Creative Suite vs Creative Cloud: Should You Buy Adobe Illustrator CS6 in 2019?Donna Marie Padua
Is it still worth it to buy the Adobe Illustrator CS6 in 2019?
For those who are just starting their graphic design or photo editing journey, Adobe has already retired its last stand-alone software, the popular Illustrator CS6.
Many were waiting in anticipation to see Cs7 in 2013. However, Adobe surprised everyone when it discontinued the whole Creative Suite product line. Instead, the company turned the software into an application that was exclusively available only through a cloud service subscription — the new product “Creative Cloud” product.
The leap from software to cloud subscription was arguably a fair decision since it made the latest upgrades readily available to Adobe users. For me, this is definitely convenient. But on the downside, I now need to pay a subscription else I get cut off from the service.
But for those who want to continue sticking with the Creative Suite versions, fret not. Although the Adobe website is no longer selling the software and encourages everyone to use Creative Cloud instead, you can still buy an Illustrator CS6 license from Softvire to power up your Adobe boxes.
But is Illustrator CS6 really worth of your time and money these days? Can it keep up with the continuous improvements coming to Creative Cloud?
Before we look at whether Adobe Illustrator CS6 holds its own against CC 2019, let us first recheck what the Creative Suite has to offer.
What is Adobe Illustrator CS6?
Adobe Illustrator CS6 is a solid vector drawing tool. When it was launched back in 2012, graphic artists and photographers were thrilled to see all the tools they needed for design, web and video projects placed together in just one product. It was a complete package and was dominating the world of drawing and editing software.
Upon release, it got a new interface that enticed Adobe users. This update allowed users to experience sleek features like tweaking the UI brightness. It also got a new performance system, making it more powerful than its competitors and older versions. Another notable thing that came to CS6 is a better workspace management that allowed users to dock tools horizontally or vertically to organize their workspace the way they want it.
Overall, the CS6 version has been fully rewritten with every panel seeing new features or improved tools. It was more like a brand new Adobe product than upgraded software from CS5.
There are so much more to love about Illustrator CS6. Let’s look at some of its main functions to find out why a lot of designers still stick to their good old’ CS6.
Adobe Illustrator CS6 – Features/Applications
Adobe CS6 is a little short on new features compared to the CC versions. One notable advantage of the latter is converting images to vectors a lot faster.
However, Illustrator CS6 is notably faster, smarter and more powerful than the other standalone software of Adobe, reason for it to become its flagship in 2012. It was once the best vector drawing tool around.
Major feature revamps are still being released regularly for Illustrator CS6 so while it might not get ahead of the competition, it will remain adept at delivering impressive drawing output.
Some of the features in this list may not be new, but Illustrator Creative Suite users will quickly recognize the great enhancements that will set CS6 apart from the older versions.
I – Work faster with better quality and rock-solid stability
For a software developed in 2012, Illustrator CS6 can surely keep up with the newest Illustrator versions like CC 2019. This is all thanks to the system that’s powering it.
Adobe Mercury Performance System
The true advantage you’ll find in Illustrator CS6 lies below the surface of its interface. Large files are not a problem in Illustrator CS6 and neither does an ambitious artwork. These were the biggest issues in the prior version but CS6 got it all covered.
The best part? You’ll never see the most dreaded “out-of-memory” error message!
Personally, I hate logs. I am a busy person and doing unique graphics for my content isn’t on my top priority list. So, I needed something that can let me work smoothly and quickly and this was it.
I benefited more from the better memory-handling scheme that granted me access to the entire RAM of my computer. This made it really easier to work on larger images. It felt like the Illustrator has been fully re-energized.
If you are still using CS5, you can easily see what I’m saying when you open files, navigate through complex documents, or when you zoom in and out of large-sized images.
Another thing you’ll appreciate in the performance of Illustrator CS6 with 64-bit native is that the speed enhancements also apply to the Gaussian blur, which has been a big problem in CS5. It has been optimized in CS6 as well as other blur effects and the drop shadow and inner glow effects.
Modifying the image with these tools in Preview mode is almost in real-time —very fast! Interaction, in general, is more responsive thanks to the Mercury Performance System.
Support for more graphic file formats
You can work with almost any type of graphic file on CS6. This includes PDF, EPS, FXG, Photoshop (PSD), TIFF, GIF, JPEG, SWF, and a lot more.
