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Old Apr 22, 2012, 12:29 AM   #1
dkris2020
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Macbook Pro for animation?

In about a year I'll be going to college for animation primarily 3D animation and I was wondering about a few things:
Is the Macbook Pro good for annimations?
Does it handle animation programs better than Windows PC?
Would the AMD 6750m 512gb card be good or should I get the 1gb 6770m card?
Would it be better for me to get a workstation graphics card or no?
What's the minimum resolution I should look for in my laptop?
Will this be durable enough to last till & throughout college?
I also don't want to spend a ton of money if I don't need too so between this and a MSI GE60/ HP Envy 15 which are about $500+ less why do you think I should go for a Macbook Pro? Just need some information before I make my purchase (I am waiting for the Ivy bridge btw).
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 03:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkris2020 View Post
In about a year I'll be going to college for animation primarily 3D animation and I was wondering about a few things:
Is the Macbook Pro good for annimations?
Does it handle animation programs better than Windows PC?
Would the AMD 6750m 512gb card be good or should I get the 1gb 6770m card?
Would it be better for me to get a workstation graphics card or no?
What's the minimum resolution I should look for in my laptop?
Will this be durable enough to last till & throughout college?
I also don't want to spend a ton of money if I don't need too so between this and a MSI GE60/ HP Envy 15 which are about $500+ less why do you think I should go for a Macbook Pro? Just need some information before I make my purchase (I am waiting for the Ivy bridge btw).
It is likely that you'd be best suited to building a workstation PC from off the shelf parts with at least a 1GB GPU, 2GB if you can push it especially for rendering computer animation. If you're comparing the price between a HP Envy and a MBP then budget is obviously a concern. Do you absolutely need the portability of a notebook?

Another question is, what else will you use it for? I find OS X is a far better multi-tasker than Windows. I find apps are more thematic and intuitive across the board. If you're a creative person, you may find OS X more productive. I know I do... Windows seemed to stunt my productivity. There is also a finely tuned balance between hardware and software on the Mac side... Don't forget you can dual boot into Windows if you need it...?

I shoot and edit HD video for exhibitions, produce graphics using Photoshop/Illustrator, and I process RAW photographs in Lightroom, all on a Quad i7 MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM. The thing flies.

Having said what I just said, you're going to be a college student, so I would assume money is a consideration. You can build a far more powerful desktop with high end graphics for less than a MacBook Pro...

But will you love it as much? Doubt it...
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 07:41 AM   #3
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It is likely that you'd be best suited to building a workstation PC from off the shelf parts with at least a 1GB GPU, 2GB if you can push it especially for rendering computer animation. If you're comparing the price between a HP Envy and a MBP then budget is obviously a concern. Do you absolutely need the portability of a notebook?

Another question is, what else will you use it for? I find OS X is a far better multi-tasker than Windows. I find apps are more thematic and intuitive across the board. If you're a creative person, you may find OS X more productive. I know I do... Windows seemed to stunt my productivity. There is also a finely tuned balance between hardware and software on the Mac side... Don't forget you can dual boot into Windows if you need it...?

I shoot and edit HD video for exhibitions, produce graphics using Photoshop/Illustrator, and I process RAW photographs in Lightroom, all on a Quad i7 MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM. The thing flies.

Having said what I just said, you're going to be a college student, so I would assume money is a consideration. You can build a far more powerful desktop with high end graphics for less than a MacBook Pro...

But will you love it as much? Doubt it...
As I stated money is only an issue if I end up spending money on something that is pretty much overkill. That being said the multitasking abilities of Mac OS X is something that interest me. Also building a desktop pc would be un-necessary for the time being because I am looking also for a replacement laptop that I can easily take with me to school.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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As I stated money is only an issue if I end up spending money on something that is pretty much overkill. That being said the multitasking abilities of Mac OS X is something that interest me. Also building a desktop pc would be un-necessary for the time being because I am looking also for a replacement laptop that I can easily take with me to school.
In that case, a Quad i7 Ivy Bridge MBP will be plenty for you.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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I use a 2011 MBP Sandy Bridge MBP 15" maxed out GPU, 16GB RAM and High rez anti glare screen. It was expensive but it's an amazing machine for 3D.

