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The Nuts and Bolts of Graphic Design

By farl in Technology
Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 07:33:50 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

When taking a close look at my computer lately, I noticed the rather large amount of bloat software that I have installed on it. Bloat software being programs that are "cool" and quite often functional, but in the end, not really necessary to my main use of my computer. I am a Graphic Designer. I produce work for multiple media, but primarily for the Web and Internet distribution.

I then looked at what programs I truly use on a regular basis, the nuts and bolts of what makes me productive in the long run. There are lots of nice utilities that make me productive that I have, but whose functions/results can easily be duplicated in a number of other ways and programs. In the end, I came up with a core set of programs that "I cannot live without".

This is meant to be a discussion of 2D programs and utilities. While I do a lot of 3D work, I decided to leave that aspect of computer functionality out of this article. Also, while this article is written from a Mac-centric point of view, seeing as most of the programs are cross-platform, and the ideas are certainly cross-platform, I feel that it is relevant to almost any OS on almost any machine.

Here is what I consider to be a necessary set of core tools (and the system I use to run them):
  • Apple - Imac DV SE, 500mhz, 640mb RAM, MacOS9.1
  • UMAX - Astra 2100U scanner
  • Que - Firedrive 12x10x32 (very nice drive!)
  • Imation - Superdisk
  • Epson - Color Styles 850N printer.

    Core Tools
  • Adobe Acrobat - MEDIA CREATOR - An extremely useful way to distribute proofs to clients in a format that is easily viewed on any platform.
  • Adobe ATM Deluxe - FONT MANAGEMENT - Suitcase and other programs are okay, but ATM and ATR lead in ease of use and power.
  • Adobe Illustrator - VECTOR EDIT - Again, the best vector editing tool around. Freehand is the closest competitor, and while it is very close, illustrator wins out in overall features.
  • Adobe Photoshop - GRAPHICS EDIT - Simply the best graphics editing tool around. While other programs can do a lot of things that Photoshop can, nothing comes close in the overall features set, ease of use and speed.
  • BBEdit - TEXT EDITOR - Powerful is the best way to describe this program. While it has a few shortcomings, overall it is a great way to code for HTML or most other languages.
  • Extensis Portfolio - TRACKING/ORGANIZATION - One of the best ways to keep track of exactly where you store that image on your harddrive/CD's and other media. Especially if you go to the effort to add keywords, this is very useful in finding "lost" graphics and clipart.
  • GraphicConverter - GRAPHIC UTILITY - Best way to optimize graphics for the Web, convert formats, and remove those pesky data forks from files.
  • Macromedia Flash - VECTOR ANIMATION - A Web must. Small, scalable, simple vectors with dynamic media and good logic controls make this the leading interactive solution for the Web right now. Its ease of use over Director makes it the better product in my opinion.
  • Office for Mac 2001 - CROSS PLATFORM UTILITY / CONTACT MANAGEMENT - Unfortunately this one has to be in here because of the nature of clients loving to provide documents and source images that are mangled into Office formats. However, a major saving grace of this suite is the fact that it is now a VERY powerful set of programs. Entourage and Excel in specific are reasons enough to own this.
  • Quark - LAYOUT PROGRAM - The granddaddy of all DTP programs. And still better than InDesign.

