Adobe is not at fault, its executives are. I used MacPaint and MacDraw in 1986, those were the tools of digital creativity on those days. In 1990 I started doing the digital transition from pen and ink as I was a fresh graphic designer and started using Photoshop and Illustrator then. In 1992 I used Aldus PageMaker for laying magazines and advertisements, and in 1993 I was an Aldus Freehand and Macromedia Director advocate doing motion and interactive work, all of these tools were purchased by Adobe at some point. One thing I’ve got to say is that Adobe’s executives knew when to buy a product and what was going to attract creatives, they did it recently with the acquisition of Behance and having Scott Belsky aboard Adobe is good, but it needs far more to fulfill, enrich and excite us creatives and designers in the world of digital creativity and design today.
Tools like GoLive and Dreamweaver seemed very innovative almost 20 years ago, but tools like these and current Adobe Muse and Edge seem very ludicrous to professional coders and interactive designers then and today. Most of web design is about interaction, interface and experience, it all can be done with a plain text editor. HTML, CSS and JS now give us the power of animation, motion and layouts without the use of bloated code and software applications. Images and videos do need special software, but that’s part of the Photoshop conversation.
The 3D portion of Photoshop can create amazing things, but it is awkward, slow, and not intuitive. How is it possible that masking and selections in Photoshop are almost the same as they were 15 years ago? There are plenty of plugins and additions that create wonderful masks, but that is one of those features that should be native to the application. Illustrator can do cloning and repeat just as it did 20 years ago, but it cannot replicate steps and cloning, paste into, and be as intuitive the way Freehand allowed almost 20 years ago. Photoshop animation tools for video are almost consistent with After Effects, but why do I have a mini Ae in Ps, and not a mini Ps in AE? Choose to have or not, but be consistent.
Adobe’s team and executives need to truly innovate, to give themselves a chance to bring a new paradigm. Apple has done it in less than 15 years with vocal advocates and haters to Aperture, iPhoto, and Photos; with Final Cut Pro, iMovie and Final Cut X. Interfaces changed, paradigms and panels brought many of us angry and frustrated, but they gave it a try, and even though some of us still like some features of the old, the new are very good, too.
Adobe has partnered with Palette. I am so excited to see this type of interface and the possibilities for what it can do. I believe this tool might be more impactful than Wacom’s tablets to artists and creatives. If it is as successful, there won’t be hardly a need for hardly any visual tools, but more contextual minimal tools. Thanks to fantastic graphic design apps on iOS, UIs have been minimized due to haptic approaches and gestures.
I remember how much anticipation existed when new versions of Photoshop back in the 90's were released. There was a new this or a stronger that. The product cycle was every 18 months or so. Now, it feels like a drag, people usually ask what is going to break or if what it can do cannot be accomplished with CS4 or at the most with CS6. That is over 3 years ago!
Adobe, is time to listen, pay attention to designers and creatives and truly innovate, and that goes all the way to the programming bits and pieces that make your software solutions, please stop using old-code. Currently I believe Adobe’s product might seem more about how to be more efficient at tasks than creative. The tools are still creative, but these are hardly any different from what they were over a decade ago.