This article was contributed by Jordan Davis.
Digital technology has democratized the arts. Look no further than YouTube or Tumblr for evidence of this fact. Content creators have more ways to share their content than ever before.
But to create this content, you must first have tools. And when it comes to creating digital content, these are some of the best currently available.
For the graphic designers and visual artists out there, the iPad Pro is a must. Available with a 12.9-inch screen (those of you who are old enough likely remember 13-inch televisions; now your tablet is that big), it brings your designs to life in a way that no other tablet can match. With a screen resolution of 2732 × 2048 pixels and color saturation that is 25 percent greater than previous iPad models, it will not leave you disappointed when it comes to picture clarity.
Of course, not everyone wants a 13-inch tablet. College students, young professionals, and the more mobile among us may find that smaller tablets offer many benefits. And when it comes to smaller tablets, it is Apple once again that delivers the goods with the iPad Mini 4. This small yet capable tablet is a great option for freelance creatives who are constantly on-the-go. It is portable, its compatibility with the Adobe Creative Cloud (more on this below) makes it highly useful, and T-Mobile’s Tourist plan makes it a great option for traveling creatives (particularly those traveling to the United States).
Wacom is perhaps the industry leader when it comes to styli. With a suite of products, from individual styli to pen displays and pen tablets, Wacom has a tool for nearly everyone. Creatives in a wide variety of disciplines and professions are likely to find something that suits their needs or makes their job that much easier. Whether you are a photographer and editor or a graphic designer or illustrator, Wacom is worthy of your attention. Take a look and see for yourself.
Designed to work in conjunction with Apple’s iPad line, the Adobe Ink & Slide is intended to help illustrators and graphic designers create content with greater ease, accuracy, and control than ever before. A two-piece stylus system, containing both a digital stylus and a digital ruler, it takes a unique approach on the traditional stylus. The digital ruler not only enables users to create arrow-straight lines, but perfect circles and curves as well.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a Windows device that can proudly go head-to-head with the best from Apple. Part tablet, part laptop, the Surface Pro 4 offers all of the benefits of each platform. It is highly portable and easy to use, just like a tablet, yet offers users the versatility and capability that is most often associated with traditional laptops and desktop computers. Thanks to its Intel processor, it is 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air, yet users can still take advantage of its touchscreen interface for an unbeatable user experience. The Surface Pro 4 might just be the first computer that is all things to all people: tablet, laptop, and desktop.
As impressive as the Surface Pro 4 is, we would be remiss to not mention Apple’s current MacBook, which makes the MacBook Air somewhat superfluous. The current iteration of the MacBook weighs just two pounds and measures just 13mm in thickness – or roughly half an inch. You can see why the “Air” is somewhat redundant at this point. And yet, despite its diminutive size, with an Intel Core processor running Apple’s latest OS X software, it is capable of operating today’s latest creative softwares with ease. It doesn’t hurt that it looks great, too.
7. Adobe Creative Cloud
When it comes to software for digital creatives, an argument could be made that the list begins and ends with Adobe and its Creative Cloud. Containing all of Adobe’s most popular creative software programs (including Photoshop and Illustrator) within a cloud-based environment for universal access, this program sets the gold standard for usability. It is the “Microsoft Office” of the creative realm, and is quite simply a must-have for digital creatives. End of discussion.
For video editors and filmmakers, Apple’s Final Cut Pro X is on a shortlist of must-have tools, right up there with cameras, microphones, and (increasingly) drones. It is powerful, capable, and easy to use, allowing professional editors and amateurs alike to cut together videos with nearly unparalleled control. Whether you create five-minute YouTube videos or are an independent filmmaker putting together your first (or second or third) feature film, Final Cut Pro X can meet your needs – and do so right at home.
What tools can you not live without as a digital creative?