Photoshop Places Some Colors Behind a Monthly Paywall Due to Licensing Changes with Pantone

Image: Adobe

Photoshop users must pay a monthly fee to see and work with certain colors going forward, according to a tweet shared today that reveals how changes in Pantone’s licensing with Adobe have prompted new fees in the world’s leading graphics editing program. Users who try to open a .PSD with Pantone colors and haven’t paid the license for what is reportedly a plug-in will see black instead, even if the file is over two decades old, it’s said. Illustrator and InDesign will also no longer support Pantone-owned colors for free. Headquartered in New Jersey and owned by colorimeter maker X-Rite, some of Pantone’s biggest accomplishments include the Pantone Matching System, a color communication system with 500 colors that it introduced in 1963.

From a Kotaku report:

The removal of Pantone’s colors from Adobe’s software was meant to happen March 31 this year, but that date came and went. It was then due for August 16, then August 31. However, this month, people are noticing the effects, reporting issues with creations using Pantone’s spot colors. And the solution? It’s an Adobe plug-in to “minimize workflow disruption and to provide the updated libraries to the Adobe Creative Cloud users.” Which, of course, costs $15 a month. It’s Netflix, but for coloring in!

However, Pantone still states in its out-of-date FAQ that, “This update will have minimal impact on a designer’s workflow. Existing Creative Cloud files and documents containing Pantone Color references will keep those color identities and information.” Yet today, people are reporting that their Photoshop is informing them, “This file has Pantone colors that have been removed and replaced with black due to changes in Pantone’s licensing with Adobe.”

Others have reported that even attaching a Pantone license within Photoshop isn’t fixing the issue, colors still replaced by black, and workarounds sound like a pain.

Update – 11/6/2022 – Adobe’s Ashley Still, Senior Vice President of Digital Media Marketing, Strategy & Global Partnerships sent us the following statement:

As we had shared in June, Pantone decided to change its business model. Some of the Pantone Color Books that are pre-loaded in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign were phased-out from future software updates in August 2022. To access the complete set of Pantone Color Books, Pantone now requires customers to purchase a premium license through Pantone Connect and install a plug-in using Adobe Exchange. 

We are currently looking at ways to lessen the impact on our customers. In the meantime, customers also have access to up to 14 extensive color books through Creative Cloud subscriptions. 

Adobe Creative Cloud empowers creators with flagship apps like Photoshop, Illustrator etc. to create wherever inspiration strikes and now offers innovations like Share for Review for collaboration, new AI tools to simplify complex tasks, and powerful image editing within the browser. 

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