Major software developers have realized that people are moving to mobile formats and no longer use the products that they offer on traditional computer systems. Microsoft has developed very functional mobile versions of its popular Office software, including Word, which is my preferred software for writing scripts. Even major art software developers, such as Adobe and SmithMicro, have made mobile platform versions of some of their best software. Why is that important? Well because mobile platform software, known as apps, are tremendously cheaper. Most apps are no more than $10. Many very, very useful and powerful art and writing tools are available for free or less than $5. Some of the apps that I use most on a mobile system cost me $1.99 on average, (note that app prices go up depending on platform and popularity, so the best deals are at the ground floor. Some of those apps have gone up to $3.49 since I first purchased them) and they are just as powerful, useful, and often even more intuitive than their desktop counterparts. Let me say that again. You can spend hundreds or thousands on desktop or laptop software in order to make your creative work, or you can use a mobile device and buy more software than you will ever need for under $50. Apps are always updated for free once you purchase them. In the long run it’s just a much more convenient and cost-effective option. Plus, so many great developers are out there and they develop these apps that will do the same thing as the desktop versions just as well, but they’re actually easier and more intuitive because of not having to learn the functions and techniques of how to work in that software’s interface. You can simply touch the screen and use your fingers or a stylus to make amazing feats of artistic expression. For me right now, this is the future of digital creativity.
The phone you’re holding in your hand, the one that you send texts with 1000 times a day? Well guess what? Chances are that it is compatible with all the software that I've been mentioning. I personally use an iPad and an iPhone together to create my work. If I forget my iPad at home or don’t feel like bringing it somewhere or I get an idea on the run and wasn’t expecting to be working on my book while I’m doing errands, I can grab my phone and work on my project. It has all the same software installed on it and I can work on the script, write a note or sketch up an idea right on the screen. If you’ve got an iPhone or an Android smartphone, then it is likely that you can begin to get very serious about creating your own books and comics without having to buy any additional equipment.
Again, you have a wide variety of price ranges and options for this type of technology. Personally I prefer the Apple iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones simply because of the ease of use and quality of apps. An iPad is gonna range $250-$900 depending on how much memory and features you want to have. I also own a Windows operating tablet. That’s right, a little Windows device called a WinBook that runs a fully functioning Windows software cost me about $60. I can do a lot of the things on that little 8 inch tablet device that I could on my PC or a desktop. There are also many options for Android tablets that range from the $50 price point to the $400 price point. There is even a service called modbook.com that manufactures super advanced graphic tablets at a premium price. I’m not a sales person for them and I’m sure I can’t fully explain the product that they offer, but the gist is that they take the guts of either a Windows laptop or a MacBook, the mobile laptop version of Mac, and shove it into a Cintiq body, turning a laptop into a touchscreen tablet with a huge drawing surface. You can check modbook.com for more info and they will run you roughly $2,600 USD.
The key to any computing system is that it needs to be reliable and functional. I’ve used many and have had good and bad experiences all over the board. For me personally, I’m getting to the point in my career where I prefer something that is much more reliable and one I have more confidence in, and so I have gone over to working mostly with the mobile devices made by Apple, such as the iPad and iPhone. I do still do some work on desktop systems and generally find a Mac more reliable, but I do have both systems set up in my work space. It probably sounds like I’m some sort of wealthy zillionaire able to set up all these computer devices, but in reality this is something that has taken a lot of time that I’ve built up over a 15-year period. Some of my devices are pretty old and out-of-date, but because they are reliable, I still have them. It takes time and experimentation to match your budget, your preferences, and the necessary ability to build your own system.
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