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Mac to PC - Easy Ease the Transition

mac pc switch transition workstation apps

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#1 Fred Camino

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 08:57 PM

It looks like the latest trend in mograph is not a plug-in or style, but the switch from Macs back to PCs for production work. Obviously, this is not a universal trend, but with mixed reviews for the newMac Pro and the current lack of After Effects or iPhone in the app store, I've seems like more and more mographers are considering the switch.

 

I'm one of them.

 

I know there's already plenty of (really helpful) threads discussing hardware, PC building and the virtues and pitfalls of such a switch. And mixed in, I've read some pretty good tips about easing the transition, but I'd like a thread that collates all of these transitional tips into one, um, thread.

 

Example: in some other threads I've read people suggesting tips on replacing the Apple ProRes worklow that we're so used to. Something like that would be perfect here. But also stuff that's more mundane, and doesn't necessarily relate to mograph workflows.

 

For me, OSX and Windows are pretty much the same on the macro scale, but it's in the little everyday stuff that I find the transitional challenges. I've not yet made the switch, I'm "practicing" on my one of my render nodes, but there's already a few things I can add that have helped me.

 

  • Mission Control (née Exposé) ---> Better Desktop Tool
    This feature is what actually brought me to the Mac side over a decade ago. I just love using the F1 keys and hot corners to navigate the OS and all the shit I'm multitasking. Windows has a variety of ways to switch tasks, but none of them are Mission Control. My solution? Better Desktop Tool basically brings Mission Control to Windows. It's not perfect (you have to use a modifier key in addition to a function key) but it gets the job done.
  • Alfred ----> Launchy
    I like Alfred better than Spotlight, even the new spotlight in Yosemite. On Windows, there's Launchy, which I like better than the Start menu. I don't know if it's as robust as Alfred, but I only really used the most basic features in Alfred.
  • Time Out ---> Workrave
    This is kind of silly, but I use a program called Time Out that takes over my screen every hour and tells me to take a break. Half the time I click "skip break" because I'm awful, but I still like the idea. On Windows, I've found Workrave, which even gives me little exercises to do while on my alleged breaks.
  • Smart Scroll ---> MouseImp
    I navigate the OS using a Wacom tablet. I scroll webpages and other scrollable stuff with my stylus using a preference pane called Smart Scroll. On Windows, I found something called MouseImp (wonderful name, fckin' Windows) that lets me map middle mouse (button 2 on stylus) to scroll.
  • OSX Color Picker ---> Ultra Color Picker
    Tested a number of these, Ultra Color Picker is my favorite. Still not possible to integrate it system wide like in OSX, but it's miles beyond the default Windows picker.
  • Default Folder X ---> Direct Folders
    Discovered via advice on this thread, it's not quite as pretty as Default Folder X, but replicates the functionality and unifies save/open dialogues across Windows.

Some things I'm still looking for help with:

  • Color Picker
    I always like using the OSX System Color picker, saving swatches that I can grab in any app. The update to Yosemite did some weird things to the color picker (specifically with the actually picking of colors with the eye dropper) but it's still miles ahead of the piece of crap in Windows. This is kind of a big deal, as I use color picker constantly. Can't seem to find anything that comes close on Windows.
  • Default Folder X
    I just find this app makes saving stuff so easy. Anything like it on Windows?

Edited by Fred Camino, 02 February 2015 - 10:41 PM.


#2 AromaKat

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 09:25 PM

Which version of Windows are you on? Windows 7 is solid, Windows 8.1 is great IMO. Its a weird thing to get rid of the tabletty shit, but once you do its super awesome. 

 

Regarding the spotlight feature...

 

All you have to do is hit the Windows button on the keyboard (akin to the apple button) and start typing what you want. Then hit enter when you see whatever your after. Its actually one key easier than spotlight.


Edited by AromaKat, 06 November 2014 - 09:25 PM.