    System Patches and Tools
  • A Better Finder Series - SYSTEM PATCH - Easily one of my two favorite utility patches - especially "A Better Finder Rename" and "A Better Finder Creator/Types". If you have not ever used this, GET IT NOW.
  • Action Utilities - SYSTEM PATCH - One of my favorite utilities. Action Menus allows you to take control of your apple menus and add other very functional and useful menus into the menubar. Action Files is a nice tool for extending the Open/Save Dialog box.
  • Conflict Catcher - SYSTEM PATCH - Useful in keeping your computer under control and getting rid of all those pesky extensions which bloat your computer and love to bring up those bomb screens.
  • Fetch - FTP CLIENT - Still the best FTP client I know of.
  • FinderPop - SYSTEM PATCH - A useful CMM for navigating and organizing your entire computer.
  • MacLinkPlus - CROSS PLATFORM UTILITY - Great way to convert all sorts of files from one format to another. Its most useful for pulling data out of documents (as it destroys the layout though) so you can get to the information you need.
  • OSA Menu - SYSTEM PATCH - Puts a menu into the menubar for quick and easy access to your Applescripts. Very useful if you are a user of one of Apple's best technologies.
  • Stuffit Deluxe - COMPRESSION UTILITY - The best (de)compression utility out there. Reads and writes almost every known format.
  • Techtool Pro - SYSTEM PATCH - The best program (in conjunction with Disk First Aid) to keep your system running smoothly, detect errors in hardware, and find other nasty glitches and gremlins that are out to get you.
These are the core programs that I use on a daily basis. Other good programs of note are Hotline Client, Snak (IRC Client), AIM (yes I know, but other people use it and sometimes you just have to get hold of someone), Yahoo Messenger, and Shrinkwrap.

What are your core programs? I would be interested to see what makes your computer tick (regardless of OS, System, Wintel or Mac or 'ix or anything). What tools are the most useful, and what tools where the worst you ever bought/downloaded?



Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


What graphic program do you use most?
o Photoshop 36%
o Illustrator 1%
o Flash 1%
o Freehand 0%
o Graphic Converter 0%
o Coreldraw 0%
o Other 51%
o None 8%

Votes: 141
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Yahoo
o Apple
o Que
o Imation
o Epson
o Adobe Acrobat
o Adobe ATM Deluxe
o Adobe Illustrator
o Adobe Photoshop
o BBEdit
o Extensis Portfolio
o GraphicCon verter
o Macromedia Flash
o Office for Mac 2001
o Quark
o A Better Finder Series
o Action Utilities
o Conflict Catcher
o Fetch
o FinderPop
o MacLinkPlu s
o OSA Menu
o Stuffit Deluxe
o Techtool Pro
o farl@sketc hwork.com
o www.sketch work.com
o Also by farl

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The Nuts and Bolts of Graphic Design | 50 comments (34 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
hmm (3.25 / 4) (#1)
by rebelcool on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:44:26 PM EST

Typically running on an athlon 800 w/ 256 mb. Win2000.

rapid prototyping - Visual Studio 6

text - edit.com (yes, the old dos command prompt editor..i refuse to use anything else for java)

java - sun's JDK 1.3

webserving - Apache

servlet runner - Resin

browser - IE

e-mail - eudora

messaging - ICQ, AIM

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Text editors for java (4.00 / 2) (#3)
by delmoi on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:04:34 PM EST

Edit.com is pretty sweet, and for the most part way, way better then notepad (especialy in 95, when you couldn't change the fonts).

It's also nice in that it's a command line tool, and since all the JDK tools are CLI as well, it works great. I still use it for small and quick java apps, but...

For larger projects, both Java and HTML I've started using the VisualC++ text editor. It dosn't do syntax higlighting on Java code, but the multiple file view on the side is very useful. You can even organize files into diffrent groups, as well as doing things like find-and-replace and global searches.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
VC++ is a good editor (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by 11223 on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:14:32 PM EST

I've been using VC++ for a general purpose text editor for HTML, XML, Java, even lisp-type stuff for a while now. Even though it doesn't syntax highlight everything, it's one of very few native Windows editors with regular expression searches, does well at grouping files, doesn't get in your way (*ahem* emacs and vi - they have their places, but not for large projects), and has a whole host of plugins available.

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

Emacs gets in your way ? (none / 0) (#46)
by Aidan_Kehoe on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 08:32:29 AM EST

..doesn't get in your way (*ahem* emacs and vi - they have their places, but not for large projects),

Seriously, how dows emacs get in your way ? I'm interested. After seeing -*- mode: ... -*- comments all over the place (Mozilla source, TeX, OpenBSD ...) I'm well doubtful that it can't handle large projects.

