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Thread: Digital artists, wacom tablet owners please read

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    swords's Avatar
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    Digital artists, wacom tablet owners please read

    Hey folks,

    I'm going to be building a new powerhouse PC for music (I'm gonna tempt fate and go with windows since it's what I'm used to, warts and all) and I also wanna make use of all those luscious GB of RAM and get myself doing some digital art. Ideally I wanna make fly through animation videos to go with my music in the Vue6 3D environment creator but first I'll just start with album art stills.

    What I'm interested in is to hear from you digital art folks is the pros and cons of the various art software you use (painting. drawing, 3d sculpting). I'm looking at Photoshop CS3 (when it comes out) and Corel Painter X as I want to actuallly do original art not just copy and past photos together for magazine layouts. Is anyone using Zbrush, is this painting or only 3d polygon building? Can you design a 3d model and pose it in zbrush and export to painterX/Photoshop to import/paint the figure into a WIP?

    I'm also going to get a wacom tablet, but i'm wondering what is the best size? I will have a 19" or 22" widescreen monitor would the 6" x 11" wide format tablet be the best for this kind of sreen? Can you scroll down on a larger painting with the Intuos pad? What are all the other buttons or pressure sensitive areas on the margins of the pad for?

    Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Get macromedia's stuff for illustration. Flash rocks, Fireworks is good too. Been a while since I did 3D stuff, so I can't really help you there. Wacom tablets are great, but I wouldn't pay extra just for a 'widescreen' version. In my experience, the medium-sized models are more than precise enough for most work, and if you can't quite get the precision you want, you can always just zoom in with your paint program and then you're good to go. The buttons on the margin are usually hooked into the driver to do specific things in specific programs (they're usually configured for popular suites like Adobe and such) but nowadays I'm pretty sure that they're programmable.
    ~Joe
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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe, I have the Macromedia Studio (it contains about 5 of theiir programs) but the only thing I've ever used was the Dreamweaver website building software cos it's like QuarkXpress in the wysiwyg mode and since I'm used to quark it's just so easy. So Flash is an art/painting program? I'll have to play around with it a bit.

    Do almost all illustration programs accept commands using the Wacom tablet's pen? Are there buttons on the pen or how does it work exactly?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Flash is an animation program with the capacity for developing highly sophisticated, platform-independent interactivity through a proprietary scripting language. Fireworks is the stronger illustration tool, but they're built on the same graphics engine, so Flash has almost all of Fireworks' basic features and the two have interchangeable file formats. Flash takes the features in an animation direction, while Fireworks adds more tools that you might expect to find in Photoshop or Illustrator. Flash and Fireworks were some of the first consumer-level paint tools to offer fully vector-based operations, which means that there is no real 'resolution' to your images - a straight line in Flash looks straight no matter how far you zoom into it, because it's represented as a geometric line and not an array of pixels. As a result, there's all sorts of awesome things that you can do with them that you can't do with conventional programs - for example, you could draw a figure and if you didn't like the build/proportions, instead of erasing the whole thing, you can select each individual line then bend and tweak it with the cursor until it took on the shape you desired. Or you could write out some text, then manually distort each character to give it a more irregular, organic look. It's hard to put in words - you have to see it in action.
    Zuh! I just looked and Flash is owned buy Adobe now! When did Adobe buy macromedia? I don't remember hearing about that.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    I played around with Wacom tablets many years ago.

    It depends on the stylus. Some have buttons on them, some don't. The buttons work sort of like the button on an airbrush, the point like a paint brush. The more pressure you put on the button or stylus point the thicker/heavier the line/point. Depends on the software too, but almost all packages should support this.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I think that swords was referring to the row of macro keys that often occur on the margins of the tablet (usually along the top and particularly on drafting tablets.) But that's a good point, the Wacom stylus has magnetic buttons on the tip, grip and butt that allow you to get a line, brush and erase effect without going to the toolbar or using keystrokes. (I think all new Wacom tablets come with this special type of stylus, as they have a patent on it.) The various commands performed are usually customizable - for example, the airbrush button usually doubles as a left-click outside of paint apps, or sometimes it's a right click and tapping or pressing hard with the stylus is a left-click. The buttons on the tablet are usually for less frequently used commands, such as saving/opening files and selecting other drawing tools such as the lasso/marquee, etc.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    swords's Avatar
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    I'm excited to get to playing with the tablet but I gotta get the PC first.

    Anyone try this environment rendering & animation software at: http://www.vue6.com The pro studio kit with 6 DVDs looks like just what I'm wanting (create realistic imaginary landscapes/skies/forests/worlds/space) and can export to movie maker program as a Mpeg and I can synch it up with my music to make a couple of fantasy videos to go on my next project. It can be used stand alone or with Poser animation to add space ships, charachters, buildings, vehicles, monsters, etc. The review I read in 3D world said it was very easy to use and did make really convincing environments. Anyone seen it in person?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    It looks a lot like Bryce from the features I've seen, but with material physics and Lindenmeyer systems added in. Very nice - I want to play with it too now.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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