What is a ‘Gigabyte’?
“I got the idea after seeing what someone did with Photoshop a couple of years ago,” says Martin. “A lot of the jobs I’ve seen have come from freelancers and bloggers. There’s definitely work you can do with a gigabyte of RAM, like the photographer I featured in the article. But what about more advanced software, like for 3D modelling? I had a couple of ideas and, as time has gone by, it’s become obvious to me that there’s a lot of work for a big computer.”
The big computer
The Raspberry Pi and other low-end computers are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. An early example of a low-end computer was a £65 Raspberry Pi. These little PCs are great for learning and experimenting, but they can only display the fewest number of colours. What a gigabyte of RAM does for some, is vastly multiply the number of colours that you can show, making each image in Photoshop far, far more detailed.
But how can your computer run Photoshop? While Martin can create his images on his Pi directly, or at some very cost, others can’t. “The best way to get a great workflow with Photoshop is to use a desktop environment, like GNU screen, which is very versatile,” Martin explains. “Once you finish your images on a desktop, you can download them wherever you want.” As an example of how to get that to work well, he showed me a picture he had created that featured a small blue rectangle in the centre, with the text underneath, and then another picture showing a blue triangle on top of it. The latter image is the one I would have looked at, had I been using a mouse, rather than a tablet in my hand: a desktop running screen.
Martin’s next big steps are to port his code to more traditional programs, and get the Pi into more devices, using USB. “My plan is to do my next batch of work using Linux, and then hopefully, if it works, to switch to Photoshop.” As for the Raspberry Pi itself, Martin says he can’t wait to use it for some simple projects, but then, for his projects that would be tricky.
Martin and I were chatting about his future when he mentioned what’s happened with his computer. “With the Raspberry Pi, one problem is that it runs for a few hours at a time, but I do need a full working day to do a
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