basic set up
I have a question about basic needs to do digital artwork. I've dabbled in some freelance cartooning, illustration, shirt design, logos, etc., for a few years, but it has always been the old-fashioned style - pencil, pen, and paper, scan the image, and usually jazz it up or color it with MS paintbrush. that kind of thing. Don't think that's going to cut it if I want to get serious. I've never used any kind of digital drawing tool besides paintbrush.
So I've done a little research, but what are the basics I'm going to need to do what I want to do? Adobe Illustrator, Freehand? I've heard of these. What's the difference? And what about one of these acecad tablets? I can't do with a mouse what I can do with a pen in my hand. Do people really draw with a mouse?
Anyway, am I on the right track here? I'm not looking to do photo stuff, just original artwork. Any feedback is appreciated.
As long as you're not battling some moral dilemma about going digital, than it sounds like your on track.
You'll probably get a lot of recommendations for Adobe products such as Illustrator and Photoshop. You'll probably want both. To start, just decide if your method is more painterly or illustrative, than go with the appropriate program.
I often use a scan & redraw workflow in Illustrator (mouse or tablet, it depends).
Some artists will trace their original artwork directly on the drawing tablet, as some tablets are designed specifically for that purpose. Others draw only on tablets, no traditional media.
I'm not familiar with acecad, but Wacom is a very reliable name in drawing tablets. You need to make sure the tablet is compatible with your graphic software and OS.
This will give you the gestural control you are looking for, but it is a different tool that you'll have to get used to. You might find it to be quite liberating.
As far as a difference between Illustrator & Freehand; user interface, market saturation, and price. They are both vector based applications, and ultimately produce the same type of files.
I stick with Adobe because they have a product to cover just about anything, from graphics, to audio, web, video, whatever - And, as time passes Adobe continues to build integration between their products, which is nice.
Adobe is NOT everything.....check out Corel Painter as well. Especially if you are trying to "paint" or sketch etc. like you would on a real canvas.
If you are into this kind of artistry you'll love Painter. Photoshop AND Painter both do their own thing in their own way.....Painter can do things Photoshop can't and vice versa.
I'm using a Wacom Intuos Tablet...I love it..have never had a problem with it.....
I don't see much point to use a tablet and digital pen to use in a vector program ( for most part..of course there are exceptions).
Forget Freehand...Freehand is dead.
this would be my picksas a basic setup: Photoshop, Painter ( download a trial version from their website to see if you like it), Illustrator and a Wacom Tablet ( the biggest size you can afford).
Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter are the big 3 that are cross-platform. If you are on Windows you should also look at Xara (http://www.xara.com)
Wacom tablets are best. I prefer the smaller sizes as your hand doesn't have to travel as far to cross the screen and they're more portable. Intuos if you can afford it, Graphire if not.
Digital Film Institute
Thanks for all the responses. Yeah, I was wondering about that Corel Painter. Seems like one of the Wacom tablets I was looking at said it came with a free copy of Painter. This sound right? If so, that sounds like a pretty good deal.
Also, I don't get, yet, exactly how these tablets work. If I'm drawing on one, do I look up at the screen while my hand draws on the tablet, or can I look down at the tablet as I draw? I guess I'm asking does the tablet itself display your line? Seems like it would have to, but I couldn't tell so far just from looking at these products online.
And what about pressure sensitivity? Is this a pretty important factor in which tablets are best? I noticed some are more sensitive than others. Do you really notice this when working with them?
Sounds like a great deal to me, if the tablet comes with a free copy of Painter.
I might take a little time, to get used to a drawing tablet, but after that you probably won't look down at the drawing surface at all ( unless you are tracing something).
When tracing, you just lay the "piece to trace" on the tablet, underneath the acetat and trace along the lines with your graphic pen.
When drawing with the tablet I never look down , I always look at the image on the monitor ( that might take a little to get used to...).
The pen itself doesn't show traces (or a line) when drawing.
Pressure sensitivity is VERY important, and can be adjusted with the software that comes with the tablet and pen.You can adjust the pressure to your taste, so it really feels like you are holding a pencil or paint brush etc.
I'm using a wacom intuos 2....never had any trouble with it....if I had to, I probably buy the same tablet again.
You sound like an Illustrator guy to me...
The tablets are great and you can get going with them pretty quickly.
If you REALLY REALLY want to get good at digital illustration, you will need to do what most of us avoid at all cost, and learn the PEN TOOL like the back of your hand. It is frustrating at first and different, but maybe if you spend a weekend on learning it, you will start to get somewhere. It is not intuitive, but it's important for illustrators. Good luck, and post some work for us to see when you get started!