Ask DN: You tried Sketch but stuck with Photoshop. Why?

over 7 years ago from , Lead UX Designer

That's my case. PS is way faster for me and I also seem to be faster and more productive than my peers who use Sketch. I think I know why, but wanted to do a micro field research here.

PS: Sketch evangelists - you're very loud and we got your point (never go back etc.). Try and stay out of this conversation please.

  • I'm NOT affiliated with Adobe nor Sketch


  • Andrew SmithAndrew Smith, over 7 years ago

    I love sketch for exporting SVG, it works better than illustrator. I'm also a fan of the multiple export feature.

    As for photoshop, it's only easier for us because thats what we've used for 10+ years – I'm slowing opening sketch more and more and discovering something new – like cloning, being able to grid out something really quickly – throwing Craft by Invision into it to generate some random stock crap too also helps speed that up.

    I like that it's vector, and I like that it's based on the rules of coding, so you can't add some crazy effect or raster style to it – I've had designers pass me a photoshop document that has layer effects applied, icons are resized and coloured in photoshop – the time it takes to design might be quicker, but the time it takes to take out the elements from photoshop is significantly slower than sketch.

    And since for web design, i'm mostly a developer, this is what I appreciate more – getting the design into something tangible.

    8 points
    • Jan SemlerJan Semler, over 7 years ago


      Good Point, regarding the "overdesigning". You can go crazy in Photoshop but the case is true that the development will suffer with these designs.

      @Meydad My developers love Sketch, and they hate Photoshop. The next reason is if you need to alter designs you just need some clicks in Sketch, but in PS you need a huge amount of work. I doubt that you are faster in Photoshop than in Sketch. I worked a long time with PS since 1995. But in Sketch my design workflow speeded up about 300%.

      I think the main point here is how you work in general. If you have just a small streamlined app or web project where you work with wireframes and a final version 1 you "might" be faster in PS. But if you work in a agile environment and you are strong connected with the development process i hink you are way faster in Sketch. If you work in a design team, Sketch would be the way to go.

      The next thing is handling in general. I can create as many artboards as i want while Sketch still performs really good. In PS the performance suffers so you need more files and they can go big.

      Another thing. Developers can not work and didn't want to pay for PS, keep that in Mind.

      It is not about what awesome designs you can do with PS it is more about how good do you know the process in which your design fits. If you know the process that your design will go through (Research, Product-Development, Marketing, Concept, Design, Iteration, Marketing, Development, Testing, Marketing) than you will know which application fits, and for some it is Sketch for other PS.

      Did you had a look on Adobe XD?

      2 points
    • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, over 7 years ago

      With great power comes great responsibility! Photoshop is a testament to this.

      With Sketch, you have probably one way of achieving something that could be done three or four different ways in Photoshop. That simplified approach is refreshing.

      As a side note, I would suggest to designers you work with to use shape layers in Photoshop rather than smart objects (for vectors). They'll be the colour and size they should be when you export to SVG.

      1 point
      • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 7 years ago

        What the hell? I use nothing but shapes in Photoshop. The only thing I use smart objects for is when I know I'll resize something and don't want to lose quality. So pretty much photos only.

        The rest, all vector, all text.

        0 points
        • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, over 7 years ago

          Sometimes it makes sense to use a smart object for vectors instead of a group:

          1. The most important use case for me is when I need more instances of the same thing inside a document. By making it a smart object, any changes I make to it in the future will be reflected throughout the entire document.
          2. If you want to apply an effect like blur to a whole bunch of layers that would take ages to render as a group.
          3. You can have linked smart objects. Those are separate PSD files that once updated will be reflected throughout all the other files where they are linked.
          3 points
          • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 7 years ago

            Thanks for the response!

            Yeah - I see where you're coming from, but I can't help but feel like we're using Photoshop wrong. We're trying to make it behave like the web, where you change CSS in one place, and it changes something in all other places.

            Instead I'd rather work with the limitations, than against them.

            0 points
  • Dana (dmxt)Dana (dmxt), over 7 years ago

    I use Windows.

    6 points
  • John LeschinskiJohn Leschinski, over 7 years ago

    Try and stay out of this conversation please.

