What are the 'Must-buy' Mac Based Programs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thinkband, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. thinkband macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #1
    Hello,

    I am not sure if anyone ever posted something about this but.. I am getting a new Macbook pro (been a PC user my whole life) for college. My friends who own Macs have always told me how easy it is to create movies/music etc.

    I plan to get Photoshop CS3 as well as Microsoft Office 2008 when it comes out, but what about video editing, or music editing? Are there any programs people would recomend for a beginner?

    I heard of Garageband but cannot find it anywhere to buy, just through ilife. Should I get ilife installed on my macbook pro?

    I was looking at video software, Final Cut, for Mac and one costed $200 while the other costed $1300. What is the difference between these two that makes the price difference?

    Finally, what can Aperture do that Photoshop can't? Is there a need for Aperture if I have Photoshop?

    Thanks for any information or recomendation :D
     
  2. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #2
    Every new Mac comes with iLife installed as part of the deal. So you'll get Garageband for music editing and iMovie for Video editing included on your new mac.
     
  3. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    Hoosiertown
    #3
    aperture != photoshop.

    aperture for photographer who wants to manage photos and light work
    photoshop for photographer who does a lot of heavy graphics work.

    for movie editing i use final cut studio 2 because it bundled all those nice programs in one.
    i like TextMate for PHP and Ruby On Rails programming.
     
  4. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #4
    I've been using FCS2 but i'm gonna try out FCE4 because I just got it today. I had 3.5
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    First suggestion: Slow Down. The Mac comes with iLife which does all that most people need. Try that first

    Photoshop, Aperture and Final Cut Pro/Express each have a rather steep learning curve. You are not going to learn either of these in a week. Don't buy shoftware any faster then you can learn how to use it.

    Your Mac will come with iLife which includes Garage Band that is pretty good for music. It will record and mix multi-track midi and audio tracks. and it comes with many loops too. If you outgrow it there is "Logic Express" and then the full up "Logic". Use GB untill you have a good reason to upgrade.

    For video iMove is part of iLife. It is a very simple editor with only one time line. But it is free and easy to use. Final Cut is a big step up but if you know about editing and need to do compositing and keyframes and you have lots of audio tracks you need FCE. FCP lets you edit some "exotic" video formats used in the film industry. FCE is limited to video formats.

    Try iPhoto (part of iLife) Aperture is like a bigger iPhoto. You may not want Aperture. Adobe makes "Photoshop Elements" which is only about $80 and does everything a photographer is likely to need. Start with that then upgrade if required. (Adobe has an upgrade price so yo can't loose money on Elements.)
     
  6. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #6
    Excellent advice ChrisA!

    OP: The only thing I would add to this is if you are looking for photo cataloging, browsing and editing - consider Adobe Lightroom. It is a similar application to Aperture, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. You can find resources for each on Adobe and Apple's websites.

    Aperture: see here.
    Lightroom: see here.

    Both of these pages allow you to download trial versions of the application so you can try before you buy.

    That said, I completely agree that you should get to know the iLife applications first. These come preinstalled on your Mac, and give you many options to explore you creative side.

    Other applications I find invaluable on my system:

    Free Apps:

    VLC (for media playback when Quicktime just won't do),
    Handbrake (for encoding DVD's to various formats),
    Cyberduck (fantastic free ftp client),
    Adium (for instant messanging).

    Trial/Shareware Apps:

    iWork (particularly for Keynote - free trial already installed on your new Mac),
    Roxio Toast (for all kinds of CD/DVD burning),
    Papers (for managing scientific journals).

    David
     
  7. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    CANADA? eh?
  8. johny5 macrumors 6502a

    johny5

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    If you use Ebay then GarageSale (+garagebuy) is a great purchase.
    Usenet then you need "Unison"
     
  9. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #9
    Actually, most of us who use Aperture also use Photoshop. What we don't use is Lightroom, and Lightroom users don't really have need for Aperture. While your analysis is sort of correct, I'd quibble with the "light" and "heavy" labels and instead say that in the workflow, Aperture is a manager (with the potential to tweak images) and Photoshop is for image processing, and that they work together hand-in-hand, as do Lightroom and Photoshop.