- Aidan
There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)
[ Parent ]
Text editors for windows (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by loner on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:36:01 PM EST

On Windows, I use Textpad, and I see a lot of people use it too wherever I go. It does a very good job at syntax highlighting, regex, running commands, etc. And it's one of the few shareware programs that is reasonably priced for what it does (I'd say even a bargain).

[ Parent ]
Nice (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by sugarman on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:56:22 PM EST

Reminds me of one I used to use called Notetab Pro. One of the few programs that I appreciated the MDI-style of design in, and I loved the side-bar with the one-click inserts for html.

Thanks for the link. I'll give it a try.

[ Parent ]

Win32 Text Editors (none / 0) (#23)
by Morn on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 06:10:06 PM EST

I like ConTEXT - it has manu TextPad-y features, and it's free.

[ Parent ]
TextPad (none / 0) (#43)
by nstenz on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:05:24 PM EST

I love TextPad... I spread it like a virus to any computers I spend more than an hour screwing around with web pages on. I love the color-coding and the keeping tabs down to a reasonable number of spaces by default (wonderful when you nest all of your HTML with tabs). I have one complaint though... Last time I tried to download one of the files on the web site for syntax highlighting a document class, the FTP directories were blank... I should go check if they're back now. I think I'll do that. Thanks for the reminder. =)

[ Parent ]
MSVC syntax highlighting (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by dew_freak on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:53:59 PM EST

If you right-click on the document and choose properties you can change the syntax highlighting with the Language drop-down box. C/C++ would probably be ok for working with Java.

On the other hand, one of the better text/hex editors I've used on Windows is UltraEdit (Shareware $30, 45 day trial). It has a tons of features, but can be used immeadiately without having to configure anything. And, it has customizable syntax highlighting, and presets for C/C++, VB, HTML, Java, and Perl.

[ Parent ]
Ultraedit (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Dacta on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 05:47:11 PM EST

Thumbs up for UltraEdit from me, too. If only there was a way to get it to do context sensitive class completion....

[ Parent ]
Ultraedit ROCKS (none / 0) (#47)
by KnightStalker on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 02:30:24 PM EST

Global search-and-replace on a regular expression across multiple files in nested directories... DROOL...

Only one problem, you've really got to use Ultraedit's proprietary syntax for RE's, as its Unix-like syntax isn't very reliable. I don't know why, but it doesn't correctly match some complex expressions.

[ Parent ]
jEdit (none / 0) (#50)
by BinerDog on Sat Jan 20, 2001 at 12:25:29 AM EST

I highly reccomend jEdit (no I don't write it, just use it) as a Java text editor. It supports:

  • Syntax HIghlighting
  • Block commenting
  • Class/Interface browsing
  • In process compiling
  • Tons more

Best of all, it is GPL'ed, free, and <a href="http://jedit.sourceforge.net>avail at sourceforge.

-- The Entity Formerly Known as Frums (Cuz someone nabbed my name on K5) (I want it back :)
[ Parent ]

Resin (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by Dacta on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 05:52:15 PM EST

I've got a similar setupp (IIS instead of Apache, though) to you.

We're using JRun 2 for our servlet/JSP engine, and we're looking to upgrade. JRun 3 has had a massive pricehike, so we're looking at Resin or Tomcat.

How have you found Resin? I know it is supposed to be faster than Tomcat, but that isn't the biggest issue for us. Have you found it reliable?

[ Parent ]
so far (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by rebelcool on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:12:36 PM EST

actually i have resin running standalone currently, but since I need some of apache's features, i'll be working them together in a few days.

I would suggest resin over tomcat. It's faster and easier to setup. And it's a greal deal more reliable than my apache/jserv/gnujsp that crashed unpredicatably (usually when i was away from the machine for a few days)

I've had it 2 weeks, no problems. Had it setup, running virtual hosts within about an hour.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#37)
by Robert Gormley on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 02:59:33 AM EST

Can I ask what this relates to graphic design?

