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Microsoft Surface Studio for Creative Cloud

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› Microsoft Surface Studio for Creative Cloud
  • Published on November 7, 2016

Using the Microsoft Surface Studio for Creative Cloud applications appears to make perfect sense. Microsoft moved into the computer hardware business several years ago with the Surface products that provided a showcase of what is possible with their touch-focused operating systems. With the Surface Studio they have created a flagship computer for touch and pen input that should appeal to Creative Cloud users.

The Microsoft Surface Studio is completely integrated computer and display. Think Apple iMac, only better. The Microsoft Surface Studio uses Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, it is a fully touch enabled computer which can be used with either fingers or a digital pen, or a keyboard. The touch-display is a full 28 inches, much larger than most iMacs. The ultra-high resolution display includes 63% more pixels than are found on a 4K display, and shows detail at 192 ppi (pixels per inch). For comparison, a typical display uses between 72 and 96 pixels per inch. This large, high resolution display will likely be of big interest for designers and Creative Cloud users trying to find a computer that makes it easier for them to do their creative work.

The design aesthetic of the system itself is likely to attract creative professionals. The system borrows from Swiss design principles and would likely please the likes of Dieter Rams, with a simple yet elegant form. The base of the large display is also the fully functional computer that uses the sixth-generation Core i7 processor from Intel. Driving the 28 inch display is a dedicated Nvidia 980M graphics card that can contain up to 4GB of memory. That is 4 GB dedicated to the graphics card alone, with up to 32 GB of memory for the computer itself, and 2 TB of storage on the hard drive. Impressive specifications for any type of creative work.

While Apple has been getting rid of ports that creative love, the Surface Studio has gone in the opposite direction with plenty of connectivity options. Photographers and will appreciate the full-size SD card reader, and everyone that wants to connect a separate display will like the ability to do so without a dongle using the mini DisplayPort connections, and four USB 3.0 ports. There’s even a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, despite rumors that headphone jacks were no longer needed. The forward facing camera is 5-megapixel which can be used with Windows Hello to log-in. For Skype and web conferencing, there are dual microphones. On the wireless side, the Surface Studio includes all major flavors of 802.11 for WiFi, as well as Bluetooth.

Surface Studio for Photoshop and Illustrator

As a touch-screen device, input can occur via the Surface Pen, which works well with Illustrator and Photoshop for drawing and erasing naturally. As the display can be positioned to a 20 degree tilt, similar to a drafting table, designers can use the pen to draw and input directly on the display. With the powerful processor, large screen, and various input capabilities, the Surface Studio looks to be a good fit for Illustrator and Photoshop users, and others working with Creative Cloud apps. As they become more available American Graphics Institute anticipates adding Surface Studios to its classrooms for use in various Creative Cloud classes.

A new Surface Dial enables a scrolling interface that app developers can tap-into to enable additional functionality. We anticipate Adobe will use this for access various panels, colors, or font families, for example. Pressing the dial adds a menu on-screen which can be accessed through scrolling the dial to the left or right.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.