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#3 izzylong

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 09:53 PM

As far as Default Folder X, in win we have always had Favorites.
Just drag your fav/destination folder(s) to the upper left of the save dialog window (Favorites area) and you'll always have access to it when you save anything:)


Edited by izzylong, 06 November 2014 - 09:54 PM.

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#4 vozzz

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 09:59 PM

direct folders is a great tool for workflow and getting to folders quickly.

 

get picasa for previewing images.

 

pot player for playing video's

 

wiz mouse for scrolling whatever is under the mouse.

 

in win8, get a util called tinyborders. it will get rid of the ugly borders around windows.


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#5 Fred Camino

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:07 PM

Which version of Windows are you on? Windows 7 is solid, Windows 8.1 is great IMO. Its a weird thing to get rid of the tabletty shit, but once you do its super awesome. 

 

Regarding the spotlight feature...

 

All you have to do is hit the Windows button on the keyboard (akin to the apple button) and start typing what you want. Then hit enter when you see whatever your after. Its actually one key easier than spotlight.

 

Cool, one render machine has 7, and on another i'm playing with the windows tech preview (which so far seems like 7). i know the windows key thing, but there's something about having the launched pop up right in the center of the screen that i like. i think my eyes are just lazy.

 

 

As far as Default Folder X, in win we have always had Favorites.
Just drag your fav/destination folder(s) to the upper left of the save dialog window (Favorites area) and you'll always have access to it when you save anything:)

 

Perfect. Thanks for this tip.

 

 

direct folders is a great tool for workflow and getting to folders quickly.

 

get picasa for previewing images.

 

pot player for playing video's

 

wiz mouse for scrolling whatever is under the mouse.

 

in win8, get a util called tinyborders. it will get rid of the ugly borders around windows.

 

Again, thanks. Just the kind of stuff I was looking for.

 

So you guys don't have an issue with the color picker? Or you just use the standard pickers in your software?



#6 AromaKat

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:21 PM

I hear people complain about the lack of an "OS color picker" all of the time, but never really understood what is being described...


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#7 vozzz

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:13 PM

@ Aromakat: pretty sure mac has a system wide color picker, where you can save palettes and stuff, so they are accessible across all your apps. i think,


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#8 Fred Camino

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:22 PM

@ Aromakat: pretty sure mac has a system wide color picker, where you can save palettes and stuff, so they are accessible across all your apps. i think,

 

That's exactly right. It's not perfect, but it's persistence throughout the system is rather nice. For example, I could build a palette while working in Photoshop, swap over to C4D, start and new material and have instant access to that palette... no copy pasting values or eye dropping etc. Again, small thing, can be easily given up or taught a new process, but nice to have anyways.



#9 AromaKat

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:42 PM

ah. Got it. It does sound like one of those small things that would be easy to get used to and annoying to have pulled away.

 

 

Oh, by the way... In Windows, you now have this ability to actually cut and paste a file. I have no clue why OS X has no cut operation, and forces you to copy a file, then go back and delete the original. 


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#10 javier g

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 02:43 AM

im a pc guy since forever but i had worked on osx a couple of years, i prefer windows but there are 2 things that i wish to steal from mac.

 

1- being able to navigate folders in column view or twirl open folders and subfolders, thats just great and navigating folders in windows sucks.

2 - ability to mark files with color labels. another amazing and simple osx feature.



#11 AromaKat

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 05:47 AM

im a pc guy since forever but i had worked on osx a couple of years, i prefer windows but there are 2 things that i wish to steal from mac.

 

1- being able to navigate folders in column view or twirl open folders and subfolders, thats just great and navigating folders in windows sucks.

2 - ability to mark files with color labels. another amazing and simple osx feature.

 

3 - quicklook, quick view, whatever its called, back when it worked. 

4 - unix terminal


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#12 vozzz

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 08:53 AM

im a pc guy since forever but i had worked on osx a couple of years, i prefer windows but there are 2 things that i wish to steal from mac.

 

1- being able to navigate folders in column view or twirl open folders and subfolders, thats just great and navigating folders in windows sucks.

