August 10, 2007

Going software shopping

Progress has been a bit slow, I’m afraid. This week was a bit of a wash-out; I fell in a bit of a heap. I may be a day late on my weekly header image drawing practice, since I’m still thrashing out the preliminary sketches without much success.

After considering some of the comments I’ve had on forum posts on what I should update, I think its probably time to get my own copy of Adobe’s art tools. From what I’ve researched on Adobe’s FAQ page it looks like Adobe are cool with their education software being used eventually for commercial purchases, so it looks like it’s a decent investment while I still qualify for education pricing. The A$800 dollars charged for the education version of the suite is not cheap by any means, but it’s not too bad a price to have a full suite to learn with if I can continue to use it for paid work later on.

The two main reasons I’ve always wanted to try Adobe’s software is Illustrator and Flash. Illustrator is the premiere vector graphics package out there, and I’ve always wanted to give it a proper go; I know there’s a demo version out there, but I’ve never thought I could devote a full month to properly using it plus I already know it’s the tool of choice.

However Flash is something I think would be a real boon to learn, as it’s the natural choice for vector artists who also like to make games. John Hattan has already mentioned once that Flash seemed an ideal match, and I’ve also had some acquaintances ask me if I knew anyone who could code up Flash games for their department.

Once you want more than one piece of Adobe software it seems more cost effective to buy a suite, so I’ve been looking at which is the most appropriate. All the Premium suites have Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop, so the question is whether I should focus on web, design or video production. The web suite looks like it might be the most appropriate, although I still haven’t ruled out the production one.

I’m also leaning towards getting the Mac version for my laptop, since from my reading it seems the Mac is a better natural fit for graphic design work, plus it would be portable. I’m starting to like the Mac more as a work computer, although that might be because I’ve got my Windows PC loaded up with over a decade’s worth of distractions.

I’ll wait at least a week before making any decisions to give me some time for the questions to settle in my mind. I’m also thinking of getting a new Wacom Intuos tablet as well, so I need to choose which one is best as well (currently leaning towards the 6×11 model as the best fit for my widescreen laptop; I’ll have to see if it’s portable enough to fit in my laptop back though first).

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7 Comments on Going software shopping

August 10, 2007

Stephen @ 10:28 pm:

Very cool, but also very expensive. It makes me particularly happy that the tools that I use have semi-professioanl-grade alternatives (Visual C++/C# Express, NetBeans, Paint.NET, Audicity), since I really can’t even come close to being able to afford $800 for some cool tools like Adobe’s.

I’m looking forward to what sorts of attractive works you’ll start spewing out, though. I’ll restate that I’m still a large proponent of seeing you get a webcomic fired up. :)

Let us know what you final decision is, El Zoido Artistico.

Paul Evans @ 11:54 pm:

You seen the Expression stuff? They have free trials going on.

August 11, 2007

David "Trapper Zoid" @ 8:30 am:

Stephen: Currently I’m also only using free software for development, or whatever came with the operating system (thank goodness for Xcode). But while Inkscape is extremely nice as a vector art program the impression I get from the artists out there is there isn’t really a replacement for Adobe’s tools yet. Plus I’d really like to play around with Flash.

I’m still up in the air about whether it’s a good idea to invest that much money, although if you consider it to be the equivalent of eight full priced computer games for half a dozen Adobe products it doesn’t sound quite so bad.

Paul: I haven’t played around with Expression yet; I’m mainly going with Adobe because of their reputation (and Flash). I’m yet to fully research exactly what it is that I need, so I’ll have a look.

Stephen @ 9:04 am:

If you’re interested in trying Flash without woe or worry, then look at the Flex SDK. It’s basically a commandline Flash compiler, although they only repeat the mantra ‘Flex’ on the site for whatever reason. Folks like Tesseract on GD.NET have been making some pretty groovy things with it. The main downside to it, especially to folks like yourself, is that you don’t get the attractive art/animation/etc builder that Flash has built into it. Still, worth a look-see if you’re interested in the newest ActionScript, which is hella better than the elder versions.

David "Trapper Zoid" @ 10:13 am:

Nice; I’ll have a look into it. The animation capabilities in Flash is a big drawcard, but it doesn’t hurt to have a peek at ActionScript.

John Hattan @ 12:47 pm:

One way to save a few bucks off retail is to upgrade an earlier product. Lots of stuff available on ebay, but look for a reputable dealer so you don’t get something already registered.

Also if you buy from the adobe website, get a account first. They have a 6% kickback for the adobe store. It takes a while to process (took me about two months), but $30 on a $500 upgrade or $48 on an $800 product is worth the time. Once it’s cleared, you can get it paypal-ed to you.

Unfortunately I don’t think you can buy an educationally priced upgrade, and the commercial upgrades are slightly more expensive than the education full pricing. Adobe also doesn’t sell education prices directly in Australia; you have to go through a reseller.

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