Apple’s Magic Mouse is a great device, but it’s limited in what you can do with it. You can customise the mouse a bit, but for editing movies with Final Cut Pro X, for example, that customisation falls short. Enter BetterTouchTool, a little software I just discovered.
Affinity Designer for iPad is the much anticipated competitor of Adobe Illustrator on the iPad. It’s a well-designed port from Designer on the Mac in terms of power and capabilities, and of integration with the iOS environment.
Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as Affinity Designer and Photo, allow you to create patterns that you can use and reuse as backgrounds, desktop or real-world wallpaper, etc. They all require you to start from a vector or bitmap image and then work out how to make it seamlessly repeating. Patternodes has found a simpler, more user-friendly way to do it.
To manage your fonts on a macOS system, there’s no better tool than Suitcase Fusion. Apple’s own FontBook is a bit on the skinny side and other font managers all fail in some areas. Suitcase Fusion has proven its robustness and value for managing thousands of fonts, supporting your legal duties towards licensing and your design needs.
Another year, another release of Corel Painter. The new version is packed with new features that guarantee jaw dropping awesomeness. There just seems no limit to Corel’s ambition to develop an application that is meant to create digital art that looks like the real thing. Combined with the newest Wacom Intuos Pro and its amazing natural feel, Painter 2018 is for digital artists to drool over.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.
Most users in the creative industry know they should regularly calibrate and profile their monitor for colour-critical work, but there’s more to colour accuracy than keeping your monitor in shape colour-wise. If you’re going to be printing or projecting your photos, art or videos, you’d better calibrate the output equipment as well. In fact, if you want to be absolutely certain colours will be accurately rendered from input to output, you will need to calibrate — or at least profile — cameras, scanners, monitors, printers and projectors. There’s only one affordable option that is accurate enough: the Red Dot Award winning X-Rite i1Pro 2 and I had the chance to test the Photo version.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.
British thermal label specialist Peninsula Group develops one of the few barcode apps available for Mac users. It’s called Barcode X and you can create most of the currently existing barcodes with it — 170 different types to be exact — without risking to make errors. I had the opportunity to test the latest version.
Creating 3D models can be quite challenging. Applications like Cinema 4D and Maya are all-round 3D apps. They allow you to create 3D worlds and animations that can be used just as effectively in a game as in a presentation or blockbuster movie. Strata Design 3D CX 8.1.0, the Winter 2015-2016 release I got to review, is more focused on presenting 3D model design — objects, products, architecture, interior design… — in the most realistic and efficient way. The app has a learning curve, but it sure isn’t as steep as Maya’s or Cinema 4D’s.