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Art Tech Thread [Wacom/Yiynova, Computer builds, Software] Post your set up!



  • FairchildFairchild Be polite. Be professional. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet. Registered User regular
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    Photoshop CS2 is also free and probably has all the features you need.

    Flay on
  • IcyLiquidIcyLiquid Two Steaks Montreal, QuebecAdministrator, Vanilla Staff vanilla
    Hello art people.

    What screen/monitor do you use or recommend for graphic or UI design work? For the moment, lets not get into graphic tablets yet.

    Ideally there are some devices that are particularly suited to design work, but otherwise if you can give me some specs I should make sure to include (size, resolution, display technology, whatever). I'm trying to give my art person proper equipment.

    Thanks in advance.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @MagicToaster and @MKR might have some input into what a designer might want in their workspace.

    @Tam what was that Monitor you bought, and do you still like it?

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    I use the monitor on a cheap laptop for the few design things I do. Not much advice I can give. :rotate:

  • TamTam Le Buggeur Risible Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    @IcyLiquid you will definitely want to go with an IPS screen
    this is the one I use

    I really like it, but it depends on the level of the work that needs to be done
    if color reproduction needs to be absolute top quality, then I'd go with a higher end IPS display

    Tam on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    Choosing equipment is mostly based on your physical workspace and the task that you're trying to accomplish, but most importantly, your budget. However, putting brand, sizes and resolutions aside, I would agree with Tam that an IPS screen will get you the best performance. I am mostly familiar with Apple monitors and Cintiqs, I haven't had anything outside of that since 2009.

    Make sure that your computer can connect directly to the monitor without any adapters, it's one less thing to break.

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular

    So I know you have a Surface Pro so you might be interested in this -

    I haven't really done much art on my Surface (like I wanted to) and my major issue has been not having available hotkeys and all the options (such as on screen touch buttons or bluetooth keyboards) I've tried to fix that issue always felt really clunky

    I borrowed a steam controller from a friend and it works super goddamn well as hot key/photoshop support. It really felt natural to have one hand holding it while painting with the other.

    My quick set up so far:
    • Joystick up and down controlled brush size
    • Left touch zones linked to tool selection like brush and eraser.
    • Back paddle for alt for eyedropper
    • Top bumper for undo

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @Wassermelone are steam controllers wireless?

    Do you actually hold it or do you put it down and hover your hand over it or something?

    But yeah, color me interested. I dont use my keypad with my surface because Its annoying to disconnect it from my computer (I'm incredibly lazy) but also the wire is a bit cumbersome with tablet use.

    to be honest, lately my surface has been chugging, but I think f.lux is hurting it.

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    Wireless, and hold one side of it

    The holding it feels natural to me but your mileage may vary I guess. Doesn't feel like 'keyboard' hover hand

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod

    I'll put that on my list. For now the surface has pretty much been abandoned for using my normal sketchbook unless i'm traveling. I think having a 22inch is Just too liberating, in terms of having room to zoom in on details but not loose focus on the work. Even sitting on the couch painting, I think to myself "I should go use my tablet". I wonder if that would change if I had the new iPad or the newer surface, but both of those are a little too much for me to drop the cash on right now.

    One day, I'll get that 27 inch cintiq and rule the woooorld.

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    You know, at work some co-workers have the 27in Cintiq, I have the 22. Everyone says the colors display better in the 22in.

  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric Seelie in the streets, Unseelie in the sheets Registered User regular
    Hello all!

    I use a Surface Pro 2 as my primary laptop, but I never draw onscreen. I have an Intuos Pro medium that is currently on the shelf due to needing to drop $50 on the wireless adapter since the cord jack has stopped working. While I contemplate spending that I'm using an Intuos 3 at the sacrifice of a barely noticeable amount of pressure sensitivity and an added lb of weight in my backpack. I also have a little Bamboo Capture that I was using before the Pro Medium that I now primarily use for traveling with.

    I originally bought the Pro 2 in order to draw directly on the screen, but the smoothness of the glass + never being able to convince the pen to have any pressure sensitivity in Manga Studio made me abandon that idea. Also it only has 2 kickstand settings, neither of which are good for my wrist or my neck. I've really loved being able to utilize the touch screen for stuff like switching between menus, moving the canvas around, etc. though.

    I love the size of these tablets and have no trouble with the tablet-to-screen disconnect. I guess my biggest complaints are with the surface itself, since it isn't a very large screen, there's only one USB port (and no ethernet port) & the keyboard is the work of someone for whom there is a special level of hell.

