Posts about Adobe

Adobe abandons Figma purchase

The Verge reports that Adobe and Figma no longer plan to merge, largely thanks to legal pressure from the EU.

First off, this is great news. Adobe acquiring Figma was obviously bad for the industry, at least from the perspective of the designers who work in it. Adobe has a history of buying and subsequently squashing beloved industry tools.

Figma is also the only player keeping Adobe from a total market stranglehold. Bohemian Code’s Sketch would be a player if they offered a Windows app, but they’ve chosen not to pursue that market (and I think missed a big opportunity in the past decade as a result).

For the most part, life now goes on: Figma gets to do their own thing, Adobe does their thing, and all the smaller players (of whom Sketch is probably the biggest) keep doing their things too.

That being said, it’s not all sunshine and roses here. Adobe sunsetted XD, their design tool competitor, shortly after announcing the Figma acquisition. That tool has been dead in the water for a year, with little to no updates in that time. 

I have colleagues who use and like XD who will now have to migrate elsewhere. And let’s not forget the XD team: the folks Adobe had working on XD over the years were all top notch and had great ideas (Khoi Vinh is one of my heroes). I don’t know if those folks are still at Adobe. While life goes on for most of us, this sideshow has caused some actual destruction for a few.

In classic Adobe tradition, nothing meaningful has been accomplished, and a lot of people got hurt along the way.

Sounds like Adobe’s purchase of Figma might get blocked. I think this is good news: I have many things I dislike about Figma, but Adobe won’t fix any of them.

Further Sketch news in Figma’s world

I was saddened to hear about layoffs at Sketch. No company deserves to suffer layoffs, and certainly not a company that has done so much for its industry as Sketch. If you’re hiring, it sounds like the 80 people they’re letting go would be great for your team.

After Adobe bought Figma, I suggested to a couple different teams I freelance with that we could try Sketch again for our workflows. I’ve been impressed with their marketing efforts since the Figma acquisition (sadly it sounds like the marketing team is who they’re letting go of), and I miss using a Mac-native design app. 

Sadly, I think this ship has sailed. None of these developers are in love with Figma, and all of them hate Adobe, but Sketch being Mac-first immediately ruled them out for the teams I’m on. I wish Sketch took the Affinity route: build an amazing Mac app, and then build out native Windows and iPad versions. That could have made Sketch an unbeatable proposition in an increasingly tool-agnostic world.

It’s Figma’s world now. And in Figma’s world, it’s hard to beat ubiquity.

Adobe buys Figma

Well, here we are. The inevitable future of our draconian Adobe overlords is here: Adobe has bought Figma for $20 billion.

For some reason, this caught me off guard. I really like Figma, and I work in it every day. It’s a great tool. I also have a Creative Cloud subscription for Lightroom, Photoshop, some XD usage (for some clients), Illustrator, etc.

The Bloomberg report claims that Figma will continue to exist as a standalone product,” which is a puzzling statement because it implies Adobe doesn’t want to bring Figma into Creative Cloud.

So with that, I have a number of questions about this deal. I asked some of these questions on Twitter, but there are some new additions as well:

  1. At some point, is Adobe going to make Figma part of Creative Cloud?
  2. If they do, does that mean that Adobe will build a native Figma app for Mac and PC? Because that could actually be a plus side of this announcement. It would be great if Figma supported local saves, along with my local backups, my local typefaces, etc.
  3. If Adobe brings Figma into CC, how do they plan on integrating it into the rest of their CC tools?
  4. If Adobe brings Figma into CC, will they kill off XD? Or do they simply integrate the two tools? I can’t see both co-existing in CC. (This might be the reason Figma exists as a separate tool.)

If the report is accurate, the solution to all these questions might be simple: Figma stays how it is and is allowed to function as a profit centre for Adobe. Adobe does not integrate it into CC, and maintains XD in parallel.

XD has a lot of neat features, and it would be a shame to lose them. But you’d have to pry Figma from my cold, dead hands at this point, so I hope they don’t cancel it altogether. That would make me very sad.

There are some potentially good things that could come out of this, though:

  1. People who use CC may not need to pay for a separate Figma subscription. I wouldn’t complain if this happened!
  2. Figma’s collaboration tools are so much nicer to use than Adobe’s. There’s no comparison. If Adobe embraced some of their tooling, that could make Adobe’s crummy collaboration tools a lot better, and I’d appreciate that.
  3. I’ll once again mention my desire for a native, offline Figma app with full support for my local font library. If Adobe wants to integrate Adobe Fonts support into Figma, that would also make my life easier.

For those among us who are philosophically aligned against Adobe, I guess Sketch is probably the only big option left — but it’s only an option if you’re a Mac user. Sour grapes to Windows folks who don’t want to support Adobe.

