Yesterday, working in Illustrator, which I first started doing in 1988, I discovered a curious thing. The PNGs I was outputting were not cropped the way they were set up in the document. I had run into a similar problem last summer but in this case the export was not respecting either the clipping mask or the artboard. I would have just exported the layers separately except with that workflow there is limited control over the resolution so I could not make the PNGs 96ppi as the client required.
The workarounds I tried were problematic in themselves. In the end I had to make a compromise between the size and resolution. Since they are for screens, I am hoping it does not matter.
In researching this I found online discussions of this exact problem from 2016. And it is still not fixed. All it needs is a checkbox, for what should be the default, “□ Use Artboard.” This exists in another export mode, so I know Adobe have an understanding of it. It is just that with all the thousands of millions of dollars they report spent on R&D each year they have not yet managed to fix an interface bug that is at least three years old.
And there we have it. The delicious impossibility of “innovation” endlessly improving. We are promised, and pay and pay and pay for better tools and what we get is just poorly realized feature bloat that is not properly supported and once rolled out will never be revisited.
It is a delusion promoted by marketing that we can endlessly have new and improved. This is absurd. There is always a point in a design process where you have solved the essential problem and if you keep poking it and won’t leave it alone, the product will start getting worse. And it is not the predator companies with their inane and often broken updates who are to blame. They could not break the tools we use if we stopped buying the broken tools.