    Not sure if it's up to you to tell people where they can or cannot participate.

    6 points
  • Henrique NogueiraHenrique Nogueira, over 7 years ago

    I'm only stuck with photoshop because the company i work for is stuck with adobe.

    I've used sketch before on my previous job and it was way faster, but you can't fully replace photoshop. Whenever we had to design something more graphic, or retouch photos, we'd use photoshop.

    I don't think it's a case for fully replace it, but rather replace some of its functions..

    5 points
    • Manny Larios, over 7 years ago

      But that's the appropriate use for Photoshop – retouching / manipulating images. I still use both regularly: Sketch for illustration and UX, Photoshop for anything related to photo re-touching or effects. I don't see why we need to use one over the other: they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

      1 point
  • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Tried a few years back; found path controls clunky, and rendering was very inconsistent (remember DrawIt?). Tried a year ago, and type management was atrocious. I also jump around between illustration, UI, and prototyping work — Sketch can replace some of those, but I'd need to learn another new tool to fully replace my workflow. I also need to hand off files to team members on Windows; Photoshop is a must-have.

    However, I've paid for, and use Sketch for specific parts of the workflow. SVG exporting in Photoshop is great, but far from perfect. I drop vectors into Sketch to tweak and export, and use it for quick SVG tweaks once one is already exported. I've used it for quick wireframes as well.

    Despite all that, the initial hurdle was to some extent the evangelists. There seemed to be a homogeny that came out of early work done in Sketch — I didn't like seeing an individual's work seemingly so influenced by their tool of choice.

    Illustrating the aforementioned inconsistent rendering Sketch

    4 points
    • Gabriel BrodersenGabriel Brodersen, over 7 years ago

      Zoom level not 100%? XY positioning changed. You mind sharing the file so the rest of us can see if we experience the same issue?

      0 points
      • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 7 years ago

        Example is from Eli Schiff. I experienced similar issues, but over three years back. Think his example is also that old.

        0 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, over 7 years ago

    For me, Sketch never brought enough to table to make the hassle of learning a new workflow, new shortcuts and of course finding workarounds for all the things that are missing, worth it.

    I bought my copy a few months ago and I wanted to like it but all the projects I tried with it made me feel like I was using a toy to create professional work.

    In other words, sketch is missing a lot of stuff (no Library, no smart objects, horrible typography engine, horrible SVG support, no compatibility with Adobe files, no Windows version so no sharing files with anyone using Win, etc.), and the gimmicky features it does bring feel designed to save amateurs a couple of seconds, at the expense of control - I can export my own assets and prefer having more than one default grid.

    I simply did not feel I would get much in exchange for all the hassle.

    3 points
    • Gabriel BrodersenGabriel Brodersen, over 7 years ago

      I think you need to try it again, after most of the issue you mention has been fixed, and features you are missing has been implemented.

      0 points
      • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, over 7 years ago

        I'll consider it the next time Adobe fucks up, but for the time being I'm happy with the last version of PS. That is if XD doesn't become a great alternative by then.

        0 points
  • Stuart McCoyStuart McCoy, over 7 years ago

    Some of us are actual graphic designers who do more then UI/UX which is pretty much all Sketch is good for. I use many of the tools from the Adobe Creative Suite for my day to day work (InDesign, After Effects, Premiere Pro). They work very well together and there's nothing I can't do in Photoshop/Illustrator that others can do in Sketch. Let me know when you can design a long form document or do hundreds of logo iterations with ease in it.

    2 points
  • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, over 7 years ago

    I'm a Sketch user only because one agency I work with switched from Adobe CC. Haven't found the transition hard and I enjoy it's speed and it's exporting options.

    That's the good news over with, here comes the bad… Sketch is really lacking in some fundamental basics that I have come to accustom with Adobe CC apps.

    Typography is terrible, not how it renders but how you can set type. Using multiple text boxes to achieve what should be possible in one is a real productivity killer. Control over margins is minimal and it still has a few quirks with line heights. Seeing as much of what we design is led by content this is an area Sketch still needs to improve on.

    Drawing tools are frustrating. They are OK for quick tasks but anything in depth requires Illustrator. Even tidying things up in Sketch can result in blue air (lots of cursing).

