Adobe Creative Cloud: Photoshop and Lightroom

Where are My Programs? Cloud vs. My Computer

There are misconceptions—still—regarding how Adobe's Creative Cloud works. I will try to clear up this confusion and explain the non-intuitive method to use the creative cloud apps on more than one computer.
Adobe's name choice (Creative Cloud) led many to believe the applications lived in the cloud and you needed an internet connections to use them. This is not true. You do need an internet connection to:

  • Install and update the applications
  • To Sync among devices and share library data among applications
  • To meet Adobe's monthly license check
  • To sign in and out of the Creative Cloud (when shuffling among computers)

In conclusion: The applications are on your computer. You run them from your computer. They work fine without an internet connection.

Using the Applications on Multiple Computers.

Adobe's policy is that you may use these applications on two computers. What is not so clear is how to use them on more than two computers. It is not hard but it is somewhat oblique and confusing.
If you only want to install the Creative Cloud applications on two computers there is no issue. Just install on the two computers with the same Adobe User Name/Password. You are good to go.
If you want to use them on more than two computers, you can legally do that but only two may be active at one time. Install the appications on all computer you desire. Activate the Creative Cloud license on any two.
In my case I have my apps installed on three computers: (A) Laptop, (B) Desktop for Photography and (C) Desktop for Websites.
Normally, the Creative Cloud is active on A and B. If I take my Laptop on a trip and I wish to use the Creative Cloud apps on my trip I do the following.

Deactivate the License on one of my computers (B or C). This is how:

Deactivate License on Computer C

Open your Creative Cloud Desktop Application. This is the control center to install, uninstall, update and handle myriad CC functions.
Click the gear in the upper right. Do not click on Quit from the menu. That just closes the CC application. Instead go to Preferences and Click on Sign Out.  This will leave the applications on your computer. It just makes then inactive and allows you to activate the applications on another computer.

adobe cc signout 01 400 350
adobe cc signout 02 400 500

Activate License on Computer A (Laptop)

Now go to the (A) Laptop and open the CC desktop application and you will see a sign-in window. Use your username and password. Your Creative Cloud applications are now active.

Your Questions Answered

Q: May I mix and match which applications are active as long as no two of the same application are active at the same time?

No, unfortunately, It is all or none.

Q: Can I run Lightroom from a central catalog on the cloud or a network?

No, Lightroom only works with a catalog on the same computer or attached hard drive but not a network drive. Only one computer may access a LR catalog at one time.

Q: Why can't Lightroom see my Photoshop (PSD) files?

Lightroom cannot work with layers. For LR to read a PSD file the file compatibility setting in Photoshop's Preferences need to be turned on. (Go to Preferences/File Handling set Maximize File Compatibility for PSD and PSB files to "Always". This creates a JPG version of the PSD file and then LR can work fine with your PSD files.

Other Questions?

Feel free to ask other questions in the comments below. Also feel free to provide answers or amplifications to information contained herein.

1 thought on “Adobe Creative Cloud: Photoshop and Lightroom”

  1. On my recent photography trip to Cuba, there were several participants who were Lightroom CC users.
    Because the internet did not work reliably in Cuba, those individuals could not edit their images.

    Fortunately for them, there was someone who knew about a workaround to their problem.
    Those CC users did lose a significant amount of productivity before the solution was found.

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