Hobby illustrator/ video editor - worth investing into MAC?
November 17, 2018 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Hi guys, I own a windows PC and got inspired by temporary trying out the Adobe software. I learned how to handle it on a basic level and would like to continue doing so, yet, honestly...600 dollars a year sounds like a lot of money. Since I have a non-related full time job, would you consider it worth it investing into Apple and their equivalents on the long run or paying for the Adobe subscription? Thank you a lot for being helpful!
posted by Salicornia to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Can you be more specific about the software you were using and what you liked about it?

For example, if you were using Photoshop: Macs don't come with an equivalent, but there are cheaper or free alternatives that have a lot of the same functionality (e.g. Gimp).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:41 AM on November 17, 2018

This isn't an either or proposition. If you get a Mac, you'll still need software for illustrating and video editing, and a lot of people use Adobe products on the Mac. There used to be a perception that Macs were better for this type of work, based on processing power and graphics capabilities, but that's not really true any more, and a lot of artists use PCs.

That said, there are also a lot of alternatives to Adobe products, so if the Creative Cloud is too expensive, people here can probably recommend alternatives.
posted by jeoc at 10:43 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yes, getting a Mac is kind of neither here nor there. The same software packages tend to be available for both Mac and PC, in terms of video and image editing. OSX does come with better out-of-the-box software for this stuff than Windows, but definitely not on the level of what Adobe offers.

Meanwhile, I paid $1,700 a year or two ago for what was basically the best 15" Windows laptop available at the time for image editing. Totally specced out with the fastest processor, most storage, and best display available. A 15" Macbook Pro starts at $2,400 and goes up from there, instantly obliterating whatever savings you might gain from dropping your Adobe subscription.

Also, what subscription plan are you on? $600 per year sounds like a lot, unless you're using every single Adobe product out there. I'm subscribed to Lightroom, Photoshop, and some cloud storage and the bill comes to a bit less than $200 per year. Hardly anyone has a need for every Adobe program under the sun, just get the ones that you actually have a need for.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah macs haven’t been obviously better for graphics work for well over a decade (mac lover here). Maaaybe their pricey monitors are better than comparably expensive non-Apple monitors.

Anyway: get Inskscape and the GiMP for free, they are very powerful apps covering what Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop do. If you want/need to change to Adobe later, 95% of the skills you need will readily transfer over.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you want a free alternative to Lightroom, I think the best current one is Darktable. It's what I use for RAW development.
posted by selfnoise at 11:00 AM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I needed Adobe illustrator last year for a hobby project, and I went on Craigslist and bought a ugly clunky 5-year-old PC with it installed. It ran me something like $200 and as a bonus, it's my single-purpose machine that doesn't contain social media distractions like my regular laptop (ie I don't sign in with my regular accounts, it really is just for my Adobe projects).

At that age and price point it's not a high-performance machine, but it's fine for what I'm doing at a beginner level, and I don't use it for video editing or anything resource intensive anyway.
posted by twoplussix at 11:27 AM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Speaking as somebody who's got huge Lightroom catalogs, do not invest into the Adobe software now. The subscription model is awful for end users. There are free software alternatives, but there are also a lot of good cheap alternatives - especially for Photoshop and Illustrator. If I were starting over now - and I'm still considering ditching Lightroom - I would buy Capture One Pro for managing my RAW assets. For Photoshop and Illustrator I would use Affinity Photo and Affinity Design. There are a lot of options, and unlike in the past, they are just as good for 99% of users. It's a different story if you have to work with other people using the Adobe formats, but that's not your situation.

As others stated, you do not need a Mac for photo or graphic software at all. Use a Mac if you prefer MacOS. That's really a matter of personal taste and preferences; I've been using Macs my whole life personally, but at work I usually have to use Windows. I despise Windows, particularly Windows 10, but that's my opinion, not a statement of fact as to which OS is better.

The one actual advantage of a Mac in this situation is that there seems to actually be MORE photoshop alternatives that are cheap and high quality - things like Acorn, Pixelmator, etc.

Do yourself a favor: try Adobe alternatives instead of the Adobe software. MeMail me if you need to know specifics.
posted by Strudel at 11:49 AM on November 17, 2018 [9 favorites]

A Mac offers literally nothing over a PC. For images and design, get Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, they are super cheap and very powerful. For video, Da Vinci Resolve is free and professionals use it so it's definitely capable of whatever you want.
posted by smoke at 1:47 PM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I disagree a bit with some of the suggestions above.

Several alternatives exist, but none are quite as good as the Adobe software. If you want to turn this into more than a hobby or you want to share something with a professional, you really need to work with the Adobe suite. I say this after having struggled w/ every open source (or low cost) alternative out there.

Also I once believed the subscription model was bad, but right now I truly love it. Remember to check for educational and other discounts that might apply. It is expensive without discount, but much cheaper than a single package in the old model. The software is updated on a regular basis and the integration between packages keeps getting better. With a CC subscription you have access to basically everything - so for any task you can pick up the state of the art product w/o needing to search for an open source alternative.

Concerning the Mac, I agree Mac/PC is a religious argument and a Mac out of the box doesn't get you much more in this space. I do however much prefer using the Adobe tools on a Mac - but this unfortunately answers your question as both rather than either/or...
posted by NoDef at 1:55 PM on November 17, 2018

This question seems to be based on a misconception. All the major Adobe products are available on Mac or PC and cost the same either way. Also, please don't call it a MAC.
posted by w0mbat at 4:44 PM on November 17, 2018

You don't say which Adobe products you're using.

If it's Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, you might want to check out the offerings from Affinity.

Affinity Photo = Photoshop
Affinity Designer = Illustrator
Affinity Publisher = InDesign

Fifty bucks a license and you own it forever. No monthly payment. No losing access to your files if you decide you don't want to use the software anymore.

They don't have every feature the Adobe products have, but they're close. Worth the money. Runs on PC or Mac.
posted by cleverevans at 6:06 PM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

As a lifelong Mac user I can’t in good conscience recommend a Mac to anyone who doesn’t absolutely need one (like, if your workplace is Macs only). I have continued to use Macs because they have become easily available to me, but once my current desktop Mac croaks, I will be seriously considering switching to PC. I have found Macs to be unnecessarily pricey, less customizable, and less likely to play nice with stuff like printers or routers.
posted by shalom at 9:58 PM on November 17, 2018

I don't know the answer to your question, but I wanted to warn you that if you give them your credit card for the tree trial they will charge you continuously and not offer a 'Cancel my subscription' button anywhere in your profile/billing information. You will have to chat with or call customer service, they'll make you wait forever, and they will tell you that there's a $200 free for cancelling your subscription. For these reasons I think they're jerks and will not give them my money.
posted by kitcat at 11:07 PM on November 18, 2018

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