Mac testimonials:

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). 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.

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 06:45:54 +0000
From: Kelly Cheek
Subject: Re: illustration: computer illustration

"I have a dumb question for you. If I were to decide to go seriously into computer illustration, starting from scratch, what would be your recomendations on: computer (memory, etc) mac or PC & why, monitor, scanner, printer, & software? Digital camera?"

Hi Carol. That's not a dumb question, but it is a loaded one. Especially the Mac vs PC part. As several people on this list know, I highly recommend a Mac, but there are those who feel just as strongly about the PC. (Can you guys see me tiptoeing here? Now I know how Denise felt yesterday :) The bottom line is: you're going to do your best work using the tools you're most comfortable with. However, don't let anybody else determine that.

For instance, as I said, I recommend a Mac because (I feel) it is more intuitive and easy to use based on years of experience with both platforms, but don't make your decision based on that. Some people think I'm biased. At the same time, when you go to a computer store, the salespeople will, almost without fail, push the PC because they are more abundant and because they get a higher commission for selling them. So don't let the salesperson sway you any more than you let me.

As for memory and speed, the rule to go by is to get as much as you can possibly afford. It will never be enough. As you learn and master new techniques, software, etc., the amount of speed and memory you require will increase dramatically.

The other things - scanner, digital camera, printer, software - really depends on what you want to do on the computer. If you want to continue your same basic style, I'd say that Photoshop is a necessity. If you put together your own promotional materials, I'd also recommend a drawing or layout program. Quark and PageMaker are standards, but I much prefer FreeHand - it combines drawing and page layout capabilities. I've never used a digital camera, though it is on my long list of wants. But I'd say that either a scanner or a good digital camera would be fairly necessary too.

Kelly Cheek
EnvironMental Art
Editorial - Advertising - Licensing - Fine Art
Art Prints available - Pay by i-Check

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 14:02:32 +0100
From: Tom Byrne
Subject: Re: illustration: computer illustration

Hi Carol

Here's my simple advice. Go for a second hand MAC because the learning curve is not as slow, the machine is usually easy to understand in terms of setting up and you can probably get a fairly fast one for a little money second hand. Second hand mac's tend to come with the software of theprevious user on the Hard disk.

Why second hand. If you aim for a 200mhz machine you will get one fairly cheap. You will need a certain amount of time to learn to use the computer. At the point that you need to work at optimum speeds you will be about a year into it. Before then you will probably have been using the Mac for experimenting, learning and occasional jobs. When you are ready to do serious work any new machine you would have bought will be out of date. So then when you are ready to be really proficient you can go out and spend silly money in the sure knowledge that you are getting the best and that you like using the MAC.

Accessories. You will need at least 100mb ram (I recommend more), a Wacom Tablet, they have some really interestng new models out at the moment. A scanner, A4 Microtech does me fine and it's quiet old at this stage but works great. A zip drive (not essential right at once) for info transfer, like a floppy disk drive but one disk holds a 100 floppy disks worth of info. An Epson printer,A4 is fine but I have a Photo EX which does A4 and A3 and is superb. A good screen, colorsync by Apple are really good screens. Software, should be , photoshop, Painter, freehand/ illustrator.

Where will you get all of this second hand? Shop around the Mac magazines. Graphic design companies are ugrading their macs all of the time.


Date: Fri, 12 Feb 99 09:17:48 -0500
From: Mark Cable
Subject: Re: illustration: computer illustration

Oh goody! A Platform snowball fight! Let me fire the first shot: Mac, because it's lower maintainence and it works out of the box. I have several friends (non-designers) who have switched to PC's in the last three years and all say they still prefer the mac and will switch back as soon as they can get European Air War and Close Combat III for the mac.

I've got a beige G3 / 300, with 194 megs memory and a 4 gig HD. For a cheap, minimal (but workable) system look for one of the beige g3 desktop machines, I would guess you could find one at $1200 or so, or maybe less. Deal-mac mentions new, Blue and white G3/300 at $1599. If you want to go nuts, get the top of the line G3/400 at about $2900.


