treehat: Block print of a tree. (Default)
So, I've had my first week of classes now. They all seem to be fantastic, so it should be a good semester. Especially the 3D animation class - we've got the latest version of Maya running on shiny new expensive Mac Pros. Fun!

This is more a reminder for me than anything else. I'm going to teach myself drawing this semester by devoting at least two hours each day to sketching, regardless of what's going on. For someone who's so interested in graphic design 3D modeling and such, my drawing skill is really quite pathetic.
treehat: Block print of a tree. (Default)
So, a while ago, I decided to try Adobe Creative Suite 3. The trial expired yesterday, and I can say quite confidently that Adobe is quickly sliding into a deep pit of warm dung. (To put it politely.)

This is partly due to a complete loss of any design sense. I assume they fired everyone with any art sense and put *shudder* marketing in charge of everything. They're more obsessed with branding than a psychotic cowhand with a forge.

First, there's the icons. Lets take a gander, shall we?
"Thou shalt not display gaudy icons." Oops. )
The top icons are CS2, the bottom ones are CS3. Now, the former are clearly distinct, having distinct shapes. This makes it much easier to distinguish. CS3, on the other hand, goes with colored squares. What the hell? Without the colors, it's difficult to tell the difference at a glance. And generally, users take very little time examining icons when they launch things. Then you'll have to wait a while while the damn thing loads so you can close it. Hope ya like twiddling your thumbs.

Speaking of loading...
Photoshop is blue in the face. )
Photoshop splash screen. Compare to previous versions. What impression do you get from the old ones? I get a sense of artistic professionalism. But the new one is different. It's more of a "LOL hay guys guess what I just discovered gradients aint it awesome doods?!" vibe. Ick. And if you think that's bad...
Even traffic cones think Illustrator's too orange. )
Oh dear god no. No. No no no no. Bad Adobe. No cookie for you. Also, you owe me new eyes.
It wasn't always so bad. But when the Creative Suite, started, they inexplicably dropped the Venus de Milo. What the hell, Adobe? That was iconic. It was brilliant! You could go into a software store and just look for the box with her on the cover. Hell, whenever I saw that picture I thought of Illustrator! Now that's brand recognition.
And what happened to subtlety? The screaming orange rage just reeks of yet more unprofessionalism. See previous "LOL hay guys" statement.

Design issues aside, the programs take forever to launch. And once it does launch, things don't improve much.

Oh look, it's finally launched. Now I can work on-- WHY IS THAT ON TOP THE TOOLBAR? Seriously, Adobe. I know you're trying to build a cohesive brand image through stylistic innovation of common themes, (or some other marketing doublespeak bullshit) but this is ridiculous. If we're already using your program, you don't have to advertise it. Really. We're not going to suddenly forget what we're using halfway through a project and stumble over into MSPaint. Heck, most people using your stuff probably don't have much of a choice, with it being an industry standard (or whatever buzzword du jour it is). Having a little bright rectangle staring lifelessly out just irritates me more.

And the actual programs run like crap. I'd call it a resource hog, but that would be insulting to actual resource hogs that take pride in laying waste to your RAM and CPU. Heck, I think Vista might even be more efficient. And with the "Kulur" palette - which is being hailed as the omg the best thing evar!!!!!1! in some places - the computer ceases to be a computer and instead becomes an incredibly expensive space heater.

One last thing. It's bad enough that Adobe abandoned all design sense with this. But why, oh why did they go with the Periodic Table of the Elements motif? I mean, come on people! Have you ever really seen an artist obsessed with chemistry? Are there artists that paint redux reactions while swooning over Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev? Because I haven't ever seen an artist rockin' the Periodic Table. Nor have I seen a chemist with a penchant for painting happy trees. You'll notice there's a distinct lack of elements named things like Picassoium, Remrandtium, or Salvadordalismoustachium.

Bleh. I'll be over here with my old software for quite a while.
Just today, I stumbled across one of Adobe's blogs with a preview of the icons for the CS3 programs.

And, oh dear, they're horrid. Take a look. Agh! Who thought the periodic table of elements was so bloody awesome for graphics applications? There must be some serious Dmitri Mendeleev fanboys at Adobe, whom I can only assume got terribly confused and mistook design or marketing for chemistry.

Seriously, though, there are two problems with this "theme". First, it's all text. It's much easier to identify a program by a symbol, like a feather or a magnified eye, as have been the previous icons for Photoshop. But two white letters on a square isn't recognizable at all. With text, I need to spell out the application in my head to figure which it is I want to click, while the image is quickly associated with the application. It boils down to trying to remember that Ps is Photoshop versus seeing a trippy feather and thinking "Image Editing Program!" There's also inconsistency: Ai is for Adobe Illustrator. Why stick Adobe in front of Illustrator but not Photoshop? It just leads to confusion. I'll be trying to remember what application starts with an A.

Here's an example of how ridiculous this periodic table of buttons is: the same text theme extended to the Photoshop toolbar. If I opened up Photoshop and saw that, I wouldn't even try to use it.

The second problem, one that's been plaguing Adobe since they started calling their programs "Creative Suite," is indistinguishability. I can no longer keep the icons for my CS2 programs in the same place on my dock or desktop. There's the constant problem of clicking on ImageReady or Photoshop when I want to launch Illustrator, clicking Bridge or ImageReady trying to go into Photoshop, and so on. The problem is that there's too much commonality between icons. They're all trippily colored organic objects (feather, flower, shell) on a white box. This would not irritate me as much if it didn't take so long for each program to load so I can close it and open the right one. The pre-CS versions (magnified eye, globe, headshot of Venus de Milo) were so varied that it was easy to tell them apart. There was no commonality, and guess what, that worked just fine.

Another problem is that it's falling to the curse of Web 2.0 design - Colorful! Shiny! Buttons! Look, we dipped everything in plexiglass! What's needed is something that works, not some pretty corporate identity. And for a company so deep in graphics applications that they apparently need several bilge pumps just to keep the shiny happy graphics from flooding the office and drowning several of the shorter programmers, they sure seem to know nothing about design. The ultimate rule of graphic design, which should be the most sacred mantra of the designer and the one that shall permit no exception, has been tortured, vandalized, violated, drawn, quartered, and fed to the vultures before its skeleton is left to collect dust in the damp, dank, and rank dungeons that I assume Adobe has. What is that rule?


It's really that simple. And I wonder just how good Adobe productions really function if they can't figure that out.


treehat: Block print of a tree. (Default)

August 2011

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