    Measurements and scaling is woeful. Scaling any thing by handles will result in ratios being screwed and often, with vectors, unexpected results. From early on I learnt to not use it and use scale (Option K). Not being able to select an anchor point for scaling is annoying because you may not always want to do it from the centre of an object. Another set of fundamental tools poorly implemented that slows down work flow.

    Dark UI please. Those tools kill my eyes after a while especially when working on a project that's dark.

    In summary Photoshop is still my go; key tools are well thought out and work as expected and you can stay in one application when you need to do more design flourishes and image manipulation.

    In a world of flat design and apps, I can see why Sketch appeals. If you have a broader set of tasks for multiple platforms in various styles then look elsewhere.

    2 points
  • Ole-Martin BrattengOle-Martin Bratteng, over 7 years ago

    I tried Sketch as lately as today, and I just find it horrid to use. Rendering parts of the sketch file, needs to re-render each time I move inside the document. When it comes to PS I don't use it either, mostly because of the lack of direct "web support" as I call it. Since photoshop was never really meant to be used to creating websites. But, that's another story, no need to discuss that now.

    I tried Affinity Designer, and it is just the best that I've worked with. My relatively old computer (i7 2.7Ghz, 4GB RAM) runs it smoothly, opening the files are quick, rendering is quick. I can copy a layer and paste it directly into any code editor, and it's exported as svg. The source files are very lightweight themselves too. 1MB vs 34MB in photoshop.

    What I miss about Affinity Designer is plugins, I think when they open for more plugins in AD, it will beat PS and Sketch with ease. Especially with their smooth integration between their photo editor software Affinity Photo.

    That's just must 50 kroner and thoughts about this matter. Peace and løve.


    2 points
  • kamil wroniewicz, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    because I've spent 11yrs in ps - i've developed really proficient ways of working with it. it looks to me like this whole 'photoshop wasn't meant to be ui desing tool' argument is valid for people that just starting with both of ps and sketch.

    because i use illustrator for vectors and don't believe sketch will be comparable with illustrator capabilities for the next few years if ever.

    because not being able to quickly edit photo seems bonkers to me [although i may be biased here as i already use the second app for vectors and don't see a problem with switching between them].

    1 point
  • Mike AbbotMike Abbot, over 7 years ago

    Started with PS, went on to use Illustrator full time, but approx a year ago switched to Sketch completely. It's a dedicated tool, light years faster than Illustrator or PS and a joy to use. + my developers are really happy. We found a perfect combo using Sketch + Principle + Zeplin and it just works for us. The only bummer is it's mac only and that probably won't change because of known reasons.

    1 point
    • Tiago DinizTiago Diniz, over 7 years ago

      My experience with sketch is really similar to your's, first, I was a little apprehensive about the transition, but the straightforwardness of the Sketch plus all the plugins that the community offer has been major to take the decision to switch all the production workflow on the company to Sketch. Until today happy with the change :)

      0 points
  • Steve McKinneySteve McKinney, over 7 years ago

    I gave Sketch a serious try in version two for making a logo, it worked quite well, but then I tried to export as SVG and it didn't export well. I tried it for some other things but overall I haven't had another look, I'm just not compelled enough to attempt to switch.

    I use Illustrator primarily, and I know Sketch can't match the vector capability. I also don't believe it's as great as people make out, and the amount of bugs I've seen about, I feel like why bother? I respect that the Sketch team are a smaller team, are doing their best, etc.

    It's going to take a lot to make me switch.

    1 point
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I'm tied to photoshop for image editing. Some clients make heavy use of images on their websites. They often need to be faded into background colors or manipulated enough to look something other than a rectangular bounding box. Sketch wasn't made for this.

    In terms of assets like icons, shapes, web components, (e.g. Stuff that needs to scale), Sketch wins by a long shot.

    They are two different programs built on different bases. Photoshop being more of a pixel based approach while Sketch is sort of a combo of pixel and vector.

    I wish I didn't require both programs but at the same time if they were combined you would end up with some frankenstein software that would just piss you off for the most part.

