Drawing comics directly into the computer

Discuss the future, present and past of sequential art.

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Neil Cohn
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Post by Neil Cohn »

I've been using Wacom since 1997. My Cintiq just arrived on Friday, and I have to say this thing is incredible. So far I've only used it for a few drawing things, but its amazingly more comfortable than any of the other tablets I've used. It stands upright but also can slide to be flat. It also can be rotated so you can work at an angle on it. The sensitivity so far seems very good.

Scott's promotion of it is what made me take the plunge, and thank heavens I did. (Warning: it takes a very long time to come in if you order it new).
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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Neil Cohn wrote:I've been using Wacom since 1997. My Cintiq just arrived on Friday, and I have to say this thing is incredible. So far I've only used it for a few drawing things, but its amazingly more comfortable than any of the other tablets I've used. It stands upright but also can slide to be flat. It also can be rotated so you can work at an angle on it. The sensitivity so far seems very good.

Scott's promotion of it is what made me take the plunge, and thank heavens I did. (Warning: it takes a very long time to come in if you order it new).
Do you have a drawing table and if so, do you lay it on it to draw with?

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Post by Greg Stephens »

Neil Cohn wrote:I've been using Wacom since 1997. My Cintiq just arrived on Friday....
You lucky bastard!
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Post by Neil Cohn »

"Lucky" isn't the word I'd use... patient maybe. It came in about three months after I placed the order. :-?

I use it sitting on a regular flat desk. It stands up usually when I'm using it as a normal screen, but then I tilt it down when I want to draw something intensely. It has two levers on the back that you pull to let it slide prone or standing, and its base has four "legs," the back two have wheels so you can slide it forward and back. I imagine it could be put on a drawing table too. Upright it stands at a slight tilt, so having it on an angled table might straighten it out when standing actually.
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Tim Mallos
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Toshiba Tablet PC Review

Post by Tim Mallos »

Well, as I suspected (because it was not touted anywhere in the tech specs) the Toshiba Tablet PC does not offer pressure sensitivity.

That aside, I have a minor taste of how very cool a Cintiq must be. The Toshiba does a pretty good job tracking the stylus, although I have to watch the cursor, not my pen tip, as there is often an off-set.

So, for general line drawing, it's pretty cool. It's not a Waccom with a keyboard attached, but, I think, the tablet screen is a nice feature on a pretty solid laptop.

And, as my wife has reminded me, it's not my laptop anyway ;) She'll be using the pen for writing and non-drawing photoshop work, so it's capabilities are right on target.

Dear Sirs and Madams at Waccom: I am available to review the Cintiq. Simply ship me one.

Tim
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Post by Surlyben »

Hmm. I've read that the Toshiba Tecra M4 does include pressure sensitivity (256 levels, IIRC). I think it also includes tilt sensitivity and so on. Google says that it has a wacom digitizer, which would imply pressure sensitivity.

When I was looking into buying a tablet PC a while back, I came across a lot of complaints about the wacom drivers and WinXP for tablet. Apparently they didn't play nice together, and so they defaulted to not being turned on. People were doing things like turning on the drivers when they used photoshop and then disabling them later on. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that was still the case.

I recall being very annoyed at how hard it was to find out about the digitizer of a particular tablet PC. (I mean, to my mind, the only reason to buy one is for drawing... Features like pressure sensitivity are the ones I care about the most.)
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Huh.

Post by Tim Mallos »

Interesting. I may have been biased by my assumption that pressure and angle would not be supported.

I'll have to go back in and look some more. I saw nothing in the display control panel etc, but did not realize I might be looking for a Waccom driver.

Thanks! I'll report back.

Tim
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Post by Greg Stephens »

And sometimes the application itself has to be calibrated for pressure sensitivity.
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Post by DOOM2099 »

ME WANT!
________
Uhwh Warehouse
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Post by gau dog »

yup
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Post by Tim Tylor »

Got my Cintiq now. The only awkward thing I've noticed is that the cursor lags a little behind the pen tip. One or two reviewers have mentioned that. Gives a slightly odd feel, but I don't think it'll do any harm. For all I know it's just normal tablet behavior made visible by drawing directly on the screen.

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Post by Phlip »

Tim Tylor wrote:...cursor lags a little behind the pen tip...
Hardware supports the mouse pointer on your screen. It's a sprite, and your graphic drivers send commands directly to hardware to position it. So when you move a mouse or pointer the sprite updates its position in very few CPU cycles.

A graphics program draws a little tool icon under this mouse pointer when you pick an art tool. The art program draws it by painting and erasing your picture, over and over again. If you froze time, the art tool icon would be part of your picture.

When the mouse pointer moves it sends a list of commands to a program. The program pulls each command from the list, in its own time. So when it gets to the end of the list, the mouse pointer could have moved again. The program must use the CPU to interpret all these commands, not specialized hardware, so it's slower.

As usual, closing other programs, getting a faster CPU, and especially getting more memory will help.

I use Gimp, and I just got a Wacom tablet, and when I see this effect I restart Gimp. Its source code is not perfect, so if it gets slow that's a sign of internal corruption.

