More On Concept Art, Tools, and Apps

pan_v2I most certainly love my Wacom tablet. I’ve used them for a long time now. And, I continue to use them as they tend to work very well. In terms of contrast, they work much better than trying to draw with a mouse for sure. However, they still fall short when compared to analog media of yesteryear.

Someone out there may have just been offended by my last statement. To further isolate or point out the particular words of offense, here they are: “…analog media of yesteryear” Yes. Media of yesteryear are all of the graphite, charcoal, paint and chemicals, watercolor, paper, canvas, etc. etc., anything for mark making or use for expression on a canvas, that one can spend a fortune on in a modern arts & crafts store.

I make this bold statement due to the advent of several pieces of technology. One being the touch screen and second being the stylus pen with pressure and angle registry. While it will be some time before the force feedback features of these technological breakthroughs will be on par with the real world, you can be sure the day will come when this is a reality.

As I began diving into the concept art work that is needed for the two projects currently in pre-production at rayBLAST, I realized that I was struggling with my hand-eye coordination due to my particular desk and monitor configuration. For the sake of clarification, my desk is just plain crowded. But, I do need everything on my desk and that is a problem because I also need my Wacom too.

I started thinking about solutions. What can I do to get a better angle or position to draw? Why is this so difficult? The lag is killing me! Why am I so frustrated with this? Am I getting too old for this? What have I done with my life? Is it time to eat yet? Okay… maybe not all of those questions cropped up. However, it was time to start looking into what I can do to improve my efforts and possibly make me a little more efficient. I like efficiency; it’s my favorite!

While traversing the internet, I noticed that Wacom had come out with a cheaper version of the Cintiq. Oh the Cintiq! The artist’s digital dream of awesomeness! Or, so I used to think. It was always out of my price range until now. The new versions have come down in price significantly yet still expensive for an indie dev budget. This got me thinking. It also prompted me to check out some reviews.

What I seen when watching the reviews interested me a lot. Not so much in terms of the usage, but the value of not having to battle with hand-eye coordination on top of concentrating on all of the other complicated aspects when composing an awesome piece of artwork. I needed to eliminate this struggle to get the best out of my efforts.

Another very interesting thing happened. I stumbled across a review of the iPad Pro being used with the Apple Pencil. Extremely impressive to say the least! Comparing the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 and the Apple iPad Pro, the iPad Pro has a higher resolution, faster refresh rate, and displays 95% of the NTSC gamut versus 72% by the Wacom. Not to mention a higher contrast rate too. And, about half as many pesos too!

The lag is almost unnoticeable on the iPad Pro. And, this is why I will throw my hard earned money at them and beg the store to relive me of my funds. Less lag gets me one step closer to the fidelity of real world media. And this ultimately allows me to be more expressive and efficient.

Lastly, the apps that are available are numerous and many perform very well. Last time I looked, I believe there were 16 apps that are in the top spots for creating art with tools that mimic real world application. I still favor Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. But, I have also added Procreate as well. Both of these applications offer unique workflows that are conducive to producing quality digital renderings.


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