[ Parent ]
Is this an advertisement? (3.25 / 8) (#2)
by Speare on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:49:12 PM EST

It seems like this is a vanity page (look at all the kewl schtuff I gots), or an advertisement (you too can be the first on the block). It doesn't seem to be "the nuts and bolts of graphic design."

I expect others will jump onto the USE GIMP bandwagon, or some other specific tool argument, but to me, the whole question of "graphic arts design" is much more interesting than the "toolbox dump" you presented.

What IS graphic design? Why are average engineers so unskilled in the basics of visual arts? Does the eye tend to go from bottom to top as it scans new stuff? Where is the rule of thirds in computer software interfaces? I think those are the questions that are far more interesting, especially if truly NEW computer interfaces are going to evolve.

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
Well then... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by farl on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:09:51 PM EST

instead of just posing the questions, answer some of them instead.

<sarcasm>Of course this is an advertisement for the 30 products that my company exclusively represents.</sarcasm>

But seriously, this is not merely a a "oh im cool look what i have" list, its more of a software suite idea, to see what people use. I am more than happy to continutually expand on this and add more sections to this article-in-progress about the very good questions that you raised. But this part of it deals with the software aspect. The tools of the trade so to speak.

[ Parent ]
not really (none / 0) (#48)
by Giant Robot on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 07:04:32 PM EST

Actually I'm interested in these types of articles. Knowing the tools that other people use is good because I can experiment more and see how it compares with the tools I use.

More toolbox articles for programming (heck even circuit design) would be interesting...

[ Parent ]
Hmm. (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by 11223 on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:20:54 PM EST

Most of my graphic design work is done in the Corel tools. When I have to design a logo, etc., I'll do the initial prototype in CorelDraw and then bring it in to PhotoPaint if any graphics manipulation is necessary. I like the "brushes" feature of Corel 9 that allows you to apply a brush to any vector graphics image, including text converted to curves. It's nifty.

As for layout, for page stuff I'll do CorelDraw (don't laugh - they've improved the ability to use it as a general-purpose page layout program to the point where I pretty much use it exclusively). For online stuff, it's all VI or (*gasp*) Visual C++. Both good editors, IMHO.

Your poll should have been - "Have you read anything about the basic elements of style?" Judging from quite a few web sites, IMHO, most professional HTML weenies haven't. They would do well to read them - after all, rules that apply to a physical page don't vanish just because your content moves to a screen and not paper.

As for system setup - under Linux, it's just plane-jane Helix Gnome 7 with the Eazel themes and the programs I use on the panel for easy drag'n drop program access. Under Windows, it's just plane-jane windows with an IE toolbar that has the programs I use in it. Most of the time there's a VC++ window up with a few documents and a few websites (it does integrate IE, folks) in it.

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

I *really* like this (4.25 / 4) (#10)
by sugarman on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:28:46 PM EST

I think this kind of thing rates up there with the "Linux Essentials" articles that appeared early in k5's history, and I wouldn't mind seeing a couple more of the same vein.

Maybe continue the theme to the "3d Designer", as well as an "Audio" and maybe a "coder's toolbox" (alright, the last one is probably too inflamatory ->even if it was divided into separate entries for Windows / Unix). Maybe a "Digital Publishing" one too.

Anyhoo, I *like* it, would like to see more, and wouldn't mind seeing rusty put aside a little sub-section if the rest of a series of these materializes.


No room for Norton? (2.66 / 3) (#17)
by imperium on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 05:13:29 PM EST

Surely such a list would have to include the worthy Norton Utilities? And no, I don't work for them.




Norton Invasion (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by farl on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 05:57:36 PM EST

While I do like Norton, I find it far too invasive. Techtool does the same thing in a much cleaner and unobtrusive way.

