Sunday Mailbag

March 6th, 2011 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: This is a follow up question to last Sunday’s mailbag (about computer crashes). I fix Macs, and something I hear all the time from photographers is that the glass panel on the iMacs makes it tougher to accurately edit photos. ¬¨‚ĆDo you have that problem as an illustrator?¬¨‚ĆAm surprised to see you’ve gone with an iMac, so I’m wondering if the glare doesn’t bother you, or if you work in a dark room. 🙂

A: I don’t have that problem for two reasons. First, my studio lighting is of the halogen track lighting variety and the fixtures themselves are almost directly above my head. Therefore it is impossible to see a reflection from the lights themselves on the screen… one of the bigger culprits with the glassy surfaces of the new Macs, also, my screen is tucked beneath a 12 inch shelf that further shields it from direct lighting. Because of the way the studio is lit, I really don’t have any glare ¬¨‚Ćor reflections on my screen. The second reason is I do all my actual artwork on the Wacom Cintiq 21ux, which has it’s own screen and that has a sort of half glassy, half matte surface that reduces glare and keeps the colors truer.

I actually like the glassy screens on the new Macs. I used to have one of those 30″ Apple Cinema Displays with the matte screen and the colors on the new iMacs are much sharper and more dynamic. Maybe that isn’t so good for color proofing work, but I go by the colors on my Cintiq and know what to expect in terms of color shift from experience anyway. Other stuff looks great on that iMac screen, like video or regular computer stuff.

I was a little nervous trading in my Mac Pro for an iMac… but not because of the screen glare issue you mentioned. I don’t like having a computer where I cannot open up the case and replace or add a hard drive, dvd drive, etc. I went with it because desktop computers have reached the point with processing and graphics power and memory, available RAM and such that the work I do not longer requires a high end graphics workstation. Computers like a Mac Pro are really only necessary for CAD/CAM work, heavy duty video editing and animation/3D rendering. This iMac is actually quite a bit more powerful than my 5 plus year old Mac Pro was, and was less expensive than even a low end new Mac Pro. Plus no cables everywhere and less space utilized. Winning!

Thanks to¬¨‚ĆMike Solin for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar,¬¨‚Će-mail me your questions and I’ll try and answer them here!



  1. Adam says:

    You…didn’t… just… quote… Charlie Sheen.. Oh…. my head hurts…:)

    But seriously.. I have had an imac for a couple of years now, and I LOVE it! I am not going to the art institute, and have done a lot of work on it. It handles everything well, and even with my computer wide open, I’ve never had a glare issue. For me, it’s still the computer of choice for photography or any other design work.


  2. Tom,
    you are not only talented but frugal

  3. Mike says:

    I have a 17″ Mac Book Pro with the essential software on it as a back up. Day to day my computer is a 24″ iMac, 4 years old now, long in the tooth. It’s a work horse. I’m in graphics. Use primarily all the Adobe apps in addition to a bunch of other ones.

  4. Mike Solin says:

    Ha, wow! That’s me, that’s my question. 😀

    Agreed – the new iMacs are very powerful, but limiting. I don’t think Apple’s going to unveil a nice mid-range tower anytime soon, but that would be nice. I like swapping my own parts, upgrading, etc. With an iMac, you can upgrade the HD/RAM/OS, but afterwards you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got until you replace the whole thing.

    Also, I had forgotten that I wrote you, so I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw today’s mailbag was my email! Thanks for the insight. 🙂


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