Art Programs- user reviews and preferences

Discussion in 'Artists' started by Steve B, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. ToddingtonToons

    ToddingtonToons Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I don't know if it will be of any use to anyone but I highly recommend toonboom animate for vector illustration. Its a strange one to recommend but the brush tool has a great curve and the cutter tool makes lineart very quick. It uses editable color swatches which I find very useful. I always feel a bit stupid saying it but its a very good simple vector illustrator if illustrator itself is too complex. Perhaps I am just too used to animation software, being an animator primarily. I always illustrate in vectors for low memory/high resolution work. If anyone has any other examples of good vector programs that arent illuatrator id love to try them out.
     
  2. CapricornBanana

    CapricornBanana Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Huge fan of this site. I got a ton of helpful information here when I first started looking for tablet PC / slate options, and even past that (like figuring out how Samsung's instruction-less keyboard worked). I wound up buying a few art programs over the years, like everyone else, and don't really regret any of the purchases.

    Paint Tool SAI I loved for its unmatched speediness and incredibly low memory footprint. It reminded me of a souped-up Civic that could reach amazing speeds but lacked the bells and whistles of more advanced programs.

    I started using Sketchbook Pro for storyboards, and Manga Studio 4 EX for doing my comic. I was happy with both of them, though Sketchbook Pro's slow and limited transform tools got me looking elsewhere.

    When Manga Studio 5 came out, I debated the need to upgrade for a while. I eventually did and purchased Clip Studio Paint. I haven't done full comic pages in it yet, but for my specific needs, it is absolutely perfect. I think the single most impactful changes from 4 were PSD functionality, and the introduction of individualized pressure pens for each brush.

    My current style doesn't involve a ton of colors, so the more advanced painting tools aren't hugely important to me -- for me it's inking. I needed a program that came as close to the feel of "real inking" as possible. In CSP, i was able to tweak the pressure curves to an incredible degree. I did the picture below without zooming in or even changing the brush size. I love inking without needing to jam on the bracket keys to resize every time I made a mark. Working on a 21" Cintiq with this program absolutely feels like a truly viable way to do "digital inking" without compromising my markmaking.

    ferns.jpg
     
  3. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Fantastic work! I love the minimalist design. Your inking is really nice and organic. Where can we see more of your work?
     
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  4. darthfurby

    darthfurby Pen Pal - Newbie

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    One vote for openCanvas 6. In the video below I look at some of the tools, and discuss what you can do with the software:


    Also...I'm a battered wife for Flash. It hurts, but I still love it. Great for vector sketches/animation, and plays well with After Effects:
    [​IMG]

    I have a pretty long list of art programs that I'd love to talk about, but this is neither the time nor the place.
     
  5. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Quoted from this thread: http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/thr...atives-a-closer-look.46796/page-3#post-433103

    I'm actually just now downloading the MangaLabo Tone pack. -I need it for a project I'm doing where I gotta add some dots.

    Normally, I'd never do that for toning, but these are some very old pages which were all toned with Letratone sheets on bristol board and then scanned. I'm adding some new panels and I want to keep the style consistent. -They're not going to look perfect, but I figure it's better to have all the artwork at the same slightly lower print quality rather than have the new panels stand out by being too clean. It would be disruptive to the reader.

    When toning regular modern stuff, I do something which I find far more effective than putting in my own dots; a way which reduces perfectly for web graphics, AND prints in perfect tone dots when you send it to press:

    1. Bring the linework into Photoshop as a sharp Grey Scale image.
    2. Select areas and use the fill/gradient tool to add greys. (Using the "Darken" mode).

    Done.

    Those files you can reduce (using PS's "bicubic" reduction algorithm) to web-size images, and they look great.

    And for going to press and making books...

    What the printing agency does is create plates which then go into their press. These days they use something called Computer-to-Plate (CTP) technology, which is exactly as it sounds. (In the old days, they'd make photographic plates). -The plate is either metal or some type of plastic. They use one of these machines to create them:

    http://www.screeneurope.com/products/computer-to-plate/flexo-letterpress/platerite-fx1524

    That particular machine can print at a dpi of up to 4800. -So any text, line-art or grey tone dots are going to come out looking pretty sharp at that resolution. Grey tone dots look like crud if they are printed at anything less than around 2000 dpi. The higher the better. 2400 dpi is an industry standard.

    For some reason, regular line-art looks clean and sharp at around 1000 dpi; you can't really see pixelation with the naked eye, but grids of little circles as with grey tone dots look weirdly dirty and off somehow if they are printed at less than around double that. So if you put in your own grey tone dots using art software, unless your canvas is around 2000 dpi, it's going to look less than professional.

    When I draw digitally, I work at around 1000-1500 dpi, which is fine for my linework. But to get the best grey-tone dots, I skip all the worry. -I just put in perfect greys and tell the printing plant, "Make sure those greys print as round dots at 80 LPI (Lines Per Inch)."

    Those are the visible round dots which make up the tone. -I find 80 LPI is fine enough to look smooth, but you can still see the actual dots, and this creates a very crisp image. -Something about being able to see pure black or white and nothing in between makes for clean press graphics. When I can't see the tone dots, and grey areas are pure grey on paper, I find it usually looks sort of muddy.

