Art

First Look at Miyazaki’s Samurai Manga!!!!!

miyazakiSengoku

NHK got an exclusive look at the samurai manga Hayao Miyazaki is working on in his so-called retirement and HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THE DETAIL!  Every frame is packed to the borders with gloriousness.  The watercolors are so vibrant.  I cannot wait to get my hands on this.

Still no word on what it’s called or when it’s coming out, but holy hell, this is amazing.  Crunchy Roll has more screen shots which are equally breath taking.

From: Crunchy Roll

Hands On With the Cintiq Hybrid

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This past weekend, I went to PAX Prime to hang out with my brother.  I didn’t really look at the exhibitor list because I figured we’d just play it by ear and wander around.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the Wacom booth.  I grabbed the closest representative in a Wacom shirt and blurted out, “DO YOU HAVE COMPANION HYBRID THINGY TABLET PLAY WITH I WANT TO?!”  The gentleman calmly pointed to where the Cintiq Companion Hybrid rested, just waiting for me to draw things upon its glossy surface.

QUICKDRAW

So to really get a good feel for this new piece of kit, I’d have to sit down with it for a few hours.  But I didn’t want to be that shit head on the con floor, so I kept my time to few minutes to get a good overview of what to expect.

If you’ve ever drawn on a Cintiq tablet before, the Hybrid is instantly familiar.  If you’re new to the product, it might take some getting used to.  Unlike the textured surfaces of the Intuos 5s and the Bamboo line, the Cintiq drawing surface is smooth glass.  You won’t get the tactile resistance you might expect from paper.  I’ve never found that to be a problem but I heard a few other people next to me complain about the lack of texture.

Previous Cintiq models that I’ve worked with always had a weird tracking problem as I drew closer to the edge.  My lines would jump around making the device somewhat useless as I worked towards the edges.  This was the first thing I tested out with the Hybrid and it handled the edges perfectly.  No weird skipping.  No tracking problems.

The tracking and pressure sensitivity are exactly what you’d expect from a Cintiq.  It tracks almost flawlessly and handles changes in pressure just as well.  The Hybrid also functions as a tablet computer, but it turns off hand/palm detection when you’re drawing.  The woman next to me was playing with the Windows 8 version which was giving her problems with the palm detection.  Every time her hand touched the surface, her drawing would go all wonky.  The tech couldn’t figure out how to fix the problem so that might be something to watch out for.

The new Pro Pen is pretty comfortable.  From what I could tell, it’s pretty much the same pen as the previous Cintiq iteration.  I didn’t ask the tech, but I suspect it’s not compatible with anything else but a Cintiq.

If I had more time with it, I would have fired up a big ol 300-600 dpi CYMK file to see if I could make it crash.  I also didn’t test out the pinch or zoom or any of the tablet gestures but I’m assuming them shits work just fine.

Overall, I think it lives up to my expectations.  The specs made me drool, but actually having one in my hands made my pants all kinds of crunchy. Now to figure out how to afford the bloody thing…

Wacom Unveils Its All-in-One Tablet!!!!

Though the tablet computing space has intrigued me since Microsoft’s early Tablet PCs, I’ve never really considered them to be proper tools for me as an artist. The early tablets were never big enough or had high enough resolution for my purposes. Now that they are big enough with resolution to spare, the lack of true pressure sensitivity has always prevented me from hitting the buy button. Well it seem that Wacom is tired of hearing people like me bitch and whine about tablets and their limited art usefulness. Last week, they announced three new products that now make it impossible for me to ignore tablets as true production machines, the Intuos Creative Stylus and two flavors of the Cintiq Companion.

INTUOS CREATIVE STYLUS

The mobile stylus market is kind of saturated.  It seems like everyone and their cousin’s niece has brought a stylus to market.  Half the vendors at Macworld iWorld last year had styluses of various shapes and sizes.  And yes, there were a handful with pressure sensitivity.  Wacom also has various versions of their non-pressure sensitive Bamboo stylus.  So I guess a pressure sensitive one isn’t such a big deal.

Still, it’s nice to see that Wacom has been working on something for current iPad owners who want to push their tablet work farther.

