Adobe Family

I got a chuckle out of an online discussion about Adobe changing their icons again. While the complaints were well argued, it seemed like a molehill compared to the mountain I see regarding Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud feels like a consortium of different companies rather than a symbiotic ecosystem.

Since the Creative Cloud workflow suggested by Adobe enables you to switch in and out of various applications to get work done, I’d hope that many aspects of the environment would be similar. I don’t expect the interfaces to be identical. It makes sense that they’d be different because you don’t usually use a timeline in Photoshop, and Premiere Pro doesn’t edit photos. But there are things that seem as though they should be consistent across applications.

Take a look at the color picker in Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro.

After Effects is top left, Premiere Pro is top right and Photoshop is on the bottom.

Notice the differences in the three color pickers? I realize that Photoshop is going to have a few more options since it deals with CMYK, etc., but why is the color sample eye dropper in different positions? Why does Photoshop label “new” and “current” colors and the other two do not? And apparently you only need to worry about web colors in Premiere Pro and Photoshop. Of course, I could accept all those differences if there were color swatches in After Effects and Premiere Pro, as there are in Photoshop.

A similar situation is happening with type.

After Effects is left and Photoshop is right.

The After Effects and Photoshop type controls seem to have a pretty similar assortment of tools. The similarity ends there. Even the layout between font and font style are different. The differences become more dramatic when you compare After Effects and Premiere Pro.

After Effects is left, and Premiere Pro is right.

I realize the tools are very different. (I’d like them to be the same but that’s a whole other issue.) The Premiere Pro toolset includes paragraph settings that are in a separate panel in After Effects.

However, for those controls that are similar, the layout really feels so different that I almost think I’m working in some other brand’s application. I’m not sure why the type size is a scroll bar in one window and a scrollable value with pull down in another. One is labeled with px and the other isn’t. The various adjustments for kerning, leading, etc., are also quite different from one application to the next.

Now I know some of my layout issues might not be easy to change because of the various controls in each tool. But take a look at something as simple as where you can go to adjust keyboard shortcuts.

After Effects is left, and Premiere Pro is right.

When I refer to keyboard shortcuts, I don’t mean the interface for creating and modifying keyboard layouts. I only refer to where you need to go to get to that setting. In After Effects, it’s under the Edit menu; in Premiere Pro, it’s in the Premiere Pro menu. Make sense? (And the keyboard shortcut to get to the keyboard shortcut is slightly different.)

Even within a single application, there’s inconsistency. For example, in Premiere Pro, sometimes I use the Reveal function to find the location of a clip on my workstation.

Reveal function location in bin mode is on the left, and on the right is the same function when in the timeline.

When I right click on a clip in a timeline and look for “Reveal in Finder…” it’s near the top of the pop-up menu. But when I search for the same function while right clicking on a clip in a bin, it’s almost at the bottom of the pop-up menu. Same application, same function, different location.

I realize that for most people these differences aren’t that important. Maybe my observations seem like some of the rants about the icon changes. And I also realize that the individual applications have a long history with lots of users and that changing the location or arrangement of tools can be a huge deal. But it can be frustrating to switch between the various applications and know that some changes to these little things could make Creative Cloud more of a “collective” than just a collected group of applications.

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