It’s safe to say that user interface designers have been looking for Photoshop alternatives for a very long time for a variety of reasons and in my opinion it appears we have a viable candidate on our hands with Sketch 2. After spending over a month working with this application I wanted to post some thoughts on some of the best features that I think might make the switch from Photoshop a little more compelling for you.
This is possibly the best feature of Sketch. The inspector gives you instant access and control to object dimensions, fill and border colors, effects and object positioning coordinates. It’s really handy to have all this control centralized in one place. In most other apps you’ll have to jump around to various parts of the app to work in these areas.
A really nice and simple way to combine semi-transparent fills and gradients for the common designer. Illustrator has gradient meshes yes, but you really have to spend time with it to learn how it works, Sketch 2 makes it simple.
Non-destructive boolean operations
I have to admit at first I didn’t like this feature, but after a while it really grew on me. Every boolean operation in Sketch is non-destructive which means you can make subtle tweaks and changes to the shape even after it’s been modified.
Multiple Point Selection
Select multiple points within a shape by holding down shift and selecting the nodes, then drag with your mouse or use your arrow keys to change the shape of the object, this can be a real time saver.
Sketch’s canvas is infinite in size which means you don’t have to worry about height and width dimensions when you create a new document, one less piece of user experience clutter in my opinion, you only worry about your object and slice sizes. If this shift in thinking makes you uncomfortable, Sketch also has what they call “artboards” which are fixed areas within the canvas that can give you specific dimensions to work within.
A great feature about Sketch is it’s ability to link styles on objects. A great example would be if you were designing a long form and wanted to update the look of the multiple text fields, you could simple link them all together and when the styling on one field changed, every other field which change instantly as well, this is a nice little time saver.
Note: Sketch 2 still has some bugs, a big noticeable one is what one user has called the “scale object distortion bug” , but there seems to be regular updates to the app and the developers are pretty responsive in the forums, so I feel pretty confident they will eventually get fixed.