Quark Xpress v8 - You CAN go home again

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Jim Campbell, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #1
    Well, who'd'a thunk it?

    There's a whiff of a freelance job on the distant horizon for a client who still exclusively uses Quark Xpress. It would be a multi-page job, so it's pretty much Quark or nothing.

    At this point, I should explain that I was a VERY early adopter of InDesign. Having cut my teeth on Quark 3.31, and spent the first six years of my career using it almost the the exclusion of all else (setting newspaper display ads ... if you had enough time to do a logo in Illustrator, you were having a slow day).

    As I recall, v4.0 was a bag of, erm, hurt and started the rot. It deleted guides and erased style sheets and was generally a pain the behind. At this time, I'd managed to get my hands on a copy of ID 1.5 and was convinced enough of its merits to start using it on freelance jobs. By the time InDesign hit 2.0 and Quark 5 came out, it was a no-brainer. Quark wasn't OSX native and we were getting reports from people who had upgraded that it was nothing but trouble ... plus getting PDFs out of Quark was always a bit problematic.

    So, I literally haven't used a copy of Quark for eight years, and not since 4.2. However, they now give you 30 days free trial so I thought I'd have a look.

    What do you know? The interface still resembles the one I used to know so well, it feels a LOT less cluttered and confusing than the mess that Adobe's interface designers seem hell-bent on conjuring up these days. Within ten minutes, I'd reacquainted myself with the bezier tools, figured out the layer system and located the drop shadow options.

    Verrry nice. Quark and I may be about renew a long-abandoned relationship!

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  2. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
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    Charleston, SC
    #2
    The old interface is nice and all, but I suppose the most important question about Quark 8 is whether or not Command+Option+Shift+K still does what it used to do.

    That's honestly the one feature I miss in InDesign.
     
  3. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    Dec 6, 2006
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    #3
    Is that the same as CMD-ALT-SHIFT-Delete?

    The one that invokes this little chap?

    [​IMG]

    If so, then, yes. It does.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #4

    Me. Got the new QuarkXpress. It's rather nice and I still hold its interface is superior for page layout, however its discomfort with PDFs and the lack of many bells and whistles makes it seem like the eternal bridesmaid but it's still a very relevant piece of software in many UK studios.

    I haven't used InDesign CS4 yet.
     
  5. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #5
    I think you may be right. The bells and whistles in InDesign are kind of a sugar coating that makes you more accepting of a less friendly interface.

    The first thing that came back to me when I launched Quark after all these years was the way that the interface just stays the hell out of your way and lets you get on with the job.

    Adobe seem to be intent on replicating the same functionality across multiple apps, with the consequence of cluttered, bloated applications.

    Why the hell would I want vector drawing tools in Photoshop? Why do they keep loading text handling features into Photoshop? Am I correct in thinking that Illustrator CS4 supports multiple pages now?

    Surely, they'd be better streamlining the apps back to their core functions and integrating them?

    I'd forgotten that there was a certain elegant simplicity that characterized Quark's interface and functionality. It knows what it's good at, and just gets on with it.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  6. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #6
    I have to agree that this is what irks me about InDesign. Quark seems so much easier to use, despite its 'quirks'. You would think it would be the opposite since we use Adobe's setup for every other app. But no.

    Still using 6.5.
     
  7. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #7
    Do you think this is true? Or is it just familiarity? Quark is the program many of us cut our baby teeth on, and knew by heart because they went years and years without an upgrade.

    Depends on your needs... as an interface designer Photoshop is MY quark (or indesign). I use it as a layout tool and use features like vector shapes every day. (one could say that the whole web 2.0 look is entirely driven by photoshop vectors and layer effects).

    I can't see Adobe simplifying their products. These programs grew from singular uses rooted in print publishing. Today, innovation in most of these programs is being driven by the needs of interactive, not print, and each program has to be targeted across multiple audiences to remain profitable.

