Graphic Design Set-Up

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Andyee85, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Andyee85 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    #1
    Hey ladies and gents,

    Im a rook to the graphic design field and am going to transfer SJSU for my BFA during Fall 09. I knew I had to buy a MBP for the major and I was torn for the last couple months since the release of the Unibody. But I couldn't pass up the deal I got on a Brand New early 08 MBP (specs in my sig.). I got it for 1199, and recieved it yesterday! :) For those who went to school for design what do you recommend besides the MBP and CS3. And is CS4 even worth getting? Any other info is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

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    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #2
    The only thing i would suggest would be maybe a Wacom Tablet, if you see yourself doing alot of Photoshop stuff. CS4? I currently haven't played with it yet, i'm downloading the trial as we speak. If it was me doing design on a laptop, i would want a bigger external display, but this all depends on what you want to spend, or can afford.
     
  3. Andyee85 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2009
    #3
    Yeah! Im saving for a 30" Cinema Display and a Nikon. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

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    #4
    What will your concentration be in at your Uni?

    Design. Print. Photography. Web?
     
  5. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    Norfolk, UK
    #5
    I would say a (widescreen) tablet would be a given from most design perspectives, especially if you require finer touching up of photographs for example. Maybe a decent printer/scanner etc but it all depends on what you use the laptop for so as said we need a little more detail about what you do.
     
  6. Andyee85 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2009
    #6
    I just want to be prepared for whatever graphic design students need to have. Before Fall 2009 semester I should have a cinema display, a dslr, along with what I already have (early 08 MBP).

    As for printing out my projects, I work at the Sign and Graphics department for FedEx Office. We use (2) different color large format HP Printers. (HP5500 and HP Z6100). And we also have an oversized UV printer!

    Seems as though I may need to save for a tablet.
     
  7. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #7
    A 30" is rather overkill if you have to save up for it, especially a cinema display which is overpriced as it is. 24" is fine.
     
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    I'm in a graphic design program. When I got accepted into the program they gave us a list of required tools. Aside from a MBP and CS3, we also needed a digital camera because we are required to create all of our own materials (they frown on stock photos). We are also required to have a large format inkjet or color laser printer. I wound up with the Epson R1900 and it's working out quite well. I also have a cheap HP deskjet as a solution for letter-size quick printouts.

    I noticed in your post that you can print at FEDex because you work there. Well, good for you... but you're going to find out that is a hassle. I'm not sure what your school is going to require but my school keeps me extremely busy with projects. Last semester, I had 12 projects going at the same time! The last thing I wanted to deal with is going somewhere to print something out, especially a mockup for crit. And I don't suppose your bosses are going to allow you to work on stuff when you're at work? I ONLY print elsewhere when I need very large format prints or I'm trying to save ink costs on large documents or books. So, don't rely just on FEDex - get a good inkjet if your working at home.

    Another thing - I've spend a small fortune on supplies because they usually require mockup and initial sketches done by hand. Plan to have a nice work area, a light table for tracing, a cutting mat and blades, plenty of sketchbook and tracing pads, color-aid packs, mounting boards, portfolio cases, and a rolling case to haul your stuff in. I've done only 2 semesters and I've probably spent a couple hundred on ink pens alone! The graphic design program is expensive... but I think it's a worthwhile investment.

    Of course, if your emphasis is on web or computer based media, then your requirements are going to be different. If I were you, I'd ask the department before you go crazy spending money.

    Oh, and so far, I've NOT had the need for a graphics tablet. Like I said, most stuff is done by hand and then scanned in to the computer where it is refined or traced in Illustrator.
     
  9. HerbyGunther macrumors member

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    Nov 24, 2007
    #9
    I would suggest at least a Wacom Intous tablet. A good chair is also very important. You don't want injuries. Perhaps a Pantone swatch (not sure what it is called) would be useful if you do a lot of print. And a lot of of design books! :D
     
  10. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

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    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #10
    It might be worth while waiting for your supply list before you go out and spend a fortune on stuff. I know many professionals (myself included) that don't have all the stuff you seem keen on buying. Heck most of us don't even have or use a tablet.

    Yes a 30" display, a large format printer, a SLR and a tablet will all be fun to have and will help, it might be over kill.

    And for CS4 you may want to see if the school offers any kind of EDU discount or purchase program.

    I'd say a MBP and an external display would be a good start until you have a better idea of what the school would like you to have.
     
  11. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    SLC
    #11
    at my school, we can rent the DSLRs and have many mac labs we can use, as well as the wacom tablets being able to be rented (for free of course). See if your school has an equipment cage..
     
