I used Ubuntu for preparing the SD Card and it's really simple. You connect the SD Card using a card reader. If it's auto mounted, then un-mount it using
sudo umount /dev/sdb1
assuming /dev/sdb is the SD Card with one partition.
Next extract the Raspbian image from the ZIP file. Note, the zip file is about 1GB but the image is 4.4GB since it's compressed image.
Next use dd to put this image on the SD Card.
sudo dd bs=4M if=[image file path] of=/dev/sdb
This writes the image to the SD Card. Next pop the SD Card in the pi and power up!