    I've finally acquired a desktop machine (though no monitor yet), so we'll see how that effects things!

    Ideally someday I'll be able to afford a cintiq (possibility I could get the school to pay for one in my last year, which is two years from now), but that's my current setup & how it works for me.

    Orphane wrote: »

    one flower ring to rule them all and in the sunlightness bind them

    I'd love it if you took a look at my art and my PATREON!
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    I have an Intuos Pro medium that is currently on the shelf due to needing to drop $50 on the wireless adapter since the cord jack has stopped working.

    If your USB port on the tablet doesn't work, you won't be able to charge your wireless battery. I would not spend any money on this kit.

  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric Seelie in the streets, Unseelie in the sheets Registered User regular
    I have an Intuos Pro medium that is currently on the shelf due to needing to drop $50 on the wireless adapter since the cord jack has stopped working.

    If your USB port on the tablet doesn't work, you won't be able to charge your wireless battery. I would not spend any money on this kit.


    it works enough to say that it starts charging, but I have to hold it in a super specific position and then I can't.. draw on it, lol. So it's totally fine to leave it still and alone and charging, thankfully.

    Orphane wrote: »

    one flower ring to rule them all and in the sunlightness bind them

    I'd love it if you took a look at my art and my PATREON!
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    What monitor do you want to buy?

  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric Seelie in the streets, Unseelie in the sheets Registered User regular
    no idea! I'm holding out currently because I'm exploring avenues by which I might be able to get one for the fabulous price of $0/cooking somebody dinner

    Orphane wrote: »

    one flower ring to rule them all and in the sunlightness bind them

    I'd love it if you took a look at my art and my PATREON!
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    I'm exploring avenues by which I might be able to get one for the fabulous price of $0/cooking somebody dinner

    Good luck, you're very talented. If I could afford to, I'd trade you an IPS monitor for a chicken marinera dinner and a doodle.

    Blameless Cleric
  • EngelNUL0EngelNUL0 Registered User new member
    edited April 2016
    Hey PA,
    I have recently been looking into starting some digital art as a hobby. I'm not looking for anything incredible or a full professional set up. Lets just say that I never progressed much further than pencils and sketchpads in the physical world.
    The stuff I will be working on is maps, characters, monsters and architectural sketches for D&D games, character drawings for books I'm writing and maybe delve into some comic/manga style stories too.

    The small Intuos small looks like it could be a good starting point for me. I have a few questions?

    1 - How is the physical feel? Is it like drawing / writing on a tablet screen; smooth? Or does it have texture?
    2 - How is the bundled software? Specifically the Clip Studio and Anime Studio?
    3 - Are there places that have demo units available to get an idea of the size and feel?
    4 - Is picking up a used drawing tablet even an option? Or does the bundled software make a new one worth it?
    5 - How is the handwriting to text? I have been looking for a solution to this problem for a while to.

    Thanks everyone!

    EngelNUL0 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Handwriting to text is usually annoying and you spend more time fussing with it than it would just take to type. You may have really recognizable handwriting, but that's been my experience.

    Tablets are smooth. Some people suggest taping paper down to it, but it wears down the pen nib obnoxiously fast.

    Clip studio is fine, but there are two versions. EX has all the shit in it, and "pro" is the lite version. EX has better tools for organizing stories, if comics is a goal. Its also $200 rather than $49, so it depends on what they are packaging with the tablet.

    Used tablets are fine, but I'd make sure you are getting one of the models that has a detachable cord, because that's the failure point for most of them. Personally, I would prefer to buy on refurbished, which I think wacom does sell.

    I've not seen many wacoms out in the wild, probably because the pens are 50-60 bucks and would not be easy to tether down. If you have artsy friends with one, I'd just try and get them to let you play with theirs for a little bit.

  • InxInx Registered User regular
    I have the Intuos Art model in the Medium size. I wouldn't say it's glass-smooth, there's a certain texture to it, but it's not the same as a piece of paper. I picked up Clip Studio and I'm pretty pleased with it overall. It's got some neat tools in there.

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    I originally posted this over in the Chat thread but Iruka directed me here, so I thought I would share this post again!

    So here's my solution to finding a comfortable way to access my Photoshop hotkeys while using my new Cintiq 27. Specifically, I needed a way to use my keys that won't give me carpal tunnel or a stiff neck and arm. I'm admittedly very fussy about my keyboard shortcuts and I really don't like change, so the Express Keys remote that came with the tablet wasn't working for me.

