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Framer vs Principle vs Flinto (vs Origami?) - What are your use cases?

almost 4 years ago from , Digital Product Designer at Trek

The prototyping world is exploding right now. We've got Framer, Principle, Flinto, Origami, and it seems like more options are popping up every day.

(Oh man I forgot about After Effects. See what I mean?)

What's everyone using? Are you using different tools for different use cases? For web designers, are you using these tools to prototype web interactions or just screen flows?

Should we all be settling down with one or two tools or using them all? Which tool has the biggest community around it right now (it seems like Framer, right?)

Drop any other recommendations you have in the comments. Let's nerd out, y'all.

31 comments

  • Taylor PalmerTaylor Palmer, almost 4 years ago

    I've compared a lot of these tools here, and it might be helpful: uxtools.co/tools/prototyping

    I've also documented every single prototyping tool I've ever heard of here: https://uxtools.co/blog/all-the-ux-prototyping-tools-ever

    I've also written my suggestions about how to choose the right prototyping tool here: https://medium.com/lucid-software-design/traversing-the-ux-prototyping-landscape-33edc700c1bd

    My personal favorite stack is Sketch + Principle or Sketch + Framer. In fact, I've become fluent enough in Framer that I use it for almost every single one of my prototypes (even simple animations). I highly recommend it to designers looking to create prototypes without limits.

    For very simple prototypes I would use Figma. It imports Sketch almost perfectly and prototypes are insanely easy to make.

    For more complex (animated) prototypes, Principle and Atomic are great for timeline editing and state-to-state transitions.

    Hope that helps!

    7 points
    • Arturo Rios Gutierrez, over 3 years ago

      Thanks Taylor! Any recommendations for learning Framer? I watched Pablo Stanleys´Crash Course but I still struggle with CoffeeScript, then I found a couple ones in O´Reilly Safari Courses but they are quite outdated. I don´t want to commit to a subscription If I don´t master the tool. Thnks!

      0 points
      • Taylor PalmerTaylor Palmer, over 3 years ago

        A few ideas: 1. People share their Framer files frequently on Dribbble. Try taking those apart and learning from them. 2. The Framer Facebook group is very active and people can answer questions when you get stuck. 3. Try to build something real, not just tinker. This will help you commit and problem solve.

        I can also help if you have any questions for me!

        0 points
  • Mariusz OstrowskiMariusz Ostrowski, almost 4 years ago

    Try Kite (https://kiteapp.co). It's very powerful.

    4 points
  • Maciej ZadykowiczMaciej Zadykowicz, almost 4 years ago

    Framer everything. After I've started writing my own modules for everything and reuse stuff whenever possible, nothing comes close in efficiency and the ability to scale.

    3 points
  • Darrell HanleyDarrell Hanley, almost 4 years ago

    I use Flinto as my main prototyping tool. I've used Principle before, but found Framer more to my liking, the two are similar enough that you should probably just use the trials of both and decide which one you like better.

    I've used Origami both in its current stand alone incarnation and as a plugin for Quartz Composer. I've found it very powerful, but also extremely time consuming to use, since it works through visual programming. It requires you to be good at developer thinking, and if you're good at that you may well find it much quicker to just write code. I haven't used it personally, but I think I would be more aligned with Framer for that reason.

    3 points
  • Dustin Locke, almost 4 years ago

    Super Basic: Invision

    Subtle Animation: Principle

    Involved Interaction: Origami

    High-res Animation: AfterEffects

    So mostly Invision and Origami, these days.

    3 points
    • , almost 4 years ago

      Are you feeling Origami over Framer?

      0 points
    • Pedro Laguna, almost 4 years ago

      How did you get into Origami? I really tried to learn Origami Studio, but the learning curve was so steep for me! The logic felt so different from what I'm used to (code?). I'm really curious to know why people choose Origami over Framer - if not for the price.

      1 point
      • Nicolas Duc-dodonNicolas Duc-dodon, almost 4 years ago

        I was using Framer from about a year but now I switched to Origami Studio because of the Device and iOS patches. At the time, I needed to prototype with the camera and Origami made it really easy to set it up. Learning curves was hard for me too but their tutorials was a good intro. The community on the fb group is really what helped me to figure out the logic of the patches and components.

        1 point
        • Pedro Laguna, almost 4 years ago

          I'll keep trying Figma for a couple of months, but maybe if I can't fit it into my workflow I'll try Origami again.

          1 point
  • Siddharth Yadav, almost 4 years ago

    I think every one needs to find their own requirements and comfort zone, this is a perfect example of "works for me but it might not work for you!"