2 - ability to mark files with color labels. another amazing and simple osx feature.

 

1- right click, and select "expand to current folder"

http://i.minus.com/jPedkvYvu5pfj.jpg

 

might help.

 

2 - there are LOTS of file browsers available for windows. Personally with direct folders ( middle click gives you quick list of customizable shortcuts). I don't use them any more.

 

this one i here good things about: http://www.xyplorer.com/index.php

i used to use this one: http://www.cubicreality.com/ce/

 

they are called file managers, have a look around, you might find something that will suite your needs.

 

edit: here is one that looks like is supports color folders, and has a much nicer user interface than the others:

http://www.winnc.com/

 

edit2: http://onecommander.com/for column view :D


Edited by vozzz, 04 November 2016 - 04:48 PM.

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#13 TyMotion

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:28 PM

im a pc guy since forever but i had worked on osx a couple of years, i prefer windows but there are 2 things that i wish to steal from mac.

 

1- being able to navigate folders in column view or twirl open folders and subfolders, thats just great and navigating folders in windows sucks.

2 - ability to mark files with color labels. another amazing and simple osx feature.

 

2 - There are a few options.  

 

Folder Colorizer

 

Rainbow Folders

 

Give me a shot.



#14 BillD˛˛˛

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:38 PM

What are people rendering to?
The interface on Quicktime pro on windows is just fucking awful along w the deliberate omission of prores codecs.
Is anyone rendering to avi?? With what codec? Can you get an alpha with it?
 



#15 javier g

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:42 PM

 

2 - There are a few options.  

 

Folder Colorizer

 

Rainbow Folders

 

Give me a shot.

Cool thank for the advice, and all other suggestions people made here.

 

 

What are people rendering to?
The interface on Quicktime pro on windows is just fucking awful along w the deliberate omission of prores codecs.
Is anyone rendering to avi?? With what codec? Can you get an alpha with it?
 

For delivery or low res previews i use adobe media encoder and render h264
if i need alpha or send a high res render for delivery usually pick quicktime animation.
i dont use the quicktime player at all on windows.



#16 BillD˛˛˛

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:45 PM

Also, for multiple desktops (spaces), Dexpot is free and has been pretty reliable and is very customizable.

http://dexpot.de

 



#17 theta

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 05:06 PM

As far as Default Folder X, in win we have always had Favorites.
Just drag your fav/destination folder(s) to the upper left of the save dialog window (Favorites area) and you'll always have access to it when you save anything:)

I use this a lot, but the problem with this is it doesn't show up in Save As or Open dialog boxes. Along the left edge there is Recent Places, Desktop, Libraries, Computer, Network, is there anything that can put some custom folders in there? 



#18 Fred Camino

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 05:44 PM

Thanks for all the great responses so far. I may become a convert after all.

 

Another biggie: What's your prefered way to manage fonts in Windows?

 

I use Font Explorer X on OSX, it's fine I guess. Looks like they have it for Windows too, but a few versions behind.



#19 AromaKat

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 08:10 PM

What are people rendering to?
The interface on Quicktime pro on windows is just fucking awful along w the deliberate omission of prores codecs.
Is anyone rendering to avi?? With what codec? Can you get an alpha with it?
 

 

QT pro is identical in OS X and Windows.... You can read ProRes, you just can't write prores. The finger is pointed at Apple for that one. 

 

Use Avid DNxHD instead of ProRes. Alpha is supported. Its free. Its in a quicktime container. Its a great codec. Cineform isn't free, but I hear great things about it, albeit my limited trials with it didn't go so well. 

 

We don't use AVIs at all. Ever.

 

Another biggie: What's your prefered way to manage fonts in Windows?

 

Suitcase Fusion


Edited by AromaKat, 07 November 2014 - 08:13 PM.

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#20 javier g

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 11:16 PM

+1 for suitcase fusion.

 

last time i used avi was in windows 98 i guess.







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