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Old 01-11-2008, 10:09 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Exclamation Software for Artists

Greetings! I am building a list of software for artists. I'm looking for software that might handle the following functions:

Creating Art:
• Design/plan (example: Poser Figure Studio)
• Imaging
• Image adjustment (example: Photoshop)

Art Business:
• Inventory tracking (example: Working Artist)
• Customer list
• Prospect list
• Gallery / show tracking
• Marketing

Personal Growth for the Artist:
• Learning tools (example: Robert Gamblin's "Navigating Color Space")

Let me know if you think I'm missing a useful function. Also, in your responses, I'd like to know whether the software is suited for beginner, intermediate or expert. Thanks so much!
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:33 AM
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timelady timelady is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

I have tried many (Working Artist (faaaar too complicated), ArtLook (good, just didn't have featured I wanted at the time), ArtButler (rubbish, bad design, hard to figure out and help file isn't helpful, and their site is down it seems), my own Filemaker design) and just found Flick which I LOVE. It's for the business side - inventory, customer lists, gallery/show tracking, you could put in prospects because you can add 'customers' before linking them to any actual sales, it does a few different print outputs of image + info of your choice that I'll be using for gallery sheets, receipts or CoAs (printing onto my own 'letterhead' or template). I'm banging the drum about it a bit much this week. Anyway, you can see a free trial from their website. http://www.arawak.com.au/ I think all levels can get to grips with it, beginners might need a bit more time as they would with any database-built software though. It's very visual (very Mac looking, though it is Mac and PC) and clicking buttons to see what it does won't blow anything up. It may not do everything (no accounting/bookkeeping) but what it does it seems to do more straightforwardly than the others I've looked at - without the clutter of trying to include too much (like Working Artist).

There may have been other mentioned in the Art Business forum, it comes up somewhat regularly.

Tina.
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Last edited by timelady : 01-11-2008 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:38 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

Thanks, Tina! I'll check these out, based on your evaluations. I'm also looking for software that will help artists design, plan, execute artwork; and software that will help in personal growth. I've posted a note in a few other fora to come to this one to discuss.
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:56 AM
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Re: Software for Artists

All I ask is that you do not follow 'Working Artists'. It has to be the worst in usability I find.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:41 AM
Barbara Art Barbara Art is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

How about Illustrator? I have it, but haven't used it yet, so can't comment on its usability. Plus, you could explore web-development software such as Dreamweaver (I haven't used it, either!). Lastly, what about all the blogware that's out there; is that something you could use? Most are free and easy to use. I use Google's blogspot.com and it's really simple, even for a non-techie such as myself. I hope you're writing an article; I'd be looking forward to reading it.
Barbara
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:01 PM
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Bruce Newman Bruce Newman is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

Quote:
Originally Posted by timelady
I have tried many (Working Artist (faaaar too complicated), ArtLook (good, just didn't have featured I wanted at the time), ArtButler (rubbish, bad design, hard to figure out and help file isn't helpful, and their site is down it seems), my own Filemaker design) and just found Flick which I LOVE. It's for the business side - inventory, customer lists, gallery/show tracking, you could put in prospects because you can add 'customers' before linking them to any actual sales, it does a few different print outputs of image + info of your choice that I'll be using for gallery sheets, receipts or CoAs (printing onto my own 'letterhead' or template). I'm banging the drum about it a bit much this week. Anyway, you can see a free trial from their website. http://www.arawak.com.au/ I think all levels can get to grips with it, beginners might need a bit more time as they would with any database-built software though. It's very visual (very Mac looking, though it is Mac and PC) and clicking buttons to see what it does won't blow anything up. It may not do everything (no accounting/bookkeeping) but what it does it seems to do more straightforwardly than the others I've looked at - without the clutter of trying to include too much (like Working Artist).

There may have been other mentioned in the Art Business forum, it comes up somewhat regularly.

Tina.
Not to sidetrack Michael's thread but thanks, Tina! I use FileMaker on a Mac and was looking for art management and bookkeeping software. This looks like half the battle has been won.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:26 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

Thanks, everyone.

