Mac or PC for concept art?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by FaultyGluestick, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. FaultyGluestick macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    #1
    I've always wanted to be a concept artist in the gaming industry, and I've just decided it's about damn time to make it come true. I'm currently in my first year of computer sciences, and desperately trying to switch out to fine arts, so I have ample time to decide on a machine I that can later put to proper use.

    I'm deciding between an iMac and a PC I configured. The specs are:

    20 inch iMac - 2GB memory
    - 250GB HD
    - ATI Radeon X1600 256MB

    That comes to $1877 CDN after student discount.

    PC: -E6600 CPU
    -2GB OCZ Gold memory
    -eVGA 8800 GTS 640MB
    -74GB Raptor 10K RPM HD
    -500GB Seagate HD
    -(mobo, PSU 700W, blah blah blah)
    -(monitor, keyboard, mouse not included)

    Comes to $1993 CDN

    Just looking at it, the PC is a bitchin machine already, but I don't know, perhaps some of you can give me reasons why not to build a PC and buy an iMac instead. At first I was considering a MBP but I already have a MB, don't need two laptops.

    I know these will be outdated too soon, but I just need an idea of which I should buy. I'm figuring it would be no later than the end of this year...and no earlier than November.
     
  2. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #2
    It's perhaps too obvious to say but it's not about the machine, but the software. Your OS choice will depend on the software choice you make. While some may say the Mac gives you more options in terms of OS, I'd advise its choice only if you'll be working with OS X practically all of the time - if on the other hand you're going to be doing a lot of your stuff in Windows, in that case it just does not make sense to introduce yet another (non-core to you) OS into the equation, as well as going with a slightly more limited machine for the money in terms of flexibility.

    For me conceptual design is something I've done to date on paper and by sitting behind 'the CAD guy' and telling him what to do as I never really had time to fully get to grips with drafting & design software, and preferred others to handle the details in any case. I've made steps to correct this by getting familiar with conceptual design tools recently but I'm still at the relative beginner stage.

    The strongest industry accepted 3D tools for this sort of thing though runs under Windows, or runs best under it. However there are definitely options on the Mac and it really depends on what software you end up intending to use.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #3
    It's worth mentioning that, even at student discounts, the software you'll be using, presuming you'll be legal about it ;) will be a substantial portion of your costs -- can easily approach the cost of the hardware itself. Unless, I guess, you use open source. Which will probably be pretty challenging. If you were to do that, I'd get a system that has rock solid supported software by Ubuntu, without a lot of regard for who makes it. But otherwise, you probably ought to do your budget with software costs.
     
  4. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #4
    Indeed. Although I am often staggered at the breaks offered to students - presumably due to the fact that if it wasn't available for that much, they'd find a way to pirate it :p
     
  5. justG macrumors member

    justG

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Location:
    Orlando, FL, US
    #5
    The software/hardware is just a tool, it's your ability that matters, as well as how your tools fit into the rest of your life.

    You're getting a desktop because you already have a laptop. Well, what if you want to install your software on your laptop because you want to take it and your graphics tablet to go to a park and sit under a tree and sketch? It's a rarity to get both a Windows and a Mac OS software license for the same price (luxology does this with modo, but like I said, it's a rarity). There are plenty of software licenses, though, that let you install the application on both a desktop and a laptop, provided both copies are not in use at the same moment. In that case, I would think you'd want to stick with one platform for convenience.

    On the other hand, if software's not a concern and your primary concern is cost, then a Windows machine is cheaper. Cheaper initially, cheaper to upgrade. An iMac limits your upgrade options.

    Just playing devil's advocate here, another concern might be preparation for entry into the commercial (vs. indie) game industry, which is far more Window- than Mac OS-oriented.

    Finally, if your focus is on concept art, then the argument can be made that your current computer is powerful enough, and it would behoove you to invest the money in software instead. Of course, I know people using ArtRage for game concept art, a $20 application, so really, you need very little to get started on the path to making your dream a reality. =)

    Hope that gives you some food for thought, and good luck!
     
  6. FaultyGluestick thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    #6
    Ahh thanks a lot guys. It now seems more logical to build the PC. And the issue of software...well my uncle is a graphics designer so he'll be throwing his old copies of photoshop at me. :p Ahh yes, I'm also saving up for an intuos!
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    I think justG makes another good point that, if you wish to be in gaming, you may also end up wishing to learn some DirectX as you transition out of CS and into art.
     
  8. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #8
    I've done a spot of concept art with my own projects and professional ones. Normally the concept artist works elsewhere in the department already.

    At the moment I'm finding Painter X to be my application of choice. I believe it's on XP too but I've only used the OSX version. Totally depends on what sort of concept art you'll be working on. Character design, level/world design etc.
     

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