Drawing comics directly into the computer

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Pumpkin Pie
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Drawing comics directly into the computer

Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Is there a touchpad and writing implement system that enables one to do essentially pencil drawings on computer? Some system that registers how much you press down and how much of the implement is touching?

Then having other features that enable you to do layers, highlights, word balloons, etc.

An ideal system would be a screen you could do this on so it all happens underneath your implement. However, I'd be satisfied with needing to look at a computer monitor and disjointly drawing on another surface.

Then again, the absolute ideal would be a traditionally built drawing table with the fine-touch screen monitor as the drawing surface.

Naturally, there will be a cost for such a system. Likely a steep one. I do want to know costs, but I first want to know if even one such system exists.

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Post by Joel Fagin »

WACOM tablets. There are probably others but WACOM are the best. They vary from cheap simple small ones where you draw on a surface and it appears on your monitor, to a flat LCD screen you can draw directly on to. Kinda like a laptop without a keyboard.

They take quite a bit of getting use to, mind you. It's different to drawing on paper. I should also point out that the cheap ones are better than their price implies. It takes a little longer to get used to it since you're drawing on one surface and it's appearing on another but that's the only significant disadvantage.

Try to find one to try.

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Post by losttoy »

Most tables have a pressure tip so you can draw thin to thick depending on how much you are pressing on it. Also layers and such usualy can be found in the computer programs themself. I perfer Photoshop myself.
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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Joel Fagin wrote:WACOM tablets. There are probably others but WACOM are the best. They vary from cheap simple small ones where you draw on a surface and it appears on your monitor, to a flat LCD screen you can draw directly on to. Kinda like a laptop without a keyboard.

They take quite a bit of getting use to, mind you. It's different to drawing on paper. I should also point out that the cheap ones are better than their price implies. It takes a little longer to get used to it since you're drawing on one surface and it's appearing on another but that's the only significant disadvantage.

Try to find one to try.

- Joel Fagin
I went to their website and took their "Which tablet?" survey. They recommended Intuos 6x8 (http://www.wacom.com/productinfo/6x8.cfm). Has anyone used one of these? Can it give me the ability (hardware-wise) to do the top illustration at this link: http://www.dominic-deegan.com/fanart.html The one that has the Seer looking into the crystal ball.

If they're able to give me the results, I'm willing to invest the time to get used to using it and ramp up my penciling to the desired level ... saying it can get to that level.

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Post by Joel Fagin »

Pumpkin Pie wrote: Can it give me the ability (hardware-wise) to do the top illustration at this link: http://www.dominic-deegan.com/fanart.html The one that has the Seer looking into the crystal ball.
I have no idea. I've used WACOMs but I haven't tried to emulate penciling on one. Most people use a WACOM as a shortcut to avoid pencilling and then inking. Instead, you draw it on the computer and it's already "inked".

I know you can't use a pencil on a WACOM, in case you thought you could. You do need to use the pen they give you, so even if you could simulate pencilling somehow, you wouldn't actually make the drawing in the same way.

Sorry, I didn't realise what you meant when you said you wanted to do pencil drawings on the computer but, really, why bother? The only things a WACOM would save you are a little space - since they're smaller than a scanner - and the minute it takes to scan a drawing. As i said, most people use WACOMs to skip pencilling, inking and scanning, doing all three steps in one.

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Tim Tylor
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Re: Drawing comics directly into the computer

Post by Tim Tylor »

Pumpkin Pie wrote:An ideal system would be a screen you could do this on so it all happens underneath your implement.
There are the Wacom Cintiq tablets, which seem pretty good according to this review. Quite expensive, though, and the review warns that they're somewhat breakable.

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Joel Fagin wrote:As i said, most people use WACOMs to skip pencilling, inking and scanning, doing all three steps in one.
I guess I haven't yet found a fully-done style which I prefer more. I'm still searching (a.k.a. looking at one webcomic after another) so maybe I just haven't come across it yet. :-?

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Post by ragtag »

Wacoms are great for sketching directly on the computer. I have an A5 one, and find it's about the right size for me.

Check out ArtRage at http://www.ambientdesign.com/artrage.html. It's a free drawing software that can emulate pencil and a few other natural media tools, very simple to use. Dogwaffe and Painter are two other alternatives (at around $50 and $5-600 respectively).

Currently I'm using openCanvas http://www.portalgraphics.net/en/index.asp for drawing. It's like Photoshop lite, with a few extra features that make it especially nice for drawing tablet work (e.g. you can rotate the worksurface, for more comfortable angle to work at, and it has easy and quickly accessible controls to adjust the brush size, pressure etc. with presets you can access with keyboard shortcuts).

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Post by collegepros »

you can get those results with a tablet... you'd have to play around a bit and set the pressure to change the opasity, and be drawing with a brush, or some other textured thing... so it would be down to what program you used to create your picture. I'm using a 3x5 tablet, and I'm not gonna lie, it's a wee bit of a pain for doing anything more than just tracing and inking (although i'm sure there are people who are much better with it than me). The bigger tablets are key.

and if you have hundreds and thousands to spend the LCD tablet that was mentioned is amazing. I've only seen pictures, and read about it, but it's dreamy, isn't it?
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Post by collegepros »

although perhaps I'll ask this:

why spend hundreds of dollars when a buck fifty will get you hundreds of sheets of paper, and a whole heap of pencils?
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Post by Tim Mallos »

I love the Wacom for painting / coloring. Line work I have reverted to paper and pencil and pen.

