Switching from Photoshop to Sketch

I’ve finally made the jump. After 2 years of having one of my 201X year goals, this year it happened.
Switching from Photoshop to Sketch

Intro

I think the reason I was hesitant in making the jump was because Photoshop worked for me, I was fast with it and I knew almost all the features that monster has to offer.

But why did I do the jump?


Speed

You haven’t experienced true speed if you haven’t tried Sketch. And I’m not referring to how fast it is to do a specific thing. I’m referring to how the software behaves when you have 100+ artboards. Can you imagine working with a photoshop file that has 100 artboards? It will probably take 10 minutes to save a small change.


Symbols

Symbol is the second main reason to use Sketch.

So, what is a symbol? If you’re coming from Photoshop, symbols act like a more advanced smart object. But that “more advanced” make a huge difference.

Let’s take for example a button. You make the rectangular shape and put a background colour (blue) and a border (dark blue). You also add a text layer on top of that rectangular and you type the action (let’s say “click here to login”). Now you select the rectangular and the text layer and convert them to a symbol and the magic starts. These 2 layers will become one. Now everywhere in the interface you use this symbol one of the magic things it will do is something called overwrites. In other areas within the interface, you can use this button but overwrite the text “click here to login” with something else without changing the button. And at any point if you decide that this button should not be blue but green, you go to the symbols page, change the master button and bam, all instances for this button will change to green and they will keep the overwrites you applied.


Pages

This is something that I wasn’t very interested in at the beginning but quickly grew to be one of the most important features for me. I’m working on a big project and I have the main interface in a page, then I have a page for the android app, a page of the iOS app and a page with all of the logos and different prices. In Photoshop you would probably need different files for each of these pages. And at the end of the day it’a a great feeling to have everything in one file and not needing to go back and forth with the finder to open an close files. It adds to that speed that I was talking about.


Prototyping

Now, this is a new feature in Sketch. Yes, you could use some plugins to do this and you can also use some plugins to achieve this in Photoshop but you know what? Having this feature baked in the software makes such a huge difference. Mainly for 2 reasons: you build the prototype as you work and second, it makes it easy to keep a huge project up-to-date.

Prototyping in Sketch is still a new thing and there are only a limited set of features and you can’t do all the crazy stuff that you can do with InVision for example but … I still prefer to have an up-to-date prototype with less features that takes me almost no time to do.


Community

I agree that the Photoshop community is bigger and you can find more tutorials but the Sketch community feels more active, more vocal. And if you look at companies like Facebook who release assets for Sketch first and on a regular basis you can see that going forward, Sketch will get more support than other software.


Pricing

This is another great thing that I like about Sketch. Basically the software is free and you buy “updates”. When you buy it for the first time, you need to buy a year’s worth of updates that cost 100$ but after that. if you don’t want to buy new updates anymore, you can still use the software forever.

What’s great about this approach is that it makes the Sketch Team create new stuff all the time in order to make designers feel like the new updates are worth buying.

In contrast, Photoshop costs 20$/month and yes, Adobe also make regular updates to it but if you decide that you don’t want to pay for the software anymore you can’t use the things you already payed for.


Conclusion

Now you’re probably thinking, what about Adobe Experience Design and InVision Studio? I haven’t had a chance to play with InVision Studio so, I can’t speak about that but Experience Design is kinda sad, to be honest. It actually feels like Adobe realised they need to make something that competes with Sketch and they’ve thrown together some features that make sense.

To close, I am really happy to have made this switch. And it didn’t take long to be honest. On the first week I was searching Google on how to do x in Sketch. By week two, I already knew the keyboard shortcuts and how to do the stuff I was doing on a regular basis in Photoshop. By week three I was as fast in Sketch as I was in Photoshop.


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