Graphics for web
With Illustrator CS6, you can easily view, optimize, and save graphics for the web. You have choices for format color, quality, and more.
With separations preview, you can inspect the image thoroughly to avoid unwanted color output surprises like unexpected spot colors or white overprinting, or overprints that don’t overprint, and more other issues.
You’ll get to enjoy image effects like drop shadows, blurs, and textures while maintaining quality. With CS6, raster effects will look the same no matter how the resolution settings change.
You can edit your work anytime you want without starting over as CS6 allows you to apply layers of effects without losing your original artwork. Try updating your object too and you will see how you effects update accordingly.
Devicen colorspace and color model
Devicen lets you preserve spot color information required for composite printing workflow and for proper PDF generation.
II – Better Control of daily tasks and other favorite features
As mentioned, Adobe Illustrator CS6 got a new interface but its looks aren’t the only things that improved here. Let’s take a look at the others:
Fully Customizable and Efficient Interface
There’s no more guessing game to where you should find a tool on the feature bar. The modern work area placed a lot of the familiar tasks on streamline from inline editing of layer names to precise color sampling. User Interface (UI) brightness can also be smoothly adjusted to match other Adobe applications or to suit one’s personal preference.
In CS6 you can make as much as 100 artboards of varying sizes overlapping each other or on a grid and it is not that difficult to browse through them. You can quickly add, delete, reorder, and name the artboards with the improved speed and functionality of CS6. You can also save, export, and print these artboards independently or together.
Crisp graphics and text for web and mobile
In CS6, you can create and align vector objects precisely on the file’s pixel grid for clean, sharp raster graphics. You can also use text anti-aliasing options for individual text frames.
Inline editing in panels
Adobe’s new 64-bit framework allows the enhancement of the inline editing panel. It reduces the task of editing names and other details that you need to edit in older versions. It also lowers the number of visual elements that you need to deal with while designing graphic images. This makes the whole process faster and simpler.
You can now simply use the arrow keys on their keyboards to quickly change fonts in context for the selected text. Furthermore, glyphs for caps, subscripts, superscripts, and more are now organized in just one panel – the Character panel.
Dockable hidden tools
The new interface lets you dock previously hidden tools like Shape and Pen tools. These toll sets can be docked horizontally or vertically too for a more efficient workspace.
Workspaces with rooms
Illustrator CS6 allows you to switch from one workspace to another more fluidly. Consistency is another thing to appreciate in this version. Easily achieve consistency across work areas and maintain layout changes until you reset them.
Efficient Control panel
Finding the tools you need from the control panel is now easier with high consistency across options.
Editing with In-panel appearance
You can now edit object characteristics directly in the Appearance panel. This eliminates the need for additional clicks to open fill, stroke, or effects panels.
Flexible Color panel
Easily sample colors and see higher precision by using the expandable color spectrum feature in the Color panel. Copying and pasting hex values into other applications to help ensure color consistency are possible too.
There are several good features in the transparency panel that will allow users to enhance their design work by creating opacity masks to blend objects together.
Refined graphic styles
CS6 lets you combine styles or combine them without losing quality. Enjoy thumbnail previews and an expanded library of prebuilt styles with this feature too.
Versatile slice tool
Make objects look exactly the way you want them to by controlling their shape through vector-based slices.
Achieve intuitive design with precise control
Translate all of your artistic ideas with the refined creative features of Illustrator CS6. Designing has been easier with this version, becoming more direct and intuitive than the previous versions. A new image-tracing engine delivers clean, accurate vectors with easy-to-use controls.
Create the look of realistic depth and distance by using perspective grids to draw shapes and scenes.
You can now design beautiful text for any media with professional controls for paragraph and character styles, transparent effects, and more.
These were the tools that were added or revised for better designing and editing experience in Adobe CS6. Apart from these, there are still a wide range of features to explore in the software but among those tools were these 3 new major additions:
Creating patterns used to be a tedious process but in Illustrator CS6, this process was greatly improved. Pattern creation and editing were made quicker and more intuitive.
Adobe Illustrator CS6 introduced a new Pattern Options panel that allows its users to create new patterns or modify them simply by double-clicking on the pattern swatches thumbnail. In this special editing mode, designers can create patterns and move objects around while automatically repeating according to their chose tile type.
