Graphic Design with programming?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by junker, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. junker macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #1
    I'm thinking about expanding my skills into programming to compliment what I've learned.

    I know very little about programming, just some VERY basic html... I'm a solid mac user and am apprehensive of returning to Windows again (although I purchased a book at Barnes and Noble of .NET and Visual Basic and am CONSIDERING trying to learn myself)

    I have a general graphic design background (worked in a few places doing design using Indesign/Photoshop/Illustrator/Quark) Have a fine art Education in painting and drawing. I've taken a class at a local Community College in 3D Studio Max and 2 classes in AutoCAD 2006.

    I've read a few Javascript tutorials this evening... but began to think that most of this (rollovers/pop-ups) could be done graphically with dreamweaver and I began to get concerned.

    Here's the question to you: Which languages, based on my creative approach to the web and design, would some of you recommend?

    I realize this might be hard to answer based on you not knowing which way I'm heading, but it's the best I can ask the question without rambling too much.. :) I guess I want to do a variety of jobs... graphic design, product design, maybe some 3d work/animation, etc, etc...

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #2
    .NET is a Windows technology and it is not free. There is, however, an opensource .NET clone named Mono. It requires X11. However, every Mac ships with Xcode, Apple's superb integrated development environment. All Xcode updates are free downloads from the Apple Developer Connection website. You may also buy REALbasic a Visual BASIC-compatible environment that is endorsed by Microsoft.
     
  3. motoxpress macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Personally, I would focus more on web standards (CSS, Javascript, Xhtml) and PHP. That combo will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go and it's all free with a lot of web resources.

    -mx
     
  4. tremulant14 macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I agree, usually web programming will be more useful with graphic design. However, you can use Xcode to program the C language and other languages, which I did for my intro to unix class. Programming is very tedious though, that's why I don't do it anymore. :rolleyes:
     
  5. motoxpress macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I should mention however, that this path has broken many a soul. If you truly have an artistic inclination, you will break against the wall of logic and algorithms. Spoken from experience. I know the syntax of several languages: PHP, Javascript, C, and other. I always break down when the logic and algorithms rear their heads.

    ...just sayin.

    -mx
     
  6. junker thread starter macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #6
    That is sort of what I am looking for - any idea about which one should/could be first (for a noob?). And as to your point about my artistic nature and the problem it might have, I do wonder about it, but I feel pretty determined. The idealism of "art making for a living" burns out a bit during a hard recession.. I also wanted to mention that I am 38 yrs old and considering this as not only a new career change but a compliment to the skills gained so far. I was hoping to go into the web direction - this would help utilize my graphic design skills... I was maybe thinking about .NET for database interaction. (am I wrong in that assumption?)

    Thanks again..
     
  7. skyton macrumors 6502

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    #7
  8. motoxpress macrumors 6502

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    #8
    The essential interaction on the web is with PHP printing out data from a MySQL DB into a form readable by a browser. I would find tutorials on beginning PHP which will probably include this process. Just do a search on "introduction to php" and you will find a ton of resources.

    .Net is only necessary if you want to jump on the M$ train. PHP has everything you need for web apps if you combine it with good front ends that might include DHMTL (AKA Ajax) and/or web 2.0. There are also a lot more companies looking for PHP devs.

    -mx
     
  9. junker thread starter macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #9
    Thanks - I REALLY appreciate the advice. I have a few programmer friends, but they are neither designers or Mac fans, so this has been great! I thought about learning Xcode at some point as well...

    So in summary: Study Html, Javascript, CSS, PHP maybe Xcode? I don't want to isolate myself into the Mac camp wholly, but I prefer it :)

    Any ideas on the order of study? Does one language sort of lead into others, in terms of logic, etc? I'd like to start with the easiest (of course) but maybe if one is more foundational, then I might start there instead.

    Thanks
     
  10. motoxpress macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Xcode is a totally different ballgame. If you want to develop Mac or iPhone apps them it is THE way to go. However, desktop app development is a very different discipline than web development. I would focus on one or the other actually.

    -mx
     
  11. wheelhot macrumors 68000

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    Nov 23, 2007
    #11
    I would prefer PHP and MySQL for database rather then .NET. Even though .NET seems like can do impressive stuffs, you can achieve the same similar effects with PHP and MySQL, plus these 2 are free and you can develop it on the Mac unlike .NET.

    I don't get it with Microsoft, they want to promote Silverlight yet they ask web developers to use their OS, Im pretty sure most web designer and programmers use Mac as their developing platform, why would we move to Windows just to try out something new and unproven while we have Flash which is both proven and has been in the market in the long time (Yeah I know Flash has its own weakness).
     
  12. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    If you look at the types of design problems we will be facing over the next 20 years, developing an understanding of programming is quite a wise move. I know that many design schools (including my own) now are introducing programming mixed into design curriculum at an early level.

    In my opinion HTML/CSS is not "programming". It is a markup and display language that does support a separation between form and content, but does not carry with it the logical concepts that are required to write algorithms.

    So, you have a few paths:

    1. If you do have web skill, HTML/CSS + PHP/Javascript. Php and Javascript are the programming languages here. The HTML/CSS are used to support the content, both structurally and visually.

    2. Actionscript. Growing from the flash program, Actionscript 3 is a programming language designed for visuals. It is mature and robust.

    3. Processing. Open source and free, Processing is an extension to Java. Processing was designed for visual artists and designers, and is made to simplify many of the areas where visual thinkers struggle when learning to program.

    I teach both Processing and Actionscript 3 as they have different strengths and weaknesses. Both have a collection of good books to learn from.

    Processing has a more helpful community of developers, as it is open sourced and centered upon experimentation and learning. Actionscript has (perhaps) a more viable economic model and a larger pool of professionals using it.