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Post by Tim Tylor »

The lag's not just with graphics programs - the mouse pointer on the desktop screen behaves the same way when I move it with the pen. There's no lag when I use the regular mouse. So I suppose it's either the hardware (the PC or the Cintiq itself), or else the tablet driver software. I'm using the most up-to-date driver version. I'd be interested to know if anyone else here with a Cintiq is seeing the lag: at the moment I don't know whether it's normal or not.

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

I have a new Gateway CX200 tablet laptop (http://tinyurl.com/c7scj) and am wondering if I can use it to do what Wacom can do. Anyone know? If so, what program would I need to load up to do so on my CX200?

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

Pumpkin Pie wrote:I have a new Gateway CX200 tablet laptop (http://tinyurl.com/c7scj) and am wondering if I can use it to do what Wacom can do. Anyone know? If so, what program would I need to load up to do so on my CX200?
I'm now giving ArtRage 2 a try and see if it will work for me.

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Post by Pumpkin Pie »

ArtRage2 is a fine thing. But what I would like to know is if there is one that can more help me do PvP style of artwork. Crisp lines. I've put to the side pencil artwork for now. Also, is there a good book out on tablet comic strip artwork? A how-to book.

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Post by Tim Mallos »

I'm not really sure of the PvP art process, but it looks like solid draftsmanship done over size and then reduced.

Looks a little organic for an Illustrator approach (Adobo-Media [adobe] Illustrator that is) but, you might try a vector-based program (Like Illustrator or even drawing in Flash).

Personally, I have forsaken doing my line work digitally. I just can't get what I want out of my tablet. Not saying the tablet couldn't do it, but I'm darned if I know what else to try.

I do love to color with the tablet though.

I don't know if there is an answer anywere in here.

Kinda forgot what I was replying too. Just rambling now.

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Post by Tim Tylor »

Pumpkin Pie wrote:ArtRage2 is a fine thing. But what I would like to know is if there is one that can more help me do PvP style of artwork. Crisp lines. I've put to the side pencil artwork for now. Also, is there a good book out on tablet comic strip artwork? A how-to book.
You could try one of the drawing-and-painting programs that has smoothing functions for its pens and brushes. The only ones I know of offhand are Flash and Manga Studio, but there are probably others. (Flash is primarily an animation program, but it has pretty good art tools and it's been used for some fine static comic-art.)

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Cintiq Drafting table solution

Post by orangepill »

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
Are you thinking of something like this? http://chris-karen-joey.smugmug.com/pho ... 7958-L.jpg I made this one for my brother-in-law (shown) who is a freelance illistrator after he was starting to get wrist pain when using the Cintiq Monitor the way it came out of the box. He has been using it for a couple of months now and so far it has been working good for him. I am entertaining making these to sale, so let me know if there is any interest.

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Post by ragtag »

I noticed the same kind of lag on a tablet PC in a shop. That was just with the mouse pointer in Windows. I've heard that this may not be the case on Macs, as it handles the cursor differently, though I've never tried.

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Post by MaxGorilla »

I've just breezed through this thread and thought I would let you all know the way I do things as I work entirely digitally. I initially didn't want to be entirely digital, I have always drawn and painted etc and the thought of doing things on the computer was never an option, didn't feel 'real' enough for me. But when I finally decided I was going to do my own webcomic and that I wanted to be serious about it I needed to find a quicker working method.

I sketch everything in Painter, it's a great program for natural media and you can rotate your page as you would a real piece of paper on your desk. I use Photoshop as well but couldn't quite get the hang of drawing in the program because it doesn't have the rotate feature. All inking etc is also done in Painter, again because of the rotate option as well as the natural feel of the tools. Once I have finished 'inked' artwork its over to Photoshop for colours, letters etc. I do the colours in Photoshop as the program is a bit quicker when it comes to laying down colour, plus its a more editable program than what Painter is. I use a Wacom tablet for everything.

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Post by ragtag »

Hehe....this thread is getting quite old. :)

I've been working in Manga Studio Debut lately. It's made specifically for doing black and white (1 bit) print comics, with lots of screen tones, rotating worksurface (like Painter), layers, airbrush and more. The interface is a lot like Photoshop, so if you're familiar with that you'll feel right at home. It also has comic specific tools, like panel tools, good text tools, a story mode (shows multiple pages) and supports very high resolution (1200 dpi) which you need to get sharp clear lines in print. It doesn't really have any support for colors, but that's not really what it's made for either.

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Post by JPascal »

I am a stubborn pencil and paper kinda guy, HOWEVER, (and this thread just keeps going...LOL a good thing though), when it comes to color and lettering I have been using Photoshop and a WACOM tablet...one question for all of you who seem to have much more experience doing your art digitally...are there any other software that you might suggest for color and lettering? Like I said, I'm pretty stubborn and will NEVER give up my paper and pencil (not to mention my prized Windsor brushes for inking). Someone mentioned earlier that Photoshop is perhaps the best for laying down color quickly...I have to agree that I can do a page (11x17) within an couple hours. Does any one think that is a long time to do a full page of art work in color? Am I slow? HA HA. Okay, its REALLY late, or early, and I'm beginning to yammer about.......thanks all.

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Post by Chanimnya »

I never got used to drawing directly to my computer. Some friends have lent me several very expensive equipment to try out over the years but it seem I can't get the hang of it. Is there a tutorial out there for using tablets to draw extensively detailed illustrations? Your recommendations will be very much appreciated.

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