The good trick to remember with Norton, is install it to a SECONDARY system folder (that is just a copy of your real folder that you copy, then boot off of). Then move the installed FILES and PROGRAM (not the system extension) over to the drive you normally use. Boot up off your main system folder then delete that second system folder. This gives all the funcionality of Norton without the intrusiveness.

[ Parent ]
Interesting (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by imperium on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:10:16 PM EST

but surely just checking the installer logs and removing any unwanted extensions would be better?

Also, what problems have you had with intrusiveness? I usually get "bundle bit" type recommendations from it, and, with the exception of custom icon changes, I haven't seen any problems with just letting it do its work..

One more thing, while I'm hoping to pick your brain: what was that about Graphic Converter and data forks?


[ Parent ]

Norton and GraphicConverter (none / 0) (#27)
by farl on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:00:24 PM EST

Yes checking the installer logs works great, until it overinstalls some extension that you needed for another program. I'd rather not chance that. It is intrusive especially if you have autorecover on (or whatever they call it).

For GC, if you go into apple+M (convert more) screen, highlight the files you want to reduce in size, then holding down apple (i think, it might be option), one of the center menu buttons changes to DEL RESOURCE. A great way to reduce file size, especially if you have not saved files specifically for the web. All extra bytes chopped off helps.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for your advice (2.00 / 1) (#33)
by imperium on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 06:19:28 AM EST

The subject line says it all: I'll do that GC thing, at least to all the image files on websites I maintain!

[ Parent ]

What I prefer when doing design (4.50 / 2) (#28)
by Skippy on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:34:16 PM EST

Here's my take.


  • Almost any Mac will do. You can work on a PC but it isn't the same. The postscript support built into MacOS makes designing about a million times easier.
  • I prefer Agfa scanners but you'll pay for them.
  • You NEED a CD-R for backing up those old jobs. You need a Jaz or a ton of zips for tranporting jobs to the printer (unless you burn a CD-R but that sometimes sucks for the outputter)
  • Wacom tablet - the bigger the better. Its not a must have but if you are gonna work in Photoshop it makes EVERYTHING easier. Besides, they're cool. If cost is no object, get the one that has the LCD screen in it and draw on the screen (drool).
  • If you are doing hardcopy stuff buy yourself a (jewelers) lupe. Nothing shows up printing errors better. Your printer will hate you but your client will love you.
  • Acrobat - gotta agree with you. The best proofing tool ever.
  • Adobe Type Manager - fonts are almost useless on a Mac without it (or were a couple of years ago when I did design). It makes handling them on a PC much easier as well.
  • Quark4 - An amazing program but HELL for outputters. I can't count the times someone sent a file for outputting that relied on some goofy ass plugin that they forgot to send. It also handles printing flakily.
  • InDesign - If it live up to its hype (I haven't used it yet - don't do design anymore) its amazing. Import native Photoshop files with their layers and alpha transparency. 'NUFF SAID!
  • Freehand - gotta go with Freehand over Illustrator. Illustrator has more features and handles native postscript better (imagine that) but Freehand is much easier to use. This is the one program I usually boot Windows for. If I was on a Mac it would be the one program I'd boot MacOS for.
  • GIMP - not as powerful as Photoshop (yet) but you can't beat the price. For web stuff it's great and nobody has a better system for gif animation. Also available for Win32.
  • Photoshop - for those time that GIMP just doesn't cut it :-) Better alpha tools and text handling. Scripting is easier than the GIMP as well.
  • NEdit/UltraEdit/BBEdit. Man I wish BareBones would port BBEdit. As has been noted here UltraEdit is good in Win32 and I use Nedit (which I understand rusty uses) in FreeBSD.
I don't use much in the way of customizing programs for Windows. For a Mac its almost a necessity. I can't remember any of the stuff I used though. Sorry. Hope all this was helpful to someone.

