Computers / Software

Disk Storage
Which Computer? Which Software?
Other Advice


Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 11:47:21 EDT
Subject: Re: illustration: Digital Book Production

Phyllis H. wrote:

"Since you've done recent book artwork on did you send it to the client? Did you send it along on a zip disk with a color proof? If so, what kind of proof? Iris, Giglee???"

I sent a CD actually (ships better) that I had burned at the local (high-end) printer that was doing MATCHPRINTS for me. I couldn't afford to do the whole book, so I did a huge sheet with parts of each spread so that HB had something to "match to" for THEIR proofs (that come from S. China). I think next time, I'll just have IRIS prints done of a few spreads (not spend the money on MATCHPRINTS), and knowing that I use the same palette throughout the book, the other spreads will look fine if the "sample" spreads look good. If any need minor tweaking, that, of course, happens with press proofs anyway. I will be speaking about this (to a small degree) in my presentation at SCBWI-MI's Fall Retreat in Oct. I'll post my presentation notes to the group if this list would like me to. -- Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 05:56:22 -0700
From: Karen McClelland
Subject: Re: illustration: Zip Disks Missing!

I have the same problem but plan to solve it when I buy my new computer in two months. I'm going to get a re-writeable CD ROM, and althought the re-writable CD'S are expensive (I'll just save those for myself) the writeable ones are pretty cheap, about a $1.50 apiece. In the meantime if I send graphics to a publisher before then that already hasn't returned two of zip disks, I will add the charge on.

Karen McClelland

-- Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 14:25:15 EDT
Subject: Re: illustration: Zip Disks Missing!

Well John, we shopped quite a bit before we bought and got a philips which ended up dead in 2 months so we returned it and got a Yamaha...It is much better and burns CD's at 4x....I don't think it is worth getting a CD-RW though as the fastest we found were with ours it takes about 15-18 mins to burn 650 mgs...not bad ay? but if you have a clone...powertower to be exact...Toast won't work with it...we have archive over 150 zips full of stuff as well for a fraction of the we have free zips to fill up with temperary files, which is still the most convinent. It has already paid for itsself! I just love this stuff!


In order to burn a CDR, you will need a CD Recorder for about $400. They usually come with a piece of software from Adaptec called Toast. After you follow the instructions for installing the recorder to your Mac, all you have to do is drag the images to the Toast window and then write the files to the CDR. You can only write onto the CDR once, but you can get them for $1-2 each.

We really debated for a long time on jazz or zip, but this is why we went with a zip...
1) you're putting alot of eggs in one basket if one jazz disk fries.....oh and they do fry... then you've lost a lot more
2) to ship work out on...a jazz would be wasted and a lot of the times it is a very big hassle getting back the disk and they cost sooo much more
3) If you need to Archive...get a CDR.... it is much more economical


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 15:06:38 EDT
Subject: Re: Re: illustration: Zip/Jaz

I'm new to the list, but I worked for six years at a service bureau and then a color separator (and was recently laid off--I'm ecstatic), and we HATED Syquests. They were slow, unreliable, difficult to mount at times, and went bad for no apparent reason. Zips are much faster and reliable, and way more affordable, especially now that many new Macs are shipping with internal Zip drives. I guess it all depends on your personal experience, but I'd pick a Zip over a Syquest any day.

Also, somebody mentioned that service bureaus don't like working with Corel files, and BOY is that true, mainly because Corel is incompatible with other software and with most of the high end output systems I've worked with. Also, if you're thinking of buying a page layout program, most service bureaus prefer Quark over Pagemaker.

Just my two cents.


By the way, I have used MacZone, MacConnection, MacMall and MacWarehouse; and the one with the BEST customer service has been MacZone.


Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 13:46:22 -0500
From: "Christina A. Varela"
Subject: Re: illustration: ram

"Anyone know of a cheap place to buy ram for a MAc?

MacZone 1-800-248-0800. While your at it, check out the new G3 processors to turn older Macs into hi-grade machines.

Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 21:41:09 -0400
From: Lula
Subject: Re: illustration: ram
Try Chip Merchant - this ad from Macweek.

We've ordered and so have others we know - they're reliable and have the best prices. They have lots of other stuff for Macs/Powerbook too.

I have a Macmall catalogue that has a Wacom 4"x5" with Painter 4.0 for $199.99. I know that's not as good a price as what you mentioned, but their motto for computers is "We'll beat any price on any computer!" Maybe they'll do the same for software and perpherals? My suggestion would be to search the websites of these places and see what you can find.

I found a really good auction site, called "ebay." Maybe you have heard of it? I get a lot of my software from there, as well as manuals. You'll save HEAPS!


I'm sorry to say that I think your PC is a bit under-powered for most graphics applications today. You probably want at least:

· a pentium 133 or higher
· 32Mb or, better still, 64Mb of RAM ... the more the merrier
· 2 Gb of disk space or more
· a WACOM or Calcomp drawing tablet

As far as software, the first question is whether you want vector-oriented or raster-oriented applications. Vector applications tend to excel at drafting and drafting-like illustration ... things with hard edges, clean lines, "perfect" looking color blends, etc. Raster applications, on the other hand, tend to give more painterly results, resembling airbrush and traditional media looks.

On the vector side, the biggies are Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand. You won't go wrong with either one, though some people have strong preferences for one or the other.

On the raster side, the biggies are Adobe Photoshop and MetaCreations Painter (formerly Fractal Design Painter). Photoshop is really designed for photo retouching. While you can create original artwork in Photoshop, it's not its strength. However, it is an absolute powerhouse of image processing tools, conversion mechanisms, etc. Painter, on the other hand, is designed for creating artwork with tools that mimic conventional media. There are pastels, watercolors, etc., and you can design your own brushes, etc. It's chock full of creative tools, most of which you'll probably play with once and then settle down to a few basic useful ones.

So, it's really a question of what kind of work you want to do. If you're used to working with conventional media, in a "painterly" style, Painter is excellent. However, you'll probably also want to get Photoshop for tweaking, color separations, etc.

The down side is that to buy a complete new computer system and all the software you want, you could easily spend $7000. You might want to look on the used market for hardware. Technology changes so fast that lots of very capable equipment shows up in the used market.

Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Streamline
Fractal Design Painter
Fractal Design Expression
Live Picture (infrequently)

These are the core of everything I do electronic.


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 12:54:29 EDT
Subject: Re: illustration: Software for Illustrators

I use QuarkXpress and love it for book far as I know...Quark is the only layout program used in all the major Children's book publisher...I think I have worked for almost all of them...I don't know anything about other publishers I would suggest investigating in the publishers that you are interested in. Call their L and P Dept. and ask them.

Photoshop...well that is just a must Illustrator (for the publishers I work with) is the one to go with...but I like Freehand better for a lot of things. I have had a company refuse Freehand files...even EPS's because they were to big...wouldn't even take them resaved in Illustrator. But again ask your target market which they prefer and make your choice from that.

If I could only have 3 programs those would be the ones I would pick. But it is for a specific target.


"My question is what kind of software would you more experienced illustrators recommend to a starting illustrator."

1. Photoshop
2. Painter
3. Illustrator
4. Expression
5. F/A-18 Hornet 3.0

- -Mark

The iMac is a great machine if you are planning to continue designing greeting cards, but if you get into more serious and larger graphics, you'd do better getting a G3 with its more expandable options for future use such as ram memory slots and PCI bus expansion.

The iMac screen is about 15" and pretty good, but a large Trinitron screen is better for graphics in terms of seeing colors, sharper graphics and will not halo or bleed (colors) as the monitor ages.

For the best comparison on these computers (there's a comparison chart)
- - check out the Apple store on the web where they'll list all the specs
- - I don't have the URL but it's easy to find with a web search.

The iMac is still one cool machine and can do a lot at a good price but it has its limitations. I was even tempted......but will wait for the G3 or 4.