    Actionscript has powerful video and text support. Processing can do things in 3d that AS3 can only simulate. Both have lots of powerful libraries for things like physics engines, motion capture, tangible media etc. etc.

    In the past Actionscript 2 was not fast enough for some of our student work, and the project had to move to Processing. We have not had that problem (so far) with Actionscript 3.

    Of course, the great thing is that once you are familiar with the concepts in programming, the differences between languages are minimal. This is why we teach two at a time. Students soon can switch back and forth based upon their project needs.

    One note of advice: if you know nothing of programming and want to work with either Processing or AS3, I would suggest you learn object oriented programming from the outset. Many introductory programing courses teach OOP as a bit more advanced topic. I have found that the OOP concept of the "interaction of interdependent parts" makes sense to visual designers trained in composition.
     
  13. junker thread starter macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #13
    Wow - again, I say thanks! Lucidmedia, I really appreciate your dividing it out...I'm going to check out Processing 1.0 first.... matter-o-fact, I copied and saved this whole conversation.. :)

    I really appreciate the clear analysis and description of things- it is what I needed!
     
  14. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Happy to help. If you are going the processing route take a look at Dan Schiffman's new book "Learning Processing" (http://www.learningprocessing.com/). Dan is an educator and has a lot of experience teaching programming to visual thinkers.
     
  15. wheelhot macrumors 68000

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    #15
    lucidmedia, great writeup, yeah CSS and HTML is not programming cause there is no logic in it. JS and PHP and some other ones are programming for the web.

    Thanks for the links to, Im going to check out Processing.

    The problem I see in web development these days, especially in the era of Web2.0 (and soon Web3.0) is that there are too many things for a beginner to learn. A beginner need to know HTML and CSS (thats the most basic, and by looking at HTML5, things is not going to get easier for beginners), then they need to learn JavaScript because that's how to get most animations onto the web. For those who need more fancy, they will end up with Flash and Action Script but some people won't go down that route cause a fancy site doesnt mean its a good site.

    So after learning the 3 basic things about web designing, which is HTML, CSS and JS then they realize they will need some server interaction for database and etc. So here comes PHP/Rails or whatever (mySQL for DB and etc.). See the problem here? Too many things for a newbie to know. Then there is also this problem where a newbie need to know which is making their website AJAX, because most website these days have some AJAX functionality in it and learning AJAX for beginners and with all those extra codes that we need to know is a very daunting and scary process.

    Not only that, there is also bugs need to be fixed and some bugs is present only on certain browser which makes it even more frustrating for beginners. I consider my self as amateur only because I know how to use and modify the codes but asking me write a new thing on my own and fixing the bugs will take a long time at my level.

    Oh yea and how much money is a website developer paid to build a website anyway? I don't think its enough to justify the cost of learning all those codes.

    For me, something need to be change, there are too many things for a newbie to learn about developing that it will scare them away, soon they might be too few website designers/developers.

    I like the idea of Cappuccino compared to SproutCore. SproutCore requires you to have a good understanding of quite a number of stuffs where as Cappuccino only requires you to know Objective J which is a superset of JS, that's good for me although they are limitations programming under a framework.
     
  16. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I feel your pain. One of the challenges of "web programming" is that it is there is no consistent platform... things like browser inconsistencies, etc. mean that the sands are constantly shifting underneath you. This is why I suggest languages like AS3 or Processing. They do not suffer from such flexibility and create a consistent platform to create and evaluate your work. They serve as far better learning environments.

    While AS3 and Javascript are (in many ways) sister languages, issues like you describe make javascript much harder to learn and use. If I have a large JS/Ajax project I often find myself running to someone with specific expertise because I simply do not know the current pitfalls.

    People do specialize. No one knows everything. While I do learn something new each project I have a core set of technologies I fall back upon. When I hit the edges of my knowledge its time to bring someone else in.


    That is a topic for a different thread! People would not be learning/developing these technologies and doing this work day-to-day if it was not profitable.

    I have seen undergraduate design students knowledgeable in HTML/CSS pull in $80 an hour as a freelance rate. AS3/AJAX/JS programming would be billed at a significantly higher rate. (Note that I am in a city with a lot of interactive studios looking for skilled workers)
     
  17. wheelhot macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Aah, sorry for the thread hijack. That's interesting, $80 an hour...I don't know how America can do work based on hours, cause Malaysia working style is different.
     
  18. junker thread starter macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #18
    Funny that... I however, wanted to ask where he lived! :)

    I am a bit surprised by that myself - pleased, but surprised. I live in the Raleigh area of NC and it has a very high tech area called RTP and I would be amazed if that is the wage here!

    I was expecting 40-80k per year - not 160,000 per year!!!

    And I don't think this is too much off point either... one reason I head this direction is to make better money and have more reliable work. I believe the web tech is only growing in power and penetration into general life... so i feel it will be around for awhile - thus steady.

    I am concerned that it will be a bit overwhelming to learn thoroughly (even lightly) so many languages...
     
  19. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Well, keep in mind that the above is a freelance rate not a full-time job, so you can't make those kinds of comparisons... and rates fluctuate due to location and expertise.
     
  20. wheelhot macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Yeah so many languages. I always thought of web development as a side income :)
     
  21. niharikaasharma macrumors newbie

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    Oct 22, 2008
    #21
    help in designing a database

    i am new to this forum.....can anybody help me with designing backend and front ends of a database on a mac system.....which softwares shud b used???
     
  22. angelneo macrumors 68000

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    #22
    You will be better off in a new thread, also do you have any knowledge about programming, or you are just new to the Apple scene?
     

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