My principle applications are Modo and Lightwave, but this machine will run any 3D software very well. If you want to run 3D Studio, you'll need to get Boot camp and Windows up and running, but again it's a great system in either OS.

In summary, it's an expensive option but if you want portability and OS X, it's a winner.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkris2020 View Post
In about a year I'll be going to college for animation primarily 3D animation and I was wondering about a few things:
Is the Macbook Pro good for annimations?
Does it handle animation programs better than Windows PC?
Would the AMD 6750m 512gb card be good or should I get the 1gb 6770m card?
Would it be better for me to get a workstation graphics card or no?
What's the minimum resolution I should look for in my laptop?
Will this be durable enough to last till & throughout college?
I also don't want to spend a ton of money if I don't need too so between this and a MSI GE60/ HP Envy 15 which are about $500+ less why do you think I should go for a Macbook Pro? Just need some information before I make my purchase (I am waiting for the Ivy bridge btw).
I would look at the requirements for the courses as defined by the college, not a bunch of random folks on the internet that don't know for sure what you're taking or where. Just sayin.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 10:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dkris2020 View Post
As I stated money is only an issue if I end up spending money on something that is pretty much overkill. That being said the multitasking abilities of Mac OS X is something that interest me. Also building a desktop pc would be un-necessary for the time being because I am looking also for a replacement laptop that I can easily take with me to school.
Laptops are really common among students. I agree with you there. If you're having to do any really heavy work, your school will most likely have a lab that you can access. I'm not sure about the difference on video cards. I wouldn't go with an integrated graphics model. Many of these software programs aren't really tested on machines like that. In the case of animation, an SSD will do very little to supplement ram. The current ones can support 16GB of ram which is pretty good. Less than that and it starts to suck if you're going between a primary application and a sculpting program. I don't mean that you should let poly counts get out of control, but hitting a wall on ram is not fun so I just suggest as much as possible without hitting a huge price increase.

OSX is not necesarily better at multitasking than Windows. I'm not sure where you obtained this idea. I've used both. The things that irritate me under Windows are issues like wacom tablet animations that are difficult to disable. I replaced the file that called them up with a blank text file . If your school uses 3ds max, you're going to using bootcamp anyway. OpenGL hasn't been that great under OSX in recent versions in my experience, but overall there's not a really general rule on which runs things faster. Anecdotes go both ways. If you're looking at Windows, do a little research. GPUs are important. You want one that is known to be relatively bug free with the applications you'll be using. Whatever you buy, a laptop will choke on truly heavy scenes, but as a student if you have to work with anything that heavy, you'll probably be doing so in a computer lab. No school is going to ask anything of you that requires a fully maxed out workstation.

Anyway.... regarding HP, not my favorite brand. I'd check reviews no matter what you buy. Apple isn't perfect either. Ivy Bridge laptops should be out before the fall semester. I'd get one of those, but I'd wait to hear about any issues and fixes before buying one. Apple is no more infallible than any other oem. This doesn't mean I hate them. I'm simply saying that the act of buying a Mac is not the solution to all of your problems. They can still choke on large files just like a Windows box with comparable hardware. Expect them to get hot. They get really hot when being pushed to the limit. I mention it so you don't get freaked out by this later on.

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Originally Posted by Ccrew View Post
I would look at the requirements for the courses as defined by the college, not a bunch of random folks on the internet that don't know for sure what you're taking or where. Just sayin.
I agree that he should check with the college, but anything beyond the capability of a laptop is likely to be handled by the school's computer lab.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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Wow....considering I was using 3D studio all the way back in the 90's on a lowly Windows PC, any Mac will get the job done......are you serious?
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 01:42 PM   #9
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I can only think of one small studio that uses Macs for animation, ymmv.

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Old Apr 23, 2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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I would look at the requirements for the courses as defined by the college, not a bunch of random folks on the internet that don't know for sure what you're taking or where. Just sayin.
I can honestly say thank you for telling me this. I emailed a person at a college who teaches in the field I'm going in to for information and she said if I were to get a high end laptop, to wait till my junior year in college because that's when I will be doing that type of work till then. Since that's 3 yrs away from when I will be buying my laptop, that changes my entire criteria for a new laptop.