    I do agree that multi-page Illustrator is a feature I do not want. I wanted illustrator layer comps, and I can only guess that multiple pages is a way to give some of that functionality. I am counting the days until one of my design students turns in a book designed in illustrator.


    Absolutely. Quark didn't lose marked share simply because it was slow to implement features... it treated its customers terribly and drove most of us away. I have not heard in the past few years that Quark has changed its tune about its relationship to customers...
     
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #8

    No, it has. About 2-3 years ago, they started changing their tune dramatically... I was also the licence administrator in our studio and they started bombarding me with stuff, event invitations, surveys... even the occasional phone call.

    And when the time came to work through some installation and serial issues, they couldn't have been more prompt and professional about phone calls and emails. It was about the same time that they introduced educational pricing for single licenses and enabled two installs for individual licenses. They've changed a lot from the bad old days; they had no choice. In fact, I found them easier to deal with than Adobe (UK, at least).

    Most importantly, the steps between Quark 6 and 8 show a marked improvement of finally including and improving features that customers have been bitching about for years.
     
  9. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #9
    Although, am I correct in thinking that you still can't get a gradient fill on text without converting it to boxes first?

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    Probably. It's not fired up as I type... but perhaps not being able to do gradient fills on type so easily might not be such a bad thing. ;)
     
  11. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #11
    How the hell am I supposed to do my wet floors if I can't put a gradient fill on my text?

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  12. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    Sunny, Southern California
    #12
    I am just curious... you say the interface gets in the way. Do you ever use the "tab" function to hide and un-hide the tools? I use it all the time for keyboard short cuts that I haven't memorized yet.

    I am just curious if this is what you are referring to.

    As far as photoshop handling type and vector shapes. I will agree with what the other poster stated. Photoshop does a lot more and it now needs to play nicer with other apps.. ie flash/dreamweaver and indesign. Not to mention illustrator.

    Very interesting to hear you like quark again after all these years. I for one do not have any plans on going back but it will be interesting to hear some of the cons/pros of those switching back to quark again.
     
  13. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #13
    I use [TAB] all the time in Adobe apps. Bear in mind that I'm an old hand with these things - starting with Photoshop 1.0 (a hand me-down copy - I think the current version was 3.0 at the time) , Illustrator 5.5 and InDesign 1.5.

    I was just struck by the relative lack of clutter as soon as I launched Quark 8, and pleasantly surprised by how easily I was still able to access InDesign-y type features like transparency, drop shadows, type on a path*, without the veritable flotilla of palettes that InDesign presents you with.

    I'm not welcoming the old app back with open arms just yet, I was just struck by the way that Quark had managed to shoehorn new features into the old workhorse and yet somehow managed to keep the interface under control in a way that seems to defeat Adobe at present.

    Cheers!

    Jim

    * Yes, I know type on a path first appeared in v4 ...
     
  14. Kwill macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #14
    Thanks for the update. Though my production beginnings go back to the literal desktop (drafting table, X-acto knives, rubylith, technical pens), QuarkXPress was my first page layout application. It was a tearful moment when I realized the tool I had grown so fond of and even taught classes in was no longer as worthy as InDesign.

    It is tempting to purchase the upgrade if for no other reason than nostalgia. I really don't think I would bounce between two totally different workflows though. Maybe, as you say, I should reacquaint myself with the 30-day demo.
     
  15. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #15
    Heh ... I served my time as a paste-up monkey, slaving away over a hot waxer with a steel ruler and a scalpel.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  16. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #16
    Not to age you to, but man that seems like soooo long ago! :)

    I have never been exposed to that. My first exposure was photoshop 4, illustrator 5 and page maker, can't even remember the number.... but I never laid out items with rulers and hot wax!

    I mean this with the upmost respect. Not trying to be a smart a##
     
  17. MarkangDemonyo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    #17
    Nostalgia.

    I also started out in a pre-press+print service firm and the thing i miss the most is the smell -- the combination of the proofing section and the contact cement.

    What's a rubylith? I was in the layout section and I wasn't that involved with the other sections.