Much like the Intuos pen tablets, the Intuos Stylus boasts 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity along with palm rejection technology so you won’t get any stray marks if your palm brushes up against the surface.  Shit, I need that when I’m inking with a brush!  Unlike most Wacom styluses or pens, this one is powered by an AAAA battery (I didn’t know the A’s went that far up!) which they say will last you 150 over hours.  It’s compatible with iPad Mini, iPad 3, iPad 4, and probably any newer versions that drop.  Sorry iPad 2, you just didn’t make the cut.

Aside from that, the Intuos Stylus should be familiar to anyone who uses Wacom pens.  It’s got the two-button switch which I imagine is as programmable as ever.  It’s got the comfy rubber grip which lets you draw for hours without finger fatigue.  It comes in a pretty slick case with a number of replacement nibs. It’s also available in two colors, black or blue.  Love the shade of blue they chose.

My only complaint is that it’s got one of them poofy nibs.  I’ve used a few styluses with a similar nib and it’s always a little tricky trying to figure out just where your line is.  I imagine after using it for a few hours, it won’t be such a bit deal.  That initially put me off.  I haven’t tried one in the wild yet so their version of the poofy nib might not be as annoying.

The Intuos Stylus is up for pre-order for $99.95 and will ship October 7. So if you’ve already got an iPad of some sort and have been waiting for something like this to add to your arsenal, it seems like a no-brainer.

However, if you’re like me and have held out, Wacom has something else for you to consider.

CINTIQ COMPANION

*DROOOOOOOOL*

The Companion is essentially a mobile Cintiq 13HD with more features somehow.  So you’re kinda screwed if you hopped on the 13HD train early.  It’s got the 2048 levels of pressured goodness, the programmable wheel, and four programmable expression keys.  One of the things that really bothered me about the 13HD was that it only had the wheel and the four expression keys.  I’ve got a 12WX and that mofo has ten programmable expression keys and two programmable sliders.  That’s 12 things I can fiddle with compared with only five and it’s the old busted model.  The Companion tablet takes that in to account with the addition of onscreen shortcuts that you can bring up and when you’re working thanks to multitouch control. FUCK. YES.

Ah, but remember, it’s a tablet so it’s got two HD cameras, speakers, wifi, bluetooth, onboard storage, USB support, and some other connections depending on the version you get.  As for operating systems, the Companion comes in two flavors, the Windows 8 Companion and the Android Companion Hybrid.

Both the Companion and the Companion Hybrid can be hooked up to a laptop or a PC and used as a second monitor while you transfer files or if you just want a second monitor.  Only the Hybrid can be plugged in to another machine and used as a Cintiq.

If price were no issue, the Hybrid is definitely the way to go.  You get the best of both worlds.  If you’re a digital artist, chances are your laptop or desktop is way more powerful than the Companion.  You can take your Companion on the road for some initial sketching, maybe even some tight line drawing.  Then when you need some real horsepower to do your effects or coloring or animation work, you plug that thing into your workhorse and you’ve got a Cintiq 13HD without having to buy any more gear.  It’s the most bang for your buck.

If price were no issue.

The Companion line is exactly the kind of tablet I’ve been waiting for.  So of course, it comes with a respectable price tag.  The Windows 8 version is priced more like a laptop.  The standard model comes with 256GB of storage and will set you back $1999. If you upgrade to 516GB, you’re looking at $2,499.  The Hybrid is less laptoppy.  The 16GB version goes for $1499 while the 32GB is $1599.  For a $100 price difference, it probably makes sense to just go for the 32GB.  That’s enough room for a whole mess of comic files to work on when you’re traveling.  Then you can transfer them over to your workhorse when you plug back in at home.

Both are up for pre-order and ship mid-October.

The nice thing about Wacom is that they usually wait a few years between releases.  They don’t update their hardware unless it’s a significant jump forward in either design or functionality.  These Companions are likely to be around for a few years before they drop new ones so I don’t think you’ll have as much early adopter’s remorse as you might with some other companies.  One thing to watch out for with any Cintiq is how well it tracks at the edges.  Sometimes shit gets wonky as you draw towards an outer edge.  But honestly, if you’ve been waiting for the perfect Cintiq, I think this is the one.

Of course, you should probably test drive the bloody thing before dropping the money.  You can sign up for the mailing list for all the latest and greatest Wacom news.  Hopefully they take the thing out on tour to show it off.  I’ve signed up for the shit so I’ll keep an eye out to see if they are indeed taking it around for you to play with.

