This post was made possible by StackSocial. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author, who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored. For more details, please read our disclaimer.
Most people think that working as a designer is all about being creative. The truth is, a designer needs to have some technical knowledge – like in Photoshop and Illustrator – and possess a sense of artistry. Just as an artist needs paint, a designer needs the right tools and applications to work. If you’re thinking of dabbling in design, The Productive Design Mac Bundle takes 95% off the $943 retail price of six Mac apps and a bunch of useful subscriptions, making it available to you at just $39.99 until September 9th.
Despite its name, this bundle is actually suited to anyone, from freelance designers to professionals, and even those who occasionally dabble in digital art in design. It also includes some really useful tutorials on how to create 3D figures and make animation, and others that designers of any skill level can appreciate. At $39.99 for the whole lot, it’s pretty affordable too.
Most designers draw inspiration from the work of others. Loved almost universally by the design community, Ember allows you to clip anything that catches your eye, tag and organise it for easy access later, and sync it across all of your Apple devices. Even if you don’t use Safari, you can still use Ember, thanks to its Chrome extension. Think of this app as a majorly upgraded, personal version of Pinterest.
- Take pixel-perfect screenshots of your desktop, or even individual app windows
- Organize your images with powerful tagging, sorting and even color analysis
- View images from your favorite blogs with “Subscriptions” – Ember’s reimagined way to read blogs and RSS feeds
- Sync via Dropbox to Ember on other Macs, or Ember for iOS
This app alone retails for $30. Pixa is an image library like iPhoto, but better. It allows designers to organise icons, stock images and graphics — everything that a designer needs to operate. It sports numerous file-sharing and auto-tagging options, along with a neat screen capture tool, all of which are delivered within a clean and clear interface, allowing you to find the right image instantly.
- Helps you quickly organise and manage your images, seamlessly find and share them
- Automatically tags useful information like colors, size, web addresses and more
- Export and share images quickly and easily with full Dropbox, CloudApp and Imgur integration, as well as the standard Mac OS X sharing options
- Includes a powerful yet easy-to-use tool so you can grab screenshots or snap full web page images
Adding a third dimension to design definitely increases the difficulty level significantly, particularly because it requires pixel-perfect shading. However, Poser 10 comes with video tutorials to get you up to speed, and 5 gigabytes of ready-to-use 3D objects and figures. Once you’ve got to grips with the app, you’ll also find it is incredibly powerful. Pixar’s OpenSubdiv library is included, along with body physics, morphing and subsurface scattering.
- Integrated Pixar’s OpenSubdiv library to provide Pixar Subdivision Surfaces
- Color and B&W Comic Book Preview for art with fantastic line control and color, or clean black and white outlines
- 9 new human and cartoon figures with incredible facial expressions and personality
- Bullet physics for rigid and soft body dynamics adds jiggle and bounce to any prop or character
- 5GB of ready-to-use 3D figures, props and scene elements; no need to model anything from scratch
- Includes full video tutorials to help you learn Poser fast
Another design niche is animation, which adds the dynamism of movement to your illustrations. That comes with its own challenges, of course. But like Poser, Anime Studio eases you in with plenty of helpful guides. It also packs a pretty comprehensive toolkit for 3D modeling, physics and motion tracking, a character wizard, and automatic lip-syncing. Plus, GPU acceleration keeps everything chugging along smoothly.
- Easy animation with bone-rigging, a fast and efficient alternative to tedious frame-by-frame animation
- Enhanced, vector-based drawing tools to draw directly in Anime Studio, or import your favorite digital images from Photoshop
- Preview animations before committing to rendering
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) acceleration takes advantage of your computer’s hardware, boosting performance and quality for several layer types
- Completely updated content library is an awesome guide for those wanting to learn how professionals create their characters, bone rigs and scenes in Anime Studio
You need the right tools for the job. Ever heard that phrase before? You don’t (or rather, shouldn’t) use Photoshop to resize photos for sharing on Facebook. Likewise, you don’t need fancy complicated apps to design a logo or banner graphic. For these little jobs, Art Text is ideal. It’s simple enough to be nice to work with from scratch, but it also comes with 360 templates, 600 vector icons and shapes, and 190 textures to make basic designs quick to create.
- Results can be used with iWork, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and other text edit and web design applications
- Create beautiful text for your advertisements, brochures, letterheads, newsletters and more
- Enhance your website with a huge selection of buttons, icons, and logos – or create your own
Despite not specifically a design-centric application, TotalFinder provides a major boost to any Mac user’s productivity. It offers the ability to add tabs for folders you visit regularly, better cut-and-paste, and allows you to call up Finder with a system-wide hotkey. The side-by-side comparison mode is very useful too.
- Adds tabs for different folders to your native Finder
- Make Finder available system-wide on a hot-key
- Adds cut-and-paste functionality
- Adds colored labels and side-by-side mode
And finally, a bundle within a bundle. This pack of six subscriptions from Hacker Monthly offers iOS templates from App Design Vault, prototyping with InVision, infographics from Piktochart, small professional gigs on Swiftly, top class static site hosting at Divshot, and a powered-up profile on graphic design marketplace 99Designs. It includes everything you need to prototype, test and optimize your design work.
In total, The Productive Design Mac Bundle is a worth addition to any designer’s locker for $39.99. Grab the deal before it expires on September 9th.