Software Isn’t Expensive

Many people complain that some software is too expensive. I think it comes down to a fundamental difference in how software is viewed. I believe (most) software is a tool. I think others view (all) software as entertainment.

While Marco Arment was referring to the recent MacHeist bundle, this argument holds true to any software:

Most software is an incredibly good deal, especially the applications that you use every day or as part of your business. For example, given that I make all of my living by using TextMate, and it was developed entirely by Allan Odgaard over (probably) thousands of hours, it would be ridiculous for me to haggle its €39 price.

I am very, very tired of hearing “Photoshop costs too much” or “Why should I pay so much for software I don’t fully use?” To which I respond, respectively, “No it doesn’t,” and “You shouldn’t. Instead opt for different software that fits your budget/goals/skillset/featureset.”

Now, this may sound elitist, but professional software is priced for professionals who make a living using that product. Final Cut Studio & Adobe Production Bundle (as examples) are priced acceptably, as I can make that money back rather quickly on the jobs I take on. If you just want to use Photoshop to touch up some family photos, make LOL Cats, or doodle, there are countless other options for you (Photoshop Elements, GIMP, Acorn, Pixelmator, etc.). Several hundred (or thousand) dollars for software which professionals can easily make back using said software is not unreasonable. Do you want me to price out a full Avid suite for you?

If you view software as nothing more than entertainment, you probably would expect to pay no more than $50 for anything. It is a point-of-view I can fully understand; however, you then should not be looking at professional software, and you definitely should not complain about its price-points.

[hat-tip to @digitalreb for the original link]

It is up to us to build amazing things

As you may or may not have heard, Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 was released this week. Some new features in After Effects and Photoshop have my curiosity piqued, but it is doubtfull I’ll take the plunge into this latest incarnation anytime soon. (That is, not until the post houses and clients I work with begin to use After Effects CS4. Hell, I still have After Effects 6 installed just in case someone still uses that version.)

Of all the posts I’ve read on the web regarding the new version, Andrew Cramer at VideoCopilot.net has the most solid advise I’ve seen:

If you look at the big picture, After Effects 6.5 has enough capability to create things that would stop time and newer versions regard this as well.  After effects is a compositing application and it is up to us to build amazing things. No new feature is going to do that for us…

Though I’m waiting to see that in the feature list of CS5: “Amazing Builder™ — No designer needed!” Actually, scratch that.

We tend to get caught up in the latest featuresets and plugins ((Don’t get me started on Trapcode plugins. Yes, I do use them. But for the love of God, Particular, 3D Stroke, and now Form do not instantly make your animations and designs ‘teh awesomes.’)) and can forget that they are just tools. And without us and our imaginations, they just sit idle.

Now I’m tempted to fire up that copy of After Effects 6.5… just because.