Going Digital: Recommended tablet and software?

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Going Digital: Recommended tablet and software?

Post by Piperdog »

Peter,

I was wondering if you use a digital tablet and art software for some of your work. As an artist, I have finally decided to go that route and give it a try. Any recommendations? And if you in fact do use a tablet and computer for some of your art, what are the pros and cons?

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Re: Going Digital: Recommended tablet and software?

Post by gideon_thorne »

PIperdog wrote:
Peter,

I was wondering if you use a digital tablet and art software for some of your work. As an artist, I have finally decided to go that route and give it a try. Any recommendations? And if you in fact do use a tablet and computer for some of your art, what are the pros and cons?

Go to the Wacom site and check out the Intuos line of tablets. I'm planning on doing an upgrade in the near future.

I use Photoshop 6 and 7 to do my digital work, which is mostly all the black and white ink line work thats been appearing lately in my more recient offerings.

I should note, as an example, absolutely everything in Dark Chateau was done digitally.

I can say the same for the Haunted Highlands series, with the exception of the initial cover sketches in some cases, as well

Upside, for me, I'm actually faster at digital than traditional drawing.

Downside of digital, your only original is 'electronic'.

I recommend, however, finding a program called Painter. It was designed by artists well versed in digital programing and can emulate any artistic effect better than Photoshop. Also one of my planned upgrades. ^_~`
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Post by serleran »

Quote:
I recommend, however, finding a program called Painter.

I may be able to help you, Peter.

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Post by Piperdog »

Thanks for the advice! I was shopping around, comparing brands of tablets and their reviews. It seems people who try to save money on a different brand ( genius, adesso, etc) are not as happy as those with Wacom.

Being pricey, I attempted to get one on ebay but my wife caught me in the act. She is a very high hit dice creature, and I am not even remotely high enough level to take her on, so I had to run for it......
She promises that Santa might bring one though, if I behave and stay off ebay.

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Post by jaybird216 »

Yeah WACOM is the way to go. I have a crappy little (6x4 or so) Graphire that I got in 2002. The thing amazes me, especially in conjunction with Painter (though it's cool to use in Photoshop and Illustrator too). The Intuous models are super impressive, but you can probably find a Graphire for a decent price. It'd be more than enough with which to get your feet wet.

There aren't words to describe how cool Corel Painter is. Unfortunately, I just don't have the touch that Peter does for simulated B&W inks. I still prefer (need?) to do those traditionally.
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Post by Wulfgarn »

Peter what are the chances of me buying your old tablet - and how much would you charge

(Also does it still work? -

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Post by gideon_thorne »

Wulfgarn wrote:
Peter what are the chances of me buying your old tablet - and how much would you charge

(Also does it still work? -

*chuckles* Works just fine, but I haven't even come close to buying a new one.

But you can get what I have for a very reasonable price at the wacom store. I bought mine about ... wow.. 7 years ago.
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Post by Piperdog »

Okay. I have been diligently researching tablets. The Wacom Graphire line has512 levels of pressure vs the Wacom Intuos line that has 1024 levels of sensitivity. Plus the Intuos has a tilt sensitivity also. Can you really tell a difference between the 512 vs the 1024? The price difference is huge. However, if I get the cheaper one and I think it stinks, I will be pissed. I am tempted to shell out the 300 bucks for the better one. What do you recommend?

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Post by jaybird216 »

That tilt sensitivity looks really cool, depending on the software you intend to use it with. I believe you need the latest version of Painter for it to have any effect I'm not sure about Photoshop or Illustrator. Do some research and see if the functionality is even supported by the software that you intend to use. I bet you'd be more pissed about spending an extra $300 for a feature you can't use.

From the "How to" reels that ship with the software, the real bristle feature on Painter looks like it's pretty mind-blowing when used with a tilt pen. I have the latest software, but not even close to the latest tablet.

IMHO, you really can't go wrong with Wacom. You won't be disappointed with the cheaper one, and the expensive one will rock even harder.
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Post by Piperdog »

Peter,

What size is the drawing area on your tablet? Is a 4x5 too small for art work? I ask because the 4x5 are the least expensive, but it seems like it may be too constricting.

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Post by gideon_thorne »

PIperdog wrote:
Peter,

What size is the drawing area on your tablet? Is a 4x5 too small for art work? I ask because the 4x5 are the least expensive, but it seems like it may be too constricting.

I have the 6x8 one.

4x5 works fine. Whats on your screen is whats on your tablet. You can zoom in right up close.

One thing though. If your going to do a lot of digital art, make sure you have a lot of RAM on your computer (no less than 2 Gig) and a lot of storage space.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

jaybird216 wrote:
That tilt sensitivity looks really cool, depending on the software you intend to use it with. I believe you need the latest version of Painter for it to have any effect I'm not sure about Photoshop or Illustrator. Do some research and see if the functionality is even supported by the software that you intend to use. I bet you'd be more pissed about spending an extra $300 for a feature you can't use.