One tidbit: You can join the Adobe Developer's Association (ADA) for about $200, and this entitles you to buy almost any Adobe software package for $100. If you're planning to buy more than one (even upgrading PageMaker costs $150), this could well be worth it. See the Adobe web site ( for more info. It may be under "support" or something like that. I don't remember the exact layout of the site, but it's there somewhere.

Apparently Adobe has revised their Web site, so the info on the developer's association is harder to locate. You have to go to the "Index" for the site, which lists this for the Adobe Developer's Association:

The site just mentions "product discounts on Adobe application programs and training classes" as a benefit of membership. As recently as 3 months ago, the deal was that you could get any application that had a developer's interface (ie, could take plug-ins, etc.) for $99. This included Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. The limitations were:

1) one copy per platform (mac, win, unix) per year
2) for development use only ... NOT for resale

I can't guarantee that the prices haven't changed, but you could certainly check with them before joining.

Also, the ADA has 5 different "programs" including:

1) printing technologies ($395)
2) graphics and publishing ($195)
3) Frame products ($1000)
4) Acrobat ($495)
5) Acrobat reader plug-in ($100)

I think the last one is just for registering plug-ins, and I don't know if it qualifies for the software application discount.

- -pd

Another way to get discounts on software is if you qualify for an educational discount, by being a teacher or student. Adobe offers terrific academic discounts on its software (full versions, not upgrades).
You can find academic-priced software at

Any Mac people who want the TTConverter as well as a Mac utility that will unzip PC zipped files (these fonts, as well as most other PC files archived on the internet are zipped), let me know and I'll see about a mass mailing.


-- Lightning Strikes and Surge Protectors

One should always use a "surge protector" to protect your equipment from harmful spikes in the power line. The summer months are an especially critical time with thunder storms and chances of lightning strikes. The lightning can be miles away and still do destructive damage to your equipment. The best protection during this time is to PULL THE PLUG from the wall receptacle and also the telephone line connection to your modem. I know from experience because my modem got zapped about 2 months ago with surge protectors in line. Surge protectors can be bought now with the manufacturers guaranteeing replacement of any damaged equipment while using their product. Make sure you read and follow the instructions for the use of these protectors, in case something does happen beyond your control.

Be sure to send in the registration card. These protectors are fine and dandy and are quite cheap (less than 15 dollars). I now have one of these protectors guaranteeing my equipment but I still plan to pull plugs, if I don't forget, when there is a chance of a storm. A little extra precaution can save hours of headaches later.

Don't necessarily go for the cheap. The price has to do with the amount of amperage it can handle and a cheap one may easily be overwhelmed. Pulling the plug during storms even if you have one is still good advice. Unless you have an expensive, ($400?), power backup, those little surge protectors can still be wiped out by lightening hitting something and sending a large spike through the lines. They really aren't meant for lightening strikes but for the more normal surges and spikes that occur even in nice weather.

If you don't know what's what on your system , (so you can tell whether or not to turn them on or off in extension manager or purge them altogether), check out this URL for complete descriptions:

The Mac Pruning Pages

In particular, check out The Content Pages listed at the bottom for info on panels, extensions, inits, etc...

On a Mac you can take a "screen grab" snapshot of the desktop by "Command-shift-3", it makes a cute shutter sound, The resultant file is saved as a PICT at 72dpi and if you crop out all the palettes you have a nice small file that when opened by your client looks just like it looks to you (allowing for differences in monitor quality). I send them by email to show clients visuals about 16 Million times more useful than a fax. I know the key shortcuts will be different for an IBM but there must be an equivalent because I've been sent PC desktop snapshots to include in my collage illustrations.

best wishes,

Paul ;^P

Paul Shorrock, Illustrator.
London, England.

In case you haven't been... PowerWatch is a great site for anyone having problems with a Mac. It's sort of like having your car break down at an auto-mechanic's convention.

Though it was originally for PowerComputer users... they have added an iMac group... and have general forums on the Mac OS, Mac Software, etc.

The message boards are a great place to get quick answers about SCSI cabling and video card upgrades....whatever.



"Where are good lists and sites on the web for Mac info?"

