View Full Version : Taking the Plunge...

03-15-2007, 08:51 PM
Okay...as soon as Leopard is released I'll be ordering a 17" MacBook Pro. Is there any advice you guys can give a guy who's been on a PC a LONG time? I'm not a complete noob - I bought my wife a ibook about a year ago and find that I like using it more than my dell workstation.

Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks

03-16-2007, 01:34 AM
Fire your shrink, you won't need him anymore! ;)

Actually I can't think of a single bit of advice to give you. There's no secrets to getting the best out of your Mac (that I'm aware of) they just work. that's one of the reasons I love em! Oh there's odd shortcuts for things like screengrabs (Cmd-shift3 and Cmd-shift4 and I think one or two others) and opening particular folders (Cmd-shift a to open application folder and Cmd-shift u to open Utilities folder etc) but you really don't need them. They're kind of like easter eggs that you discover gradually over time that put a little smile on your face! :D

03-16-2007, 03:52 AM
Oh and copy, paste and cut are just like Windows only you use the Cmd (Apple) key instead of Ctrl so they're Cmd C, Cmd V and Cmd X. You might want to use you're Windows mouse (no need for drivers!) many people don't like the mighty mouse.

03-16-2007, 09:16 AM
Thanks, BazC. What plugins, etc do you find yourself wishing for? If all else fails I suppose I can use Boot Camp to take me into XP to run what plugins that aren't ported...but if I can help it...don't want to go there too much.

03-16-2007, 06:49 PM
Parallels will keep you from having to dual-boot windows for all those little utilities, although not the best for rendering and squeezing the most from the CPU.

Right now Mac users are in a situation where NONE of the plugins are exactly available, since the Universal Binary (i.e. the version that works on new Intel Macs) was just released. So no plugins unless you are willing to run the PPC-only 9.2 under Rosetta (which is a sort of PPC emulation) on the new Intel Macs. Which is not the ideal situation because a) the Universal Binary version is SUPA fast, and b) the old PPC version on Rosetta is slow. :)

So you will have to hound your plugin vendors to please hurry up and release a Universal mac version, stick with running the PPC version under emulation and therefore be slow, dual-boot to use those critical plugins or figure out how to make do without third-party plugins for the time being.

Frankly I'm much happier doing without rather than booting to windows, but since I don't have to make a living playing with Lightwave, I have that luxury.

03-16-2007, 11:35 PM
Yeah, I know what you mean. With the changes in 9.2 - I'm using most tools that are native to LW. But new additions like SGAmbient node is very desireable.

Thank you for the information...now to wait for Leopard...

03-17-2007, 02:08 AM
Yes I'd go along with dgilddens reply most of the important plugs eventually make their way to Mac but right now there are none for Intel. Hopefully LWCAD and IFW will be ported quickly since I paid for those! :D

I believe Chilton has been working on something to make Mac ports of plugs easier to produce, whether it's a recompiling service or something else we don't know but it will hopefully mean that more plugs will make it to Mac quicker!

03-17-2007, 11:10 AM
Yes. LWCAD - I don't think I can work without that one anymore.

03-17-2007, 11:46 AM
Thank you for the information...now to wait for Leopard...

Is the only thing stopping you jumping ship a shinny new factory installed leopard? I would be inclined to buy the hardware now with Tiger installed and as Apple normally makes a major OS release available for free to customers who bought hardware a month or two before the OS release date.
You may want to call apple support on this as my mind is a bit fussy, but I'm sure they did this for the last number of OS X releases.

03-18-2007, 05:44 AM
My advice is not LW mac related. just mac.

It's about .dmg files (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.dmg). They're used pretty often on mac (in the place of zips with downloads a lot of times), and are the most common problem among new users that I find.

When you doubleclick a .dmg file (thus mounting the disk), your operating system then sees a new drive. It's like you plugged in a USB memory stick or external USB hard drive. Except the source is that DMG file.

And just like a USB drive, you can run applications from it, but you don't necessarily want to run it from the drive. More often than not you want to drag it from your USB memory stick and keep it on your system (so you can eject the USB memory stick and take it with you).

So when I download something in .dmg format, I mount the drive, drag files that I want from that drive to a folder I create on my desktop or hard drive, then eject the drive (using the finder, or just dragging the white disk icon right to the trash so that the trash changes into an eject icon). After that's ejected, I backup my .dmg file somewhere so I can get to the original install again if I need to restore things.