At least a 17 inch, no smaller. I have a ViewSonic GS771, which I highly recommend. Mine was about $500


Yep. Umax 1200 is a good cheap one, but if you're doing collage or scanning art for reproduction, I'd go up in quality and price.


I recommend a good inkjet, like the new Epsons. For better stuff, I have my eye on an ALPS 5000 at just under $600.

"& software?"

1: God's gift to illustrators: Photoshop 5.0
2: Painter. Yeah, I hate it but it's the only thing that will do what I want. Great idea, crappy execution.

"Digital camera?"

Don't have one. Don't have an opinion, either.

You forgot storage:

I recommend a zip and a CD-R.

- -Mark

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 08:17:36 +0000
From: Rodney Schey
Subject: Re: illustration: computer illustration

I just helped a friend purchase (I love spending other people's money) a PC with a 19 inch sony monitor, 450 MHZ CPU (zoom), 256 mg RAM (memory is really, really cheap right now), 13.5 GIG hard drive, Iomega internal zip drive, epson 820 (or something) printer, Microsoft small office edition for about $2500.00 so buying graphic software, a scanner and drawing pad won't break the bank. There are enough conversion programs to make using or converting to MAC files no big deal. She also got a 3 year warranty at no extra charge.

PC's are coming way down in price due to chip prices and to me for someone starting out in this business and with the way technology is crossing platforms (MAC and PC compatibility) cost becomes a major factor.

Go with whatever you are use to never hurts to learn more than one platform becuase believe me sooner or later they will ask if you know both or more? Just remember a computer is a computer whatever name they stick on it.


The latest Macworld magazine had an article written by someone who went undercover as a computer novice to test the salespeople, particularly in the big name computer chain who signed on as a big supporter of Apple (I don't have the magazine with me at the moment and I don't remember which one - CompUSA maybe). This person visited several stores across the country acting as if he knew nothing about computer platforms and with only one exception, he was led into the PC section. Even in cases in which he asked specifically about Mac, the salespeople steered him away from them, often because they didn't know anything about them. This goes back to the point I made about PCs being more abundant, so they're more well-known. And whether it's commission or other incentives, the salespeople are more driven to sell PCs than Macs.

I will be one of the first to admit that Apple has made some incredibly serious blunders in their business and marketing practices, one of which being the lack of support and training that they have provided to the sales staff of stores selling their product. But they are making big improvements in that area, and the Macintosh is stronger than ever. In fact, in measuring speed, performance and reliability, the G3s are a better value than any PC on the market.

Kelly Cheek
EnvironMental Art
Editorial - Advertising - Licensing - Fine Art
Art Prints available - Pay by i-Check

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 13:04:15 +0000
From: Lula
Subject: Re: illustration: computer illustration

Hi Carol.
In the graphics business, I'd say the Mac reigns supreme because it is the machine of choice for many graphics professionals. There is something technical here that I don't know the terms for but one of the factors why Macs are not affected by the Y2K business because of the design and engineering of the basic Mac OS and reason why graphics applications work overall better on Mac.

Overall graphics appplication on Macs have an edge still in color synching, printing and graphic applications.

Mac is a more stable platform overall - how do I know? We have both PC's and Mac's and the PC bombs more often in our office and in other in other companies we maintain Macs and PC's for - the downtime is what's critical when one is depending on a machine.

My other half Roger is a certified Microsoft, PC and Mac guru - works in a huge company and has maintained thousands of Macs and PC's for years so knows a lot about both platforms and this is his working experience.

If you want a PC - be aware not all PC's are designed equal - there are good ones and so-so copies - it is a virtual minefield choosing a reliable PC system compared to Macs which are standarized - one of the reasons why Mac is an easier machine to use.

Mac programs follow standard layouts and operations which makes Macs intuitive to use. Installation of software is easier on a Mac. The majority of Macs are plug and play - one can be up and running out of the box which is an important consideration for a newbie who might lack tech support.