Now I don't need a powerful computer but I still mostly want an entertainment laptop for videos and a few MMO games, 14-15" with dedicated graphics slim & light (under 6 lbs), 4+ hr battery life and 1600x900-1920x1080. Keeping a 1000 budget, 1500 max, the few laptops that I know of that I'd like would be the Dell XPS 14-15z, HP Envy/DM4 line, Samsung Series 7 chronos, Toshiba Qosmio, and the Lenovo Ideapad U410 (hopefully It'll have 1600x900). I'm also open to suggestions ( I also need it to last for at least 2 years)
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 01:23 PM   #11
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Honestly find out what software your school uses.

I myself prefer Mac (as stated above the multitasking is superior, Windows doesn't have things like multiple desktops natively, although you can download programs that emulate it, although not as nicely.

I don't do a ton of animation, but heres the stuff I use and I've used it on both Windows and Mac (and in some cases, Linux) and prefer it on Mac OS:

Maya
Houdini
Unity 3D
Photoshop
After Effects
Corel Painter
3D Coat
ZBrush
Blender

Thats all I can think of that you *may* use that I use on a regular basis.

Again though, this is preference, you can work with either operating system.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 01:32 PM   #12
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Honestly find out what software your school uses.

I myself prefer Mac (as stated above the multitasking is superior, Windows doesn't have things like multiple desktops natively, although you can download programs that emulate it, although not as nicely.

I don't do a ton of animation, but heres the stuff I use and I've used it on both Windows and Mac (and in some cases, Linux) and prefer it on Mac OS:

Maya
Houdini
Unity 3D
Photoshop
After Effects
Corel Painter
3D Coat
ZBrush
Blender

Thats all I can think of that you *may* use that I use on a regular basis.

Again though, this is preference, you can work with either operating system.
"Adobe Photoshop, a little bit of work with Adobe Illustrator, and Corel Painter. The animation courses use Photoshop, Painter, Adobe After Effects, either Premiere or Final Cut Pro for video editing, iStopmotion, Soundtrack Pro, Cinema 4D, and Zbrush."

Like I said the person I talked to said I wouldn't need a more high end laptop till 3 yrs from when I plan on getting a laptop in my junior year in college, so I'm planning on getting a less expensive "entertainment" laptop.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dkris2020 View Post
"Adobe Photoshop, a little bit of work with Adobe Illustrator, and Corel Painter. The animation courses use Photoshop, Painter, Adobe After Effects, either Premiere or Final Cut Pro for video editing, iStopmotion, Soundtrack Pro, Cinema 4D, and Zbrush."

Like I said the person I talked to said I wouldn't need a more high end laptop till 3 yrs from when I plan on getting a laptop in my junior year in college, so I'm planning on getting a less expensive "entertainment" laptop.
That works out then

One thing I'd suggest if you haven't started already, is to start learning a lot of that software on your own before you get heavy into it in class. You'll have a huge advantage, especially with 3D apps like Cinema 4D and ZBrush.

Again, I don't know if you've already started learning these or not so apologies in advance if you have but here are some great learning resources for some of the softwares you mentioned:

1. http://www.lynda.com This is the fastest way to get into using your software immediately. They have courses for almost all of your titles.

2. http://www.digitaltutors.comUse these guys after Lynda, they have more advanced topics that Lynda.com doesn't cover. They're also more $$$.

3. Heres some good ZBrush books (I have them all and love them):

Introducing ZBrush 4

Digital Sculting Human Anatomy

Advanced Character Creation in ZBrush

And here is a great After Effects book:

Creating Motion Graphics in After Effects

Also if you have to buy Painter, make sure you use your student discount. Painter is only $80 for students and its identical to the full version. (I ADORE Painter, especially Painter 12).

Sorry for the overflow of information but graphics software makes me happy :P
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:12 PM   #14
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That works out then

One thing I'd suggest if you haven't started already, is to start learning a lot of that software on your own before you get heavy into it in class. You'll have a huge advantage, especially with 3D apps like Cinema 4D and ZBrush.