    So it's a Bluetooth 10-key number pad (specifically this model) turned on its side, and magnetically attached to the Cintiq's bezel. I used software (specifically Autohotkey in conjunction with Sharpkeys) to remap the keys. I bought stick-on keyboard letters to properly label each key.



    Since it's stuck on magnetically, it's very easy to turn the thing around so that it's not blocking part of the display when it's not in use.


    My main goal was to get something that puts the modifier keys (control, alt, shift, spacebar especially) in the same configuration as on my keyboard, with roughly the same spacing so that I don't have to abandon all that muscle memory that I have built up over so many years (the "-" key next to Alt is the space bar). The rest of the keys are placed strategically to make them easy to reach while accommodating muscle memory (like for example, I unconsciously press Ctrl+S to save constantly, so if that key isn't in the right spot then it will really mess me up and I'll accidentally never save.) I also wanted to improve upon the old keyboard layout in some ways by putting certain keys (like the E for the eraser tool) in positions that are easier to reach with minimal hand movements. It probably looks like an odd arrangement, but I tried MANY variations of key placement to figure out what would work best for me.


    You can see that I built a little housing for the keypad out of foam, then covered that with black duct tape. A big old magnet in the middle holds the thing to those silver metal strips, which are stuck on there with Command strips. (After I took this photo I actually replaced the big magnet with a smaller magnet because of fear that the huge honking magnet might somehow damage the Cintiq in the long run.)


    I also made this nice little forearm rest out of the same materials (foam and duct tape, stuck on with Command strips), then I stuck a gel pad I bought on Amazon on top. It's holds my arm in exactly the right position and makes using my keypad super comfortable. My elbow sits on my chair arm, my forearm is on the wrist rest, and my hand is on the keypad. I also wanted the keypad and arm rest to stick out a little bit from the surface of the tablet so that I wasn't hunching too close to the screen, and it works very well.


    I also bought one of those Cintweak keyboard trays for the top of the Cintiq, to which I velcro'd a little Bluetooth keyboard. That way I can easily access additional shortcut keys, and also just type (if I want to rename a file or layer, or do a quick Web search.)


    Anyway, it took a LOT of prototyping and trouble shooting, but now it works perfectly! It's nice because the number pad key remap is set up so it only works in Photoshop, so I can use the number pad like normal in other programs. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask!

    Lamp on
  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Edit: hmm nvm i'm kinda worried about something

    Peas on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @Angel_of_Bacon quoting this over here so I can eventually mine this for the OP of this thread. You can feel free to do that yourself though, if you'd like, I haven't gotten around to cleaning it up.
    About tablets, how do they work? Like, I assume it's not a 1:1 analogue of the screen, right? So How do you know where the lines are gonna be when you draw?

    @21stcentury: It is basically a 1:1 analogue of the screen- touch the pen to a spot on the tablet, the cursor pops to the corresponding location on the monitor. You draw by just looking at your monitor and where the cursor is, rather than looking down at your hands.

    General run-down of your options, though my personal experience is mainly with Wacom Intuos/Cintiq products:

    Wacom Cintiqs: Pros: Draw directly on the screen, well supported by major programs, is the mainstay of professional concept artists/animators/etc. Cons: Expensive as hell, $1000-$2500 depending on size.

    Yiynova tablets: Pros: Also lets you draw directly on the screen, is significantly cheaper than a Cintiq. Cons: I've heard iffy things about the actual quality of these tablets, and issues with getting drivers/software to work with it seems to have plagued a lot of people's experiences with them.

    Microsoft Surface Pro: Pros: Draw directly on the screen, is a whole computer as well. Cons: Cost like a whole computer, I'm not sure if it has some of the nicer Intuos/Cintiq features like pen tilt/high pressure sensitivity. Also I'm not sure what the form factor is like RE:using hotkeys when drawing, which for me would be a big issue. And I think they changed the digitiser type after the Pro 2s, and I haven't kept up with how the newer ones compare.

    iPad Pro + iPad Pro Pencil: I've heard good things about this combo with people using Procreate, but Procreate doesn't exactly have feature parity with something like Photoshop. Also having not used it, I'm still skeptical about it because....

    iPad Air + Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2: I bought these and I thought it was garbage as a drawing solution, because of the pen lines 'snapping' to a grid rather than drawing where I wanted the lines to go. Maybe things have improved, but I haven't touched it in a year or so because I thought it was so dreadful.