Photoshop 7 and beyond has pressure sensitivity inherent in the program.
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Post by Piperdog »

Thanks for the info, Pete! I am getting one here shortly, but am struggling with the old "How much do I need vs How much do I spend" problem. The new Wacom Bamboo Medium Tablet (6x8) is 199.00, but has 512 levels of pressure, and no tilt sensitivity. The Intuos 3 6x8 is roughly 330.00, but has 1024 levels of pressure and tilt sensitivity.

Hopefully my last tablet question for you is what are the specs on your personal tablet (if you care to share that info), including levels of pressure and so on. If I find out you have 512 levels on yours, and it is good enough for you to churn out the masterpieces that you do, then its good enough for me!

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Post by Piperdog »

Also, I wanted to ask you Pete if you have worked with Adobe Photoshop Elements, and if that is any good at all for creating artwork like the regular Photoshop.

Anyone else out there work with Elements?

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Post by gideon_thorne »

PIperdog wrote:
Thanks for the info, Pete! I am getting one here shortly, but am struggling with the old "How much do I need vs How much do I spend" problem. The new Wacom Bamboo Medium Tablet (6x8) is 199.00, but has 512 levels of pressure, and no tilt sensitivity. The Intuos 3 6x8 is roughly 330.00, but has 1024 levels of pressure and tilt sensitivity.

Hopefully my last tablet question for you is what are the specs on your personal tablet (if you care to share that info), including levels of pressure and so on. If I find out you have 512 levels on yours, and it is good enough for you to churn out the masterpieces that you do, then its good enough for me!

I actually have the Intuos 2 version. Like I mentioned earlier, I bought mine about 7 years ago. If you want something like what I have then get the Intuos 3 6x8. Since its actually better than what I have.
Quote:
Also, I wanted to ask you Pete if you have worked with Adobe Photoshop Elements, and if that is any good at all for creating artwork like the regular Photoshop.

Anyone else out there work with Elements?

Elements is a waste of time if you want Photoshop level art. You can get the latest version of Photoshop (CS3 I think?) from the Wacom site at a serious discount, once you buy a tablet from them.

The tablet I mentioned also comes with a basic level of Painter. Although, from what I have seen, the full version is far superior.
www.nenethomas.com Pop over to my friend Nene's website if you want to see what can be done with Photoshop CS.
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Post by Piperdog »

Thanks Pete!

I found an incredible deal on a like new 6x8 intuos 2 tablet. I compared it with the features on Intuos 3, and decided for the price difference and the fact its my first tablet, I am happy with the purchase decision.

One thing I didn't know was how expensive Photoshop is! Even going back to Adobe Photoshop 7.0 is still high priced. I am looking on ebay for a deal right now. I have a real simple art program right now called ArtRage2, which is bare bones. I am hoping to have some artwork to post in the near future, as my goal is to get some illustrations in published works.

We'll see how it goes.

Also, I looked at Nene's site and was blown away! Incredible work. Sometimes looking at other peoples artwork is both inspiring and demoralizing at the same time!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Post by Piperdog »

Oh yeah, I am also looking at Corel Painter X, the latest painter program they have, and it looks awsome! And again, also very expensive. I guess it is a case of "you get what you pay for" type of thing.

Anyone else out there have a chance to work with Corel Painter yet? What do you think of it?

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Post by gideon_thorne »

Weeeell.... the best way to get software cheap is to go back to college. ^_~`
As far as art ability goes. Its all relative. Some people out there are going to be better than you are, some worse. The only real measure anyone has is their own self improvement and how objectively they can look at it.

Personally, I'm not trying to be the number one dude on the block. I'm just glad I can make a living at what I enjoy doing. There are plenty of other folks who want to be top dog, and they are welcome too it. Too much drama for me. ^_~`
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Post by Piperdog »

I got it!

My tablet arrived! An Intuos 2 6x8. I am AMAZED. I heard some people on forums and reviews say it took a few days to get used to, but to be honest, It took me about five minutes to get into the groove, and after a couple hours, it seems very natural.

I am using Artrage2, a free demo version, and am excited about the possiblities here. I have to scan in some of my pencil and ink drawings and see if I can turn them into paintings.

Pete, I noticed there is an intricate level of blurring and blending going on, and I want to learn to do that digitally. I am guessing there is an opacity or blurring function you can adjust. I don't suppose you could do a tutorial for us, walking us through how you do your thing and exposing your closely guarded secrets? Better yet, do one on camera and put it on Youtube!

Drop some knowledge on us!

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Post by gideon_thorne »

PIperdog wrote:
I got it!

My tablet arrived! An Intuos 2 6x8. I am AMAZED. I heard some people on forums and reviews say it took a few days to get used to, but to be honest, It took me about five minutes to get into the groove, and after a couple hours, it seems very natural.