Again, I don't know if you've already started learning these or not so apologies in advance if you have but here are some great learning resources for some of the softwares you mentioned:

1. http://www.lynda.com This is the fastest way to get into using your software immediately. They have courses for almost all of your titles.

2. http://www.digitaltutors.comUse these guys after Lynda, they have more advanced topics that Lynda.com doesn't cover. They're also more $$$.

3. Heres some good ZBrush books (I have them all and love them):

Introducing ZBrush 4

Digital Sculting Human Anatomy

Advanced Character Creation in ZBrush

And here is a great After Effects book:

Creating Motion Graphics in After Effects

Also if you have to buy Painter, make sure you use your student discount. Painter is only $80 for students and its identical to the full version. (I ADORE Painter, especially Painter 12).

Sorry for the overflow of information but graphics software makes me happy :P
Oops my bad I didn't read your last post, but I'll look into this.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:16 PM   #15
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Oops my bad I didn't read your last post, but I'll look into this.
Yep. All of those are for PC as well.

Now some of the ones in your original list aren't (Final Cut and Soundtrack Pro) but you will have windows equivalents for those if you use Adobe's suite.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:18 PM   #16
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Yep. All of those are for PC as well.

Now some of the ones in your original list aren't (Final Cut and Soundtrack Pro) but you will have windows equivalents for those if you use Adobe's suite.
Ok thanks for letting me know, I had a feeling Final cut was OS X exclusive
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:20 PM   #17
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Ok thanks for letting me know, I had a feeling Final cut was OS X exclusive
Oh one more thing! I'm sure your school would let you know this but just incase they don't, make sure to budget for a Wacom tablet. You will absolutely need one especially for Painter and ZBrush. I personally would suggest sporting the extra money for the intuos versions that way you have programmable short cut keys. These are very essential to working fluidly in ZBrush, Painter, and Photoshop.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:38 PM   #18
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Oh one more thing! I'm sure your school would let you know this but just incase they don't, make sure to budget for a Wacom tablet. You will absolutely need one especially for Painter and ZBrush. I personally would suggest sporting the extra money for the intuos versions that way you have programmable short cut keys. These are very essential to working fluidly in ZBrush, Painter, and Photoshop.
+1 on intuos. I want to add that most people that don't like tablets didn't purchase a comfortable size or they didn't set it up well. Some people are fine with smaller ones. I've always used 9x12 and above. The important thing is that the mapping isn't so crazy that drawing starts to feel unnatural. Get used to pressure sensitivity too. The functions for it suck in photoshop because its brush engine is a piece of junk, but if you play with the settings, it's still usable there. I just don't let pressure set the size. Pressure settings work pretty well in Zbrush. I don't have anything against macs really, and I own them myself, but don't expect OSX to make everything much smoother. In my experience, Windows 7 does a good job too, but I hated the slightly different shortcut keys.

Edit: just to mention, once again this may be provided by the school for your use. I really have no idea. Feel free to ask questions on tablets though. Tilt sensitivity/mapping and the pressure settings make a huge difference in the way these things respond, and in the end you need to feel like you have full control over it for it to be an effective tool. I have a pretty steady hand, but if the settings are off it messes me up quite a lot.
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Last edited by thekev; Apr 23, 2012 at 02:45 PM.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 02:48 PM   #19
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I can only think of one small studio that uses Macs for animation, ymmv.
Using Macs is not the same as a MBP. I have a 2011 MBP and it rocks but it's not the same as a big desktop Mac.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 05:26 AM   #20
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I can honestly say thank you for telling me this. I emailed a person at a college who teaches in the field I'm going in to for information and she said if I were to get a high end laptop, to wait till my junior year in college because that's when I will be doing that type of work till then. Since that's 3 yrs away from when I will be buying my laptop, that changes my entire criteria for a new laptop.
Hey, I learned the hard way. Bought my daughter a MBP before she started only to have her engineering curriculum say they would not support Mac's, or Windows on Mac hardware.

Good luck with school.
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