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Sketch 2: A Worthy Photoshop Competitor?

Sketch 2: A Worthy Photoshop Competitor?

Here at Medialoot we don't often review software, but as I am somewhat of a dedicated Fireworks fan, and an avid believer that the industry is in dire need of a tool specifically created for professional UI designers, I think that Bohemian Coding's Sketch 2 deserves a mention.

It’s safe to say from the off that Sketch 2 is without a doubt, an excellent app at a very reasonable price. And if you’re a casual designer, who can’t quite justify splashing out on Adobe’s offerings, then yes Sketch is for you, go buy it! But in this article I want to assess how well it meets the needs of professional designers, and how well it stands up against the two most popular tools used at the moment, Photoshop and Fireworks.

Why I Want To Use It Every Day

It’s creators say that Sketch 2 has the absolute minimum feature set that a professional tool needs. And I completely agree with them, there isn’t anything missing that could actually stop me in my tracks when designing a website or app interface. And that is very good news. The promise of more features being added soon is also very exciting.

It currently has some features that are pure genius, and I’m actually starting to miss them when going back to using Photoshop and Fireworks. Multiple fills for example is an excellent idea, executed perfectly. As the name suggests, multiple fills allows you to stack fills on top of each other, and is a fresh new take on the traditional Color, Gradient and Pattern Overlay methods.

Other notable features are the Infinite Canvas, and Artboards which gives you Illustrator-esque freedom with your designs. And Non-destructive Boolean Operations, that allow you to do things like adjusting the corner radius of a rectangle even after you have combined it with another shape. It even beat Fireworks CS6 to the punch adding CSS Styles support!

What It Can Create

It’s still very early days, but already designers are testing out Sketch 2 and sharing their results on Dribbble. I even decided to recreate a couple of the elements from our latest freebie using Sketch (results below).

MediaLoot Tickets by Tony Thomas

tickets
As I mentioned, here is the recreation of a couple of elements from our latest freebie, made entirely in Sketch 2. Download the .sketch source file here.

Icon made with Sketch2 by Jason Csizmadi

iOS Message UI made with Sketch 2 by Ben Breckler

Playing with Sketch 2 by Gadzhi Kharkharov

Why I Can’t Use It Full Time Yet

My work, much like most designers out there requires sharing files. Whether it’s sending .psd’s to your developer to get coded, or creating and sharing design resources. There will almost certainly be a day in every designer’s life when you’ve shared a source file.. And the chances are it was probably a .psd.

This is where Sketch currently falls flat. I’m not going to write out a list of bugs, because I’m sure that the developers are perfectly aware of the state of affairs. But to summarise it is very difficult to open even the simplest .svg or .eps files. Likewise, exporting to vector formats is just as awkward and unpredictable.

If a designer chooses to use Fireworks instead of Photoshop, they will find that Fireworks opens .psd, .eps, and .png files brilliantly. So it wouldn’t be much of struggle to switch exclusively. Sadly, the same thing can’t be said about Sketch, so that is why I can’t use it full time yet.

Try It Out For Yourself!

If you haven’t already, take it for a spin and decide for yourself Website Link it has a 14 day free trial. And let us know what you guys think. Could this be the long-awaited Photoshop and/or Fireworks Killer?

Comments

  • Reply »
    Gareth

    Gareth

    Thanks for this Tony, have you looked at Pixelmator and if so how do they compare?

    May 2, 2012 at 8:48 am
  • Reply »
    Tony Thomas

    Tony Thomas

    Hey Gareth, I think that Pixelmator and Sketch make a great team actually. It’s a bit like the Photoshop + Fireworks combo, Pixelmator focuses a lot on photo editing and Sketch focuses on UI design.

    They both show a lot of potential and have had major updates recently

    May 2, 2012 at 9:15 am
  • Reply »
    Gareth

    Gareth

    Great stuff, I will deffinetly be giving it a look. It would be great to see some tutorials on using it grin

    May 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm
  • Reply »
    PSDDude

    PSDDude

    It is really impressive what you can do with this new tool, I might gve it a try smile

    May 7, 2012 at 6:50 am
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    KevPartner

    KevPartner

    You know, you could have saved five minutes of my life by mentioning that it’s Mac only right at the start.

    Jun 13, 2012 at 5:32 am
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    Pablo

    Pablo

    @KevPartner - People still use Windows machines for design work? I’m sorry.

    Jul 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm
  • Reply »
    Analía

    Analía

    It seems more like a Firework’s alternative.

    And the designer’s world is not only Apple’s products. It would be nice to have a professional tool for Linux, too. I mean, without feeling the loss of some handy features that Apple’s software has now.

    Jul 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm
  • Reply »
    Tony Thomas

    Tony Thomas

    Sketch is more comparable to Fireworks yes, but it is an alternative to both really depending on which one you use the most.

    Hopefully without starting a Windows vs Mac vs Linux debate, I think it’s safe enough to say that most designers do use Macs. So Sketch has a pretty good target market, just like other Mac-only apps Pixelmator, Coda and Espresso.

    Jul 22, 2012 at 8:10 am
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