Why are Macs better for graphics work?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by valdore, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. valdore macrumors 65816


    Jan 9, 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri. USA
    What is it about Macs that make them the computer of choice for graphics? And subcategories of graphics like design, video, and photography?

    I use my Mac Pro as a photography computer in addition to using it as my "do everything else too" computer - and I definitely prefer using Mac OS X in my photo processing compared to how I did it on XP - but I can't really articulate why. Help?
  2. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I randomly get that message in Windows "Your program has stopped responding. Do you want to report this to Microsoft." along with a Send or Cancel response. It is very annoying.

    It is ok for business to get these errors since the thought process is more routine and pre-structured but not for creative people.
  3. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    In my experience, colour matching and font display are vastly more reliable out of the box. The fact that PDF technology is built into the graphics engine means that Macs seem to be much happier with PDF workflows as well.

    Time was, Apple and Adobe were good buddies and the Mac versions of all the big apps 'felt' more native on the Mac, but these days not so much.

    In a more general sense, you'll almost certainly spend less time swearing at your machine, and less time troubleshooting.


  4. ::Lisa:: macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    I agree totally with the above two posters. I was running photoshop for my own photography for clients and on occasion forgot to save after doing some things and at the end crashes and would have to do everything over again. Must of ripped my hair out.

    The colours, fonts etc are true also. Being a switcher myself I couldn't believe just how off straight out the box windows compared to mac are! Especially since I printed to test something at my local photo lab and the colour I got from my OOTB Mac matched their prints already!
  5. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    I think of it this way:

    For any of the fields you mentioned (and more), it's as much about workflow as it is about a particular app.

    So even if you had the *exact* same app on both platforms (many Adobe apps are close) you might have a very different creative experience or level productivity between two environments with very different workflows.

    Now, I realize I'm just putting off your original question, because I can't put in general terms exactly why I think the Mac better supports creative workflows (well, actually most workflows), but I'm sure it does. But it seems like any time you dig down into the details, it is better. Earlier posters gave examples that are important to them.
  6. tobywuk macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Both can do exactly the same image and graphic work, there is nothing one can do that the others can not. The main front reason I can see is that apple hardware has a much nicer design and may tempt a designer more than a boring PC desktop.

    The reason a lot of people go for macs is probably the same as everyone else. They are simple to use, easy to maintain and are very stable.
  7. pubb macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2007
    Until relatively recently, it was difficult to get multiple displays working properly on Windows. Macs have been able to do it very easily for quite a while now.

    A lot of it has to do with vendor lock as well - profs at art/design schools use macs so they buy macs for the art/design labs and students become comfortable using macs.

    While workflows may be different under the various OSes, they aren't THAT different. Besides, if the workflow was the be-all end-all, there would be NO major changes to apps, except for under-the-hood improvements. We deal with minor variations in workflow quickly by finding a new workflow and running with it.

  8. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    Except reliably display colours and fonts ... IME.

    YMMV, obviously.


  9. Z.Beeblebrox macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2007
    NJ / NYC
    I was never tempted by the design. It's really the operating system. It's more intuitive than a PC, which helps when your brain is busy processing on the creativity side, you don't have to think about how you're going to navigate through various applications on the computer and multi-task between nine different operations (all hopefully without error messages or crashes). Not to mention the OS is graphics-based, it's geared towards visual people. Also, I think you'll find the majority of professional printers work from mac platforms. Most will have PC capabilties, but for compatability and acceptance, it's best to stick with the industry standard. Sometimes the route of PC-based files causes printer compatability issues and time is money.
  10. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    This is going to sound stupid, but for me I feel more inspired when working on Macintosh. The windows environment is so ugly and backward to me that I don't enjoy using it at all. When I'm on my Mac I enjoy it, when I run windows it's a get it done and get off the computer thing for me. I suspect others might feel the same. The whole aesthetic appeal of OS X really puts me at ease and makes me feel like creating, that being said I have a tough time taking notes in my college courses with OS X because I just want to play around in photoshop and the iLife suite. I didn't have that problem with my XP laptop, but I didn't enjoy digital imaging with that one at all.

    Vista is trying to improve things for Microsofties, and it looks good, but it's still a backward non user-friendly Operating system with a pretty wrapper on it. The way it works is worse for me and the way I like things to work than XP was.

  11. Pooba macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    Chesterbrook, PA
    Macs in the graphics world

    From what I was told back in school. Macs were the first to use a mouse and had all of the Adobe programs (back in the 80's) at the time. Designers found a Macs easy to use and it took off from there. Its not Macs are better for graphics its the creatives pros took to it. Macs for creative & PC's for work. :apple:
  12. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    In a lot of ways, it's really more about the operating system, which in turn affects the creative workflow.