    -Or instead of instructing the printing plant, you can send them .pdf files where you can set how the grey tones are treated yourself when you save. That way, you're talking directly to their CTP machine.

    When the big press outputs, just like any fonts created by InDesign or QuarkXpress, it turns the grey into perfect circles built at the max pixel resolution of their Compter-to-Plate machine. That way, they look awesome and properly professional.

    As for MangaLabo...

    I don't know if I'd recommend it for anybody else. It's not popular at all, (it's basically totally unknown.) I have it tweaked to perfection and I absolutely can't live without it, but there's a lot more user support for MangaStudio 5.

    Though, there's a new version of MangaLabo they're working on, (it's made by the same people who make OpenCanvas; "Portal Graphics"), and I look forward to its being released hopefully soon. It's going to be called "ComiLabo Plus". I got a beta copy of it free with my license; it's basically improved for modern machines, but it's still all in Japanese. :)
     
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  6. Tsukiko Valkyrie

    Tsukiko Valkyrie Pen Pal - Newbie

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    hi thread :-D

    thanks for the reply tcg, that was a good read :-D
    aah, so mangalabo has some tones which look like the older letratone sheets? that's useful to know :) i would agree, it's best if you are modding an older page to try get it like before if possible :)

    oh? i didn't know printers can do that (you assign certain gs rgb values to tones and they assign dots to them), but doesn't that make it harder to know how an image looks before it is sent to a printer? without test prints you won't know if a screentone will be perfect for a piece (hair, clothes, face). I know mangastudio essentially do that via software (you paint in layers of grey and it uses the metadata per layer and use it as a mask for the tones of dots, lines, gradients, etc), but i didn't know ctp printers do that too :)

    i've been under the misguided thought that comic printers are still printers persay, not printing-presses that use plates :) in fact, i'm not even sure if the printing company i print from use ctp lol, they still ask me for 300dpi images for printing (does that mean they use normal laser printing?). if that's the case, i wonder should i look elsewhere for my comic printing needs.. hmm..


    aah, so you need to understand a bit of japanese to use mangalabo properly, i wonder do they use translation files and allow for users to put in their own words (i mean, even simple romanji would prob make it easier for us i guess).


    i will have to read back through this thread and see all the cool suggestions for inking and toning and other niceness that will make life easier for me and my work XD
     
  7. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Smaller printing agencies doing print on demand (POD) use, essentially, big photocopiers for their press work. They can look pretty good, but the cost per unit is a lot more than if you're doing press runs in multiples of 1000 on web press or offset sheet fed machines. I usually do runs of 2-3000, and I like the way the ink looks on the page. It doesn't scrape off and it melts into the paper in a way which is associated with "real" books rather than POD. But POD has come a long way.

    Only the new beta of Mangalabo is Japanese. The 2012 official version is in full English.

    It has a pretty lousy selection of Deleter tones, though. (As I discovered yesterday). I ended up having to use Manga Studio 5 to drop those old tones in, and it works well enough for that, though you can't do tone fades from dark to light, and you can only use 60 LPI gradients. I prefer 80, but it got the job done. :)
     
  8. yuki

    yuki Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Speaking of really rare softwares - i have to mention one of my main paint/rotoscope/vfx packages.

    The venerable discreet combustion.

    its a vector&pixel-paint, 3d compositor with support for moving images & stills, including stuff i miss on almost all other packages (film grain, tracker, light/shadow in 3d, sound etc). Its no longer developped, however even in 2015 no package on the market really can replace it. (if someone has a copy collecting dust - i will buy additional licenses!).

    Its hard to master (non-standard-ui with KILOTONS of controls for maximum workspeed) - but extremly powerful.

    Here is a screenshot of a later version:
    [​IMG]

    and here is some of my work with it
    as example an older commercial of mine which nicely shows the power & creative tools - all the 7 "diffferent" moods in the different commercials were shot in the same location, the color, skyreplacement, rotscope, colorgrading etc to differentiate it are digital VFX, also plenty of composites (the sun/lamborghini/volcao are different shots mixed up, the "black" lambo often is the yellow one, the sky is replaced, the raods removed, the number plates made invisible, the dirt is busted etc etc, several 100 FX in the 7 commercials).



    p.s.
    funny enough - the lambo commercial is a bit older, i did that on a dual 866 Mhz Xeon with 512 MByte RAM - and that was back then a 35 kilogramm 19 inch behemonth with 8*18GB scsi disks in raid, a PAL video i/o costing over 50.000$ ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
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  9. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    Discreet! You bring up such old memories... back from the days when I was messing with 3d on the good old 3D Studio Max 2.5! :D
     
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  10. yuki

    yuki Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hehe... 3ds max was (and is) already a pretty MODERN package :)

    I bought 3D Studio v2.0 (non max, the precessor, under DOS, not windows NT), had some nice successful work with it - and then kinetix (back then it wasnt merged with discreet) invited me to the alpha test of 3ds max - so i started on max 0.17, a looong time before release :) Very nice software.

    p.s. & edit:
    That probably also explains why i can work perfectly with atoms, 2GB ram etc... back then, i had 3ds max running on a super-highend $$.$$$ workstation.

    Wacom UD.
    Pentium.
    60 Mhz. (not 600, 60.)
    Single core.
     
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