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
What I'm using right at this moment! (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by johncoswell on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 09:58:37 AM EST

I primarily do Web stuff where I work, but I also do some print stuff (very rarely). Here's my toolkit:

On my Mac, I use Flash 4 extensively. I can't stand Flash 5 and all those darn palettes and how they changed the Timeline. I use it in conjunction with Illustrator 8.0 because Flash's drawing tools are (IMHO) horrible. I like the precision of Illustrator, and Illustrator forces you to think like a vector drawing program, not like an over-glorified paint program. I also have Photoshop 5.0 when I need to tweak graphics that I drew in Illustrator or when I have to do some photograph magic (like I was JUST asked to do! 8^)). I also have that abomination of the software world known as QuarkXPress. Bleah. I also have BBEdit for HTML and Perl editing, MacSSH to talk to our Webserver, IE 5, Navigator 4.7, Mozilla 0.6, PageMill for quickie Web pages, RealProducer for video work, and TTF Converter to use my myriad of TrueType fonts on the Macinsquash.

On my PC, I have a nifty editor called Programmer's File Editor. No fluff, just hard-core editing, with saving to UNIX file formats (a must for our Webserver). I do all of my Java programming on the PC, so I have this great IDE called RealJ with Sun JDK 1.3. I also download all of the pictures from my Olympus digital camera on this machine and make them available to the Mac. I am also experimenting with Blender for cheap 3d stuff.

At home, for my Web cartoons, it's Flash and Illustrator again (versions 4 and 7, respectively).

Earlier comments about how graphic design is just "better" on a Mac are dead on. I use a PC at home, and Flash and Illustrator and Photoshop and Quark just aren't as much fun on a PC as they are on a Mac. I don't know why. But, I can't do any hardcore programming on a Mac -- I prefer my Win98 machine for that.

johncoswell - http://www.coswellproductions.org
Necessary off-topic reminder for Mozilla... (none / 0) (#44)
by nstenz on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:14:07 PM EST

0.7 is out. =)

[ Parent ]
My Current My Current Setup (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by rograndom on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 03:59:46 AM EST

Here's the setup I have at work. I do mostly web production and video editing.

Power Mac G4: Dual 450mhz Processors, 1gb RAM, 119gb HD (30 IDE, 9 SCSI, 80 FireWire), Ultra Wide SCSI card, MicroMotion DC30 plus video capture card, ATI Rage 128 AGP, ATI Rage 128 PCI video cards.

2 Princeton EO90 19" monitors.

Software: Adobe GoLive 5.0 (not very stable, well it's a lot better under OS 9.1, but it's just better that 4.0 that I can't go back), Macromedia Fireworks 3.0 (I've been using this since 1.0 and consider it a godsend), Adobe Photoshop 5.5, BBEdit 5, Fetch, MacSSH (and when that's not good enough, I use MI/X, a X-windows server to connect to the Linux server in the office and use terminals from there), Quark 4.1, Adobe Illustrator 9.0, Adobe Premier 5.1c, Cleaner 5 (another damn cool program, although not as cool with the dual processor G4 because it encodes so fast that a batch isn't as necessary), MS Internet Explorer 4.5 & 5.0, Netscape 4.7x & 6, Mozilla, iCab, Virtual PC, MS Office 98 (powerpoint, excel, word), Norton Utilities 5.0.3, and oh yeah, SoundJam

I think that's everything.

Then I've got lots and lots of little programs that I've downloaded and haven't played much with or are just little quickfix utilities like MacPerl, AutoPurge (is probably not needed under OS 9.1), Anarchie, Kalediscope (what a great little control panel), Gravite (anyone running a Mac should check this out, completely useless, but a lot of fun), etc.

IE 4.5 _and_ 5.0? (none / 0) (#45)
by nstenz on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:20:12 PM EST

You can have more than one version of Internet Explorer on a Macintosh at once? Microsoft must love their Mac customers more than the ones that use their OS (as evidenced by IE for Mac being more HTML compliant as well...)! Ah well. I just installed Windows 2000... I couldn't stand Win98 crashing constantly any longer. I can't afford a pretty new G4, but I can afford a little bit of software. Blah.

