If you are like me and don't earn mega $$ or live in a country where technology is a little steeper than the rest of the world, where exchange rates are killing you etc..
(Should you be the person that feels there's no need to do this and are more than willing to just go out and buy the product, by all means, but this post is obviousely not your criteria and you can just ignore.)
You could try to get your hands on a authentic copy of Photoshop:
- - Look online auction/bidding sites like ebay for example
- - Always ask the seller weather their product is sold as a resale from Adobe or weather it's an import from a mysterious seller. Grey products are all over these days. They look like the real thing but they can't register as the keys are not keys that were released by Adobe.
- - Ask the seller if the product will pass online registration. If they answer yes, ask if they will refund should it not. A seller might not know and assume that it will. Don't waste your time with the seller sending you replacements. They are all crap. You might have a few refunds from a few sellers before you hit home. Do not get ugly or insinuate anything, this might ruin your chances of a happy refund. Only get ugly if the seller is ugly and does not obide by his/her promisses.
- - Look for products sold from companies that have no use for the extras they have bought OR
- - Look for a home user that want's to sell
- - Ask a home user if the product is not maybe an already upgraded package, in witch case it won't work for ya anymore.
- - If the home user is selling you the item honestly make sure that the seller understands that the product needs to be "Deactivated" on their original PC's, if they have installed two PC's as adobe allows with the standard license, make sure both installations have been deactivated. The way to unregister or deactivate should you need to help the seller is to go under the help menu and click on "deactivate". The pc that is deactivated should be connected to the internet while deactivation is done to ensure that adobe's online databases registered the change. If they don't you might not be able to re-register your installations. If the seller uninstalled it already without deactivating, they will have to reinstall and then deactivate them.
A product installing is not the same as it being registered, Go online and do a manual registration to check. Also check your host file to see if the product wasn't maybe tampered with to make your pc not see the online registration servers. Your host file will contain a couple of adobe server names but they are all linked to your localhost IP. Remove these and try to get your package to submit your registration details.
Don't go for OEM versions as they are not legal to resell and are not upgradeable. This is only legal should the seller sell you the complete PC, tablet or whatever they got it with, but this is too easily scammable so don't and as I have mentioned, you can't upgrade an OEM version. They might try lame stuff, like selling a brand new hard drive with an OEM CD. These CD's are obviously copied.
Some stores might do this honestly but it's still not the best deal.
If someone sells an authentic student copy, this might not be perfectly legal or honest but it could be a way, At least you know Adobe has received some money for the product. You might get a situation where it's cheaper to buy a student version from somewhere and immediately do an upgrade to a non student version.
The same with older versions, you might get a cheaper CS2 from someone, where it might end up being cheaper buying that and then upgrading. That is if you need to. Most will argue that you really don't.
The purpose of the above is to get you the real deal honest bargain. It won't really make you an angel that farts fairy dust, its just a way where some who really wants to but are a bit short can get into the situation where you can do future upgrades that are more affordable AND especially if you plan on getting recognized for your work without having guilt issues or have some permanent bizarre stuff come out in your work that communicates some internal struggle of some sort >Twilight zone music here< You know... That pirate art look.
If you are not the type of person that get's affected by this and crack stuff without a care, well, cool but don't say I didn't warn you.... Your art is most prolly looking weird already.
Or one day you might be forced to do an article for some magazine on "How I worked as a pirate for X years", with a sad looking picture of your mug and in depth study on your pre-piratizm work and post-Piratizm stuff making you look awesome. Then they make you promote all those crappy features on new products that aren't doing so well, making you pretend like it's "the shit" over and over and over... and without any payment and ooooh boy, try to leave or play it your way.. you'll be a plagiarist in no time.
If it's the first time you do this, you could frame a printout of your registration page and put it on the wall for inspiration.