Why we Quit using Adobe.

Posted in: Blog

When you think of a creative, you almost instantly think of Adobe® products.  You think of things like Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier.  Here at Blue Bloc Designs we recently quit using almost all things Adobe, and found replacements which, frankly we enjoy a lot more.

We've found that people put using these apps as skills which are almost indispensable as job requirements:

"Must know how to use Photoshop..."

But we genuinely feel this is wrong.  If a person can produce a result in a similar or the same format, what is the problem with that?  Don't get me wrong, we used to love our Adobe Creative Cloud, and we aren't questioning their usefulness or power here.  We just want to state our case as to why you won't see a .psd or .ai file in our work.

1. Cost

This was probably the biggest reason.  Although we are designers, we spend most of our time developing.  For us, spending over $1000 a year for all the apps (because we do use more than just 2 apps) was outrageous considering how much time we actually spent in these apps.

2. Slow Performance

Adobe's apps are slow, a lot of parts and pieces are designed in  XML documents that render in their apps almost like a browser.  Apps take forever to load, for instance on one of our machines (15" Retina MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM, SSD and Quad-core i7) Illustrator took over 20 seconds to load, whereas Affinity Designer or Pixelmator take less than 5 seconds.  

3. Creative Cloud Grip-hold

Creative Cloud encompasses all the apps and services now.  You are almost forced to use its services just to build even an icon, and then if you cancel your subscription, a lot of things like fonts become un-licensed almost forcing you to remain subscribed to Creative Cloud.  We don't like sneaky things like this.

Everyone offers some sort of Cloud-Sync service these days.  There's Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox and so many others, and its gets annoying trying to balance them all.  Not only that, working off an internet connection is slow!  Internally, we use iCloud because its syncs well to our iPads and iPhones, and having to use another cloud provider is just plain annoying.

4.  AAM Launcher Util

Its garbage.  We're sorry, but its true.  The app frequently will use up all available bandwidth for app updates and other things.  We don't really believe you should have to have an app to update an app.  Its different if all you do is use Creative Cloud, but for us its only about a week at a time we will use Creative Cloud.  Its just another app using resources on our computers that could be going towards our compliers.

Apps we use

Enough ranting, here are the apps we use:
  • Pixelmator Pro – we love Pixelmator.  We've found it works very well for our needs, although it may not be as fully featured as Photoshop it does more than enough for us.  Its way faster and its a one-time purchase.  It also works with well with iCloud  so we're not stuck in 20 different clouds.  It's also easier on the eyes, and we find the design kind of inspiring, which is nice when you're trying to be creative.
  • Affinity Designer – Although we design most SVGs in Pixelmator these days, Affinity is still a great app for building complex paths.  Its performance and feature set matches pretty well those of Illustrator and we think its fair to say it say its a strong competitor to Illustrator.
  • Final Cut Pro, Motion & Compressor – Its not a glorified iMovie, okay?  Especially with the latest updates, Final Cut has really put itself back in the Pro realm.  While a lot of our broadcast facilities had started switching to Premier, we've really been pushing Final Cut with good success.  Why?  Its cheaper, a one time purchase.  Its very performant in comparison to Premier and combined with Motion and Compressor, is a good match for Adobe's entire workflow.

Although we aren't using most of the Adobe apps, we are still using one: Adobe XD.  We are looking to replace it though in the near future.  With these tools, we can build some pretty amazing products, and you wouldn't know we aren't using Adobe Products.