Adobe steals your color

What a horrible situation. The Adobe monthly leases are way too expensive for a student paper that only prints a few magazines a term. The software costs more than the printing process, and about the same as the web hosting service. Just not worth the expense. We are making do with free alternatives.

For people who work in prepress, a key part of their Adobe tools is integration with Pantone. Pantone is a system for specifying color-matching. A Pantone number corresponds to a specific tint that’s either made by mixing the four standard print colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, AKA “CMYK”), or by applying a “spot” color.

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Pantone wants to license this system out, so it needs some kind of copyrightable element. There aren’t many of these in the Pantone system!

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All of this is suddenly relevant because it appears that things have broken down between Adobe and Pantone. Rather than getting Pantone support bundled in with your Adobe apps, you must now pay $21/month for a Pantone plugin.

Remember, Adobe’s apps have moved to the cloud. Any change that Adobe makes in its central servers ripples out to every Adobe user in the world instantaneously. If Adobe makes a change to its apps that you don’t like, you can’t just run an older version. SaaS vendors like to boast that with cloud-based apps, “you’re always running the latest version!”

The next version of Adobe’s apps will require you to pay that $21/month Pantone fee, or any Pantone-defined colors in your images will render as black. That’s true whether you created the file last week or 20 years ago.