Need Lab software at home?

Updated 2021-09-07

Since many of you will be working remotely for classes, you may want to use your own computer to do work that you would normally do in our Labs. Here is how you can obtain your own copy of common Lab software and the associated cost if applicable.

Adobe Products (Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Premiere Pro)

TL;DR: $130 for 3 months of any app; Photoshop/Lightroom $156/year or $97.50 for 3 months

Platforms: macOS, Windows
Free Trial: 7 days
Student Discount Price: $312 per year for entire Creative Cloud suite ($468/year after the first year); a regular price option may be better if you only need Photoshop or Lightroom (see below)
Regular Price:
$840 per year for Creative Cloud suite
$156 per year for CC Photography plan (Photoshop + Lightroom)
$312 per year for Illustrator or Premiere Pro only
$40.99 per month for any one app (no annual commitment required)
License: Subscription (only)

Adobe offers all of its products as subscriptions; you must pay Adobe a monthly or annual fee (billed monthly) to continue to use the software. Which app or combination of apps you need and for how long will determine which option is the most cost-effective for you — the student discount may not be the best deal for you if you only need one app or only need three months of use. Adobe now offers pricing in Canadian Dollars.

All of Adobe’s annual subscriptions can be billed on a monthly basis, but if you cancel early, you pay a 50% penalty for each month you cancel. For example, if you only needed to use Photoshop or Lightroom for three months for a Fall or Winter class, your best choices would be Adobe’s regular offers, not the student offer:

  • $156 for a one-year subscription to the CC Photography plan ($12.99/month × 12 months; no student discount)
  • $97.50 for 3 months of CC Photography plan subscription ($12.99 × 3 months + $6.50 × 9 month penalty for early cancellation)

For an app like Illustrator or Premiere, your best choices would be:

  • $312 for a one-year subscription to the Creative Cloud suite ($25.99/month × 12 months after student discount)
  • $195 for 3 months of the CC student discount subscription ($25.99 × 3 months + $13 × 9 month penalty for early cancellation)
  • $123 for 3 months use of the app ($40.99/month × 3 months, no student discount)

Once you need two or more Adobe apps (other than Photoshop + Lightroom), you are almost certainly better off subscribing to the full Creative Cloud plan for students. Note that the price increases by 50% after the first year of your subscription if you choose to use the software long term.

If you do not wish to subscribe to Adobe’s software, there are now excellent alternative apps that can accomplish much of what Adobe’s products do and even export to Adobe’s file formats. For example, perpetual licenses for Affinity Photo (similar to Photoshop) and Affinity Designer (similar to Illustrator) are available for $70 each. Check with your instructor to see if such alternatives would be suitable for your particular class.

Final Cut Pro

TL;DR: 90 day free trial

Platform: macOS
Free Trial: 90 days
Student Discount Price: $260 as part of a bundle
Regular Price: $400 (no bundle)
License: Perpetual (one-time payment)

Apple extended their normal 30 day trial on Final Cut Pro during the pandemic, so tactical use of the trial could get you through a Term without needing to purchase the app. If you wish to use the app longer than that, the best value for dollar is Apple’s “Pro Apps for Education” bundle, which includes apps like Compressor and Logic Pro (Apple’s digital audio workstation app — think GarageBand on steroids).

Logic Pro

TL;DR: 90 day free trial

Platform: macOS
Free Trial: 90 days
Student Discount Price: $260 as part of a bundle
Regular Price: $280 (no bundle)
License: Perpetual (one-time payment)

Apple didn’t have a trial version of Logic Pro prior to the pandemic, as most people’s needs were met with GarageBand. Tactical use of this new trial option could get you through a Term without needing to purchase the app. If you wish to use the app longer than that, a small discount comes by purchasing Apple’s “Pro Apps for Education” bundle, but you also receive Final Cut Pro video editing software (normally $400 itself — think iMovie on steroids).

ZBrush

TL;DR: Start with 30-day trial until you get connection ability for class access

Platform: macOS, Windows
Free Trial: 30 days
Student Discount Price: approx. $620 for a perpetual non-commercial license
Regular Price: USD$895 (commercial perpetual) or subscribe for USD$30-40/month
License: Perpetual or Subscription

We know that ZBrush is quite costly — it’s a professional tool used in the industry and it is priced accordingly. We do have a method that allows us to sign out a license for students enrolled in Art 323 for the term, but you may not use the software after that. If you do decide to purchase ZBrush, you may wish to check with your instructor in case ZBrush Core (which costs around $220 for a perpetual license) may be suitable for what you need. Note that perpetual licenses are just that: you receive a lifetime license (upgrades are free).

Vectorworks

TL;DR: Free student licence

Platform: macOS, Windows
Student Offer: Free student license
Regular Price: $4200 (!!) for perpetual license or $175-210 per month for subscription
License: Perpetual or Subscription

Here’s another professional-grade tool that students can not reasonably afford themselves. Luckily, it is now offered for free to Education users. Use the link above to download a copy for your own computer.