  12. Andyee85 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2009
    #12
    Thanks to everyone that replied. Im just going to purchase an external display and a DSLR, and then wait to see what I need when school starts.
     
  13. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    #13
    I'm finishing up a BFA in GRD in a few months. I don't have any classmates with a 30" display. I know one who plugs into a 19" at home, but the rest of us have 15 or 17" MBPs. You'll find yourself working away from home so much that even if you get the 30 you'll either find it bigger than you need (being used to the notebook alone) or you'll resent working anywhere but home in which case you should probably just get a desktop machine. Don't get the Apple 30, get a refurb Dell 24" and you'll save some $1400.

    As for those suggesting a tablet: I have one at work and one at home, and I barely ever use them. It's good for illustration, which I don't do enough of, and for retouching, for which I'm proficient using a mouse. If you're into illustration, get one, if not, try one at school and see how long it takes for your hand to jump back to the mouse and forget the pen.

    You already have the camera, which you'll need, but think about getting lenses. A good macro lens is a must, and a wide angle is often useful.

    CS4 is good, but there's no compelling reason to spend the huge extra $$.
     
  14. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

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    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #14
    Can't believe nobody's mentioned an external hard drive. Backing all your projects up is really important. Otherwise, wait and see what your school has before you buy too much stuff.
     
  15. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    #15
    Very good point. In my program you do an exit portfolio review, and there are about 5 people in my program who have lost varying amounts of their work to hardware failure, theft, or bad organization. They need to redo some of those projects from scratch.
     
  16. Andyee85 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2009
    #16

    I could only imagine having to do projects from scratch do to poor organization. What external is recommended?
     
  17. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    #17
    Whatever works. Some people swear by one HD brand or another, but it's pretty commonly agreed that they're all the same reliability-wise. That applies to the drive inside. The enclosure is different. I don't have a lot of experience there, I just know that I got burned by a bad power supply on a LaCie drive, and so did loads of other people according to their support forums.

    http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=414&name=External-Hard-Drives
     
  18. Andyee85 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2009
    #18
    Do most people in the industry use wireless mice or with a cord? Mighty Mouse or Other brand. My personal preference is Logitech with a cord!
     
  19. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

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    Location:
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    #19
    Then stick with that. Using a cordless mouse isn't going to make you a great designer, and sticking with a corded one isn't going to hold you back. Work with what you're comfortable with. I use a wired microsoft mouse in studio and a wired mighty mouse at work... they both work fine.

    I have a lacie external hard-drive, and it's been perfectly reliable for me. Every drive is eventually going to break, so you're going to find plenty of horror stories online about every company that makes drives. I'm going to be purchasing two more externals soon, and I plan on building those myself instead of purchasing them preassembeled.

    In studio I have a 30" ACD. I'm the only student in the entire graphic design department with one, and it's definitely over kill. It was a "gift" from the manager of the local apple store after they screwed up and lost my 23" ACD that they were supposed to send in for repair. I never would have bought it otherwise. Most people in studio have an external monitor, and there's a pretty good range of brands and sizes, most between 20" and 24".
     
  20. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    Norfolk, UK
    #20
    I use a ms natural 6000 wireless mouse (strange angled mouse thats really good for ergonomics :)) as like said, if you've got to use a mouse for long periods make sure you're comfortable using it :) I stand by a view that a mouse (and keyboard to a point) are some of the most personal aspects of a computer as everyone is different and likes different features/styles etc
     
  21. flrazor macrumors member

    flrazor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    #21
    Ditto on the bad power supply on the LaCie external, but my warranty covered everything and it got taken care of really quickly. I only used it for Time Machine, so only data loss was old backups I didn't really need. I just put in an internal HD into my G4 tower that was as large as the LaCie was to replace it and it's been amazingly better (seamless) for backing up with Time Machine.

    As far as Creative Suite, I'd see if the school has discounts or bulk licensing options first, then if you have to buy your own on your own go for whatever's available. CS4 from what I've seen is just fine, but if you already have CS3 I'm not sure it's worth upgrading if you've got other spending priorities.

    Only other real recommendations I'd have would be to top your RAM off if you can to utilize all the software you're going to be handling. Also you should invest in a good case/bag that will let you carry all your equipment safely and securely with lots of expansion space.
     
  22. Andyee85 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    #22

    Im sure I can find the info buy searching, but what is my best option when it comes to RAM, and does upgrading do anything to my warranty?

    As for the bag, I recently purchased the Incase Nylon Sleeve Plus.
     

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