    I prefer framer because real world mobile interactions are event based and many times non-linear.

    Origami's promise of no code leads to more efforts than coding itself.

    2 points
  • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, almost 4 years ago

    Principle for very rough proof-of-concept animation, or rough multi-screen interactions. Origami for anything more involved, needing hardware access, live effects (iOS visual effect / blur), gestures/force/etc.

    2 points
  • Varun Thota, almost 4 years ago

    I've tried a few of the ones mentioned here as well and switch between Origami and Framer, with Sketch being the default app I design in. But here's my issue when it comes to these prototypes: the hand off to the devs is painful. We are building our apps in React Native and default animation library seems very limited, as well as how our devs are able to code the animations. Any suggests for this?

    I've looked into Lotti and AE, which now supports RN, which I think might just work. Anyone else try it?

    1 point
  • Edgar Chaparro, almost 4 years ago

    It depends on what im trying to show. Big Flows I use Flinto, Small micro interactions I use Principle. If you are comfortable with Code Sometimes Framer can be kick a**.

    1 point
  • Matt Lewis, almost 4 years ago

    Simple Interactions & Transitions: Principle

    Complex Animations: After Effects

    Luckily I was really into animation & motion design before UI stuff, so AE is fairly simple for me to use, but the learning curve is much higher than Principle if you're just getting started.

    1 point
  • Artur Eldib, almost 4 years ago

    Don't forget about Atomic, which is pretty awesome!

    1 point
  • Pedro Laguna, almost 4 years ago

    I feel like we should use them all, but if you're extremely productive with one and it covers all you need, just stick to it. No need to be anxious about the amount of tools available.

    To prototype simple screen flows I use the built-in prototyping tool in Figma. It has all I need. As a rule of thumb I find it safer to keep every single block as a component when I'm going to create a prototype, because when you want to change stuff later you're gonna regret having to edit every single screen in the flow.

    For complex interactions/flows or if I want to prototype components with a bunch of conditions and states I really like using AxureRP. It has a really great logic panel that you can create interactions with. I just copy/paste the elements from Figma, convert the generated images to Dynamic Panels and start messing up with them. It's really powerful for that, but it sucks for changing stuff - which it's bound to happen, so I keep that in mind.

    If I need to design micro-interactions, animations and 'app feel' I go with Framer. It's so powerful, but I'm not really comfortable with it. If I have to do simple stuff I know I'll do it way faster using other software, but if I want to do complex-fine-tuned stuff I'm not very productive yet. Also, why not just regular JavaScript?

    1 point
  • Andrew ClarkeAndrew Clarke, almost 4 years ago

    Adobe Comp, Tumult Hype, Adobe Muse, Apple Motion 5. It all depends on the task.

    1 point
    • Pedro Laguna, almost 4 years ago

      Tumult Hype looks awesome! Never heard of it. Do you have some animations you made with it that you cant show?

      1 point
  • David FairbairnDavid Fairbairn, almost 4 years ago

    I've been able to cover a lot of ground using Sketch and the InVision Craft plugin. So as far as showing the screens, simple transitions, etc, from a prototyping standpoint, it works well. InVision also allows me to have an easy sharable url I can give to the client. If I recall, Principle requires them to download an OS app to view, which was not something I wanted to ask the client to do. As far as handoff to devs, I still haven't solved that one yet. Lots of back and forth until things are close and working well. Granted, this isn't for microinteractions. Mostly general page transitions, overlays, etc.

    0 points
  • Greg Warner, almost 4 years ago

    I've wanted to go back and give Principle and Origami a try, but here's my go-to setup currently. Affinity Designer + Sketch for design, then Marvel for lo-fi prototypes and ProtoPie for hi-fi prototypes.

    I recently did a deeper dive with Framer because there are a few cases where unlimited potential is nice. For some projects the bigger time investment would likely be worth it, but for most projects it still feels like too large a use of time to pay off. ProtoPie has a few limitations currently but dev is going fast, and it has easy sharing via web URL and Android and iOS apps (pretty important for us).

    0 points
  • Dennis Schmidt, almost 4 years ago

    Tried all of it but decided for Framer. You have control over every single thing and it results in really powerful prototypes. The only 'annoying' thing is that since it runs on real code you need to debug stuff.

    0 points
  • Alim MaasogluAlim Maasoglu, almost 4 years ago

    After Effects. People will say the learning curve is really hard, but After Effects is still the kind when it comes to more complex animation. After learning basics it is even easier to use like any other prototyping tool & no codes. Beside After Effects I still use Framer.

    0 points