Let’s get a few things straight, here. I’m a designer and I hate Photoshop. Unfortunately, there’s no better alternative out there. A lot of people have been shouting “USE FIREWORKS” in my face, but I brush’em off because I hate that bundle of wet noodles. A few days ago I was given early access to Sketch 2 from Bohemian Coding. Here’s a little spoiler: It’s amazing. Hit the break for the rest of my review, oh and get a drool cup. You’ll need it.
Sketch 2 is advertised as a Fireworks/Photoshop replacement for Web and UI design. Let me tell you, it makes Fireworks look like a pack of RoseArt crayons and really crappy construction paper. Using Fireworks always ended up with me more frustrated than before and just wishing I had been in Photoshop from the beginning. From the first launch, I’ve had a blast using Sketch 2. I’ve been using it at work and in my personal stuff and it has not let me down.
Something that threw me off at first was Sketch 2’s lack of a canvas. I’m used to creating a defined space and working within that. Sketch’s new edition throws all that junk out the window. Your canvas is infinite. And it ROCKS. I love not having to worry about picking a resolution to work with and being confined. When you save, it automatically trims all the whitespace away and saves to the bounds of your creation. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can also create artboards (as many as you want) and save those.
Yep, it’s got shapes. They’re all there: Rectangle, Ellipse, Rounded rectangle, Polygon, Star, Triangle, Spiral. And it’s got a pen tool for drawing your own shapes. If you’ve ever used Photoshop for rounded rectangles, you know the pain, no, the struggle of post-draw manipulation. None of that is present in Sketch 2. I wept from the joy I felt when I was able to resize the Round Rect without distortion. I peed a little from excitement when I found that I could change the corner radius after the shape had been drawn. It was bliss. All the other shapes have the same edity goodness.
Sketch 2 has most of the same layer styles as Photoshop and some extras. The only ones it lacks are Bevel & Emboss and Satin. Something really neat that Sketch 2 allows you to do is give a shape multiple fills. You can use this to achieve a similar effect as Pattern, Color, and Gradient Overly in Photoshop. However, there’s no limit. You can have as many fills as you want. I’m sure that will allow you to make some really kickass effects. Another cool extra is the Reflection layer style. It does exactly what it says and create a reflection of your shape or group.
The fonts in Sketch 2 are perfect. I’m serious. Pretty much every designer ever knows that fonts in Photoshop suck butt. You know how Photoshop has like 5 different Anti-Aliasing methods? Yeah, none of that crap here in Sketch. Just beautiful sexy type. Mmmmmmmm. It’s delicious. You can also save some presets for font styles. It’s wicked awesome.
Hit the Export button and then go change your pants. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, you’re back. That’s So Cool! Right? For those of you (most of you) that aren’t seeing what I’m seeing, here’s what happens. Hit Export and Sketch 2 automatically creates slices for your work. You can name the slices, pick and choose which layers are included, trim transparent pixels, AND export @2X version. All in one fell swoop. It’s mind-bogglingly pleasing. It’s the equivalent of liquifying sugar and fairy dust in a blender and pouring it directly into the wrinkles of your brain.
The Final Words (or something along those lines)
To steal a line from a really great guy, Sketch 2 “…is like giving a glass of ice water to someone in hell.” I’m a designer and I hate Photoshop, but I love Sketch 2. This initial release of Sketch 2 is not without it’s bugs, but they’re very minor and haven’t affected my workflow at all. It’s mostly little visual artifacts of the interface that disappear shortly after they show up. Costing only $40 (for a limited time! It’s going up to $60 soon), compared to Photoshop’s $700, you can’t freakin’ beat that. Every designer should pick this up. If more people use Sketch 2, that’s less people using Photoshop, and that’s a happier world. Do yourself a favor and go grab Sketch 2 by Bohemian Coding.
Sketch 2 Giveaway!
Thanks to the guys at Bohemian Coding, we are able to give one lucky reader a promo code for a copy of Sketch 2!
Here are the rules:
- Follow Culture Milk on Twitter
- Tweet the following message: “I want a copy of Sketch 2 from @culturemilk, courtesy of the awesome guys at @bohemiancoding!”
Easy enough, right?
We’ll search Twitter and pick a winner at random on Thursday 5/3/2012. Make sure to follow the Culture Milk Twitter account so we can get in touch if you’re the winner. Good luck!