Tips to Help Manage Your Digital Workspace
A computer or tablet is the most important tool in a digital artist’s workspace. Like all creative tools they need to be cared for and maintained. Painters go to great lengths to protect and clean their brushes, otherwise they decay and spend the rest of their undead existence searching for paint. True story.
While we don’t recommend soaking your computer overnight like a brush, there are some things you can do to keep your computer or tablet humming along and easy to use.
Keep It Tidy
Using a computer for art means you will be collecting an endless supply of image files, and that can get out of control quickly. Not keeping a tidy workspace can make it hard to find projects, and cut into the time you should be using to create new things. With that in mind:
- Create folders for each project or design you work on. This way you know exactly where things are.
- Come up with an easy way to name your files, so instead of “untitled31_final_final.psd” try using “shirtdesign_20170831.psd”. This way, you know exactly what the latest file is and can easily find it.
- Avoid storing files on your desktop. This can possibly slow your computer down, and along with running out of desktop space, it gives you more work cleaning it up later on.
Back It Up
Periodically backing up your files not only saves your art from potential corruption, but also gives your computer some free space to run more smoothly. If you create a solid file organization and naming plan, backing up your files will be much easier. With this in mind:
- Use a Solid State Drive (SSD) or thumb drive to store your most precious files.
- Use a service like Dropbox or Google Drive to store files and have easy access to them anywhere.
- Automate your backups and use a combination of cloud and physical options. No harm in backing up your art more than once.
Keep It Clean and Safe
While pizza and nacho fingers are great, your computer is not a fan. It needs a steady diet of safe electricity and a nice cool place to work. Much like junk food, dust and too much heat will cause your computer to slow down. With this in mind:
- Use a surge protector when plugging in your computer or laptop to a wall outlet.
- Only use a microfiber cloth or specially designs solutions for cleaning your computer and screen.
- Do routine maintenance such as updating programs, defragging your hard-drive (windows), or running disk utility (OSX).
- Store your computer or tablet in a dust free area, and consider using a sleeve for laptops/tablets.
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