Question about graphic design on mac vs windows (or linux)

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by iceblade, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. iceblade macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    #1
    Hey, guys (and gals), I just had a question about graphic design and stuff. It seems like everyone always says 'oh, macs are good for graphic design.' But, what makes them any better then say, windows? Photoshop is cross platform compatible now, and I would assume most other tools are (I admit, I don't know the other tools that graphic designers use besides photoshop).

    Thanks, just a real quick question I thought of, and figured you guys would know better then anyone else.
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    People say that but they're not sure what they mean. It's a holdover from the 90s.

    Biggest advantage of using a Mac in design is kinda like using Windows in the rest of business. All of a sudden, it's your machine that is the defacto standard... which means far fewer problems with file translations and font problems. Particularly font problems... even with TrueType and OpenType there are still a lot of Postscript fonts and users out there.

    It used to be that setting up a calibrated workflow was far easier in OS X than XP, for instance, but since I've never used Vista or read anything about Windows 7 in this context, then that may have changed too.

    There are also differences between the way windows are handled which makes certain tasks easier moving between apps on a Mac. But if you're working inhouse and have to work on a PC setup, all the keyboard shortcuts for industry-standard apps are virtually all the same. Things have moved on since the late 90s...
     
  3. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #3
    my personal view is this, if you are familiar with a particular os then stick with it as to be honest 95% of the programs are the same in both performance and feel now (cs4 is nearly identical on both os's for example). Anything made in os-x will open in windows and vice versa and the benefits you could gain from say moving to os-x from a well setup (I would say any graphics type people will have tinkered with windows settings and have the standard anti virus etc setup already) windows machine would be lost as you would need to learn aspects of the os.

    Vista in my view is much better in just about every respect (excluding network speed strangely) than xp, its workflow is better (after the initial short learning curve) and by the looks of it windows 7 could be better again. Calibration isn't an issue if you use an external device to monitor your display etc but even the inbuilt one in vista isn't too bad.

    There is still one stigma I would say holds true - walking into a meeting with an apple laptop makes more of an impact than say a dell although sony aren't far behind apple these days.
     
  4. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #4
    They arent better. All the programs are exactly the same.

    With Mac Pro's being so stupidly expensive I would say that from an expense point of view PC's are better for graphic design simply because you can get the power you need without having to pay extra for the power a special effects rendering house needs.

    There are plenty of reasons why someone might like working in OS X more than Windows, but thats just using the OS in general and their issues arent always the same as someone elses issues. Windows will not hinder your graphic design abilities in any way.
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #5
    I would not hire a carpenter who made purchasing decisions based on the price of hammers. Neither would I hire a graphics designer whose computer purchase was based on the price of his PC.

    The thing that you don't seem to get is that a computer is more than a computer and a few applications. It is an environment. These things become extensions of their user.

    Without question, there are excellent graphics designers who use Windows-based PCs. However, there is a much greater percentage of graphics designers who use Macs. As someone who deals with documents produced by Windows-using professionals, I can assure you that their work product requires a lot of editing before I can let it go forward. The problems are due both to limits of the skills of the users as well as limits to their computers.

    If you produce documents on a Windows machine, then 9 out of 10 times your audience will know--and not is a good way.
     
  6. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #6
    That doesnt make any sense, what exactly about Windows creates limitations when designing? I used to work on the same files between both Mac and PC all the time and never ran into a single issue, they produce exactly the same files. And its graphic not graphics.
     
  7. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

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    California
    #7
    I don't think you can measure talent by the tools used. I don't think it mattered what type of brush Michelangelo painted with, it's the person doing the painting. With that said, I prefer the work flow better on an Apple, but I don't see why someone couldn't be just as successful with a different computer? Comes down to preference.
     
  8. xtrmntr13 macrumors newbie

    xtrmntr13

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    Dec 29, 2008
    #8
    I think it just looks better if you have a mac.
    windows is almost the same when it comes to software, workflow, etc but they are too normal/average compared to macs
     
  9. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Charleston, SC
    #9
    In terms of software, there's really no appreciable difference. And frankly, the tools you use make no difference in your design ability. I can design just as well on a Mac as I can on a PC.

    In terms of workflow, however, the Mac wins hands-down. The Mac interface has lots of little features that will save you a surprising amount of time in the long run allowing you to complete more projects and potentially make more money.

    The Mac has advantages such as quickview, exposé, and the way it handles file windows overall.

    Quickview - allows you to highlight a file in the finder, hit spacebar, and see a preview of the file. This works mostly on images (including PSD files), but also text files (including Microsoft Office docs). Very handy when looking for a specific image in an images folder...and much quicker than having to open each one in a program just to view it.

