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WOW ... what a set of questions you have posed! You've hit at the
center of many difficult problems, and decision, faced by those who
would outfit digital studios.
For 6 years I have run one such digital studio, in an Art Department,
for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. I can speak to
what we do here.
We have a major in computer graphics ... the basic program is now 6
years old and we are now in our second year as a major. Our
digital studio has Apple, PC and Unix and Amiga systems. Apple is
preferred by many graphic designers and artists and i too vote for
this OS as the most friendly and predictable ... so most of our
studio systems are Apple: PMac 7100s, G3's (beige and B&W) and
some of those funky imacs.
In terms of software we use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe
Illustrator and MetaCreations Painter for printmaking and various
other programs for non-print uses: 3D, animation, and multimedia.
Yes, we use Wacom tablets ... great technology! We also use digital
cameras from Fuji, Apple, Nikon ... a digital camcorder from Cannon.
More money gets more features. Technologies and interfaces change
weekly (it seems).
In the UNCP Digital Art studio, working with as many different
platforms and a wide variety of manufacturer's tools for each type of
peripheral is seen as good. For example, we have 4 types of
scanners: Umax, Epson, HP and Apple. All have good points yet
some are simply better than others. The same with printers. We have
Apple B&W and Xerox color lasers and HP and Epson inkjets in both
small and medium formats. All are tried, some are preferred for
certain things. My experience is that digital folks, just like
traditional studio folks, use what gets them where they need to go.
Advice: Don't buy until you see something run for yourself ... have
demos from tech reps as often as possible ... read lots of journals
and ezines and go to techno conferences.
Oh yeah ... have fun!.
Hope this helps, John
Dr.John Antoine Labadie
Department of Art
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
"The art of progress is to preserve order amid
change and to preserve change amid order."
Alfred North Whitehead