Partially UPDATED DEC 2011:
… well, I could live without software of course, but being creative is very important to me. And my digital design software offer vital tools in the processes of my digital design, my paintings, my web work, and even my craft blog, FineCraftGuild.com
I’ve recently been shopping for graphics & digital editing software, and found some good deals on Amazon, that I thought I should share with you.
With the right tool, digital design is easy, fast and fun.
My focus in this article is on graphics software that (could offer) pro results for commercial design, and that can and should be used for all kinds of design. There is another ‘branch’ of creative software that supports the creative crafts of knitting, digital scrapbooking, quilting, pattern making, etc, etc. I will dedicate a separate blog article on these, evaluation the best ones on the market. Actually, I’ve written about this kind of software in ‘Craft Software‘.
Good Deals on Great Graphic Software
My #1 Favorite Graphics Tool: Adobe Illustrator CS4
Sometimes, you try to do something in Photoshop and it just does not work. That’s where Illustrator begins. Great for illustrations, web site embellishments, manga art, invitations, and what not?! I use Illustrator and Photoshop in tandem. Like the Butterfly Design I’ve created here by way of illustration. Made with Illustrator and then finished off with Photoshop.
Both Photoshop and Illustrator are ‘must-have’s in my digital toolbox.
Must-have Photo / Image Creating & Editing Software I Use At All Times: Photoshop CS5
Many people like Photoshop Elements, because it is considered a good option for photographers who haven’t spent the many, many hours needed to learn the full version of Photoshop. That’s not to mention the extra $ the full version will set you back.
I used to LOVEEEE painting on the computer, and my software of choice is Painter. Macromedia sold it to Coral and now it’s different but … still good. We’re now at Painter 12.
As well, I’d love to recommend this book: Learning Corel Painter X with Jeremy Sutton by my friend, Jeremy Sutton.
After purchasing his digital self-studio course (which I know he has put together with the utmost diligence and passion), visit his art website, http://www.jeremysutton.com. He is 100% committed to painting and teaching, and no doubt his brilliant sense of humor will shine through both his art as well as his self-study guides and online classes, which he may offer from time to time.
I’m lucky I have a little Einstein painting by him. Jeremy is one of those guys who has really taking Painter and made it his digital easel, canvas, brush box, …. ~ his entire ‘art studio’ is on those computers… (he has a few… . It’s funny that on his website, you can see him with a big psychical paintbrush, but honestly, I have NEVER seen him use one. Nor have I ever seen him in an apron. I guess it conveys that he is a ‘real’ painter, because he is. To me, it omits the delights of digital painting: absolutely no mess. Having said this, after intensive computer work, I need to be creative with my hands, natural things and ‘no screen’ for a while. I think that’s what really inspired me to start FineCraftGuild.com…..?!
I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 so I’m biased…
If you already have an older version, this less expensive option lets to take full advantage of the latest features of Premiere: Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 Upgrade
An inexpensive alternative to buying the full version of both graphics software packages: Adobe Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 7
Others may like Corel VideoStudio Pro X2
Get the lot, for the PC
- Enjoy feature-packed new versions of your favorite design tools; plus, discover innovative online services for collaborating, finding inspiration, and mastering your design tools, and use Adobe Fireworks CS4 for fast website prototyping;
- In Adobe InDesign CS4, easily manage placed files in the new, customizable Links panel; rotate the canvas in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended or the spread in InDesign; and combine multiple artboards in a single document in Adobe Illustrator CS4;
- Build rich documents by exporting an InDesign layout and adding animation in Adobe Flash CS4 Professional; prototype websites by opening Photoshop or Illustrator mockups in Fireworks CS4, then embellish in Flash or publish in Adobe Dreamweaver CS4;
- In Flash CS4 Professional, create simple but engaging animations in as few as two steps. Use Photoshop CS4 Extended to enhance video footage, even syncing visual effects to the audio track;
- Edit and manipulate 3D content in a streamlined interface–paint directly on 3D models without leaving Photoshop CS4 Extended; wrap 2D images around common 3D shapes, and create 3D animations by controlling movement, camera position, and rendering.
For a Mac
iLife ’09 lets you get the most out of your photos, movies, and music on your Mac with new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb and iDVD. In other words, it enhances all aspects of your digital life, on a Mac.
I have to say, digital music is really fun, so consider learning to play, starting a jam session, or recording and mixing your own song with GarageBand ’09. Very empowering tool.
Other great programs that are part of iLife are iPhoto ’09, which helps you to organize and search your photos by faces and places.
Then, design, publish, and update your own websites just the way you want them with iWeb ’09, and turn your home movies and photos into gorgeous Hollywood-style DVDs with iDVD …. sort of…
Last but not least, with iMovie ’09 you can create a movie in minutes or edit your masterpiece. To make a good movie will take hours and hours however, but you can actually produce something superfast, and that’s the beauty of it.
So, check it out: iLife ’09
As a complement to iLife, consider Roxio Toast 10 Titanium. This is is the easiest and fastest way to burn your music, video, photo and data files on to CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc for Mac. It also works on PC.
There is a lot of professional software to be had. You might want to start with the lite or student versions, and build up from there. As well, before buying a gazillion books on how to use your graphics software, browse the web, check out vendors like adobe.com and find some tutorials for you to start with. No doubt the software comes with a tour around the features of the software, which is another good investment of your time. Next, browse this site and other websites to learn digital techniques and digital how to tutorials to complete projects* and to create certain designs.
* if you are interested in a tutorial on how to make this butterfly in Illustrator, tell me below in the comments section.
Tomorrow we’ll take our noses out of the computer and do something with nature… Just for variety.