I started using Adobe Photoshop before I even entered high school, more than 13 years ago. From then it naturally grew to become my application of choice for just about everything: logos, photo retouching, vector work, and ultimately screen design. I loved Photoshop, I was comfortable in Photoshop, it was my tool of choice even though I knew that using another tool like Adobe Illustrator would benefit my workflow. Frankly, that part mattered way less to me than having to introduce something new into my tried-and-true design processes. No wonder my parents tell me I’m stubborn.
My dedication to Photoshop eventually led to the creation of my YouTube channel back in 2007, where I focused on creating educational content on just about every topic I could think of: from retouching, to text effects, and even UI and UX workflows. These videos really showed off how much Photoshop is capable of, but they also further dug me into my single-application hole. Then Project Comet, which would later become Adobe XD, came along and changed everything.
Project Comet changed my perspective on screen design
Adobe MAX 2015. There I was — sitting in the audience, all giddy about the new features that were just announced for Photoshop. Then the next presenter took to the stage — and what they revealed blew me away. Project Comet was Adobe’s foray into the UI/UX design space. Sure, many of their existing applications could be used for screen design, but let’s be real. They weren’t built specifically with screen design in mind.
The presentation demoed the wizardry of repeat grids — where you can take a group of elements and then repeat those elements in a grid format, making a task like list-making a breeze. And then they showed how to drop text and imagery onto the grid to populate it. Finally they showed off a document that contained hundreds of artboards, all zooming along across the large presentation screen above the stage. I saw how silky smooth the performance was, and started to realize how much my current workflows could be improved. I felt my stubborness begin to melt away.
Just a few hours later, I was teaching a session that focused on web and app design and I couldn’t stop thinking about the “little Comet that could.”
Different, but similar
When I first started using Adobe XD for web and screen design, it was certainly different from what I was used to — but, in a way, it was still very familiar. Many of the common tools I used on a daily basis in Photoshop were present; the layers panel functioned as I expected it to, and properties could be adjusted over to the right. This helped alleviate some of my fear of switching to a new application, but what really sealed the deal was XD’s integration with Photoshop that was introduced with one many of XD’s monthly updates.