I'm not saying PC's are bad just that Mac has an edge when it comes to overall graphics applications especially when it comes to computer art and from years of experience.

We bought our first PC in the early 1983 and our first Mac system in 1986.


Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 16:13:32 EST
Subject: Re: illustration: computer illustration

Hi, Carol, and welcome.

Although I work with a PC in my home studio, I received most of my computer graphic design training in a Mac and still keep up my Mac skills at a local copy center.

For a newcomer, I would recommend a Mac, since the Mac systems and programs still set the industry standards for digital designs. I'm sure you will get lots of responses from my list buddies why this is so.

I got into computer art about 5 years ago, and went to PC platform mainly for the cost. At the time, I got a pretty hot system for well under $2,000 while an equivalent Mac sold for about five grand. This is no longer the case and you can get a reasonably good starter Mac G3 with enough bells and whistles for around two thou.

For starters, get one at least running 300 Megahertz. There are faster ones, and if you can afford one, get it. In general, try not to pinch pennies at the beginning and find out about upgradability. Get the most Ram you can afford, as big a hard drive as you can, the largest monitor you can get, (you get the idea?)

And don't forget to get a good removable media drive for moving large files, like a Zip, Jaz, or Imation drive.

Beyond that, do your research. Asking this list is a good place to start. Read up on the latest systems in Mac type magazines. Check out their ratings and critiques. The last place to get advice on what you should buy is a computer salesman. You should have a pretty good idea what you want BEFORE you walk into a store with checkbook in hand.

Your most costly purchases will be the software you use. This decision is even more critical than which computer you buy. You need to ask yourself what you intend your computer to do, then find which application does this best.

Questions such as:

Will I be doing mostly photo manipulation or creating from scratch?

Will I be scanning in work, and then digitizing it?

Will I be producing finished work or will I be sending out to commercial printers?

Will I be working for clients?

Do I need a page layout program?

And many many more.

It's a big step, and one which may serve you and your career well. The choices you make now will determine how easy it will go later.

Vince Marine
Orion Graphics
San Jose, CA

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 16:51:00 -0500
From: Peter Davis
Subject: Re: illustration: Computer Choice Saga Continues...

I worked extensively with SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc) computers for a couple of years, but it was as a software developer, NOT as a graphic designer or illustrator.

SGI makes wonderful, reliable, FAST computers. But you will not find the range of applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter, etc.) on SGI that you have on the Mac and PC. It's possible that this will grow over time, as more and more software companies support Linux, an alternative operating system to Windows. However, it's not there now. For a designer/illustrator today, I would say definitely stick with Mac or Windows machines.

As for Mac vs. PC, I think you should try to find a Cyber Cafe or Kinkos or someplace that will let you rent some time, and spend 2-4 hours on each machine. Ideally, you would spend a few weeks, and try to do the same sample jobs on both. However, I doubt you'd want to spend that kind of time. But using them is the only way you're going to find out which style you really prefer.

Personally, I'm hoping Linus blows them both away. Unix is a MUCH better operating system than either MacOS or Windows.

- -pd

Well I read the same article, and take your point regarding believing an author of an article, in a magazine devoted to a particular platform. BUT - as a Mac owner/user I have experienced this treatment in stores *many* times. I seriously doubt that many (if any) people going into a big computer store would be steered away from a PC towards a Mac. This is one reason why there have been volunteers from Macuser groups who will go to CompUSA on weekends to talk intelligently to people about Macs.


Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 18:31:22 EST
Subject: illustration: Re: computer illustration

Hi Carol,
You might ask your local service bureaus if they prefer Mac or PC files. At some point you'll probably want to get film or printouts from them. I know around here they tend to gnash their teeth when you bring them a PC file.

I recently bought an Epson digital camera. The Epson PhotoPC 700. It's a pretty cool toy. Plugs right into the back of an Epson printer. You can also download to your computer or display photos on your TV. I would say it's NOT necessary to begin with.


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