Useful tools and resources for Design, Development and Video Production
I often get asked about the tools, apps, and services I use to succeed in my work. Here’s a list of my favorite tools that I use daily. They’ve helped me build a successful business and would also be a great addition to anyone’s arsenal.
AMD 5950X Custom, 128GB RAM, with an Nvidia 3090 Ti Ultra I use an AMD 5950X with 128GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance for my workstation. It includes an Nvidia 3090 Ultra Ti video card for video editing and AI art generation. It also has enough memory for multi-tasking, fast transfer rates to a 4X, 4TB SSD NVMe storage, and enough power to run multiple Adobe Creative Cloud products, and with VS Code simultaneously.
Dual 32 Inch 4K Monitors
When it comes to Video Editing, this is a must. These two beautiful monitors allow me to cut in a video quickly, just because I have more real estate and allow for multi-tasking from running multiple applications simultaneously. I usually have my timeline on one monitor and my video preview on another. I also use tools like NEXT.JS, which lets me run VS Code on one monitor while my browser is live-reloading my coding changes. OBS also comes in handy for recording time lapses and content for how-to videos.
XP Pen Deco Pro
I was a longtime Wacom tablet fan, but recently I switched to the XP Pen Deco Pro, and it is every bit as good as a Wacom, perhaps, even better. You cant see the price point. I use this for digital drawing and painting. It is also a fantastic asset to utilize for photo retouching and editing. I highly recommend trying it out if you use a tablet. When I was on a Mac, I used Sequal Pro.
VS Code is the rock star of IDEs, in my opinion. This editor has every extension, plugin, or theme you could want. VS Code integrates with CLI on windows, Linux, or Mac and lets you easily sync your settings, plugins, extensions, and git between multiple devices---look no further than VS Code. It is open source and free and has many themes for every dev. Especially dark mode, so my retinas won’t get burned out while coding for long periods. It lets you view the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) exported from Illustrator or Inkscape, which is excellent.
I’m a huge Linux fan, but unfortunately, rebooting to code is not the most efficent use of my time due to the creative tools I use. The best part is that I can install multiple Linux distributions on the WSL. Various Linux distributions, where specific needs come in handy for handling different distributions for specialized tasks. Regarding using Root Trellis, I can install WSL version 1 to control VirtualBox and Vagrant with one workspace within VS Code, and I can use the latest version of Ubuntu to run Static Site Generators like NEXT.JS and Gatsby.js with blazing-fast speeds.
GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service for source code that offers simplified version control, collaboration, and distribution of software development projects. It has an easy-to-use interface accessible to novice coders and provides an alternative to command-line version control systems. Since the entire codebase is available on every developer’s computer, branching and merging are much more accessible than traditional software development tools. Honestly, I prefer to use Git the old-fashioned way. In my opinion, the CLI is still one of the most underrated tools.
HeidiSQL is a valuable tool designed for developers using databases like Postgre, SQL Lite, MySQL server, and Microsoft SQL databases. It allows you to quickly find, create and edit tables, edit data, views, procedures, triggers, and scheduled events.
Adobe Creative Cloud
If you’ve been in the Design game, you know this is the oldest kid on the block. Agencies want people that know it inside and out. I’ve found over the years that it’s become bloated and difficult to use. I know CC like the back of my hand. With that said, I’ve found better and more reliable tools over the years.
Affinity products are award-winning creative software for professional photo editing, page layout, graphic design and illustration. I use them on my older MacBook Pro, my windows Windows box, and iPad. They are well designed products that function well, when vectors and/or pixels get complex.
I started using Figma as a design tool, but now it’s become my go-to tool of choice. I use it on everything from prototyping, layouts, and wireframes to making icons and logos. I would never have expected the collaboration features to be the real hook. It’s the best collaborative tool for Designers and Developers to efficiently work with each other, from building sites to apps to anything UX/UI.
Da Vinci Resolve
I love motion graphics and video editing, and for years I only used Adobe After Effects and Premier. A few years ago, I started using Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve, and I have to say that going from layers to nodes was a huge hurdle, but once you get it, you get it. It’s hard not to use this as my go-to video editing software. It will truly change your video editing workflow.
Using Blender you can create 3D animation for film and video game industries as well as produce still images for print publications. You can easily make short movies with realistic visual effects. It can even be used to make models for 3D printing. Blender is cross-platform software available on all major platforms and works in all modern operating systems.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting refers to the web hosting services provided by the global ecommerce giant Amazon. AWS is one service within the larger AWS platform, which provides an array of cloud-based products (over 200 altogether). In addition to web hosting, some of its top products are cloud storage and database services. I regularly use S3 Storage to host media from WordPress sites there. Lightsail offers affordable solutions to host VPS (Virtal Private Servers) small and medium sized sites starting at around $5/mo. Amplify is awesome for Static Site Generator (SSG) sites and or small apps.
DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider specializing in simplifying infrastructure complexities for software developers, startups, and SMBs. It offers developer-friendly managed cloud servers with a wide range of Operating Systems and tools to build applications. Spinning up a VPS server for staging and production is an excellent, cost-effective solution. DO offers many prebuilt images that make hosting sites and apps, allowing developers to quickly prototype and build. The company also organized Hacktoberfest, an annual event held in October that encourages contributions to open-source projects.
GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service for source code that offers simplified version control, collaboration, and distribution of software development projects. It has an easy-to-use interface accessible to novice coders and provides an alternative to command-line version control systems. I prefer to use Git the old-fashioned way because, in my opinion, the CLI is still one of the most underrated tools. Nusser Studios is a full-service design boutique for digital media focusing on developing engaging, high-quality brand experiences for businesses.
Netlify is an open-source web development platform that enables developers to build, deploy, and scale modern websites. The platform is built on open web standards, making it possible to integrate build tools, web frameworks, APIs, and various web technologies into a unified developer workflow. Netlify enables building static web content files from source files stored in the version control system Git and serving them via a Content Delivery Network. It also provides services and features of serverless computing and edge computing. Best of all, you can host your low-bandwidth site or project for free.
Vercel is a cloud platform for hosting static sites, dynamic web apps, and Serverless Functions that perfectly fits workflows for developers using continuous integration (CI). It enables developers to instantly deploy websites and web services, scale them automatically, and does not require oversight or configuration. It’s a perfect solution for developers to host and maintain sites and make changes quickly and efficiently. I’m using Vercel to host this site.