Daniel Nisbet

Episode 59  |  July 27, 2018

I tried going without Adobe products for a week!

Like the title suggests, last week I decided to give up Adobe products. With the exception of my job, which requires me to use them, I focused on the alternatives instead.

Before I get started, any of the products that I mentioned in this episode are not sponsors of the show. It was simply me being curious about what's out there and giving it a shot.

Adobe won't relinquish its grip on our industry anytime soon, but already there's a few apps out there worth giving a look to. In the past, Inkscape and GIMP have tried, and Pixelmator had a moment of glory a few years ago too. Sketch and Figma are really popular in the web and UI design circles. I tried Sketch in the past, but I don't do enough web work to have a solid opinion. But for this trial, Affinity caught my attention.

For my typical work flow, I usually stick to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Five on Design uses Adobe Audition.

Affinity Designer and Photo are the obvious replacements for Illustrator and Photoshop. In the case of Audition, it took a back seat to a combination of Audacity and GarageBand. Affinity hasn't released Publisher yet, which is their InDesign counterpart, so it wasn't a part of my test.

My first tests were logo and lettering projects. Out of the gate, I was impressed with where things stand in Designer right now. The biggest plus for me, is that the developers understand how engrained Adobe shortcuts are in my head. Almost all of them carried over to the same tools. Only a small handful changed, but not enough to bother me.

The down side is that its still missing some of the tools I use. The major one I rely on in Illustrator is the knife tool. Unfortunately, its still missing in Designer (although as of this episode, its planned).

I will say that it felt like a throwback to Macromedia's Fireworks. Being able to flip from pixels to vector and back is a huge game changer. I can see how this would streamline a lot of lettering projects or be an awesome feature for illustrators.

For the most part, its feeling like a polished tool. Of course there's still some clunky elements, but the potential and promise is looking way up. I don't see Affinity being an Adobe competitor tomorrow, but Adobe may want to start peeking over their shoulder a bit. I'm excited to see what new releases hold.

That said, I don't know how soon I'll be leaving my Adobe subscription. I still have work that relies on it. But I'm going to keep an eye out as Affinity (and others) progress. Maybe in another year, I'll have an episode about how I finally cancelled my Adobe subscription. Only time will tell!