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Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Since I finally got a Wacom tablet, I've been trying to get back into the habit of drawing a little bit each day. So far so good, but I'm discovering that turning my cheap, simple little hobby of drawing into a digital hobby makes it a lot less cheap and simple.

The primary problem is that there really doesn't seem to be a very good substitute for Photoshop. It's not just the 300 lb. gorilla in the room, it's the 20 ton whale in the swimming pool. From what I can see, it is so dominant that it really hasn't left much market for anything else.

I find that especially frustrating on the Mac, where one of the things I like best about the platform is the availability of inexpensive, quality software. That may sound strange, since it's Windows that has the reputation for having the most software available. While it's undeniably true that Windows has vastly more choices than the Mac, it's really a question of quality. On Windows you often have a choice between the few dominant programs in a category for several hundred dollars, plus a hundred crappy cheap or free ones, whereas on the Mac you can choose between the few dominant programs (often the same as on Windows), plus half a dozen or so really good, inexpensive programs. What good are hundreds of options if only a few are truly viable?

Perhaps I just haven't found it yet, but I'm surprised that there isn't a good Mac alternative to Photoshop, something that is to Photoshop what Rapidweaver is to Dreamweaver.

I also found a great magazine at Barnes & Noble the other night called Imagine FX. It's a great source of digital art tutorials and advice. Unfortunately, since it's from the UK, it's $15 on the newsstand, or $99/year for a subscription, not to mention that it really makes it tempting to get some of the nice (and expensive) tools that they demo.

Oh, well. Maybe I should just stick with pencil and paper for a while.


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