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Help with Tablet + Art combo

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Greetings!

At work, I have a lot of downtime, so I am looking to invest into a portable computer and an art program so I can draw while at work.

The computer doesn't matter. It's really about what kind of art program I can use on it that matters. I am looking for something that can emulate Photoshop 6's Pixel editing capabilities, i,e, grids, pixel painting, etc.... Basically whatever a pixel artist uses on PS is what I want on the tablet.

I assume the best deal I can get is a cheap tablet and GIMP, but maybe there is something more out there? 

Any suggestions? 

 

- BuffoTheClown

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How much can you spend? OS you want to use?

 

Are you comfortable drawing on a standart graphical tablet, or would you like a tablet / screen combo (screen with digitizer layer like cintiq)?

 

 

Depending on what you want need, your hardware could be many things...

 

1) cheapest is to get a Bamboo Wacom Tablet, or a similar, maybe even cheaper no-name (= non wacom smile.png ) tablet, and hook it up to your existing Windows/MAc/Linux laptop.

 

2) if you want more oomph from your graphical tablet, the Intuos line will give you more precision and additional express keys as well as more selectable sizes.

 

3) You could try to pick up a mobile tablet with digitizer layer... just forget the Samsung android ones, besides lacking software they are NOT fast enough for serious art work.

The Windows Surface generally gets good reviews from artists, as you get a full fat win 8 machine with digitizer and decent hardware for aroun 700-1000$.

Get the surface 3 if you want to try the new digitizer, don't be fooled by the lower specs than on the older wacom digitizer, people said its just as good as the old wacom option, just with a heavier pen, and no jittering around the edges like what plagues all wacom digitizers. That said, you can still pcik up a surface 2 with wacom digitizer if you search around.

 

4) Premium options would be the cintiqs from wacom. Obviously the stationary ones are to big and unwieldy in your case, but the mobile ones might be interesting. As long as you are prepared to pay around double the price you pay for a surface 3, you will get a machine with just as much oomph, that has been better tuned for creating art. The more precise digitizer layer might make a difference, or not, depending on your skills and needs, but what I personally like are the cintiq style express keys and rocker rings. Missing programmable physical keys on all the other mobile tablets are a MAJOR pain in the ass for creating art, wacom made just the right decision by making their mobile tablet fatter and keeping the physical controls from the stationary cintiqs!

You can get a an android mobile / stationary cintiq tablet for windows hybrid, if you feel comfortable that you can live with the limited software support on Android, with the benefit of saving quite some bucks...

 

 

For the software, your cheapest option is Gimp... if you are looking for something more specifically tuned for drawing and sketching, have a look at sketchbook pro and manga studio / clip studio, both available for under 100$. The latter, while being created as a program for comic drawing, is especially cool for mobile use because of its stroke stabilizing... I use it on my old Samsung slate 7, which is just not up to the task even though it has quite beefy hardware. The old Wacom digitizer layer is not that good, or it could be bad drivers... anyway, it is hard to get clean, smooth lines on it.

Not much of a problem with Manga Studio thanks to the pen stroke stabilizing. Allows me to work quite accuratly and in detail even on this less than optimal machine.

 

 

EDIT:

 

Just checked current prices on Wacom companion and Surface tablets... if you pick a surface pro 3 with similar hardware to the lower specced Wacom tablet (8G RAM, 256G SSD, i7 CPU), the price is actually not that far apart anymore.... the wacom device is only about 10-20% more expensive (altough you do get older hardware, meaning less battery life, with it).

The surface Pro gives you lower specced options which start at roughly half the price of the wacom companion, and you can get a surface 2 for 50% off nowadays (which again offers 8G RAM and 256G SSD, but just an older i5 CPU) which makes it even cheaper than the cheapest Surface 3 option. 

 

So if you can put all that horsepower to good use and think about a highend device, the surface will not really be that much cheaper.... its nTrig vs wacom digitizer, 12" crisper glossy 3:2 display vs 13" matte less crisp (still Full HD though) 16:9 display, newer CPU with longer usage time vs older CPU with shorter, smaller and less heavy form factor without physical buttons vs heavier bigger with physical express keys. Price difference is small at this point.