    Windows tries to act as a bridge between the computer and the program. That's why you oftentimes have the operating system beeping and giving you errormessages or useless dialog boxes.

    Mac OS basically tries to hide from you and be as silent as possible so as not to hinder your workflow.

    Even dragging and dropping file icons from window to window (including save and open dialogs - much handier than it sounds) is just much easier.
  13. brad.c macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2004
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    In addition to agreeing with the above posts, let me add:

    It's harder to put your soul into your design, if you've sold it out in the first place, to work with an uninspiring platform. Windows killed my inner child.
  14. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Well up until I went vista 64 bit my windows rigs are just as productive (for me but I started with a windows rig first) as any mac is, most shortcuts are the same when you adjust to the keyboard differences. Vista 64 and 32 bit cs3 doesn't seem to get along as well as it should do. It's slow to start (I think this is due to superfetch doing its performance boosting :rolleyes: - gamers have the same issue) and it seems to crash a little more often (actualy it crashed on xp sometimes), I put it down to a combination of lazy adobe and microsoft changing the os to work differentyly to xp.
    Due to this issue I've actually gone dual boot with vista and xp, the performance benefits 64bit vista have given me in my 3D programs (64 bit coded) is worth the hassle on the rare ocassion it screws up.

    As a general operating system vista seems fairly good (although not as spritely as my old tweaked xp) and where the program is fully vista certified there seems to be no issues what so ever and the overall os is more stable due to the stricter drivers with the 64bit os.

    I would say the main benefits to a mac is the supposedly stable os and the lack of 'complications' although from what I have read tiger to leopard seems to have some of the same issues as xp to vista.
  15. maxrobertson macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2006
    That's true, and in a way it still does. I had a job where I had to use Photoshop on Windows XP. The windowing system in Windows doesn't lend itself well to applications like that. You need a menubar, so they have this big window that has all the other windows inside it. You can't drag them out of it, so you have this giant window behind your Photoshop windows hiding every other application. It's hard to use.

    I strongly disagree. It's not always what they can do, but how they do it and how easy it is. There's a big difference in the Mac and Windows philosophy on a lot of things that are important to designers, like color management.
  16. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    Since nobody has offered the original reason for your inquiry, here goes...

    Back in the day macs were faster, period. Their RISC processors could perform more operations per clock cycle than pc's CISC processors. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, I think macs shipped with better graphics than the average pc. This suited macs at doing graphical work more than pc's. Also, it seems like there was a lot of new ideas and groundbreaking work on macs whereas pc's dos and windows v1 days had much more utilitarian beginnings.

    As for the current state I would have to agree with most of the previous posters. There are a lot of reasons: OS preference, integration, certified hardware and OS, etc.

    Interestingly, though, the modern day rationale for mac preference is totally different from the early days.

    Just a little side note, seems like most non-mac people have never had serious time using a mac while most mac users have had a serious crack at windows. Yeah, I know it's a blanket statement but statistically it's true. :D

    Windows logic doesn't seem to bode well, does it?

    Please, don't shoot the messenger. If anyone wishes to flame me, please keep it out of this thread and simply start a new thread addressing window's shortcomings, please! :D
  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    You can open a lot more apps / documents at the same time on a Mac than windows.

    You can install a lot more apps on the mac than windows without as much slow down as windows which has registery issues (installing apps without even using it in windows can slow down the computer!).

    Fonts are displayed more accurately on the mac, while on PC the fonts are over-sharpened.

    Macs are faster, even today. Same computer running Mac OS and windows xp, using Geekbench shows computation power available in windows is about 85% speed of OS X.

    Easier to work faster on Macs with keyboard short cuts. It is harder/slower to use keyboard shortcuts on windows, because many keyboard short cuts need the ctrl key, which is out of the way. In the time for a windows user to right click and drill through the menu, most mac power-users be done with 5 things already.

    Better design. Windows has too many colors fighting for your attention. Also, windows and if you can call it design is one ugly mofo. For the MS attempt to "design", see Microsoft iPod on www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeXAcwriid0
    (oh and make it repulsive turd or puke color if you want it to be MS product).
  18. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    I know what you mean on the window system In windows Photoshop was so uninspiring to work in the Mac version has to be at least 10X better for me it's just easier to work in and I love how the whole window is not enclosed in another window as it is in windows it's also faster and filters perform better as well.
  19. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2004
    You hit it on the head, but I would add this - a computer is essentially a tool to perform your desired tasks. It must be easy to use, give years of service with little maintenance and deliver the desired end result. Performing work on a Mac is a pleasure, the same cannot be said about Windows.
  20. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    There are a lot of reasons why theres like an old legend that macs are better. It stems from the fact that in the early 90's there wasnt even a windows version of Photoshop or other widely used programs. Windows also handled fonts very poorly and had no color management. The people who have been doing design for long enough to go through that still cling to that as if it were still true today, and they tell everyone about it (which must be true since its coming from a designer whos the head of the company). I had a design teacher that would always spread lies about PC's since he didnt know a damn thing about computer hardware, like how Macs had better monitors since he would only compare his ACD to his clients 15" Dell CRT with 800x600 resolution.

