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is Mac really better than PC for Designing?

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Tae Lee
is Mac really better than PC for Designing?
on Nov 2, 2015 at 7:31:38 am

Dear Community,

I have been using Windows PC ever since and designers that i know often tells about how Mac is more suitable for design work.

From What I know, I can get better computer for the same price of Mac products.

Below are what my friends are claiming, can you guys verify this?


1.OS X is a better operating system hence works faster under the same hardware condition. (The same reason why iphone only needed 1gb ram when androids had 2gb)

2.Some of the options for designing softwares are only available in Macs.

3.There is no way all the Mac users, design companies are so stupid that they would pay something more expensive for the same or inferior products.

4.The Monitor calibration is an industry standard for any designing work.


What you guys think..?


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: is Mac really better than PC for Designing?
on Nov 2, 2015 at 8:11:55 am
Last Edited By Tero Ahlfors on Nov 2, 2015 at 8:12:35 am

[Tae Lee] "1.OS X is a better operating system"

It's different. That's pretty much it.

[Tae Lee] "2.Some of the options for designing softwares are only available in Macs."

Depends. Not a dealbreaker unless there's a software you reaaaaaaaallly need that's only on Mac.

[Tae Lee] "3.There is no way all the Mac users, design companies are so stupid that they would pay something more expensive for the same or inferior products."

They're not magically better than Windows machines. They just probably like Macs.

[Tae Lee] "4.The Monitor calibration is an industry standard for any designing work."

Monitor calibration isn't a Mac specific thing.


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: is Mac really better than PC for Designing?
on Nov 2, 2015 at 1:35:30 pm

Computers are tools - you can get different quality of tools, true, but all brands have better quality and some cheap stuff. Once you go with the top of the line though the only difference is the user.
Add agencies and design firms buy mac's because it's good advertising for them. It fits the image, creates instant credibility and brings in clients. A good designer can produce the same work on a PC as well as on a Mac. I used to be an all Mac guy until I figured out that I can get a much better machine for less money if I buy a PC. So I kept the Mac in front for presentations to the clients and did the work on PC workstations. Now I don't even bother with Macs - I still think they're nice but for motion graphics work and other video work I would choose a PC any day.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Walter Soyka
Re: is Mac really better than PC for Designing?
on Nov 2, 2015 at 7:39:36 pm

We use both Macs and PCs in our shop every day. I was Mac-first for a long time, but about 4 years ago, I switched to a PC as my daily driver. I think the PC is a completely valid choice for day-to-day creative work.


[Tae Lee] "1.OS X is a better operating system hence works faster under the same hardware condition. (The same reason why iphone only needed 1gb ram when androids had 2gb)"

Counterpoint: people seeing glitchy Resolve renders with D700 GPUs on nMP found them completely cleared up running Windows via Boot Camp on the exact same computer.

I suspect that a lot of people promoting the superiority of OS X are comparing it with their memories of older versions of Windows -- like XP. Windows 7 and up "just work" and are all quite good.

Also, there is a much greater variety of hardware available on the PC platform, so you can choose the configuration that suits your needs the best.



[Tae Lee] "2.Some of the options for designing softwares are only available in Macs."

This is true.

It is also true that some design software is only available for PC.




[Tae Lee] "3.There is no way all the Mac users, design companies are so stupid that they would pay something more expensive for the same or inferior products."

When you compare apples to apples, so to speak, I don't believe that Macs are more expensive than PCs. In many cases, Macs even cost less. That said, I don't think that most working professionals make their platform choices based on solely on cost. I think that a surprising amount of that choice is more emotional than rational.


[Tae Lee] "4.The Monitor calibration is an industry standard for any designing work."

I'd argue this is actually false. PC manufacturers have offered better graphics choice, support and performance for 20 years.

Apple has literally just added 10-bit graphics output in El Capitan, whereas Windows has had native deep color support for 6 years. Profiling and color-managing an 8-bit display system often leads to visible banding and decreases accuracy, so I think that the claim above is objectively false.


But does any of that really matter? Both platforms have advantages and disadvantages, but a lot of software is cross-platform with perfect compatibility. I'd recommend using a computer that you like and that supports the software you want to run.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Tim Wilson
Re: is Mac really better than PC for Designing?
on Nov 6, 2015 at 11:04:35 pm

I don't typically weigh in on threads like this with "official" stats, because as an organization, Creative COW is omniplatform. We use every major OS and device platform to build the COW, and have used them all in our own productions over the years. We certainly do everything we can to support our members on the platforms of their choice.

But as a web community we do in fact have a unique insight into platform choices for BROWSERS. With over 18 million visitors last year, our numbers are statistically significant, no?


