Something I’ve finally found time to work on this afternoon - new drawing for a T-Shirt. – View on Path.
I’ve used 3 apps from Adobe since the late 1990’s, Photoshop, Illustrator and up until a few years ago — and sometimes still for the occasional old client’s website update — Dreamweaver. But now Adobe are moving to the Cloud and to a paid monthly subscription model for their software, I thought I’d use this as an
excuse reason to find some alternatives that’s are a little more affordable.
The 3 replacement apps I’ve purchased and started using are Pixelmator, Sketch 2 and Komodo Edit. I thought I’d write a post for each on my early thoughts and how they stack up to their ‘industry standard’ rivals. First up…
I use Photoshop for everything — in many cases I use it even though I know I should probably use Fireworks or Illustrator. I use it every day, I know it so well and don’t have many issues with it. So, why am I looking to swap — well, £17.50 per month and every month to use it is beyond me. Pixelmator has been on my radar since the early releases and I’ve always liked the look of it and have been tempted to switch to it before. At only £10.49 the price point is dramatically different to Photoshop, so I took the plunge and made a purchase.
- The layer grouping is nice, select a bunch of layers then right click on one of them and choose ‘Group’ to add them to a group of layers.
- Moving objects around a canvas is nice, there’s plenty of information and feedback regarding space to nearby elements and the current object will snap to other elements, this makes it good for interface design and layouts.
- It’s quick, really quick!
I don’t really like and would love to see…
- No ability to lock a layer, the only way I’ve been able to not mistakingly edit or move a layer is to turn off ‘auto-select’ on the selection tool. Not ideal.
- I really don’t like OS X’s colour palette being used within Pixelmator, they need to create their own version. Also, a lack of foreground / background colour is a really limitation, when working on a website layout the over night I wasn’t sure of the colour currently being used for various tools.
- Colour management needs to be better implemented, in Photoshop I default to Adobe RGB (1998) as my colour space, but in Pixelmator you have to select and apply a colour space to every image you open and work with.
- A visible undo history would be nice, I’m missing that from Photoshop
- I use Levels in Photoshop a lot, within Pixelmator I’m having to use 2 or 3 filters / effects to accomplish the same level of control.
- Two big requests — one of which (layer styles) is coming later this year — first though, Adjustment Layers. I use these all the time to have a non-destructive work flow for editing artwork and photographs, being able to edit the levels or brightness, carry on working, then go back and make a tweak to those levels is a must. Next up is Layer Styles, I think this has been a big ask from all wannabe Pixelmator users who want to use the app for layout work and I’m so glad it’s finally coming this year.
- I keep going to use the cursor keys to increase and decrease the values in effects and adjustment panels and it doesn’t work — being able to just up a percentage number in a field a couple of notches rather than keep typing in new numbers is so much nicer, plus the previews don’t jump about when going from 55% to 60% as you’ll see 55% then 5% then zero % and then 6% and then finally 60%, this makes it really hard to judge the difference you’re applying.
The negative points are outweighing the positives and for that reason
I’m out I’m going to be hanging on to Photoshop — restricted to the latest version I have, CS5 — and using it as my image editor of choice. I will keep checking in with Pixelmator and the updates from the App Store, the support forums are really great and there’s plenty of people requesting some of the features I’d like to see added, so I hope the team behind Pixelmator are listening — if they are and implement some of the points above — I’ll be giving it another serious trial to replace Photoshop in the future.
Snippet of a logo project I’m currently working on. – View on Path.
I’m currently working on a WordPress e-commerce website in which the client wants a little more control of how products are displayed within their categories. I’ve created a custom taxonomy.php theme files for the product categories — which are called Types, so the theme file is called taxonomy-types.php — and I’ve created a custom field using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin called product_order which is just allows my client to insert a number, the higher the number the higher up in the category page the product will be displayed, it works in a similar way to WordPress’s own menu order for pages.