Yes, indeed, Barbara, this will be an article! It'll deal with the categories I laid out above. Web stuff (Dreamweaver, blogs, etc.) I've already written about. This will be an article more on software that helps an artist create art and run the business end of things, and also software for personal growth as an artist. It's already rather all-encompassing!
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:27 PM
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Re: Software for Artists

Flick looks like a good program and something I can use. Do you need filemaker pro to use it?

Pat
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:17 PM
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Re: Software for Artists

Hi,

It's not only what software but how to use the software we have.

I think the two most important things you could communicate is how to print out a "tiled" image and how to combine two scans. These are opposite actions, one is getting a big thing out of the computer and one is getting a big thing in the computer without using unnecessary expensive equipment.

PRINTING A TILED IMAGE
A "tiled" image is one that is printed by your ordinary printer which usually prints on letter size paper, but when "tiled" the image is printed out on as many sheets of 8x11 paper as is necessary with lines along the edges for where to align the sheets of paper, cut them, and tape them together. The 8x11 sheets of paper are like tiles hence the name. This is useful, for example, when you have an image on your computer of something you want to transfer to a large support. For example, you might have taken a photo of something you want to paint. You want it on an 18 by 24 canvas. Therefore you need to print an 18x24 image to modify and then trace or use transfer paper or even simple square off to get it on the support. (By the way, it might be a good ideas to change it to grayscale to save ink and leave the original on the computer to see the colors.)

In the Adobe world this is done in InDesign. You have to size the image in Photoshop and move your image from where it is saved to a blank page of the right size InDesign using the InDesign command PLACE. Then you choose Print and then change from "General" to "Setup" on the printing window that appears. Down at the bottom of the Setup screen is "tile". Click on it. That's it. Then hit print and get a cup of coffee while your prints goes to work. Of course, this is all in the Help menu. All the other program like InDesign have the same tiling capacity. Photoshop does not.

COMBINING TWO SCANS
Combining two scans is not as readily visible in the help menus. You will want to do this because the available scanners all use letter size paper and to get a scanner that take bigger originals is phenomenally more expensive although usually found in architects' offices. In this case, you have a large original on paper which you want to get into your computer. For example, you might want to make multiples of something you have done and don't want to photograph it. You might want to modify something you're done in photoshop creating a kind of mixed media work. Photoshop does very nice large scale gradients so you could quickly get in a gorgeous sky and, if you don't like it, change it. This is the type of thing, incidentally, that is done all the time for architectural rendering where time is an issue.

Here is a brief set of steps to do so in Photoshop assuming you have an image that is twice as big as can scan using your equipment.

1. scan both halves of the image into photoshop thus getting two scans, one one half and the other the remaining half.
2. pick one image (one half) and enlarge its canvas size (not the image size) to accommodate both scans.
3. move the image with the enlarged and mostly empty canvas to one side making room for the other scan in the empty space.
4. Using the move tool drag one image over the other. Photoshop will put it in its own layer.
5. On the layer palette with the newly created layer selected as the active layer, click and hold the Layer Blending Modes button (which will probably say "normal") and change it to "difference". Photoshop will now display the
difference between the two layers by reversing colors. It's very strange looking.
6. Move one image over the other until Photoshop doesn't reveal any difference. This means the two halves are now perfectly aligned.

7. Switch the layer blending mode back to normal
8. Use the layers palette pull-out arrow (upper right hand corner) to select "Merge Down" or use "Layer>Flatten Image.

You now have one image that combines both scans.

I know the last type of job is a bit difficult to understand. I could make screen shots of each stage if you think you want to pursue this. If you do, go to my profile and e-mail a message to me for the quickest response.

Best

Richard Rabkin
Richard

Last edited by Oldthumbs : 01-13-2008 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:36 PM
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twobluecrows twobluecrows is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

When you say "Imaging" what do you mean--something to create an image from scratch--if so then I'd go with Illustrator
I have the whole Adobe Creative Suite and, though it's very pricey, it's worth every penny for me!
For Image manipulation and adjustment and low budget, I recommend GIMP from GNU, it's freeware that works in many ways like Photoshop, and for the money--it's terrific, though the interface and use is very different form Photoshop and takes a little getting used to if you're a PS user.

