Digital Studio

  • I'm looking and trying to figure out how to set up a digital studio with minimal impact until I can really get into a flow and upgrades can pay for themselves. In my previous life, I was an architect and I am(was - several generations ago) familiar with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, so I can use it but for cost reasons am very intrigued with Affinity. I am a Mac person. I currently use Procreate and I purchased the IPad version of Affintity until i really get a handle on working digitally for illustration and if I really like working digitally.

    Here is the route I am considering to minimize costs:

    • Upgrading my IPad to latest version and largest size and using Affintinty and connecting it to a monitor when needed.

    • As I am able add a new macbook and connect IPAD to macbook and monitor using Astropad to turn my ipad into a digital tablet(instead of Wacom/Cintique)

    What is your setup and recommendations? Do I really NEED Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator?
    What appreciate anyone's suggestions on how they are set up and how they worked up to their current digital studio.



  • Pro SVS OG

    Your intended setup is great to study, learn, put together a portfolio and get familiar with digital painting in all its facets. It is probably not enough if you're doing professional work for a client - specifically for publishers.
    It would be enough if not for a couple of "small" things. One is that iOS does not support CYMK. According to forums, there are some workarounds, but I've never tried them and they seem pretty complicated or the setups do not translate reliably. As of today, when I work on the iPad I need to transfer everything to my computer and convert to CYMK in Photoshop (with all the headache that that causes) to be able to send files to spec.
    Another very annoying thing is file management. I think I would go bonkers if I had to manage all the files that go into a book project from start to finish on an iPad. I also use heavily InDesign to package files for review and to do layout tests, and that would be quite difficult in systems other than Adobe.
    Apart from that, ProCreate is a wonderful tool. Affinity Designer is very good too (if that is the type of illustration you do) and you honestly do not need more than the iPad to create great illustrations.

  • @Susan-Knause If you're locked into the Mac way, you can save $$$ by building a Hackintosh. I did it with my desktop and run dual windows and Mac OS. Saved myself £2500 in the build. There are non-apple laptops that run MacOS without any problems too. I just find Apple Macbooks are way overpriced these days. They use inferior components when compared to other brands. Basically spending all that extra money for a logo. And they're hard to upgrade.

    HACKINTOSH guide

  • @smceccarelli said in Digital Studio:

    iOS does not support CYMK

    On my iPad pro both affinity and Procreate have the option of creating a CMYK document. Is this not doing what I think it's doing - should I still be transfering files to PC for a final conversion?

  • Pro SVS OG

    @neschof Things keep changing and I may be out-of-date: iOS has had a big new release last fall, and I‘m not aware of all the changes. So maybe that‘s ok now, though I‘m not sure I would trust it without some tests. RGB to CYMK conversion is one of the nastiest steps of preparing files for print....

  • @smceccarelli after a quick Google delve, iOS seems generally fine with CMYK but individual software might or might not offer the option. Procreate didn't support CMYK until the latest update to Procreate 5, but now it's there as an option.

  • Thanks all. Appreciate the feedback. Just trying to figure out how to build my way up so to speak.. good information for sure.

  • Another thing to consider, if you are going to have an ipad pro, will you need a laptop, or will a desktop computer fit your needs? iMacs have bigger screens and better processing at half the price of the macbook. Might be an easy way to knock a thousand or two off the total cost.

  • @smceccarelli The updates on the iPad are that it doesn't use iOS anymore. It runs on its own operating system now - iPadOS. So it has a much better filing system with folders and the user can connect hard drives/USB sticks direct to save on. Also the iPad has Sidecar, basically turning it into a portable monitor used with your laptop or desktop. You can even connect a mouse now.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @sigross Yes, I'm aware of the new iPadOS and the possibility to connect external disks now. I think this is a great way to enter into digital art with a minimum of expense and, as I said, it's definitely possible to do professional-level work on an iPad.
    After years of working with the Adobe suite on a fully-fledged workstation (not only as an illustrator: I worked as a designer, art director, and creative director), there are just so many aspects of the process that are easier and more efficient for me on that platform and justify the expense in full. I think it's perfectly fine, however, to use the iPad as your workhorse. I just think it wise to warn that the professional world moves in the Adobe space and you may be faced with some limitations if you ignore that completely. For example, I had a client send me the print profiles they wanted me to use on the finals. How do you install those on an iPad? What happens when you're sent layout files set-up in InDesign?
    I also have automatic backups set up for my drive, as well as a double safety net for files I'm working on right now, so that, even if my computer dies completely, all I need to do is unplug a drive and connect it to another computer and go on working as if nothing happened. This happened as well: one week before a deadline.
    I'm not questioning the power of an iPad and the way things are moving, it may well substitute tablets in the long run. Just reminding that it is still not the same as a computer and that ignoring Adobe software is maybe not the wisest decision. Every art director or layout designer you work with will be on Adobe: if you do not, you have to make sure there are no translation issues.

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