Mac Update: My Struggles with "Switching" Continue (Take 3)
I've never had this happen before. I've written essentially the same post twice before, and both times had all of it simply vanish. The post itself may not even be worth the effort, but having narrowed down the problem (a website that apparently doesn't want their images used, attributed or not), I'm going to give it a shot anyhow.
In my ongoing effort to teach myself the Mac OS X Leopard operating system and Adobe CS3 graphics suite, I've tried to teach myself something new every week by creating something. So, when I needed some street signs for a blog post, I forced myself to sit at my Mac rather than my PC. Using CorelDRAW X3 on my PC, I could complete the job in just a few minutes. All I needed was two rectangles with radiused corners, some white text, and a nice faux green reflective background. Throw in a soft drop shadow, and voila! Child's play.
Image from Corel.com. Note the absense of clutter.
I found the project much more vexing with Adobe Illustrator on the Mac platform. My one-off job took me an hour and a half as opposed to 5-10 minutes. Part of the problem is just the clutter and distraction offered with the Adobe suite. I've loathed Adobe products since the old days of PageMaker. I don't like the way anything is displayed, I don't like how "import" is called "place," and I especially don't like the 1,000 palettes covering up what I'm working on. Add this to the Mac showing any open programs through all of the little gaps between palettes, and it all hits me like gibberish.
I couldn't figure much of anything out without the Help menu (which turns out to be pretty awesome). I find this learning curve to be much steeper than the one I faced 13 years ago, when I had to apply my Corel knowledge to the Gerber Omega/Graphix Advantage Composer sign software. The sign industry grew up on the PC platform, and I was lucky to have started there too with VP Graphics, and then CorelDRAW 2. While clunky at first, Composer grew to adopt many similar characteristics of Corel's software. But with Adobe, I'm a lot more adrift. The knowledge transfers, but the learning experience is frustrating.
A screenshot of Illustrator on my Mac
But I had an epiphany while trying to write this (three times). Since Corel allows you to set up CorelDRAW and Photo-Paint to look nearly identical to Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop, my next lesson is going to be on the PC, but with this feature turned on. It would be nice if Adobe offered a similar feature, but maybe I'll have an easier time of things if I'm in a familiar program while navigating unfamiliar tools. We'll see. Meanwhile, my home schooling project is turning out to be a lot more frustrating, and a great deal less fun than I'd hoped.