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Every artist has their tools. The painter has their brush, the carpenter has their chisel, and the blacksmith has their hammer. Working in a mostly digital world is no different. Over the years, we have developed and refined the tools we carry in our virtual tool belt. Without further ado, here are a few of the tools that the Serif team consistently go back to.
Final Cut Pro X
We’ll begin with a controversial one. Many old-school video editors absolutely despise everything that Final Cut has become. Serif, on the flip side, loves (most) of what Final Cut has become today. The speed and efficiency that FCPX allows you to work at is unmatched by other, more traditional non-linear editors. It does take some getting used to. And, if you’re a seasoned editor used to the likes of Adobe’s Premiere or Avid, you’re essentially going to have rewire your brain in some aspects. However, once you are able to get over that barrier of entry, you’ll find yourself delivering faster which is better for both, business and the end-client.
Adobe Creative Cloud
We could write an entire post about the Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe is a powerhouse in the digital creative’s world and it doesn’t look like it is about to be dethroned anytime soon. The ecosystem and inter-dependability between apps rivals that of Apple’s vertical ecosystem. Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator…the list goes on and on. While of course it has its quirks, there’s nothing that can match the extensive number of tools provided in one, relatively cheap subscription.
Project management. The bane of every creative’s existence. Managing a team that scales on a daily basis is not an easy task. Emails, calendar invites, Facebook, etc, all create a communication vortex that allows things to slip through the cracks and become lost or forgotten. Luckily, there’s Basecamp. Basecamp is built for teams. Since adding it to our workflow, project and team management has become a breeze. You don’t realize how important a centralized communication platform is until you actually use it consistently. While Basecamp has a lot of competitors, we’ve found it has been the most pleasant to use on a day-to-day basis and highly recommend it if you’re having communication breakdowns.
Visual Supply Co
Founded in 2011, Visual Supply Co (VSCO for short) has become a staple in the creative industry. Their subtle film filters are commonly found all over Instagram and in professional photography studios alike. We commonly find ourselves using VSCO in both Lightroom and on the iPhone app to edit photos for clients and our own personal use. Along with their photo filters, VSCO has worked very hard on building an online community of people passionate about photography. In 2012, we were lucky enough to be featured twice on their blog (here and here). Whether you are working in the digital darkroom daily for your career or a weekend-warrior iPhone photographer, VSCO is easy to use while delivering big results.
Wave Accounting and Invoicing
Making waves throughout the industry as it came on the scene in 2009, Wave Accounting has matured into a fully functional small business software. While we initially started using Wave for keeping track of our day-to-day accounting, we quickly saw the value in its other features such as payroll, invoicing, and payment processing. Wave has allowed us to keep track of all of our money in one, centralized location (an impressive feat for any small business let alone one with na irregular income). Wave has been great for out clients allowing them to pay invoices online with a credit or debit card which has dramatically decreased the number of days it takes to collect payment for a project. Best of all, its core accounting features are 100% free (and who doesn’t love free stuff!?)
Mission Coffee is our home away from home. It has become our designated “remote office.” The shop has a vibe that’s unlike any other coffee shop in the city. I am actually sitting on their couch as I type this. Walk through the garage door and you instantly feel inspired by all of the other creatives working on so many cool things. It’s also one of the easiest places to strike up a random conversation with a wide variety of people. It also doesn’t hurt that they brew one of the best cups of joe in the area.
These are the tools that Serif uses on a very regular basis. There are many, many more that can be listed so be on the lookout for future posts with more tools listed out. What are the tools that you use on a regular basis to get things done?
PS – photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo – another tool we use frequently!