(As a result of the scale of our sample size, as well as our being online for 20 years, dating back to the days when MANY multiplatform apps -- including those from Avid and Adobe -- were ONLY MAC, I feel confident ruling out selection bias, that the COW by default skews toward Windows.

I just don't see any basis for assuming that we're outside the mainstream creativity community. Quite the contrary. We ARE the mainstream. Did I mention over 18 million people a year?)

Browsers don't tell us TOO much about platform choices for PRODUCTION, but let me put it this way. Do you know any people who WORK on Mac, but SURF with Windows? I don't. There may not be anyone like that, anywhere. LOL

That is, I know people who use Windows for computing and rendering, but prefer Macs (or a mobile OS) for the web. So Windows artists are being undercounted...but you'll get the gist.

Okay, let's look at the numbers.

For the COW as a whole, about 50% Windows, 40% Mac, and 10% mobile.

Given the relatively few Mac computers in the world compared to Windows, 40% Mac is a LOT. It's clear that Macs really are exceptionally important to the creative community....but Apple is by no means the "only" choice.

Past research leads me to suspect that I'd find that the Mac percentage is a little higher in the US than the rest of the world (Macs just weren't available widely until recently in places like Eastern Europe and EMEA, where a LOT of COWS live)... But still. Not "mostly" Mac in any sense of the word.

Leaving aside the Mac-only FCPX (which gets a surprising amount of Windows browsing) and Windows-only apps including Sony Vegas (virtually no Mac traffic, but similar iOS traffic to FCPX!), what do we see in the NLE/vfx-specific multiplatform forums?

For a couple of examples, this is what the last month looks like. These numbers ebb and flow with OS-specific questions like, can I use Premiere Pro on El Capitan, can I use Creative Cloud with Windows 10, etc., but in general, here's the recent sweep over the past 30 days:

Avid Media Composer: 56% Mac, 23% Windows. Much heavier Mac concentration than the COW as a whole.

Blackmagic Davinci Resolve: 55% Mac, 26% Windows. Likewise.

Adobe Premiere Pro: 36% Mac, 33% Windows - the rest on mobile; one of our most mobile-visited forums! Otherwise, let's call it even for Mac and Win.

What about Adobe After Effects?

Windows 57%, Mac 34! This is by FAR the most Windows-skewed multi-platform forum in the COW....

...other than AE Expressions, where the Windows percentage goes all the way up to 72%!

(Kind of interesting to me: virtually no traffic to the AE Expressions forum on mobile.)


My theories:

-- The AE forum does in fact skew global
-- The Expression forum skews quite a bit more global than that
-- Outside the US will, by default, skew a little more Windows-ward...

....but I'm thinking mostly...

-- Because the COW skews higher up the production pyramid than lower, "sizzlecore" facilities, enterprise, Hollywood VFX -- all those folks significantly gravitate Windows-ward, even if other seats in those very same facilities are using Mac for mainstream editorial.

This is even more true in the Expressions forum, which skews both global and larger-scale.

Just theories, but given how far the surfing profile here breaks toward Windows so far beyond any other multiplatform environment in the COW, I do give this some regular thought.

Any ideas on your part?



Again noting:

-- These numbers ONLY reflect BROWSING platforms...

-- ...and facilities that do production on Windows are probably being undercounted...

-- and nobody at COW HQ cares about this because we both use and support every major computer and device platform....

...but while there is a Mac-ward skew toward Media Composer, Resolve, and Premiere, 25% or more COW surfers have some Windows in their lives.

Nobody writes Apple off as a non-player even with far less than a 25% market share of desktops or phones, so don't you dare do that for Windows either. Windows is straight legit, even in communities like Media Composer, Premiere, and Resolve.

But for After Effects? DRAMATICALLY skewed toward Windows. Especially remarkable since AE was Mac-only until 1996...although 1996 is a long freaking time ago. LOL

-- The bottom line: in an After Effects forum, to use language like "everybody" uses Mac, "most" people use Mac, Mac is the "preferred" platform, etc etc? It's not even close to true.

Not that this should factor into anything for you.

All of these multiplatform applications work just fine on all platforms. Macs in editorial were working just fine with Linux and Windows boxes for VFX, 3D, and finishing a generation ago, and still are. Any workflow integrations with other platforms are trivial, if not seamless. No big deal.

There's only one reason to choose a platform, and that's because YOU like it.

But, in the world's largest community of media professionals, plus a significant contingent of students (who are traditionally -- perhaps mistakenly -- assumed to be skewing Mac-ward) -- Windows outnumbers Mac for web-surfing to the AE forums anyway, and not by a little. By a LOT.


I don't want to go too far down this rabbit hole, both because it's irrelevant, and these numbers tend to get a little LESS reliable as you get more specific, but I thought it might be worth throwing in some very broad, but ice cold and objective numbers that most people never get to see.


Yours in math,

Tim Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW


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