    The fact is that its outdated. Windows has many good font management applications now, and Adobe Gamma gets installed with any Adobe app allowing you to calibrate/manage profiles just as well as a Mac. Even video card drivers come with color calibrators now. Theres also many professional heavy duty color management kits that are both mac and windows compatible, those far exceed Adobe Gamma or the default OS X calibrator.

    Adobe apps are exactly the same, and perform the same. Well, Dreamweaver is leagues better on Windows for some reason, Macromedia made seriously half assed bug-supreme Mac ports and Adobe hasnt gotten to converting Dreamweaver to the Windows version yet. But I think there is something messed up with Wacom tablet drivers in Vista, it seems a little laggy, it was perfectly fine in XP.

    I think the background window in Windows is a matter of taste. Some people may see it as allowing you to focus on your work without the desktop or other windows cluttering the background, it also prevents you from accidentally clicking 1 pixel outside the window and having photoshop completely disappear (I HATE THIS SO DAMN MUCH!!!!! AUGH!). But some people may want to see windows from other apps behind it so they can use a reference or whatever. There are times when I want to see the background windows but the way Adobe apps hide themselves when accidentally clicking outside the window drives me absolutely crazy.

    I dont understand the whole "work flow" argument. I use both OS X and Windows for design work on a regular basis and not once has the look of Windows or anything else about the OS ever crossed my mind. Once I start working the only thing Im focused on is the work, I dont worry about what OS it is. Switching ctrl and alt/cmd for shortcuts is easily picked up, its like a sixth sense to me now.
  21. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Try going into device manager and disabling the wacom virtual hid driver. You lose the onscreen keyboard/handwriting recognition of vista (annoying to me as I found it handy) but it does help with the current wacom issues.

    And I must be of the new school of thinking as I don't see a mac as being better or worse than windows machines either, mind you vista 64 bit isn't helping me keep that line of thinking :)
  22. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2004
    Respectively disagreed, Fonts look awful in Windows, color management is questionable at best and apps performing the same, please my stomach hurts from laughing at that one. Do this simple test for fonts; take a screenshot of copy heavy page in InDesign on both OSs, the Mac will be true to the original design of the font. Next, try to work in a cmyk environment in Windows. The screen colors are so far out of whack to a proof it is not funny. Last, run a huge file in Photoshop, around 1 gig when open in Photoshop and see what happens. The Windows will disappoint you every time, either the app quits or the system crashes. No problem for Macs, plus I can have other apps running, printing to a wide format, have itunes running, browse the web, answer email, the list goes on. I've been using Macs since the IIcx days and am heavy into print media, my experience with both platforms tells me Macs are the only way to go when needing to produce work. Besides, the printing companies I deal with refuse PC generated files because they cause too many problems when it comes time to RIP the file for the press.

    As for workflow, Windows is like an rube goldberg machine, too many steps and obstacles to work efficiently. Add to that the insane windows that cover the desktop.
  23. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    And how are you comparing PC vs Mac? My teacher liked to compare the image quality and color calibration with an ACD vs a 15" Dell CRT, then say PC's have terrible color. A PC and Mac using the exact same monitor should have the exact same color calibration abilities, they wouldnt make professional calibrators for Windows if they didnt work. A proper test would need a proper control, like the same monitor and printer.

    I cant explain the font issue other than using different fonts or your preview settings in Indesign are different in the windows version? To my knowledge Windows or OS X does not handle font viewing in Adobe apps, Adobe uses its own font engine. I know it does so in Photoshop.

    steps such as?
  24. robotnik macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2007
    Edmonton, AB
    i believe it is the way osx allocates ram to different applications which makes jumping between them practically seemless (as a video editor i run up to 5 apps for a task...ugghh;)
    this might also help http://developer.apple.com/macosx/coreimage.html
  25. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    You have either worked on poorly set up windows machines or not set them up right due to your mac dependance. I can do all of the above (well except itunes as thats screwy) on vista 64bit most of the time, in xp there isn't an issue as it all works fine all the time. Vista for the most part is better at ram handling than xp although as I've stated has a few niggles which should be mainly resolved in sp1.

    As to printing company - well thats their choice but personally I can't see why a flattened pc image will be any different to a flattend mac image.

    Um what the one extra click to start a program or the additional few mm to the different button. The shortcuts for the main graphics programs are the same excluding the ctrl/option key etc.
    I want that explaining some more.

    And as for the window covering the desktop - not exactly an issue in my view as I don't like stuff behind my work and I usually have it full screen anyways.

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