I am using Artrage2, a free demo version, and am excited about the possiblities here. I have to scan in some of my pencil and ink drawings and see if I can turn them into paintings.

Pete, I noticed there is an intricate level of blurring and blending going on, and I want to learn to do that digitally. I am guessing there is an opacity or blurring function you can adjust. I don't suppose you could do a tutorial for us, walking us through how you do your thing and exposing your closely guarded secrets? Better yet, do one on camera and put it on Youtube!

Drop some knowledge on us!

Its a hodge podge of various layers set to transparency, dodge and burn, and smudging with the pressure set to various levels. In short, lots of trial and error, and fiddle faddle.

It depends on the initial drawing. Like the covers of the PHB and M&T for example. Those were initially drawn as large (20x30) pencil drawings, then coloured using the colour balance tool and various specific area selects.

Most of the time though I'm drawing the entire mess in photoshop as the Barkash Nour cover was. I tend to start those in a duotone of the predominant colour. In that case, green.

I don't have any step recording tools. Not that it would do much good in any case since I tend to go back, forward and sideways on any given project.
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Post by jaybird216 »

gideon_thorne wrote:
Photoshop 7 and beyond has pressure sensitivity inherent in the program.

Pressure sensitivity, yes, but not tilt sensitivity. It looks very very cool in the Painter X demo video. Unfortunately, my tired old Graphire doesn't even dream of having tilt sensitivity.
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Post by jaybird216 »

PIperdog wrote:
Anyone else out there have a chance to work with Corel Painter yet? What do you think of it?
I use Photoshop CS3 and Painter X (the benefits of being a designer work bought them for me). They're both really cool and capable once you figure out your own fiddle faddle, as Peter put it. There's so much to know/learn about them that I firmly believe you'll never stop learning! The best way to learn is hop right on in and get the feel for it.

Speaking specifically of Painter, the way it emulates traditional media is nothing short of amazing. There are a bunch of controls/settings/brushes to monkey with and master, but eventually you find what works best for you.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

jaybird216 wrote:
Pressure sensitivity, yes, but not tilt sensitivity. It looks very very cool in the Painter X demo video. Unfortunately, my tired old Graphire doesn't even dream of having tilt sensitivity.

Welp.. my tablet must have that feature then.. since it works on this end. ^_^
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Post by ZeornWarlock »

PIperdog wrote:
I got it!

My tablet arrived! An Intuos 2 6x8. I am AMAZED. I heard some people on forums and reviews say it took a few days to get used to, but to be honest, It took me about five minutes to get into the groove, and after a couple hours, it seems very natural.

I am using Artrage2, a free demo version, and am excited about the possiblities here. I have to scan in some of my pencil and ink drawings and see if I can turn them into paintings.

Pete, I noticed there is an intricate level of blurring and blending going on, and I want to learn to do that digitally. I am guessing there is an opacity or blurring function you can adjust. I don't suppose you could do a tutorial for us, walking us through how you do your thing and exposing your closely guarded secrets? Better yet, do one on camera and put it on Youtube!

Drop some knowledge on us!

The best advice you could get would be working with layers and if you have Photoshop I would suggest saving/scripting your actions if you want to keep the same style in all your artwork.

Like both Peter and Jason, I also tend to erase a lot and re-work here and there.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

http://members.shaw.ca/jasonwalton/ Might go to Jason Walton's website and see if he might have some tutorials he could send? He's loads better than I am.
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Post by Puckk »

I picked up a really neat trick when working with a Wacom tablet. Take a piece of tracing paper and tape it over the top of your tablet (It won't affect the tablet in any way). It gives you move of a feeling of drawing on real paper. And I notice my stylus doesn't slip like it use to. It made a huge difference to me.

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Post by jaybird216 »

I'll have to give that a try!
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Post by jaybird216 »

Somewhat on-topic, I bought 2 tablets on eBay last night. I'd already bid on an old used Wacom when I came across a good deal on a NIB Graphire4. So, I hit Buy It Now and prayed somebody would outbid me on the first one.

Naturally, no one did. So now I have 2 tablets inbound, in addition to my old reliable pad. I'm trying to decide whether to keep them both (meaning I'd have one at work, one on my gaming PC and one for my iBook) or to try to resell one of the older ones. I'd really only wanted one to keep at work and one for the laptop.

If I do decide to sell, I'll post here before I put a listing up on eBay.
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Post by Wulfgarn »

Hey I might be willing to take one off your hands Jay - I really need one and am leary of buying a used piece off ebay- but I know you (pretty) well

and would trust you on it ---PM me back on it ok?

Martin

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Post by jaybird216 »

Will do, Marty. My old one works well, and I'll assess the recent acquisitions as soon as they arrive.
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