CS2/CS3 â†’ CS6 and/or Creative Cloud
I manage IT for my company and generally try to stay out of our designer's way. We are an eCommerce company, and our designers spend a lot of time shooting, cropping, and cleaning images for display of products on our website, so heavy use of Photoshop. We also make product demo videos, so we rely on Premier as well as InDesign and Illustrator for other tasks.
We own several copies of CS2 and CS3, but that is the newest we have. I've looked recently at Creative Cloud as a possible upgrade path for us, as well as just plain old CS6.
The problem is, I'm not knowledgeable enough on this subject to know if we do actually need an upgraded/newer CS or if the ones we have are just fine? I've heard of fancy new features such as de-blur in CS6, however we take images from a controlled environment, so de-blurring is not useful, etc.
To aide me in my purchasing recommendation, is there an actual need for a newer product? What new features are available that we may enjoy, or what work-flows are improved, etc. Basically, I"m trying to decide if I should pursue getting approval for upgrades or not.
I should also mention, our designers don't seem to care â€” however I believe this isn't because they have assessed the new options and decided what we have is fine â€” instead I believe they "know" their current setup and resist change. But, if the new options will help them be more productive, work more efficiently, work more easily, etc, â€” then it's worth the upgrade. Simply not having to learn a new program isn't a good reason - the company would pay for training if needed, etc.
Question Summary: What new features in CS6 and/or CC necessitate an upgrade? What things in CS6 and/or CC make it superior to older versions (people have to upgrade for some reason besides buttons looking fancier, etc).
Here's the big deciding factor based on the hardware you are running...
CS6 and CC apps are 64Bit aware. CS2/3 are not.
Disregarding feature sets, that alone should be enough to make the choice to move the CS6 (I'm not a fan of the subscription model of the Creative Cloud). You're probably aware that 64Bit means faster applications, more access to RAM, etc. (Illustrator CS6 is much more stable than previous versions.)
However, be aware... if you are running CS2, your hardware may not meet the minimum system requirements for newer apps. For example, any Mac capable of running the Creative Cloud apps, can not run CS2 apps. The system architecture is too different.
It is difficult to recommend any upgrade based upon features. Each and every person uses different feature sets. You would need to know what features are in use and if improvements are worth the upgrade.
For example, if you're making and retouching photos there's not a great deal new in Photoshop for that. Well content aware fill is a nifty feature for retouching. And if you are using 3D models, there's a ton of new stuff since Photoshop CS2. Same holds true for Illustrator, if you're creating simple paths, objects, and text, then there's not a great deal of difference. But if you're creating perspective drawings, do a lot of symbol-based work, or use a lot of raster effects in Illustrator, there have been big improvements. InDesign has added electronic file creation to it's feature set. So you can use one file for press and epub delivery. If your'e doing that.
An earlier comment about Hardware compatibility is very important.
I was using CS3 and very happy with the product for graphic design and website design projects. I like the idea of Creative Cloud and had clients using newer versions of the Adobe products, so I decided to upgrade to Cloud. Unfortunately I have had nothing but problems from day one, particularly with Photoshop and Acrobat. Product freezes and extremely slow performance. 5 different support calls with Adobe did not fix the issues. In fact the last support person made things worse. I upgraded graphics cards twice but that didn't help.
I have come to believe that the only way I can run Creative Cloud is to replace my computer with a newer model. I am crossing my fingers that that will be enough. If not, I am prepared to dump cloud and go back to CS6 (or CS5 if I can find a copy from a reseller). This experience even has me thinking about open source alternatives for Photoshop and Illustrator. IT has been very frustrating. Hope this is helpful as you consider your options.