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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Hands On: Biff 1.0.16 (OS X)

Hands On: Biff 1.0.16 (OS X)
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MacNN Staff
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Jun 15, 2016, 03:04 PM
We are all graphic designers now, even if just saying that makes real ones twitch. So many times we want or need to produce a small graphic item like a icon or a logo, and for some reason the people who do this professionally need to charge a living wage. Bizarre. If you're expecting us to now say that Biff 1.0.16 means anyone can now make professional art, then we do have a bridge to sell you.

However, we're really only saying that this app isn't for people with no talent and no clue but about 40 bucks to spend. It's also probably not for people who already spend their days in Adobe Illustrator, though actually that's less clear cut than you'd think. What Biff does offer is the tools to create vector graphics: images that can scale up and down to new sizes without distorting or becoming pixellated. That won't help the talentless, as it just means you can make a rubbish icon bigger or smaller. Yet the fact that it is pretty single-minded, in what it's meant to be used for, does mean that this is an easier option than Illustrator for quickly getting this particular type of basic vector work done.

Illustrator tends to confuse because there are so many options, but Biff isn't confusion-free: we struggled with how you create a text box, and adjusting that box didn't always adjust the text the way we'd expect. Or with how we kept ending up with grab handles offset from the text we were writing: we would sometimes have to click away from the text, and drag from nearby. It's harder to say than to do, and we're conscious that we're even using the same terms that Illustrator does about text boxes and grab handles, so maybe we're just too used to that Adobe way of working.

Mind you, we say that and our artistic talent proves that no, you can't become expert in anything just by spending 10,000 hours on it. We spent ages on that. Give us a break.

Biff developers, The Escapers, might now be wishing we had more talent, but we do too. What we do have is Biff, and that genuinely does make it quick and easy to do create ... well ... rubbish, in our case. You're better than us, you'll be fine. Plus, when you're being better than us, you will find that certain things we always have to go look up how to do in Photoshop are simple drag-and-drop options here. Such as the embedding of photographs or other image types within the text, what Illustrator would called Paste Inside. That's easy here, and the benefit is not just that you remember how to do it, but that you can quickly see whether the result is good enough for you to give up your day job,

Biff is for logos, it's for app icons -- and it comes with templates and help for doing them. It's a deceptively easy app to use, where we might feel we were only scratching a surface, but we were rapidly getting somewhere with what we found.

Biff 1.0.16 requires OS X 10.11 or higher, and costs $40 on the Mac App Store. That price is a launch sale one, though, and at some point it will return to its regular price of $60.

Who is Biff 1.0.16 for:
You do need some little artistic part to your soul, and you definitely need a need: you have to have a need to create these small website images and logos.

Who is Biff 1.0.16 not for:
If you know to hire people more artistically talented than yourself, you're sorted.

-- William Gallagher (@WGallagher)

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