have changed and different priorities count nowadays. Adobe is just too big to just die out in one day.

Sorry Sproute, but I disagree with the premise of this statement.

Adobe has never dominated either 3D or web-related design, yet there are hundreds of very good, innovative and highly capable standards-based applications available. Adobe, on the other hand, has quashed any innovation in print by buying up competitors and or using monopolistic practices to keep things under their control. In other words, we can only imagine how better things might be now if Adobe actually had competition forcing them to do more.

Many of us look at Adobe’s core applications as being nearly perfect, but there’s really been little meaningful innovation in any of them since InDesign was released, and that innovation was driven only by the desire to force Quark out of the game.

If Adobe hadn’t swallowed up Macromedia, I’m quite certain that competition would have resulted in even better software from both companies than we’re getting from Adobe alone.

I’m paying Adobe around $700 each year to use their programs, and if I ever decide to not use their programs, they will attempt to hold my work hostage until I start paying them money again. The positive side to their extortion scheme, though, is that it has created a vulnerability for other companies to exploit who can’t easily compete with Adobe’s financial and marketing resources but who can offer their products at a cheaper price and without Adobe’s subscription model.

The Affinity suite, for example, that I’m currently transitioning toward, is highly capable and will do, probably, 90-plus percent of what the core Adobe apps will do. And that remaining 10 percent are things that I rarely need anyway. There’s no subscription model (I can use the applications for as long as I want and I can skip paying for every upgrade if I choose to do so). Best of all, they’re way cheaper than the Adobe apps, as in $50 apiece for permanent licenses.