Thursday, May 18, 2006

Random Sketches - 05/18

A few sketches from Terada's Monkey King comix and an animated series called Eyeshield 21!

I've been really busy lately and just haven't had the inspiration to draw as much. I'm still trying to loosen up and figure out how to make art really fun again. I really like the gesture in the sketch of the character throwing the football and the expression in the monkey kings face. It seems like those are the two areas of art I enjoy the most... strong action shot gestures and acting. I'm tired of drawing models in static poses with no expression... I can't do scholastic figure drawing any more!


Blogger joseph said...

I apologize for the off topic comment, but I didn’t spot your email anywhere at first glance.

The community at Concept Art pointed me in your direction. Said you were the expert when it comes to tablet PC’s. I’ve been using an Intous for four years or so, along with a laptop that is not long for this world. I was looking to move into the world of tablet pc’s and was hoping you had some recommendations.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Mermuse said...

The most important question is what you plan on using it for. Obviously portability is an issue if you are looking at a tablet but how long you plan on using it unplugged, what lighting conditions you need to work in, and whether you need support for a good 3D card are all key issues.

I have two tablets that are used for drastically different tasks.

The first one is a Motion Computing LE1600 which is my digital sketchbook. It has maxed ram and the best processor so it can handle large file sizes and fancy brushes in Painter but it has no 3D capability. There is no glare on the screen in 99% of the lighting conditions I've worked in. I've used it to paint outside all year round and primarily purchased it for painting while traveling out of the country (traveling with traditional oils is a nightmare). Oh yeah and the battery lasts all day. Motion isn't a very well known brand but they only make tablets so they are very specialized and very good at what you do. If you live in Texas or Southern California you can call them and there is a good chance they will send a representative out with a tablet to let you try.

My second tablet is a Toshiba Tecra M4. It's my Maya animation machine. Its great for 3D but the screen is only viewable in very controlled lighting environments. Its fine for a lab or a classroom but its useless outdoors or even near a window so its really no better then a laptop. High performance rigs like this also have major power issues... with two batteries installed this rig will still only run for about two and a half hours and after two hours it will be so hot you won't be able to touch it. I mainly use this when I'm directing MOCAP stunt men - the portable 3D tablet lets me show the actor the prototyped version of the scene he will be acting out or show him what the props or the set will look like.

All in all I've found that power life and screen glare are the most important issues when deciding which tablet to buy. Poor battery life and bad screen glare will make even the best tablet a useless paperweight.

I talked to an animator at Sigraph who had the LE1600. When he told me that they let him try it out I was sold. I called them, played around with it for a few hours, and I was hooked. That's the hardest thing about buying a tablet, very few stores carry them and its dangerous to buy one without trying it out first, that's how I ended up with the M4 I bought it based on specs and reviews only to find out it wasn't what I needed.

hope that helps....

If you have any more specific question let me know.

7:33 PM  
Blogger joseph said...

I understand Toshiba Hot. My Satelite just missed the laptop chip revolution. It has a Pentium 4, There is an honest to god warning printed on the bottom of the thing “hot base may cause burn, avoid contact with bare skin”.

In it’s old age it gave me a blister though my jeans.

In replacing it, I’ve been focusing on the Toshiba Tecra M4-S435 and the Acer TravelMate C204Tmi. Though I’ve not been able to get my hands on either. The LE1600 sounds like an artist’s wet dream, but I need a tablet that can take over a lot of the responsibilities of my old machine. I am passionate about my art, it’s just not my chief passion, and not how I earn my bread and butter. I’m a hobbyist and future high school English Teacher. My tablet needs to compromise between artistic indulgence and traditional use. It’s my understanding that the LE1600 is just the tablet surface; I’d need to dock it in something to use a keyboard, and similarly plug any drives I might need into it?

Despite being no good outside or near a window, is the Tecra otherwise competent in art applications? Can you run Painter on it without much trouble? In living room lighting conditions does the screen have a good enough viewing angle that you could hold it casually, like a sketchbook? I understand that the LE1600 is superior; I guess I’m wondering if the Tecra is passable.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Mermuse said...

The Tecra is more then passable its a powerhouse but you will need to understand that you won't have perfect mobility with it. You will need to keep it plugged in if you plan on working for several hours straight and you will find lighting a limitation from time to time. The Tecra performs beautifully and if it is only going to be used in a living room or classroom it will be fine. I would sit on the couch and sketch with it all the time the only trick is dealing with the heat but it sounds like you are used to that. Yes it runs painter beautifully though there is a bug in painter where you get random brushmarks on the upper half of the screen from time to time when using a tablet PC. If your more concerned with power then portability then its a better choice.

I have a keyboard platform for the LE1600 which works well if you are at a desk but is useless if you are trying to work on the couch... its just too unbalanced. The LE1600 also doesn't have a CD/DVD drive so when you want to install software you need to copy the executables over. I found that I didn't really miss the CD drive in the end. The one in the Tecra is too loud and uses up a lot of power.

Both Tablets are powerful but it sounds like you may be more comfortable with the Tecra if you need it to pass as a traditional laptop as well as a table.

9:30 AM  

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