Now for some code, above the loop in your taxonomy.php file, add the following lines of code;
$posts = query_posts($query_string . ‘&orderby=meta_value_num&meta_key=product_order&order=DESC’);
The orderby=meta_value_num makes sure you’re sorting the meta_key=product_order by number and not alphabetically so that 11 doesn’t sit below 2 on the page.
it had a couple of extras that would help me find, save and watch content a little quicker.
Following on from my last blog post about watching more unscheduled television via services such as the iPlayer and Netflix, I thought I’d follow it up with a couple of things I’d love to see added to Netflix. First up;
Wishlist (or watch later)
Such a simple yet much needed addition. We use Netflix through Apple TV, it’s pretty easy to browse through different sections of cotent; genres, recently added, recommended and recently watched, but remembering all the content that’s available and bookmarking something to watch at another time isn’t something that’s available to do. You’ve either got to remember that it’s on there, write it down somewhere (!), I add it to my IMDB watchlist, or I’ve seen a couple people mention hit play and it will immediately go into your recently watched page — not ideal and not what that was meant for. I’d love to see a simple wishlist implemented, one that I could add to via Apple TV and through the desktop website, iOS app and Kindle app that we use.
I ripped our entire DVD collection to a hard drive a year or so ago, I now see a lot of those films while browsing their library — first I think why did I bother taking 2 hours to rip that film when it’s sitting right here on Netflix, then I think wouldn’t it be great if I could rebuild my DVD collection within Netflix. Films and television shows I’ve gone out and spent money on in the past, but have since packed away after discovering the benefits of switching to a hard drive or cloud based collection, I’d like them in place where I could watch then again in the future at a touch of a button within a service I often use. It’s not quite a wishlist, but a library of all your favourite content you’ve already watched before and would want to revisit again.
So there we go, if Netflix added these two little pieces of functionality I’d definitely fall for the service and use it a lot more than I do at the moment.
Equals a great little remote control, idea of the near future?
The BBC iPlayer iOS app has Airplay support and it works really well; choose a programme and send it over to your telebox. We’re watching less and less scheduled television these days, the majority is Netflix or recorded or catchup. This kind of simple control over what you want to watch right now, it’s great.
I really hope other video / television content apps add similar functionality - allegedly specific rights over content is stopping 4OD from Channel4 implementing Airplay - I’m wondering if this is how Apple’s TV (which we all know is coming, right?!) will work.
New T-Shirt design I’ve been working on this week for Worm Sign, not sure on colours yet but hoping to add quite a few variations.
I’m thinking that I should start to Tumblr everything I do and create, this blog is fast becoming more like my ‘home-page’ than my actual portfolio website — and if I ever stopped freelancing I would certainly use this as my home on the web. Ease of publishing definitely helps keep the enthusiasm for a service and website topped up.
So this is my latest Musical Rant podcast mix, 58 minutes of deep and tech house. Enjoy!
I was asked last week if I could add a T-Shirt design for my (500) Days of Summer print on Society6, I’ve previously not added it as I don’t like designs were they’ve just been resized and ‘dumped’ on to the T-Shirt. The sides of the landscape on my poster — and the tree — are cropped off, so I gave it some thought and this morning spent an hour extending the landscape and buildings so 100% of the tree is in the picture. I also changed the grass so it’s not just a block that stops at the bottom of the image. I’m pretty happy with it, it’s available as a T-Shirt in various colours as well as zip-up and pull-over hoodies.
I’m currently working on a fairly large e-commerce website in WordPress, I have a custom post type set up for products and a custom taxonomy set up for types that has grown into a large category list with two levels of hierarchy. After creating and publishing a new product which is contained in a number of categories, the hierarchy of those categories is lost and now the selected categories are displayed at the top of the panel without any record of their level.
After a brief Google, I stumbled across the Category Checklist Tree plugin for WordPress.
On the post editing screen, after saving a post, you will notice that the checked categories are displayed on top, breaking the category hierarchy. This plugin removes that “feature”.
It’s one of those great plugins that does one simple job perfectly with no fuss or added complexities, worth installing if you use categories extensively.