Best Laptops for 3D Artists

Design

Recently I was searching for a Laptop too, which enables me to work from more or less everywhere.
I stumbled above a very bad article which claimed to be from March 2022 recommending me an 11-Inch MacBook Air from 2020 for 3d Design, which is the reason I am writing this article that there is at least one with useful recommendations.

25/03/2022|In 3D, Design, Video|10 Minutes

What should a Computer have to work in 3D?

A good GPU

GPUs are the main factor for rendering speed.
Currently, NVIDIAs RTX GPUs are the best by a long shot in every 3D application.

Nvidia knows this and certified some Laptops as NVIDIA Studio which according Nvidia are good for Design and visualization especially in 3D.

A good and Big Display

Working in front of a small display hours up on hours is really bothering which is the reason, it makes sense, to have at least a 15-Inch Screen but 16-Inch or 17-Inch are of cause better.
Besides, Display Quality can also play an important role which is something determinate primarily two factors, resolution and color.

 

Most cheaper Laptops with powerful chips are primarily made with gaming in mind. Which is the reason they have a bad display when it comes to Quality, but with a high refresh rate like 120 Hz or more this is helpful for competitive gaming but not useful for a Designer or Animator.
You should get a Laptop with at least a WQHD Resolution (2560*1440) UHD (3840*2160) would be better but is also way more expensive.

When it comes to color, what is important in my opinion is the Colors Space the display should have a 100% coverage of the sRGB color space. That enables you to get if you calibrate the Screen to get accurate colors.

Enough RAM

In most cases, 3D is not that RAM intense. But there are some cases in which a file can take up 20 GB of RAM and to supplement 3D most people are using After Effects which eats RAM like Popcorn 😃🍿🍿🍿. After Effects always profits from more RAM, which is the reason you should get 32 GB RAM or more. Ideally with a possibility to upgrade.

Laptop Recommendations

Razer Blade 17

The one I got for myself

The Razer Blade 17 ticked the most boxes for me, it is available with The RTX 3080Ti which is currently the best GPU for Laptops, it is available with an i9 12900h the Best CPU for Laptops, 32 GB of RAM which is expandable, the possibility to add a second SSD, and it is also available with a 100% Adobe RGB UHD Touch Screen. Probably the best Laptop Display on the market.

In comparison to most other Laptops from the Gaming category, it is lightweight and doesn’t look like a Gaming Device which can be a huge plus considering the comments I got when I got my first Computer for 3D with Tempered Glass and RGB of cause

which was sitting in an agency in which most people were using Mac and probably saw such a Computer for the first time.

Price: $ 2.300 - $ 4.700

MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max

The best all-rounder if 3D is not the main Task

Even do I currently don’t have a MacBook, I really like them, they are built better than anything else, the screen is great, the trackpad is great, they are extremely light, and the M1 CPUs are faster in all the Adobe Tools then any Threadripper 64 Core PC that is currently available. And GPU Rendering also Works in Blender and Redshift Render. While staying silent and having a good battery performance.

But the downside is, that even if that even is, they are fast they are way slower than the Current Nvidia RTX GPU. From what I tested at the Apple Store, the M1 Max is comparable to an GTX 1070Ti in 3D rendering, which I think is still pretty impressive and absolutely useable.

The other problem is the Software. Outside the Software which is optimized for the M1 Chip Programs like Marvelous Designer or Ember gen, the experience is not that good and things can become extremely complicated.

Price: $ 3.850 - $ 6.840

Alienware X17 R2

The Gaming Icon

The Alienware X17 is available with an i9 12900HK The best Laptop CPU and a RTX3080ti the best Laptop GPU, up to 64 GB of Ram, an UHD Screen and is even configurable with multiple SSDs.

The downside is, that it is bigger and heavier than the Razer for example, especially the Power supply. Also, the Screen doesn’t have full sRGB coverage.
It is built really well-built, not on the same level as the Razer Blade or the MacBook.

The Alienware aesthetic is Iconic, and personally I really like it, but not best suited for the working world.

Price: $ 2.250 - $ 4.550

Acer ConceptD D7

Specifically made for 3D work

In general, the Acer ConceptD products are made with Designers and Engineers in mind. The ConceptD D7 Laptop is the current top model of the Notebook Line-up. It comes with an RTX3080, An i7 12700KH and 64 GB of RAM, not as powerful as the Alienware or the Razer but still way more performance the necessary for most people.