Tried drawing with the tablet, and still do sketchy stuff, but, I'll be damned if can draw a circular circle with the tablet.

I like having the pencil originals too.

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Post by Jason Alderman »

I'm a big fan of the Wacom as well (have a Graphire) and while it takes about a month to get used to, it almost feels completely natural afterward. Pros to having a tablet? Undo. (haha) Seriously, if you use one for a little while and then switch back to paper (and happen to make as many faux pas as I do) then you'll find yourself reaching for that key combo with your left hand.

I use Flash, by and large, for pencilling-through-inks, but the result is a bit jittery and not as smooth as drawing on paper, at least for newbies like me. But for pencil drawings, you can use Corel Painter (the classic version, sans layers, comes with a Graphire), which does a great job of simulating the grit and grain of paper underneath the pencil strokes, or Alias SketchBook Pro (which feels extremely natural). And for the same exorbitant price as a Cintiq, you could probably get a Tablet PC, which uses the same technology.

I'm perfectly fine with the Graphire, although the things that I hear about the tilt-sensitive brush of the Intuos line pique my interest...especially since they have a flexible-rubber-tipped stylus that looks like a brushpen and supposedly responds in the same way. Anyone know how well that works? The latest version of Flash (MX 2004) apparently supports it, too...

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Post by ragtag »

All the Wacom tablets above the graphire have had tilt sensitivity for ages. On the other hand, most sofware don't support this. The one big exception is probably Painter. For instance, with the airbrush you can spray sideways along the paper by tilting the pen. It can also be used to put pens and pencils at an angle, to control which way the nib is facing or how flat the pencil is applied.

The only difference on the tip on the latest Intuos 3 and older Intuos and Graphire stylus' is that it has a slight suspension. Like there is a spring behind it, a little like the eraser on Intuos2 but smoother. The tip itself seems to be made out of the same material as on all other Wacom tablets. I haven't tested drawing with the Intuos3, so I'm not sure how if it feels better or not.

Ragnar

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Post by Tim Tylor »

I think Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro both support tilt sensitivity.

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Post by Ray Radlein »

Tim Tylor wrote:I think Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro both support tilt sensitivity.
Does Photoshop Elements?
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Post by michaelwb »

Jason Alderman wrote:Nope.
Isn't Pressure = sensitivity? In which case the chart indicates that it is supported in Photoshop Elements & Photoshop 7.

Pressure is supported in my PE 2.0 with my Wacom.

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Post by Tim Tylor »

michaelwb wrote:
Jason Alderman wrote:Nope.
Isn't Pressure = sensitivity? In which case the chart indicates that it is supported in Photoshop Elements & Photoshop 7.

Pressure is supported in my PE 2.0 with my Wacom.
Tilt sensitivity is sensitivity to the angle the pen's being held at. Pressure sensitivity is sensitivity to how hard the pen nib's being pushed down. They're different things.

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Post by michaelwb »

Tim Tylor wrote:
michaelwb wrote:
Jason Alderman wrote:Nope.
Isn't Pressure = sensitivity? In which case the chart indicates that it is supported in Photoshop Elements & Photoshop 7.

Pressure is supported in my PE 2.0 with my Wacom.
Tilt sensitivity is sensitivity to the angle the pen's being held at. Pressure sensitivity is sensitivity to how hard the pen nib's being pushed down. They're different things.
Gotcha. so we're talkng two different flavors of sensitivity.

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Well, it's been ten months since I posted this. I'm just wondering if any new competitor has come onto the market. Possibly a set-up like a drafting table? :D

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Post by Tim Tylor »

Pumpkin Pie wrote:Well, it's been ten months since I posted this. I'm just wondering if any new competitor has come onto the market. Possibly a set-up like a drafting table? :D
The Wacom Cintiq is the only draw-on-the-screen one I've heard about. Scott McCloud swears by it. Costs about $3000, though. It's possible to do great art with a regular tablet (Ursula Vernon does much of her art with one, for example).

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Post by Tim Mallos »

The Cintiq is the only option I know of for Mac users.

My wife's Dell Laptop just had a melt down. As a replacement, she is going to try a tablet PC. We ordered a Toshiba Techra Tablet PC ( http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cmo ... id=1291021 )

Kind of an experiment. I will report back on how it handles with photoshop etc. I am a little skeptical, but I'll let you know.

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Tim Tylor wrote:
Pumpkin Pie wrote:Well, it's been ten months since I posted this. I'm just wondering if any new competitor has come onto the market. Possibly a set-up like a drafting table? :D
The Wacom Cintiq is the only draw-on-the-screen one I've heard about. Scott McCloud swears by it. Costs about $3000, though. It's possible to do great art with a regular tablet (Ursula Vernon does much of her art with one, for example).
Hmmm. I wonder if I could insert such into a drafting table. Anyone know? Does it have to be upright as in the photographs?

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Tim,

I look forward to your report. :D

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