Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Vivian The Dog

Vivian The Dog

6-foot tall dachshund

in animal, illustrator, mac, photographer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Vivian, a 6-foot tall dachshund living in New York City. I basically eat food and sleep 24/7. I'm also working on a children's book titled, "Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn." The book is all about my move from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Brooklyn, New York. New York City is not really a great place for a giant dog to be.

What hardware do you use?

Mitch: I'm gonna take over here - hi, I'm Mitch, Vivian's owner, and I work as an illustrator and photographer. As I'm sure you've assumed, Vivian is not actually 6 feet tall. She's just barely over a foot tall and weighs 13 lbs. All of the pictures in the book are photo-illustrations.

I've been shooting the images on the Fujifilm X‑T10 with a 35mm lens. I originally purchased the Fuji as a casual travel camera, but I loved the images it was taking so much that I now use it more than the Canon 5D. A lot of the scenes we shoot are in busy city areas, so it helps to have a low profile camera. Most people just assume I'm another tourist taking a picture of the New York Skyline.

I edit on my 27" iMac. I haven't pushed for the Retina version yet, maybe next time. It does the job just fine. Oh, I forgot! before I shoot the images, I make a storyboard in my Moleskin notebook. I prefer the squared pattern version. When I'm sketching I like to work in pencil first and then ink using a Staedtler Pigment Liner pen. I usually work with a 0.3mm tip. Okay, back to the Mac! I love this thing. The 27" screen is a great size and gives me space to work in several programs at once. My computer desktop is usually a mess with several windows open at once. I used to be very OCD about only having one program open at once, but I've let that go.

While editing the photos I use the Wacom Bamboo tablet. It's a little old and not the Intuos series or anything, but it works just fine. I worked for a few years on the super big Intuos while I was a VFX artist, and they really all feel the same to me. I like to work on the pixel level, so I'm always zoomed in, and a more sensitive tablet doesn't matter at that point.

Vivian: I use a standard leash and poop bags most days. Nothing fancy.

And what software?

Mitch: I process the raw files from the Fuji in Adobe Lightroom and use the VSCO Film 02 pack a lot. I'm not a fan of the strong roll off you get in the highlights with digital images, and I think VSCO does a good job of smoothing that out. I love their Kodak Portra 400 emulator.

Once I've processed the files, I pull them into Photoshop and finish them there. No special filters or plugins. Just vanilla Photoshop.

Outside of image processing, I use Sunrise for my calander - so sad they're being eaten by Outlook. I'm writing this in Grammarly because I'm constantly afraid of making stupid grammatical mistakes. I've been on a Duolingo kick lately, my girlfriend is Colombian and I've been learning Spanish, it's going pretty well. Oh, and I'm a huge Spotify junkie. I'm always listening to something.

Vivian: What's software? Can I eat it?

What would be your dream setup?

Vivian: Probably having 3-5 manservants shoveling food into my mouth at all times, while lounging in my penthouse overlooking Central Park.

Mitch: Honestly, I'm pretty happy with what I have now. I guess I'd always love to grab an iPad Pro - I've been wanting to play around with the Pencil for a while now. I've been getting back into filmmaking, so I've got my eye on a Blackmagic Cinema Camera and some nice Zeiss Primes. But that's a pipe dream for now, and it's usually better to rent that stuff. We'll see!

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.