A studio’s software options depend upon its core creative offerings. If you specialise in web and app design, then your prototyping and wireframing tools will be indispensable. If you’re a packaging and design outfit, then InDesign and Acrobat will be firmly lodged in your dock.
But Adobe doesn’t rule the roost entirely. There’s a growing number of 3D, video and motion graphics packages, prototyping and coding apps gaining favourable followings. As ever, choice is often dictated by budget and need – so if you only crack open a video editor to mock up the occasional animated GIF, there’s little point blowing your budget on Final Cut Pro X.
A studio’s software options depend upon its core creative offerings
Similarly, running a successful studio means doing the admin work, too. Keeping track of invoicing, budgets and productivity is crucial, so we’ve selected a few of our favourite creatively-focused project management tools. These aren’t sexy bits of kit, but they are hugely valuable in ensuring you’re running your studio profitably and productively. We’ve also touched on communication apps. Collaborative, remote, and freelance working models are key to the creative industries and so managing these areas with the right tools makes for empowered and informed teams.
Finally, we’ve picked two coding and wireframing apps that are making a huge impact in the industry – one is free, and the other a snip at $99. Both receive huge support from their respective user communities, and shouldn’t be sniffed at just because they don’t come with a heavy price tag.
01. Creative Cloud
Adobe CC is great for pretty much anyone working in a creative field; especially studios reliant on in-house freelance bookings
Price: From £45.73pm
Adobe’s full CC Suite is the industry standard for a reason – its apps are fast, reliable and near limitless in their creative possibilities.
But let’s start with the workhorse: Photoshop. Whether your studio specialises in print, web and app design, or motion graphics and video, you’ll likely need Photoshop. A single licence for the app starts from £17 a month.
For digital workflows, Adobe Muse is a rapid prototyping tool for websites and apps. It’s a design- led coding environment, which outputs in fully responsive HTML5. An ever-growing library of widgets deploys pre-coded JQuery, AJAX and JSON elements, for forms, menus and other elements, killing the need for laborious coding.
For video and motion graphics editors, Premiere Pro and After Effects take a lot of beating. The former has done away with the need to transcode media, meaning you can edit any video format on the fly, while colour support and stability is incomparable. After Effects syncs with Premiere Pro, and remains the go-to option for motion graphics editors due to its fast rendering and ability to tweak compositions in preview mode.
02. Final Cut Pro X
Powerful, professional and totally Apple-friendly video editing
FC Pro X now supports the pro RED RAW footage format, and handles it using some clever GPU acceleration. It also packs in motion graphics, and impressive 2D and 3D rendering support – and encodes with its Compressor 4 workflow. If TV broadcast is your studio’s game, FC Pro X is a serious contender.
03. Serif Affinity Designer