The iMac has its own website:

The MacResource site has tons of news and links relating to the Mac:

The Mac Pruning page is great to tell you what you need and what you don't on your Mac:

MacDownload (brought to you by the folks who publish Macworld magazine) has cool utilities and other stuff to download:

More Mac shareware to download:

Lotsa links to Mac-related sites:

Repair info, FAQs, suggestions, etc., mainly for PowerComputing computers, but a lot of the stuff pertains to Macs in general:

From: Peter Davis
Aha! Memory allottment. I forgot that you have to do this. On the PC, memory is allocated dynamically, as much as necessary. On the Mac, you have to decide on how much memory to allow the application.
If you Mac users are having trouble, trying upping the memory allocation on your browser.

- -pd

Actually, my phone line isn't even used. I'm connected to the net via the TV cable system. It's uses an external modem and ethernet card. I'm always connected. No more screaching modems. No more busy signals when someone calls. And best of all, no more waiting for anything to download, at least 99% of the time.

We're fortunate enough here in Sarasota to be one of the few cities where Comcast, our cable company, has already installed the fiber-optic lines that enables all of this cool stuff:-)


Stuffit decodes MIME attachments wonderfully.


Try downloading Decoder from Harmony software. It's a very small program... It's the solution to all mime file problems.

They're at:

Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 15:07:09 -0600

I'm a user of Bryce. I love it. It's a great program. Although it is intended as a landscape generator, it is not limited to it. I have used it to do some logo design and 3D abstract painting. I love the interfase too (it was made by kai krause), though many people doesn't like it. I think the main point with the interfase is that it permits anyone to enter the 3D world (usually with a big step curve to learn) easily and with high quality results. But that doesn't mean it has not very powerful features either.

The last version (Bryce 3D) even has animation capabilities. If you are interested I think you can download a demo copy at the Metacreations site:

Jose Ma. Sosa

I just learned there's such a thing as computer glasses. I'd never heard of them. They really help with eyestrain. The company that makes them has a site at With computer screens your eyes are constantly trying to focus because text and lines are moving and blurry. These glasses somehow filter all that and give your eyes something solid to focus on. Sounds good to me.


Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 17:55:29 -0500
From: Wendy Christensen
Subject: Re: illustration: computer glasses

Hello, fellow illustrators...

Although I usually don't reply to the list, in this case I shall make an exception. The PRIO test is designed to test your eyes specifically for how they are exercised by staring at pixels (which are Gaussian in nature, and require constant, rapid refocusing of your eyes, which were not, after all, designed with pixels in mind!) all day rather than at the usual visual landscape. I got the test, got the glasses and have been using them for several months.

In my opinion, they really do work! In fact, it's like night and day. I used to get fierce headaches after several hours staring at the screen. Now, I almost never have a problem. There is nothing "magical" about the glasses themselves. What differs is they way your eyes are measured. Rather than measuring your vision for normal work, the test puts your eyes up against gaussian (pixel-like) stimuli. Then, you need to measure (accurately!) the distance you sit from the screen. The prescriptipon is based on these data.

Although it may seem wasteful to have a pair of glasses JUST for computer work (and they aren't any good for normal seeing), if you spend any amount of time staring at a screen, you will appreciate the difference. In my opinion, it's well worth the extra cost to have a special pair of glasses just for computer work. Your costs are the exam itself, plus the cost of the glasses (which cost no more or less than any other prescription glasses). No, I am NOT on their payroll! (I wish!) Just a really, really happy customer!

The gating factor, as far as I know, is that the availability of this test is not yet, by any means, universal. I was lucky in that one of the "early adopters" and chief cheerleaders for the PRIO test is my former eye doctor (Dr. David Friedman) from the town I used to live in in Mass. (Westford) which isn't too far from where I live now. So I was able to go see him to get the test. The way I found out about it in the first place is that he was the guest on one of those early-Sunday-morning "public service" radio shows, raving about the PRIO system. I caught the show by sheer chance!

(the no longer blurry-eyed)
Wendy Christensen

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