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Mac Graphic Design Training

Updated on May 19, 2015

Graphic Design Training on the Mac

Graphic design these days requires much more than merely creative abilities: it requires a substantial understanding of computer design techniques and software.

When desktop publishing exploded onto the scene in the eighties and graphic design and image editing software such as Adobe illustrator and Adobe Photoshop came along, the power and versatility of the computer was placed at the fingertips of graphic designers.

For the first time, designers were able to manipulate and enhance images, create crisp vector artwork or sophisticated technical drawings, compose their own animations and manipulate 3-D images--all at the computer.

classic mac graphic design training
classic mac graphic design training

Graphic Design a Constantly Evolving Field

Although some graphic designers still prefer to use traditional and manual tools--at least in the initial stages of a graphic design project, such as in producing pencil sketches--computers, including Macs, are now considered to be so essential a part of the graphic design process that few people can or would want to avoid using them completely.

However, graphic design techniques, methodologies and procedures are constantly changing, and designers must keep up with advancements in the tools, techniques and innovations of various graphic design packages.

Because of this constant change, graphic designers must keep on their toes in learning the new technologies, but the reward for their efforts is that the demand for highly skilled graphic designers is greater than ever.

While design software requires a good deal of know-how, it also places a good deal of power into the hands of graphic designers in allowing them to quickly translate their ideas into visual imagery, save them, alter them and edit them whenever necessary.

The requirements of being a good graphic designer include creative ability, computer skills and communication skills. The important thing is to get graphic design training that will equip them with a wide array of cutting-edge design skills. This will provide them with a wider range of employment opportunities.

Where Graphic Design Skills Are In Demand

You will find that graphic design skills are in great demand in such areas as:

1. Ad agencies. Graphic design skills are essential in creating eye-catching and appealing advertisements for a wide range of media.

2. Web design firms. The graphic designer can help to create appealing and attractive webpages.

3. Design studios. Graphic design skills in this arena apply to such areas as layout, photo editing and product packaging design.

4. Publishing firms. Perform layout, book design, cover artwork and other tasks. Publishing houses usually follow a tight schedule so you must be able to meet deadlines. More and more publishing is being done electronically these days and, while this provides a certain range of flexibility, it can also mean even tighter deadlines.

5. Corporate ad departments. Design corporate ads and brochures.

6. TV and film producers. This is one of the areas in which the graphic designer's skills and abilities are in greatest demand, especially when it comes to the creation of animated films.

Training in Mac graphic design can open doors for you into a world of greater employment opportunities. WIth knowledge, dedication and commitment you, too, can reach your goals.

Graphic Design on the Mac

Graphic design is the process of using color, light, contrast, balance, proportion, proximity, emphasis, texture, repetition and a host of other elements to create a composition that is pleasing to the eye.

It is also the process of molding an image or images along with text together into a composition that conveys a theme or message, often in order to advertise a particular product or service.

Graphic design actually dates back a long way -- to prehistoric times, in fact. After all, cave designs and, later, hieroglyphics were some of its first examples. Although communication rather than aestheticism was the primary motivation, people today marvel at the great visual design aesthetics that were exhibited by the prehistoric artists.

The creation of the Gutenberg printing press in 1584 brought graphic design to whole new levels. The written word, combined with strong visual appeal, could now reach a greater audience than ever before. Although its first use was for printing the Bible, an attention to aesthetics was always present.

Graphic design reached its heights -- or some would say its depths -- with the arrival of the computer era. Although amateurish work could now be produced more easily than ever before, the computer age also allowed for companies to expand their corporate identity with visually pleasing logos and an improved online presence. Good graphic design was more in demand than ever before.

The Mac has always been an important part of the graphic design industry. The first "killer app" for the Mac, and the one that kept it from dying a quick death, according to Guy Kawasaki and other analysts, was Aldus PageMaker, one of the first desktop publishing applications. This formed the start of the desktop publishing revolution.

Although the original Mac screen was tiny and black-and-white, it had a higher resolution than most other desktop computers at the time, making it ideal for desktop publishing. Other graphic design programs followed, such as Adobe Photoshop, which appeared first on the Mac.

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Anime Studio for Mac
Anime Studio for Mac

Good Graphic Design More In Demand Than Ever

Broadly defined, the term graphic design can refer to website creation, photo editing, desktop publishing, animation, 3-D modeling and illustration.

The premier illustration tool for the Mac remains Adobe Illustrator with its superb range of features and its ability to output to many file formats. Although a vector drawing program, it can also be used to convert graphics to Web-friendly GIF and JPEG formats.

DAZ Studio is a leading 3-D modeling application, while Adobe After Effects CS6 can create professional grade animations. In the CAD department there is AutoCAD for Mac. Inexpensive 3-D modeling apps are Bryce and Google Sketchup (which became a free product in 2006).

Animators have a choice of such products as Anime Studio by SmithMicro Software (pictured) and ToonBoom Studio by Toon Boom Animation Inc.

Mac users also have some design programs preinstalled on their computers in the form of iMovie, a good basic movie editing tool, and iPhoto has basic photo retouching capabilities.

Graphic design and website design are closely related. It is important for a website to have visual appeal -- that is to have effective graphical elements -- if it is to be successful. Some of the most successful webmasters attribute their success to the visual appeal of their websites.

Creating something with a good visual appeal can be a difficult task, considering the wide viewing audience that must be satisfied. It is important to convey a particular emotion or theme, and special consideration should be given to the principles of mood, style and hierarchy, as well as the message that is to be conveyed.

The audience as well as the client must always be kept in mind when designing a website, logo or corporate identity. With the worldwide appeal of graphic design, there is no shortage of markets in which the graphic designer can showcase his or her talents.

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This lens author started out in graphic design by taking classes at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and others, but he didn't really feel comfortable using the computer until he got his own Mac to continue working with on a daily basis. A modern Mac, capable of running the latest cutting-edge software programs, can help you keep abreast of the latest graphic design techniques and hone your skills to increase your desirability to today's employers.

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