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I think a lot of it will depend on your comfort level with Illustrator. Illustrator is very capable in the right hands. XD honestly doesn’t do a whole lot right now. The prototyping is fairly basic, and its drawing abilities are weak compared to Illustrator. Symbols in XD are lacking, too (you can’t yet resize individual instances without affecting all other instances). If you want to build high level prototypes with basic interactions, XD is a good choice. But then, so is Sketch. Flinto’s a great choice as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that Illustrator is colour managed. XD isn’t. That’s a huge concern, especially when you get to the production end of the process. Illustrator isn’t perfect though — if you plan on using a lot of bitmap assets in the project, then exporting them from Illustrator is noticeably worse quality than most other tools (poor quality shape antialiasing, gradient banding, other issues). If they’re going to be predominately vector and Ai → AE → Lottie, then all should be good, quality wise.
Having said that, if you have all the parts built in almost any tool, and if you have Ai and AE installed, it should be possible to get everything into AE. It’ll honestly come down to the volume of assets and which part of the process you want to be easy.
Hey Marc, out of curiosity, how often do you use Photoshop in your design process these days?
Photoshop and Illustrator are still my main screen design tools, for now. Early work and anything slightly complex vector-wise is done in Illustrator. Photoshop for all the final work and exporting. It’s not ideal, but there’s some things I require that other tools just don’t have.
I am the first to bag on Sketch and its, well, sketchiness. But I'm very curious to know what features are keeping you in Ps...
For me; Windows.
Feature wise, it’s quite a few things. I do also realise that all tools have their own strengths and weaknesses, and there’s plenty of things Ai and Ps do badly or not at all. Artboards are terrible in Ps, and you can forget about component driven design in Ai and Ps. I want component driven design, but there aren’t any good options that also have the other manadatory features I want. I try my best to use everything, even if I just use some tools casually.
There’s so many vector abilities that Illustrator has that I miss in other tools. Not even sure where to start. Making these icons would be painful in anything that’s not Ai.
For Photoshop, the main things other tools lack relate to masking and styling abilities. Adjustment layers (levels, gradient maps etc) are nice, but not as essential as having masking that actually works.
Oh, and colour management. Colour management is non-negotiable. If a tool doesn’t have it, I can not use that tool professionally.
(Apologies for the thread hijack!)
Hijacking is encouraged.
I am a Sketch native and Im pretty good at icon design using its terrible vector tools and Booleans, and even still, I've gone back to Illustrator for icon work. So at this point I'm designing vector art in Ai, layout in Sketch, porting SVG back to Ai so I can prep for AE so I can export to JSON and prototype everything in Framer.
Wow, I've never written this out before, but things have really changed in the past several years.  Also, we have to buy a lot more licenses these days!
Thanks for allowing the hijack. :)
Although I am using some different tools to you, my workflow is spread across lots of things and also pretty fragmented. I guess we’re getting things done, but some of the jumping between tools isn't very smooth.
Understood. I don't excel at Illustrator at all, so most of even my vector work gets done in Photoshop! But I'm suppose I'm the "odd one out" in that :)
Ps has some pretty solid vector abilities, but I always just have them both open anyway. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
I use Ai all day for almost everything and I draw a lot of icons — I have never been able to use the vector tools in Ps, I don't get it ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)
It’s definitely better than it used to be. Remember when Ps couldn’t draw a pixel snapped circle? That was baaaaaaaad.
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