    Exposé - allows you to see and navigate to all open windows. This is much better than seeing a bunch of yellow folders minimized in the taskbar. OS X even will tell you the name of the window when you hover your mouse over it.

    Interface - Windows puts all file windows within a root window. So all of your InDeisgn and Illustrator docs are contained within one large window. OS X does not have a root window. So you can conceivably put a Photoshop window on top of an InDesign window. This makes transferring files from app to app significantly easier.

    Again - your work will not look any different on a Mac or PC. If you're a good designer, you can create award winning work in Microsoft Word and MS Paint (although I can't say I can recommend that combination). OS X is advantageous for users who have multiple programs open at once, and are constantly switching between them. Windows is just not designed for that.
     
  10. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

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    #10
    I disagree. The price is set by the market, not by the amount of money the designer put down on his computer. And once you bring "PCs are better [insert reason here]" to the table that sets off a whole separate argument that's been covered before..


    Well said. That's my thoughts exactly.

    Most applications are the same in both systems - due to third-party development. However, I find the Macintosh system to be more intuitive (and I've used both extensively), and therefore easier to use, more productive and a bit faster for me... but that's simply based on my own usage.

    I've also noticed that certain clients hold me in higher esteem if they see I have a Mac - whether this is due to the notion that Macs are more expensive (which is becoming less of an argument), because Mac is associated with creative types, or because of the 'geeky' flavour to the brand who knows. << This is a shallow reason indeed, but comes as a nice perk. :)
     
  11. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #11
    In a press production environment, there are a number of useful utilities that are Mac only. For example, some Markzware utilities but even they're extending products to Windows now.

    The entire question entirely depends on what sort of design environment you're working in. We never used to take on freelancers who worked on PCs, too many font problems which involved massive reflow and the like.

    It's better to use a Mac, most often, because you're working in an industry where they have the upper hand. But if you're entirely self-contained, whether as a freelancer, illustrator or as part of an inhouse setup, and only need to send out PDFs and other standard file types... then use a PC if you want. The issue has changed a lot over the last 2-3 years. I've done crap work on a Mac before, and quite OK stuff on a PC. I just happen to like using a Mac better.

    Edit: One massive advantage of using a PC in an inhouse corporate situation is tech support and full network integration from an IT team who, generally speaking, usually prefer to leave Macs alone.
     
  12. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #12
    There is one area where Macs still score a clear advantage: font display.

    Achieving as close to absolute fidelity to the printed version was, and remains, an underpinning of the OS at a philosophical level.

    Windows' approach to font display is "good enough", which it is for almost every person except someone who is setting type. It's a brave man (or woman) who adjusts the tracking, or manually kerns type by eye on a Windows machine.

    The Windows approach of WYSISBNAWYG (What You See Is Sometimes But Not Always What You Get) does not make for confident typography.

    Accurate colour display to print has always (in my experience) been easier to achieve and a lot less hassle to maintain on Apple systems as well.

    If those two issues don't have any direct relevance (ie - you're not designing directly for print) then everything else comes down to personal preference and pragmatic considerations like cost and IT support.

    Cheers

    Jim

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  13. rockdog macrumors member

    rockdog

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    N Idaho
    #13
    Based on my own experience I would echo some of the sentiments already posted.

    Because of the variety of work I have to do, a PC is required and my boss is always more than pleased with my design and graphics work.

    But that said, I believe it's all the little things about the Mac that cumulatively just seem to make the process nicer for design.

    I know this is purely subjective, but I just enjoy the process more on a Mac.
     
  14. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

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    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #14
    I am one of these, who uses PC for their everyday design and illustration work. Why? Simply, because most of the software, that i use daily is available for (or even only) for the PC.

    I do illustration-work and i use mostly a combination of three tools (sometime four - Photoshop): ArtWeaver, OpenCanvas and ArtRage. Only the last one of these tools is also available for the Mac.

    I don't have problems with the interface of Windows. I think, it's quite intuitive, since file operations, like copy/paste/rename/etc. can be directly made inside Open/Save dialogs (in Finder you'll not find that option, only if you use Default Folder X).

    Anyway, i still much use traditional art techniques (especally watercolor, pencil, acryllics, gouache), so the computer is only an addition, nothing mroe.
     
  15. portent macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 17, 2004
    #15
    Font and color management are still slightly more robust on the Mac.

    For the most part, though, the designer makes the art.
     
  16. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #16
    I like Macs better. I use them at home and at work. But the reality is, there is no difference between a Mac and a PC when it comes to graphic design. The software is the same, and if you use Adobe products it even looks (mostly) the same. Whatever you feel comfortable with is what you should use.
     