Guitar Dragon

guitarDragonYou can probably tell by the infrequency of posts over here, but I’ve been mad busy.  I’m getting ready to launch a Kickstarter for my second Yellow Peril collection which launches next Monday, May 6 (MY BIRTHDAY!) so geeky postings may be sporadic for the foreseeable future.

In the mean time, you can check out the progress on my top tier reward.  I’m painting a guitar body and documenting the process on my instamess account.  I’ve always wanted to customize and build guitars so I figured I’d use this is an excuse to get started.  This is on a dinky style body that’s back routed for humbucker/single/humbucker pickup configuration.  I’m painting with softbody acrylics which means they are water thin and fairly transparent, so it’s lots of layering.

If someone actually buys this thing, I might do some more.  I’ve got two spare bodies that could be customized.  One of them, I plan on actually turning into a guitar.

 

KITSUNERUMA COLLECTIBLE!!!

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Remember when I asked you guys which YP daruma was your favorite?  Now I can reveal why!  Next Monday, April 1, my very first resin sandstone (WHOA) collectible from ShouldBee goes on sale at 9PM EST!  Kitsuneruma retails for $30.  Each piece stands 2 inches tall and is manufactured using the latest 3D printing technology.  The first 25 orders will receive a limited edition signed piece of art from me!  If you want to get the product page 4 hours before we release it to the world, sign up here.

I’m super excited!  I’ve wanted toys of these little dudes for a while so it’s great to finally get one out.  If this does well, hopefully more will be on the way.  And if you have an idea for a toy, head on over to ShouldBee and give it a try.

Kits10 Kits2 Kits21

Forging He-Man’s Sword of Power

WOW! I never thought I’d see him tackle this one! It looks so much better than the Dolph Lundgren version. I’ve always loved the silhouette of the Power Sword and I think Tony does an amazing job of capturing it. To me, it’s one of the most iconic weapons of all cartoons.

I still wish these episodes were longer. Amazing work.

So, what nerd weapon would you like to see Tony tackle next?

Decision Time, the New 13inch HD Cintiq or the Mysterious Wacom Tablet Computer?

I don’t do as much straight up digital work as I used to. My process now usually involves pencil, ink, ink wash, and paper with a few digital touch ups here and there. Even when I do full color work, most of the time I’m working on line art that I’ve done on some form of dead tree. However, there are times when it’s just faster to do everything on the computer and for that, I turn to my trusty baby Cintiq, the 12WX.

My upgrade cycle is weird.  For years, I tooled around with an Intuos 2, long after they discontinued the model, long after they abandoned the drivers.  So when I upgraded my tablet situation, I went for the most Cintiq I could afford at the time.  After years of practice, working with a regular tablet is no longer an issue.  But drawing directly on the screen is a much more intuitive experience.  And with all the function buttons on the tablet side panels, I almost never have to have my non-drawing hand on the keyboard.

When Wacom announced the Cintiq 24HD Touch, my art boner nearly ripped my pants.  The screen now has touch capability meaning you can use your grubby hands to move, zoom in, or turn your page.  That functionality is built in to some of the Intuos and Bamboo tablets, but being able to do that on the actual screen is totally drool worthy.  Fuck. Yes.

So now we get to the Cintiq 13HD.  Certainly, it’s a gorgeous piece of kit.  The slim design, the larger drawing area, the sleek pen case, the three-in-one cable, it’s all beautiful.  But there are a few things missing.  Gone are the touch strips on either side of the tablet.  There are also fewer buttons than on my 12WX.  This means you get fewer tools accessed directly from the tablet which means at some point, you’re going to have to have one hand on that damn keyboard.  There’s also no touch.

If you don’t already own a Cintiq, even with some of those missing bits, this is certainly the best value for your money.  And if you want the added features of the 12WX, I’m sure they’re going to be on sale now.  But, there may be a reason for you to wait.  Over on their facebook page, Wacom hints at a new tablet device they are working on that will have actual pressure sensitivity.  They’re going to announce something this summer.

Could this be the device of legend that I’ve been feening for ever since Microsoft’s original tablet PC line?!  For years, I’ve wanted a tablet device that was as responsive as a Cintiq and small enough to take with me on the go.  And I always imagined such a thing was a pipe dream and that my wallet was safe.  Depending on what Wacom announces in the summer, there may be a giant hole in my wallet yet to come.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

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