Hey, anyone wanna sell a copy of Photoshop for Windows cheap? Paint Shop Pro is nice, but it just doesn't cut it for those fun photo-editing jobs...

[ Parent ]
Graphic Design Tools (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by DJBongHit on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 01:04:48 PM EST

Well, to make my amateurish, half-assed art I use any combination of the following:
  • 3D Studio Max 3.1
  • Adobe Photoshop 5.5
  • Adobe Illustrator 8
  • The GIMP (why isn't this a poll option?)
  • Metacreations Painter 6
  • On rare occasions, I still use Bryce 4, although I don't like the way it renders

The Win32 programs I use are run on a Pentium 2 350mhz with 384MB of RAM and ~28GB of HD space. running Windows 2000. I sometimes run GIMP on the same box (dual boot with RedHat 6.1... I can't stand using 'doze for anything but graphics work). I usually run GIMP on my Alpha (600mhz EV56, 512MB of RAM, running RedHat 6.1 as well).


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

Forgot to mention... (none / 0) (#40)
by DJBongHit on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 01:11:27 PM EST

Heh, I forgot to mention that for texture creation work (primarily in Painter 6, a bit in Photoshop too) I use my Wacom USB Graphire Tablet. It was cheap, and rather small for a tablet, but it's still a godsend.

/me drools over one of those pressure sensitive tablets with a 15" LCD screen built in...


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
MAX rocks! (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by Mantrid on Tue Jan 16, 2001 at 10:29:49 AM EST

I've been learning MAX 3 for a few months now and I hear 4 is out....I would really, really love to buy this program but it's apparently like USD $4000 or so...anyone know if there's a student version or something? (the upgrade is not, er applicable to me...hell I wouldn't mind buying a copy of R3, but can't seem to find it for sale anywhere!)

[ Parent ]
My Junk (none / 0) (#41)
by WWWWolf on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 02:21:10 PM EST

I'm not exactly a "designer" - I'm an artist, and also do a lot of web design. Here's my tools of creation (t0 c0untRbal8nS tH3 ImpL3m3ntz of D3sTrUctIoN... j/k =)

System: Fujitsu/Siemens PC with Pentium III, 600MHz. Agfa Snapscan scanner (though I use the HP scanner in the university more - don't know the details). Wacom Ultrapad A5 graphics tablet, Logitech PilotMouse+. Printer? an ancient Deskjet 600. (I'm not of the tree-killing side, anyway =)


  • OS: Debian GNU/Linux with fairly recent stuff - been a long time since I ran dist-upgrade, but I keep my stuff as current as is required.
  • Bitmap graphics: The GIMP, I currently have 1.1.32 but that's only because FTP mirrors were not up-to-date =) Also, for automated and mass operations (format conversions, thumbnail creation, stuff for webcam and so on), I use ImageMagick.
  • Vector graphics: This is not the field I'm too active on, but I've used Sketch a lot (CorelDraw! clone...) I also use AutoTrace (can't remember the link) for tracing bitmap pictures. (I have found it's not good for frequent use, though.)
  • Text editor: XEmacs. Accept no substitute. This message was written with it, too. I'm one of those web designers that have been politely called "RFC-hugging bastards", so this isn't slowing me down.
  • Web content: WML is the way! Throw some Perl and custom tag definitions in, and tedious cut-and-paste jobs will become surprisingly easy. And it generates static web pages, no need to mess with CGI!
  • 3D stuff: For this (even when I don't do that much), Blender is the way... I also like TerraGen (for Windows) a lot, I wish there would be a Linux version =)

For what it's worth, here's some shameless self-promotion: some 2D art of mine, and then some random 3D pictures (I told ya, I don't do these much). my home page often relies on WML-generated stuff (my photo album would be a good example).

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

The Nuts and Bolts of Graphic Design | 50 comments (34 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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