What I really like about the Concept D series is, are the displays. Not only can all the display show 100% of the Adobe RGB color space which is an even bigger color space than sRGB they come also precalibrated, and they are Panton certified which doesn’t matter for 3D work in most cases, but it can be useful when it comes to printing it’s just another certificate to demonstrate how accurate the Displays are and I think it is the most accurate Display in a Laptop that is currently available. The only downside is, that it is just 15 Inch big, which is the reason it wasn’t interesting for me.

It doesn’t really have the cliché Gamer aesthetic which is definitely a plus point, but compared to most other laptops it feels a bit cheap since it is made out of a plastic and ceramic mix, but it feels just like plastic.

It should also be mentioned that there i also The Acer ConceptD D7 Ezel which has a flippable Touchscreen which could be interesting, for painting textures or photo editing in general and the Acer ConceptD D7 SpatialLabs Edition which can track eye movement to create a 3D Effect with this data. I wasn’t able to test it out, but I think it is more something which falls into the gimmick category.

Price: $ 2.950 - $ 4.000

Acer Nitro 5

The Budget friendly option

The Acer Nitro 5 starts at below $1000 in the lowest configuration featuring an RTX 3050 and an i5 and 8 GB of RAM which is a excellent price to performance Ration when 3D Rending is the most important task. In the most expensive configuration, it is featuring an AMD Ryzen R9 5900HX, an RTX 3080, 32 GB of RAM (expendable) and a 17-Inch QHD Screen. For around $2500 which is still relatively affordable, at least to most of the other Laptops on the List.

The problem with Laptops that are relatively cheap in relation to their main components is, that the companies are trying to save on anything else, which means, the build quality even is it made out of aluminum isn’t on the same level as a more expensive Dell Computer for example, also the battery, the trackpad and the Keyboard is more at the lower end.
And of course this Laptop was primarily made with Gamers in mind, which means that the Display doesn’t have a wide variety of colors or good contrast.

Price: $ 1.000 - $ 2.500

Asus ProArt StudioBook 16

Well build and with OLED Screen

The ProArt Lineup by ASUS is like the Acer ConceptD lineup specifically made for creators.

Price: $ 1.000 - $ 2.500

Dell Precission

Well build and with OLED Screen

Price: $ 1.200 - $ 3.800


Tips for better file managment as Designer / Content Creator

Design

What is a Render-Engine?

A Render-Engine is an application, which takes the 3D models and all the information like light and textures and converts them into a 2D image.

04/08/2021|In Design, Video|4 Minutes

Adobe Bridge is a file managing software that is currently free to use.

It is really helpful to get an overview of multiple files because Bridge can directly show you what’s inside PDF, Illustrator (and many other formats) files. It also shows some additional information, like the size of an image or even geotags (if available).

I thought it is nice to know that such software exists before you clean up your desktop ?

Create a Syntax for filenames

Having a standardized Syntax for naming files makes naming files a much faster process.

This is the Syntax I am using, which I adopted from an ad agency I once worked at. But come up with your own syntax that fits your needs.

Create a standardized file structure

A standardized file structure comes in handy if you open up projects again, which are a few months old or even multiple years because the clients want some changes after a year, for example, or you can reuse assets for another project.

It is also helpful if you hand over multiple projects to someone else because he can recognize the pattern and knows where to find what.

Consistency

Like in many things in life, consistency is also important for file handling. If you switch your naming Syntax or file structure every once in a while, it is harder to orientate in older projects.

No 02_ 04_ 00_

Some people name their folders.

02_Final Result

04_archive

Putting a number in front of repetitive folders is a bad idea since it makes searching for folders harder. And disables you from selecting a folder or a file by typing the first letter on the keyboard.

Give files an ID (identifier)

“An identifier is a name that identifies (that is, labels the identity of) either a unique object or a unique class of objects”

Wikipedia

The important part here is that an ID is always unique. No files should share a name. This not only makes it easier to find them again. But also reduces the risk of other people falling into depression if they need to work with your project.

Name things inside projects

The same principles are also appliable inside documents. You can give Photoshop Layers names, put them into folders, give them colors name objects in Blender or Cinema 4D, put them on different layers, and so on.

Plan in time for file handling

It is impossible to do something right if you have no time for it. Because of that, it is necessary to plan in time for data handling as well. For my projects, I plan in 5% of the time. For handling files.

Don’t save Things on the Desktop or the download

Saving files on the desktop is like saying I don’t later.
Which we all know is a lie.
We all know this moment where you have to just save the current file asap. To prevent that this file from landing on the desktop, just save it after you created it.

The same accounts for the download folder.
In Google Chrome, it is possible to activate an option, so that the browser asks you every time when to save it.
You can find this option under “Settings” scroll down and click on “Advanced” and under “Downloads” you can find “Ask where to save each file before downloading” which you can activate.


