Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can PC’s be artsy?

Fans of Apple are all abuzz over the Mars Curiosity mission. That’s because NASA’s live feed of the mission has shown several Apple MacBook Pro laptops being used to monitor the probe. Mac aficionados are declaring triumph over the long-standing charge that Macs are only for useful for artsy stuff.

That’s fine by me. As a graphic designer who is only concerned with artsy stuff, I really have no dog in the fight. What I do want to know, however, is if now that the Mac has shed its artsy image, can we set aside the stodgy image of the PC?

I admit, I am an oddball amongst designers. I prefer to use a PC for my work. I like Dell machines if you want to get specific. This represents no animus toward the Apple brand or their products. I gladly use iTunes to sort my music collection as I think there is nothing better. Nor does it mean I don’t know how to use a Mac. I learned my craft on Mac computers. Besides, part of the general appeal of the Mac is their comparative ease-of-use (a debatable notion, to be sure), so the more apt insinuation is that I’m making my life unnecessarily difficult.

The PC just works for me in a way the Mac never has. Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain it. So it does no good to grill me on it and insist as many have that there is something wrong with me for not joining the majority ranks of graphic artists in working exclusively on a Mac. But I don’t need a Mac to be a graphic designer. Ten years in the trade ought to be enough proof of that.

I’m a professional and I use professional tools. Even when I’m doing something for personal use, I’m simply inclined to go straight to the tools that I know best. Those tools are readily available to me on a PC just as well as a Mac. The old assertion that Adobe doesn’t run as well in a PC environment hasn’t been true in over a decade. To be sure, Apple does have some amazingly sophisticated and easy-to-use bundled software for graphic and video manipulation. In fact, I’d say they win in that arena, hands down. However, I am not reliant on bundled software to do my work.

So again I ask, if NASA’s embrace of Apple can get us to recognize that the Mac is not simply for art projects, can we in this moment also agree that PCs can be artsy, too?


Patti said...

"I’m a professional and I use professional tools." this line made me happy, knowing you prefer a pc. the old adage came to mind: use the best tool for the job.

makes my angst less.

tryanmax said...

Patti, Glad I could make your day! And just so it's out there, I don't mean to say that a Mac isn't a professional tool. Just like any computer company, there are high-end and low-end models, and it usually takes something on the high end to host pro-grade software. For myself, I use a pro-model Dell. I would never use an Inspiron for serious work. Nor would I use a base-model Mac.

And one other thought: having gone through a wide range of different computers, including Macs, I'd say they are still one of my top favorites. Just not #1.

Individualist said...


the first rule of computers is

"in business you don't go weird"

The reason that Microsoft has had a stranglehold on the PC market in business is not that it is a stellar product. It is that Office is the standard used in business and in order to ensure files are compatable one had to use a PC.

I am not that familiar with MACs but are the layered image file types transportable among PCs and MACs or is there some work involved.

I would susspect that the ability to share and collaborate work might be a factor. I am not that familiar with anything other than Coral Products on a PC myself so I am not sure what the answer to that question is.

Also using MACs for NASA might be due to the complex calculations and the graphical requirements for software so this might not be a statement on what platform people will run Quicken on...

tryanmax said...

Indie, all common layered image filetypes are completely cross compatible and have been for as long as I've been designing. People have wrongly been under the impression this is still not so for longer than it was actually not so at this point.

I really don't care about any of the image issues besides the idea that serious designers don't use PCs. It's simply elitist BS.

As far as complexity of calculations and graphics goes, neither platform has a significant edge on the other in those arenas. Nothing I read indicates NASA to be using custom machines, which would blow the buzz out of the water.

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