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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?


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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 :-)

    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 :)

    May 7, 2012 at 6:50 am
  • Reply »
    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
  • Reply »
    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
  • Reply »
    Wagner

    Wagner

    seriously if these small shops can produce this quality work adobe is clearly hiring the wrong people, shame on its CEO!

    Dec 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm
  • Reply »
    ululf01

    ululf01

    i love this !!
    thanks a lot.

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm
  • Reply »
    Green

    Green

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    Feb 28, 2013 at 6:17 am
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    Thomas

    Thomas

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  • Reply »
    Kevin

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    Apr 25, 2013 at 1:49 am
  • Reply »
    SMSKredyt365

    SMSKredyt365

    Thank you for this cool article!

    May 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm
  • Reply »
    jamesnorton

    jamesnorton

    It currently has some functions that are genuine professional, and I’m actually beginning to skip them when going returning to using Photoshop and Fireworks.

    Sep 20, 2013 at 6:29 am
  • Reply »
    Devid

    Devid

    I just discovered your blog and desired to state that I’ve actually loved reading your blog posts. In whatever way I’ll be checking to your supply and I expect you post again soon.

    Sep 23, 2013 at 4:37 am
  • Reply »
    craigbooker

    craigbooker

    I love sketch.  I was hesitant to learn another tool, but it definitely does all I need it to do without the overhead of CS6.  Now, I do see the lack of widespread adoption and file sharing as the big hinderance.

    Nov 8, 2013 at 11:49 am
  • Reply »
    Carl Afable

    Carl Afable

    I am a new Photoshop worker. I am going to try this

    Jan 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm
  • Reply »
    Chris

    Chris

    For those of you interested in Sketch, but worried about being unable to open sketch files on windows, I recently came across an app called AvoCode, which aims to address this issue in general.

    According to their site, the app will allow you to open any design file (psd, sketch, ai, etc) and provide full access to all the pages/layers/colors, etc. Perfect for developers and best of all, it’ll be available on all major platforms (including linux).

    Check out their site for more info -> http://avocode.com

    Viva la Sketch!

    Jun 17, 2014 at 2:45 am

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