Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paradigm Shifts in Animation

I could go on and on about the various events that changed my perception. About everything that altered the way I see the world.
  • Playing hockey in a league.
  • Finishing high school.
  • Buying my first computer... a laptop.
  • But instead of going on and on.... I will focus on the latest of such events...
  • Learning  to use a Cintiq tablet.
Cintiq tablet

Believe it... this little tool just changed my life forever.Although it took me about a week to properly set the tablet and get it to do what I needed... and even then... I would not be surprise if in 6 months ... if I will not discover a setting that will improve the performance of the tablet or the way I use the tablet.

Heck my assistant has been using the Cintiq for quite some time... it is what he has been using at home... and he greatly improved in the two weeks he has been under my supervision. There is a difference to learning to use a something by your lonesome... and learning to produce professional quality work. It is quite a different matter.

Although for the past year I have been pretty much exclusively working on a standard Wacom tablet at the studio... it has allowed me to develop some sort of expertise and greatly improve my work when the time comes to working digitally.

When you try to learn in your free/spare time... there is only a limited amount of time that you can realistically spend to develop your skills on your own. But once you get to work on a production 40, 50, heck 80 hours a week... week after week after week.... you will learn and improve infinitely faster then the merely few hours a week you may managed to find to try to learn/improve on your own.

So I got a lot of practice and got used this past year to drawing on a graphic tablet with a neat little program called Sketchbook Pro.

As the name implies.... it is a great program to sketch in the computer.

Why use Sketchbook Pro to draw as opposed to Photoshop??

One simple reason.... the way you can easily zoom in or zoom out. The zoom function is much more effective in Sketchbook Pro then the one in Photoshop. It may seem trivial... but when you zoom in or out 1000 times an hour... you must be able to do so effectively and very quickly. Even in doing comic work... I have started using Sketchbook Pro to "pencil" the work.... then in Photoshop I can do the final "inked" work.

Why not ink it in Sketchbook Pro?? Photoshop is still better to get a clean finished drawing.

But now at the studio.... I got new Cintiq tablet for over a month now... making my work much more precise. And also... I can work at the very least twice as fast as with a Wacom tablet. I would say that I can draw about ten times faster with the Cintiq... but odds are that you might think that I am exaggerating.... so I won't say it. ;)

So my work is now more precise... and much quicker. Luckily... since for the past month... my workload has been titanesque... and there is no way that I could have done it if I had still been using my old Wacom tablet.
The only thing that drives me a little nuts... is that there is a small lag when I draw. Nothing too dramatic... but it is there still.  So I would greatly encourage any artist to get such a tool.

Although the tool alone means nothing. Some talent... and a certain expertise is still required. But the Cintiq makes working directly in the computer much more effective. I would especially greatly encourage aspiring artists to get one. It is much easier for most to learn to use a new tool early on.

Some old workhorses are so used to drawing in pencil on paper... that getting them to even try a new tool is... at the very least... difficult. So if you are a new and upcoming artist... learn to use the Cintiq now as opposed to waiting later and then... having the drawback of being the old workhorse who is having a thought time learning to use a new tool. So learn to use it now while it will be easier.

But the best part about the Cintiq is not the Cintiq itself. Although it is a step in the right direction... the best part is the hope it gives for the future. If we have the Cintiq to help us draw in the computer now... Imagine what we will have tomorrow???

Imagine IF we had a great tool not unlike the iPad on which we could draw just like the Cintiq.
And by now.... it is clear that it is not a matter of if...

It is just a matter of when.

We shall see.

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