    Wacom Intuos tablets: Pros: Solid, well-supported, reasonably priced for someone looking at art as a semi-serious hobby/start to a career. Cons: No screen. Hasn't stopped a lot of people from making a lot of really great art on them, most people I know either got started on them or continue to use them. (Some people where I work refuse to move from them to a Cintiq, even though they could get one with a word, citing feel/ergonomic reasons).

    Other digitizers: May be had cheaper than a Wacom tablet, but I can't attest to quality/driver/software support.

    As to software:
    Photoshop: Most widely used and fully featured drawing/painting software, but is quite expensive.
    Manga Studio: I haven't used this, but a lot of comic people love it for its inking tools
    Paint Tool SAI: Also has nice inking tools, seems to be used a lot by Japanese manga/anime types. It's cheap, but is also kinda low-rent and poorly supported/updated.
    Painter: Focused on natural media simulaton. Not sure how many people use it or where it stands today- I think a lot of would-be users of it just resort to hacking together natural-media looks in Photoshop instead.
    ProCreate: Currently seems to be the king of the hill of mobile art software. Lot of people seem to love it, and it seems really good, I just personally would have to try it with the iPad Pro Pencil first and see if it's as good as people are saying before buying into it as a replacement for a desktop software/tablet solution.

    Now, that's all the information. Now time for opinions.

    If money is no object, sure you're going to want the greatest and best. But for most people, spending $2500 on the best Cintiq and $600 (or whatever the ongoing subscription price is) on a copy of Photoshop and god knows how much on the kind of RAM-monster, SSD drive rig and multi-monitors and all that to really have the best of the best...well, it's a big price tag to scratch an "I'm kinda interested in getting back into drawing, kinda" itch. Even as a professional I hesitate to lay down that sort of cash.

    Now, the "I am super serious about art and will now give you the super serious hard answer" answer to this is, an ill-proportioned stick figure is going to be an ill-proportioned stick figure whether you've drawn it on a top of the line rig that cost you a small fortune to assemble, or if you drew it with an old golf pencil on a piece of paper you grabbed out of your printer tray.

    So if you're saying you're 'bad at drawing in general', and presumably the hope is to make your drawings better rather than just more expensive to produce, I'd take whatever your initial budget you are willing to spend is, and divide it up so you are spending a significant proportion of that money on education instead. Books, tutorials, classes- these are the things that will actually make a meaningful difference. Too many people starting out get wrapped up with getting the best toy to play with and give little thought or investment toward how they're actually going to acquire the knowledge to actually use it well- it's sort of a child's attitude who thinks that the main and most important difference between themselves and an NFL linebacker is the ownership of a uniform and full set of football pads. It's absurd how many people will spend tons of money on things that make little difference, but will be the cheapest, most miserly bastards when it comes to things that make all the difference. They'll spend $3000 on a computer and then balk at spending $20 on a book, it's crazy.

    That said, I was starting out once too and I as well wanted to get my mitts on Photoshop and a tablet ASAP, and I can't say that I got no value out of the experience (though I picked up a lot of bad habits in the process), or that I didn't use these things a whole lot; just that in retrospect, a better decision might have been to spend that money on a really good class first, and saved the tablet for a later date. IMO the main benefit is less for drawing and more for painting, just because it's easy to deal with just stacking up a bunch of sheets of paper, while dealing with physical paint on a consistent basis can be difficult in a small apartment/dorm, so the tablet offers more opportunity to get practice in.

    So having had this sort of conversation many times before and my own experience, I doubt I'm going to be all that convincing in dampening your enthusiasm for buying the sexy cool shit. So I'll just assume you're going to buy said shit regardless, and just hold out hope that maybe you'll heed some of my advice and consider being generous to your education budget in addition:

    A decent-sized Intuos is probably your best bet as far as balance price/'I'm just getting into this, not sure of my level of dedication' factors go. Yes it takes some getting used to, yes you can in fact get used to it, I wouldn't concern yourself too much about it (even Cintiqs take some getting used to, with the slickness of the surface and the distance between the glass surface and the monitor). Yes the Cintiqs are a bit to nicer to work with (IMO, not everyone's)- but probably not nearly as much as you'd think, and the cost makes them a hard sell for anyone who's not already a professional, or simply very well off. The other options are too unproven to me to give an unqualified recommendation, though if they interest you you may want to see if there's any way you can try them out before spending money on them.

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