    If your needs are such that iPhoto (included on your Mac for free) won't handle your library management needs, then you will be the sort of user who certainly wants Photoshop as well.
     
  10. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #10
    +1 for iWork. Bag the Office purchase unless you need to exchange files with POWER Excel users.

    +1 for Cyberduck, Adium and Handbrake.

    Other must-have video downloads...
    Perian and Flip4Mac to support Quicktime for sure (both are free).
     
  11. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    iWork, Adium, Handbrake, TextWrangler, OneButton FTP.

    Except for iWork, all others are freeware/donationware.
     
  12. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Up the irons
    #12
    Before you purchase any word processing applications please try NeoOffice.
     
  13. thinkband thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
  14. thinkband thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #14
    I appreciate the good advice.

    I understand what you mean by getting ahead of myself, it is just my brothers work in software companies and will be able to hook me up with good deals in programs since I am a student and a family member. I might not want to use these programs at first but I definitely am interested in digital video/photo processing during college.

    I have read some bad stuff about iLife 08. The older version is supposed to be better? I definitely can learn photoshop am in the process of doing that now.

    Questions
    -So I should get both Aperture and photoshop? Do I organize in aperture, and modify in photoshop? If this was the case, would aperture just be an advanced version of iphoto?
    -The only microsoft programs I have used are Word and Powerpoint. I like the idea of their notes program for students tho I have never used it. Which one is honestly better? Microsoft Office (for students) or iWork? What does NeoWork do differently than the other programs?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  15. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #15
    I have read some bad stuff about iLife 08. The older version is supposed to be better? I definitely can learn photoshop am in the process of doing that now.

    Questions
    -So I should get both Aperture and photoshop? Do I organize in aperture, and modify in photoshop? If this was the case, would aperture just be an advanced version of iphoto?
    -The only microsoft programs I have used are Word and Powerpoint. I like the idea of their notes program for students tho I have never used it. Which one is honestly better? Microsoft Office (for students) or iWork? What does NeoWork do differently than the other programs?

    Hey. I use iphoto, Aperture, and Pshop. IPhoto is the most underated app out there, it is very intuitive and reasonably powerful for quickly tweaking images. I used to use it in conjunction with pshop. Aperture is indeed iPhoto on steroids, and the image editing options are much more sophisticated. The interface I find is a bit harder to get and understand than iPhoto, but that being said, I think you can learn how to clean & correct images much quicker than pshop. Aperture is often put down as just an organization app, but I use it professionally every day to clean and adjust images (along with pshop). The difference is that with Aperture I can blow through way more images quickly, as compared with pshop.

    Why use pshop? Aperture has spot correction tools, that actually work better than I would have expected, but ANYTHING that requires multi-layers, type, etc. I still use pshop. Lightroom I think is just organization, but I haven't had too much experience with it, as I have been using Aperture since it was beta.

    Ilife comes bundled with your new machine, and you will be amazed how powerful and easy the apps are to learn and use. iMovie is pretty amazing, and my wife and kids were able to very easily put together some impressive movies. I don't know if I can claim that iWork is a Word "killer", but it is ok, and perfectly fine for basic word-processing. The powerpoint app is awesome & easy, the spreadsheet app is ok for what I use it for. I use iWeb (can't remember if that is part of iLife, or iWeb), and it is fast, especially for updates. It's not a dreamweaver replacement, but again the average bear can QUICKLY put together some pretty slick stuff with little or no training. The pages are a bit bloated, and I do not know how PC friendly they are, but all in all it's pretty impressive (especially considering the bundled app is about 79 bucks).

    Pshop is a good skill to learn, but I would bet you could get by without it if you had Aperture (unless you wanted to make composited images, etc.). Good luck...
     
  16. raxafarian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #16
    One thing to consider... If you have a windows copy of photoshop CS3 you can do a one time cross platform transfer to a mac license. The photoshop license is platform specific.

    The adobe lightroom license gives you both mac and windows' licenses.

    Lightroom and aperture have the same function. Download the trial versions of both and decide for yourself which you prefer.
     
  17. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #17
    If you don't know what they do or what the differences are, you don't need them.
     
  18. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    Hoosiertown
    #18
    thank you, you said what i tried to much better.
     

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