 

Though the type cover, while pricey, is a very nice addon that Wacom should include for their next version.

 

Speaking about newer versions, word has it that Wacom might release newer companion versions in 2015. So you might want to wait some months if you want to get a companion, to either snatch an improved version with better battery life, or get the old version at a further reduced price.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Wow that is a lot of info!

 

Most of that, I think, is way beyond what I'm loking to do.

 

I can't have a large computer at work, so it has to be small, say 10" screen or less.

 

And I just want to do sprite work, so I don't require any kind of fancy power or anything. Just tap and drop a pixel. I'm mostly looking to draw environment sprites on my down time. 

I was thinking of getting some tablet for a hundred or two and using a cheap or free program for pixel art. Not looking to sketch or draw, don't need pressure sensitivity. If I didn't hate MSPaint I would just use that on a mobile device.

I'll probably look into getting some tablet for 200 bucks and GIMP. Any suggestions? Or does GIMP run pretty much the same on any tablet?

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Wow that is a lot of info!

 

Most of that, I think, is way beyond what I'm loking to do.

 

I can't have a large computer at work, so it has to be small, say 10" screen or less.

 

And I just want to do sprite work, so I don't require any kind of fancy power or anything. Just tap and drop a pixel. I'm mostly looking to draw environment sprites on my down time. 

I was thinking of getting some tablet for a hundred or two and using a cheap or free program for pixel art. Not looking to sketch or draw, don't need pressure sensitivity. If I didn't hate MSPaint I would just use that on a mobile device.

I'll probably look into getting some tablet for 200 bucks and GIMP. Any suggestions? Or does GIMP run pretty much the same on any tablet?

 

Why not the wacom Bamboo tablet? I haven't compared it to other no-name (Read non-wacom) tablets, but wacom tablets will be recognised by pretty much any program (though Gimp tablet support has its smallish problems, its not as smooth a ride as in PS to set it up. Got it fixed though, and Gimp works fine on my Cintiq).

 

you might even be able to get the bamboo in a bundle that ives you some art software for a reduced price.... there was a bamboo + manga studio bundle some time ago...

 

Oh, and AFAIK there was a wireless upgrade for some of the Wacom tablets....

 

 

If by tablet you mean like... mobile tablet, yes, getting a tablet, and maybe a cheap chubby-pen would be an option. HAve a look at the Nexus 7 in this case. AFAIK still one of the best lowprice tablets around. You can get Sketchbook Pro or Photoshop for Android for around 10-15$ each, both are quite good apps, if you can live with their limited nature (light sketching -> no problem, but don't try to touch up some pictures professionally on them :) )

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I have been doing extensive research on the surface pro 3 vs the cintiq companion. At this point the "real" artists and not some paid advertiser are suggesting to stick with the Cintiq. The most notable difference is the display. Surface pro went with a gloss top (horrible for art) unlike the Cintiq. That said, the surface is considerably lighter and has the ability to be more robust.

 

Good luck and keep us informed on what you get.

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Thank you gentlemen. If I decide to go down this route, after a week or two of using what I get, I'll report back to you :)

 

Take care and happy developing!

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Yes, I forgot that Nvidia built their very own pen ditizing system in the newer tegras. Good call.

 

As far as I read it, must be pretty good, even has some pressure sensibility. No tilt though AFAIK, and while it seems to be better than the chubby pens for iPads, its not a true art tablet like wacom or nTrig.

Still, might fit the bill as lower price alternative for light drawing and sketching.

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The video shown doesnt present anything amazing. The fact that you cant run adobe from it makes it far less appealing. Still, I was not aware they had made one so good to know.

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You dont need a surface pro or anything like that just for sprite work. Pick up a Motion Computing Le1700 for 150 bucks or whatever from ebay and put gimp on it. it has wacom digitizer and it still used today by many many artists.

Edited by Komatsu

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