The first differences I feel and think about when using Procreate, Looom, Photoshop and Illustrator

The first differences I feel and think about when using Procreate, Looom, Photoshop and Illustrator (sometimes Animate)

Illustration by Anna Kaplan

who am i? → Anna a longtime novice-ish user of the Adobe platforms mentioned above and a newly introduced user to Procreate and Looom. Check out my stuff.

I do not know many of the tricks and tips for the Adobe platforms, just the stuff that I can get quickly through by googling or someone showing me IRL (ie I’m not a big tutorial-er).

It’s interesting, after exposure to all 4 tools, to think about the UI/UX, accessibility, availability levels of varied functionality and more things about the tools. These are just some quick thoughts I’ve jotted down after drawing a bunch this past weekend.

Hold down touchscreen

  • Procreate and Looom, I would say Looom even more so, relies heavily on touch being your shift/command key, in that its the “key” or “command” you must give to the program in order to view the alternate menu in a group of features.
  • At first this feature made me feel like this was a strange innovation but I realized it’s most probably not a new pattern in UX/UI. It most probably has been a developing pattern since the dawn of touch screens running programs with varied and complex functionality

[diverging mixing and matching patterns to build the piece ] vs [mirroring classic methodologies for building pictures]

  • Looom falls in the second bucket of diverging from as well as mixing and matching features that help reinforce classic workflows. Basically their program makes you adopt a new work flow. I really felt this forced workflow adoption when having to use my index finger to flip through the menu.
  • There are overlaps to layering, opcaities ect. in Looom, but your putting on your animator hat on and thinking of frames per layer/ frame speed and how your picture as a whole will move with the different properties set to each layer. I think the way the app visualizes these property setter menus really helps to bring home the concepts of frame by frame animation.
  • Looom had some parts that felt slightly limiting, like why can i only set 24 frames, I want wayy more, so I can make a movie if i wanted to. Perhaps the app is not powerful enough yet?
  • Looom definitely optimized itself as tool to create content with super ease to share on social media, which is great for all of us who are super addicted to instagram. I get my file presets (sizing and resolution) set for me for a square piece that will look pretty good on IG. I get super easy to export capability, and I love the fast recording I get after each drawing — which is a little video that shows your process from start to finish.

2. Mirroring

  • Here I am basically establishing the assumption that Adobe programs contain and are the definition for “classic” methodologies. (which I think is lack of personal historical context on picture making tools but bear with me)
  • Procreate really feels like a Photoshop redesigned for the millennial and it’s really fascinating. I feel like it was way easier to pick up on how to use this tool but I come with an understanding of what layers are, what features are already present in photoshop. Basically I could see this being like the processing and Photoshop being the openframeworks (although i have no experience with openframeworks). Another way to convey this is that Photoshop is the older tool, things in the menu are more concealed vs Procreate you have to engage touching the screen more with your hand to get to the menu. To me it just makes it much less wordy than phothsop and much more friendly. It’s because the short keys are all touch base rather than key combos. Having 2 fingers down is a different value than 3, it just makes a lot more sense.

Side-note: currently to me Procreate is super addicting. Gives me a rush of dopamine probably because I have, sharing my piece on instagram, in mind and again I’m just really addicted to social media. Which makes me wonder if that was specifically intended affect.

In the end its useful to understand and feel the differences between the programs so you can more easily come up with those tricks that these tools have up their sleeves.

Software Engineer & Artist