    Oh, and here in Asia we're more Adobe users so it was PageMaker for me. We do have Quark here where I work but we use it just to open files from our global office. Using InDesign now, tried playing with Quark but it reminded me too much like PageMaker (in looks) which I was trying to forget. I was probably dazzled by the interface in InDesign (I'm probably already desensitized by the bells and whistles of Adobe apps). Will play around with Quark some more to find out what you mean. Might have a hard time tho if it still doesn't output PDF as easily as InDesign.
     
  18. geeman macrumors regular

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    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    At My Mac
    #18
    it might be too little too late, but I think that v8 shows the results of Quark's new friendly attitude. 'Real' drag-and-drop, bezier tools that work in the same way as Illustrator, native .ai file handling, etc. are things that should have been there long ago, but at least they're here now. I notice that they've also dumped Quark Passport and added the functionality into v8, which is what should've happened from day one.

    Making PDFs is now easier, and they've included the latest Ghent Workgroup PDF output profiles, which is all good stuff. However, Quark is still internally outputting PostScript and converting to PDF, offering the opportunity for possible interpretation errors.

    JDF job jackets and an XML-based native file structure are all great. But surely the biggest hole in the Quark argument today is Adobe's PDF Print Engine strategy. Having the exact same interpreter across all Adobe desktop apps, as well as RIPs that adopt APPE, means better and more consistent interpretation, right? With all the recent complexities that have been introduced into PDF (transparent objects, layers...) that must bring peace of mind to premedia and print companies.

    Or have I drunk too much of the Adobe Kool-Aid?
     
  19. Kwill macrumors 68000

    Kwill

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    Mar 10, 2003
    #19
    More nostalgia

    I remember the hot waxer and galley proofs from the quick-n-dirty paste-up shops. One-Coat rubber cement was the choice of professional production houses. I was looking at a well-preserved mechanical a couple of months ago fro the 1980's. That's how good One-Coat is.

    Rubylith (or Amberlith) is clear film with a thin red or orange coating. With the precision of a surgeon, we skillfully cut through just the coating and peel it away for the sharpest edge possible. It was great for preparing logos. Back in the day, it was comparable to vector illustration from Illustrator. I still have a roll in storage.
     
  20. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #20
    I don't consider myself an Adobe fanboy, but I was an early adopter of InDesign since 1.5, and have always found it a breath of fresh air. They were the first to be palette driven, versus the stride breaking dialog box approach, and the PDF generation was best integrated from early on.

    What I am is a Quark hater, which goes back to the days of managing the tech and licensing for a sizable design and production studio. I always hated calling the Quark office, the attitude and policies made me dreamer of Quark killers. They may be changing their song now, but it's like offering flowers to your girlfriend AFTER you cheated on her, stole her money, kicked her out of the house, and then waited for her to find a nicer, richer, better looking guy.
     
  21. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
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    Charleston, SC
    #21
    I miss waxing various things and sticking them to the wall. Those were the days.

    Anyhoo - Quark is doomed. v8 may be a step in the right direction, but they are never going to survive without some sort of desktop publishing suite. Personally, I'm a bit surprised they didn't end up with some of the discarded carcass of Macromedia that Adobe spit out (i.e. Freehand). But oh well.

    You can't survive with Quark alone, and with Adobe's pricing structure, it really doesn't make much sense to buy Quark in addition to Adobe Creative Suite. Quark needs a photo app and a vector app. And a website app. And to suck it up and license PDF creation from Adobe. Otherwise, in this economy, people aren't going to shell out the extra money for Quark when CS4 comes with InDesign.

    And a little competition might prevent Adobe from becoming Quark circa 1995.
     
  22. Jim Campbell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #22
    I agree entirely. Had it not been for this hint of a future job that might pop up for a Quark-only operation, I certainly can't imagine having looked at it again. I merely noted my pleasant surprise when circumstances meant that I did look at it again ...

    Cheers!

    Jim
     

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