  17. apple2E macrumors regular

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    CA
    #17
    I use both mac and pc at work. There are differences between the two especially in graphic design.

    One Giant helper for me on OSX is Expose. I work with multiple files along with multiple applications and being able to control your full canvas saves much more time compared to PC.

    PC handles fonts much better than OSX if you don't have some type of font suite. They can be added to the system without having to be reboot. Also in some programs such as illustrator you can browse fonts by using the dropdown menus while in OSX you really can't browse fonts as well.

    Then it also comes down to operating system also. That's another can of worms that i'm not opening.
     
  18. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #18
    PCs do not display fonts better than Macs, the reverse is true. Windows mangles the subtler aspects of font display to accommodate the OS's less sophisticated pixel display.

    You cannot rely on Windows to display fonts as accurately as the Mac does.

    I also don't know what you mean by having to reboot when installing fonts. To my memory, this has never been Mac OS's behaviour when installing fonts ...

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  19. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #19
    vista has made improvements to font handling and in some peoples opinion it is better than os-x (quick google gave this link) but in my opinion this is more of a personal thing and the display can have an impact on this too.

    However mac's handling of fonts and integration with font management programs is in my opinion better than windows (if anyone knows of a decent windows management program that can disable/activate fonts temporarily on demand please post it :)) Windows can get seriously bogged down by a lot of fonts as to the best of my knowledge it can't disable fonts as easily as in os-x.

    As to fonts needing a reboot, never heard of ANY OS needing that except maybe for a system font.
     
  20. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

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    #20
    This, is the same, reason that I like Mac... I like that on the Mac it does what it is supposed to - renaming files, for example, is not supposed to happen within the "Save As" dialogue. I mean to each, his own but this is one, reason why I like Macs better.

    Okay that's weird. As much as I detest the OS and would love to put another plug in it, I never had that trouble with Windows..
     
  21. apple2E macrumors regular

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    Sep 22, 2008
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    CA
    #21
    I'm sorry, let me rephrase that. You can browse fonts on the PC from the drop down menu better than Macs. Type a word out, use the direct select tool and select your word, click on the top drop down menu and you can browse the fonts by simply pressing the up or down on the arrow key. It automatically changes the word to that font on a PC but it doesn't work that way on a mac. (illustrator).

    When I install fonts I have to reboot illustrator or whatever cs suite program I'm using for the font to load compared to the PC loading the font automatically. Hope that clears things up.
     
  22. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #22
    I can't remember how the programs behaved in CS2 or earlier on my Macs, but in CS3 fonts are available as soon as you install them, without restarting the program.
     
  23. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 13, 2008
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    Wellington, New Zealand
    #23
    At the studio I work at, I am the only macintosh. All the other designers work on PCs. We have very little issues moving projects across platforms, tho we do seem to so most of our print "finish work" on one of the macs.

    Note that the studio does a lot of interactive work, and the PC -- as a platform -- has been a more important target for us when doing web development, actionscript programming, 3d work, etc -- there are also more tools, etc. etc.

    The PCs guys started on mac and moved to PC out of convenience. They are not interested in going back. I was an early mac user, moved to UNIX (SGI IRIX) then returned to the mac with OSX.
     
  24. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #24
    Please don't take this the wrong way, LeviG - I've read enough of your posts to know that we're broadly of a mind on many issues, and I'm always interested to read what you have to say even when I disagree.

    However, I have a number of issues with that link.

    Firstly: George Ou is a renowned Microsoft shill, whose opinion I would no more trust to be unbiased on MS's side than I would Daniel Eran Dilger's on Apple's.

    Secondly: the article in no way contradicts my point, since it retreads the argument about font display for everything but typesetting:

    Thirdly: I don't look at Ou's screenshots and draw the same conclusion as him. I see fonts that have, in Windows, been hammered into shape to fit Windows pixel-grid.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  25. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #25
    disagreements/differing views are all part of a forum, discussions would be rather dull if we all had the same view :)

    I did say it was a quick google (we all know how helpful google can be at times :D) and the date isn't exactly new either but it was more to show it was a subjective matter (wasn't saying your view was wrong :)) and as I said for me its more down to personal tastes and the display used as we know that all the major os's use a different approach to rendering fonts these days - maybe open cl (as a cross platform standard) will help with this :confused:.

    But there is one thing that link does show and that (atleast in my opinion and theirs too) is that vista is better than xp which was more of my main point than saying which is better or worse. I'd still love to have some of os-x's font features in windows as like I said the os-x management of fonts is a lot better than windows.

    Apple 2E - still can't say I've had that issue on any os.
     

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