All posts by Robert

My New 2017 iMac

Over a year since my last post, and all I’ve got is a note about my new iMac? Lame. I know!

Promise, my next post will be something more substantial!

There is something to say about my purchase of a new iMac 27″, though.

Never Thought I’d Buy Another iMac

After restarting my freelance career in 2013, I’ve used a MacBook Pro as my main working Mac. Sure, I had an older 2009 iMac that I considered my backup machine, but it was too slow for daily driving.

2013 was the year Apple redesigned the MacPro into the Trash Can design (sometimes called the New MacPro). I sat on the sidelines for Rev A of this design, assuming I’d buy one when Rev B came out with upgrades, etc.

The MacBook Pro met my needs. I was doing web design, print design and some medium duty photo editing. It was fine. I was happy to wait for Apple’s next supercomputer.

Time Passes…

Eventually I need a new Mac and the 2013 MacPro has not been updated. I buy a 2015 MacBook Pro. I figure and updated Mac Pro MUST be right around the corner.

Meanwhile, my work is changing. I’m carving out a niche in high end photo editing and photocompositing. Taking photographer’s high res RAW images and doing some pretty wicked things to them in Photoshop. Lots of high-power computing. Furthermore, as I niche down, I am not spending full days on-site at my client’s offices as often. I am using my own Mac at my own office.

The limitations of the MacBook Pro are becoming painfully evident as I take on more and more sophisticated assignments.

Now for something completely different

Then Apple drops a bombshell by bringing some heavy-hitting Apple-centric journalists to their campus and explaining that the Trash Can Mac Pro has been abandoned due to design limitations. Apple had planned to replace it with an iMac Pro. But wait, there is more. Apple decides at the 11th hour that a world without a Mac Pro is a terrible place (it is!) and so, in addition to an iMac Pro, they are working on a New New MacPro design. No details are given. Just an assurance that there will be a MacPro someday. In a new design.

Meanwhile, I have work to do!

This is the last straw. An updated MacPro isn’t coming for some time.

And I have client work piling up.

Adobe drops new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom as well as a new Adobe Camera RAW module. All of the above eat fast Macs for breakfast.

I’m sure the iMac Pro is a great machine, but I’m not convinced that it is the ideal photo editing machine. That will likely be a New New MacPro.

Git’r done

Bottom line: I need a Mac that can do the work my clients need, today.

The iMac 27″ has an amazing Wide Gamut Retina screen. As it sits next to my fancy-pants Eizo hardware calibrated display, I have to look hard to see color shifts. Out of the box, it is the best display I have ever seen. Only hardware calibrated displays can top the iMac’s display. I can afford to max out all the internals (pro tip: buy RAM from a 3rd party) for significantly less than the entry-level iMac Pro. It has plenty of power to run Adobe Creative Cloud (2018) apps. What am I waiting for?

I’d love to wait around for the New New MacPro.

But I am very happy with the iMac of today.



Rethinking the Photo Editing Workflow – Part 2

In Part 1 of this Photo Editing Workflow series I compared a traditional editing workflow with a new system I have been using in my last few projects. I pointed out some gotcha’s inherent in the traditional methods and potential improvements gained by transitioning to a new workflow. In this post I take a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts of how the new tools work. There are some workarounds suggested for areas the software is still catching up with my workflow. (more…)

Rethinking the Photo Editing Workflow – Part 1

This post is targeted at photo editors who work on large batches of images and need to produce a volume of edits on tight deadlines, with an eye to producing the most flexible final assets, suitable for digital & print usages.

Do you edit large batches of images? Maybe you manage a photo asset library, digitech photo shoots or shoot & edit your own photography? (more…)

Thoughts on Independence

Illustration of two creatives at work, facing eachother

Thoughts on Independence

I’ve been an independent graphic designer and photo editor for the last three-plus years. An odd theme I’ve observed along the way was my clients being audited by the US Department of Labor (DOL) regarding their usage of freelancers. I have been advised in various ways by my clients that to continue our client-vendor relationship I must clear certain minimum business organization standards. (more…)

Three years an independent

Tuckyhut and Hector, the Brand Mascot

[perhaps a testament to how busy I am with client work, perhaps an indictment of my inconsistent blogging efforts, I just stumbled across this draft post today and decided to flesh it out and publish it. Only 6 months late. Just in time for American Independence Day!] 

Jan 2 2016.

I let it come & go without much notice this year. It should be celebrated, though.

It’s my Independence Day. The day I quit my job. (more…)

Curved Dielines and Warping Tutorial – Part 2 – Create Dieline for a Cup Package

Concept to Keyline

In part one of this tutorial series, I showed how to adapt your rectangular label artwork concepts to a curved printer dieline. Sometimes you aren’t provided a dieline, just a package sample. It’s quite possible to create curved artwork without a target dieline. You’ll need a physical sample of the package to measure. And make sure you have some string. I’ll explain later.

After measuring and doing a bit of math, you can build your own Target Dieline. Once this is complete, the rest of the process is exactly the same as part one. (more…)

Curved Dielines and Warping Tutorial – Part 1 – Fitting a Curved Dieline

Concept to Keyline

A couple months ago I received a question from a reader in response to a comment I left on a LinkedIn post:

I saw your comment regarding Adobe Illustrator design for conical cups. We use the same warp method you describe, but I have concerns about elements at the top of my design being more distorted than elements at the bottom. Particularly, I have a horizontally oriented logo that stretches a bit too much. I varied from your post in that I didn’t average the widths. Instead, I made a rectangle close to the width of the lower circumference and applied warp until the rectangle was nearly perfect to fit the die. I then designed within that rectangle and applied the warp.

This question was the genesis of this multi-part tutorial on Curving artwork to fit to cups or fitting a curved supplied dieline. I’ll address the reader’s particular question as well as raise and address several others. (more…)

New Design Gear for 2016

Eizo CG318-4K Dsiplay

You may have seen my previous post Houston, the Pencil has Landed where I wrote about my first few days with the new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

I must confess: I’ve been holding back on writing about ALL my new gear. Being the end of the year, its a good time tax-wise to purchase or lease some new equipment. I made two other big acquisitions:

  1. MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina Screen – This MacBook Pro was upgraded with the discreet AMD video card and a full 16GB of RAM. This is the top-end configuration of the current MacBook Pro line. My 2012 MacBook Pro (the same one I dumped coffee into a while back) was unable to run #2 on this list, not to mention the Bluetooth had failed.
  2. Eizo 4K DCI 30″ display – This is even higher res than the 4K UHD displays you see around. DCI 4K has an extra 256 pixels in the horizontal dimension. This display also sports a 10 bit per channel data stream, allowing the Mac to send higher-fidelity color per pixel, which is then processed through the hardware calibration of the display itself.