But quite often I find new mac users with 10-15 white .dmg drives mounted and desktops littered with .dmg files. The users are confused when some applications being run from those white drives aren't keeping their settings, and don't want all of those things laying around.

03-18-2007, 06:17 PM
I'll wait until the official release is announced. I'm not in a hurry...too much... Been going back and forth between a 15 and 17in. Powerbook. I pretty much have decided that if I'm replacing my desktop - a 17" is almost a necessity. (I'm replacing a 3GHz, dualcore Dell with 4GB RAM and XP64) Honestly, I've only HAD to use LW64 once - so the need for all that memory access is not there yet.

Really, the reason I'm switching is not LW but job related. As I'm working full-time in LW now - my machine at home doesn't need to be a monster anymore - but a more "all-around" machine. And IMHO, Apple makes the best Laptops...

Oh, and BTW, Jeremy - thanks for the information. I finally figured the whole DMG thing out THIS WEEK.:)

03-18-2007, 06:23 PM
Hey guys...kind of related: Is Final Cut Express worth the money? Would like something to edit with - but don't need a full professional editor. The only thing I'd really like is to be able to bring in the separate frames from my LW work and assemble into animations, add music. But pretty simple stuff.

Thanks again.

03-18-2007, 10:40 PM
I've not used FC Express, just the pro, but from what I understand it should be fine. FCP is a great editing system. It's the main program I currently use at my day job (I throw in Lightwave whenever special projects arise), so the same system with fewer features should be just peachy.

Learn about repairing Permissions in the Mac OS. It's a part of the Unix system that's easy to fix but can mess up seemingly unrelated things real quick with apps and the system.

Also, trashing an app's preferences file(s) can usually fix 90% of that app's ailments.

03-18-2007, 11:43 PM
FCE should work, but I think it limits you to DV or HDV codecs; I could be wrong though.

I generally use After Effects to re-compile image sequences to whatever video codec I am using in FCP.


03-19-2007, 12:50 AM
Hey guys...kind of related: Is Final Cut Express worth the money? Would like something to edit with - but don't need a full professional editor. The only thing I'd really like is to be able to bring in the separate frames from my LW work and assemble into animations, add music. But pretty simple stuff.

Thanks again.

For that, you don't really want an editor, IMHO. I have final cut pro, and to bring in an image sequence, you have to bring in every frame of that image sequence and then make sure you imported them with a default duration of one frame, then lay all of them side by side in the timeline. Bit poor with image sequences, IMHO. And if that's what you want to use it for, and if FC Express behaves anything like FCP, I say no.

QT Pro is great for this sort of thing if you don't mind the lack of a layers timeline interface and it's only $29 (as opposed to FC Express's $299).

If you want a stronger program than that, I say get yourself a teacher or student friend to get you Shake (http://www.apple.com/shake) for $250 (at the educational price). You can do anything you want with your image sequence. Shake is also the only compositor that has professional retiming built right in (better than FCP or AE by a LONG shot), and the most non-destructive color corrector that I've ever used.

03-19-2007, 02:05 AM
Great advice. Thanks.

03-19-2007, 02:10 AM
My irritation is that OS X doesn't behave sensibly when doing something like this :

1) Make a folder called test on your Desktop.
2) Create a file called one in the test folder.
3) Create a folder called test in your Documents folder
4) Create a file called two in this test folder.

Copy the test folder from Documents to Desktop. If you say yes to the OS X prompt, you'll find your test folder on the Desktop only contains the file called two.

I haven't yet found a way to make this work like every other OS I have ever used, whereby you replace at a file-level and not a folder-level. Under both linux OSes and Windows, you would have 'one' and 'two' in the Desktop test folder in the scenario above.

It's currently very tedious to deal with partial copies like this. I use Chronosync (which I picked up for automated backups/syncs of project folders) to work around this at the moment, but there must be a better way.

03-21-2007, 11:55 AM
nthused, If you do go for Final Cut Express, you should know that you can NOT change your project to a custom resolution. You are stuck to the standard PAL and NTSC HDV and DV formats.
It might not be a problem for you but if you do web-work it's mighty handy to change the resolution of your project to what you need.
In Final Cut Pro it is possible to set a custom resolution though.

03-22-2007, 05:49 AM
Thanks Sarford...There's no way I can afford "Pro". Looks like I might just get SpeedEDIT and run it under XP. Can the OSX partition access the XP partition? Anyone here using BootCamp to access XP?