Design/ Media Trends of the next few years.

Design

What is a Render-Engine?

A Render-Engine is an application, which takes the 3D models and all the information like light and textures and converts them into a 2D image.

13/02/2021|In 3D, Design, Video|8 Minutes

AI Tools

More and more Software Companies like Adobe or Autodesk will create better features inside their software driven by AI. already there are features like object recognition, and AI Filters to change faces inside of Photoshop. Another really popular AI feature is the Denoising of 3D rendered images.

There are also interred Standalone programs like Cascadeur or AI Gigapixel which are built around the idea of making something better than with the initial method with the help of AI.

Those tools and features will appear more and more often in the next years and can make the creator more powerful, but that will also set a higher standard.

3D

A few years ago 3D was a remarkable and special skill I even got my first job as a Motion Designer because I had some 3D skills. But nowadays you rarely find a job description as a graphic / motion designer not including things like “basic skills in C4D or Blender is a plus” So the demand is definitely there and one day it will be the standard.

Or if you are a creator, maybe it is time to learn it. Because let’s be honest, during these times, we all sit at home and play video games or watch pointless YouTube videos and TikTok most of the time.

Here is the Tutorial, I recommend to every beginner YouTube.com/Blender Beginner Tutorial – Part 1
And here is the Download Link for Blender Blender.org/Download

Online Events

Since the last year, many events never happened the way they were planned due to contact restrictions. Which meant for some event organizers to look for alternatives.

And since online events are extremely practical since they are relatively inexpensive and not limited by location. With more possibilities, this might be part of the future, especially for events such as fairs.

Facebook Alegria

Few people heard about it but everyone saw it. Alegria is the Name of the ecosystem for Facebook Illustrations and probably one of the most copied design ecosystems on the internet.

And there are many reasons that speak for it like, it is inclusive since the people shown don’t are recognizable as humans but too abstract for anyone to feel discriminated against; The style is simple to recreate and to adapt, which saved time and money and; it works really well as a simple vector file, which makes it extremely easy and well performing for web applications.

The downside is that everything looks more or less the same. It is just not interesting it is more like a placeholder.

The actual creator of this style is the LA-based design Agency Buck.

Less demand for simple easy things

More small business recognizes that it is important to also be present on the web and in media, which created the market for easy-to-use tools to create media such as Adobe Spark or Canva. Also, a platform such as Fiverr profited from this need.

That means there will be less demand for graphic designers doing simple things or things for small businesses that don’t really have a real marketing budget.

Holistic Design Systems

Almost every big tech company has a Design System, a system that is adaptable for every situation and for every medium. Since it looks to become the norm, that companies are present on multiple platforms and mediums, there will be a need for holistic concepts and ideas.

Web micro-Interactions

Since Smartphones became advanced enough over the last few years to support almost everything that a desktop does and internet speed constantly increases, the web became more of a playground for designers. Websites can be bigger and more complex, which enables web developers to create a dialog instead of a monologue, a website that talks back to the user which can make communication way easier.

There most important example for this is the message got to send after clicking send on a form because without it unsettles the user. Makes him unhappy a subconsciously connects bad feelings with the website and the website owner. I think there are a lot of examples like this in which it can improve the communication of the website through micro-interactions.

There are already people whose only job it is to create such micro-interactions even do I think currently it is more part of a UI Designers Job.

VR/AR

Currently, VR and AR are more of a gimmick or a niche. But big tech names such as Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook think it will be the future. I think currently this is extremely fueled by the contact restrictions and lockdowns which created the need to shift more things in the online world.

Especially for Fairs, Many clients ask for VR and Real-time solutions. And currently, it is a real niche. This means perhaps it is a good train to jump on by now and maybe build a company around this field.

Human focused Design

Human focused design is the idea of designing something with the realistic behavior of humans in mind. It means to make text big enough so that it is easy to read, make things less boring so that people don’t get disinterested instantly, especially on the internet. It is about using colors with the question of how it influences the behavior of the viewer. Overall, it is about letting psychology and knowing about human behavior influence the design.

Back to basic

It is a more general development of humanity that happened in the last 20 years that people seem, to step back a bit from the current progress, that people care more about work-life balance, reducing stress, feeling connected to nature, consume less, be for minimalistic and focus on what is important.

And I think we are seeing something similar when it comes to media. Minimalism for example is a Design Philosophie that moved into the media world roughly 10 years ago. But it is more than that. People want to spend less time on their phones and also value printed media more.