For Art Business:
• Inventory tracking (example: Working Artist)
• Customer list
• Prospect list
• Gallery / show tracking
• Marketing

I have Artworkspro and it serves the need in easy to use ways and is reasonably priced.

Cyn
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:04 AM
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Re: Software for Artists

Pretty good list for film makers and est.
for film makers
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:54 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Software for Artists

Thanks for the leads, everyone. (And to Richard, for that detailed "how-to" on tiling and stitching!)

This is a tough nut to crack. Doesn't seem like there's a lot of "personal growth" or "help me paint" software out there. Lots of stuff on the business side and image manipulation.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:08 PM
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Re: Software for Artists

I wanted to add some comments to this thread. I have had WORKING ARTIST for several years. It's a complex program as pointed out by others, more than is needed. But, they have wonderful technical service, which is free, and regular updates.

I recently purchased FLICK! and while it is easy to use and reasonably priced ($29.95) it has several limitations that bug me, such as the only way to reach customer/technical service is by email and I was pleased that they were relatively prompt in answering. The response was minimally informative and I had to go back and try again. I cannot seem to format reports the way I'd like to, and even their spreadsheet view option has limitations. The "help" connection to the internet is superficial at best, and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I can't figure out how to send mailings, or print CofA's in the program; the info has to be exported to Excel or some other program first. There is no forum on their website for troubleshooting; actually their website has minimal info. Some of the fields in the program are not explained anywhere that I could find. When importing data from Working Artist, I had to save it to a text file, then from there to Excel, then from there I could import it to FLICK! BUT the fields did not always match up even manipulating them to the maximum extent that I could, (which by the way I learned by trial and error; there are no directions on how to do it) and data got corrupted so I have to go back and compare the artwork list from Working Artist to the Inventory List in FLICK! in order to correct errors. You cannot print an inventory list that does not include sold paintings. (at least I haven't been able to figure out how) I don't know yet how to track awards and history of where a painting has been exhibited, although there may be a way to do that.

Here's what I like: it's easy to use. It's inexpensive.
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:06 AM
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Re: Software for Artists

Flick phone number is one their website. (at the very bottom) But they are in Australia.

The reports are only selections of image and relevent information - you will have to print this onto your own CoA template for example. Just select to print the single large image with details below it on the center of a page, on that page have your CoA info pre-printed (header, signature statement) or print it afterwards.

If you want an inventory of things in the studio go to the sorting page (the last option) and wherever you have created a "Studio" category (for example I have one in Location and in Status) simple filter to include that status and ignore others. If you want all unsold and have several categories of that (for example I have studio, gallery, and elsewhere in addition to sold in my status list) then you could use one of the Extra fields to create a simple two-option sold or unsold status and then filter with that. I agree, their filtering is all inclusive and sometimes you need exclusive. I hadn't noticed that yet.

To import from other programmes may be trickier, I admit. I saw the field lists you needed to include in a import file but didn't need to try it out. I've entered everything from scratch since I didn't already have any inventory system.

Pat - you don't need Filemaker to use it, they just used Filemaker to create it so it's compatible with it.

ArtLook was also very good, I have to admit. It simply didn't meet my needs at the time I bought it (and I can't remember why! duh. I think it may have needed a live internet link to export html - a feature I was no longer looking for now) and the company was very kind and refunded me in full.

______
For image adjustment it's hard to beat Photoshop. Even Photoshop Elements is going to be sufficient for many artists. I've also seen some basic HP software that came with a friend's camera/printer that is perfectly adequate for her needs (cropping, colour and light adjustment, resizing). It's not the most intuitive interface but with a couple lessons she was away! So it's always worth playing around with the disk that comes with your camera or printer.

Tina.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:39 AM
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Re: Software for Artists

Tina, thank you for some helpful information.

I again emailed them late yesterday afteroon with several issues. I also inquired about a refund since I am not satisfied that this is the program for me, and it was not possible to discover these issues until after I imported my data (I had to purchase the program to do that.) I am waiting to hear back.
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Last edited by Dot Hoffman : 01-16-2008 at 10:44 AM.

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