These patterns can then be adjusted directly on the artboard.
Gradients on Strokes
Adobe Illustrator users have been requesting this feature for a long time. CS6 did not let them down when it launched.
The software came with the ability to add gradients on a stroke along the length, across the width, or within the stroke itself. These can be done easily with the series of new buttons added on the Gradient Panel.
Users also gained complete control over gradient placement and opacity. With these new functions, design possibilities are definitely endless.
Adobe Illustrator CS6’s new Image Trace engine allows users to convert raster images into vector for further editing. It also boasts cleaner tracings with fewer paths, anchor points, and creates better color recognition than in Live Trace.
With the simpler Image Trace panel, users enjoy smooth and more accurate results. The options are easier to understand and having them available in a floating panel lets users zoom in and out of the image to preview results.
Meanwhile, tracing in color gives the ability to use any of the color groups that are already in the swatches panel.
It’s not that heavy to install CS6 on your PC too!
System requirements to install Adobe Illustrator CS6 Download
- Operating System: Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / XP
- Memory: 1 GB of Ram (2GB recommended)
- Processor: Intel® Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor.
- Hard Disk: 2 GB
Technical Requirements for Adobe Illustrator CS6 Download
- Software Name- Adobe Illustrator CS6 (32-bit/64-Bit)
- Setup Size: 1.84 GB
- Setup File Name: Adobe-Illustrator-CS6.zip
These are the features that have gotten most designers to experience real modern vector drawing until its new competition came in — Adobe Creative Cloud.
Now that we’ve seen the features of the almost forgotten CS6, let us see if it can compete with the Creative Cloud application.
Creative Cloud vs Creative Suite 6 – What CC Has in Advantage
Adobe launched Creative Cloud in 2013, believing that the application “Brings together everything designers need to create the best work with incredible new versions of their flagship desktop tools, services that take publishing content to the next level, and making it easier than ever for creative to collaborate and share their work worldwide.”
However, not everyone hopped on to the new platform because of the monthly subscription they have to pay. The monthly fee comes with a good reason, though.
The biggest and most obvious change was shifting the program from software to cloud service. Although many were unhappy with the lifetime membership they have to pay, users saw the advantage of having their workspace automatically without paying any extra cost. Now Illustrator CS6 users have even more control over their workspace—updating it only when they choose to.
Furthermore, the all-new CC practically updated almost every individual function of CS6 and this affected not just the Illustrator but Photoshop too as well as InDesign/Incopy, Dreamweaver, and many more in the CS6 product line.
Some of the key elements that came to Adobe CC were:
- A slick and solid new Creative Cloud Desktop App
- Cloud-based syncing and sharing of customized tool settings
- Ability to share and publish a design directly from within the creative tools
- Over 600 individual Typekit fonts
- Annual memberships allow users to use the application offline for months.
- New CC apps will install and work alongside any older versions like CS6, CS5, etc. In fact, Creative Cloud members will have access to download and install prior versions from an archive of selected desktop releases starting from CS6 onwards.
Overall, CC offers everything that CS6 offers, only with upgraded functionality. It has gone so far since its release in 2019, though, and now has several features that make it superior over Illustrator CS6.
So which is the best buy?
If you are old-fashioned but want a powerful drawing and editing software that works, Adobe Illustrator CS6 is definitely the way to go.
But if you want to catch up with the updates that Adobe keeps injecting on Illustrator, then Creative Cloud is your best option.
It is tempting to switch to Creative Cloud because of its continuous updates. However, these changes are practically meaningless if you don’t actually use them. As you know by now, most people rarely use a lot of the Creative Cloud’s updated features and the older Illustrator CS6 tools works just as efficiently.
Being up-to-date and wanting to use cutting edge technology is well and good. However, if it doesn’t really affect how you use the program, then your desire to switch to CC amounts to little more than the hype.
Unfortunately and like I already mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Adobe has already obsoleted Creative Suite. You are pretty lucky if you are on CS5 and you still find a box to install CS6 on your computer. The license is a different story.
A lot of computer software store, like ours, still offer licenses for the Creative Suite products.
The question now is do you want to continue using an older version of the Creative Suite (CS6) or go the Creative cloud route which always has the latest versions of the Creative Suite programs?