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Creative Suite vs. Creative Cloud

In May 2013 Adobe Creative Cloud replaced Creative Suite and since then has proven to be the market leader in all graphic design fields. Today Creative Cloud contains 25 different applications for image (both raster & vector) manipulation and animation creation. Two of the most used applications are Photoshop and Illustrator. In this article we will compare their versions in CS and CC packages.


In the past, there have been many versions with small improvements to make designers easier to process images. The turning points occurred when Adobe launched Creative Suite (CS), and later Creative Cloud (CC). In the text below we will focus on the differences between CS and CC versions.

Unlike in CS version, in the CC version, you can use an application on all devices, from desktop to mobile. To use these advantages, you need to create your cloud account. If the design was saved on the cloud, you can almost instantly see changes on your tablet or phone and continue your work from there. In the CC all applications are tightly integrated with each other. Due to this interconnection, updating elements is faster than in CS and thereby the productivity is higher. If you need to do some changes on the smart object (usually a vector element), with the double click on its layer, the current object will be opened in Illustrator. After you have finished your work, the changes on the smart object will be automatically updated in Photoshop. The CS versions of Photoshop offered elementary photo editing. This was possible with basic tools like paint, select, crop, transform, move, etc. Photoshop CC is a full-blown software with upgraded basic tools and new tools, such as:

  • intelligent unsampling
  • camera RAW (advance image format with more information) editing
  • shake reduction
  • library with over 1000 brushes with better tool arrangement
  • curvature pen tool for easier making paths
  • 360 degrees panorama workflow
  • smoothness control of the brush, eraser and pencil tool (from 0 to 100)
  • different shadow stiles for a layer
  • live preview of blend modes
  • preference to increase UI font size to get more control when scaling the UI
  • double click text edit

Besides these tools, Photoshop CC has amazing workspace making work quite faster and easier. After launching the application, buttons for creating or opening a document are integrated into the workspace and easily visible. In the CS version, it took several clicks to create a new document. Also, you can change the workspace theme (dark, dark grey, grey or light), enable or disable some group tools and see recently opened documents. The following table shows the major differences between CS and CC version.

Photoshop Creative SuitePhotoshop Creative Cloud
Available on Windows and Mac devicesAvailable on all devices
A lot of “different” versions with small upgradesOne version with frequent updates (last updated version is CC 2019)
Plain workspaceUser friendly workspace adjusted for faster and enjoyable work
Various layer adjustments are not supported (like applying multiple shadow style or Copy-Paste layer)Support for all various layer adjustments
Photos cannot be shared directly on social mediaShare work directly on social media
Elementary image editingAdvanced image editing
No integration with other package applicationsIntegration with all applications from the package
Basic tools used for elementary editing: crop tool, move tool, quick selection tool, eraser, pencil toolAdvanced tools for editing: intelligent upsampling, camera RAW editing, shake reduction, improved all basic tools
Only one shadow style can be used for a layer Ten different shadow stiles for a layer
Freeform pen tool for drawing pathCurvature pen tool (same as in the Adobe Illustrator)
Supports basic Brush toolLibrary with over 1000 brushes
The user cannot control the smoothness in some tools.The user can control the smoothness of the brush, pencil and eraser tool (from 0 to 100).
Include Smart ObjectAdvanced operations with smart object.
-360 degrees panorama workflows
-Using smart guides
Basic masking optionsFrame tool for easy masking
-Double click text edit
Basic option of blend mode without previewLive preview of blend modes with advanced options
-Preference to increase UI font size (thin, small, medium and large)

The bottom line: Photoshop CC is an application that offers professional features in image manipulation. Using it, every task, simple or complicated, can be accomplished in a high-quality manner.


Illustrator CC is currently the market leader in vector graphics manipulation. With this application you can create amazing design using vector elements, combine them with each other or with raster graphics. Like the Photoshop CC, Illustrator also has the same workspace with additional area for creating frequently used documents (shown in the image below), basic elements in the workspace and a tight integration with other CC applications. All settings regarding Adobe CC package are the same in all its applications.

Creative Suite vs. Creative Cloud Start image

Carefully observing the market and user needs, with each new version, Adobe improved accessibility, upgraded existing and developed new features such as:

  • presentational mode
  • actual size preview
  • advance export options with an increased number of possible file extensions
  • scalable user interface
  • support for south east Asian script
  • Puppet warp enhancement (you can twist and distort parts of your artwork)

Besides those, they also improved the typeface section. With advance font actions like font preview, find a similar font, font classification and showing recent font, you can easily choose the best font for your work.

If you need to brand a stationery set, and you need to change the logo on every part of the set, you can do that quickly and easily. To manually edit all objects one-by-one can be difficult and error-prone. With a new tool "Global edit", you can globally edit (move, delete, change, etc) all same elements in just one step.

Creative Suite vs. Creative Cloud Stationary image

The last improvement that we want to show you in this article is the new gradient option “Freeform gradient”. In the previous version, you could put only linear or radial gradient on the vector object. Now, you can use the freeform gradient to create a graduated blend of color points within a shape presented on the image below.

Creative Suite vs. Creative Cloud Gradient image

The following table summarizes major differences between Illustrator CS and Illustrator CC.

Illustrator Creative SuiteIllustrator Creative Cloud
Available on Windows and Mac devicesAvailable on all devices
A lot of “different” versions with small upgradesOne version with frequent updates (last updated version is CC 2019)
Plain workspaceUser friendly workspace adjusted for faster and enjoyable work
Elementary tools for drawing vector graphicsAdvanced tools with new features
Linear and radial gradientLinear, radial and freeform gradient
Editing only one objectGlobal editing of one same object
Font preview is availableAdvanced font features, such as find similar font, font classification & showing recent font
-Presentational mode
Use guidelines and grids for more precise workSmart guidelines, show/hide guidelines and grids
-Scalable user interface
Essential view size of document previewActual size preview (A4)
Basic warp object and text optionsPuppet warp enhancement
Basic home screen with a few options (create, open, close)Quick access to recent files, user-friendly more options for creating new documents
-Support for south east Asian script
Basic export optionsAdvanced export options

In the same way as Photoshop CC, Illustrator provides professional results in vector graphics. Using it you can create amazing vector elements which combined with raster graphics allow you to position yourself high in the field of graphic design.

Disadvantages of Adobe CC

With many advantages shown above, you can do amazing things, but there are also some disadvantages. First of all, the UI is hard to understand for beginners, i.e. it has a steep learning curve. If you are a beginner there are two options: start learning through some course, or start your journey with some lower version (less complex and difficult). Adobe CC is huge application package and requires a well-equipped machine. This problem usually appears when we want to render high-quality graphics.

For CS and older versions you just buy the license once and use it for unlimited period of time. For CC version you have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription for the hole package or just one application. This can be a cost issue for beginners and freelancers because the subscription model is more expensive, but you always have the latest updated version of applications. Until you learn to use basic features and get more familiar with the application's interface, we think that the best solution is to start with CS or older versions of Adobe applications.

In addition to the above mentioned disadvantages, there are also some less important ones:

  • Raw updates are sometimes released
  • Monitoring facility isn't present in some tools
  • Unutilized full functionality for every user


If you want to be on the top in your expertise, you need to follow trends and constantly learn new features that Adobe releases. Adobe CC package is the leader on the market and all-in-one application for each design task. If you are a beginner, start learning from some courses or use older versions like CS which are less demanding on preexisting graphic design knowledge.

If you have any further questions or comments, please contact us.