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Drawing Hardware for 2D and 3D


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#1 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3156

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:21 PM

Hi, everyone Posted Image

After looking for several months, I found a bunch of things which looked good but beyond my price range, such as Zbrush. What drawing tablet or possibly other hardware and/ or software would you recommend which works good but is under the $100 to $200 range? Please give me a review of hardware by your experience. I don't need many features, but at least be able to draw and paint conveniently at a professional level with the device.

Goals are to create 2D and 3D textures with fine detail such as custom drawing of life objects and paint skin. Modifying existing textures in advanced ways is sought by me, too, such as using the device in the art process with GIMP. Actually more, I seek to include such a tool with GIMP, Wings 3D, and Blender. Eventually, real time character animation in computer games, website design, and continued 3D work are my areas. Rendering is not my area but real time 3D and also 2D needs are, so please think computer game tools.

Background information follows. I use Wings 3D and GIMP extensively (and Blender sometimes) with intermediate to advanced results in artwork. The 2D layering, fonts, and other texture work in GIMP are examples of things which I do fairly well. Using the mouse to draw has reached its limit for me. Posted Image I don't need scupting because I do that already in Wings 3D and enjoy nice results with the UV map there and texturing done in GIMP. It's good enough that I have had many 3D models accepted into a couple commerically sold simulations.

Hardware requirements and price are what gives me a challenge to find a good fit for me. I want to be able to continue only using my ordinary laptop with integrated 4000 series AMD/ATI graphics and yet have pro quality if possible. Hardware requirements have sometimes been more than my laptop can handle, it seems because of long render times. Also, some, like Zbrush, I noticed can send a person buying other things, which I also want to avoid.

To sum this request: Please help me find cheap harware which will allow me to draw, paint, and maybe bake textures, yet work with my average laptop, GIMP, Wings 3D, and Blender.
Any help would be appreciated. Posted Image


Clinton

Edited by 3Ddreamer, 10 September 2012 - 03:25 PM.

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


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#2 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8490

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:33 PM

Not 100% sure what it is you're asking for. You're looking for a drawing tablet? What does that have to do with baking textures? Baking is a function of software, and Blender can do that just fine. You're looking at ZBrush, but you don't need sculpting?

To be honest, under $200 is a pretty small budget if you're serious about a tablet. You can cover the software bases with Gimp, Blender and Sculptris for free, and if you're not going to be hand-drawing a bunch of stuff, you can get by with just that. But I highly recommend that you spend the money to get a decent quality tablet, if you insist you need a tablet. Trying to go cheap will just net you frustration. I've worked with the cheaper tablets before, and their surface area can get pretty cramped. A good, quality tablet with a nice big surface area is a dream to work with. You certainly won't obtain a "professional level" tablet for under $200. Even a small Intuos will run you $230 or so, and like I said before, you really want to have a bigger tablet.

Additionally, graphics work tends to be fairly heavy weight. If your laptop is weak, you're probably just going to have to learn to deal with long render times. Rendering is processing heavy, and while renderers such as Blender Cycles can really save the day by offloading onto the GPU, it takes a pretty good quality graphics card (preferably an NVidia) to make it happen, otherwise you have to fall back to CPU. Laptops suffer especially with this kind of work due to their relatively poor heat dissipation. If you've got all your cores running at 100% doing a render, that generates a lot of heat. Also, doing texture work can really hit the RAM, so having a decent base of installed RAM will do wonders when you have multiple 2048x2048 texture sheets open in Gimp, with an instance of Blender running so you can see it on the model. These days, even lower end machines can come installed with 6 gigs or so, so the more the merrier.

#3 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7421

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:16 AM

yet have pro quality if possible.

Hardware will not be the issue Posted Image I know of people who draw hi-professional art with the mouse ! But it makes life much easier.

You certainly won't obtain a "professional level" tablet for under $200. Even a small Intuos will run you $230 or so

I use its little brother, the wacom bamboo, which is a really good entry level tablet for less than $80 (small) or $150 (larger).