    If you're looking for alternatives to PS. I recommend Affinity Designer and Photo. Great programs with similar workflows to Adobe's stuff. You can export to scaleable formats as well which is awesome. They sure beat that $50/mo CC subscription as well.

    1 point
  • Erick PuentesErick Puentes, over 7 years ago

    Is anybody using or considering Affinity Designer/Photo? I've only personally played around with it for a short period a few weeks back but boy, it's pretty slick. Would love feedback. Sorry, not trying to high-jack the thread but I suppose it's relevant in terms of alternative tools to PS.

    0 points
  • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, over 7 years ago

    Sorry, Sketch evangelist here. Main thing I'm curious is, who created this Photoshop / Sketch dichotomy to begin with? They're two different apps with two different purposes. I mean, I always used Photoshop with Fireworks: one for editing photos and graphics, the other for compositing UI (as Adobe intended). Like, make my assets, then lay them out -- just like in college, working on the student newspaper. You can't make graphics for the front page in Quark: you make them elsewhere, then lay them out. Two different purposes.

    When Adobe EOL'd Fireworks, I switched full-time to Sketch. But I still need a bitmap editing app and nobody, not even diehard Sketch fans, suggests or believes for a moment that Sketch can take over all your bitmap editing needs. These days, I use Pixelmator for what I used to use Photoshop for because a) it's fast, b) it's native, c) I find it more intuitive to use personally, and d) I own it outright, instead of paying a lease to Adobe indefinitely (call me crazy, but I don't want to rent my tools from a corporate overlord). I like Pixelmator a lot (and have dabbled a bit with Affinity Designer, which is excellent). But if you wanted to use Photoshop + Sketch instead, be my guest. Why choose?

    I know this doesn't answer the OP's question but wanted to challenge the premise as part of the discussion.

    0 points
  • Dmitry KurashDmitry Kurash, over 7 years ago

    I'm sure there's just one answer to questions like that: – "I just feel more comfortable designing in (put software name)".

    0 points
  • Ryan Hicks, over 7 years ago

    I actually use Illustrator now. I switched from PS about 2-3 years ago. I have sketch from work, and sometimes will jump into it and use it. However, most people still don't use it. So for me to pass files off means other designers or developers won't have access to them. So that's the main reason I stay with Adobe products. I prefer Illustrator to Photoshop now though. Even with it's annoying quirks.

    0 points
  • Rick KhannaRick Khanna, over 7 years ago

    Because I'm too ill with the Layer Comps and Smart Objects :) I've even set keyboard shortcuts for navigating Layer Comps. Adobe added buttons to the panel in CC which tremendously improves managing many layer comps.

    0 points
  • Andy StapleAndy Staple, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I'm also faster with photoshop still. Although I have kept tabs on Sketch after giving it a try.

    One other thing that is a bit superficial, at the point I tried Sketch I couldn't find a way for its interface to be darker. I hate the light gray everywhere. I much prefer the darker interface/chrome from Photoshop. Sounds absurd, but it did bug me quite a bit. This may be an added feature since I used it, but not sure.

    0 points
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 7 years ago

    Some of it is muscle memory, some of it is industry adoption, and some of it is a need for image rendering.

    It is no great conspiracy that Photoshop has finally embraced user interface as a separate vertical that was otherwise a hack for a lot of us. The artboards continue to improve, asset generation works well, and I can only imagine that future versions will continue to improve the toolset for UI designers.

    All in all, it's a tool, and when designing fluid flexible content systems, we are all aware that there is a lot more to this process than flat pixels, even ones supported with intricate prototyping animations.

    The director John Carpenter recently noted that the screenplay continues to be important for filmmaking because anyone of any specialization can collaboratively discuss a script like a campfire for a project. Even though the film might look and feel completely different from a screenplay based on that unique collaboration, a set of designs can serve a product in much the same way. It really doesn't matter what writing tool was used to create it.

    That really was a long-winded digression to both argue that, yes, mockups are still important, and no, the tool doesn't really matter as long as it meets that criteria.

    Really though, I'm just not very interested in creating yet more perimeters around our profession based on software.

    0 points
  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 7 years ago

    Same as you to be quite honest. I paid for Sketch and everything.

    0 points