Personally, I’m saddened by this, excited by this, optimistic about this, and extremely pessimistic about this too. I’m a whirlwind of emotions. This whole thing feels like somebody punched you in the gut, and then hinted they might change their ways. (This is always how it feels to be an Adobe customer, though, so not much has changed

Adobe reveals Photoshop for iPad (and another goodies)

A couple months ago, some folks at Adobe admitted to some major news publications that they were working on Photoshop for iPad. Today, they formally revealed it at Adobe MAX, and The Verge got a hands-on look at the app in action.

I’m a Creative Cloud subscriber because, well, I run a design studio for a living. But Photoshop is perhaps my least important CC app. (InDesign is king, if you’re wondering — nothing else comes close.)

For somebody like me, this app is going to hit the perfect sweet spot. Everything I need to touch up photos on the go, hopefully with the same Export to Web feature that I love on the desktop.

Ironically, if you live in Photoshop (like many designers I know), then it sounds like the iPad version won’t be for you. At least, not right away. Adobe is stripping away a ton of features that will make the app less useful (keyboard shortcuts, for example).

But in the meantime, this is a pretty serious win for creative professionals on the iPad. I’m holding out for InDesign next (but I know I’m going to have to wait for Adobe to do Illustrator, Première, and probably After Effects first). 

Some other news that will change my life in some meaningful ways: 

  • Typekit is now Adobe Fonts (and every font is available for unlimited desktop syncing now!). The new website feels slower than Typekit to me, but it’s also a little less quirky, which is nice.
  • Adobe XD’s first plug-in integrations are now available, drag gestures and linked symbols (finally) are built in, and the app is getting some great Illustrator and After Effects integrations. I try XD every six months or so to see if it can release Sketch. This update could put it over the edge for me.
  • There’s a new properties panel in InDesign that looks amazing. True story: I have multiple custom views in InDesign that I switch between based on the amount of screen real estate I have. I’m hoping this makes that process less cumbersome for me. (Plus, there’s content-aware fill, which looks very neat.)
  • PhotoShop CC finally uses the same Undo keyboard shortcuts as literally everything else on my Mac. You can also double-click to edit text instead of switching to the type tool, which also should have happened many, many moons ago.

All in all, these are great updates. Congratulations to the Adobe team for making their suite of products even better, and making my job easier!

Adobe Comet

Some great news from the Adobe front: they’ve finally realized they need a solution more unique than Photoshop for today’s digital designers. They call it Adobe Comet. I think it looks super exciting. 

The video on the landing page doesn’t do a whole lot for me — it’s clearly some promotional fluff to last them until launch — but it looks like a great tool. I like that they’re clearing thinking through competitive features and UX designer’s needs, so it’s not going to be just a me too” product. 

What surprises me is that it doesn’t look like they’re promoting it as a part of Creative Cloud; at least, not yet anyway. My understanding (although I could be wrong) is that the beta will be open to the public.

A part of me wonders if it will have an extended beta like Brackets, Adobe’s open-source text editor. That would be unfortunate. Brackets is nice, but it always feels a little behind compared to competitors like Atom (the text editor we’re using here). 

And that’s a sort of summary for Adobe’s current position in the digital design app marketplace: behind the eight ball. I don’t know if Comet will be more of the same or a sign of real change, but I’m excited for its debut in 2016.

Thoughts on Photoshop Design Space

Every time I start mocking up a new project, I have a habit of beginning the work in Photoshop. After all, it seems that many other designers — some who I greatly respect — swear by the software. So there’s this part of me that figures, it must just work.

Of course, we all know that’s not necessarily the case. But when Adobe used this year’s Creative Cloud update to release Design Space Preview, I spent yet another week trying to make Photoshop work for me.

It still doesn’t work.

I can certainly appreciate the vision Adobe has for the product, but it’s so far behind. Artboards and a simplified skin won’t save Photoshop. Here’s what it would take to get me out of Sketch and back into Adobe’s playground:

  • proper support for vectors and much stronger zooming capabilities
  • better font rendering, as well as displaying typefaces as vector properties. Really, if anybody should be able to pull this off, it would be Adobe. If I can do it in CSS, I want to be able to do it in Photoshop.
  • a native, speedy, buttery-smooth app for OS X. Sketch is so much less prone to crash on me that using it is a total no-brainer.
  • an interface that doesn’t make me feel like I’m wandering through a pit of darkness and despair

Am I asking for too much?1

  1. All this being said, if you ask me, the only reason to continue using Creative Cloud is InDesign and Adobe’s sensational colour tool. Particularly if you’re on a Mac, it seems like there’s a better alternative for every other app. ↩︎