#4 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3156

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:14 AM

Okay, we are making progress again.

The mouse friction and sloppy wandering on the surface is unsteady. With a pen I will be able to make perfect lines the way I do on paper and much faster, too. I really want to use a pen and tablet with image in the tablet screen. Some of the tablets look as though the image is not displayed from the tablet, but only on the PC screen. The information about what is the situation is missing in some advertisements about that. Software compatibility with the tablet is an issue. My stage of growth does not justify spending much money on anything, so I want to use free software only but in my computer and not in the tablet. It looks to me as though tablets require software running in the tablet to handle the image rather than interfacing with the image software in the PC. On the other hand, maybe it is standard for the tablets to only hold the image in dsplay fashion. Is a tablet actually just a kind of display device like other extra displays? Advertising is very poor for tablets. What about file format compatibility with the tablets? I am in the dark about this whole subject and the ads only make the confusion worse.

Much of the disconnect between hardware and software is viewed by me as the marketing strategy of companies to increase sales by requiring the purchase of more items. I am determined to avoid as many dead end trips as possible, but I will get the information to do that. Posted Image

Wacom has tablets with a nice variety of image software included, I see - as do a number of tablet makes. Work flow is always a concern in my mind, so learning too many things or having too many steps to completion is not so good. I also believe in not spending too much time in searching, but getting to work with things soon. Posted Image

The advertisements of every tablet that I have read are very inadequate for me to make a thoroughly informed decision, but indecision is worst, so I will have to make a choice on a table in the 100 to several hundred dollar range and adapt to switching images between software in my PC and software in the tablet. Posted Image ( Taking a long breath.)

Thanks so much for your patience with my being clueless in some areas! Posted Image


Clinton

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#5 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7421

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:57 AM

Is a tablet actually just a kind of display device like other extra displays?

No, a tablet is like a piece of paper where you can draw on with a special pen, but you don't see what you draw on the tablet itself, only on the monitor.
There are combination (montiors, where you can directly draw on), but these costs several $ 1000.

When you start using a tablet you need to practise, because you look on the monitor while drawing on the tablet. The pen is more like a mouse than a real pen. But once you get it , it really helps a lot.

Each tablet comes with drivers (like videocard drivers) to integrate the pen as input device. Most software will support this. I'm using my wacom bamboo with blender and gimp, both free, out-of-the box.

When looking around artists forum, wacom tablets seems to be the best choice. Therefore I would sugguest a wacom tablet.

#6 Hamsta   Members   -  Reputation: 894

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:34 AM

What Ashaman73 said is correct: Most tablets, especially at the price range you are looking at, do not have built in displays.
The tablet will have drives to interface with your machines and make use of the full functionality - not just moving a cursor like a mouse, but also have pressure sensetivity, and in higher-end models - tilt.
You will need to practice, it is not as easy as it looks. Like Ashaman said, you are drawing on the tablet while looking at the screen. Even with a Cintiq, a tablet with a built in screen, there's some getting used to due to the distance between the nib of your stylus, and the display itself which is behind glass.
New Wacoms come with bundled software, but I never found it to be very good for my purposes.
Itamar Reiner: Self Financed Concept Artist http://www.hamsta180.com

#7 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8490

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:46 AM

You could get a Cintiq from Wacom which, as Hamsta said has a built-in display, but you definitely won't stay under your $200 price limit, as the smallest model of those is still $1000 or so. Top-end models featuring multi-touch go for a juicy $3700. But if you want a "pro" solution, either one of these or a larger Intuos will do. In my opinion, Wacom has a pretty good lock on the quality tablet market, so I don't really think you can go wrong getting one. Even one of the lower end ones would be a decent tablet.

I've got a big Intuos, and I haven't had any problems using it with Gimp, Blender or Sculptris.

#8 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3156

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 06:53 AM

Right on, you are there guys! I love this community! Great people we have here! Posted Image


Thank you very much! Posted Image


The Dreamer

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer





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