Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cintiq test run & review

I did something risky almost a year ago...

NO nothing that risky! geez!
I bought a $2500 gizmo on credit without even trying it out first. Yup...I bought a Cintiq 20wsx on a whim...eep!! There was no display model and they wouldn't fire one up for me because they only had one left. I did it purely on my colleagues recommendation and my sheer giddiness for such a device.

So after almost year of using and abusing this pricey investment and having yet to pay a penny towards it-am I happy or do I regret it? Read on to find out :)
Below is the first character I designed with my fun new toy! I included some of the stages during the process as well.
I was so excited to use the Cintiq that I just started doodling on the page...er screen, and big fat surprise I started drawing a creature. But not any old creature-a hyper detailed space alien fish headed creature!....named fish head'd alien...uh for now I guess. Although I refer to him as Fish Hed'd Ted a lot lately.

I started with the eye cuz that's usually the most fun. The details surrounding it soon followed and eventually built up his face after that. I ended up pulling back and adding a gesture of what would soon become his body. He originally sported a leaf-like fin at the end of his 'head tail' which I later ditched in favour of some spiney type things. I was eager to see the greyscale so I promptly added a gradient fill to a layer on top of everything. I set it to multiply and continuing on with the tones I started to shape and design this guy to be some type of space alien astronaut of sorts. That almost changed during one of my sessions with this guy though. He almost ended up as some type of fish hed'd martial artist! I must have been bored or just needed a fresh perspective. Adding another layer with some quick paints is easy enough to achieve just that.

Eventually I was going to have to finish this up-but I saw no end in sight. I just kept adding details and rendered more of the body and soon I would need a background.
ugh...backgrounds? oh no my Achilles heel! "No sweat" I thought to myself, I'll just suggest a background and use gestural loose strokes and all would be forgiven...ahem...or maybe not, but this is the best of my abilities so far so please forgive me?

Above is where it stood before I decided I just had to try colouring with the Cintiq. And so the adventure continued. I duplicated the image, saving the original as FishHedTedLayrs or something similar and flattened the new one, calling it some other long winded name that could easily be shorter....much like that sentence lol. I added a multiply layer above this and set off to colouring this bad boy. I usually just colour over the greyscale but not this time. I chose to make this a mono brownish red first. To do this I altered the greys layer using Hue/Saturation in photoshop and selected colourize. This will act as a good foundation to build your colours up with-much like with some traditional painting techniques.

You can only get so far with this multiply layer though. Soon you will need another layer above it all that's left on normal. This will enable you to paint over any corrections and also to add harsher highlights of white for shiny surfaces etc. After I'm done the painting I will usually duplicate it again and save it as a colour/WIP version. I flatten the new one. The final stage comes with adjusting the levels and hue/saturation and possibly a hint of dodge and burn-not too much though as this can quickly ruin your image!
Here's the final result with cheeky black border presentation, I hope you like it! :)

So after a year of using and abusing this Cintiq 20wsx am I happy with my 'purchase' or do I regret it? I mean, I have yet to pay even a single penny towards it!
My answer is a resounding YES!! I'm glad I did it! I can't imagine going back to the Wacom Intuos 3 tablet setup I was accustomed to. Don't get me wrong! It was fine-more than fine-and most will agree with that-or even argue it to the death. But in my opinion there was just nothing like drawing right on the surface with traditional pen&paper. At least not for me there wasn't. And while the Intuos tablet setup is more than capable of producing professional level artwork there was still this subtle feeling of disconnect that you had to get used to. Maybe that's my point? There was no 'getting used to' with the Cintiq. Just drawing and painting-like when we were kids...sorta ;)

I hope I didn't bore you to tears with my ramblings-I guess if you're this far you either have OCD and must complete every article you begin... or maybe you were reading to the bitter end hoping that eventually it would 'get good later on' lol...ugh...or maybe you actually enjoyed it? either way, I thank you for your time and always welcome your comments and constructive criticism.

until next time

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